Scaleforum Attendance and Location

Announcements, recommendations, visit reports etc. Discussion of the Society's own shows.
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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Sun Dec 21, 2014 1:45 pm

John McAleely wrote:I'm not sure why Jim & Jol think that finding people who have negative opinions will help much. From my perspective this is simply poor information vs good information. I believe the only effective way to counter bad information is generosity with good information. I think countering & arguing points rarely achieves anything more than a tribal fight.

It doesn't matter where people hear things about P4, or whether specific people say these things. If they are not credible, they simply form the background noise of the hobby. It's not hard to get high quality information heard above background noise.


Only to understand who is being negative about the Society and its aims.

Whether we like it or not, social media such as RMweb does enable people to express, sometimes loudly and and with an unfounded sense of authority, views that are inaccurate, out of date and misleading. It may be possible, by responding to those statements and their owners at source, that we can counteract them. When I say we, I mean anyone that frequents those forums and has an interest in seeing that P4 modelling is represented properly.

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John McAleely
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby John McAleely » Sun Dec 21, 2014 3:23 pm

The underlying point of my position, Jim, is that I don't have to care if there is a problem or not. Our only job is to tell our own stories well, and with passion. Problem or not, people will find it easy to discover if our choices would work for them too.

My experience of people who spout rubbish on web forums is that they tend to give themselves away. I hope we're all moving beyond the point where just because 'keyboardtrains4u', complete with a cute avatar and a history of shouting me too on threads, says something, we let anyone be troubled by it.

It gets more sophisticated than that, of course, but not by much, IMHO.

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David Thorpe
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby David Thorpe » Sun Dec 21, 2014 3:45 pm

John McAleely wrote:Our only job is to tell our own stories well, and with passion.

Where and to whom do we tell this story? The trouble is that we don't really have a particularly effective means of communication. The mainstream magazines, at least one of which most modellers take, largely ignore P4 and instead push the more popular scales, especially N and 00. At most shows there is seldom a P4 layout in evidence. Like the magazines the main model railway websites are dominated by the popular scales and P4 regularly finds itself rubbished. How are the uninitiated meant to know whether such rubbish is true or not? And our shows, while thay clearly attract likeminded finescale modellers and finescale wannabees, don't seem to attract Mr Average Modeller.

John McAleely wrote:Problem or not, people will find it easy to discover if our choices would work for them too

Assuming that"our choices" are P4, I don't think that people do find it easy to discover if our choices work for them. I've demonstrated making track P4 at shows and manned the S4 stand. Modellers have greatly admired what we put on display but almost all find the concept of change too difficult, and I can well sympathise with them.. The working man with a family? "I just don't have the time". The man with a box of Peco track under his arm? "Yes, yours looks so much better but I just couldn't do it". The man with the big 00 layout? "I'm just too committed to 00 - I couldn't possibly convert all my stock". And so on.

So I really fail to understand how, inthe absence of P4 layouts and advocates at most shows, and in the absence of any meaningful information in any of the mainstream media, and given the constraints most people have in time and skill, it can be easy for them to discover if our choices work for them. And lets not pretend that P4 is itself "easy" - it isn't.

DT

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David B
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby David B » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:18 pm

Going back to some earlier posts, there were views expressed that saw Scaleforum as a meeting of friends to talk about and see P4 modelling. I whole heartedly agree with this. What is lacking, though, are examples of people's modelling.

In September, the cases on the Society stand were woefully short of exhibits. There are a lot of people who are not particularly interested in the competitions and awards and the Committee has recognised this. However, there is another showcase for people to show their own models. It would be very nice if this were patronised more widely. Judging by what is seen on this Forum, there could be much more displayed at Scaleforum.

There is no showcase at Wells for the SW show, but is there one at S4North? If there isn't, might one be introduced and modellers encouraged to bring along their work?

There were also earlier comments about non-members being less important, the show(s) being primarily for members. I disagree here. The financial aspect aside, having more non-members come to the shows presents opportunities to 'educate' people about P4 modelling, what John and David have just been referring to as 'telling our story'.

David Bigcheeseplant
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby David Bigcheeseplant » Sun Dec 21, 2014 5:17 pm

How many members of the Scalefour Society and also the EM Gauge Society are active modellers, when I visit both Scaleforum and Expo EM I tend to see the same faces, and also at Watford Finescale and Railex, also I know some EM gauge modellers are members of the Scalefour Society as they like the Scalefour News.

