Submissions

Articles

The Journal is a contribution content magazine so it is essential to have a continual supply of suitable submissions and articles from members about their projects and models. Most subjects related to N gauge and 2mm scale railway modelling are welcome for publication. This includes reviews, news, articles, features, your latest modelling project, layout descriptions, photographs, plans, modelling tips, ideas, letters and drawings, and covering all eras and regions. 

The Journal is published at the end of January, March, May, July, September and November with the deadline for articles about six weeks before the publication date. The exact date is published in the preceding Journal.

Classified sales, wants and the Events Diary

Classified Sales and Wants adverts and an Events Diary are published in each issue of the Newsletter. Please note the following important points for submissions to both the classified ‘Events Diary’ and ‘Sales & Wants’ sections:

  • Entries for the classified sections are provided free of charge for bona fide members of the N Gauge Society only.
  • The deadline for submissions is two days before the usual Journal copy deadline (published on page three of the Journal). Late submissions will be held over until the following issue.
  • Entries should be sent to Ian Skinner at postal address: 10 Ashville Avenue, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO12 7NF or by email: classified@ngaugesociety.com
  • Please remember that not all members have internet or email access, so it is helpful, and will appeal to more members, if you include a telephone number and/or a postal address with your classified advert.

Frequently Asked Questions about Journal Submissions:

How do I submit articles for the Journal?

Please send the article to the Editor at journaleditor@ngaugesociety.com. If you want to send more than 2 MB of photographs, please use a (free) file transfer service such as WeTransfer.com.

How long should an article be?

Around 1500 words is ideal for a four-page feature. Shorter articles (even just a photo or two with a paragraph-long caption) are also good. Longer articles are welcomed but anything over 2000 words may need to be broken up into instalments. Articles should include a balance of text and pictures (such as photos, trackplans, etc.). If you cannot supply pictures, contact the Editor to see if the NGS can help out.

What should I write about?

Anything you like! However, the audience are N gauge railway modellers, so articles about modelling projects, layouts, track planning, model railway electronics, and general modelling tips are all very welcome. Product reviews and news items that you think will interest N gauge railway modellers are also appropriate. Articles on historical or operational topics relevant to railway modelling may be published, but it’s a good idea to contact the Editor before spending too much time on these.

Can I submit Journal articles for use elsewhere?

Yes, but it’s a good idea to check with commercial magazines if they’re happy to accept something already published elsewhere.

How many photographs should I send?

Take as many as you can, but quality matters more than quantity. Typically, for a longer article we’d use 2-3 photos or drawings per double-page spread, so submitting 8-10 photos for a longer article is ideal. Some might not be used, so if it’s essential that certain photos are shown (perhaps to show a key step in a project) then make that clear to the Editor at submission.

Do I need to write captions for my photos and drawings?

Ideally, yes; otherwise the Editor will have to make some up! A good idea is to give your photos obvious numbers (e.g., Photo01.jpg, Photo02.jpg, etc.) and in your word processor document, write a list of captions for each numbered photo.

What format should articles be sent in?

MS Word and rich text format (RTF) files are ideal. You can export either of these from most other types of word processor including Google Docs. Please do not send PDFs as these are difficult to cut and paste text from. Also, do not send documents with the photos and drawings pasted in; send them separately, as described earlier.

How do I submit photographs?

The main thing here is your photos should be exactly as they come off the camera! Please don’t edit them: we do that ourselves. Some email programs tend to reduce the quality of photos so are not the best way to send them. The most reliable approach is to use a website like WeTransfer.com to send a batch of files without fuss or expense. But if you must send photos by email, make sure they are not compressed or resized, and please don’t send more than 2 MB per email. You can also send a CD-ROM, an SD card, a USB keychain device, or even glossy prints, but please contact the Editor before you do so. While every care will be taken to look after these and where necessary, sent back to you, the NGS cannot be held liable for any damage or loss, so it’s best not to send anything irreplaceable.

How big should photos be?

As they come off the camera should be perfect. All but the oldest digital cameras should produce images at 300 DPI or more, which is what we need for printing. Suitable photos tend to be around 1 MB in size. If you’re sending prints, regular 6×4 glossy prints (like the ones you’d get from Boots) will be fine. Few home printers produce adequate photos, and these should be avoided.

Any tips for taking photographs?

Remember, you’re aiming for well-lit photos with the maximum depth of field. The single best way to achieve this is to use the aperture priority (or AP) setting on your camera. This reduces the aperture size, which increases depth of field, meaning more of the photo is in focus. But a smaller aperture means less light gets in, so the exposure will be increased. Because of that, you will almost certainly need to use a tripod to keep the camera stable, otherwise the photo will be blurry.

The best lighting is natural daylight, and for small models, photographing them outdoors on a sunny day can work wonders. Stiff white card or mounting board (easily obtained from an art shop) can make a good plain background that scatters light evenly around the model. If you’re indoors, ‘cool’ lighting works well, but if all else fails, bringing an angle-poise lamp or even a standard lamp close to the model can provide extra lighting beyond normal room lighting. Most digital cameras have settings that allow you to switch between indoor lighting and daylight, and this is useful if you want to get colours looking as correct as possible. Otherwise, room lights tend to give everything a golden cast, which may not be welcome.

Switch off the built-in flash, as this tends to cast distracting shadows.

Read the instruction booklet that came with your camera and play around with the settings until you’re happy your images are sharp, in focus, and have the right colour balance. If in doubt, send some samples to the Editor, who will let you know if your photos are usable and offer some tips if they’re not.

How do I submit diagrams and supplementary data?

Diagrams and track plans are often very useful, and the images exported from most drawing packages and trackplan software is generally fine. Simple diagrams can be run up in PowerPoint, and again, these present no major problems. Either Word or Excel is recommended for doing tables, the latter for tables with more than a few columns or rows. Hand-drawn artwork can be used, either scanned in (at 300 DPI or better) or sent to the Editor, but again, the NGS cannot be liable for any loss or damage. Drawings need to be on plain paper, not lined paper or graph paper. Photocopies aren’t usually of sufficient quality to use.

Do I need to include hard copy with my submission?

No.

Do I need to format the article?

No. The Editor will strip out your formatting anyway, so that it can be pasted into the page layout program we use to produce the Journal.

Do I need to include references?

Some authors like to include references or suggestions of further reading, and a list of perhaps three or four books relevant to the topic being discussed would be useful. There may not be space for substantially longer lists of books, however, so choose your reference list wisely!

What else do I need to send?

Please include your NGS number in your email or letter of submission. If you are sending materials you want returned, including an SAE is appreciated.

Apart from including your NGS membership number and an SAE if you want any hard copy material returned there is nothing in particular. However, consider supporting your article with some separate and supplementary source references, historic context and ancillary information. This will make it more interesting and comprehensive. You will probably need to undertake some research for this, but it is relatively easy these days; try the internet search engines, reference books, magazines, videos, museums, libraries and site visits.

What should be avoided?

The most crucial ‘do not do’ is to include photos or drawings (such as maps) that you do not have permission to use. If you are sending photos from Wikipedia for example, you will be responsible for copying into your image caption the appropriate Creative Commons licence text, otherwise, the picture may be removed from your article. Images from most other websites are not in the public domain and cannot be used with permission. You will be responsible for obtaining permission to use these, and if in any doubt, the Editor will not use such images. The same holds true for photos scanned in from books and magazines, which cannot be used in the Journal without written permission from the publisher or copyright holder.

Also, please don’t expect the Editor to do extra work on your submission, such as visiting an online forum (such as RMWeb or the N Gauge Forum) to copy text or download photos.