We had a good run. The column first came into being as a 'one off', photo spread as the then editor of Scale Aviation Modeller International, a Mr Gary Hatcher, had forgotten his camera. As luck would have it our fledging club was located
next to the equally infamous Harrogate Model Club and he asked us to provide some photos and captions. However, Gary was also obviously very taken by what we were trying to do, being a bit of a loner himself, and consequently things grew until we were
quite quickly providing a monthly offering. Not long after that a show listing was also included. I know we acquired quite a following as we highlighted a part of the modelling scene which is actually a big element of a lot of modellers lives which
received very little coverage. I think we can quite rightly claim we raised all modellers awareness of this aspect and have therefore been a significant contributor to its recent growth and promotion. However, when we started out some ten years
ago it was very difficult to plan the club year as dates were difficult to come by. Initially these were acquired and logged for club use but it soon became evident that these were of interest to many more, including other clubs, traders and show organisers.
Consequently any date we had was put into the magazine show listing and on the club website. And now look: There are a plethora of websites providing a show listing, and clubs frequently announce next years show date at this years event.
Further, all the modelling magazines now have a show report section, where previously there were none. So our work here is done and it is time to move onto the next challenge.
More recently the column followed Gary to Scale Aircraft Modeller and
continued providing both show reports and a listing. However, life is tough in the modelling magazine world and SAM, as it is affectionately known, is trying to broaden its appeal, as evidenced by its recently acquired International suffix.
This includes being 'less British' (which I personally think is one of its very elements of appeal) and hence garnering a more continental flavour, and so the 580 Column is no more. This is a financial blow as historically the small income generated
by the columns editor and 580 founder, Geoff Cooper-Smith, has meant the club was able to finance itself without any contribution from its members, which was considered a good place to be. However, we are now well established and so it is not too serious
a loss (and hey the rate never went up in ten years anyway). Further, it will be interesting to see if Mr Hatcher can change his spots as part of this 'make-over' and become more a continental flavour himself.
Thanks are undoubtedly due to the
unwavering support of Gary Hatcher throughout the columns existence, the courtesy of being allowed a 'farewell' in the August 2018 issue (Vol 40 Issue 06) and he remains a good friend. During its life the column had been through several different formats
in an effort to keep it fresh, but in truth it was becoming hard to keep it so. The same could be said for the website, which started off as vehicle for presenting our story and modus operandi, but that is now well established. And
so it came to pass that the answer is blindingly obvious. Give both the make-over and continue the tradition of the 580 column on the website, making it the main focus. It brings everyting into the 21st century(ish) - there will no blogs or podcasts
or such, at least not yet!
I am certain this is the answer in many respects. It allows us to be less inhibited about reports and what we want to say, and more forthright about things generally. It means we are no longer limited to aircraft,
and we can report on that fabulous steam punk ship with tracks contraption which won best in show. And hey, if we wanna just provide words (like this diatribe) then we can do just that. Further, it allows our good friend, and exposer of the workings
of the show scene, Show Dragon, who was forced into an untimely demise because some people didn't like the incontravertible truths he was pointing out, to make guest appearances. And I am sure he still has plenty to say.
Finally, may I say we
have been thoroughly heartened by the e-mails of support from many of our good friends, it is all much appreciated. However, the die is cast and so we must now follow a different path.