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Exhibition reaction (or rather lack of reaction)
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Piermaster



Joined: 08 Feb 2007
Posts: 263
Location: Stowmarket, Suffolk

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:26 am    Post subject: Exhibition reaction (or rather lack of reaction) Reply with quote

Back in September, I took 'Helper Yard' out to its first exhibition, which was a 'Mum, Dad, Kids' type show - in other words, one where few serious modellers would attend.

I spent the exhibition time operating 'Helper Yard' and the audience (when there was one) reaction was, to say the least, disappointing!

I know ask my fellow MTI 'colleagues' these questions:

1. Have I built the right type of layout?
2. Did I go to the wrong type of exhibition?

'Helper Yard' will get one last chance at the Ipswich show in June - if it backfires there, then I either rebuild it or put a chainsaw through it!

Strangely enough, whenever 'Walmington Pier Tramway' goes out to an exhibition, it can still draw a crowd, despite its low-tech simplicity!

Many thanks,
Dave Carson.
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shortliner2001



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 844

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave - #2 Possibly - have you tried running it with Thomas -type locos at that sort of exhibition ? It is what the kiddies recognise instantly, and they drag the parents across! Most of the customers won't know what it is at that sort of exhibition - and probably really aren't that interested, they just came in out of the rain - this is the age of instant gratification, dumbing down, and the lowest common denominator as far as entertainment is concerned! I cite Big Bro' and its clones as examples!

Re #1 Is it too simple visually when displayed as a plank? It might be worth trying out fitting a frame around the front, so that it is presented as a "picture" or "stage-set", and lighting from behind. Add the name along the top of the front, and perhaps a small diagram and description on a board on top/beside the layout, A US flag under the front, and a couple of small ones at each end - anything to draw the eye away from others and towards yours!

Hope that helps
Jack
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Blackcloud Railways



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 2061
Location: Sandbach UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Jack says presentation (flags etc) can be a lot. I was stuck between two excellent well lit N scale layouts at the Wellspring show in Stockport over the weekend, unfortunately Cotton Lane is not equipped with lighting and the venue was a bit on the dark side (The force was not with the Guildhall's lighting!) so my layout tended to get bypassed by some of the visitors.

I will be making something to hold a couple of spotlights as a high priority project to correct this. It will be a free standing structure so that I can use the same lighting rig with all my layouts in future, Cotton Lane's next booked outing is not until October but Green End and Port Abel are both out (separate dates) in May so I've got a month and a half to get it sorted out.
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steve



Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 627
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neither Ex Managers or layout operators have any control over which punters will come through the door at a show. It follows that you have no idea who will (or won't) look at your layout when you exhibit. You will have a rough idea obviously but it can't be predicted. I've had long & interesting converstions across 'Steinbeck" at MD&K shows yet hardly said a word at some 'modeller's shows'.

Don't give up on the layout Dave; the time to retire it is when no-one asks for it anymore, or you get offered good money for it! Very Happy

steve
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Piermaster



Joined: 08 Feb 2007
Posts: 263
Location: Stowmarket, Suffolk

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 1:03 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies, but I must answer each one in turn:

Jack (#1): At 3 ft long, its really too short to be made up into a frame or stage-set. I am an absoloute minimum space modeller after all!

Jack (#2): I will not dumb down my layouts for the benefit of the thick - if they are too thick to understand what our hobby is about, then perhaps they should stay away from our exhibitions.

Blackcloud: I make it clear to exhibition managers when submitting details that there is no layout lighting and therefore should plan accordingly. I have walked out on one exhibition where the Ex Manager couldn't read and didn't co-operate!

Steve: 'Helper Yard' will be at Ipswich on 2 June, if it does fall flat, then I will call into either Foxhall Road Tip in Ipswich or Bury Road Tip at Stowmarket on the way home!

Perhaps I should stick to building pier tramways!

Thanks anyway.
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shortliner2001



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 844

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave - any model can be made into a "stage set" - even at 36" long,(I quote Carl's Peeks Pike as an example)with a bolt on framing piece of ply or hardboard, painted in a suitable colour and with a lamp fitted to the rear, can be used to"show-off" the layout to its best advantage, especially when most small exhibition halls are fairly dark places anyway. The exhibition manager can hardly be expected to be able to provide light for each and every layout.

As far as"dumbing-down" is concerned - that wasn't quite what I meant - sometimes you have to "play to your audience", and if it is MDK they may not be very knowledgeable about the prototypical effect that you are trying to present. One of the most BORING layouts I have had the pleasure(not) of seeing at an exhibition, is a 40-odd feet long stretch of countryside with nothing moving on it - Quote <Because the next train isn't due until 1324 - we run to the prototype timetable!> unquote. The number of "enthusiasts" who marched past it , and on to more interesting things that were moving, was amazing. Joe Public, in the mass, isn't there to see a real-life, real-time display - anymore than he would watch a television play or film done in "real-time". In my view, the public deserves consideration - especially having paid for entry - and you (the exhibitor) are there to entertain them, as much as to show off your layout.

