I have noticed over the past two years, both attending the Liverpool show in 2012, and watching a few videos of this years Liverpool event, that there seems to be quite a large number of quality layouts, all lacking a back scene or having back scene's that a plain blue. Seems to be the standard that they are no more than 300mm high. Most of these seem to be operated from the rear as well.
I also noticed this year there seemed to be a few layouts that were still under construction! Why were they there? Bare baseboards and snow scenery don't do anything for me at all.
In Perth we have a problem where some groups continuilly exhibit the same old layout every year. You hear it from the public, "same old smeg again", the group I am a apart of have been exhibiting every year since 2001, and in that time, we have had a "New layout" every time. Yes we all work, and money is not an issue. The standards should be such that a layout can only be brought out every 5 years, this in itself would drive up the standard. In 5 years, the finer detailing would be greatly improved in that time, again driving up the quality.
The lack of or pretend back scenes really distract from what is other than quality. I know that here in Perth, judging points for back scenes makes up 20% of the points. We also tend to operate from the front of the layout, which promotes interaction with the public. It makes it a lot easier to communicate in a very noisy environment, without having to shout.
The other "BUG" that is disappointing is the operational speed which a great number of layouts operate. Warp speed may be great for the kids to watch, but scale speed seems to be mostly confined to shunting only. Send the kids along to the Thomas layouts if they want to see race cars zooming around. Clearly there seems to be a lack of "prototypical" modelling. More plonk and run with the controller turned up.
A lot of operators should watch a couple of video's of Ray Pilgram's "Bylong" layout for what should be standard practice.
If an exhibition is to showcase our hobby, we should all promote it in the best possible way, this would drive up the quality and the effort be rewarded as such.
Thats my rant for the day.
I would be interested in comments from other serious modellers.