Uncategorized

Changes

Model Cars Magazine
Restructuring/Publication Schedule

First off, no, we are not shutting down Model Cars Magazine. Yes, it probably would be a lot easier, less headaches, and the smarter thing to do, but we don’t quit. What we have decided is to restructure and overhaul the printing/publication schedule for Model Cars.

Since 2001, we have printed nine issues a year. We had started off the first two years doing only six issues, but the magazine took off, and we went up to nine issues a year. With Golden Bell Press in Denver shutting down in December 2015, the magazine was dumped in our laps, lock, stock, and barrel. There were over 2,400 subscribers, about 1,900 dealers/hobby shop copies, and at that time, around 500 copies sent for distribution through major newsstands/bookstores with a distributor (Ingram). So with a print run of 5,000 copies, it looked like it would be something we could do. About a week after the turnover, Ingram increased their order from 500 copies, to 1,800 copies, literally overnight. This would be great for the circulation/numbers for the magazine, but there was of course increased costs involved. So from a normal print run of 5,000 copies, we were now at 6,500 copies.

We were under an obligation to fulfill all the existing subscriptions, with no cash flow coming in. Dealer/hobby shops are billed with an invoice after the magazines are sent out, and they pay their invoices after the magazines are sold.

We were spending about $10,000 per issue to print, polybag, and mail each issue, and we have done four issues since the closing of Golden Bell. Model Cars was on a nine issue a year subscription base. So, after a year, we have made a decision. In hindsight, always 20/20 mind you, we should have done this at the beginning, but that is just the way things have worked out.

Change In Frequency/Printing Per Year
We will be going from nine issues a year down to six issues a year, and the Annual Contest Issue will now be a separate stand-alone issue, NOT included with the annual subscriptions. We are raising the cover price of the magazine, from $5.50 to $6.50 (it has been the same price for over 17 years), and annual six issues a year subscriptions will be $23 per year. DON’T SCREAM AND YELL. You will not be ripped off, lose any issues, etc. When the change happened, Golden Bell was using a proprietary system for the subscriptions. We didn’t have $6,000-7,000 to pay for a dedicated subscription software system, so we are using simple Excel spreadsheets to do the database/subscriber information. When the data came over, the expirations were in months, and since we knew we were behind already, we changed the months over to the corresponding issue number. So, if you have eight issues left on your subscription, you will still get eight issues. It may take longer (please, no sarcastic comments/jokes inserted here), but you will get ALL of your eight issues, irregardless of the date/month of the issue. The new rate will be $23 per year, for six issues. At the old rate, nine issues were $34.65, which breaks down to $3.85 per copy/issue. At the new rate, $23 for six issues, that comes out to $3.83 per copy/issue. So basically, your subscription base rate is staying the same, albeit with a two cents difference.

We are also putting the distribution through Ingram (Barnes & Noble and other newsstands) on hold for now, until we get back up to speed. We had thought about just carrying on with just printing and mailing to the paid subscribers, but that would be like shooting ourselves in the foot.

So, yes, we should have done this before/sooner, but that is what it is, as they say. Yes, there are a lot of things we could have done different/better, it has been a learning curve, for sure. It would be a lot less headaches if we just walked away from the $50,000 that we have invested so far in this, and try and live “normal” lives, but then, we are not normal, right?

We are not doing this for the money. We are doing this because we love the hobby, plain and simple. This hobby has done so much for us, and this is our way of giving back to it.

Thank you so much, everyone, who has stood behind us, and next to us, along this journey. Model Cars has been published for over 17 years, and we hope to see it published, and printed, for another 20 years at least!

 

Mahalo nui loa

Gregg & Darryl

 

The GSL Championship Experience

By Mark S. Gustavson

The GSL International Scale Vehicle Championship and Convention didn’t start at the level of competition and service that it enjoys today.  “GSL” – as the event is known so often – grew out of a failed competition that I tried to organize in the Midwest from Salt Lake City.  My inexperience and arrogance caused some hard feelings on the part of a few builders, and led to the creation of now-famed NNL Nationals in Toledo, Ohio.  That experience taught me a lot and, in 1979, I started the GSL Championship, which has now grown to an international presence in our great hobby thanks to the help of a first-rate bunch of guys and gals who, for the last thirty-four years, have worked tirelessly to develop, improve, and present this great event.  Please go here to learn more about the formation of GSL:  http://www.customclinic.com/News/NNL/nnl.html   Let’s talk about the GSL Championship:

The Concept Behind the Event:

GSL exists because of a desire to provide a professional setting for serious scale automotive builders to compete in a hospitable format where their efforts would be rewarded, where no one building style would be favored over another, and where the highest levels of the competitive spirit could co-exist with friendship, shared techniques and know-how, and where a respect for everyone’s work would prevail.  Since 1979, GSL has hosted almost 620 different builders, all of whom come to GSL to compete in good spirts, and have shared their modeling techniques and learned from others, and enjoyed the life-long friends we’ve all made at the Championship.  Newcomers are warmly welcomed, and often do exceptionally well in the competition – a small handful of first-time competitors in 2011 took home nearly a quarter of the total awards!

GSL is an attitude – a mind set – about building that seeks and celebrates convivial and high-end building, shared ideas and techniques, a willingness to learn, and to commitment to constantly improving levels of craftsmanship, while competing for the prestige of winning.

