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What's current state of plastic modeling hobby?

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  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Saturday, November 8, 2014 6:54 PM

Frankly, I have a hard time shedding any tears over Squadron's difficulties. They let years of hubris get in the way of adapting to clearly changing times. They clung to outdated business methods and a 'We're the big dog; we do things the way we want' attitude, offering indifferent pricing and service while competitors were emerging doing a better job on both. They cannot blame the hobby industry, or 'kids these days' for their ills. Just need to look in the mirror.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, November 9, 2014 11:27 AM

When I mentioned model RR, I meant serious stuff like a permanent layout and kits, not a ready to run toy trains for under the Christmas tree.  Admittedly there are few locomotive kits today, but still some rolling stock kits, and lots of building kits.  I got involved in my Junior High years with a layout and built a loco kit and many RR car kits. I had a lot of friends building model airplane kits, but I was the only one I knew building model RR stuff.  The model airplane clubs sought out youth members, the RR clubs not so much.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March 2009
Posted by Gaston on Sunday, November 9, 2014 2:40 PM

 Quote, JTILLEY:"It looks to me like a number of forces are clashing with each other. The quality of detail and accuracy that manufacturers physically can achieve is the highest it's ever been. One result of that, it seems, is that the sales of particular kits have been reduced by the fact that there's so much high-powered competition. I'm thinking, for instance, of the Tamiya and Zukei-Mura P-51Ds in 1/32. Are there really enough modelers around who can appreciate products of that sophistication to justify (in terms of the manufacturers' investment) both of them?"

   The massive re-emergence of WWII 1/32 scale aircrafts (started by Tamiya with their seminal new Zero in 1999) was always going to be a dead-end: Everyone else has rushed head-long into this fad, bolstered by initial excitement and high sales. Now the pace is slacking off as the subject range has reached impractical subjects like the B-17G and He-111, and people are realizing just how absurdly limiting and demmanding this scale is. It was all utterly predictable, but it took a while to happen. In the meantime, one of the by-product of the 1/32 craze was the near-abandonement of WWII 1/48th scale for aircrafts, especially when it came to the larger types. 1/48 WWII being a far more entry-level friendly scale, the lack of anything of real interest happening there (for almost decades now) will probably discourage potential newcomers, and rightly so. I've always thought 1/32 scale was hideous for aircrafts (huge wasted spaces under and around the wings), and very unlikely to merge newbies with advanced modellers into a common interest...  The short term snort of 1/32 will prove a long term waste, and will have ruined any "synergy" with 1/48th vehicles, but in the end even I have to admit that this hardly changes anything. At worst this diversion in resources has simply accelerated the inevitable.

Quote, JTILLEY: "I think one big problem is the plethora of new, high-quality releases, which come out so fast that the retailers seem unable to keep up. The web dealers can sell you a new Tamiya 1/32 Corsair all right, or an Airfix 1/24 Typhoon, or a Revell 1/32 Spitfire II. But try to find a Tamiya Spitfire IX online - let alone in a hobby shop. Last night, out of curiosity, my computer and I went looking for an Airfix Swordfish Mk I. We checked about half a dozen online retailers, and found one that seemed to say it had the kit in stock (i.e., "normally ships in 1-3 business days"). The others either had marked it "out of stock" or didn't list it at all. Should we blame them for putting their money into the more recent stuff?"

  The put their money into what selIs. If the only thing they can sell profitably are brand-new releases, then this means they are now in a world of hurt, given the slow pace and low volumes of current releases...

  I find your comment bizarre: New releases have been slower in coming out than at any time in recent memory (12-15 years probably): Look at an aircraft modelling magazine of the "peak" 1995-2001 era, and you will see how crowded things were with new releases, particularly the After-Market stuff. It is actually quite shocking... Also striking are all the massive retailers/manufaturers that existed then that have now disappeared, with nothing even remotely resembling a replacement, Meteor being one of the more memorable ones...

