A few episodes back, the Plastic Posse Podcast guys were discussing differences between aircraft and armor modelers and came down on the opinion that armor modelers are, generally, a friendlier bunch than aircraft modelers. (note: if anybody wants to help me remember the episode, I’ll gladly update to reflect)
At the time, I didn’t really agree with their assessment. While I primarily focus on aircraft, I dabble in armor as well, and I get to interact with modelers of all stripes and persuasions. And at first blush, I don’t see much difference between the two outside of the obvious subject nuances.
But something about it stuck in my mind. And over the past few weeks, I’ve been chewing on it and come to find that I agree with Doug, Scott, TJ and JB, albeit for different reasons than the ones they gave.
Right for the wrong reasons
Let me be clear right out of the gate. Tons of aircraft modelers are warm, generous, lovely people. Most of the contingent I tend to run with at the local Texas shows are aircraft guys. If I had to stick a label on myself, I’m an aircraft guy.
But here’s the difference. There is a slice of the aircraft modeling community that I just do not see among armor modelers. A slice that is snide, condescending, petty, dogmatic, self-important and gatekeeping.
In other words, there’s a slice of assholes among aircraft modelers. And they’re a drag on the community.
What do I mean, exactly?
Another disclaimer is in order. I am not omniscient. I do not have eyes on every forum or group in the hobby. This is my take, based on my perception of the places where I do follow the conversations. It’s also in no way scientifically or statistically anything, since conducting any kind of survey would be the wildest of goose chases.
As this asshole epiphany clicked into place, I found myself going down the list of eyerolling annoyances that can be found in this hobby. And every single one stems from – again from my experience – aircraft modelers. Let’s run through a few, shall we?
Paint “rules”. Spend any amount of time in any modeling community, be it a forum or social media or in person, and you’ll run across various paint dogmas. You must put down a gloss coat before decals. You can’t spray lacquers over acrylics. You have to use the manufacturer’s recommended thinner. None of these are true, and they are easily disproven by doing your own shit at your own bench. By spraying lacquers over acrylics. By putting decals down on sandpaper without silvering. By using MLT with everything. Yet they persist again and again and again.
Armor modelers are the ones who do crazy shit like thinning Vallejo with MLT or make a sprayable paint slurry out of weathering pencils. And sure they don’t have to deal with anywhere near the same number of annoying decals as aircraft builders – but those decals often have to go down over zimmerit or cast texture or prominent bolts or pistol ports or whatever. There seems to be more understanding that a gloss coat is not going to get you to a smooth surface, because often that smooth surface just doesn’t exist.
The hobby is dying. I don’t feel like I see this as often anymore, but whenever I do, it’s coming from aircraft or car guys, usually combined with bemoaning the death of the local hobby shop and some vague aspersions cast toward “kids these days”. No such attitude among armor modelers. Why? Maybe it’s the steady stream of new, very good kits. In the past few years, Meng, Takom, Rye Field, Border and others have appeared on the scene and thrived. Trumpeter has seriously upped its quality. Tamiya keeps pumping out a small-but-steady stream of new releases, and have singlehandedly stood up 1/48 as a viable armor scale. Maybe it’s the World of Tanks-inspired interest from younger modelers.
Assembler vs. Modeler. Armor seems to have a much more live-and-let-live attitude. Want to scratchbuild something that’s not kitted? Awesome! Want to build out of the box? Cool. Only want to build fall-together kits? More power to you. Want to buy aftermarket tracks? Avoid these, they’re rubbish. There seems to be a tacit acceptance that different people have different preferences. I’ve never seen anyone shamed for building a Meng Whippet and not wanting to fuck with the woeful old Emhar kit. Mike Rinaldi says he doesn’t waste his time with subpar kits, and nobody calls him an assembler.
