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What's current state of plastic modeling hobby?

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  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 12:26 PM

Yes, I do think it's gotten worse in the past 20 years or so, maybe 25 years, and I think that the ever-growing impact of electronic media contribute to it.  There have also been trends in education (dare I say, in pedagogy?) away from teaching English using the tried-and-true methods of learning rules and vocabulary and then practicing them.  There has been a decline in teaching basic writing--essays and compositions aren't nearly as common as they used to be.  I remember someone on the radio--maybe Dennis Prager--talking about reading letters written by the young soldiers in the Civil War, and many of them were far better than anything written by graduate students today.  Not only in their grammar, but in their style.  Their education gave them exposure to the classics, Roman and Greek authors, and of course, they were all supremely literate in the Bible.  So they could make allusions and references that are lost on the average high school student today.

Television and visual media contribute more than a little to this decline, too.  Understood that there is very good content to be found, but generally, there isn't a lot that challenges the mind, and also, we process visual data far differently than we do auditory data or data we read.  Radio and print are still better, generally, to get most ideas across, that a stream of images accompanying the audio.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 1:03 PM

I certainly agree. It's not at all unusual for students in my sophomore/junior-level classes to tell me that they've never taken an essay exam, or written a 10-page paper, before.

My wife, a high school social studies teacher, would cry out that it's not fair to blame the teachers, and I agree with her - up to a point. But the English teachers in her school think teaching grammar or syntax is beneath their dignity. If they don't teach the kids to write, who will?

It's extremely unusual for me to get an undergraduate student who can write at what I'd call eighth-grade level. Some of them meet the definition of functional illiteracy. The grad students face stiff competition to get in; their writing is generally satisfactory, and sometimes downright good.

I think another big factor is that young people don't READ as much as they used to. I learned as much about writing from C.S. Forester, Arthur Conan Doyle, Nicholas Monsarrat, and several dozen other novelists and non-fiction authors as I did from any of my English teachers. When my stepson graduated from high school, in 1997, he swore he'd never read another book as long as he lived. This from a kid who'd been raised by two professional educators, in a house overflowing with books. Seventeen years later, so far as I know, he's kept his vow.

But (I always tell myself) then there's Harry Potter. As far as I'm concerned, J.K. Rowling deserves some sort of medal for convincing millions of kids that reading is cool - and fun. I like to think the writing skills of the next generation of college freshmen will be at least a bit better.

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 1:14 PM

When we do such comparisons, I always wonder how the literacy rate affects how we interpret the results. Based on some #'s I've found, only 80% of white Americans and 12% of African-Americans were considered literate , compare that to over 99% literacy rate we now have. The letters you read chosen for books are usually of course, well written and heart felt. At the same time, I've read many from 1780's for example, that were almost impossible to read due to grammar and spelling.  It seems to me spelling wasn't even 'standardized'.  Just some more points to ponder over.

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

   

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by ApplePotato on Monday, January 5, 2015 6:10 PM

I am 28 and I am planning to return to model building :) now that i have the extra cash and time. When I talked to my girlfriend about it she didn't even know such a thing existed lol. She is now very excited about building them with me during the rainy days when we have to stay home.

Anyways I don't think we have anything to worry about. Doing a quick search there are at least 3 to 4 forums in Chinese dedicated to scale modeling with 10,000 + subscribers. We are seeing less young modelers because scale modeling has kind of turn into an art form with a high entry cost. I grew up in HK i can still remember back then kits were rarely painted and they were cheap. I build them with nothing more than a pair of scissors and cement. Now days if you look at the beginners guide to modeling on google you seem to need 100 different tools and a shelve full of paint. It is a big turn off for kids trying to get in to the hobby.

  • Member since
    January 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 11:44 AM

I agree. What kind of message is the hobby sending to new hobbists telling them they need 100 different types of tools? When I first started this hobby, I didn't know better  (snap parts off sprues by hand, paint car bodies by hand, not letting glue dry for a bit, etc...). Then my grandfather knew a couple tricks or two by giving me a pair of cutters, small hobby knife, spray paint, and an endless supply of turpentine to clean brushes after painting. (This is going back to the 70s mind you).

For a beginner, I say follow the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method until he/she gains some confidence to tackle the next phase in improving themselves. No need to overwhelm them with 100 "must-have" tools at first. Start with a pair of sprue cutters, glue, paint bottle/rattle can spray paint, a few cheap cosmetic nail files for sanding.

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • From: Nampa, Idaho
Posted by jelliott523 on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 11:53 AM

I totally agree BlackSheep, I have started my son on his very first kit recently.  No fancy tools, other than letting him borrow my sprue cutters.  I got him his own Testors Acrylics in the little plastic paint pots and some non-toxic glue.  He asked me if I would teach him how to use my airbrush.  I told him that I would teach him eventually; however, I first want him to learn to follow the directions step-by-step and paint using only the brush and using the traditional glue.  I will help him if and when he asks, but I have explained to him that I want him to learn how to complete a model the way I learned.  He is excited and has been looking at other kits now on what he wants to do when he finishes his current build.