  The fact that online retailers are not stocking even fairly recent items is a sign of slow sales, not of a hyperactive industry... This is how Squadron started to show signs of decline...

Quote, JTILLEY: "I'm no aircraft modeler, but I've been following with some interest the Eduard BF-109G "debacle." I didn't read the apparent mass of criticism that came when the kit was released, but sober heads seem to have established now that a lot of the criticism was unjustified - or at least blown out of proportion. The magnitude of the problem seems to depend largely on which set of plans one consults, or which other kit one considers the best.

In any case, I have to ask what I guess is an heretical question: If a kit's dimensions work out to 1/47 instead of 1/48, what difference does it make? Just why do we build models? What awful fate is going to befall us if we build something that's 2 percent off the scale dimensions? If I'm working on a wood ship model and I cut a piece 1/32" too big, have I committed some sort of unpardonable sin? To what standards is it reasonable to hold the manufacturers?

I've been at it for 58 years, and I just can't see what some of the fuss is about. The notion that a kit is no good because its wingspan is off by 2 mm (the biggest gripe I've seen about that Eduard kit) strikes me as almost irrational. From the manufacturer's standpoint, just how many people are out there who'll decline to buy a kit because it's 2 mm off? What percentage of the market do those people represent? Should the manufacturer really care about them?"

  Where did you get the 2 mm figure for wingspan? The actual figures are: Kit wingspan - 214 mm (original 9920mm / 48 = 206.6mm), so over SEVEN mms... 7.4 to be exact, or nearly fifteen inches... Variations in measurements with dihedral do occur, but they hardly amount to 1 mm (two inches)...

  If you ignore the overly broad fuselage base, it wittles down to around 3 mm, or around six inches, PER wingtop... I won't even go into the grossly overlength fuselage, the absurd square undernose, and the pitiful representation of just about every contour... And no, it is not proportional enough to be in another scale...

  I can't fanthom why you would spend three whole paragraphs to demonstrate you have not read the content of any of the threads related to this issue (or, perhaps more precisely, not read any of them without having made up your mind in advance)... 

  And no, unlike what some like T. Cleaver suggested, you can't just snip 2 mm off each wingtip and get anything that remotely resembles an accurate plan view. The fact that the manufacturer has committed to re-doing the entire moulds (even if there is some skepticism in the industry that they will pull-off such a monstrous and unprecedented correction) illustrates the magnitude of the disaster in their viewpoint.

 My impression is that such an apocalyptic outcome could only have happened because of hiring constantly changing computer design staff, as I am told computer CAD designers are in such high demmand they go wherever they please to the highest bidder. The inability of Eduard to pay enough to retain CAD designers is likely the root cause of this utter debacle, and this likely reflects a lack of revenue, or a misguided attempt to cut corners (as does the glacial pace, and small size, of most new releases). 

Quote, JTILLEY: "It looks to me as though the local hobby shop is almost extinct. I'm lucky to have one 35 miles away - and it really specializes in railroads and RC.  The decline of the hobby shop makes me sad. I have so many nice memories of the shops I grew up with. But I'm afraid the future lies with the internet sources."

  If that is so, then you've just stated there is no future, as whatever you may think of the LHS and toy stores, internet stores are just dwarves in the overall scheme of things... Sadly you may be right...

  Quote, JTILLEY: "They're the only ones who can come close to keeping up with the manufacturers. (Can you imagine a small, local business trying to stock, say, five of each of Eduard's new detail parts every month?) It seems that even the big internet stores like Squadron only stock the very most recent releases"

  They don't seem to stock much of anything since, like amost everyone else, I haven't bought anything from them in about five years, ever since the takeover and the disappearance of the flyers... The one time I tried to buy from them I just shook my head at their shipping conditions and how far they had fallen, and that was years ago... 

 Quote, JTILLEY: "But I've been wrong before. I can clearly remember the mid-seventies, when all sorts of people were predicting that the day of the scale plastic model was just about over."

