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Over thirty years since the Model Railway Constructor passed

 
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allegheny1600



Joined: 19 Jun 2010
Posts: 91
Location: Warrington, UK

PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Over thirty years since the Model Railway Constructor passed Reply with quote

Hi All,
I knew this year marked thirty years since the beloved "Model Railway Constructor" ended and had it in mind to comment about it. Sadly, I missed the actual milestone itself (being a copy date of June 1987) but I thought I would just mark it now.
This was the very first magazine I ever bought, probably at around twelve years old and yes, I bought it not a relative. I only bought the very odd issue, being out of the country for most of the year in those days but at my first model railway exhibition, I bought a years worth of back issues. At the time, they were four or five years old but they seemed to contain so much ancient history to me!
By 1980, I took out a subscription that was delivered to France and in that year, the magazine celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the EM gauge society, which got me really hooked.
I returned to the UK in about 1983 and unfortunately, stopped collecting it religiously, only buying the occasional copy from local newsagents. My interests were becoming so diverse, music, cars, girls, not even MRC could cater for that! Although, it was well thought of for having diverse content, British, American, Continental, Standard, Narrow, New, Ancient and so forth.
So a few years later, my heart truly sank when I picked up the June 1987 edition and discovered it was the final issue.

RIP MRC!
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John E.

My other club's exhibition:
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giles b



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 2041
Location: London

PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Memory lane! I got to know MRC around 1960, and for me the sixties were the glory years (although the end of the 1950s, once the magazine became "full-sized" also contained good articles, with lots of conversion projects). The series about trains on the IOW, with step-by-step descriptions on how to convert Tri-ang clerestories into SR coaches must still stand as a classic. I seem to recall that the magazine also carried quite a good number of TT-based articles.

In the seventies things seemed to tail off, at about the time some of the magazine's pages started to get printed on what seemed line khaki-coloured blotting paper. What was that about, I wonder?
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allegheny1600



Joined: 19 Jun 2010
Posts: 91
Location: Warrington, UK

PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Giles,
If my memory serves me right, the 'blotting paper' pages were just the advertising pages and presumably to save money.
It also meant that you could easily identify which pages to remove and throw away! Well, you wouldn't want to keep them surely?
Ha! If you did that with most of todays rags, you'd have nothing left!
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John E.

My other club's exhibition:
http://forum.mtimag.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=2119
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CRACKED



Joined: 12 Jun 2013
Posts: 150
Location: Lowestoft, Suffolk

PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The final issue was not quite the end.

The Model Railway Constructor Annual for 1987 appeared in late October.

The decision to close had been made so suddenly that several of the articles were typing up loose ends from the magazine.
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cp409067



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="allegheny1600"]Hi Giles,
If my memory serves me right, the 'blotting paper' pages were just the advertising pages and presumably to save money.
It also meant that you could easily identify which pages to remove and throw away! Well, you wouldn't want to keep them surely?
Ha! If you did that with most of todays rags, you'd have nothing left![/quote]

*

I fear your memory does not serve with accuracy.

[1] The era of the "blotting paper" pages ran from Jan-Nov 1966 inclusively.

[2] The pages concerned were not advertising but editorial matter.

[3] The colour of the "blotting paper" was as follows.

Brown (i): Jan, Feb, Aug.
Blue: Mar, Sep.
Brown (ii): Apr.
Brown (iii): May, Nov.
Grey: Jun.
Brown (iv): Jul.
Brown (v): Oct.


CP
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Christopher Payne

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giles b



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 2041
Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for setting the record straight, Christopher. Really elderly magazines no longer seem to turn up for sale at shows, so it's difficult to boost fading memories.

I got out my only surviving copy of MRC (June 1971) and it was, indeed, free from "blotting paper". It did, however, contain the first of my layouts to get into print. The previous layout had also been inspired by something that appeared in MRC, so I must have been a fairly regular reader in the sixties. I know I used to enjoy the layout plans from Alex Bowie, with their sketches to show how they might look, if built. Those articles originated - I think - around 1958/9 under a different publisher, but continued occasionally into the Ian Allen era (or at least the time the covers went from predominantly white-with-large-photograph to having large blocks of colour and a re-designed "masthead").
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cp409067



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*

I agree with Giles about the value of the Alex Bowie drawings: the provision of a perspective view (when elsewhere Cyril Freezer was prolific but only ever offered track plans) was inspiring. As I recall Alex Bowie later published articles with perspective drawings in MRN.


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Christopher Payne

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PyntonTramwayCo 1:43.5

Forthcoming Exhibitions 2017

5 Aug: MOMING'17 - BVT
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Simon Hargraves



Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 120
Location: Hastings

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I, too, remember the fateful day when I picked up my copy of MRC as usual from the newsagent at Lewes Railway Station.
A quick look through during my tea break at work, and at the top of the editorial were the words (iirc) "Bowing Out" and Chris Leigh's announcement that Ian Allan had decided to cease publication of MRC.
Until then I'd usually bought MRC rather than RM as I preferred its coverage of a wider range of subject matter and particularly enjoyed Don Townsley's drawings of various light, narrow gauge and industrial locos.
I kept my "last" copy for some time, indeed I'm not sure whether the copy I still have somewhere is the original or a replacement bought subsequently.
As for old magazines, many can still be obtained from the Rother Valley Railway Supporters Association shop at Robertsbridge station.
Thanks for flagging this up, it's brought back a few memories,
Simon.
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allegheny1600



Joined: 19 Jun 2010
Posts: 91
Location: Warrington, UK

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the responses, guys!

Christopher, thank you! That is a very comprehensive list of data there, I appreciate it.
Were there not editions during the 1970's that had lower quality advertising pages? I believe that may have been what I was thinking of.
Cheers,
John.
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John E.

My other club's exhibition:
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cp409067



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*

Further to my previous post, after a little more research I offer additional information.


[1] April 1964 had an 8 page central section styled -

"Plans Page Special Supplement"

- that was devoted to drawings of rolling stock. This was printed on quite good quality yellow paper (not "blotting paper") and the pages were not included in the overall numbering of the magazine.


[2] December 1964 had a central section supplement that was -

"Constructors Review"

- and included 6.5 pages (out of 12) of advertisements. This was printed on quite good quality light buff coloured paper (again not "blotting paper") and the pages were separately numbered "Supplement" 1-12. Curiously the pages either side are printed on the same paper - 327-328 being rolling stock drawings. Somewhat oddly 325-326 are the second and third pages of an article on photographing models - the light buff paper doing less justice than white would have done.


[3] December 1965 also has a central section styled -

"MRC Christmas Supplement".

This is printed on light green glossy paper and comprises 16 pages of which 9 are advertising and 7 editorial. This last begins with a brief note on railway modelling for the newcomer and then is a survey of what is available from various manufacturers.


[4] May 1975 has 16 pages printed on a brown inexpensive paper. It is not as thick as the "blotting paper" used in 1966 (that was almost like card). Split between the front and rear are 10 pages of advertising (and numbered as such). Then there are 6 pages of editorial - a full page frontispiece photograph, the contents page, the first page of a loco construction article, a page of book reviews, a Newsdesk page, and one of Club News/Exhibitions.


*****


I do not claim that the above is exhaustive research, it being limited to what was immediately to hand in my archive.





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Christopher Payne

Portpyn 1:34
StPierre 1:34e
SuttonWharf 1:25
ParadiseMiningCo 1:25
BrinkValleyTramway 1:43.5
PyntonTramwayCo 1:43.5

Forthcoming Exhibitions 2017

5 Aug: MOMING'17 - BVT
9-10 Sep: REC (Woking) - BVT
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