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Future of the hobby


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We saw a second golden age in the 90's as we boomers got more disposable income and retuened to models.

A smaller third age with Moebius,  Polar Lights etc.

Now we seem to only have ancient re issues from Round 2 ( more like Round 5 ), and others with new tools few and far behind.

Now Hobbico and Revell is bankrupt, I imagine Revell will continue with reissues , but how many new tools?

Seems like a twilight of sorts, even the aftermarket is fading.

Now I'm not griping or being a naysayer at all! BUT all thinks must end.

Thoughts?

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I'm not at all sure Gary. I'm primarily a diorama exhibit builder and seeing vendors and wholesalers going belly up certainly isn't boding well , especially for me . Hobbico leaving us has had a major impact upon me as K& S tubing , , Bass and balsa wood is no longer being restocked . I'm on indefinite BO with several other wholesalers . Round too it seems to still be ignoring my pleas to stop churning out the same TIRED 57 Chevrolet's and 32 Fords . At least Model King was Fresh meat with the Imperial , the Comet and a couple of others . I'm gonna go throw glue at another building I'm doing in preparation for a large fall show ....

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I’m thinking it’s going to be a narrow market as time goes on, kits are getting pretty expensive for the casual model builder, and all us ‘old guys’ seem to have large stashes of kits. I’m sure the art of building will survive for a couple of decades to come, but new builders, and new products may not flourish like they used to.

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The hobby is dying only if you have a completely U.S. centric view of things. Revell still exists and is doing business in Germany regardless as to their plans for the US assets. We have an entire thread of new products coming out of Asia going on in the Kit Review section.

Sure the Modelhaus folks are finally winding down into a well deserved retirement, but that business is for sale. Why hasn't anyone plunked down the cash to buy it? The aftermarket continues to flourish in Asia & Europe *shrug*.

The hobby isn't dying, it's always evolving to meet the demands of the future.

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I think we're seeing a major change. Many old line ways of making aftermarket stuff is dying or having alternative methodologies to achieve the same result, for example 3D printing taking the place of resin casting. There are some methodologies where there isn't a new technology to replace it. Short run aftermarket decals are reliant on technology that's 15-20 years old and obsolete. That is a concern.

I believe the Hobbico mess is separate from Revell. Revell didn't bring Hobbico down, Hobbico's downfall was being too large and loosing the ability to control its empire.

I do worry about this form of modeling hobby in the United States. Automotive modeling is much stronger in Japan and Europe than here. Automotive culture appears to be waning in the United States. Note the empty seats at most major automotive events in the United States and the general malaise toward cars in the 17-30 year population.

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I started building plastic model kits back in the mid 50's as it was MY hobby and have been doin' it ever since, and sometimes on and off. I'm not a fast builder so I have plenty of kits to last me my lifetime and then some, so the FUTURE of the hobby doesn't really affect me at all. Like mentioned before that changes are being made and we'll just have to deal with them. Some guys may just have to start building some of the large amount of kits in their stash and not worry 'bout buyin' more. Life does go on.

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Between this thread and the one on Hobbico going bankrupt, one would think we are in dire straits with a bleak future for our hobby. I see some great things happening- resin casters using 3D printers to cast more accurate masters and giving us some awesome resin parts being a big one-and feel like it is a good time to be a modeler. Like most on here, I have plenty of models to last me two lifetimes so if there aren't any more new kits I am good to go. 

Whether we get new kits, Revell ships from Germany or China, Round 2 continues to spit out re-issues or not or if  Moebius thrives with new owners, we should all focus on building kits. 

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I have hundreds of kits, that's not the point I was trying to make.

3d printing is great, a real step forward. But again, beside my point.

How much longer will people be interested in 57 Chevy's and Camaros. NOT the die hards.Already these caes are antiques really, 50-7- years old. THAT'S OLD!

Just bs'n , nothing to get shook up about..

Edited by GaryR
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It used to be that building a model kit meant a box full of wood pieces that you carved into the proper shape.  Is anyone here really sad we don't do that anymore?   We'll still be able to buy boxes full of styrene parts for a while, but I can't see the rise of 3D printing as anything but a good thing for modelers.  Even if nobody makes your favourite resin part, it's becoming easier all the time to make whatever you need yourself, and if take a break from mourning your vanished youth to actually look at what's going on, it's pretty obvious that young people still want to build things, and make models.  The hobby isn't dying, it's just evolving.

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1 hour ago, Richard Bartrop said:

.. but I can't see the rise of 3D printing as anything but a good thing for modelers.  Even if nobody makes your favourite resin part, it's becoming easier all the time to make whatever you need yourself, and if take a break from mourning your vanished youth to actually look at what's going on, it's pretty obvious that young people still want to build things, and make models.  The hobby isn't dying, it's just evolving.

