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Scale modelling in today's generation

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  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Somewhere near Chicago
Scale modelling in today's generation
Posted by Teenage Modeler on Friday, June 25, 2021 7:15 PM

I am a little sad to say that Scale modelling is not as popular as it was back then. In 80's movies, I would often see kids' bedrooms decorated with tons of model planes and ships and cars, as it used to be popular in the 80's. I would often wonder "Do kids today still do scale models?"

The answer is no. Not that no child is making models, there a lot of them, including me! It's just that it seems that there are less and less people of today's generation making models. The reason I picked this hobby is because of my dad. He did scale models when he was a kid too, just like all of you in this forum.

But it seems that I'm one of the few people I know that makes models. Most of the modellers I know are adults, and I only met very few people of my age making models. It is a bit sad to see that scale modelling is not popular in today's generation, but that's what I like about it, too. It's a quiet hobby, which makes me feel relaxed and comfortable, and makes me feel like I am a giant, making P-47's to other airmen in WW2. I like that feeling.

No signature needed, just my head!

 

 

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Denver
Posted by tankboy51 on Friday, June 25, 2021 8:24 PM

As a club member, IPMS, in the late 70's and onward, we thought the hobby was dying then.  It's something has always been going on.  I recall at an IPMS Natonal in the 80's that Tamiya models had no interest in ever doing any more armor kits, and maybe plastic would soon be gone.  And that was coming from a representative of Tamiya back then.  What did they know? (Sarcasm)

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Nashotah, WI
Posted by Glamdring on Friday, June 25, 2021 8:50 PM

After a visit to my LHS yesterday, I would estimate 1/5 of their shelf space was occupied by Gundam kits.  Somebody is obviously buying them, and I may be wrong, but I don't think it is Baby Boomers and Gen X'ers.

Even if the American market is shrinking, which one could probably make an argument either way since there is a question on the Census about model building, the Asian market has probably never been larger.   

Robert

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." 

  • Member since
    July 2015
Posted by MR TOM SCHRY on Friday, June 25, 2021 10:27 PM

I recently retired from being a public school teacher for 30 years.  I taught primarily at the elementary level(4th & 5th grades) and a few years at the middle school level(6th grade) and through the years I tried to incorporate modeling into my classroom.  I ran an after-school modeling club(principal told me that it was a waste of time), I tried incorporating modeling into my social studies and science curriculum.by using research skills, reading, and writing while building kits.  Afterwards I was  told by parents that while their kids loved it, the parents wanted it done after-school on MY time.  Finally, I tried bringing in my completed kits to go along with my lessons.  Monogram's wooly mammoth for the state's early history, Lindberg's paddle-wheeler for commerce on the Mississippi River etc.  For Christmas I bought kits from Revell's "Make & Take" program and we built them together at our holiday party.  Then when Revell stopped that program, I even provided an entire class with a model kit from my stash for a Christmas present with the hopes that they would sit down with a parent and build it over the holiday break.  Through these experiences I hoped that I could get a child hooked on our hobby.  I felt successful if I could get just one student interested in modeling.  Over the years students would often come back to visit me and the majority of them usually mentioned the models and how they felt that they were "cool".  In closing, when my school went into quarantine in March of 2020, I had two kits left behind by two students. They had brought them in to work on them with me during indoor recesses.  Knowing that they were leaving my school to go on to middle school, I emailed the two students and they asked me to take the kits home and finish them.  When I completed the kits, I sent them pictures via google meeting and they were very happy!  I plan to deliver the kits to them this summer now that Covid conditions are improving.  What I'm trying to say is that I think kids will enjoy our hobby if they have an adult to mentor them through those first kits.  Unfortunately, many of our kids do not have that adult figure in their lives that would be willing to do that for them.

TJS

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Northeast WA State
Posted by armornut on Saturday, June 26, 2021 1:16 AM

    TM you post an interesting thought. I say embrace the hobby, you are different than most kids of your generation. You seem to want to learn history, interact with people who experienced things you can only imagine...another good thing. You seek to build problem solving skills by doing EXACTLY what you are doing, asking questions. People who build models kinda don't fit the "norm", we are different, not bad thing. My best friend is 80+ years old, if you put a book cover from his high school years and mine together I promise you would have a hard time telling them apart. I'm 52. Enjoy your youth, STUDY HARD!!, and know you are building friendships that can ladt a lifetime. Your on the right track and us old folks will try to keep ya on the path. DO NOT worry about your peers....YOU DO YOU!!  If snifging glue and counting rivets makes you happy so be it. I almost promise you there is another young person out there that you'll come across and BOOM you families are vacationing at the next Nationals.....when your old enough to drive LOL. Hang in there kid you are in good company.

we're modelers it's what we do

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Saturday, June 26, 2021 8:52 AM

In the mid-50s I joined a noted model club in the Detroit area- the Detroit Balsa Bugs.  It was mostly adults.  There were four of us teens among thirty something adults.  Serious modeling was always an adult hobby.