The Competition: 

I hear it too often: “I don’t think I am ready to compete at GSL.”  This remark comes from all sorts of builders who believe, mistakenly, that successfully competing at the Championship is reserved only for those who spend many hundreds of hours and dollars on their entry.  While Best of Show winners do typically invest considerable time into their entries, placing in a Class isn’t an ancient art practiced by wizards, but merely requires a good “theme” for your entry, matched with thoughtful planning and meticulous construction, and attention to detail.

We offer nineteen Classes that cover every possible automotive interest, from the typical Street Rod and Custom models through the more esoteric “If I Had Styled It” Class where the builder assumes the role of a design chief for a manufacturer and presents a styling study of what that specific manufacturer might/could have marketed in a specific year.  We also offer other Classes such as this year’s Group 13 Class, where a designated model (this time, the AMT 1949 Ford Coupe) can be built in any style but using parts and materials that were available in 1978 or earlier, and the Common Kit Class (this time, the Monogram 1958 Thunderbird) where every competitor starts with the same kit, then builds it in whatever style he or she wishes.

GSL Judging is an interesting process which is based on an evaluation of two key elements – balancing the effort undertaken by the builder mixed with an evaluation of how well the model was built – its craftsmanship.  As you might expect, surgically-clean building is a requirement for successful competition.  But, that isn’t all there is to it:  GSL is also all about taking risks in the design and construction of a winning model:  an exquisitely well-done model that takes no risk in detail or construction (for instance, just a model built straight from the box with only details added) won’t beat another model – equally well done – where the builder opened the doors and trunk, added full wiring, operational suspension and other “risky” construction elements.  By similar analysis, a model that takes a lot of risks but isn’t built to high craftsmanship levels won’t prevail against a really well-rendered, detailed kit-based model.  Wise builders take risks and then render their work to a very high craftsmanship standard.

Judging starts on late Saturday afternoon and takes typically all night to complete. Bob Wick and I head up a three-person the Judging Team with a third individual – this year, Don Strong – being the third judge.  We also have Mike Smith (who’s restored cars for decades) available as a consultant to check on technical aspects of entries where questions come up. Seventy-Six Class Awards, Seven Master Awards and eight privately-sponsored awards are presented at the Awards Breakfast on Sunday morning

The Convention: 

While the competition is the reason for the Championship, we also offer a lot of other activities for those in attendance. We open the event with a plenary session on Thursday morning followed by instructional seminars (on a wide array of topics) that run for the next two days, culminating with a presentation by the International Model Car Builders’ Museum on Friday night.  A Trade Show is presented early Saturday morning, and tours of the Museum start Saturday at Noon and run through 4:00 p.m.  The Contest Room is closed for Judging, and everyone reconvenes for breakfast on Sunday morning.

We have a staff of 11 people that administer the event, handle registration, assist with the photography of models, administer the Trade Show and Seminars and the hundreds of other tasks required to run an event of this size and reputation.  We’ll all wear “GSL Staff” badges – come up and talk with any of us about any questions, ideas, or concerns you have, or just to talk.

GSL is nearly four days of intense competition, but it’s also about friendships – both renewed and new – attending seminars, learning more about the Museum, and participating in a Tradition that goes back to 1979.  Typically, entrants from three foreign counties, and from 14 or so States are present.  GSL is the longest-standing competitive event serving just the model car hobby, and there’s a convivial atmosphere where newcomers are welcomed as if they’d been competing here since the earliest years.

If you’d like to learn more about the Championship, please visit our website at: http://www.gslchampionship.org/ If you’d like to view videos of historic seminars, or download one or all of the books and pamphlets were offer, without charge, visit the GSL Library Page found at http://www.gslchampionship.org/Library/library.html   Of course, past attendees,  and newcomers should all read the “Late Breaking News” page found at:  www.gslchampionship.org/News/news.html as well as the entire site.

Please join us May 2-5, 2013 for the Twenty-Fourth GSL International Scale Vehicle Championship and Convention!  We look forward to seeing you there!

August 1, 2012

Well, it’s August already. School is back in session. The web site is purring along. Can you believe that in only a week, there has been over 4,000 visitors to the site already? I installed new tracking software, that includes an app for the iPad, that lets me see in real time how the site is doing. It is amazing! You may have also noticed the new banner ad on the top of the page for our friends over at Hobby Link Japan. I hope to have a lot more advertisers, links, and resources on the site over the next few weeks. I do have to appologize to anyone who may have visited the site during one of my theme changes. I am still trying to get the final look of the site down, and once in a while I’ll have to try a change while the site is live, which will make your eyeballs go all crazy, just a warning, that’s all. It’s not something wrong with the site, or your eyes, I’m just still trying out new themes and ideas. It seems to be working pretty good, but I still have a lot more clean up to do to the site, and I have to thank Richard To my web site guy for putting up with all my questions, problems, and never-ending HELP ME!!! emails.

 

 

July 28, 2012

Well, the new web site is up and it’s live.

Well, live, is that the right word for this? I feel like I’ve been killing myself working on this for the past week.

Not bad for a week’s worth of work though.

I think the main parts of it are there, and it works okay, so far. There will be some glitches of course, but I have a lot better handle on this system then I did the other one. Now, back to building models!

July 24, 2012

Well, the new web site is coming along. I have added some more new pages, sections, and links, and it seems to be working great. There is still a lot more work to be done, and I have to update the old Club Directory that was on the old web site. If you have updates to it, addresses, names, links, websites, emails, etc., please let me know.
Mahalo!