Just a few thoughts from someone who has always tended to work on the fringes of railway modelling. (I once used the, then new, Triang TT to give me a narrow gauge feeder on my OO layout ..... long before NG was well known, let alone popular .... now that ages me !)
However it really started seriously nearly thirty years ago when I joined a group who modeled in 009 using their own unique modular system.
I was lucky that most of the modelers were exceptionally talented and they tended to pull me up towards their level rather than the other-way around.
But even then, although our collective modelling was 'Avant-garde' I tended to try and push the frontiers just that little bit further.
The camel train as an example.
Although we received many good complements on the layout from ALL modelers there were many times when, I believe, we missed out on deserved awards due to the fact that we were narrow gauge, non-prototype, non-mainstream and ALWAYS had fun.
Although we did manage to get a fair number of public awards.
I then built the FT & OC which went to 60 shows. In all that time it only received three awards.
One was a public vote, one was best child's theme and one was best in show by judges.
I was very happy with the public vote, (even if it was just at a small country show.)
Personally I believe that the layout was an adult's theme layout that children could enjoy.
However I was over the moon with the best in show as the judges ignored the 'obvious' first 'cartoonie' visual impact and actually looked at the modelling and had seen what I had actually achieved.
This was towards the end of the layout's life and I had gotten used to be 'passed over' for 'more conventional' layouts and so was a great boost to the moral.
Up to that time I was content to just listen to the positive remarks from the public realizing that because I was 'different' I would probably never be invited to the winner's rostrum.
Since the FT & OC has retired I have just concentrated on small, 'different' types of layouts, which must have 'something' as I keep getting invites to shows even if not being rewarded with any awards.
So I have come to expect nothing from the majority of the 'serious modelling' society, although I am very fortunate in knowing a large number of very talented modelers who share a similar mindset as myself, even if they are not quite so daft, which does keep me (sort of) sane (?).
So over the last thirty years of exhibiting model railways I have come to appreciate that there are those who 'build superb model railways exact to the last rivet' who will NEVER understand Gn15 and similar.
Then there are those, like the members of this forum. who 'build superb miniature railways and have a LOT of FUN'
Just my 5 cents worth (....... the 2 cent coin being now obsolete for some years)
PS Nearly forgot .... at one show the FT & OC was presented with a coffee mug for attending 21 shows .... they count was wrong but the thought was there .... still use the coffee mug now)
Just hope that I haven't ranted on too long, or too far off topic,