I agree, once 3D printing becomes mainstream, builders will be able to create, design and build anything they want, without being dependent and waiting for a major company to make a kit for them. I see it as a creatively freeing and independent time for the model building community. Just as it is for architectural design and to a different degree - the music industry, the subject matter will only be limited by the artists ability and knowledge of the computer software that he is presented with.

I just hope the model companies will be able to adapt to this burgeoning technology! Downloading model kits on demand, anyone? Just like downloadable music, won't it be great to pay for a downloadable file to run in your 3D printer and make as many 57 Chevys as you want? Did I say Chevy? I meant Camaro. ???

Edited by Oldcarfan27
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2 hours ago, Oldcarfan27 said:

I agree, once 3D printing becomes mainstream, builders will be able to create, design and build anything they want, without being dependent and waiting for a major company to make a kit for them. I see it as a creatively freeing and independent time for the model building community. Just as it is for architectural design and to a different degree - the music industry, the subject matter will only be limited by the artists ability and knowledge of the computer software that he is presented with.

I just hope the model companies will be able to adapt to this burgeoning technology! Downloading model kits on demand, anyone? Just like downloadable music, won't it be great to pay for a downloadable file to run in your 3D printer and make as many 57 Chevys as you want? Did I say Chevy? I meant Camaro. ???

Or even doing a deal with existing print companies.   Some of those rare parts aren't worth running off as an injection moulded kit? Scan a few, and offer them through Shapeways.

Though in the short time, all the small scale aftermarket part makers, and people hoping to get into it, are the ones who should really be looking at this.

Can't find the parts you want? Maybe it's time to look into learning how to use modelling software.

Edited by Richard Bartrop
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7 hours ago, niteowl7710 said:

The hobby isn't dying, it's always evolving to meet the demands of the future.

It is dying for the ones that its leaving behind because they refuse to take part in it for their various reasons.   The future is not demanding subjects that are at this point between 50/80 years , at least for the part of hobby that is flourishing right now and bringing so much neat stuff to the market.

Edited by martinfan5
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9 hours ago, Oldcarfan27 said:

...builders will be able to create, design and build anything they want, without being dependent and waiting for a major company to make a kit for them.

 

7 hours ago, Richard Bartrop said:

...Can't find the parts you want? Maybe it's time to look into learning how to use modelling software.

Then there's this apparently much forgotten concept called "scratch-building". 

It's pretty radical, but it's where a person actually MAKES something with his hands, and no computer interface.

Modelers who are highly motivated to have something that's not easily available have been doing it since the dim recesses of time, when the idea dawned on one of our progenitors that making a miniature copy of a real object might be fun.

Even if all the current model companies go away, and a global EMP event wipes out computers everywhere, hands, eyes, and a functioning mind will suffice for people willing to expend the effort.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy
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It was mentioned above that it seems like the hobby is in dire straits.

I'd agree. 

Building plastic models is a dying hobby, at least in North America. 

Let's face it, WE are the face of the hobby. How many people here are 60+? And how many are between the ages of 40-60? And how many are less than 30? (Actually, this would be an interesting poll)

Young people are not getting in to the hobby. And if the manufacturers can't figure out how to bring in a new generation of builders, it's done.

I've said it before too. the kits being released will appease the older people already in the hobby, but reissues of cars from the 50s and 60s will not bring in a new generation. I suspect this is why the hobby is bigger in asia or europe. The builders there produce a lot more kits of modern vehicles. Something the NA manufacturers just aren't doing.

 

 

 

 

 

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I grew up around old cars, I am 62 and my Dad never drove a new car. He bought my Mom a new car about every six or seven years. He instilled in me the love for old cars. I do notice in the birthday list that we have members in the teens and twenties so maybe the hobby is not dying. In my youth, models were the thing to do, we didn't have the internet or video games. I have one nephew and I gave him a kit, but he showed zero  interest in it.. My Brother bought him a late model Mustang and he has no interest in it.. I told my Brother he might have been switched at birth.

Edited by Renegade
wrong key
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21 minutes ago, iamsuperdan said:

It was mentioned above that it seems like the hobby is in dire straits.

I'd agree. 

Building plastic models is a dying hobby, at least in North America. 

Let's face it, WE are the face of the hobby. How many people here are 60+? And how many are between the ages of 40-60? And how many are less than 30? (Actually, this would be an interesting poll)

Young people are not getting in to the hobby. And if the manufacturers can't figure out how to bring in a new generation of builders, it's done.

 

Food for thought - forums and their concept are an old school method of communication.  Especially when you consider how poorly integrated they are with mobile platforms and the ability to instantly post photos (which MCM did alleviate somewhat after the PB debacle by lifting the cap on image uploads).  Younger people are on Facebook, Instagram & YouTube.  Instant methods of communication that are integrated into their cell phones and MORE IMPORTANTLY their cell phone cameras.  A regular run of the mill smart phone these days has a better camera that most point & shoot digital cameras without having to take that extra step to extract the images onto a separate computer.

