Friday, August 22, 2014

Carstens Closes: No Man, or Model Railroader, is an Island

UPDATE: On Aug. 28, Railroad Model Craftsman and Railfan & Railroad were purchased by White River Productions. Click here to read more.

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

That poem, by English poet John Donne (1572-1631), came to mind when I heard that Carstens Publications is closing.

Carstens is publishers of Railroad Model Craftsman and Railroad & Railfan, two publications I have come to enjoy. (I am proud to say that my layout has been published twice in RMC.)

Already, online forums are replete with comments from those who say: "Who cares? I get everything I need on the Web." And it's true; many of us do get lots of information about model railroading online.

But not all; there are many who still prefer a paper publication, even if that number is declining. I hope, especially for their sakes, that a buyer for RMC can be found to keep it going.

But even apart from that, the loss of RMC is a loss for the whole hobby. Just as "any man's death diminishes me," so to the loss of a publication like RMC makes the whole hobby poorer and less vibrant.

It's true that there are lots of websites and videos that can show you how to do just about anything in model railroading these days. 

But, as with most things, you get what you pay for; with RMC, and with other publications, you could at least be assured that someone had vetted and edited the article, and made sure it was worthy of passing on to readers.

So even if you didn't read it, we all should acknowledge the contribution RMC made to model railroading, and acknowledge the hole its passing will leave for all of us--subscribers or not.

The last report I heard is that there are people who are interested in buying RMC; let's hope that happens. We will all be better for it being around.

Click here to read another reflection on model railroad magazines from an earlier posting on this blog.

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't a regular reader of RMC as I found it was aimed at a higher detail modeler than I am, but I appreciated the occasional issue and mourn its passing. I'm apparently an old fogey who likes paper magazines.