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Hi,You know I'm sure many of you noticed modeling building has dropped off considerbly amoung the public and it's ashame.I have noticed Toys R Us eliminating model kit aisles.I think one of the problems is that people don't have the patience and want instant results.Model building requires time.Also even though many newer models are truly great detail wise,they require alot of work.Many of the hobby stores I frequented have folded.Ertl had a bad philosphy,you do all the work.They molded there kits to look bland unpainted,forcing you to paint them.I'm sure some of you know the Ertl 22 inch long Movie Enterprise was made originally by Lesney/AMT and I built a few.They looked better than the later version with Ertls added detail by far.I also built them in less time with more satisfaction.Another sign that model building isn't the same.Revell and Monogram,two fine model companies merged,probably to stay afloat.Will plastic modeling end or do people think it will remain alive on a much smaller scale.Amongst the diehard builders,Guy Schlicter.
 

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Mostly it is because of video games, I think. Times are a changing, alot faster than we like. One day only cars, will be made, and GKs will be all we SciFi modeler will have.

I noticed the same for electronics. Radio Shack told me, they carry less than they used to have, because interest is dying for the hobby. Not here!
 

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The average age of model builders in the US is ever increasing it appears. However I think model building is still big in Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, and other places ...like Asia. However, as more PC users emerge there it might decline.
 

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On Saturday I drove to my local hobby shop, The Hobby Place on Pico in West L.A., to pick up a few supplies.

Shuttered.

Once upon a time Los Angeles County was home to several dozen hobby shops. By my reckoning there are now three (at least there were the last time I checked).

Fortunately, thanks in large part to the inspiration and information gleaned from these boards, I'm getting closer and closer to building my own models from scratch. In the meantime guys like Randy Cooper, Captain Cardboard and REL keep my X-acto-wielding hands busy.

Times change, but I'll be building models until I drop.
 

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Ya' know what, model building isn't what it used to be...but then, nothing else is either.

Okay, plastic kits aren't being made by as many manufacturers as before, but the variety has increased. Somebody like Captain Cardboard can produce an injection molded kit. Computers, the very thing that put a lot of prototype builders (model builders) out of business is now helping to bring them back. Heck, before the computer, I had to make decals using masks and an airbrush, and the results were only so-so. Now I can make beautiful decals with a fraction of the effort. The price of computer mills and routers are coming down as well. I can't wait to get a 5-axis computer controlled router of my very own.

And oh man, the availability of stuff. Okay, the local hobbyshops are going the way of the brachiosaurus. I'm sorry to see that happening. I used to have two very good ones real close. I could see their time was short when places like Squadron started making it. Your average hobbyshop just cannot stock the variety of kits out there today, and this was almost 20 years ago. But, not even the biggest hobbyshop can match eBay. Remember the times some of us older guys would score something really good at a garage sale? Few and far between. Nowdays that garage sale is worldwide...okay, with just as many buyers too. It cannot all be upside.

Heck, this is the second golden age of model building. Instead of a few club members meeting ocassionally to discuss who is doing what, we are meeting every day from every part of the world sharing ideas and parts like has never been available before.

Model building is one of the worlds oldest artforms. I don't see it dying out any time soon.
 

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cozmo said:
I don't see it dying out any time soon.
I do.

When I did my mermaid figure (posted on the Modeling forum), I had to use a couple of old bottles of model paint plus some Chevrolet Engine Orange spray paint to make a skin tone. That's because there are no hobbyshops within any reasonable distance of me. The local Argus Hobbyshop, which closed last year, carried full lines of multiple paint brands. I'm proud of my ingenuity in the use of car and hardware store paint but I'm not going to tolerate it any longer than I have to. I've completely stopped building model airplanes because I can't get paint.

Fewer kits are being made. Fewer places are selling them. Those kits that are being made are very expensive. The ability to use technology to make things, "with a fraction of the effort" certainly doesn't help...philisophically, its the problem. If you want minimum effort, you can buy and action figure or diecast. And many people do just that.

We've had this discussion for years and there are always the optimists who tell us not to worry. But things are bad...very bad for kit building.

