Two hobbies, two demographics. A view from the middle

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At 33 years of age, I'm "old" enough to have grown up building models. It was an important and satisfying part of my childhood and as such the hobby followed me into adulthood. From my years here and elsewhere it is safe to say that I am on the younger end of the group that strongly supports the pastime.

I'm coming back into the hobby after a couple of years. While I was away, I took up an interest in developing for Android especially on the visual side of customization. I have several items available in the Google Play Store for theming one's smartphone or tablet. In the time I've been involved there, I can comfortably say that I am on the older end of that spectrum.

Modeling needs to attract these newer generations if it is to continue on for much longer. That realization has been around for years. Being a member of this middle ground, this gray area between the younger end of one and the older end of the other, I can see some real opportunities for the modeling community to draw in these "kids". From seeing countless screenshots and setups they've posted there is still a love for things automotive. They are willing to learn new methods to come up with something that fits their vision. The question then becomes how to channel that energy into a physical manifestation of a model rather than a digital one in their technology.

First and foremost, is the available subjects. They tend to most interested in the newest high-end sports cars and classic iron of the pro-touring variety. Companies such as Revell have to get better with bringing these to market much quicker. ZL1 Camaros, Shelby Mustangs and Vipers, Italian and European supercars need to be ready to go when the real ones hit the street. On the pro-touring front, it's not good enough to slap a set of big-inch billets on an old tool ala the Cali Wheels or Foose and call it good. They have more limited funds and buying a kit just for that LS7, or Cobra motor or new Hemi is a hurdle for them. We need the return of true 2n1s that have the stock pieces to satisfy the older crowd but also the separate tooling of the modern performance pieces that the younger crowds see in their magazines and online. The same goes for the wheels. There needs to be more of the true pro-touring wheels much like the sets Aoshima and Fujimi put out. Some of the heritage-style wheels, from the Cali Wheels series for example, are fitting but in general the options are seriously lacking in scale. I have never once seen a drag racing or rep stock classic car in one of their screenshots. These subjects are pretty much a representation of a bygone era and they have no connection to the subject matter at all.

Secondly, mobile computing and social networking is here to stay. The era of the desktop PC and even laptops is drawing to a close. Online forums are a royal pain to navigate with a mobile browser. Most forums today offer an app hosted thru Tapatalk, or an equivalent, that is much better suited for phone or tablet based browsing. I've yet to see this adopted in the scale communities.

I'm sure that some of these observations will ruffle some feathers. I do truly love both of my hobbies however I do fear for the future of modeling if there are not serious changes in strategy soon. Continuing to push re-issues of kits that have no appeal to younger builders is a mistake. Half-heartedly trying to capture trends they do have an interest in will not work either.

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Posted · Report post

Kyle, here's something for you to ponder (and everyone else, too, of course):

Why would you fear for the future of the hobby? What do you care if the hobby that you're interested in dies off and goes away sometime after you're gone?

I'm serious. So often we read about the "future" of the hobby and how we have to attract the next generation of modelers or else the hobby will die out. So what?

Once I'm gone, I couldn't care less whether or not building plastic model kits (or anything else I ever had an interest in) was still available to future generations. Just like I have no sense of duty to pass on my interest in home renovation (another of my hobbies) to the next generation. Let future generations, like past generations, find their own pastimes and hobbies. Isn't a hobby something a person chooses on their own, as a way to pass the time as they see fit and that interests them? Why do I need to promote my interests to anyone else? Let them decide for themselves what they are interested in. I see no duty on my part to "pass on" model car building to anyone. Once I'm gone, what difference does it make to me???

I'm curious what others would say in response to my comments. And I'm sure I'll get an earful! :lol:

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I see your point Harry, but I'd like to see my children maybe take up this hobby BEFORE I take a dirt nap. But that remains to be seen.

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I'll partially agree with you about subject matter, as it would be false to assume that all younger modelers and car enthusiasts are only interested in late model or Foose/Pro Touring type vehicles. There's as many young folks interested in Old School Hot rods and Muscle Cars as there are that are into late models and Pro Touring types. I count myself, at age 41, in the group that has a preference for the Old School cars.

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Kyle, here's something for you to ponder (and everyone else, too, of course):

Why would you fear for the future of the hobby? What do you care if the hobby that you're interested in dies off and goes away sometime after you're gone?

I'm serious. So often we read about the "future" of the hobby and how we have to attract the next generation of modelers or else the hobby will die out. So what?

Once I'm gone, I couldn't care less whether or not building plastic model kits (or anything else I ever had an interest in) was still available to future generations. Just like I have no sense of duty to pass on my interest in home renovation (another of my hobbies) to the next generation. Let future generations, like past generations, find their own pastimes and hobbies. Isn't a hobby something a person chooses on their own, as a way to pass the time as they see fit and that interests them? Why do I need to promote my interests to anyone else? Let them decide for themselves what they are interested in. I see no duty on my part to "pass on" model car building to anyone. Once I'm gone, what difference does it make to me???