But in the aircraft world? Get an aftermarket instrument panel and some wanker will say you’re cheating. Is a kit engineered poorly? Are resin exhaust cans too small or too large in diameter to match the kit you’re working on? Get ready to be met with the assertion that you must be an assembler and that real modelers don’t say anything and fix whatever is wrong. There’s a fundamental lack of understanding that what comes in the box or the sleeve and the act of fixing it are two different things. Or, no, I’m convinced that understanding is there, but it’s trumped by the desire to condescend and to puff yourself up at the (perceived) belittling of others. But it’s never, ever the manufacturer’s error.
In armor, when this comes up, it’s much healthier. More along the lines of…Takom really fucked the football there, and that’s super annoying, but here’s a way around it.
A crew chief would never… Want to weather an aircraft? Guess what! Even piles of reference photos won’t be enough to convince some quarters that aircraft get dirty or that your weathering is true to the subject (and…who even says it has to be…modeling is what you want it to be…but that’s another post). In armor this does show up from time to time, usually with the whole “tanks only survived for a few weeks” argument. But that’s not entirely true, is usually applied to things like rust, and whatever the case, there’s more acceptance of stylized approaches.
Just be grateful… Every time some second or third-tier producer shits out a marginal tool of an aircraft subject, it gets defended by “just be grateful someone makes a kit at all”, usually appended with some of that modeler vs. assembler bullshit laid out a few paragraphs up.
Well, except for Trumpeter for some reason. Any little error (and they certainly make them) gets amplified as a fatal flaw that makes the kit garbage. My favorite example of that is the casual dismissal of Trumpeter’s 1/32 109s. Nevermind that there’s a thriving aftermarket trade in parts to correct all the misses on the Hasegawa kit.
Again, armor seems more clear-eyed. It’s possible to mix a degree of gratitude with a degree of regret that a kit gets this and that and this other thing wrong. Or to put them on blast for poor fit, lackluster surface detail, dumb tracks. If the drive sprockets don’t fit the tracks, that’s the manufacturer’s fuckup to own (or in some cases, aftermarket track makers).
Rotten apples and whatnot
I think that’s enough for you to get the gist of what I’m talking about. And as we know from Star Wars fans and vegans, a slice of assholes can color perceptions of the entire group, and drive people away.
I can only imagine what a newcomer to the hobby makes of the shitty drama that seems to infect corners of the community. I can’t imagine condescension and gatekeeping draw people into the community, or encourage them to actively participate. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe younger gundam modelers love being told that what they do isn’t real modeling by some smug old white guy clutching his Airfix kits like they’re Sauron’s ring.
Why the assholes?
Why are they more prevalent among the aircraft community? Fuck if I know. The only guess I can even hazard is that aircraft kits have a generally longer history than armor. That’s not to say that armor is like some recent discovery, but when you hear English dudes go on and on about buying bags of Airfix kits from the chemist or whatever the fuck, it’s always planes. Armor, seems to me like it was a red-headed stepchild for longer, so maybe its tropes didn’t ossify quite the same way.
Tips on not being an asshole
These are pretty simple.
First is that golden rule of treating others the way you’d like to be treated.
Second, play the ball, not the man. Don’t take it into the personal. Especially over shit that’s objective.
Don’t conflate things. A kit comes in a box. Skills don’t. Neither do patience or inspiration or stubbornness. So just fucking discuss what’s in the box.
Understand that modeling is actually many hobbies. Not everybody wants to scratchbuild or weather or pursue absolute accuracy. A kit that gets the shape of an intake slightly wrong might be fatally flawed to you, but that may not be a big deal to someone else. You may prioritize engineering and fit while someone else likes the challenge of fighting an old kit. You may prefer painting to building, or building to painting. And you know what? It’s ALL FINE. It’s possible to respect and embrace different preferences instead of being a gatekeeping shitditch who insists that every has to enjoy their hobby the way you do if they’re to be “real modelers”.
Learn to give a fuck and not give a fuck at the same time. Look, for almost all of us, this is a hobby. And that means two things. First, it means it’s a matter of passion for us. We can absolutely go deep and geek out over minute things, be they subject details, techniques, tools, execution, photography, whatever. Second, being a hobby also means that modeling is a leisure activity. It’s a frivolous pursuit that is in no way, shape or form life or death. Or even financial hardship or malnutrition. It’s all just fucking plastic that we slather with chemicals. By all means, go down the geek rabbit hole, but try to keep in mind, as you do, that you’re doing so because you like it, and you want to, and in the bigger scheme of things, it’s a silly diversion from real life.