The only show that seems to have different faces is the O gauge show at Telford, I think the cost to hire that venue is around £30 000 and the show always makes a loss but the O gauge society run it for their members.

Even though Scaleforum is for Scalefour members I am sure modellers of different gauges and also scales also turn up as what they want is to see good modelling and buy bits from specialist traders, it not just the distance between the rails.

I think good modelling is good modelling whatever the gauge I just find P4 is better for me.

David

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sun Dec 21, 2014 5:21 pm

In September, the cases on the Society stand were woefully short of exhibits.
Personally I don't find a model behind glass in a showcase particularly inspiring. Surely the show was full of examples of members' models, on every layout and every demo stand, and unlike the few in the showcase all these others had their owners on the spot so you could discuss them, see them working, see how they are built etc.
The showcases, with or without competition have proven very hard to fill for many years now, I think we have to accept that the members have expressed their verdict on this one.
It is not unique to S4um either, once upon a time many shows had showcases of static models but they are few and far between these days.
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Keith
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Keith
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John McAleely
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby John McAleely » Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:21 pm

David Thorpe wrote:Where and to whom do we tell this story?


All the usual places. I'm more glass half full when it comes to mainstream media - there is P4 to be found in all the magazines, and I don't understand why we would necessarily expect more. Sure, our models are nice (and fun to make!), but the skills and time required to make them are different to those required to build a railway from the nearer RTR end of the spectrum, and different again from those who enjoy the hobby vicariously by collecting stuff to admire. I think the editors of most mainstream magazines would willingly print articles about P4 layouts and models that are offered to them, and of interest to their readers.

As for online, the set of blogs we publish feeds for on this site is dominated (around half) by blogs published on RMWeb. There's no shortage of good P4 stuff there too.

And the world is moving on. A big part of telling our story is this website, this forum and the efforts of members with their own online publishing. Putting on shows seems to be a useful part of the menu of options, and our calendar lists shows with P4 layouts on more weekends than I care to count.

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby Rod Cameron » Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:43 pm

A couple of points before we all get too carried away.

1) Scaleforum or a more general finescale show? My personal view is that we already have some good finescale shows, notably Railex at the same venue, and I'd like to keep Scaleforum as a show for Society members and anyone else who wants to attend, not merge with other finescale groups for a joint show. It wouldn't be Scaleforum then. By all means retain the 'this year's guest society' option, be it 2mm FS, S, P87 or whatever, but fundamentally this is our show.

2) Promotion and advertising. As others have said, promotion doesn't have to be expensive ads in mainstream magazines. Good editorial copy is free, as are blogs and promotion in online websites.

3) Displays. Competitions don't seem to be popular these days, not the Chairman's Cup type anyway, but I like David Brandreth's idea of displays of members' models just for the sake of showing them. Keith Norgrove doesn't find models in cases inspiring, nor do I, but does it have to be like that? What about a collection of 'models in progress' for a particular layout project? This could be displayed as a project demonstration table and include plans, stock, buildings, bits of trackwork etc or just a miscellaneous collection by an Area Group. They can be complete or works in progress. But something that maybe 'ordinary' modellers can relate to better than 'museum pieces' (you know what I mean) in a case.

4) Sustainability. If it turns out ('in the fullness of time') that Scaleforum cannot remain viable in its present form, then I would go for a slimmed down bijou version (or several mini-forums) to ensure that it stays as 'Scaleforum' (see 1)).
Rod

Philip Hall
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby Philip Hall » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:01 pm

The reasons why people choose to model in the scales and standards they do is interesting, bound up as it is with all sorts of things including existing commitment to a massive collection in 00, time available, and not least the perceived difficulty in working to more precise standards. Quite apart from the history, which by now should be well and truly buried, this perceived difficulty is one of the main stumbling points.

