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General Aircraft: What If?
For those who like to build hypothetical or alternate history versions of planes.
Is plastic scale modeling a dying art?
Removed by original poster on 09/20/13 - 00:09:34 (GMT).
fhvn4d
#159
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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 11:54 AM UTC
Dying, maybe. Being strangled to death by inflation DEFINITELY. I have a real problem with the average price of a kit now a days. When I was a kid, I could go buy a fairly good kit for around 5-10 dollars, perfectly within a 10 year olds budget of allowance. Now a days, there is alot more money involved, and I think that paying 200 dollars for a kid is absolutely insane. Its not a wonder that young people would rather spend their 40 bucks on a video game.
Robbd01
#323
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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 12:43 PM UTC
I am one of them oldies. Hitting my 56th year amongst the living, I can say the topic is a little off. You could say modeling is more a dying hobby but definitely not a dying art. My point, modeling is now more art less hobby. Modeling clubs seem to be another thing that is slowly going the way of the dodo. Don't need to join a club to scrounge info or meet fellow modelers err artists, we have the internet (wave if you remember rec.models.scale). I think the hobby is just evolving from what we old farts remember it. Heck decades ago if you told me to spray my model with hairspray to make it look more worn or chipped then spray it again with floor polish - I would say put down that crack pipe - now

Cheers
Keeperofsouls2099
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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 04:05 PM UTC
I created 75 percent of my last build from scratch of course it was a 20 dollar kit from the earlier days.lol I probably put a couple thousand dollars of time into it but its mine and I know what I did and I'm proud of it.I agree the prices are higher but so is everything else! The current thing that drives me nuts is nobody is innovative. Take hasegawa for example there idea of a new kit is reboxings with a different decal option really?

There are a few new company's that are making there mark.can't wait to see what else they bring to the table.hopefully they keep the new kits coming or to me it starts to get boring I mean I can only build the same plane with differant markings so many times.there seems to be a large cry for a new tooled 1/48 blackbird but no answer why? Instead of putting out another mustang or f-16.

They are making the money they should be able to do it.
Just how I felt figured I would throw that in.

Oh and my son has no interest in the history behind it once so ever I've taken him to air shows and why the jets are flying by he's checking his email
Grauwolf
#084
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 05:24 PM UTC
The hobby is not dying, I would even say that it is thriving.

Look at the multitude of new hi tech kits hitting the market.
If the hobby was dying, I don't think that manufacturers would
invest the huge amount of monies involved in the hi tech process
of producing and marketing these kits...just too much
money and I am sure they know what they are doing.

People in the modeling hobby are just diversifying what they
are building.

Aside the military enthusiasts, there is a great following
of Gundam and Manga figure modelers. Some companies thrive
on that part of the business but it is less apparent to us
because we will not see this type of stuff at a general modeling
show but go to a convention and look at the turnout
and tell me how many 40 to 50 year olds you find at these conventions
not many...they are all teens to young adults.

Another modeling group are the wargamers but they are a distinct society.....
another big business.

So in my opinion, if you really look at the whole picture, the hobby
is alive and well.

As far as prices are concerned, yes prices have gone up but look
at it from the manufacturers point of view, you want better hi tech,
latest tech kits....you got to pay the price.

Sculptures, mold makers, marketing.... costs more....guess who pays.

You know there are still choices, as an example, you can buy a Revell
reissue of the long OOP H34 helicopter for a mere $16.95!
an excellent kit in its own.

But some will say not good enough so then go out and buy
the MRC Gallery H34 that was recently released....
a real jewel......at $60.00....ouch too expensive.

Well... you have to make a choice...just like buying a new car!

Examples are countless.

I think we are actually spoiled with what is available out there but
somehow some people still find a way to complain.

There are plenty of good quality kits out there that are affordable,
buy them, build them and enjoy the hobby!

HAPPY MODELING!

Cheers,
Joe




mother
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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 06:18 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Look at the multitude of new hi tech kits hitting the market.
If the hobby was dying,



True...but not everyone are buying them. Lets say it's 20 years ago today and ask how many bought the new Tamiya (blank) aircraft or armor kit, just about everyone would raise their hand.

Back to now, ask how many are buying the new Meng D9R dozer, or the or Tamiya's new released M1A2 TUSK.

