SEARCH FINESCALE.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

The UK vs US Modeling...Your Thoughts

2850 views
69 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January, 2019
  • From: Southeast Kentucky
The UK vs US Modeling...Your Thoughts
Posted by The Drifter on Thursday, May 30, 2019 3:59 PM

Hello everyone,

Yesterday afternoon a good friend of mine from Aberdeen, UK. contacted me and invited my wife and I to a Large Scale Model show in Aberdeen this December. He and I met 11 years ago at a show here in the states and have been friends since. 

Thinking about it made me think...Is the UK more involved in our hobby then the US? I mean look at it;

1. The quantity and quality of the hobby shops there are outstanding. The selection of kits, builing supplies, diorama supplies and paints exceed what a hobby shop in the states would carry.

2. The US has produced some of the greats in scale modeling, but if you look at the models and dioramas coming from the UK and Europe you can see such intense attention to detail, and some of the best figure painters...IMHO

3. A lot of the quality products we build, build with and quest for come from the UK area or somewhere near by. LOL just saying.

4. I have not had the chance to attend a west coast show...but in the east we have a pretty good selection of shows to attend. In the UK, and the European area shows are highly attended and a lot of suppliers and vendors get involved.

I would really like too hear from you on this subject. Tell us what your thoughts or opinions are. 

Jeff

 

Jeff

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, May 30, 2019 4:29 PM

One thing, I subscribe to a couple of British hobby mags going back to when my main interest was 1/72 aircraft.

British modelers use brush painting much more frequently than we seem to, and have the skills from constant practice.

GAF
  • Member since
    June, 2012
  • From: Anniston, AL
Posted by GAF on Thursday, May 30, 2019 4:52 PM

Those UK modelers speak funny.  Big Smile  (Please don't hurt me Bish!)

Really, I see little difference overall.  The USA is a much larger geographic area than the UK, so you will probably see a greater difference in localities than in the UK.  Even so, the internet has evened out a lot of those differences.  That's about it.

Gary

  • Member since
    July, 2018
  • From: The Deep Woods
Posted by Tickmagnet on Thursday, May 30, 2019 5:12 PM

Deckles

 

 

  • Member since
    August, 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Thursday, May 30, 2019 5:29 PM

I wonder if some of it is due to more museums in closer proximity in the UK/Europe.  And we have more opportunities for other forms of lesiure time activities in the US to take us outdoors, meaning that people don't really get bit by the bug as much over here.

 

Also there would seem to be more exposure there....therefore more interest.  Like the old racing adage..cautions breed cautions....

  • Member since
    January, 2019
  • From: Southeast Kentucky
Posted by The Drifter on Thursday, May 30, 2019 6:51 PM

All great thoughts and insights gentlemen. Thank you

Jeff

  • Member since
    January, 2019
  • From: Southeast Kentucky
Posted by The Drifter on Thursday, May 30, 2019 6:53 PM

GMorrison

One thing, I subscribe to a couple of British hobby mags going back to when my main interest was 1/72 aircraft.

British modelers use brush painting much more frequently than we seem to, and have the skills from constant practice.

 

Which magazines would that be Bill? I really like "Military Modeller"...I am thinking of subscribing to it.

Jeff

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, May 30, 2019 7:55 PM

I like it too, a lot but I don't subscribe.

 

My favorite for aircraft is Scale Aircraft Modelling. It used to be on the rack at Barnes and Noble.

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posted by ridleusmc on Friday, May 31, 2019 3:22 AM

Tickmagnet

Deckles

 

This one made me chuckle.  

 

I get the impression that the hobby is healthier in the UK.  My only indication of this is watching the show coverage and conversation over at Flory Models.  

 

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Friday, May 31, 2019 4:17 AM

As a UK based modeller i can only really speak about what i see on this side of the pond and can only compare it to what i see on this forum.

As far as Hobby Shops go, they are very few and far between. The ones that do exist on the high street and generally indepent stores rather than chains, the last of those wnet a few years back. being close to Europe, especially eastern Europe where a lot of great stuff is coming from does help.

 

As far as figure painters, there is some really stunning work both here and in Europe. On just the small club i belong to there are a couple who produce namazing work. But they do seem to be a close nit group, onoly painting figures and generally olnly posting on fiure forums. I don't see that many diorama's, i am the only one in our club who consistanly bring them in.