Or maybe just…build armor? I guess?
38 Comments Add yours
Nice article. It seems to be a quirk of human nature to get wrapped up in such things. I’ve seen clubs of various kinds fall apart because they took the hobby way to seriously, and it became a power trip. Usually the club broke up because that over-zealous person worked into a leadership position before everyone else realized their mistake.
My guess is that armor modelers vs over-zealous aircraft modelers are different because of the nature of the subject. It’s like Air Force vs Army. One side is highly technical and frets over the small details because, hey, it really is rocket science, and small details make the difference between success and kaboom. The other side gets by with rough-cut steel pieces bolted together with only the barest amount of tolerances, and knowing that it’s going to get into a cycle of getting beat up, repaired, beat up, repaired, and so on.
I like doing both subjects. Armor is fun because if I goof up a seam, hey, it’s a lazy weld from the factory, or I can mud it up and you won’t see it. Aircraft requires more detail, because I can’t make up such excuses for a bad join.
I’m not familiar enough with the aircraft crowd to qualify your observations about it, but I can very much confirm those about the armor guys. They remind me of drummers. Always willing to help and glad you’re digging whatever it is you happen to be digging (and help you with it if it happens to be a shitty kit).
You’re totally right about drummers. Goalies in ice-hockey are exactly like drummers, too.
and I’m astounded by how many of us who enjoy armour modelling are drummers, I’ve heard that one so often now, very bizarre!
When the subject of “bad kits” comes up, the one kit that should win the all-time award as the “absolute worst kit” is DML’s Nashorn kit released back in the early 90’s. With this abomination, more than a few of the major parts didn’t even come close to fitting. There were parts of the Nashorn left out of the kit, and by that I mean that these parts were entirely overlooked and forgotten in the process of producing this kit. It’s totally inexplicable how something like this was allowed to get through the factory doors let alone onto store shelves. This kit was well beyond FIXING.
Well written and to my mind quite true
Couldn’t agree more. These anal-retentive ‘experts’ poison the hobby and discourage all us amateurs who try to enjoy their hobby and learn new skills along-the-way – with all the mistakes, miscues, inaccuracies, etc. in the kits we build. They also can have an outsized influence on other modellers and their buying decisions and can undermine new kit releases and ruin prospects for new model companies, especially when they’re just launching their business and relying on the success of their multi 100s of thousands of dollars of investment.
I am SO grateful to all the entrepreneurs who risk their life savings to commission/design, manufacture and market all the kits, figures, decals, PE and other aftermarket stuff we’ve grown to expect and which has made this the ‘golden era’ of scale modelling.
I’ve been modelling since the mid-60s as a little kid. I actually left the hobby for decades after getting some pretty good novice builds ripped by some ‘experts’ in a couple of contests [ mind you…there was also girls, school, work, marriage, kids…:) ] SO I’m just getting back in after a protracted absence. I can’t believe how blessed we are with all the supports (websites, YouTube, magazines, books, etc.) available to our hobby. So ya, we need to drown out these rivet-counting clowns who make the rest of us feel inferior. Could on and on, but I think I’ve said enough. Horrido! Tally-Ho! and Geronimo!
Well, to be clear, I don’t really have a problem with rivet counting, it just needs to recognize its place as one aspect of the hobby. I also think it’s been diluted into a vague “anything I don’t like”, kinda like how Republicans throw around “socialism”.
There’s being passionate about accuracy and there’s being an asshole and they don’t need to intersect, but that’s a whole other post.
Funny article. Enjoyed it. I’m guessing people you are referring to may have a hint that you are referring to them. Being relatively new to the hobby, I can’t say I relate to the experiences.