I'm curious what others would say in response to my comments. And I'm sure I'll get an earful! :lol:

One word that could explain alot of things..... "nostalgia."

People want others to experience the good things in life that they experienced "back in the day"

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I see your point Harry, but I'd like to see my children maybe take up this hobby BEFORE I take a dirt nap.

Why?

Why not let them decide what hobby they want to pursue, if any?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Why?

Why not let them decide what hobby they want to pursue, if any?

Same reason most kids who's parents played football, play football. I'm not really sure what that reason is, but there is on I'm sure.

I know I'm not explaining it very well, but I'm a spray paint "artist" ( or so I like to call myself) its like street art stuff with space scenes and whatnot. And the feeling you get when people see something you did, and you explain it to them and teach it to them ( or try to ) is extremely satisfying. I think that's why people want their kids to build models with them and pass it down.

Edited by Mrdarkmonkey96

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I'm with Harry. Who cares? Before the first model, people had hobbies that are no longer popular. What about CB radios? Are any of us worse off because nobody thinks that's still fun? Times change.

I have more than enough to keep me busy forever or until I croak, whichever comes first.

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Why?

Why not let them decide what hobby they want to pursue, if any?

Well, I just think it would be kinda neat to be able to sit down and do things together. Maybe see what they may do with a model, compared to how I did one. I think most fathers would enjoy there children joining in with them on a hobby, I recall building with my dad and how 'close' it made me feel towards him, It was a good time I will always remember. At this point in my life though, it don't look like any of my sons will pick up MY hobby,anytme soon anyway. One is BIG TIME into paint ball, the other boy is BIG TIME into girls....Enough said on that one. :):D , and the girls, well maybe if I built a Justin Beber model........NOT :lol::lol:

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I'm with Harry. Who cares? Before the first model, people had hobbies that are no longer popular. What about CB radios? Are any of us worse off because nobody thinks that's still fun? Times change.

I have more than enough to keep me busy forever or until I croak, whichever comes first.

What's wrong with CBs? :lol: I have one!

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I'm with Harry. Who cares? Before the first model, people had hobbies that are no longer popular. What about CB radios? Are any of us worse off because nobody thinks that's still fun? Times change.

I have more than enough to keep me busy forever or until I croak, whichever comes first.

Maybe some of us who had CBs in the day are now HAM operators. I'm studying for my license.

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Well, I just think it would be kinda neat to be able to sit down and do things together. Maybe see what they may do with a model, compared to how I did one. I think most fathers would enjoy there children joining in with them on a hobby...

I have three kids–two daughters and a son. They're all adults now, but trust me... they started out as kids... :D Anyway, when they were young, they all wanted to build model cars. Probably not so much because they had an actual interest in doing that, but more likely because they saw me doing it and they wanted to be like dad.

The girls built maybe one or two models before they both just said "eh," and gave up. My son stuck with it longer, he built maybe 8-10 models before he, too, dropped it.

I never tried to "pass on" my interests to them. Sure, I probably could have insisted that we all build models together, and I'm sure I could have kept their "interest" in model building going on for months, maybe even years. But I didn't want to tell my kids what they are "supposed" to be interested in. My interests included model cars, but that obviously wasn't true for them... and left to make their own choices, they all chose to drop model cars and pursue other interests. Which illustrates my point–that everyone should be left to decide for themselves what they are interested in. If that includes model cars, fine. And if not... fine, too! It's not my duty to impart my interests onto others. And it's not my duty to try and "pass on" my interests to the next generation. That's why I always wonder why so many people seem to have the idea that they are somehow supposed to make sure that building models gets passed on to the next generation. I say let the next generation decide for themselves what they want to pursue as a hobby.

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I Agree Harry,, i have 7 kids and 16 grandkids,, NONE are interested in modeling, which is fine, there all doing great, raising there

own faimly,, doing there on thing,, I've told them all,, Your over 21, its your life, your faimly, do what you think is right,, I DID..

SO.. Live and let Live,,, Life will go on with you,,and without you............

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I have three kidstwo daughters and a son. They're all adults now, but trust me... they started out as kids... :D Anyway, when they were young, they all wanted to build model cars. Probably not so much because they had an actual interest in doing that, but more likely because they saw me doing it and they wanted to be like dad.

The girls built maybe one or two models before they both just said "eh," and gave up. My son stuck with it longer, he built maybe 8-10 models before he, too, dropped it.

