There seems to be an awful lot of Bobs in the field of model railroad publishing. Today we will compare the efforts of Bob the American editor and Bob the English. Bob Brown is the grand old man of Narrow gauge and Shortline Gazette, and probably the longest serving editor of a model railroading publication. Bob Barlow of the Narrow Gauge & Industrial Modelling Review is probably better known for his work as an editor for the Model Railway Journal. The current isse of NG&IMR is only hos second as an editor.
I have been reading NG&SLG on and off since the early eighties, and I have a lot of respect for the effort Bob Brown has put into creating this very beautiful magazine.
But as my interest in actual modelling drifted from American prototypes to Norwegian ones, I expanded my search for good modelling information.
Only a couple of months ago I discovered the NG&IMR. I really do not understand how I could have missed this magazine for so long. As I have said, I am a magazine junkie, and I discovered the Model Railway Journal years ago. I have also been mostly interest in Narrow Gauge modelling, so the NG&IMR is really up my alley. But better late than never, I have now been a subscriber for the last two issues, and I have also bought all the issues back to no. 70.
So how do those magazines compare?
Both are high quality publications with excellent print and paper quality. Maybe NG&SLG is a notch better, even if they have compromised a little bit on the paper quality lately.
I might be a bit unfair in comparing the two magazines. Reading the NG&SLG for so many years have given me an overdose of everything Colorado related, but I have not seen enough of the NG&IMR to feel the same about the Welsh slate haulers. But I have a sneaking feeling that if I get my hands on all the back issues, that could happen!
But the magazines are quite different in important aspects.
Bob the American Editor is very hesistant to print any “foreign” material, while Bob the English Editor is quite interested in printing material on non-GB material.
I think this say more about the readership of NG&SLG than Bob Brown. I think that Bob personally would have loved to print more material based on non-US railroads. But for me as a reader, the reason is not important.
To me, the prototype for the modelling is of far less importance than the quality of the modelling. And a magazine that is open to all kinds of prototypes has a much richer vein to tap into.
Not only does the NG&IMR embrace a wider variety of prototypes, it is very clear that the editors look to other fields of modelling than just model railways for inspiration. A lot of the techniques are clearly inspired by the military modellers. This is a type of cross-pollination that very probably will propel NG&IMR even more ahead of the NG&SLG in the future.
But don’t take my word for it. Pick up both the magazines and head for the armchair. And then let us know what you think!