I didn’t quite understand the “smug old white guy” comment. I thought we’re all trying to get away from those labels. I doubt you would have said, “smug old black guy”. Throw in, “old” as well. Young guys aren’t smug? Black guys aren’t smug?
“smug old white guys” are a real problem though. Nothing wrong with being an old white guy (I plan on being one in the future), but there are a lot of toxic attitudes that come up from time to time that are almost always coming from old white guys. I see posts all the time on modelling facebook groups about how awful they think kids these days are, and some of these groups have me wondering if I wandered into a John Birch Society group by mistake.
Well, it’s relational to the younger modelers mentioned in the same sentence. But it’s also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an example of an old black guy or a middle-aged woman gatekeeping and dismissing gundam kits as “not real modeling”.
Matt, Enjoyed your analysis and must say that I cannot disagree. You are obviously a smart and talented young man.
But, I must also say that your use of the F word does bother me some as I am an old country boy raised in the bible belt.
Still I have followed along with your modeling post as they are most informative and entertaining. Thank you sir, John S
I never recognized it before but you are on to something. Having lived in southern and northern California, this attitude is all too prevalent. It can be funny but can also turn people off. I stopped going to one club because of a single aggressive asshole; he ruined it for everyone and could not be reined in.
It may have to do with the topic itself. Aviation inherently involves a high degree of precision and attitude. As former USAF aircrew I am well aware that many non-flyers think flyers are assholes, sometimes with good reason.
So, do assholes become aircraft modelers, or do aircraft modelers become assholes?
Another great post Doogs. Well thought out and written. And as an Australian I applaud how the article is appropriately peppered with the word fuck. Bravo!
I don’t met any other modellers, just read what people write in different forums. I think you are right, most of all that you sjåhould build, paint and encourave others, maybe give a helpful tip here and there. There are three gates to pass before you criticise; 1. Is it true? 2. Is it necessary (not for you, for the recipient, mind you), and 3. Is it considerate and caring? If not, then don’t say it. Maybe these people don’t enjoy building model kits?
Excuse the bad spelling, Swedish keyboard.
Thank you! I’ve been in the hobby since the 1970s. I’ve seen quantum leaps on the industry side. Unfortunately, the attitude of some seems to be inherent in whatever interest the builder selects. I know armor builders who consistently refer to aircraft as “wingy-thingy”! Really?! Builders of this ilk fail to understand that 99.9% of the outside world think we’re stealing some child’s toys!.
On another side, I enjoy your postings, both here and on YouTube. I learn something each time. Please keep it coming!
Yours in a Box of Spare Parts!
Matt your analogy is spot on
Well done sir
Good posting there mate. Very true and articulated well. We all hate a rivet counter!!
Somewhere along the way, rivet counter became a kind of all-purpose pejorative, but I really have no problem with them. I want sticklers for accuracy.
IMO it goes wrong when 1) someone “rivet counts” to build themselves up at the expense of others or 2) it’s assumed that accuracy trumps all other factors in modeling.
Like – the information itself is useful. But don’t guilt someone if they decide to build something with a slightly off shape to the windscreen, or if they don’t feel like scribing in some random access door.
Well said Doog! Rivit counters are good! Creative types are good! Enjoy what you do, get better at it, learn from others and don’t worry about others opinions.
Well written piece there mate and very accurate in observation. Its a hobby after all!!
My internet connection with modeling has been mostly with the Finescale Group Builds – not hard core and I can’t recall a single nasty word. (Sadly, Finescale’s forums rarely work anymore and no one at Kalmbach seems to care.) I have found that if I need information about a model or a subject that the serious boards are great. I’ve gotten great advice from Kitmaker – and usually get it from people with a few thousand posts. When I get the courage to do a ship, Model Warship’s gurus (and they are very hard core) are almost always there with assistance. When I get the courage to do a biplane the same thing is true with the moderators at ww1aircraftmodels.com. For what it’s worth, I’ve found that really good fishermen are also glad to pass on what they know. Maybe people are okay if you stay away from politics
I find the “stay away from politics” part to be the most interesting part. On the one hand, there are a few people who I added as friends on facebook then had to put on mute to keep my sanity as they posted conspiratorial political nonsense. So, I can see the impetus for the “no political discussion” rules in most modelling groups.