Now there are some exceptions, but lets face it - read the posts around here. 

A good chunk of the membership here looks down on - 

  • Facebook
  • eBay
  • YouTube
  • Don't even know what Instagram is
  • Subject Matter younger people are into

Why on earth would younger people want to hang out with a bunch of cranky fuddy-duddies?  I think Diversified Scalerz and their show proves they don't want to hang out with that crowd in person, let alone online.  This thread will eventually be overtaken by a bunch of iExperience measuring - eg "I've been in this hobby since 18xx" which sounds for all the world to my 40 yr old ears like the beginning of a "Well back in my day, we walked to school, up hill, BOTH WAYS, in 6ft snow drifts, WITH NO SHOES! We wittled our models out of balsa and acetate and WE LIKED IT!!!

297.jpg.6fc86526d9cee04a86cff58df34394de.jpg

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34 minutes ago, niteowl7710 said:

...Why on earth would younger people want to hang out with a bunch of cranky fuddy-duddies? 

Maybe because they might learn something?

In one of the shops I work with, when I started, all the young guys assumed I was a past-it old fart.

After they saw, repeatedly, that I had skills NONE of THEM had, and that I could fix things without getting some WRONG half-baked "instructions" from "experts" on YouTube, I've become a pretty popular guy.

They come to my area to see what I'm doing. They ask questions. They want my help to try things they've never done before.

And almost EVERYTHING I learned of value in the past, I learned from people a LOT older than I was.

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3 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

 

Then there's this apparently much forgotten concept called "scratch-building". 

It's pretty radical, but it's where a person actually MAKES something with his hands, and no computer interface.

Modelers who are highly motivated to have something that's not easily available have been doing it since the dim recesses of time, when the idea dawned on one of our progenitors that making a miniature copy of a real object might be fun.

Even if all the current model companies go away, and a global EMP event wipes out computers everywhere, hands, eyes, and a functioning mind will suffice for people willing to expend the effort.

 

27 minutes ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

Maybe because they might learn something?

In one of the shops I work with, when I started, all the young guys assumed I was a past-it old fart.

After they saw, repeatedly, that I had skills NONE of THEM had, and that I could fix things without getting some WRONG half-baked "instructions" from "experts" on YouTube, I've become a pretty popular guy.

They come to my area to see what I'm doing. They ask questions. They want my help to try things they've never done before.

And almost EVERYTHING I learned of value in the past, I learned from people a LOT older than I was.

Well said.

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33 minutes ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

...Why on earth would younger people want to hang out with a bunch of cranky fuddy-duddies?     

Just like THAT!

Nailed it Bill!!

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Great discussion thread!  I think the GSL show has had sessions to discuss the hobby that reflects what everyone above has said.  We humans are a weird lot, always evolving, never stuck in the same mode.  Well, always some exceptions.  To say interest in cars in general is dying, go to any car show, and check out some of the customs that cost more than our homes, check out the super dooper exotics that are being built for the super dooper rich, but of course the TV shows about cars are mostly older people, just like we see in our hobby.  It's unrealistic to expect to see half the demographics of a model show being younger than you, that's the trouble with getting old.

This is why model clubs exist.  In my small town, there are 3, but most of the guys are into military, so I *have to* represent the automotive part of the hobby.  Once in a while a teen is invited.  But I suspect video games, internet trolling, and chasing girls is more of a priority.  There is also an influence through the schools that I could go into that could get me banned from this forum, so I'll just leave it here.

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3 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

 

Then there's this apparently much forgotten concept called "scratch-building". 

It's pretty radical, but it's where a person actually MAKES something with his hands, and no computer interface.

Modelers who are highly motivated to have something that's not easily available have been doing it since the dim recesses of time, when the idea dawned on one of our progenitors that making a miniature copy of a real object might be fun.

Even if all the current model companies go away, and a global EMP event wipes out computers everywhere, hands, eyes, and a functioning mind will suffice for people willing to expend the effort.

You mean, like this?

Frontbrake1.jpgFrontbrake1.jpgspindle.jpgfrontaxle.jpg

Preaching to the choir here, but it's human nature to want to make things easier, and if someone makes a tool that will make it easier to do what you want, then it's foolish not to take advantage of it.

Maybe you can carve out a perfectly circular whee riml with a consistent profile by hand, in which case, I take no shame is saying you're a better man than I, but I'm going to guess you cheat a little, and use some sort of machine tool to do it.     The computer is just one more tool in the scratchbuilder's toolbox,  and more people have computers than have machine shops.   In any case, learning to use the tools at hand is more productive than crying doom.

 

 

 

 

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