The truth is, of course, that, to us, it isn't really any more difficult, just perhaps more time consuming - but we don't mind that, its our way of doing things. But in reality, it is a bit more difficult. You have to be more precise in track building, never mind that the 'gauges do it for you', small errors can mean more. It doesn't help much either when you see in print (and I have) that conversions from RTR are easy. They are easier than building a new chassis for a novice, it's true, but you still have to have an appreciation of what's important. I have modelled in P4 for thirty years or more, but a great deal of my day to day work is in EM, and those conversions aren't always a piece of cake either. But EM is still seen as a more relaxed approach. So maybe it's this very precision of P4 which can put people off?

With the continuing production of high quality RTR the need to build things is decreasing, unless you really want to do it. Our hobby used to be all about making things, because in the good old days you had to if you wanted anything half decent. That need is largely gone now, and with it the various declines in the skills required that we see all around us every day.

I'm not sure I can come up with a solution to this, because some of the very tenets of the hobby which attract us to it are the very same tenets that will assuredly put potential recruits off. The rubbish that you see on RM Web at times and the general attitude to P4 by the mainstream press does nothing to help. We are saying in so many ways that this is a great way to build a model railway, but the trick is to convince a few more folk to have a go. The Society has made great strides in this with the various layout competitions and the workshops that are run, so perhaps all we can do is keep gently plugging away and demonstrate how much we enjoy doing things this way?

Talking of plugs, the next contribution to this line of thinking will be another EMGS/Chris Kedgley Memorial Skills Day, next March. Chris was an avid supporter of actually making things, and I will be making an announcement with further details soon, with an added carrot of encouragement for Scalefour Society members...

Philip

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David B
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby David B » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:20 pm

Rod's post gave me a thought:

On the discussion / looking at models / general modelling side of things, DRAG is good at coming to a show en masse. What would people think of an Area Group volunteering or invited to set up an area in the show hall, perhaps with all or part of a layout, some Group members' models, people doing some modelling to get people looking and chatting? I see this as a broad approach as opposed to the current narrower focused demonstrations, to supplement the demos - a sort of 'at home' meeting.

A thought I put out for comment.

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Will L
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby Will L » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:38 pm

Sorry guys but there is a strong tendency to confusing two things here, convincing people to try P4 is one thing, persuading them to turn up to Scaleforum us quite another.

Scaleforum should be a show were people know they will see high quality models produced by good modellers, where they can get help and advice and not to mention a place were the trade will have the stuff they want. People may have reservation about trying P4 for themselves, but they know the people who do tend to be top notch modellers, no matter what rubbish gets written on RMWEB.

We know there is a market for shows that push their fine scale credentials, there is no reason why Scaleforum should not be seen outside our own ranks as just such a fine scale show, with our own special flavour. We don't need to try and refute knocking copy on RMWEB, just make sure there is information out there about our featured layouts and the qaulity of the show so we build interest before the event. Then the audience will be there.

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Steve Carter
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby Steve Carter » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:41 pm

Rod Cameron wrote:A couple of points before we all get too carried away.

1) Scaleforum or a more general finescale show? My personal view is that we already have some good finescale shows, notably Railex at the same venue, and I'd like to keep Scaleforum as a show for Society members and anyone else who wants to attend, not merge with other finescale groups for a joint show. It wouldn't be Scaleforum then. By all means retain the 'this year's guest society' option, be it 2mm FS, S, P87 or whatever, but fundamentally this is our show.

2) Promotion and advertising. As others have said, promotion doesn't have to be expensive ads in mainstream magazines. Good editorial copy is free, as are blogs and promotion in online websites.

3) Displays. Competitions don't seem to be popular these days, not the Chairman's Cup type anyway, but I like David Brandreth's idea of displays of members' models just for the sake of showing them. Keith Norgrove doesn't find models in cases inspiring, nor do I, but does it have to be like that? What about a collection of 'models in progress' for a particular layout project? This could be displayed as a project demonstration table and include plans, stock, buildings, bits of trackwork etc or just a miscellaneous collection by an Area Group. They can be complete or works in progress. But something that maybe 'ordinary' modellers can relate to better than 'museum pieces' (you know what I mean) in a case.

4) Sustainability. If it turns out ('in the fullness of time') that Scaleforum cannot remain viable in its present form, then I would go for a slimmed down bijou version (or several mini-forums) to ensure that it stays as 'Scaleforum' (see 1)).


Well said Rod
I agree, Scaleforum has to remain "our show" and not become "another model railway exhibition" so No. 1 gets my vote.