However, that rule seems to have some unintended consequences:
1. What is and is not “political” is in itself a political question
There are some pretty clear-cut examples of things that clearly are and are not political statements, but there are a lot of shades of grey, especially when we’re talking about things like history, art, general banter about society, or whining about the availability of swastika decals or facebook moderation policies.
As an example, I was listening to a radio interview last week, and the guest made a really interesting point. He said something to the effect of, “if I say that the Confederacy were a bunch of traitors who seceded and raised an army in order to preserve and expand the racist institution of slavery, that would be considered a radical political statement. If I said that in a classroom, people would accuse me of trying to indoctrinate students. But it’s actually just a historical fact, supported by all the empirical evidence we have.”
Professional historians would not consider that to be a political statement; them’s just the facts. Black people and those with generally liberal social views would probably agree. But drive deep enough into Trump country and say that, and the reaction might be very different. What we consider to be political or not political is influenced by our own political views.
2. All too often, “political” is a synonym for “anything I disagree with”
People tend to not see things they agree with as political. They might see their political opinions as just common sense. But since a lot of the moderators and a lot of the louder members tend to be old white males — and that demographic is generally the most socially conservative — you can see how that can tinge the feel of the group.
Therefore, “kids these days are a bunch of snowflakes and SJWs that are too easily offended and should stop erasing history with their cancel culture” may not considered a political statement and is likely to get you a lot of likes, but “hey boomer, at least my generation doesn’t get offended when a trans person uses a bathroom” is liable to get you in trouble for bringing up politics (and greatly offend the people complaining that others are too easily offended, but I digress…).
3. A “no politics” rule can ironically benefit fascists and those with abhorrent politics.
Everyone hates nazis and their ideologies are so thoroughly discredited they can’t actually engage in a normal political discussion and argue in favour of fascism. Well, they can try (and actually, they are often very willing to engage in online debates because even if they lose, they still normalize their bullshit by having it presented as an idea worth considering), but everyone will instantly be repulsed by their blatant racism. Instead, they’ve become masters of sneaking their politics in using things like dog-whistles, memes, etc., and always leaving themselves enough plausible deniability to say that they’re being ironic and the joke’s on you for taking them seriously.
Since they can’t engage in a normal political discussion, they’ve sharply honed these skills. And a hobby where it’s totally normal to post pictures of swastikas, it’s easy for them to blend in. Combined, this means that they have an advantage in sneaking their politics into things like online communities.
I’m not sure what the answer to these issues are — but it’s something really obnoxious in certain facebook groups, including a couple I’m no longer a part of.
When I subscribed to your modeling group, I thought I was going to get lessons of how to be a better modeler. After several comments that preach to us your liberal political views, the latest being, …”But drive deep enough into Trump country and say that, and the reaction might be very different. ” So of course those ignorant “old white guys” who are too stupid to agree with your erudite views of allowing transgender persons in women’s bathrooms, who live in the south (“Trump Country”) and are not smart enough to appreciate your liberal political views, must listen to a esteemed and wise young white guy (Doog) besmerch our deeply held views on life. If I wanted that, I could turn on MSNBC and listen to Rchael Maddaux’s bullshit instead of your bullshit. There are plenty of other quality model websites that stick with modeling.
Oops! My bad. I thought the previous post was from Doog. Please delete the post. My apologies.
Funny how you inadvertently confirm or at least illustrate Crimsyn’s argument.
I really appreciate these rants Matt. Food for thought and exchanging views. There are already plenty of other modelling websites that just stick with modelling.
You’ve proved my point #1 about how what is and is not political is in and of itself a political question — influenced by both our individual political views as well as the political context around us — as well as the point of the author being interviewed on the radio show I was listening to last week.