Remember when the AFV Stryker kits came out, a little high priced, today you can get them cheap...but the hype is over.

Yeah newer kits are coming out and everyone would like to get buy them, but not everyone will be able to. I would love to get my hands on another Hobbyboss HET truck/trailer (got in a trade) but there's no way with those prices, heck they are costlier today than last year.

Again I'm not saying the hobby is dying (read my post) but it's not what it once was or as big.

Happy Modeling,
Joe

Heatnzl
#435
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Nelson, New Zealand
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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 06:29 PM UTC
Perhaps our hobby is just going through the same phase as reading. Books are still being written, published, sold and read. Written on word processors, printed electronically, sold more and more on-line but still being read.

The current downturn in modelling is not unlike the advent of computer gaming when things hit a real low. But it did and is recovering, in what form will be interesting.
wychdoctor92394
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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 07:00 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I created 75 percent of my last build from scratch of course it was a 20 dollar kit from the earlier days.lol I probably put a couple thousand dollars of time into it but its mine and I know what I did and I'm proud of it.I agree the prices are higher but so is everything else! The current thing that drives me nuts is nobody is innovative. Take hasegawa for example there idea of a new kit is reboxings with a different decal option really?

There are a few new company's that are making there mark.can't wait to see what else they bring to the table.hopefully they keep the new kits coming or to me it starts to get boring I mean I can only build the same plane with differant markings so many times.there seems to be a large cry for a new tooled 1/48 blackbird but no answer why? Instead of putting out another mustang or f-16.

They are making the money they should be able to do it.
Just how I felt figured I would throw that in.

Oh and my son has no interest in the history behind it once so ever I've taken him to air shows and why the jets are flying by he's checking his email



Revell's been doing reboxing for years, but they occasionally add parts. Nobody has done a 1/32 Viggen or Drakken; that I'd spend 50-75 dollars for... but $100 for a Phantom (on eBay yet...)
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Tennessee, United States
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Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 06:53 AM UTC

Quoted Text

In my day painting a model was green ,brown and grey. No FS stuff. If it looked like a Spitfire it WAS a Spitfire, sticky glue fingerprints and all...Simplicity is something I think should be encouraged.



As a sufferer of AMS (Advanced Modeler Syndrome) I wholeheartedly agree. I've spent years chasing "the correct olive drab" and other things; with the explosion of information and people willing to research it, some older icons of modeling have fallen while many have been validated. Nowadays, while I want a detailed cockpit and gear wells, I am very happy with a P-40 that looks like a P-40, even if the compound curve of the nose is 2% off.
Redhand
#522
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Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 12:20 PM UTC
"Dying Art"? Assuredly not. I thought it might be in the early 80s when it really did seem that new WWII A/C kits were a thing of the past. Monogram, Revell, Hasegawa, Tamiya, Airfix: that was about it. Now I feel we are living in a golden age for the hobby. How can it be "dying" with constant entrance of new kit manufacturers? Eduard, MPM, the Chinese companies that spring up all the time, Rodin, Mirage, not to mention the fantastic "cottage industry" and aftermarkets that that produce an incredible variety of modifications, corrections, enhancements and decals. And consider Wingnut Wings!! All these market entrants aren't there to lose money. Even when a 60-something guy like me is gone, I think that the intrinsic engineering beauty of the products will always entice newcomers to re-create a piece of history.
StukaJr
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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 11:33 AM UTC
I think the hobby is certainly evolving, but nowhere near death or even a slowdown.

Price has "inflated" but not truly risen - remember to adjust for actual inflation. Quality bar has risen across the board and modeling process is a lot better designed - complexity of kits replaces necessity to scratch build half of the damned model to correct glaring mistakes. Variety of publication and internet portal makes for overwhelming but very well documented process.

I don't consider influx of youth and continuation of modeling hobby - kids start and quit stuff all the time and quantity of modelers does not make for better internet connected global community...