  I think the ones who said that back then are the exact same ones who say today that he LHS doesn't matter, people who never built models will suddenly take it up at around fifty, and that the internet will inevitably save us...

  Gaston


 

 


 

 


 

 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Sunday, November 9, 2014 2:51 PM

Gaston, you  really know how to take the fun and enjoyment out of this hobby in your posts. While I don't think the hobby is in any better shape today than it has been in any one particular point in the past 45 years that I have been building, it certainly is a long way from dead. I see more kit selection now in 1/35 injection molded armor, with many more kits coming one day than I have seen in that field ever. Same with ships and 1/48 aircraft. I am more alarmed by things like Testors gobbling up and discontinuing their competitor paint lines, and now reducing the choices in their own line up now, than I am about new releases coming along. I have a stash thats big enough to last me the rest of my probable remaining life span (and then some) at my current build rate if I was to not buy one more kit as of today.

 

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

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    February 2007
Posted by mitsdude on Sunday, November 9, 2014 7:48 PM

My 10 year old grandson showed a spark of interest when he was about 8. He would come to me and want to work on his model but his interest would last 20 minutes at the most. He did finish two Star Wars snap kits but that was six months ago and he hasn't expressed any interest since.

  • Member since
    January 2012
  • From: Barrie, Ontario
Posted by Cdn Colin on Sunday, November 9, 2014 8:32 PM

The paint supply thing worries me the most.  It's hard to get up here by mail order, so if the LHS closes up, or major manufacturers reduce their lineup, we'll be hooped!

New kits aren't as big a concern to me.  If you're not picky, there are more kits out there than any person could build in a lifetime.  Even if you're picky; there's plenty out there.  To a new modeller, even a kit originally molded in the 60's is still a new kit to them.  I have a wish list of kits that exist long enough to keep me going for the rest of my natural life.

Other than paint, there is nothing being hand-wrung about that would prevent me from enjoying doing what I'm doing.  And that's the point of having a hobby.

In fact, compared to my youth, the internet has opened a whole new world of research.  I used to pick the  marking option by what looked coolest, or most interesting to me.  Now I choose the best back story.

I build 1/48 scale WW2 fighters.

Have fun.

  • Member since
    February 2007
Posted by mitsdude on Sunday, November 9, 2014 9:02 PM

While I'm a modeler I don't do what I would call the main stream stuff (aircraft, armor) mentioned in the above posts.

I do sci-fi, space, and 1/8ish figures. While there are subjects in these areas I would like to see done there is enough new stuff I can't keep up.

I have no opinion about Squadron. I've only ordered from them one time about 3 years ago. Since we are both located in Texas the sales tax kills any savings.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, November 9, 2014 9:03 PM

I sure would like to see some genuine, honest-to-goodness data on these topics. Just how many local hobby shops have gone out of business in the past decade - and how many new ones have opened? How do those figures compare with previous decades? What percentage of kits from Tamiya get sold in Japan? How many in the US? How many in Europe? What percentage of all plastic kits are sold over the web? How many in traditional hobby shops? How many in places like Hobby Lobby? Everybody's entitled to his/her opinion, but are Gaston's diatribes against 1/32 aircraft kits actually born out by sales figures? In the ship modeling realm, it's been said on several sites that Trumpeter's 1/350 Fletcher-class destroyer was designed by the company's "b team." Does anybody know that for a fact?

Here's another big one. Just how many of each kit gets produced? And when a wholesaler's stock of a particular kit is exhausted, how easy is it to restock? If Squadron wanted to restock the Airfix 1/72 Swordfish Mk I, would it be able to do it? Does Airfix still have any more of those kits in stock?

I can spout out profound-sounding guesses in answer to all those questions, but I don't actually know. And I tend to be more than a little skeptical of people who say they do.

I do sense that Squadron, for better or worse, isn't what it used to be. But does anybody in this forum know for a fact - from sources that actually know - what's going on there (if anything)? If so I wouldn't mind reading about it.