Saying that the Confederacy seceded to preserve the racist institution of slavery is simply a historical fact. If I say that at a gathering of 19th century historians, there would be no argument and it wouldn’t even be considered a political statement. But, you clearly have certain political views so you interpret that as not just a political statement, but one that you strenuously object to and consider to be “besmirching our deeply held views on life.”
If I say “the earth is round and revolves around the sun,” then that’s generally not considered a political statement, much less a controversial one. But if I say that in an online space where 70% of the members happen to be flat earthers, they might consider it to be a radical political statement advancing my nefarious spherical agenda. Or if I say that in Galileo’s time…
This dynamic where certain things are considered political or not political based on the political views and context of the person doing the deciding may be obnoxious but ultimately harmless some of the time. But it becomes a serious problem when things like bigotry are considered common sense non-political opinions that are totally fair game to discuss. Are younger modellers going to feel welcome in a community where it’s commonplace to rant about how young people are a bunch of shithead snowflakes and said rants are endorsed by the group leaders? Is a trans person going to feel welcome in a community that reacts negatively if you post a rainbow-themed model during Pride month?
First off, props for excellent and correct use of the word “wanker”. That paragraph sounds like it was written by a Brit!
Taking a step further (and you allude to it in the “bagged Airfix kits from the chemist” section – there’s a segment of aircraft modellers who are stuck in the “Airfix kit, Humbrol paint, Future floor shine (all applied with a paintbrush), decals”… and that’s it. Because “older modelers and tried and tested products/techniques/results blah blah blah”.
And any discussion about other potentially useful (better) products or techniques is met with a lot of defensiveness, modeller vs assembler.
Now, I’m a massive Airfix fan and have more Airfix kits in progress and in the stash than any other single manufacturer. Because of the subjects. But it doesn’t make them (necessarily) good kits. The day someone comes out with a decent 1/48 Blackburn Buccaneer, my in-progress one hits the trash can. Because it’s a horrible kit and doesn’t need, or deserve, defending.
I moved away from Humbrol and the annoying tins as soon as I could, switching to Tamiya when I was a young teen. I was also desperate to get an airbrush as soon as possible, because I couldn’t see a way to ultimately achieve better finishes without one.
But the thought of moving with the times and trying new things, and experimenting, or even being -open to the possibility- that there are new things, seem a bridge too far for a segment of the aircraft modelling community. And this insistence of the old ways being the best does absolutely nothing to attract newer modelers.
I’m guilty of occasionally buying an old kit, but I accept the kit for what it is – nostalgia. The current insistence that newbies have to buy some old and basic kit (usually pushing people at some Airfix horror show) to hone their skills is just depressing. Why not point people in the direction of some really nice (and affordable – there are many) kit and guiding them towards the finishing aspect.
This unhelpful attitude extends (again, always from aircraft modellers) to nonsense about airbrushes being a nightmare, or too expensive, or more time needing cleaning than spraying, or “not worth the trouble” or any other number of excuses – essentially anything to keep everyone down at some shitty level, rather than advancing by learning.
It’s not a problem that any individual wants to restrict their own advances in the hobby – as stated elsewhere “your workbench, your rules”. But the “maintain standards like they were in the 1970s” is tiresome and depressing, and serves nothing to advance the hobby.