Having said all of that, I don't really lose any sleep over the issue because I'm afraid this is just the natural evolution of man's hobbies. Things gain popularity and then fall out of favour or are supplanted by new things. It happens. It's a reality that needs to be recognized. I'm not going to put on rose colored glasses and proclaim that everything will be fine with the hobby. It won't be. Kit building is dying. It's time has come and gone. I appreciate the work of the guys mentioned in this thread but the hobby won't survive on pricey, specialized kits.

I, too, will ALWAYS be modeler. I began making the transition to scratchbuilding a few years ago. It wasn't part of a grand startegy to ween myself off of kits. I started scratchbuilding because I wanted models that weren't being commercially produced...mostly classic 50's and 60's stuff. Now, other modellers are starting to find themselves in the same boat. You can no longer count on, or even reasonably hope for, kits to be produced based on popular sci-fi. It going to be "back to future" where modeler builders are going to have to start using some old time ingenuity because the big model commpanies and the little hobbyshops won't be feeding our addictions.
 

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My 23-year-old daughter was somewhat puzzled by my taking up the hobby this year, spending so much time and resources on "little men" in my Enterprise. She told me that she saw a film clip about middle aged men tying flies for fly-fishing last week, in which they said that the intricate work tying the flies was so absorbing that they didn't even care if they went fishing afterward. Seeing that, she said she was enlightened about my hobby.
 

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There are far more model makers than you know about out there. The thing is they model on thier computers and have thier own forums. You need to check this place out;

http://www.scifi-meshes.com/forums/

Modeling CG can be harder than carving by hand. I know because I do both. The nature of the hobby has chaged to the point that you might not recognize that you're looking at it.
 

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i read somewhere (on this board?) One significant reason for the decline is that many model companies can't afford to license the models anymore from (military). Aircraft companies tripled the fee to make scale models of their aircraft effectivly killing the hobby? Someone set me straight.
 

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I'm sure the licensing fees for Star Wars kits must be astronomical.

Kids have increasing short attention spans, and the "instant gratification" aspect of our consumer culture has a big factor in this. Why would a 10 year old kid spend days or weeks building a model airplane or spaceship when they can buy an already built and painted (and far more durable) toy for the same price or less?

From a return on investment standpoint, I imagine that it's tremendously expensive to set up the manufacturing molds for models. And with shrinking demand, it's harder for them to recoup their costs. If you were a stockholder and interested solely in return on your investment, would you invest in one of these companies, or one that had a higher return? It's a self-perpetuating spiral. Lower demand => higher cost => less models made => lower demand etc.

I think that one of the best things we can do to perpetuate the hobby is to share it with our kids!!!
 

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For me it has all been about time and expense. As I get older I have more and more demands on my time. Work asks me to do lots of overtime, I stay late frequently. Sometimes as much as 80-90 hours a week. When I am off, I have a wife, a motorcycle (that I both work on and do trackdays with) I do targetshooting and reloading, I am a long-time musician, I do home improvements.

Lots and lots of expensive hobbies competeing for the precious few hours a week I can spare for them.

Add to that the costs involved. $35 for a kit that in the 80s cost $7. $3 for a 3oz bottle of paint that I would need 12 of to paint something like the refit. $9 for a bottle of Tenax, $7 for a tiny bottle of Zap A Gap... It gets expensive really quickly. Plus, since most supplies are no longer locally available we have to order them from the internet. In a lot of cases that means time spent waiting instead of modeling. There goes that free weekend I had, oh well maybe I can get back to this in a few months.

The pace of life, the stress of life has increased tremendously in the last 10-20 years. The way I see it, if someone only has a few hours a weekend to devote to hobby activities, modeling is not very likely to win unless that is the ONLY hobby that person has.
 

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When i was a kid, fly tying was for old guys. I wasn't an old guy, and didn't want to do it.
Now that 'old guys' are modelling, young people shun it. The same with comics. They used to be for kids, now it's adults who buy them, and make movies about them.

And finally, video games have a larger profit potential. Burn a disc for a few cents and sell it for fifty bucks.
 

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Nova Designs said:
Plus, since most supplies are no longer locally available we have to order them from the internet.
I think that factor is MUCH more significant than most people realize.