On the Bench:  Lots of unfinished projects!  Smile

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 11:57 AM

BlackSheep makes a really good point. There's always been a problem getting started in model building. The newcomer either goes into the hobby blind, or gets confronted by books, magazines, forums, etc. that are overwhelming in their sophistication.

It's a particular sore point in ship modeling. There are few good, reliable books on that subject that are aimed at beginners and written by people who know what they're talking about. The knowledgeable modelers tend to write sophisticated books (and articles, and forum posts) that demonstrate their own skills and knowledge, which were acquired through years of experience. The "beginner books" tend to be written by people who never got much beyond beginner status themselves. (I'll refrain from mentioning examples.)

The situation for aircraft, armor, car, and railroad modelers is much better. FSM (the magazine) is one of the best places I know of for beginners to get good, knowledgeable advice that will have practical use. And Kalmbach publishes several good books that are aimed at newcomers.

It's a great hobby. Those of us who enjoy it need to be encouraging newcomers - not scaring them off.

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 Wednesday, January 7, 2015 1:02 PM

I agree with you guys there. I recently went on a business trip via air and wondered could I do some modeling in the hotel.  Took a small kit, a spruce cutter, and a tube glue that came free with a kit. Spent a few hours putting sub assemblies together, man, what fun, just like when I has a kid.  BTW, TSA didn't balk with the spruecutter in my toiletry bag. :)

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

   

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 1:20 PM

Thats because sprue cutters are similar to nail cutters, but without that deadly fold out nail file...

 

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: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 2:50 PM

Land this plane now, or I'll give you a bad manicure!

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

   

  • Member since
    January 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 2:54 PM

My grandfather gave me cutting pliers similar to these:

www.lowes.com/pd_445713-48246-KDT82000_4294857582__|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=

I still use them to this day.

  • Member since
    January 2021
Posted by scared and confused on Thursday, January 21, 2021 5:29 AM

To answer Q1, I believe there is still a large community of modelers, just not as you might know it. At my highschool there are a handful of people into the hobby but  less the cars, planes, trains and boats that you may be used to. They are instead interested in the newer warhammer and other rp games (some are based on the devil itself, video games) have a huge following of younger people. The hobby is simply evolving like any good community. If there was no change I think even veterans would move on from the hobby, imagine if you couldnt order that one really obsure paint that is crucial to your model online and had to luck out in a store or simply take an L and mix it yourself. Kids these days also just have a lot more school to worry about, more exams, more homework. Less freedom from parents also meanas some kids just cant get model kits. 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, January 21, 2021 9:48 AM

You bring up an interesting point Scared, the gaming community. Not the video gamers, but the folks who play their games with physical pieces that they build and paint. Those have been around for decades, although some of the games have faded into obscurity. Star Fleet Battles and Micro Armor are two that I can think of that do not have the followings that they once did. You could call gaming a cousin of scale modeling, related, but still different. The gaming builds tend to be more robust in construction. 

As for school... well all I can say is make the most of it and enjoy what you can. I wish I hadn’t been in such a hurry to grow up, and had spent more time reveling in being a kid. In a few years life gets a lot harder for most folks when you have to take on the tasks of feeding yourself, paying the bills to put a roof over your own head, and the job necessary to do such things. The spare time and cash for a hobby or activity becomes a true luxury.

 

 

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

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    June 2010
Posted by montague on Thursday, January 21, 2021 2:35 PM

scared and confused

To answer Q1, I believe there is still a large community of modelers, just not as you might know it. At my highschool there are a handful of people into the hobby but  less the cars, planes, trains and boats that you may be used to. They are instead interested in the newer warhammer and other rp games (some are based on the devil itself, video games) have a huge following of younger people. The hobby is simply evolving like any good community. If there was no change I think even veterans would move on from the hobby, imagine if you couldnt order that one really obsure paint that is crucial to your model online and had to luck out in a store or simply take an L and mix it yourself. Kids these days also just have a lot more school to worry about, more exams, more homework. Less freedom from parents also meanas some kids just cant get model kits. 

 

Thanks for the post I hope the gaming commmunity does grow a lot and you get into it!

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, January 21, 2021 2:46 PM

We are in the Golden Age of Scale Modeling.There is an explosion of highly detailed kits in every genre, loads of aftermarket accessories and dozens of paint and weathering supply companies.Never mind Tigers,Panthers,Sherman’s, Mustangs, and Spitfires.There are many obscure kits we wouldn’t have dreamed of decades ago.The internet is full of information and forums, and magazine racks still have many magazines for sale.

No doubt this is the best of times for our hobby.

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