There does seem to be a big difference in shows from what i gather on here. I have only attended the smaller local shows, but i know that even the big ones such as telford, the displays are out on by clubs, who eachs have there own table(s). As i understand it in the US it is individuals who put on displays. It was mentioned to me at our club night on Tues, where the difference between the 2 countries came up, that this is down to the size of the US making it harder to travel to shows.

Another difference is the competitions. As i underdstand it, in the US, people can go and see the models being judged while the judging is taking place. I do recall guys on here saying how they have been approached while in the process of juding a model. In the Uk the competion room is closed off while the judging is being done. The guys i was speraking to on Tues often judges at shows including telford and sad he has never been questioned on a decision he has made.

''I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so''

On the bench: ICM 1/35th Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf A

  • Member since
    January, 2019
  • From: Southeast Kentucky
Posted by The Drifter on Friday, May 31, 2019 7:16 AM

Bish
Another difference is the competitions. As i underdstand it, in the US, people can go and see the models being judged while the judging is taking place. I do recall guys on here saying how they have been approached while in the process of juding a model. In the Uk the competion room is closed off while the judging is being done. The guys i was speraking to on Tues often judges at shows including telford and sad he has never been questioned on a decision he has made.

Bish,

I was at a show about 2 years ago and a gentleman was escorted out of the building because of the fact you pointed out. The judges should be the only ones in the room when the time comes to judge each entry. The gentleman that was escorted out was standing nearby the judges while they were judging his entry and did not like what he heard and got upset and proceeded to get very vocal about it.

I have only been to the UK once, and it my have just been me but it seemed like there were more hobby shops in that area compared to hobby shops here in the states.

Thank you for the reply

Jeff

  • Member since
    October, 2010
Posted by hypertex on Friday, May 31, 2019 7:40 AM

Bish

Another difference is the competitions. As i underdstand it, in the US, people can go and see the models being judged while the judging is taking place. I do recall guys on here saying how they have been approached while in the process of juding a model. In the Uk the competion room is closed off while the judging is being done. The guys i was speraking to on Tues often judges at shows including telford and sad he has never been questioned on a decision he has made.

 

That's not true, at least in some places in the USA. I attend many shows in the Midwest and all but one close the display room for judging. Maybe other parts or the US are different.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, May 31, 2019 8:33 AM

One difference I see is that the Brits are more into model engineering- building working model steam and IC engines than we are.

I still have not achieved a lifetime goal of making a working IC engine.  At 81 time's awasting!

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Friday, May 31, 2019 10:36 AM

I get more of an impression of fanatical type modelers (in a good way of course!) in Spain, the Czech Republic, Japan etc than the UK. Maybe it's me? 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Friday, May 31, 2019 12:10 PM

Since returning to the hobby with the availability of the internet, I have been under the impression that our hobby is more active in the U.K., but I have nothing to really base that on as I sit here and ponder it.

-Greg

  • Member since
    January, 2019
  • From: Southeast Kentucky
Posted by The Drifter on Friday, May 31, 2019 12:11 PM

Bish
As far as figure painters, there is some really stunning work both here and in Europe. On just the small club i belong to there are a couple who produce namazing work. But they do seem to be a close nit group, onoly painting figures and generally olnly posting on fiure forums. I don't see that many diorama's, i am the only one in our club who consistanly bring them in.

That is interesting...because the strictly figure painters that I know are like that. A small and tight community. I'm kinda shocked that you are the primary "diorama guy"...IMHO dioramas really set off you build.

Side note: There's a gentleman on YouTube under the name "VG Modelling" who does a amazing job painting 1/72 to 1/16 figures. His videos and instructions are top notch.

Jeff

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, May 31, 2019 2:17 PM

I can’t speak for the US in general, only for my experience to here in the Southern California area. But locally the hobby is pretty solid.

1. We still have a few good old school hobby shops in the greater Los Angeles area, and they show no sign of going away. At least due to lack of customers. They carry a wide selection of products, and if they don’t have it in the shop, they will order it for you from most anywhere in the world.