I'm fortunate to be able to attend Scaleforum for the weekend and the social side is an enjoyable part of this.
Having layouts is ok but it's not the main reason I attend. Being able to share ideas, learn new things, meet old friends and make new ones in a relaxed environment and then go home enthused is more important for me.
It's great to feel "at home" and in good company and both Scaleforum and Scalefour North tick the boxes for me.

For me Scaleforum, along with the other Society events,is another showcase of what our Society is all about.
Steve Carter

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Noel
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby Noel » Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:49 pm

Will L wrote:Scaleforum should be a show were people know they will see high quality models produced by good modellers, where they can get help and advice and not to mention a place were the trade will have the stuff they want.


But to want to attend such a show you have to be interested in, and wanting to emulate, such high quality modelling. If you aren't, then why would you want to go? So the problem isn't really about getting non-members to go to Scaleforum at all, it's about getting them interested in quality modelling in the first place...

Noel
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Noel

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John McAleely
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby John McAleely » Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:02 pm

Having been sidetracked a tad by marketing P4, I'd like to chuck in 2c about Scaleforum. I think David Bigcheesplant mentioned it first on this thread - we need to play a multi-year long game, and see what transpires. As far as I can see the fluctuation in attendance this year was within historical norms, and I find it encouraging that against that background non member attendance was the same as last year.

I'm sure that in a new venue, now we're two years in, Terry and the team have a few ideas for how to look at the costs, and optimise them for the new venue in ways that will reduce expenditure and won't impact the show. We can then continue our efforts on publicity from last year, and I think that publicity should be a focus for this year. Hopefully by addressing both income and expenditure it will be clear that the trends are in a sustainable direction.

From the comments here, many people have aspects that personally don't appeal to them, or could be changed, but taken as a whole, the remaining parts that they want are covered by putting on a show for both members and non-members, so I think Terry should be encouraged to stage Scaleforum 2015 as a successful evolution of Scaleforum 2014.

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Will L
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby Will L » Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:24 pm

Noel wrote:
Will L wrote:Scaleforum should be a show were people know they will see high quality models produced by good modellers, where they can get help and advice and not to mention a place were the trade will have the stuff they want.


But to want to attend such a show you have to be interested in, and wanting to emulate, such high quality modelling. If you aren't, then why would you want to go? So the problem isn't really about getting non-members to go to Scaleforum at all, it's about getting them interested in quality modelling in the first place...


I agree you first point, but you could read the next bit as saying only P4 modellers are interested in Quality Modelling. I'm sure you didn't mean that, but the point is that there are already many people who are interested in Quality Modelling who, for what ever reason, aren't likely to go P4, but who could be attracted to our sort of show. A agree the show is, firstly, for the members benefit, but to get the size and quality of show we are used to we need non members to attend too.

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jim s-w
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby jim s-w » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:12 am

John McAleely wrote:The underlying point of my position, Jim, is that I don't have to care if there is a problem or not. Our only job is to tell our own stories well, and with passion. Problem or not, people will find it easy to discover if our choices would work for them too.

My experience of people who spout rubbish on web forums is that they tend to give themselves away. I hope we're all moving beyond the point where just because 'keyboardtrains4u', complete with a cute avatar and a history of shouting me too on threads, says something, we let anyone be troubled by it.

It gets more sophisticated than that, of course, but not by much, IMHO.


In the context of we are talking about old, misguided perceptions that have been arround for 20 if not 30 years, not much of that makes any sense sadly John

Jim

Terry Bendall
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:40 am

Lots more interesting comments on the subject. I particularly like the idea of an area group doing a demo at Scaleforum so if there is a group that wants to do this please get in touch with me.

What seems to come out of all this, as you would expect, is that there are almost as many different views as there are people responding. One of the previous organisers said to me some years back "Most people want Scaleforum more or less as it has always been, but within 20 miles of where they live." Well we can do the first part of that and even though there have been a few changes, just to stop things going stale, it is more or less as it has been. That of course could be part of the problem but I don't think so. We cannot of course do the second. The show has to be somewhere, and some people will have an easy journey and some will not.