In this forum and other websites I see lots of "information" from people who act as though they have special insights into what they're talking about, but rarely do the manufacturers themselves let us in on what's actually happening. And few, if any, "investigative journalists" dig around behind the scenes in the hobby business.

Gaston referred above to "recent memory" as twelve to fifteen years. That (like so much else these days) makes me feel old. To Olde Phogies like me, anything since about 1980 is recent. I can remember clearly when the first Hasegawa 1/48 BF-109E was released, in (I think) the mid-seventies. It excited lots of modelers because it was the first genuinely new 1/48 WWII aircraft kit from a major manufacturer in several years - and the first 1/48 BF-109E since the Monogram one, which came out in the early sixties.

Things are a heck of a lot better now. Whether they're better or worse than they were in 2004 - well, I'm not competent to say. But I'm confident that the number and quality of kits today are better than in 1980.I certanly wish more and better kits were released every month. But as things stand know, the websites and magazines announce at least half a dozen WWII aircraft (ok, some are reissues) every month. And companies like Trumpeter and Zvezda seem to have a limitless ability ito come up with armor subjects that I've never heard of.

I'm not going to defend the Eduard BF-109G. My first inkling of the story was an article in Airfix Model World. The author concluded that much of the brouhaha was unjustified; that the wingspan was a little long and the fuselage probably was, and that there were two spurious bulges on the wing roots. Oh - and it had two little bumps representing the brackets for a sunshade that was unique to the BF-109F. He made corrections that satisfied him in about fifteen minutes - and I thought his finished model was masterful. No, I haven't read many of the emotional diatribes about it on the web; I find such things silly if not downright childish.

And I have to wonder why some of the people who write them build models. (I suspect most of them get their satisfaction from tearing down kits, and rarely build anything. But I don't pretend to know that for a fact.) And how many of them would be capable of building a model from scratch to a standard even remotely approaching what they say they expect from the manufacturers?

I know more about ship models than I know about any other genre (which isn't saying much). I think reliable data would confirm that styrene twentieth-century warship kits have been appearing in record numbers over the past ten or fifteen years, and still are. And their quality (with a few big bumps in the road) has improved steadily. If no future kits are better than that Trumpeter 1/700 Dreadnought, or the Dragon 1/350 Buchanan, I won't complain.

On the other hand, the plastic sailing ship kit is practically dead - and has been for more than thirty years. (Note: I said "practically.")

I don't think the hobby is going to die - certainly not in my lifetime. But I'll stick with the predictions I made in my earlier post. And I'll continue to hope I'm wrong.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    July 2011
  • From: Armpit of NY
Posted by MJames70 on Sunday, November 9, 2014 9:45 PM

You're never going to get anything more than anecdotal information, as most of these retailers and manufacturers are private concerns, not publicly held companies. Not that a little transparency wouldn't be good. For an example of a private company handling things well, read Steve Jackson Games annual 'stake'holders report - Here's last years - www.sjgames.com/.../stakeholders

I know of no one in the plastic industry being so candid. However, it is easy to tell things were not good at Squadron. Why? They significantly changed their business practices to be similar to their competition; ie, they were being hurt by them, probably severely.

Let me tell you how Squadron operated, up until quite recently. While they may have had good sales, their regular prices were very little less than MSRP. When you placed an order, that was it. You heard nothing from them. Over the next week or two, they might get around to picking, packing, and mailing your order. Then one day, usually in a 2-3 weeks, it would show up unannounced on your doorstep. Because they provided no tracking.

This continued well into the internet era, even after companies like Sprue Brothers, to name one, came along. What was different about Sprue? Well, their prices were better than Squadron. That's enough already. But the service was what was really better there.

Your order didn't languish for days or longer like it used to at Squadron. If early enough, you sometimes got things shipped the same day, and if not, the next business day. With that kind of service, and better prices, is it not hard to see why Squadron would be suffering, given their lazy practices. In short, companies like Sprue and others were simply willing to work harder and do more to get your business, while Squadron sat around on their a**.

