I ended up with a bunch of weathering powders) and would often pick up one or more of the other mainstream magazines. I have now cancelled my subscription and won't be buying the others on a whim either.
In 2012 when I returned to the hobby after a break of over fifteen years I found the mainstream magazines really useful. A lot of ideas and techniques had changed over the years with new concepts like DCC and static grass which I'd never heard of before. Also the layout features were often really inspirational with useful ideas on construction and track plans. The problem is that will I now have more experience than I did two years ago the magazines are printing the same things. And by that I really do mean the same things. In two years I've seen multiple layout articles appear more than one, and the hands on articles cover the same topics over and over again. Added to this the magazines seem to focus on very basic modelling; building a kit or modifying a ready-to-run locomotive. There are almost no articles covering scratch building structures or roiling stock.Put simply there is no longer enough in each magazine that is of interest to me to justify the cost. So given I'm not reading the high street magazines what am I reading?
Mostly I'm finding that the interesting and inspiring articles are now appearing on blogs instead of magazines and I could probably survive with just the blogs if I wanted to. There is though, something soothing about sitting down in a comfy chair with a good magazine. I'm now reading five different publications. Three are society journals and two are quarterly magazines. The society journals cover are from MERG (which covers the electronics side of the hobby in detail) and the N Gauge and OO9 societies which tie in nicely with the two gauges/scales I'm currently modelling. The quarterly magazines are something I've only just started to subscribe to but here we have Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review and Finescale Railway Modelling Review.
Now I'm sure that people could find fault with all these magazines in one way or another but I'm very happy with the selection. There is a lot more actual modelling in these compared to the box opening articles of the main magazines and they are more directed at my own interests (less blue diesel layouts) so I think they all make a good read.