I certainly believe that buying an inexpensive kit for a beginner can be a very false economy. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one of the great Tamiya kits (1/48 aircraft and 1/35 armor) from the 70s and 80s that all run under $20 new. The part count is low, the fit is very good and instructions excellent. A couple of years back a I did a 1970’s A6M2 with an aftermarket bomb to fit the role of the heavily weathered Kamikaze plane in the neat movie Eternal Zero. The kit came out in 1973 but the engineers caught the lovely lines of the original and it sits where I can see and admire it. (I’m in print as writing the Zero was “arguably the most beautiful aircraft ever built that carried an internal combustion engine” – obviously subjective.) Anyway, if someone scores the early Panther or Stug IV or the Zero/Ki-84 and enjoys the build, they’ll be ready for something upscale. If, unfortunately, they’re like my son and don’t “take” to the hobby, no harm is done. Obviously Tamiya agrees because many of their old gems are still “in print.” Paint? I hand painted as a kid and even when I came back to the hobby 15 years ago. (There’s a really good Japanese modeler on YTube that hand paints ships and gets very good results with pretty complex methods. I’ve threatned to hand paint a tank just for fun.) I used one of these el cheapo basic airbrushes with a can of compressed air before I bought my first compressor and real airbrush (the first of ten – all of them good – not needed, but I have two houses). That $25 combination proved to me that airbrushing was going to be fun. it was a good start for me and led me to decide to start building models and quit my online flight sim – both hobbies that coexisted nicely with my classical music collection (essential) but didn’t coexist with each other as I found. (BTW – if someone wants to try to interest a young kid, Squadron makes very nice 1/72 pre-painted “snap together” WWII aircraft for about $20. They’re still models, but a nine year old could handle them. Andy at the YTube Hobby Headquarters likes them and says they’d be fine for a non-modeler who wanted a display piece. My grandson did one and Andy is right.)
Have to mention IPMS, as a kid in them old ages, they supported me, but being a mainly scifi modeler, they didn’t take my stuff seriously, almost all the contests had 1 category for sci fi, and the quality of scifi was.. poor to put it kindly.
Fast forward to present, IPMS chapters are a bunch of old guys, usual age rage for groups is dead. and they wonder why there are no younger modelers joining there clubs. Its as was said here, gatekeepers, looking down on snappers, etc. I belong to a group, but its not IPMS, we thought about registering, but then we wouldn’t be able to throw anybody out, and have to do the politics of the group, especially if the group runs a show.
The hobby isn’t dying, well not in the rest of the world, in the USofA it is a bit because the whole hobby is kinda looked as were playing with toys, where in say Japan, its an Art form, and is celebrated some what. We in the USofA are having a bit of a renascence in a way because of Bandai, and there Star Wars and Gundam merch, a whole lot of new builders, but they don’t want to be in an IPMS club because they all look down on them.
Things need to change, as said by you, don’t be an asshole, encourage anybody who builds, and teach where you can.
Never really noticed it by category of subject matter. But now that you mention it, I can see what you mean. I’m a 100% aircraft guy in modeling. Its all I do. I have built one car, a tank, and 2 ships. Everything else has been aircraft. And the reason is simple: I’m an absolute airplane nut. Been fascinated with planes since I was, what, 4 years old? I was the kid taping pinwheels to my bike. Cutting the base from soda boxes and drawing instruments in the indented cardboard and rubber banding it to my handle bars. Now at 53 years old and around 10,000 hours flight time I’m still nuts about aircraft. The funny thing is, I think aircraft modelers make up lesser of the modeling community, yet are responsible for a disproportionate amount of assholery. I do have a theory though. Not to get into psychobabble but pilots are definite Type A thinkers, and I think that in general aircraft attract that type. Type A people thrive on attention to detail and being critical thinkers. And this type also expects similar efforts and standards in others. This is why so many pilots expect their kids to be pilots….like little league baseball parents. Tanks and armor OTOH drew the kid who liked to roll around in the mud. The kid who played (dare I say this in the year 2021) Cowboys and Indians. These kids were always the ones who tended to let things roll off their backs easier and in general were more fun to play with after lunch. So perhaps the modelers of tanks and armor modelers follow mental suit. That’s my theory and opinion anyway (so take it as fact!). Now Gundham is taking off like crazy, which I would never have guessed. I think these are the guys who like anime and cute Japanese girls so they are OK in my book—-even if they don’t like planes.
Hi Doogs, fantastic article and I totally agree!. Like many of us, I started building airplanes about 30+ years ago. But since then I have done and developed an interest in many other genres. Armour, cars, ships, sci fi, figures, etc I personally think that is one of the best ways to improve our work, by studying, applying, and translating techniques that are usually associated with a specific theme into another, like, for instance, using Mike Rinaldi’s OPR when weathering aircraft. Why is it that some aircraft builders are not just pedantic assholes but also so “conservatives”? Not willing to explore new techniques or do anything else but planes the same way they’ve been doing it forever? (and then telling others they are doing it wrong…) I guess some of these guys are the “electric guitar players” of our modeling world…cheers!