Recently Squadron has improved, offering a bit better prices and service. It also seems like my inbox is flooded by them several times a week with 'specials' or 'flash' sales. It kind of reeks of desperation, and playing catch up now - a sign things were less than healthy there. 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, November 9, 2014 11:08 PM

My experiences with Squadron over the past forty years or so have been similar to MJames 70's. For a long time the place offered a great range of products (we always wondered how many it actually had in stock), ordinary prices (which, by avoiding shipping, we could usually beat at the local hobby shop), and mediocre service. Recently the service seems to have gotten better, and the prices seem to be pretty competitive with the competition.

Now, why? Is the company suffering from cash flow problems (i.e., not making enough money)? Or a shrinking customer base? Or does it genuinely want to improve service to keep up with the competition? Or did somebody in management retire, and get replaced by somebody with different ideas? (Precisely that happened a year or so ago at one of the major ship model suppliers, Model Expo. The president of the company went on one of the ship model websites and told us so. How often does an executive in the hobby industry do that?) About the only thing we can be sure of is that Squadron won't tell us.

The plastic kit business has always been tight-lipped. The horses' mouths rarely disclose even anecdotal information. Books like Dr. Thomas Graham's histories of Aurora, Revell, and Monogram make fascinating reading (and terrific nostalgia trips). He has lots of interesting stories that shed light on the earlier years of the hobby. (I particularly enjoyed the tale of the fight between Revell and Admiral Rickover about the cutaway sub George Washington. Rickover was furious that the kit was revealing classified information to the Russians. In fact the Revell designers had looked at one sketch in a popular magazine, and most of the detail sprang from their imaginations. We didn't hear that at the time.) But I think Dr. Graham would be the first to tell us that plenty of equally interesting, and influential, stuff went on behind the scenes that the companies still won't talk about.

From their standpoint, why should they?

The model manufacturers' relationship with their customers occasionally reminds me of a sign that used to hang in an office where I worked:  "I think I am a mushroom, because they keep me in the dark and feed me [organic fertilizer]."

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: Pineapple Country, Queensland, Australia
Posted by Wirraway on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 3:50 AM

Rising prosperity across Asia will also see more young people taking up the hobby, IMO.  I don't think we've ever had it better as far as the standard of some of the kits on offer, plus aftermarket stuff.  I have some modelling magazines from the early 70's, and we've come a long way since then.  I do fear that once the baby boomer generation is gone, the hobby will decline, at least in the Western world.

"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
    December 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 2:05 PM

well, nothing like resurrecting this thread from 2 years ago. Some points I would like to make:

The quality of kits has been in decline for the last decade or so? No new kits that are great and worth mentioning?  I totally disagree, I don't recall having so many great new kits come out in the last decade.  Cost however is a different matter.

I don't buy the age thing. Just because most kids aren't into it, as they have a much wider choice of activity, does not mean the hobby is dying. All it means is that demographics are changing.  Look at golf, less than 5% of golfers are under 30, I don't hear too many golfers worrying that their sport is dying.  So I think the jury is still out on this one.  

As I mentioned 2 years ago (!), the hobby seems much bigger in Asia now than when I was a kid. Back then, you can buy cheap models from your local grocery store. Just toys really, but now 15 LHS in HK within walking distances to each other.

Finally, LHS are suffering the same fate as Local book stores. The online retailers have taken over. However, books sales aren't down. In fact, NY Times just reported physical books sales went up, and digital books sales growth are slowing.. So despite the cries of the last 40 years, whatever decade the older generation worries the kids aren't reading anymore due to pool halls, stick ball, pinball, video arcades, video games, - take your pick, those kids grow up and are buying books.

Sorry, didn't mean to be long winded.

My website: http://waihobbies.wkhc.net

   

  • Member since
    March 2009
Posted by Gaston on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 4:10 PM

 Book sales are up? Online maybe, but the local Chapters (our local giant book store chain), after killing all the small bookshops,  has turned its whole first floor into a glassware/home decoration department store...