2. Again, I fall back on local guys, but a few members of local clubs are world class modelers. And I don’t say that lightly. They win at IPMS nationals, AMPS nationals, the old Tamiya Con, etc. I am simply floored by the quality of their work in every genre of modeling that I’ve seen.

3. Products- well, I am on the fence on that. I am a die hard fan of Humbrol paints- they are my favorite brand hands down. But Mission Models made here in the USA is excellent stuff too. I do like Airfix kits, and their new tool stuff is a great value of quality for the price. And unfortunately with the demise of Hobbico thru their business choices, we really have no major modeling manufacturer left in the the USA. There are some smaller ones left, but they can’t fill the shoes of the great ones of yesteryear. I think that all goes back to business practices here. Testors is on a downward spiral for the same apparent reasons.

4. West Coast shows have some fantastic vendors. Remember, the primary ports of entry for anything made in the Far East is Los Angeles/Long Beach. Tamiya USA is headquartered in Southern California. Dragon’s HQ and all their associated brands is here in the City of Industry (yes that is the city’s actual name). Bandai HQ was just a couple miles from my home here. All those goodies and more start off when they are unloaded from all those ships in the harbor. And those companies love to show off their wares at the shows here. Tamiya was just involved with the Long Beach Grand Prix and Chino Air Show as well, where they had their lastest goodies at discount.

So I can’t say if things are better in the UK or not. But I can say that we have it pretty damn good here locally. Especially when I read the posts of folks here who have no such shops or clubs, let alone events. 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Friday, May 31, 2019 2:19 PM

The Drifter

 

 
Bish
Another difference is the competitions. As i underdstand it, in the US, people can go and see the models being judged while the judging is taking place. I do recall guys on here saying how they have been approached while in the process of juding a model. In the Uk the competion room is closed off while the judging is being done. The guys i was speraking to on Tues often judges at shows including telford and sad he has never been questioned on a decision he has made.

 

Bish,

I was at a show about 2 years ago and a gentleman was escorted out of the building because of the fact you pointed out. The judges should be the only ones in the room when the time comes to judge each entry. The gentleman that was escorted out was standing nearby the judges while they were judging his entry and did not like what he heard and got upset and proceeded to get very vocal about it.

I have only been to the UK once, and it my have just been me but it seemed like there were more hobby shops in that area compared to hobby shops here in the states.

Thank you for the reply

 

Of course, it might depend on where in the UK you are. East Anglia is very rural. My nearest town is Suffolk with one hobby shops, mainly R/C and trains but does have a god plastic kit selection. But the county town, Ipswich, currently has none as far as i know. There are a lot of good online stores in the UK, big and small. So we are well supplied if you know where to look.

There does seem to be a good club scene in the UK and the small shows i have been to are always quite well attended.

''I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so''

On the bench: ICM 1/35th Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf A

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Friday, May 31, 2019 2:27 PM

The Drifter

 

 
Bish
As far as figure painters, there is some really stunning work both here and in Europe. On just the small club i belong to there are a couple who produce namazing work. But they do seem to be a close nit group, onoly painting figures and generally olnly posting on fiure forums. I don't see that many diorama's, i am the only one in our club who consistanly bring them in.

 

That is interesting...because the strictly figure painters that I know are like that. A small and tight community. I'm kinda shocked that you are the primary "diorama guy"...IMHO dioramas really set off you build.

Side note: There's a gentleman on YouTube under the name "VG Modelling" who does a amazing job painting 1/72 to 1/16 figures. His videos and instructions are top notch.

 

Most of the figuire painters i know did start out doing the normal plastic kits. Bjut it seems once they start doing stand alone figures they focus on that completly. Theres a big focus on 18th and 19th century figures and i suppose the detail in those means it take so lng you don't have time for anything else.

Some people will put a dio together now and again. But even on the forums there is not a large number of people who focus on those. I am not sure if its the extra time it takes, the space it takes up, though i know a lot of people don't like figures and that might put people off.

''I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so''

On the bench: ICM 1/35th Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf A

  • Member since
    January, 2019
  • From: Southeast Kentucky
Posted by The Drifter on Friday, May 31, 2019 4:33 PM

Hello Stikpusher,

Thank you for your thoughts and opinions. Southern California sounds like a modelers utopia lol. That's great that you have LHS going strong and with a great selection. Here in Kentucky LHS are very hard to find, and once you do find one it is gauged toward model railroaders. Lexington and Louisville have a HobbyTown USA but Lexington is a 2 hour drive for me. I stop in there when we go to Lexington. I primarly buy my stuff online.