I never tried to "pass on" my interests to them. Sure, I probably could have insisted that we all build models together, and I'm sure I could have kept their "interest" in model building going on for months, maybe even years. But I didn't want to tell my kids what they are "supposed" to be interested in. My interests included model cars, but that obviously wasn't true for them... and left to make their own choices, they all chose to drop model cars and pursue other interests. Which illustrates my pointthat everyone should be left to decide for themselves what they are interested in. If that includes model cars, fine. And if not... fine, too! It's not my duty to impart my interests onto others. And it's not my duty to try and "pass on" my interests to the next generation. That's why I always wonder why so many people seem to have the idea that they are somehow supposed to make sure that building models gets passed on to the next generation. I say let the next generation decide for themselves what they want to pursue as a hobby.

I have four kids and the three oldest have all expressed an interest in building as well. The difference I'm trying to point out that my generation and older all had offerings that were relevant to their interests. That becomes a self-fueling process because you're always looking for the next project. I'm not saying that kids should be forced to build but it is ridiculous to insinuate that the model companies should just please the older crowd and never make any solid motions to change their offerings to serve the next wave of generations. That is akin to committing business suicide. At some point, the older generations will have passed on and they've done little to nothing to save their own existence. Perhaps if the model companies were paying more attention we wouldn't have to be debating the future of the hobby.

Now, I don't know when exactly I began to pay real attention to what the younger generations prefer, probably about the time my oldest boys became of building age. The genres I pointed out are however based on my own observations online, at car shows and cruise ins and in the aisles of hobby shops themselves in addition to paying attention to what the owners of 1:1s of the younger crowd tended to own themselves. It was not meant to be all-encompassing but certainly what they are drawn to more often is greatly underserved.

Edited by LOBBS

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The only reason I had an interest in modelling was watching my dad build his 1/12 57 Chevy. I got into it when I was young, built a dozen glue bombs, then didn't touch them again for 10+ years. I am 29 now and have been back at it off and on for 6 years. The reason I got back in was spotting a 57 Chevy at the hobby shop when going in for RC car stuff. If I had never been sat down and shown how to build a model, I wouldn't be building now.

I'm not sure he really meant to force your kids to sit down and build with you, but expose them to the hobby. Let them know it's there, show them how fun it can be and let them decide on their own. If I had never been shown and exposed to it, I would have never built one, I know that for certain.

I have ditched RC cars completely for model building. One of the reasons was the cost of RC cars, but It's no better with modelling, but more fun to me.

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Kyle, here's something for you to ponder (and everyone else, too, of course):

Why would you fear for the future of the hobby? What do you care if the hobby that you're interested in dies off and goes away sometime after you're gone?

I'm serious. So often we read about the "future" of the hobby and how we have to attract the next generation of modelers or else the hobby will die out. So what?

Once I'm gone, I couldn't care less whether or not building plastic model kits (or anything else I ever had an interest in) was still available to future generations. Just like I have no sense of duty to pass on my interest in home renovation (another of my hobbies) to the next generation. Let future generations, like past generations, find their own pastimes and hobbies. Isn't a hobby something a person chooses on their own, as a way to pass the time as they see fit and that interests them? Why do I need to promote my interests to anyone else? Let them decide for themselves what they are interested in. I see no duty on my part to "pass on" model car building to anyone. Once I'm gone, what difference does it make to me???

I'm curious what others would say in response to my comments. And I'm sure I'll get an earful! :lol:

So that I am not confused, you edit this magazine, yet you could care less of what happens with the hobby??? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, and that is not a good attitude for a magazine editor in this hobby to have.

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Why would you fear for the future of the hobby? What do you care if the hobby that you're interested in dies off and goes away sometime after you're gone?

Without new customer to support the companies, the hobby might die before you and I do.

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Kyle, here's something for you to ponder (and everyone else, too, of course):

Why would you fear for the future of the hobby? What do you care if the hobby that you're interested in dies off and goes away sometime after you're gone?

I'm serious. So often we read about the "future" of the hobby and how we have to attract the next generation of modelers or else the hobby will die out. So what?

Once I'm gone, I couldn't care less whether or not building plastic model kits (or anything else I ever had an interest in) was still available to future generations. Just like I have no sense of duty to pass on my interest in home renovation (another of my hobbies) to the next generation. Let future generations, like past generations, find their own pastimes and hobbies. Isn't a hobby something a person chooses on their own, as a way to pass the time as they see fit and that interests them? Why do I need to promote my interests to anyone else? Let them decide for themselves what they are interested in. I see no duty on my part to "pass on" model car building to anyone. Once I'm gone, what difference does it make to me???

I'm curious what others would say in response to my comments. And I'm sure I'll get an earful! :lol:

Harry I'm really surprised. These are my sentiments exactly.