 Also, cognitive tests show reading time, reading comprehension and vocabulary have all declined sharply among youths in all industrialized nations, the more computer connected ones first and most, from the 80s forward. This is very relevant to modelmaking, because it belongs to the same category of interests: Interest into things that are not of the temporary here and now...

 To see why this is happening, I recommend "The shallows- What the Internet is doing to our brains": It explains, using the latest brain research, how the multiplicity of Internet choices is rerouting the brain's circuitry into a more capricious, shorter lived ability to concentrate, with more fidgety and stereotyped behaviour the result.

 Doesn't sound too promising for building models, methinks...

 Gaston

 P.S. Glad to see Ebooks are not doing all that well...

 G.

  • Member since
    January 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 8:03 PM

I still have my nook but use it for any free books I can put on it. I even have a few $.99 cents books in there as well. What's nice about ebooks is I can DL free samples to read then decide if I want to buy the actual book itself.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, December 18, 2014 7:24 AM

In my neck of the woods (eastern NC), the big barometer of book sales is the Barnes and Noble chain (which has crushed most of the competition). The B&N here in Greenville is indeed devoting more and more space to toys, games, and other non-book merchandise. But it has a good history section, which seems to be just as big as it was, say, ten years ago. And a good magazine rack, which has a good assortment of modeling magazines.

If I drive a hundred miles (a regular undertaking for folks in this town), I can choose from at least three two-story B&N stores in big malls. Surrounded by dozens of other retailers, they concentrate on books - though they also have pretty big video and CD departments. Maybe the terms of their leases restrict what they sell; I don't know. But they always seem to be busy, and their cash registers are always ringing. They look like they're doing just fine with book sales.

I am deeply concerned - as I have been for all the forty years that I've been a professional educator - that young people spend so little time reading. The problem shows up in their writing skills - or lack thereof. I just finished grading a stack of essay exams in sophomore/junior-level early American military history. There were papers in that stack that I would have been embarrassed to hand in when I was in junior high school. (If I had a dollar for every ROTC cadet whom I've taught to spell "soldier"....)

There is light in the darkness. I'm prepared to nominate J.K. Rowling for sainthood. But I'm bothered by the number of students who show up for class on the first day and are horrified to discover that I expect them to read four books in a semester. And all these people graduated from high school.

Last night my graduate assistant and I got together at the local Barnes and Noble cafe to average grades. My jaw practically fell off when I went through the door and saw (drum roll please) a display rack full of Airfix kits. The only competitors being Michael's and A.c. Moore's, B&N just may have become the biggest plastic kit dealer in Greenville, NC. Go figure.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: near Nashville, TN
Posted by TarnShip on Thursday, December 18, 2014 7:56 AM

Gaston, modelbuilding is doing just fine, and despite all the "informed" wondering about it, will continue to be just fine.

My evidence?,,,,,,,,,,Time

yup, that simple,,,,,,,,,model building has been "dying" since before the Internet was opened up to the public, we read about it in "letters to the editor" in old fashioned paper magazines. (maybe some of those letters are on the FSM DVD?)

When a discussion goes on for 30 years concerning whether something is "dying" or not,,,,,,,,it wasn't, and it isn't. Unless you are talking from the perspective of a 1 year old that somehow knows that Hank Williams was right and "I'm never going to get out of  this world alive",,,,,in which case, the hobby has been dying since the first model was put together.

Jtilley, I have read that Airfix has placed racks in B&N before,,,,,,but, our B&N is "a fer piece" from our normal shopping haunts, so I haven't had a chance to go and look. It sure is great news that those racks are there, though. That is the absolute perfect range of kits to introduce new modelers, young or old, to this hobby.

