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General Aircraft: What If?
For those who like to build hypothetical or alternate history versions of planes.
Aircraft modeling in the future. 2030AD
JackFlash
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Colorado, United States
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 05:01 PM UTC
Greetings all;

Put yourself in the driver's seat of your own stainless steel constructed time vehicle and tell us what you saw in the future. How will modeling change? Will we replicate scaled down aircraft in holosuits? Will we have scaled down roatries, radials or ducted fan motors and nanotech servo mechanisms for control features. Will we have IPMS judging boxes that photoimage and xray a build to see how far away from accurate it is?

More importantly what do we want to change?
mvfrog
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California, United States
Joined: August 25, 2008
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 06:24 PM UTC
I think that, at a minimum, there will be greater use of technology. That is, I think there will be 'at home' 3-D printing machines. While they are very expensive today, they will be very inexpensive at that time, and scratchbuilders and those who design limited production resin kits, and 'details' will be using them on a daily basis for their builds. They, of course, will use a technology that is far ahead of what is there today. it will fit on your benchtop, probably a little bigger than an airbrush compressor. I will still be trying how to put monofilament line through either a 32nd or 48th scale turnbuckle to rig up a stringbag.

my $.02 USD,
Matt
jphillips
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Arizona, United States
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 09:53 PM UTC
In the year 2030, WW2 model builders will still be building WW2 aircraft. But modern model builders will be building kits of UAVs. In plastic.
wombat58
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New South Wales, Australia
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 10:13 PM UTC
Todays modern aircraft are loaded with highly advanced, sophisticated, state of the art technology, but they still crash, mainly due to human error. The modern motor vehicle is also highly advanced with a multitude of onboard computers, a mountain of safety devices, fantastic brakes and tyres, but they still crash, mainly due to human error. Ships are guided around the world using the best that navigational technology can offer, but they still crash, due mainly to human error. Todays models, and those of the future, are and will be highly advanced compared to a few decades ago, it won't matter how acurate they are, how detailed they will be, what new technology is used in the manufacture and what new materials will be used, they will still crash, due mainly to human error. It all boils down to one thing, the ability of the individual modeller. Just like yesterday, today and tomorrow, mistakes will be made, even the most advanced model can be made to look mediocre and a very poor kit made to look ultra realistic mainly due to the ability of the person constructing the kit. But, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what looks good to one looks bad to another.
If model kits didn't improve much more than what they are today I would be happy, but yes, bring on technical advances in modelling, new materials, improved paints and adhesives, fail proof decals, and unfaulting detail, the more the better.
AussieReg
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
#007
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Victoria, Australia
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 10:48 PM UTC
By 2030 I might be able to work with PE and rig a biplane, maybe.
gaborka
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Borsod-Abauj-Zemblen, Hungary
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 11:15 PM UTC
Hello,
I think there will be many-many changes. First, mold-making technology constantly develops, so there will be much more detailed molds. Also new materials are also always found, so maybe we will work with stuff that allows much better detail and scale effect (remember, did you know anything about resins 25 years ago?). CNC laser technology will allow small, round metal parts instead of the flat PE sheets. LED and LCD technology will allow reasonably small and cheap optical effects, lighting, perhaps even scale fire. Printing will give us much better decals, even for uses we do not think about now. 3D printing (prototype making) will allow small, on-demand production runs for subjects that are not so popular commercially, therefore many companies we today consider cottage industry, will be able to deliver professional products. Also hopefully chemistry will develop as well, so maybe somebody invents a white paint which is opaque.

The basic concept - assemble from parts and paint it - will not change much in my opinion. Pre-decorated or partially pre-assembled kits haven't been a big success so far (I think). However, in general, kits will become more expensive (a tendency you can observe today), so I expect a shift from 1/32 to 1/48, 1/48 to 1/72 just like you can see a change from 1/35 to 1/72 or 1/48 in armor models today, since the detail of today's small scale armor is sometimes better than that of earlier 1/35 kits.

CMOT70
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Victoria, Australia
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Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2009 - 01:15 AM UTC
Unfortunately the people that were buying model kits in the 60's and 70's and early 80's are the same people that are buying them right now still. Hence the primary reason for the current boom in the industry...we're all older and have more pocket money.

Now fast forward 30 more years and the unfortunate and morbid fact of the matter is that half of us will be in the great model building workshop in the sky and half of the remaining half will be in a very diminished state when it comes to working with little plastic models anyway. That leaves a very tiny market base for any manufacturers. And with only a trickle of young modellers finding the hobby interesting (and that's fair enough too, they're growing up in a different world to the one we grew up in), i don't see there even being anything resembling our hobby in 30 years.

There will always be eccentrics, and what are called nerds, that will still build scale models as a hobby (just like there are still those guys with the really old thick rimmed glasses and cardigans, stuck in a time warp playing old Avalon Hill board wargames, and enjoying themselves too) , but with diminishing manufacturers for our hobby it will return to the old styles of scratchbuilding most things. And for those people, the above mentioned new technologies like 3D printers and programs to use them, will be a boon. It's just that there won't be many of them.