It's great also that you have a good selection of clubs to join. That IMHO really helps scale modeling stay alive and gets the next generation involved.

I have to agree strongly with you about Mission Models paints. I have become a big fan of theirs.

Thank you again sir for your respone.

Jeff

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Friday, May 31, 2019 4:58 PM

I hear ya about the railroaders shops. But those can be useful as well. Especially if you do bases, since the ground work stuff easily works for scale model scenes also. Hobby shops locally are not as plentiful as they were in the last several decades. But those that are still around have adapted with the times and work with the local clubs to keep a good customer base. 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    January, 2019
  • From: Southeast Kentucky
Posted by The Drifter on Friday, May 31, 2019 6:22 PM

stikpusher

I hear ya about the railroaders shops. But those can be useful as well. Especially if you do bases, since the ground work stuff easily works for scale model scenes also. Hobby shops locally are not as plentiful as they were in the last several decades. But those that are still around have adapted with the times and work with the local clubs to keep a good customer base. 

 

I just like the fact that you have a LHS. I am a big supporter of buying locally. I wish I had a club to join. Again, the closest club for me is Lexington, KY. I fully agree with you about the railroad shops having diorama supplies. I have been watching a lot of YT videos on how to make your own trees, brush, shrubs etc.

Jeff

  • Member since
    January, 2019
  • From: Southeast Kentucky
Posted by The Drifter on Friday, May 31, 2019 6:28 PM

Bish,

Well with what I have read from you there are a lot of similarities between the UK and the US. I guess with all the videos, books and seminars I've involved myself with I guess I put too much thought into this. I guess the scale model artist that I have been watching, and following their work have come from the UK and surrounding countries.

Bish, thank you sir for your imput on this.

Jeff

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Friday, May 31, 2019 8:54 PM

I've seen exceptional posts on the MIG FB pages.  When I was active with IPMS I saw equally fantastic models at the nationals.   I also used to go to the SCAHMS competitions up in the orange/Anaheim area and some of the best figure modelers I've ever seen competed there.  Guys like John Rozengrant and Bill Horan would be there.   Humbling!

And I sure miss the TamiyaCon events in Alisa Viejo 

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    May, 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Friday, May 31, 2019 9:32 PM

Perhaps it is the “cross pollination” of peoples from all over Europe that make the model scene look better than in the US.

In the US, I see people saying a venue is too far if it’s more than 300 to 600 miles, whereas at Scale Model World (SMW) in Telford, a lot of attendees have to fly and consider it just a thing that needs to be done.

At Telford, the club non-competition displays are staggering in number and size. In the US, I think we are of the mindset that we have to compete, uppity Yanks and all that.

Conversely, the competition room at Telford is comparitively small compared to a US Nationals.  BUT I think the level of skill is on average much higher.  Perhaps to our European friends, modeling is supposed to be fun.  But if you go into competition, you better bring your “A” game.

My first exposure to SMW was an issue of Scale Models.  I remember seeing a photo of a 1/3 Merlin engine that actually worked.  From that day, I knew it was different “over the pond”.

And let’s not get started with the Japanese and other Asian countries.  They tend to dabble more in the fantastic, but enter gobsmacking builds at contests, both in competition and display.  I’m not sure what drives them, but it seems to me that when a “thing” is started, they tend to run some kind of race to see who can do the most outrageous expression of whatever it is.  Those gigantic Gundam dioramas at Shizuoka is one such example.  The 1/700 super detailed ship scene is also pretty mind boggling, as well as intimidating as all get up.

I suppose a graduate sociology student could do a dissertation on the mindsets of modelers across the world, and compare the similarities and differences, and how culture affects them.

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: Pineapple Country, Queensland, Australia
Posted by Wirraway on Saturday, June 01, 2019 1:18 AM
As an Aussie, I'm going to start a colonial uprising here. I think the dismal English weather, where it's either snowing, raining or freezing, has contributed to a lot more bench time than other sunny climes. I have some British modelling magazines from the 1970s and the quality of the builds, particularly figure painting, is amazing.