We are only beginning to contemplate advantages of technology - better casting technology, involvement of CAD and 3D Printing (still in infancy) . Artisans will never go out of style - just look at how many blacksmiths operate around the world as a hobby or a real profession (probably not as many as pre-Industrialization, but plenty enough). Maybe scale modeling will evolve into a true art/craft, instead of being dismissed by majority as child's play some of us never grew out of.
Heatnzl
#435
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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 08:39 PM UTC
I am not sure that price is a big problem as anyone who remembers the Inflation of the 1970s will attest. Plastic, being a product of the oil industry rose dramatically in price, creating a dearth of 'pocket-money' models.
If a kit today is expensive it is usually being due to the extraordinary design, tooling and elaborate production. Modellers have asked for 'state-of-the-art' without considering what that might mean and I think that with their production the average modeller is in a "Catch-22" situation. You wont get your dream model without paying for it. It's no use whining about prices when all the risk is taken by Model Companies.
I like Airfix's approach: Not perfect, but affordable. Airfix will sell many kits at a low price, whereas another company will sell a limited number of their 'ultra-super-all the bells and whistles' kit.(And some rivet-counting, laser measuring type will give a poor review, usually focusing on the price...)
warreni
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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 08:57 PM UTC
If it is dying then I hope it continues dying for many years to come.. If I had said to you even 5 years ago that a 1/32 B-17 would be released I think I would have been laughed at or thought a sandwich short of a picnic..

Now if someone would release a 1/32 Bf 109B I would be a very happy chappy!
drabslab
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European Union
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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 11:20 PM UTC
we now seem to be collectively of the opinion that during our childhood (30+ year's ago?) most young people were devoted modellers while now modelling teenagers are hard to find.

Thinking about that, I reached the conclusion that this view on the past is not correct. In my school (1500+ students) we had a modelling hobby club with more or less 30 members of which barely 10 could be considered serious modellers.

Already then a few die-hard adults were devoting lots of time trying to pass the modelling bug.

didgeboy
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Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 - 04:52 AM UTC
I have thought about this quite a bit over the last 15+ years, having dipped back into the hobby more as a buyer in the late 90's (read kit collector/hoarder) to doing some actual building now. Several things have changed for me over the past 15 or so years; I have a dedicated modeling space and a bit more time that I carve out for myself than I did in my late 20's and early 30's. That being said here are my observations and thoughts.

Is this a dying "art"? Yes and no. Firstly I do not consider what I DO as "art", but it is a form of self expression, so call it what you want, to me its a hobby first and foremost.

With that in mind, there are more "hobbies" now open to kids (and adults) these days. While model building might have included scale models back in "our day" it also came to include RC vehicles, rocketry and balsa wood hobbies too. Think about all of the things that a "hobby shop" used to stock. Role playing games, puzzles and other build-able toys.
How many friends did you have that built models? How many did it seriously?

There were fewer TV channels available 24hrs a day back then. Video games were fun, but how many TV's did you have in your home to play them on? Now we have 24hr sports, cartoon, history and more. Video games have many platforms including your smart phone. Parents in the USA are more focused on their job and getting their kid into as many activities as possible, when would a kid have time to build a model? Let alone a parent that has time to sit and help.

It used to be that dad worked all week, mom took care of the homestead and there was baseball in spring, football in fall and Hockey or Basketball in between Fall and spring. Now there are year round leagues and if you want your kid to be considered for a good college he/she better be "well rounded", i.e. over stimulated and a full resume of activities (and good at all).

Model kits used to be available everywhere too. Every small burg had a hobby shop that sold kits, kites and all sorts of other things too. Ours was HUGE. Craft items for the ladies as well as kits, games and trains for the rest of us. Now, I have to search far and wide to find a brick and mortar store that carries ANY kits, most are "expensive" (more on this in a minute) and none offer any of the after market items or "specialty" items that I am interested in, let alone a good selection of paint. So where would a kid or any adult go to find a kit to build?
The phenomena of "expensive" kits is a result of several factors. Firstly we all have "Nostalgia Vision", myself included. We are old enough to see things change and young enough to remember that it was "not that long ago" when kits cost. .$X. I can remember my parents balking over the $5 it cost to send us to the movies on a weekend, we would always here "when I was your age it cost a quarter for a movie and 10 cents for a soda and blah blah blah". Yes, mom and dad times have changed and things are more expensive, call it progress. Inflation happens as the cost of wages rises, as well as transportation costs and other things. In regards to plastic models the biggest factor is the cost of the material it takes to produce one, i.e. oil. Back in the 80's oil was cheap. Who remembers filling their take on change from the ashtray? I do. A new Tamiya kit (top of the line, back then) was $20 on the high end at the LHS. But that same kit could often be found at ToysRUS, Montgomery Wards or many other "Department Stores" (who remembers those?) for $12. They might not have the selection the LHS did but for an Abrams it was a great deal, and it often cut into the LHS's business.