But new people taking up the hobby will be few and far between. I don't see this as a problem at all, it's just how the world is, it changes and what people do for fun does as well. You can't force the next generation to like what we like.

So, summary to what's 30 years in the future for our hobby? A return to true craftman/scratchbuilders (and not many of them at that) due to a total loss of mass marketability of the hobby.

Andrew
stonar
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England - West Midlands, United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2009 - 02:15 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Unfortunately the people that were buying model kits in the 60's and 70's and early 80's are the same people that are buying them right now still. Hence the primary reason for the current boom in the industry...we're all older and have more pocket money.Andrew



Sad but true,I've made it past the big five O and it seems that a model builder much under forty is a fairly rare animal. One in his twenties is an endangered species!
Looking on the bright side,there are plenty of kits out there to see me out.
Cheers
Steve
old-dragon
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Illinois, United States
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Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2009 - 03:42 AM UTC
I think kits of the future will be done in 3-D laser...molds will be so "model T cars"...no flash to deal with, no tiny parts to soooo carefully remove from sprues, no mold seams nor sink holes to deal with and the kits will be made available in whatever variant we wish with correct decals supplied. Kit parts count will be 4 digit{hehe} and there will be tools for installation of the 4 part individual aircraft gauges even in 1/144.
Actually I have no idea what will be made available to us then...I just hope I can still build at that point!!!
mvfrog
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California, United States
Joined: August 25, 2008
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Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2009 - 06:47 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I think kits of the future will done in 3-D laser...molds will be so "model T cars"...no flash to deal with, no tiny parts to soooo carefully remove from sprues, no mold seams nor sink holes to deal with and the kits will be made available in whatever variant we wish with correct decals supplied. Kit parts count will 4 digit{hehe} and there will be tools for installation of the 4 part individual aircraft gauges even in 1/144.
Actually I have no idea what will be made available to us then...I just hope I can still build at that point!!!



What if, instead of buying a kit, you could download the 'kit' in whichever scale you specified, and then transfer the information to your home 3D copier, and 'burn' the kit at home. You could also make spare parts if you lost one or you could pick the parts for the variant you wanted. It might be possible to specify the numbeer of rivets (Choice: good model; beautiful model; Dr. Frankenstein's compulsive thriller...just a joke).

Merlin
Staff MemberSenior Editor
AEROSCALE
#017
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United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2009 - 09:09 AM UTC
Hi there

"Downloadable" kits and accessories - it all sounds perfectly feasible... (and a fresh bootlegger's paradise). These days, we have period debates over the pros and cons of using aftermarket sets, but they'll be nothing compared to the possible friction as to what counts as real modelling if home setups such as the ones described are available. Rather like the debate over performance enhancing drugs in sports.

Of course, assuming I haven't kicked the bucket by then, even if we have Star Trek-style replicators, I'll still find some excuse or other not to ever finish anything!

All the best

Rowan
old-dragon
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Illinois, United States
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Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2009 - 04:20 PM UTC
I like that idea! Downloadable kits in whatever scale we wish, to our 3D laser former. The absolute thriller would be "to make spares"...even though{cough} good modellers never drop or loose parts{cough}!

..or the debate whether tank treads should be shiney or rusty{I'm ducking}.
Siderius
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Tennessee, United States
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Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2009 - 06:45 PM UTC
I agree that the modeler is an endangered species. I'm 42, and have been building models my whole life, not with as much skill as today, but still building models nonetheless. Ha ha.

It is sad to see the younger generations not appreciate history in the first place let alone take an interest in building it. Model building is such a great avenue to explore history through I wish the youth did it.

Maybe there are so many distractions today that is is hard to focus on one thing like model building. I don't really know, all I know is I will be building until I can't anymore. Thanks for taking the time to read. Russell
thegirl
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Alberta, Canada
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Posted: Monday, July 06, 2009 - 02:17 AM UTC
30 years from now ? That is a good question ...................

With the way advances are being made in mold technologies more advance kits are coming out . Look at Wing nuts on how they achieved theirs . As they way of the computer age takes more flight it just might be a killer to the hobby in the end to what we call plastic kits .

To down load the plans of the net and have one of those neat machines everyone ref 's to you can add as little or much detail as you like . And who knows maybe even in colours !!!
All done with in a matter of minutes and not weeks or months to build aa kit . I guess the stander way of building will always be here ( for the old folks such as myself ) and the computer aspect of it will lean towards the young generations who want things now .

jaypee
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Scotland, United Kingdom
Joined: February 07, 2008
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Posted: Monday, July 06, 2009 - 03:02 AM UTC
20 years into a Dystopian oil scarce future.....

the last supplies of Klear are more expensive pound for pound than gold.

Sytrene kits are sold on the black market by a strange group called "the collectors".

Toulene is banned, as is iso, white spirit, etc.

IPMS nationals are won by folks with balsa wood and penknife.

Classes in whittling and rigging with human hair are popular.