There have been quite a lot of comments on how difficult the journey is for some people and of course if you live a long way away, or have added complications such as a ferry crossing, or increasing age makes travel difficult, or financial constraints mean that you cannot afford to come, then there is no question of coming. However, for each person who has such difficulties there will be someone who decides that they will come and they will overcome the problems. If you are one of the people who have such difficulties why not see if there is someone local to you who can assist. Put an appeal on the forum if you like or in the News. Offer to share the fuel costs or the cost of an overnight stay and enjoy the company

Much has been said about the lack of P4 layouts at general shows, and the need for more articles about P4 in the general model railway press. Yes, but certainly at the shows that I go to over quite a wide part of England there is usually one or two P4 layouts. However the only way that P4 layouts to go to local shows is if someone builds them and is prepared to take them along. You also need to badger the organisers to get P4 layouts at your local show. My son and I have done that on several occasions and it has worked. Exhibition organisers need to fill their shows and they need new layouts to keep people coming. If you say nothing, the organisers will think everything is OK and nothing will change. Articles need writing so why not write something for the mainstream magazines - it takes time but it is not that difficulty and most magazine will welcome articles. All the good things that people say they would like to see will only happen if someone does something about it. Don't leave it to the committee or the next person, do it yourself, and if you want help, committee members will be prepared to do so, just ask.

Some people have suggested smaller regional events, more along the lines of Scalefour North. Well that could happen but remember that anything new like that needs organising. Are you prepared to help? One of the things about any show is that the traders need to be sure that coming along is going to be worth their while - they have fuel costs, staff time and usually accommodation to cover and need to sell enough to at least cover those and hopefully make something to live on. If this does not happen they won't come. Yes I know we have the internet to buy on line, but many people like to see before they buy and discuss things with the trader before they buy and that is a lot easier face to face. A smaller event will probably mean fewer people through the door, lower sales and so traders will be less likely to want to come.

David Bigcheeseplant wrote:Even though Scaleforum is for Scalefour members I am sure modellers of different gauges and also scales also turn up as what they want is to see good modelling and buy bits from specialist traders, it not just the distance between the rails. I think good modelling is good modelling whatever the gauge I just find P4 is better for me.


Exactly right David and this is what has always happened. We just need to try and make it happen again.

Terry Bendall

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jim s-w
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby jim s-w » Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:23 am

John McAleely wrote:
As for online, the set of blogs we publish feeds for on this site is dominated (around half) by blogs published on RMWeb. There's no shortage of good P4 stuff there too.



I think what's more telling is that of the rmweb blogs only 4 have had any updates in the last 2 months and of those one was just about cats. Sure it's easier to find via the link you posted but as a drop in viewer to rmweb the chances of finding any p4 is nigh on impossible.

Cheers

Jim

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jim s-w
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby jim s-w » Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:35 am

Jol Wilkinson wrote:Jim,

I think you have to define what makes a "must see "layout (irrespective of scale/gauge) before it would be possible to work out which fit the bill.

I do think that strong advance "public awareness" is important to get the attendance up. That includes one or more of layouts on display appearing in the modelling magazines in the months before the show. I don't know how you can engineer that with the general press, but perhaps featuring the the layouts due to attend in the Snooze more strongly might get more of the membership to the show.

Jol


Hi jol

That's a good point. Phil certainly did that with Calcutta sidings 1 (which was EM) and most shows had an article in one of the mags arranged to coincide. If you count my own layout as a demo I've been to scaleforum with 4 different layouts but none of them have captured the public imagination like something like Chee torr did and that's the sort of thing I'm talking about. I'm not being dismissive in any way of any p4 layouts but what is it that layouts like Chee torr and perhaps more recently Pempoul have. I certainly don't recall seeing them in the press all that often. Having said that over exposure can create an anti feeling too.

Cheers

Jim

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Steve Carter
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby Steve Carter » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:50 am

Terry Bendall wrote:Lots more interesting comments on the subject. I particularly like the idea of an area group doing a demo at Scaleforum so if there is a group that wants to do this please get in touch with me.


This seems a very good idea. The South London Area Group were able to show our new project, 'Bankside, Austerity in 1951' at the Society AGM in June. We brought along the layout under construction and presented it in a way that we thought was informative. We displayed the research we had done to date, our plans going forward in the form of photo's, text as well as actual 'bits & pieces' and had members on-hand encouraging questions and comments.