"Growing old is inevitable; growing up is optional"

" A hobby should pass the time - not fill it"  -Norman Bates

 

GIF animations generator gifup.com

  • Member since
    November, 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Saturday, June 01, 2019 4:45 AM

I go to Scale Model World at Telford every year and I travel down from Yorkshire quite often on both days as my train fare for both days is actually cheaper than staying over at the price hiked hotels. This way I pay less than half of what it would cost to stay over for the show and I am not counting the overpriced bars and food!

having to get 3 trains both ways on both days of the show and quite often carrying display models means a start of around 5am and over the weekend I will travel some 1200 miles via the Great British Rail System avoiding lousy overpriced, coffee, sandwiches and the every deadly Porkus Pieus which is capable of breaking a tooth or rendering someone unconscious at 60 yards.

Over the years I have attended the shows I have met the Zouki-Mura team who have a stand every year. I know then as "The Gang from Japan" also a group who fly in from Brazil every year "The Boys from Brazil" (what else!) and also a single mum from Sweden who had brought her young son as a birthday present to the Airfix build and paint section And was really enjoying putting stuff together and slapping paint around with the disposable brushes.

I do not take part in the competitions as I am not an IPMS member and have no faith in the judges (sorry, guys) over their subject knowledge but do have builds exhibited on Manufacturers tables for which I consider the standard has to be much higher - that's my opinion though And quite often the proof is modellers looking at the table and taking photos of your build which pop up on social media with praise. These are the best accolades of my work as is what the community think of my builds and occasional ropey photography on here!

I do have my rounds and stand visits that I make at Telford and there are vendors from all around Europe and the world taking part and is truly an international venue which I reckon could be better at a bigger venue as it gets so packed that movement becomes not easy. Still... The biggest collection of anoraks world wide and a great time.

So, to the Yanks, don't moan about distances. Get out there and socialise. Make it a holiday (vacation) and don't forget to negotiate with SWMBO over spending money or trouble will ensue. Telford is my biggest spend of the year!

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Saturday, June 01, 2019 8:29 AM

snapdragonxxx

So, to the Yanks, don't moan about distances. Get out there and socialise. Make it a holiday (vacation) and don't forget to negotiate with SWMBO over spending money or trouble will ensue. Telford is my biggest spend of the year!

 

Early next year, I’ll be retiring and moving to a new area. I did research prior and saw that there are hobby shops and an IPMS Chapter where we are headed. Supposedly even an AMPS chapter too, although they show no online activity. Even so, I do plan on occasionally coming back here to So.Cal to partake in the AMPS club here, as well as spend some money at the shops that I’ve been supporting for the past 40+ years. Its only a five hour drive each way. 

The US passenger rail system is pretty much gone aside from one nationally run overpriced, inefficient, passenger line and all the commercial cargo lines. It’s cheaper to drive, but the times and distances involved in driving can be quite intimidating. I do feel for the folks here who live in more remote locations that do not have the shops or clubs within a reasonable distance from where they live. 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, June 01, 2019 9:17 AM

Guy buys a train ticket in Union Station for San Francisco.

Sees a train waiting on the platform.

"Looks like the 9.30 is right on time".

Agent- "yes, that's yesterday mornings train".

  • Member since
    January, 2019
  • From: Southeast Kentucky
Posted by The Drifter on Saturday, June 01, 2019 3:09 PM

A lot of great thoughts and imput on this subject. Like Stikpusher mentioned the rail system here is not what it used to be. I have traveled up to 12 hours from my home one-way to attend a show. I usaully spend the weekend there so I can attend both days. One days observing the entries and seminars, and one day shopping all the vendors LOL.

I believe it comes down to individual's total involvement, and his or hers commitment to continuosly improving on their subject(s) no matter if it is in the UK or the US. I am speaking for myself...I have involved myself in a lot of UK and European builders here lately and I have seen a lot of work that is very detailed and amazing.I brought this subject up to see if anyone else took a moment to think about the true quality of models being produced here in the states, and from the other side of the pond. 

Again, thank you to everyone that took the time to post their thoughts.

P.S. - Stik where will you be relocating to when you retire?

Jeff

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS

FREE NEWSLETTER
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.