Many of my friends tried model building, but didn't stick with it.  Like today, they had too many other interests- in that day it was 1:1 scale cars. I somehow managed to follow both hobbies.

I don't see much difference today, except more distractions.

 


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Somewhere near Chicago
Posted by Teenage Modeler on Saturday, June 26, 2021 9:09 AM

armornut

    TM you post an interesting thought. I say embrace the hobby, you are different than most kids of your generation. You seem to want to learn history, interact with people who experienced things you can only imagine...another good thing. You seek to build problem solving skills by doing EXACTLY what you are doing, asking questions. People who build models kinda don't fit the "norm", we are different, not bad thing. My best friend is 80+ years old, if you put a book cover from his high school years and mine together I promise you would have a hard time telling them apart. I'm 52. Enjoy your youth, STUDY HARD!!, and know you are building friendships that can ladt a lifetime. Your on the right track and us old folks will try to keep ya on the path. DO NOT worry about your peers....YOU DO YOU!!  If snifging glue and counting rivets makes you happy so be it. I almost promise you there is another young person out there that you'll come across and BOOM you families are vacationing at the next Nationals.....when your old enough to drive LOL. Hang in there kid you are in good company.

 

Thanks!

No signature needed, just my head!

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Vancouver, the "wet coast"
Posted by castelnuovo on Saturday, June 26, 2021 1:54 PM

Enjoy being one of the few Smile. I think lots of us current modelers were a bit of an odballs when we were kids. While everybody and his dog were playing football ( I am from Croatia) I was inot windsurfing with few of my oddball friends. Now in Canada, hockey is everywhere but I ended up in triathlons and ultramarathons. Always the odd one out. I also enjoy the quiet space, mostly building late in the evening, no music and just enjoying the quiet from the noisy workplace.

Happy modeling

 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Massachusetts
Posted by ajlafleche on Monday, June 28, 2021 8:18 AM

I clearly recall reading an article in the summer of 1982 that video games, i.e., PacMan, Centipede, etc. at the arcades was going to kill off scale modeling. The arcades are mostly gone. 

There are probably many reasons kids are not buying models. One is the cost. In my youth, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, you could get a 1/24 or 1/25 model car for $1.49 ($1.14 at my local discount department store) Those same kits in reissue from the same molds can retail for almost $30. 

I suspect some of the disinterest comes from helicopter parents who fear the effects of glue fumes, paints, and, God forbid, sharp implements. Thesse are the people who schedule their kids' every minute with soccer practice, family time and play dates. (Old codger mode: Who thought of "play dates?" We just went to somebody's house and went out and played.) 

Manufacturers are hurting themselves, too, by over engineering their kits with complex assembly and nearly microscopic parts. They do this to meet OUR demands but shut out the beginner. 

As a club, we've done a number of make and takes. No matter the interest shown at the event, we've never had a single kid return to the club or show up at a contest. 

Remember, if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Monday, June 28, 2021 10:29 AM

For all the talk of the hobby dying out and blowing away...which I recall being just as vocal in those long-ago days when I was a teenager...there are more varied and better-quality choices for whatever sort of modeling may catch one's interest than at any time in history. We'll never again see the age of 80-cent kits at the 'five and dime'...but the society that fostered those days has grown up, moved on, and -- for good or ill -- become something none of us in that time would have recognized.

The real tell is that probably none of us came into the hobby because it was 'the cool thing to do' (in the eyes of most of our peers, at least)...and certainly not because 'the ladies just can't resist a scale modeler'...but simply because most of us have the drive to build stuff imprinted in our DNA. And that will never change...

...at least until more effective forms of gene therapy become available. Big Smile

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
dlh
  • Member since
    March 2017
  • From: Chambersburg, PA
Posted by dlh on Monday, June 28, 2021 10:34 AM

This made me think of one episode of James May's "Toy Stories" in which a group of middle schoolers help him build a 1:1 replica of the Airfix Spitfire model.  You should try to see it.  I watched it on Amazon Prime.

To motivate the kids, he has them build model tanks.  They then plan to blow them up  and film the action.  One kid refuses to destroy his because it's something he's made.  I said out loud, "That's my kind of kid".  So they're still out there, somewhere.

Dave

(I taught middle school kids so I can completely understand a kid feeling that way.)

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