This format worked for us and we gained a lot of very useful information from it as well, we hope, providing some ideas and, dare I say it, inspiration to those that attended.

Area Groups are an important part of our Society and I would be very interested to see what other Area Group's are doing so Scaleforum does seem to be an ideal opportunity for AG's to get involved.

Any volunteers?
Steve Carter

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David Thorpe
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby David Thorpe » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:54 am

I'm sure that this might be interesting for members attending the show, but I can't see that it would offer any additional attraction to non members. The problems of attracting non-members is that P4's image is somehow unattractive to those who don't model in it, that P4 gets minimal exposure in the model railway media, and that Aylesbury isn't a sufficiently convenient location to persuade Mr Average Modeller to get out of his armchair and go there. I'm probably a prime example - just say that, for example, the Gauge 0 Guild or the 2mm Finescale boys were holding a show in Perth, just 30 miles down a not-very-busy road fro me. I probably wouldn't go as I'm not particularly interested in either of these scales. I know people will criticise that attitude on the basis that good modelling is good modelling whatever the scale and should be appreciated as such, but I still wouldn't go. There again, I have to admit that the older I get, the more reluctant a traveller I become.

DT.

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jim s-w
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby jim s-w » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:21 am

I wonder if we might be missing the bigger picture a little. It seems that attendances for shows on the whole is on the decline and I wonder if there's a national trend for this. There's been some high profile shows this year that have struggled with the rmweb live event standing out as a bit of a disaster (several traders and visitors I have spoken with that did go have reported it as nigh on deserted for the 2 days and I note it's been dropped for next year). Certainly last years expoEM north was very very quiet too.

Is online exposure of layouts in particular encouraging people to go to shows or are they actually thinking 'I've seen that' even though it's not in person? I enjoyed this scaleforum immensely but what we need is feedback from those who didn't. I agree with Keith's comment about the empty display cases (I bunged a class 50 that had failed on the layout in there to try to help)

I enjoyed the demos (especially the working point rodding one) but I did approach this scaleforum a bit differently. As I was planning some steamy things I did want to get the thoughts of those demoing such things and a lot of it seemed new to me. I think that was the real draw for me this year, that and that I could get all the bits I didn't even know I needed. Perhaps pushing the trade side is the way to go. How many other shows have such a focused trade support?

Cheers

Jim

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Noel
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Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby Noel » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:57 am

Will L wrote:
Noel wrote:But to want to attend such a show you have to be interested in, and wanting to emulate, such high quality modelling. If you aren't, then why would you want to go? So the problem isn't really about getting non-members to go to Scaleforum at all, it's about getting them interested in quality modelling in the first place...


I agree you first point, but you could read the next bit as saying only P4 modellers are interested in Quality Modelling. I'm sure you didn't mean that,


You're right, Will, I didn't. It was about identifying the real problem rather than the apparent problem. The possible 'market' for Scaleforum could be roughly divided into
1) members and others interested in finescale modelling who attend
2) members who do not attend but could
3) others interested in finescale modelling who do not attend but could
4) those who want to know enough about finescale modelling to decide whether it interests them or not
5) those who are entirely happy doing what they do now, which is not finescale, or who cannot come for practical reasons of distance, accessibility, etc.
6) people within the local area who just like going to model railway shows

Other categorisations are undoubtedly possible. Of mine, 1) is presumably not a problem at present, so long as the people concerned are not alienated by any changes, and 5) is people who are probably never going to come, but the others might come given sufficient cause. The question is, what will get them to come? The answers are probably different for each category, and even within categories. Perhaps some effective market research is in order?

Noel
Regards
Noel

David Bigcheeseplant
Posts: 301
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:10 pm

Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby David Bigcheeseplant » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:55 pm

With Railex held at the same location in Aylesbury we get nearly 3000 visitors over that is you add in all the layout, trade and stewards who are there before the show opens. Although it is a multiscale show it has always been aimed at the finescale modeller rather than the family and I would think around ninety per cent of the specialist Scalefourum trade also attends Railex, from exit questionnaires we know that our visitors to travel to Railex from quite a distance, in fact in total percentage terms there are very few local visitors.

Some shows have seen a drop in numbers although Railex 2014 we had a 20% increase in numbers, maybe people are becoming more selective on shows they visit, as I am myself.
In ten years we still have people come to Railex who have never been before some being established modellers!