Another great post and, from my long experience, pretty on point. I’ve been modeling since the late 60’s, and now that I’m in my early 60’s myself, I don’t have a lot to do with other modelers anymore. I used to be heavily into the IPMS track and knew a number of great people there, but the layer of jerks was finally too much for me. Too many cliques. At one point, a guy who didn’t like another guy used me to try to ruin his career. Enough. And indeed, the nit-picking usually came from the aircraft side, which is what I usually build. These days I build what I like the way I like it and sometimes post on various sites if I feel good about what I’ve done. Makes the whole thing more stress free. Too bad, really. I might like the people in the local club more now that most of the troublemakers have aged out. Personally, I have no problem with different kinds of modeling. I know the skills it takes to turn out a good model of whatever you’re building, and can admire that even if the subject doesn’t turn me on.
To dip a toe into the political debate here, I’d like to say that it’s been my observation that most modelers (of military hardware, at least) tend to lean toward the right of the spectrum just because those on the left are normally less interested in the military and military history (I’m a fairly rare exception, for some reason.) Therefore, when I’m with a group of modelers or reading blogs, etc., I sometimes have to turn off my knee-jerk response mode to keep things from spiraling out of control. That’s unfortunate, but it’s the world we live in today (and, being a history buff, not all that different from how things have always been.)
Anyway, as has been said by many, it’s a hobby. Enjoy it! Unfortunately, human beings are often more wound up about their hobbies than “real life”, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you. And if it is, good for you too!
You have some great takes on modelling and I’m enjoying your blog. One of the things I find interesting is how the talking points you say car and aircraft modelers use when they say “The Hobby’s Dying” are the same ones that have been making the rounds in the model railroad community for decades. I thought we were the ones who had a monopoly on the naysaying and doomsday prophecies with everything from “shake the box kits”, ready to run models, slot cars, to video games and cellphones being labelled the latest culprit that’s gonna kill the hobby for good. And yet the hobby just keeps on truckin’.
This is my first post on your website tho’ I have been watching your You Tube channel for sometime. I was intrigued with the title of this particular rant and initially somewhat in disagreement with the sentiment but like a lot of your stuff, it gave me food for thought and I do now tend to agree. To be clear I am principally an aviation modeller but have over 40+ years dabbled in armour from time to time and still do. In fact several of my most recent builds have been armour kits that have been completed as presentational gifts for military staff retiring from my former unit. Over the years I have been a member of several clubs both in the UK and elsewhere including Estonia where I currently live and work and, by and large, the most relaxed and friendliest of the bunch have been the armour modellers. For some reason, they just do not get as ‘hung up’ on accuracy, fit etc as the aircraft modellers (myself included BTW). Maybe it has something to do with the fact that for many they can ‘hide’ such inaccuracies etc under a layer of mud, dirt or foliage in a diorama setting or distract the eye with a vignette of figures ?. I simply do not know. I’m no rivet counter and am very much one of the ‘if it looks right, it is OK by me’ types though I will admit to perhaps spending more than I should on aftermarket etc. This was very much the case with a Hungarian T-72 that I recently produced from the Tamiya kit. I have no real idea how accurate (or inaccurate) the base kit was but I did take the trouble to hunt down the correct unit markings for my colleagues former unit and added aftermarket tracks and a real ‘log’ to the model before mounting it on a base which incorporated genuine Hungarian earth that I had collected during a previous visit to Budapest !. Anyway, great blog and I will be following this and all the others with great interest over the coming months.
‘but when you hear English dudes go on and on about buying bags of Airfix kits from the chemist’
This is only ever said when older British modellers are reminiscing about how they started in the hobby back in 60’s 70’s 80’s
Not sure I see the problem here ? That’s how a lot of Brits got started in the hobby back then .