You are, of course entirely within your rights to disagree, but you did ask the question in the first place, and the replies were intended to help and answer it.
Jack
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Piermaster



Joined: 08 Feb 2007
Posts: 263
Location: Stowmarket, Suffolk

PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 8:31 am    Post subject: Apologies Reply with quote

Apologies for my response - I had a real c**p day with Walmington Pier Tramway at Ipswich Transport Museum on Saturday. The show was OK, the audience reaction was pretty good, but it was so bitterly cold inside what used to be a trolleybus depot, that it was warmer in the cold outside!

I also got an uncomplimentary message (outside this forum) about 'Helper Yard' in that nobody can understand what the action or logic is about the layout - consequently I am either left wondering the intelligence levels of our punters/modellers/supporters or Did I build the wrong layout?

Another off-screen response came in a phone call where I was told that I build a bloody good pier and have sucessfully seen off my competition, that I should stick to what I'm good at.

Please accept my apologies.
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shortliner2001



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 844

PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

David - no need to apologise - we all have those days, and sometimes feel the need to vent!
Jack
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Genetk44



Joined: 23 Oct 2006
Posts: 225
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David...since I'm on the other side of the pond its unlikely that I'll get to see "Helper Yard" in the flesh.....can I see it anywhere online? has there been an article about it in MTI?
Cheers
Gene

PS....sounds like you have some really rude punters over there Sad
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Piermaster



Joined: 08 Feb 2007
Posts: 263
Location: Stowmarket, Suffolk

PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gene,

It's in MTI 68 and on Carl Arendt's website www.carendt.com

Yes, our punters can be quite scathing, but I don't take prisoners!

Let me know what you think?

Many thanks,

Dave Carson
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Jordan



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 1388

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:25 pm    Post subject: Helper Yard Reply with quote

Hi Dave,
I think the problem may be that Helper Yard is a little [i]too[/i] minimalist- there's just not much there to hold the attention beyond the Diesels, especially when you compare it to as it was as SP/Frisco Transfer, when it had a whacking great goods depot with loads of little details at one end, the signal tower, & a very realistic telegraph pole setup, pus the Boxcars were also varied- all variety to hold the attention of all & sundry, modellers or not.
Maybe it needs a bit more on it- stick a 'fiddleshed' at one end- then you could at least vary the Motive power occaisionally...
I think most of us, MDK's or modellers go to Exhibitions to see something moving- stuff how prototypical it is- I'd sooner watch Thomas trying to launch himself off 15" radius curves than a P4 layout where nothing moves. If I want to see a layout where nothing ever happens I can look at my own for free!!!! Rolling Eyes
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Piermaster



Joined: 08 Feb 2007
Posts: 263
Location: Stowmarket, Suffolk

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your comment Jordan, - and to be honest, I wish I never built the damn thing! Especially as foreign loco depot layouts don't go down too well here in East Anglia!

I do like the track plan and still want to use it for something. I've been toying with a tramway/interurban theme where the three tracks are the end of the line and a tram/interurban station completed with covered roof occupies the current fuelling depot site. Stock would be at least two Bachmann PCC cars (perhaps in different liveries) and the older Bachmann bogie trolley car done up as a works car. Operation would be one reversing siding flanked by storage sidings and three cars in operation. What do you (and others) think?

Thanks once again,
Dave.
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Blackcloud Railways



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 2061
Location: Sandbach UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interurbans would make an unusual subject. I have never seen them on the British exhibition circuit, plenty of trams but no US interurbans. I have an old book about the Rochester, Lockport and Buffalo interurban line, it is quite a different operation when compared to the the tram systems we are used to here in the UK.

An interurban layout could also have short freight trains. It would be much more interesting than a diesel depot. I'm not knocking loco depots but it does seem that the world and his brother have one.

I prefer freight operations to light engine movements and my microlayouts are designed accordingly.

Add a fiddleyard so that the cars have somewhere to go to though.
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shortliner2001



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 844

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is at least 1 interurban layout on the Exhibition circuit - Selah (Fruit Row) by Andy Gautrey (298 on MRWeb) which was at Glasgow this year - simple, beautifully done and presented, and featuring the Yakima Valley Transportation Company - well worth a look if you get a chance - it was in CM March 2006.
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Piermaster



Joined: 08 Feb 2007
Posts: 263
Location: Stowmarket, Suffolk

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 4:51 pm    Post subject: Would like to close out this topic Reply with quote

Gentlemen,

Thank you for all your help and I would ideally like to close out this topic.

Can't go down the Interurban route, as I prefer the tram idea. Work has already started! Helper Yard structures demolished (except for platform). Backscene removed and will not be re-instated due to close proximity of masts for span-wires. Mehano Boeing LRV, Bachmann PCC and Bachmann Brill cars ordered.

Operation is likely to take the form of cars entering 'tram terminus' arrivals platform on front track, crossing over to parallel departures track via reversing siding and then departing from the departures platform of terminus, I reckon 3 cars can be used and need a Peco Loco-lift as a cassette. Will need a second pair of hands to cope with that!

Got to get it done by 2 June - although catenary will not be in place by then unless I go for dummy 3rd rail.

I feel an MTI article coming on!

Cheers,

Dave.
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