On the occasion of the eleventh issue of the HOn3 Annual, you could forgive me if I felt a bit of writer’s block. So many great models and modelers have graced this publication, filling almost 120 pages of quality ideas and inspiration, that it might well be overwhelming to find the right topic to share. In fact, I find the opposite is true. I have so much to say on so many topics, my challenge is to whittle it down to one or two and keep it concise. (Editor, edit thyself!)
I’ve covered a lot of ground in the past ten issues, including: why I started the magazine, the “doer” HOn3 modeler mentality, why we present in-depth construction articles, how ready-to-run models are actually promoting more modeling, the fun of the hobby and dealing with internet hobby trolls, adapting to changing markets and hobby suppliers, transitioning from Carstens Publications to White River Productions, the release date change of the Annual and new products seen at the National Narrow Gauge convention, gathering materials and inspiration for lean modeling times, the “dying” hobby and its renewal and finally, my uplifting treatise last year about our mortality and disposal of our train collections. Wow, that’s a lot of topics and truly, it just scratches the surface.
For year eleven, I want to discuss my role in this magazine and in the hobby and touch on your role. I realize many of you have never met me in person, and perhaps only know me from the pages of this magazine or perhaps my online postings. If you’ve seen me at a National Narrow Gauge Convention, you know I am the first guy down for breakfast in the morning, and the last guy to leave the bar or hotel lobby in the evening. I do that to maximize my interaction with my fellow narrow gauge enthusiasts and be a positive influencer on them and the hobby. I have come to understand my role as an influencer, and I’ve embraced it.
So what is an “influencer?” In popular culture it is usually a pretty girl on social media who poses in bikinis in places around the world, (including in the snow, which seems odd). But apparently, resorts and exotic places invite these influencers to do this and post photos. More surprisingly, these girls have thousands of followers who actually care what they are doing and buy the products/services they promote. Now the last thing I want you guys to do is post pictures of yourselves in bikinis. Seriously, for the love of Pete, don’t!
But I do encourage you to consider your influence amongst your modeling friends and those that you interact with. Is it positive? You sure? Would your friends give a different answer? I confess that I have to bite my tongue or rewrite messages on the old interweb with some frequency, because they sounded to my ear, negative. And let’s face it; there is plenty of negativity in the world, so why bring it into our hobby? You have the power to teach, encourage, promote and grow the hobby and other people’s enjoyment of it. It was done for me as a young modeler and then as a young professional getting into the hobby business, and I’ve tried in the time since then to be an encourager and positive influencer. I invite you to do the same.
With that polar opposite thought from last year’s editorial, I bid you a happy, productive, and influential modeling year and return you to this year’s HOn3 Annual. As always, I hope you find the mix of articles useful, entertaining, and inspiring, and all of us at White River Productions thank you for your continued support of this, and all our publications.
—Chris Lane, Editor