MRJ 0 & FRMR First editions

First editions

Tonight, thirty years ago, as the doors closed at Scaleforum, Paul Karau, Gerry Beale and Bob Barlow arguably instigated one of the biggest changes in the UK’s model railway publishing, with the decision to produce a magazine dedicated to ‘finescale’ modelling, and Model Railway Journal was the result. Cheekily Wild Swan had pre tested the test issue, by putting a couple of articles into their brilliant but irregular ‘British Railway Journal’, it was real come and chase me stuff! My previous post highlighted the arrival this week of FRMR, a new addition to the UK analogue model railway media. Its first face to face meeting with the public was this weekend, thirty years after the gestation of MRJ, and at the same finescale show  Scaleforum scaleforum/2014/ , run by the Scalefour Society  Its been interesting to take a quick look at the magazines first issues, both printed on high quality  paper with an immediate ‘quality’ feel to them, MRJ of the time was printed in Black and White, but the cover made it stand out on the shop counters, simple uncluttered effective design. The photography was excellent and a marked change in style from the contemporary mainstream, look above and you can see a similarity there, old school, and eye catching. The image makes me want to look further, not the text, and as they say a picture speaks a thousand words.


MRJ 0 had an article on one of the well known ‘never leave home layouts’, Aylesbury. The layout was remarkable for a number of features, not least of all the forced perspective adopted, which came to life through the imagery. This was the sort of ideas that the traditional media had largely left untouched, but to me in my early twenties, this was the sort of thing I wanted more of, and that desire to learn and push my modelling limits has been fired up by reading such articles. In the first FRMR Tony Gee tells us the story of his custodianship of Peter Denny’s Buckingham layout. By the time MRJ was launched Buckingham would be considered an old layout, and it does show its age, then again some say, so do I! The thing is though that Buckingham is pretty much entirely scratch built, and whilst not up to todays levels of finesse in detail, it does give an illustration of what can be done with the right mindset, and how much you can achieve. Also unusual from a UK standpoint is that rather than being a model of a station or single location, it does represent a section of line with three stations, and can be operated prototypically.


So where will we be in another thirty years time? (probably pushing up the daisies).

Thirty years ago I was in Canada, seen here at Hamilton Mount Hope airport, frightening Cessna’s. In thirty, my eldest daughter will be nearly as old as I am now. If I’m still modelling and shouting ‘they’re all my own teeth you know!, my current Forest of Dean interest will mean I’m modelling something roughly 80 years in the past, the equivalent of someone today modelling the grouping and immediate post grouping era!

MRJ will be close to issue 500, and FRMR issue? …

What will you be doing?


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4 Responses to THIRTY!

  1. neilsidea says:

    Hunted out MRJ 0 from its home in a mouse proof plastic box – I have the full set but are there really nearly 500 of them? Will be purchasing FRMR to go with them. Still haven’t built a decent layout but the buildings and bits and pieces are ready to go. There is a converted barn, 34m x 8m but unfortunately has to be reserved for holiday visitors but if the Euro Millions ever comes up……………

  2. sed30 says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog and commented:
    Those were the days!

  3. neilsidea says:

    Thank goodness for that! I knew I had a lot.

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