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It is interesting to pass by model train setups. Most of the participants seem to be at least 40. And the trains that seem to capture the most interest are the classics: steam and such. Trains don't figure so prominently in modern culture (save for India and Asian bullet train I suppose). There seems to be a group hanging on to the romance of that era, but I rarely see young blood bellying up to the rails. The veterans don't seem to mind it a bit. I wonder if there are numbers/demographics on train hobbyist and the scale of growth or atrophy over the past 20 years.

I imagine that cars will always be hot...(like they said about trains, eh?) because they represent independance, passion, individuality, etc. My 15yo son is by no means a car nut and I worry if he awaits the flying Jetson mobiles before something really fires his passion for things mechanical. What is happening to the hands and genius of our boys?

Many of the modern hobby manufacturers are producing vehicles from the golden eras even now. It is as if there is little in the modern automotive world which inspires the passion and eroticism of the old iron. Those fenders and lines on the Chaparral 2C - 2D are downright sensual.

To the love of horses we have added, (were there wagon and buggy collectors?), trains, planes, cars/cycles ... then what? What kind of (legal) thing will be the adoration of the next generations? I don't see it yet. Space shuttles? Perhaps something wholly virtual. Maybe this is why some are so bored.

An intimate encounter with a Chappy, Ferrari, Porsche, Alfa, etc. is physical. We follow with our eyes their lines and run our hands along them. Sniff a whiff of a warm engine detecting no coolant leak. See and experience the effects of ride heights, acceleration, suspension, stopping power. Feel tight steering transmitted by a leather-wrapped wheel. Feel a slight jostle in the spine as the engine whinds up and your rear end snug in a well-supported seat. Hear the note of exhaust (as in the note of a well-tuned Ferrari engine...*sigh*). MY GAWDD!!! What normal man would not be catch himself drooling, kneeling, arms reaching out, palms up ...connected...at such a physical experience??! Or would it be more accurate to ask "What generation of man...?"

Long live the noisy, sexy, brutes. Nothing supplants them. And bless the hands of those who reproduce her form in scale for us, for now.

-Maltese
 

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Times change. Eventually people will be interested in cars again. Right now where I am there are just the ricers and they aren't car people. They are more interested in noise and flash. Later on some of them will migrate towards real cars.

I think part of it is cost and another part is image. Something else I've noticed is that many times, what interests the father won't interest the son. So if I have kids (the world trembles with that thought) they probably won't be interested in automobiles. Why would they want to do something that their father, the old fogey, does? Unless, of course, I can make it interesting enough for them that they'd forget the rebellious thoughts long enough to get them hooked. It isn't until they get older that they realise the old geezer was right, this stuff really is fun
 

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Slot City
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I don't have any knowledge of the model railway market myself, as we only stock slot cars. However, I was talking to a long time model shop owner earlier this year who was of the view that model railways were on the decline with slot cars on the increase.

The main reason for this is that younger people are more attracted to cars than trains. They didn't grow up with them, unlike the 'older' generation who did and so have more interest in them. A lot of younger people have probably not even seen a steam train, let alone gone train spotting.

This results in an ageing and reducing market for model railways, and a younger and increasing market for slot cars.

Whether this is true or not I can't say, they are not my views.

However, the slot car market is definetly booming at present and attracting a lot of new people (of all ages).

Jon,
Slot City.
 

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Phil Smith
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If young people are not interested in trains, then how come Hornby cannot make enough of the Thomas the Tank Engine stuff to keep up with demand?
 

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Brian Ferguson
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And Thomas is more a cartoon-character than a real thing, hence no hobby-related involvement at all, just toy-related. And the infatuation quickly passes.
 

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Slot City
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QUOTE (philsmith @ 2 Nov 2004, 20:02)If young people are not interested in trains, then how come Hornby cannot make enough of the Thomas the Tank Engine stuff to keep up with demand?
<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't know - as per my post they weren't my views, just something another retailer said.

However, I'd imagine the Thomas the Tank Engine products sell well because of the branding rather than them being trains - though this is a bit of a circular argument what with Thomas being a Tank Engine.

Maybe a better example would be Harry Potter. Do they sell well to kids because they are train sets, or because they have got Harry Potter on them? I reckon Harry Potter is the main reason (cos he is 'cool' apparently).

Jon,
Slot City.
 

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I relate better to cars than trains. I watch motor racing and see cars every day, trains now all look the same to me and they don't have any special meaning to me, like the steam trains seem to do for some people.

Cars however do, and that is why I like slot cars as they bring together cars, racing and modelling all under one hobby.
 

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Scott Brownlee
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Trains and railway modelling does have a higher appeal to the love of small things that seems to afflict the make of the species. I have no interest in real trains, but like looking at railway models and layouts.
 

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i prefer 70's and 80's cars to most modern cars the louder the better!

I prefer new cars
They take to modifications better and don't need any body work. Plus, I will never own a loud car. I build sleepers


Anything from the '50s back is pretty much collector only territory. Some of the '60s stuff is getting that way too. Cars in the '70s and '80s were garbage here in the US. '71 was the first year of the big emissions push so compression ratios dropped to ridiculously low levels. Around '73 or '75 catalytic converters hit the scene and killed any chance of revival. In the '80s cats were better and compression was coming back up but they were playing with electronic engine controls and steel girders they called bumpers so the already anemic cars were still blah. In the '90s, stuff started working. Cats were high flow, compression was way up, the computers worked and body designs were improving. So far they've only gotten better.

I'll stick with the newer stuff for my own daily driver.
 
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