As we know, the "future of modeling" is a discussion that's been around for a few years. When it started to heat up a while back, the common line was, "Don't worry, you can get everything you need from the internet. The selection is better and the prices are usually cheaper. Sorry about the local shops but that's the market and things change..."

The problem with that theory is that modeling tends not to be something that we plan and schedule weeks in advance. It's something that we do when we have time. It's something that I might do if I have a couple of spare hours on a Sunday. If I have to mailorder for everything...and hope it's in stock...I may not be in a modeling mood when it arrives a week later.

I can't tell you how many times I've been in the middle of a project and suddenly discovered, "Damn, I'm out of flat clear coat" ...so I'd run down to the hobby shop and pick some up (I once ran out of clear coat WHILE I WAS AIRBRUSHING but managed to buy some in about half an hour). Or you get a kit layed out in front of you and you discover that your bottle of liquid cement has evaporated. Or you open up your last can of PRU Blue and discover that it's as hard as a brick.

Internet buying has turned out to be NOT a convenience but a chore. It can require that we make meticulous advance plans for required supplies. So you sit down with that new Spitfire model...you've order paint, decals, glue...realize you forget to get British Interior Green and the project comes to halt while you wait a week for another delivery. Of course, the shipping on one can of British Interior Green costs more than the paint so now you have to spend money to pad your order.

It's just too much trouble.

I've got enough stress trying to plan everything else in my life. I don't need to be stressing out about kits supplies.

If I don't have local support, I just can't be bothered.
 

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Well Brent, you'll have to move to my town! Hot chicks, cold beer, great fish and chips (just ask Griff) plus several shops where you can buy model stuff. Here's one:

http://www.signalhobbies.com/

and if you click on teh deck cam at this link before 5:15 pm eastern time today, you can see the place live in real time! I'm the funny looking guy with the hat waving from dockside!

http://www.princess.com/ships/tp/

Huzz :dude: :wave:
 

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ilbasso said:
I'm sure the licensing fees for Star Wars kits must be astronomical.
Were, but they dropped them after the Ep1 fiasco.

The internet, computers, and mail order have changed the way we all model. Kits are now licensed for a specific country but we still get them (Fine Molds & Revell Germany). Kids play on the 'puter instead of outside. Heck when I got my first machine capable of 3D modeling I stopped building physical models for close to 3 years. Parents, good parents, are introducing thier kids to building and they either have the patients for it or they don't. Heck, my wife started building models last year. Freaked me out. Now she's got her own tools and her own stack of kits.

Has it changed, yes, it's always been changing. I remember when the first recessed panel line kits came out. I can still remember the first anime kits I saw (and bought as soon as I had the cash, Dorvacks). Or my first, horrible, attempts to use liquid glue.

Feel like an old modeling fart now. (grandpa voice) Back in my day we had to build models that were carved outta butter with stumps of wood (/grandpa voice).

Some hobby stores have closed. We had one here shut down simply because the guys running it wanted to retire. Sold off the entire store for cheap, to thank thier customers. Had another one close becasue they refused to keep up with the times (nothing but models, mostly R/M cars and military, very little Japanese kits). We've got another that I'm just waiting for it to shut down. Largely doll crap, hobby is shoved in the back, no checks and they frown on credit cards and thier service is kinda sucky. Hobby stores an close for a variety of reasons but largely is just bad business that will do them in. Failure to change with the times, failure to fully understand thier market, failure to support thier market. I've got a hobby store 2mi away that carries Gundams, largely becasue there's a largish asian community nearby. They also host games 2 nights a week becasue there's a buncha Warhammer nuts nearby. Caboose Hobbies is a train store, but more than that. They've got the most complete selection of Grant, Pastruct, Evergreen and other dio & stratchbuiling supplies. Trains are big here in CO. They've been concetraighting their scratchbuilding supplies because folk are stratchnig trains as much anymore, carrying more oob stuff.

And I've lost my train of thought.

damn.

er, in conclusion....support your local hobby store....er....KISS RULES!
 

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I can pinpoint the exact moment I knew the hobby was doomed. A new "Star Wars" movie had just come out, and I discovered much to my dismay that there were no plans to produce a model kit of the spaceship featured most prominently in the film (i.e. the Royal Naboo Starship).

