Saturday, 4 August 2007


Recently I signed up to E4um - an email discussion forum run by Bill Bedford for members of the Scalefour and EM Gauge Societies. I thought it might be a place to pick up some useful modelling tips, ask questions etc. Well, my experience so far has been rather disappointing and suggests that, at least among those who use the forum, there is a lot of discontent and negativity among the established finescale modelling fraternity. Although there are occasional posts about modelling topics, by far the majority of the discussion is either complaining about the policies of various societies, point-scoring against other individuals who don't subscribe to the same viewpoints, or moaning about the state of the finescale modelling world today! Not the sort of thing that inspires a relatively recent convert to all things 'finescale' to get involved!

Why on earth can't people just enjoy their hobby? OK, fair enough, a discussion forum is often a good 'venting' place for people to voice their concerns or whatever, but sometimes reading these posts you wonder if some of these individuals can actually see beyond the end of their micrometers at all!! You'd think that model railways were of the same importance as global warming, middle east peace etc.!

For goodness sake... it's just a hobby! There are more important things in life!

Anyway, although I did consider unsubscribing from E4um, having not actually posted anything yet, I think I will stay subscribed for the time being, just in case this is a one-off. I doubt it somehow, but it's always possible! If I was a bit bolder I might wade in and voice my opinions but I'm afraid it would just spark even more of the same! So I'll just watch from the sidelines.


  1. Matt,
    I'm sorry to read that things haven't changed with E4um. I joined that forum several years ago and while I did get some helpful replies to my posts for assistance and information, I had exactly the same negative impression as you and soon left the group (and incidentally the Scalefour Society.)

  2. Hey Matt,

    Sorry to hear of your experiences on E4UM. There are two sides to this sport. One is the actual doing, the other is the mechanics of doing. Like Chris I left the Scalefour Soc, but I've kept up with E4UM.

    I did reply to you, in part, on E4UM. I'm probably also one of the people you are upset with because I have been involved in a certain amount of discussion about the Scalefour society. But this is an important part of the discussions that happen on the list, and you can ignore them if you choose.

    A far better resource for you, if you have not yet discovered it, is RMWeb. This is a much more helpful place, and because the modelling sections are in a separate place from the more "political discussions".

    You can find RMWeb at

    Hope this helps.


  3. I've decided to stay subscribed at least for the time being. I think maybe there's enough vaguely useful or interesting discussion interespersed among the less helpful stuff to make it at least worth a quick glance through before vigorous use of the delete key each evening!

    Nick, thanks for pointing out RMWeb, although actually I already have a link to it from this blog! It's certainly easier to be selective with your reading on there - I'm following with interest developments with Chris Nevard's 'Catcott Burtle' in the layouts section. Chris (Baker) might be interested to see that Chris (Nevard) is experimenting with photographic backscenes at the moment!

  4. Matt,

    If you are interested I am trying to start a discussion group on Yahoo Groups dedicated to P4 called P4-list.

    Owners of discussion groups have a responsibility to their members. Not just to sit back and only come alive when they need to deal with abusive posts. They also have a responsibility to guide the group to keep the discussions on track and to stimulate interest for members.

    Please give me a try?

    I am a retired permanent way design engineer with 41 years experience. For much of my career I have been responsible for the design of new railways including a spell as trackwork design engineer for the Thames Valley section of the CTRL.

    Kind regards

    Paul Plowman