In reality I look forward to getting all the WNW kits produced today off ebay for
next to nothing. At 55 years old I'll need to be working in 1/32 or 1/48 at least.
If the progress in production and efforts made in research in the last 20 years
continues in the next 20 there will some great kits.
gaborka
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Borsod-Abauj-Zemblen, Hungary
Joined: October 09, 2005
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Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - 09:53 PM UTC
Actually 3D printing technology is well inside today's possibilities. There are multi-color, multi-material prototype printers already available, and a single-color 3D printer is now about 5.000 USD, which is a hill of money, but perhaps not entirely beyond the financial abilities of a committed cottage industry modeler. The key here, as always, is the man, so in order to produce accurately shaped ship hulls, aircraft wings or fuselages or vehicle bodies you need somebody making a correct CAD drawing. Of course the resolution of these machines is not very high yet, but it will (must) improve. Nevertheless it is very well possible to produce quite difficult shapes with reasonable detail, so if you aren't afraid of some custom detailing the process can save yourself a lot of time and work while providing accurate results.

One popular use of 3D printers today is making prototypes for rubber or plastic shoe soles which are sometimes quite elaborate. Sometimes working mechanical models of machines are
made by this process.

pigsty
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United Kingdom
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Posted: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - 01:19 AM UTC
2030 is twenty-one years away so I predict:

* I will have bought a rapid prototyper but will not yet have plugged it in, and will be kicking myself for not waiting another six months to get the best version

* I will have finished nearly three of the kits in my stash

* My stash will not have hit five figures but will have been completely recirculated up to three times

* No-one will yet have offered a 1/48 F2H-3, a 1/48 Javelin, or a 1/35 TAM, Pz.68 or Vickers MBT, not even a bad one

* Trumpeter's new catalogue will include a 1/32 A-6E "coming soon"
amegan
#243
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England - North East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - 07:13 AM UTC
2030, Airfix will still offer kits from 1950s moulds, modellers will still exist, downloadable models willexist but the purist will still build kits or from scratch, new non oil-based materials will be required, and most solvents having been banned by the health and safety brigade we will have to have something to stick our creations together with. Downloading models could massively increase the range available. Detailing cockpits could be much easier by downloading detail kits for 3D printing. Someone will invent an easier and more accurate way of rigging biplanes
JackFlash
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Colorado, United States
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Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 - 08:34 AM UTC
Today in the virtual world you could sign up for a sqn and be doing combat over the channel in your favorite machine. Do we see this coinciding with downloadable kits?
GastonMarty
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 - 11:02 PM UTC
The obvious question is; will they be in plastic? Probably some substitute material will come along eventually...

I think the price of plastic will steadily rise with the price of oil, but not as fast as the price of transportation; 70% of the world's oil is used for transportation, only 5% for making all the plastic in the world(!). (About 25% is for heating/energy)

Oil currently represents 97% of all transportation energy(!). Electric cars, trains and subways; 3%.

I think this means foreign plastic will become increasingly expensive, as will all foreign goods, so the affordable models we build will be more and more from small national brands. Depending on the size and makeup of the country, this will mean less competition, and thus probably a lack of increase in the technical quality of the kits... Hard Core Modelers may be inclined to emigrate towards Central Europe or Japan!

I think Eastern Europe in particular may become the new mecca of modeling, not just because of the manufacturers, but because it is one of the few fairly industrialized places in the world where the "consumer society" has not had decades to degenerate the education system into a state where culture, books and the past are nothing more than a meaningless luxury.

Eastern Europe is practically the only sizeable place today, except maybe for autarcic Japan, where you could find large numbers of young modelers. Both of these places have strong links to their preindustrial traditions, which I think is a key feature for them remaining interested in history, books and the past.

On the other hand, maybe declining energy use will force other countries into a less consumer-intensive behaviour, and more into a culturally-intensive one, but the level of consumerism decadence is pretty high, and will carry on for a generation or two at least, even in the absence of means to indulge its impatient pursuits...

I don't intend to alarm pointlessly, but I think the current decline in what we call in French "l'interet gratuit" ie;knowledge for its own sake, so to speak, is a clear sign of a current trend towards intellectual decadence. In modeling it is knowledge combined with aquired skills; the pursuit of excellence for its own sake. The decline of that in younger generations is symptomatic of the increasing mediocrity of their interests...

This is where education becomes an irretrievable failure; for once somebody is interested in something, you can't tell them not to be interested in what they are interested in...

On another issue, Hasegawa and Trumpeteer kit prices are in the process of almost doubling, so I guess the future is already here... Ouch!

Gaston.



JackFlash
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Colorado, United States
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Posted: Sunday, August 02, 2009 - 04:29 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi there "Downloadable" kits and accessories - it all sounds perfectly feasible... (and a fresh bootlegger's paradise). These days, we have period debates over the pros and cons of using aftermarket sets, but they'll be nothing compared to the possible friction as to what counts as real modelling if home setups such as the ones described are available. Rather like the debate over performance enhancing drugs in sports.

Of course, assuming I haven't kicked the bucket by then, even if we have Star Trek-style replicators, I'll still find some excuse or other not to ever finish anything!

All the best Rowan



Rowan you will always have the perfect excuse.
1. You can't connect to the internet to download.
2. Your personal devotion to the perfect running of the machine and programming we call "Aeroscale" simply takes all of your time.