So, less free time, more options and higher prices are all contributing to the diminishment of the hobby. Not to mention that there are fewer adults around to teach and fewer places to get hobby items. So how do we fix this?

There are several ways, many of which are being done by the "clubs". Shows are great, but there is no place to advertise them. Classes are great, but again no one knows about them, because there are fewer and fewer hobby shops that serve as the local "water cooler" for the hobby.

One of the first tasks would be to grow the community through the web based communities such as this, the Kitmaker network. Next with the defunding of art programs at schools we, as a community, need to get this hobby back in front of the kids. Veterans Day is coming up soon, how about we have a group of Veterans and Hobbyists create a presentation for schools in your area? Veterans can talk about their service and the positive aspects of serving, or their reason to join. For some of us it may be that building models led to joining the military, and the converse is true as well for Vets turned hobbyist. Bring some models for show and tell. Bring some "make and take" kits to hand out to those interested. Bring flyers about the local club and the hobby events and options in the community. Set up a workshop to follow soon after so that you can show these kids (and parents) how to and what fun they have been missing. My guess is that a few parents will become nostalgic and remember when they built kits with their dad, grand parent or other family member and realize that this is a great way to not only bond with their kid, but teach them patience and how to take pride in something they have accomplished.

The few remaining LHS's need our help too. Both monetarily and otherwise. Many have no idea the power of online marketing with even something as simple as a facebook page that is updated 1 a day. Or how a Twitter feed can help move product by offering incentives on a 1 day or period basis. Volunteer to keep that shop in the black. Show them how these tings can help their profitability. And don't ask for compensation, especially if they stock stuff you buy like paint and glue. When that option is gone, you are waiting several days to get stuff, and right before a show you are going to miss it severely.

Offer to help run small classes and how to days. Set up workshops at the LHS on basic construction, weatering, how to use an airbrush, advanced AB skills, scratchbuilding and whatever else you can think of, even how to photograph your models. There is a skill that will come in handy in life. Advertise these at the local schools, all grades. Get the sports teams to make announcements too. Find ways to get the word out. Think outside the box and be creative.

Lastly, the model companies have NEVER been good at advertising. They have let their wares disappear from store shelves with out kicking and screaming about it. They should be hounding WalMart and others to get shelf space for kits and paint. Tamiya, should be pushing Target to get a display up. WalMart currently has a display of Revell and Monogram kits and the old Testors enamels. A start, but a sad one. Let WalMart appeal to the low end and let Target appeal to the higher end market with "better" kits and paint and glue. Hasegawa should be partnering with Tamiya on this one too. A display of a few Modern Armor kits, Abrams and Bradleys and Hummvees if nothing else and a few planes could be all they need. Throw in some dinos and Hasegawa scifi kits and you have a small hobby center with paint, glue and tools. 1 end cap is all it would take. Just over the holidays this would be huge for the manufacturers, the store and for the hobby at large.

I think that this is one of the greatest times for the hobby. The second golden age as I like to call it. Our numbers of younger builders are dwindling, yes.But we have many of us "old timers" that have rediscovered a part of our youth. We have an amazing list of kit makers and let's face it the kits we are getting are flat out unbelievable.Both in terms of quality and the subject matter. Who would have ever thought we would get a Dragon Wagon. Now count how many Tank Transporters, in Plastic, are currently or soon to be on the market. Wow.

So is the hobby dying? Maybe its not dying, per se, but going through a transformation, sort of a Darwinian downsizing, becoming more sleek and sustainable. But we all need to do OUR part to make sure that it IS sustainable. If you want to see the hobby survive, find someone to share it with. Volunteer to teach or to help.