It doesn't take a genius to figure out why the hobby has declined in popularity.

When most of us were growing up we had access to three TV channels (if we were lucky) and the occasional Saturday afternoon matinee. For music there was the radio and a collection of scratchy 45's.

No videos or DVD's. No computer games. No LightWave. No iPod. No Internet.

Once upon a time (back in the twentieth century) gluing together bits of plastic seemed like a swell way for an eleven year-old boy to spend an afternoon. These days the options are not so limited.

Model making will always be around as a niche hobby, but it will never again enjoy the wide-scale appeal it once did -- any more than collecting stamps, reading comic books, or playing with dolls will.
 

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there have been Many reasons as to why the hobby is shrinking that were posted here, so I will add my 2 cents without repeating what everyone else already said (which was true anyway)..Aside from the enjoyment of making something yourself that comes with kit building, another reason we all did it ( well myself anyway) was to have a nice or pretty accurate rendition of a figure or vehicle or whatever it was you built..Nowadays, most any vehicle or action figure, plane, tank, Car , etc..is available already built, painted and in far nicer shape than any kid could hope to make without spending countless hours trying to accomplish..quick gratification is the order of todays youth, so that to me, is another reason as to why the hobby is fading..Of course for myself, I got about 150 kits , so I dont see myself stopping anytime soon..a 40 year habit is a bit tough to break..
 

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And despite all this - the decline of the hobby - at least some people who don't build can appreciate a well-built kit. At least there's that. Of course, I'm so tired right now, I'm not even sure what my point is... Maybe you guys can make sense of it. :)
 

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It does, at times, seem that the attention span of the average person has become attenuated over the last 20 years or so. For this I blame Elmo and the public school system. Kids get the idea early on that life occurs in 2 to 3 minute segments -- an idea reinforced by fast paced kid's shows and 20 minute "learning modules" in school. It is assumed that children's attention span does not exceed these limits, and so all the structured learning environments kids find themselves in are set up to "accomidate the child's natural learning rhythms." No thought to the notion of teaching the child to have a longer attention span -- that is simply too much work and not a good investment. This attitude -- that anything that is hard work is not a good investment -- is transmitted to the child. If it's hard, don't do it.

But there is hope. Some old farts like me are teaching their children that hard work is not a bad thing. My son, who is 5, loves to build those Snap-tite and Easy-kits that you see in the hobby store. He recently built that little NX-01 model by Polar Lights. I helped, naturally, but I think he and I spent about 2 hours on that thing. He is persistant to the point of obession. After it was built he suggested we should do another with LED lights in it. (This is the boy who, at age three, cut a square plastic tube diagnally, about an inch long, and said; "look Papa, it's a shuttlecraft.")

Now he wants to get an HO train set and help me build a track with hills and trees and houses. He says: "Papa, I'm 5 now, and I'm ready for an electric train."

So, even though he does enjoy video games, I think there is hope the boy will be a builder throughout his life. He has watched me do it and he has always enjoyed sitting in my model room while I work, scotch taping Evergreen plastic tubes and rods together. It's a good start.
 

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This is a really interesting discussion! :) I am wondering if there are any objective (rather than subjective) indicators of a decline? For example, is IPMS membership up, down, or flat compared to past years? How is the circulation of a magazine like FSM doing these days? Just wondering if the "data" supports our conclusions. I totally agree it seems to be on the decline, just wondering how much and if it can be measured in some way.

I have a now-22-year-old cousin (who, due to the age difference, is more like a nephew) who saw the work I was doing and got interested in making models. We went to the hobby shop and picked out a FineMolds snap kit of an X-Wing, his favorite subject. We decided he should build it as a glue kit to get oriented to how it all works. I showed him the basics and he started building.

His reaction was surprising. He thought building the model was much harder than he expected. All the little things you need to do (glue, cutting/trimming parts, sanding, fixing seams, etc.) were a lot more effort than he apparently bargained for. And he didn't even paint the thing!

Overall, he thought it was going to be a lot of fun. But, in the end, he decided it was just too much trouble to be worth it. So, back to the video games! Online gaming was and continues to be his primary hobby. . .
 
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