Rex

ps, another thought, to anyone that thinks that typing "fer piece" or "y'all" is the sign of illiteracy, it takes a fair amount of work to figure out just how to spell in that fashion, instead of correctly,,,,,,,don't'cha'no

almost gone

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Thursday, December 18, 2014 9:02 AM

yes, book sales are up. The fact that is online, I don't see being significant to the premise that people are reading less. If you want to talk about local book stores vs chains vs online, that's different. But it doesn't matter whether people are buying fastfood burgers from McDonald or Burger King if the premise is whether people are eating more fastf food. That's the same issue with our hobby, LHS by itself does not indicate overall trend of the hobby.  It's like saying since ATM's came out, there are less tellers, so the Banking industry is dying.

As for comprehension and reading skills, I don't see any real movement in the last decade. Here's a link that gives real #'s in that regard:

www.childtrends.org

My website: http://waihobbies.wkhc.net

   

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:28 AM

BlackSheepTwoOneFour

I still have my nook but use it for any free books I can put on it. I even have a few $.99 cents books in there as well. What's nice about ebooks is I can DL free samples to read then decide if I want to buy the actual book itself.

I've got a regular Kindle and a Kindle Fire HD, I use the heck out of the regular Kindle. Several thousands of books on my account. Bought books like the Game of Thrones books 1-5 ($19.99) and thousands of free books and a good handful of books priced 99¢ to $9.99.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Thursday, December 18, 2014 11:48 AM

Hey!  Gaston is back!  How about that?  I wondered where he was, when his nit-picking reviews disappeared from the forum.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, December 18, 2014 4:24 PM

In terms of college students (the group with whom I'm best acquainted), I think Waikong's probably right. My students' writing skills were abysmal ten years ago, and still are.

I realize college students aren't a representative cross-section of the population. That's what scares me. The university where I work doesn't have particularly high admissions standards, but the people who make it in are, in terms of high school grades and SAT/ACT scores, above the state and national averages.

As Olde Phogies like me have been saying for a couple of millennia, heaven help the world when the next generation takes over. I'm sure my parents' generation said the same thing about mine.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, December 19, 2014 10:03 AM

I find some people feel that electronic communications do not require using even elementary writing skills.  So forums like this are even worse than for hard copy.  But I agree that hard copy writing is really bad compared to what it used to be.

Even newspapers and magazines these days are full of grammatical and spelling errors.  And it is not just writing.  Spoken English is really bad these days.  I hate the 'redundant subject" that is so common these days.  "The President's plan, it just doesn't make sense."  " This high pressure area, it will slowly move to the northeast."  The sentence, it just isn't correct :-)

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, December 19, 2014 10:26 AM

Amen, Don. The phenomenon is especially common around high schools and universities. One of the reasons I'm looking forward to full retirement is the possibility of going twenty-four hours at a stretch without hearing the expressions "you know" and "and I was like...."

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Monday, December 22, 2014 11:50 AM

To be fair to today's kids, "like" and "you know" didn't start with them.  My 9th grade English teacher took great pains to break us of those habits, and that was in 1978.  If you said, "you know", in the middle of a sentence, he'd respond with,"No, I don't know.  Why don't you tell us?".  And if you used "like", he'd shoot back, "Is it like (the thing or topic), or is it (the thing or topic itself)?"  He used the same tactic for question inflection.  If your pitch went up at the end of a declaration, he'd ask, "Are you asking me or telling me?"  No one else took the trouble to point out those bad habits, and I have never forgotten him.  Mr. Clark, big fella, who was also an EMT.  He introduced us to Shakespeare, too, which I have also never forgotten.  Ah, those were the days...

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
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  • From: near Nashville, TN
Posted by TarnShip on Monday, December 22, 2014 12:07 PM

It was a very sad day for me when I found out that Shakespeare was not only not going to be mandatory for my children in high school, but, that those works weren't even available as an elective, either.

Granted, I have not had many conversations in 16th century English, but, some pretty important "non-fiction documents" were written in it, and one "book that shalt not be named on the internet"

Geeesh, just having read Shakepeare makes reading David Eddings' fiction a whole lot easier.

