Editorial - A Matter of Opinion

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On Trend

Our exhibition committments are all completed for 2017, and we are now looking forward to next year and our first outing at the South Shields Salvation Army Exhibition in February.

Its time to look back over the last year, and reflect on how the hobby has moved on in that time. A few years ago, the introduction of DCC was a 'game changer' bringing completely different methods of controlling layouts, and of course special effects and sound. Whilst many friends in the hobby have wholeheartedly embraced this new technology, it is not universally adopted, and we at Durham Modellers have not yet used it for our exhibition layouts. Matt's loft layout on the other hand has been running with DCC for some time.

So what has changed the face of modelling over the last year? What innovation is set to have a significant effect? If I had to single out one advancement, it would be the growth of thye use of laser-cut detail and components. This development has enabled us to produce complex architectural details and makes the modelling of repetative items much easier. For some time now, we have been using laser-cut slates for roofing, and our new 0 Gauge project is using a mixture of scratch built and laser-cut windows.

To a certain extent, the laser has rekindled the spirit of the 'cottage industry' element of our hobby. Many small and even one-man businesses have sprung up. Computer controlled laser cutters enable us to access bespoke products, and those who own these machines have often bought them to produce their own items, later offering them for sale to other modellers.

One thing is certain, the increasing availability of laser-cut components will support the scratch builder, and some of the complete kits being produced by this method will enhance our modelling further.