I’ve just finished reading Pete Warren’s article, Morehampstead in 2mm Finescale, which appeared in Model Railway Journal (MRJ) 285. If you hurry you might get to McNews on Lonsdale before John or Brian pick up the last copies. It is worth elbowing your way past my friends to secure your copy, even if you have no interest in British model railways. Here, at last, is a layout tour article that is not tedious!
To be fair, MRJ’s layout articles are frequently more personal and entertaining than the formulaic mush that floods the pages of most magazines. The long format lets their authors take their time and tell stories rather than impart dry data. Generally, the magazine is a much more delightful read than anything else in that section of McNews, or perhaps in any section of the store, depending I suppose on one’s tastes.
Pete Warren, however, has taken the art to a new level. Wikipedia affirms that there is a journalist, Peter Warren, ex-BBC, of about the right age. If these are the same person, then it explains a lot, as the article has the feel of someone who has spent time at the keyboard. The article is full of personally resonant gems — “the kids were both quite unimpressed with my little train trundling up and down, but I knew the ground-breaking significance of what I had achieved.”
The article expands to five pages before there is even a hint that we’re going to hear about the construction of this work. Once that begins, as we expect it should, the article entertainingly skirts or embellishes the catalogue of products and techniques that chokes common layout tours.
I have no idea if you ever aspire to write for the BBC, but if you hope to write up your layout for one of the magazines, you really should get down to McNews and pick up one of the copies of MRJ 285. Learn from this article and improve on it.