Spread the word to whomever will listen. open the club doors and make it less geeky. There are plenty of "know it alls" that we have all come across from time to time, help eliminate those from your club by pointing out to those that there is a better way to approach accuracy rather than being an insufferable know it all. Or show them the way out of the organization.

If you enjoy what we have, help support it however you can and you can be assured that another generation will pick up the torch and soldier on. Cheers.
Heatnzl
#435
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Nelson, New Zealand
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Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 - 09:45 AM UTC
Damon, you have it in a nutshell. Not only the current situation, but how to revive our hobby.

May I suggest to some of the younger modellers a flick through some old modelling magazines. The reviews and building articles are different to today's and reference pieces are not just facts and figures, they are anecdotal, interesting in their own right. Also, look at the advertisements. They were the "World Famous Search Engine" (WFSE) of their day and give the best impression of how our pastime was.
jphillips
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Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 - 05:29 PM UTC
It's really hard to guess what the future holds for our hobby. I know I get a lot more enjoyment out of it today than I did when I was a kid, because it's possible to be more creative. In those days, if I built a MiG-21, I'd paint it the color shown on the box art, and apply the red star decals that came with the kit, and no matter how nicely I finished it, my Fishbed would end up looking just like everyone else's.
Today, when I buy a MiG-21, I can go online to look at pics of MiGs in the service of fifty air forces, checking out all the schemes and markings, and order decals for the one I like best, or draw and print my own, if I want to build one for which no decals exist. I can add photoetch and resin ordinance. There are no longer any limits - my finished MiG can be completely my own.
If I could have done this decades ago, I might have never stopped building models. But at that time, the technology didn't exist, to allow me to build my planes the way I wanted.
Who can say, then, what modeling will be like in the years to come? What innovations might we see, to make us say, if only I could have had this stuff years ago! There may be things to come that will make building kits more challenging and interesting, in ways we can't predict. They'll be more expensive, yes, but this is inevitable; models are no longer just kids' toys, but are made for adults who know history and can get more out of them. The hobby will continue to change, but this doesn't have to be a bad thing. I'm sure there'll always be people who won't get everything they need from just jiggling a joystick, pressing buttons over and over and staring at a screen, but will look for something more.
SuperSandaas
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Posted: Monday, September 30, 2013 - 04:57 AM UTC
You cannot draw ay conclusion from any downturn in memberships in clubs. Now we have the world wide web and as a modeler you take part in a global community via webpages and forums if you want.

I think model-building have become more of a specialist hobby, similarly to say advanced board games, but that doesn't mean much. Maybe fewer youngsters have a phase where they build kits, but the ones that do, probably continues with the hobby for much longer.

More producers and subjects means more choices.

Last but not least, kit building doesn't have to be expensive! Most causal builders get anything they need and want in a complete kit from the mainstream producers, with no need for aftermarket parts. Is £6 for say a new Airfix kit is what you call an expensive hobby, I wonder what you compare with! (and yeah, I know, glue and paints cost a bit, but not that much...)
didgeboy
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Posted: Monday, September 30, 2013 - 02:49 PM UTC
There might be a bit of a discrepancy between youth here in the USA and in Europe. Kids here have year round sports and getting into a university is a big priority, so much free time is spent that way. Fewer clubs exist here in the US as there are fewer modellers, hobby shops and people live further away from from urban areas that still have the ability to sustain hobby shops. The web and online sites such as this also fill the need of clubs and shops.
While small airfix kits might only be 10 or 12 bucks in Europe that same kit once it crosses the pond gets a premium added to it. Increase the scale or he detail to say a Tamiya 1/35 armor kit and your are into the $40+ range. If there were still good inexpensive kits in that $5 to $15 range and still plenty of hobby shops around I think that there would be more kids still building kits. In the mean time we all need to do our part to get the word out, do demos and show our craft to anyone who is interested. Those of us that still build do so because we still enjoy it, it still gives us something, and I think that most of us want to share that passion we have. Cheers.
meowmonster
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Posted: Monday, September 30, 2013 - 04:11 PM UTC
Well, I'm 32 and I've been modeling since before I was safe to have a craft knife. My father was an award-winning modeler and if I showed him the techniques that we use he'd probably have a paroxysm. I drifted here from doing gunpla (Gundam models) and that place is absolutely PACKED with kids-young teens and up. It's what they're interested in, and so they spend MAJOR money (some resin kits are $700 or more) for their favorite suits. That industry also doesn't have "rivet counters," there are very few hard and fast rules and often many different redesigns of the same kit exist, allowing people to be more individualistic. We're a different breed.

