Friday, 18 November 2016

Annual State of the Hobby Address.

My fellow modellers,

These are changing times in our scale modelling world.  As a group of hobbyist's we often stand apart......

We are a body of people who on the whole build models for pleasure and over time most of us become more interested in growing as a modeller or artist. We strive to improve our ability to build, paint, detail and weather our models to our own mind's eye idea of perfection. We never achieve perfection of course and there is always someone out there who will point out something wrong or inaccurate with your work. It's usually one's self but the rivet counters are always only too happy to help!

Of course there are others who simply want to build and that's it. No gimmicks, they just want to behold the simple pleasure of braking parts from a sprue and gluing them together to make something. Oh what a simpler, happy age that was.........

Over recent years I have seen incredible changes in our hobby and for the most part I would put forward the case that they have been to the benefit of the scale modeller. 

With the internet we have massive image and information resources, dedicated web sites to the hobby and of course all of those forums, facebook pages and excuse me, blogs.

I have recently seen online a growing divide between certain groups within our hobby.  I had a sense of it in remarks read on forums and words spoken at model shows are far back as three years ago but now I see and hear it even more and it is becoming in my opinion, a problem for the hobby as a whole.

Where is our hobby now?

The Model shop? The Local Hobby Store? When is the last time you went to one? 

The shops have to charge more than the web store to pay for their business overheads and in so doing price themselves out of the market. We have all seen the local model store shut down and we remember it through rose tinted lenses. It was a great place to hang out, buy stuff and learn from others. I do still miss that. I miss going to Phil's shop on a Saturday morning and chatting over his latest commission build or new kits in stock over a cup of coffee. It was a real pleasure part of the hobby. It was sharing our hobby.


I rarely attend model shows these days either. I used to visit almost all of the important ones on the calendar  and throughly enjoy them but over the years I have developed an intense dislike for what I call the "Modelling Elite" By this I mean the small number of  grumpy, anti-social, know it all's I seem to encounter at shows. Why are people like that? You know, if I come over to your display table and say Hi and I'm interested in your work it would be nice if you'd actually engage me in conversation. You don't want to share your thoughts and idea's or even just be polite? Why show up in the first place? Is there some sort of rivet counters special handshake I am not aware of?

I tell you, the number of times I have been at Telford and politely asked someone "How did you get that paint effect?" or "Hey-That's brilliant weathering! Would you mind telling how you did that?" And they look at me like something that they just stepped in and make it obvious that they do not wish to be bothered. That sucks. You know what else? It puts me off the show experience too. 

I know the "Modelling Elite" are few in number but I am tired of meeting them online and at shows. They are one of the major things that is wrong with our hobby now. When they begin to start tearing into someone's work or opinion online and being obnoxious and negative it's there for all to see. When newcomers to our hobby see this it puts them off joining in, asking questions and sharing their work. No wonder there are so few people coming into the hobby now! 

If you are new to the hobby, don't let these fools get you down! They are like that because they having nothing else in their sad lives to look forward to! There are some great online modelling communities out there and you are bound to find one that is right for you. 

So we have the Industry bubble, the Rivet Counters, the Modelling Elite and then the rest of us. 

The Industry is doing some great things right now, producing high-end kits with great detailing and engineering. There is a lot of competition out there and each manufacturer wants your cash to buy their latest offering. 

The number of new painting and weathering products has become overwhelmingly generous! You can buy a separate wash for your lading gear now? How many types of glue? The list goes on......

Hey! Don't get me wrong here! I use many of these new fangled washy, sticky things myself and they are great! Companies like Mig Ammo and AK Interactive are changing the way we paint and finish our models. 
Tamiya, Eduard, Meng , Bandai and AMK are consistently raising the bar when it come to quality of kit engineering and production, this is all good for us. For us who are still in the hobby that is. 

This hobby is so strong at the moment but will it be so ten years down the line? I am not so sure. There are no cheap new kits coming onto the market and those that are at the lower end of the price bracket are often not well received. Never before has the saying "You get what you pay for" been so relevant. If this hobby is to survive, it needs newcomers. So let's see some cheaper, good quality introductory kits out there please. Give the novice modeller a great kit at a great price. 

The Rivet Counters and the Modelling Elite are the ones who will run this hobby into the ground and they are too pre-occupied with their own B/S to see it. They have put me off a lot of forums and there are only a select few I visit now, more often than not just to share a latest work and see what the feedback is like. Then there are certain forum moderators who really think they are better than the rest of us and they ban and suspend their own members at will in some bizarre power trip that does not impress anyone. If that's you, get over yourself!  It's only a hobby! And those of you who spend hours arguing over a certain shade of gray or blue paint-Get a life already! This hobby does not need uptight, winging ,  expert rivet counters! 

Then there are the rest of us. The folks who actually build and paint model kits and enjoy it. You my friends are what is really great about this hobby. I see your posts on forums, marvel at your models and I take pleasure and enjoyment from the sharing of our great hobby. There are so many of us out there enjoying what must surely be the golden age of scale modelling. I hope the likes of us can improve the state of our hobby to pass it on, in good health to the next generation. 

As always I wish you well and Happy Modelling.