I am sure Danny may give an idea how many Scalefour Society members visit Railex and say hello while passing the stand or stop and have a chat.

An exhibition is like a large ship it does take a while to change direction, although I think it is important to know exactly what visitors you are trying to attract and do that really well, if you get additional attendance from other disciplines on top of that that’s a bonus. At Railex we have never had Thomas layouts or dumbed down to the family market, in fact I think it’s an insult to give a lower standard just because it may be a family show, I am sure most people even if a causal visitor would still appreciate good modelling even if they do not understand the concept of P4 or have a clue what finescale modelling is.

Just a thought I have always tried to ensure a good entrance to a show so you see a impressive layout as you walk in the door, I just wonder if the demos at Scaleforum were located to the rear of the hall and you had layouts as you come in would make a difference to the feel of Scaleforum, I am not too sure if this has any impact on attendance but feel you need to compose a show and the way it is laid out. At some slows (even some quite respected but not Scaleforum) I have entered and seen a trader with a pile of second hand tat in front of me which is hardly a great introduction.
One thing that maybe worth doing is a hands on seminar rather than a demo of someone sitting behind a table showing how he made it. We did a similar thing at Railex with Gordon & Maggie Gravett doing grass, people actually did things themselves and took away something they had made.

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jayell
Posts: 500
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 8:20 am

Re: Scaleforum 2015

Postby jayell » Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:18 pm

I am not sure if my limited experiance of modelling and exhibitions qualifies me to take part in this discussion. I am a relative newcomer to railway modeling having only built one layout and no rolling stock, the layout being a 4'x4' one using a Bachman boxed set plus some scenic kits that I put together for my gt-grandsons. It was building that layout that prompted me to think about building something for myself and whilst my first thought was to build to EM standards (based on trying to build to that standard many years ago), I soon realised that if I was going to have to scratch-build track and other stuff I might as well go P4 so I joined the Society.

I have visited just 6 exhibitions in the last two years, 2 at Wells, 2 at Aylesbury and a 'local club' ones at Weymouth and Taunton plus one visit to Pecorama. I soon realised that I have little interest in looking at layouts so have no plans to visit any more club type exhibitions. Pecorama may get visited again as the gt-grandchildren enjoyed their first visit but we didn't have time to ride on the steam train.

My reasons for visiting the Wells and Aylesbury exhibitions were:
1. to meet society members I'd only had contact with here on the Forum
2. to visit trader stands to see products in the 'flesh' rather than only online
3. to watch as many demos as possible (I spent more time at demos in 2014 than doing anything else).

I will be going to Wells again as it is just a short drive away from home but I am not sure if we will go to Aylesbury again in 2015 even though I have enjoyed the experience each time I have been there. Whilst Aylesbury is only about a 3 hour drive from home I find I like driving that sort of distance less and less now that I am over 80. I haven't even considered getting there by train as I have combined a visit to the exhibition with visits to family members who live in Bedford, Royston and Watford which is done more conveniently by car.

I had no problems finding reasonable accommodation in Aylesbury, in 2013 at a B&B within walking distance of the Station and this year at a Motel a bit furthout and driving to the station car park. Using the bus link to get to/from the stadium each time means the limited car parking at the stadium is no problem.

RailWells is not as pleasant an experience as Aylesbury due to the limited space and layout of the rooms in Wells Town Hall which makes navigating between stands a bit tricky (especially when we took two young children there) but Wells does have the advantage of having shops etc within easy reach so my wife had plenty to occupy her whilst I was at that show, something I was concerned about at Aylesbury but she seemed happy enough this year with a book in the seats overlooking the hall once she had taken a look around the various layouts, which she actually finds more interesting than I do ;) The much more open layout that the stadium allows is a very big advantage over somewhere like Wells. My wife said it was useful to be able to see what I was up to from the her raised elevation.

Both our visits to the exhibition have been on a Saturday but I missed out on the evening socialising each time as we haven't been able to stay a second night due to foresaid family visiting. If I do attend in 2015 I will have to try to arrange things better as I suspect that Saturday evening get-together is as relevant as the exhibition itself especially for people tied down manning stalls during the day.

John Lewis


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