That said, I don't have an interest in WWII. I thank any vet of any war or any serviceman that I see as a matter of course, because i wasn't well enough to serve myself, but things like Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Gaza War have shaped my views of the world, watching friends leave and not come back, or come back so changed they're gone anyway. So, I model those things that hold special meaning to me, as well as the most interest-some of those guys too my work over there when I still worked at a regular job.

The hobby is evolving, but it's not dead. I have a whole room for this kind of stuff, and I'm setting up a whole city block diorama in it. That goes with the dive robot diorama in the living room and the cabinet of robots in the hall. I only wish my son was still with me to pass it on to him.
wychdoctor92394
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Posted: Monday, September 30, 2013 - 05:41 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Well, I'm 32 and I've been modeling since before I was safe to have a craft knife. My father was an award-winning modeler and if I showed him the techniques that we use he'd probably have a paroxysm. I drifted here from doing gunpla (Gundam models) and that place is absolutely PACKED with kids-young teens and up. It's what they're interested in, and so they spend MAJOR money (some resin kits are $700 or more) for their favorite suits. That industry also doesn't have "rivet counters," there are very few hard and fast rules and often many different redesigns of the same kit exist, allowing people to be more individualistic. We're a different breed.

That said, I don't have an interest in WWII. I thank any vet of any war or any serviceman that I see as a matter of course, because i wasn't well enough to serve myself, but things like Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Gaza War have shaped my views of the world, watching friends leave and not come back, or come back so changed they're gone anyway. So, I model those things that hold special meaning to me, as well as the most interest-some of those guys too my work over there when I still worked at a regular job.

The hobby is evolving, but it's not dead. I have a whole room for this kind of stuff, and I'm setting up a whole city block diorama in it. That goes with the dive robot diorama in the living room and the cabinet of robots in the hall. I only wish my son was still with me to pass it on to him.



My condolences on your loss of your son. Teach kids in your neighborhood. Pass it on and don't let the art die...

GastonMarty
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Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 08:49 PM UTC

I'll agree with the exceptions of Japan, and maybe the former Eastern Block countries (but I'll bet even those will not remain exceptions forever).

Otherwise, I cannot understand how one can be so out of touch to not know what is going on...: Let's just start with numbers: This is what Michael Benolkin had to say about those:

"At the ‘peak’ of the scale modeling industry, the logistics of kit production was based upon a 50,000+ boxes per release. To withstand that amount of production, injection mold tooling was made from steel and (if properly maintained) would last forever. This is why we still see Revell-Monogram, Hasegawa, Tamiya, etc. kits that are over 30 years old still being produced and looking as good today as they did decades ago. In those days, a 50,000 kit production lot wouldn’t run out right away (usually) but the good subjects would be gone within a few months while others would sell out in less than a year. When you spread out the cost of that production run across 50,000 units (design, prototyping, molding, packaging, instructions, decals, etc.), your cost per kit is relatively low and your resulting retail price is also low. We won’t be seeing those numbers again anytime soon."

Kids aren't buying models anymore, I don't know how many times this has to be said... And we have yet to experience adults starting modelling from "cold", as the cheerleaders would have us assume will happen...

Other raw numbers: Over 250 Hobby Shops have closed in the US in 2012 alone... The industry as a whole, whatever that may include, has contracted 10% in the last two years, after a 2-3 year delay from the 2008 financial crisis. Since it is not clear what is included in the "industry", what the previous buyoyancy means is also unclear for us...

Was there a peak and when was it? Probably the mid-1990s when after-market, resin and engraved lines gave the industry a late boost. I think the pace of releases has obviously slowed since 2000: Look at 1990s magazines and see the comparative flood of releases...

looking at my scale, 1:48th WWII, Tamiya went from two or even 3 releases a year in the 1990s to one around 2002, then in 2007 four years had to elapse for the next one, a badly researched Il-2... True they opened 1/48th armor in 2005, but after over 12 tank releases in 2006, we went about four years with almost no releases and no new tank... By any measure, the 1/48th vehicle market has not taken off...