Rex (hoping that there is at least one other fan of Belgarath and Polgara on here)

almost gone

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    January 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Monday, December 22, 2014 5:02 PM

Shakespeare... good lord. I hated reading Shakespeare in high school English Lit class.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Monday, December 22, 2014 6:15 PM

Try reading Mein Kampf...  Lol! I am no huge fan of Shakespeare myself, but I can appreciate his work. And some of his writing still carries the same weight of impact and emotion that it did centuries ago...

 

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

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
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  • From: State of Mississippi. State motto: Virtute et armis (By valor and arms)
Posted by mississippivol on Monday, December 22, 2014 10:21 PM

"Cry, 'Havoc', and let slip the dogs of war" - Marc Antony from Julius Caesar. It's worth a reading, Blacksheep!

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 7:42 AM

Baron, it sounds like your ninth-grade English teacher was my kind of guy. I'm not sure such tactics would work today.

You're right, of course: "you know" and "like" have been plaguing the language for decades. (With my own ears, about twenty years ago, I heard one of my students say: "and the phone rang and I was like, 'hello?'")

Maybe it's my imagination, but the problem seems to have gotten worse lately - to the point that the typical undergraduate almost literally can't communicate without  a "like" or "you know" every few seconds. I don't think most of them are even conscious that they're doing it.

Young people's writing is worse. When I was an undergraduate (not a particularly good one), the professors routinely deducted one point for every misspelled word or grammatical error in an essay exam - in any subject. If I used the same system I'd literally be flunking almost everybody. When I get an undergraduate who does know the difference between "its" and "it's," or "to" and "too," I sit up and take notice. And when a student reminds me that "this isn't an English class," I just say, "there, their, they're."

I wish I had a dollar for every ROTC cadet who couldn't spell the word "soldier." Or "corps." Or for every underwater archaeology grad students who couldn't conjugate the verb "sink." Or for every military history student who mixed up "cavalry" and "Calvary," or "naval" and "navel," or "guerilla" and "gorilla," or "seaman" and...well, you get the picture.

Ahhh, retirement....I'll miss my students like I miss a departed relative, but I won't miss what they do to the language.

I also, however, have to be careful throwing stones from inside a glass house. When I've re-read my own posts on this Forum I've found some awful howlers.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 8:42 AM

Ah, High School Shakespeare.  For me, I did not like reading Shakespeare at all in HS, had to look up words every other sentence just to understand whats going on. Watching the play was worse, as there were no annotations. So gave up on it after the requirement, but a few years after college decided to give it another try.  Loved it and wind up reading 8-9 of his works.  Wonder how many of us were 'spoiled' in HS for great literature simply because we weren't ready or prepared for it.   Moby ***, however, I still reserve as a bloated piece of work that needed about 40% hacked out. :)

My website: http://waihobbies.wkhc.net

   

  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: near Nashville, TN
Posted by TarnShip on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 10:09 AM

This is getting to be a very entertaining thread.

I find myself reading and laughing internally at some of the gaffs that have been mentioned. I actually knew a Gunny (not my Uncle, a different one) that constantly spelled "Marine Corpse",,,,,,even after a smartaleck Corporal said "just copy it off of that flag"

I didn't like it at the time, but, when I look back I realize that I was blessed to have "old teachers" for most of my classes after about 8th grade or so. My 9th grade English teacher was literally teaching in her final year before retirement. She took a liking to me, and would give me books outside of the curriculum and just say "we'll talk about this after you read it",,,,,,since I read for recreation, that was a fun way to learn.

The history teacher I had in 10th grade for World History, and American history was constantly made fun of by the students because "he was a P_____", But, that old Pole taught history in America in the seventies after his family escaped Poland when he was a boy and landed in America. He might be one of the big reasons I got so interested in WW II, who knows? (he "brought something" to the subject that just reading me the textbook passages hadn't been doing)

Hmm, I seem to be doing the "rambling Auld Phart" thing again, but, y'all lit the fuze. Hahaha

Rex

almost gone

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