Hasegawa has seemingly dropped out of 1/48th WWII, the last one being the Pete in February 2009, nearly 50 months ago...

Consider all that has gone, with no comparable replacement: Classic Airframes, behemoths of resin and decals: Meteor Productions, Aeromaster, Paragon Resins: I don't care what you may bring up, nothing comparable in output and volume has surfaced since...

Here's the reality behind all those closings (Benolkin again):

"As the hobby market started its decline, a few pioneers came forward with a new way of doing business. One such pioneer was Jules Bringuier who owns Classic Airframes. His business model was to tackle subjects that the ‘big companies’ wouldn’t touch. His production runs were scaled down to match the projected demand for a kit – between 10,000-15,000 units. These kits were multimedia (plastic, resin, photo-etch) so the production costs were higher, but so were the details in the box. His goal was to sell out the kit before they reached store shelves by selling his complete production run to the distributors. By the time Jules put Classic Airframes into limbo, production runs were under 5,000 units and even those weren't selling as well. The market was indeed declining."

I don't know what it takes to not notice the visible decline in the number and even the quality of releases, even when the sub-standard Chinese production is included... New releases are now mostly produced by people with cheap labour and obviously little understanding or care about the subjects they mould, a real sign of the declining status of this industry: I'm sorry, but ten crapola kits are not worth one good one to a real modeller, and in any case there is not even ten crapola replacement kits to begin with... Yes there is the Eduard Spitfire Mk IX, but how many like this have we seen? Not many...

If you include 1/32 releases the picture does brighten, but then I have to point out: What kid will buy this overpriced and oversized stuff? Wich brings me to my final point: Has anyone even looked at kids these days? They are respectful enough at shows, I'll admit, but it is hard to imagine these distracted minds ever focussing long enough to read about history. The most powerful law in history is at work here: The law of the least effort, and it does not favour this hobby which is the exact opposite.

Gaston
tankglasgow
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Scotland, United Kingdom
Joined: October 04, 2010
KitMaker: 275 posts
AeroScale: 9 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 10:23 PM UTC
I believe that we are living through an "Indian summer" of modeling, a last glorious flourish before a gentle decline.
I am 53 and like many here it seems, a fairly recent returnee to the hobby and herein lies the problem, the majority of us are aging baby boomers having a great time. When I was a boy Airfix kits were literally in almost every shop and most kids made them, "Airfix" was a generic term for a model. Some manufacturers, Airfix among them, are today trying to encourage younger people in with simpler affordable kits and good luck to them. Both my sons (young adults) do have an interest in what I make but so far haven't taken the plunge, perhaps one day? I plan to start working on my Grandson at Christmas!
I predict that as we old guys decline the market will continue to contract and become more of a niche specialised business than at present, and therefore more expensive to participate in.
For me this is a pity as I believe modelmaking has taught me some important life skills (if that doesn't sound too pretentious), patience, determination etc. On a side note, I have noticed a program involving US service personnel being supplied with models to build for possibly therapeutic interest. I think there is something going on here? that could be important.

Enjoy while we can. Paul


glarba
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Mississippi, United States
Joined: July 19, 2004
KitMaker: 8 posts
AeroScale: 6 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 10:45 PM UTC
I think that there will always be model building in some sort. I just turned 90 and fortunately I can still model - I started with balsa models and some hobby shops still sell them. Thing is no one seems to want to build anymore, everything is ready to fly. I gave model railroading a fling, back there you had to build all your own rolling stock, now they come ready made. Nevertheless, for some of us, modeling will always be around, maybe not in the form we know it today, but something like it.
GLA
rochaped
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Lisboa, Portugal
Joined: August 27, 2010
KitMaker: 679 posts
AeroScale: 669 posts
Posted: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 01:02 AM UTC
Is plastic model a dying art?

Literally reading...no. I doubt there was an era where the "average" modeles achieved such proficiency level of realism in their models as we see today (just run thru model sites from all over the world).

As a business it also seems alive & kicking. And you can't have this much supply if you don't have demand.

Finnaly prices. True, todays releases are much costier that the same releases made by the same maker 15-20 years ago, but then again so is everything else regretably.