I don't understand the "need" someone has to make sure others will carry on a hobby.

Let natural selection take its course.

There will still exist a core of people who build Models because they like it, not to be noticed by others.

Internets and Forums do not accurately show the number of people who build Models.

Internets and Forums only show a few Modelers who enjoy posting on Forums.

Modeling, even plastic car Modeling, can't die, but so what if it gets thinned out a whole lot.

Why desire people to do something they don't really want to.

Let the Hobby crash and be rediscovered in 50 or 100 years.

Harryhausen didn't whine when CGI took over his style of Modeling.

He continued to work his craft right up to the end.

CadillacPat

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Why would you fear for the future of the hobby? What do you care if the hobby that you're interested in dies off and goes away sometime after you're gone?

I'm serious. So often we read about the "future" of the hobby and how we have to attract the next generation of modelers or else the hobby will die out. So what?

I don't care much what happens to the hobby when I am gone, what interest me more is to what happens to the hobby whilst still alive. If there are no successors or new modelbuilders, they hobby will die before I do.

And that will suck bigger :)

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I'm not of "the hobby is dying" mindset. Recent kit releases are fantastic, and aftermarket stuff like photoetched detail sets and resin items are works of art. Whether you build cars, ships, armor, aircraft, or are a model railroader, the market has probably never offered such a wide variety of really well-done subjects and accessories. The availability of tools and related items is better than ever. And the prospect of 3D printing will likely open up a world of innovation. Am I an "evangelical" modeler? No, but two of my nieces and especially one of my nephews have shown an interest, so we've built kits together. And had a good time, which I thought was the point of the whole exercise.

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I really do not believe the hobby is going to die anytime soon. As Craig mentioned, now is a great time to be a model builder. We have better kits, the aftermarket, better supplies, great new kits from Mobeius and RM and companies like Round 2 keeping the old stuff alive for you nostalgic types. We all have our reasons to build, Like alot of folks here, my dad passed it on to me. Over the years I have come and gone from the hobby but I still enjoy it while I can. I will share it with my sons, nephew or anyone else for that matter that has a interest in learning more. I try meet with my local model club once a month if time permits to learn from them, as well as hanging around on this and the "other" forums to learn more from the seasoned vets.

IMHO, kids today really just need to be instilled with creativity. Get them to put down the cell phone and video game controller and go stone age on them and sit with them, and draw, build a model, sculpt clay... whatever. The little ones in my life do not need to carry my torch on.But it makes me smile that they have an interest in what I am doing. And as for adults, you never know who is a model builder out there. There is no accuate representation of who is building out there. There is no modelers census. But the manufactures are doing well enough to bestow new stuff on us that most of us want to spend our hard earned dollars on. The health of our beloved hobby seems to being doing well. There is light at the end of this tunnel and to me it's bright.

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So that I am not confused, you edit this magazine, yet you could care less of what happens with the hobby??? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, and that is not a good attitude for a magazine editor in this hobby to have.

The original post talked about manufacturers catering to kid's interests, to assure that the hobby is picked up by the next generation. What I said was that I couldn't care less what happens to the hobby after I'm gone, that I didn't feel any sense of duty to "pass on" model cars to the next generation, or was worried that manufacturers aren't catering to the kids. Let the next generation decide what it likes on its own. If models are among their interests, great. If not... so be it. I'm not saying that I don't care about the hobby... obviously I do, because I'm involved with it every day!

But I have plenty of stuff to deal with now... I can't spend time trying to affect the behavior of future generations.

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Now, I don't know when exactly I began to pay real attention to what the younger generations prefer, probably about the time my oldest boys became of building age. The genres I pointed out are however based on my own observations online, at car shows and cruise ins and in the aisles of hobby shops themselves in addition to paying attention to what the owners of 1:1s of the younger crowd tended to own themselves. It was not meant to be all-encompassing but certainly what they are drawn to more often is greatly underserved.

Here's another question to think about: When (if) a young kid is attracted to model building, do you think the attraction is due more to the subject matter available, or is it the process of building a model that's more of a factor? IMO, a person is going to be drawn into the hobby more because he enjoys the process of building, rather than the specific subject matter. In other words, I don't necessarily think manufacturers have to put out certain subjects to appeal to younger builders. Maybe I'm wrong, but my gut feeling is that it's the process, not the product, that is the reason a person would get into the hobby.

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I'm no fan of Walmart or corporate America.

But, in my opinion, the loss of a mass merchandiser/retailer of models hurt this hobby pretty bad.

Most kids bought a model because they thought the subject was cool. Those who enjoyed it bought more models, and those who stuck with it graduated to higher end models found at the LHS.

The model building hobby is losing generations of kids each year, mostly because models are "out of sight, and out of mind".

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imho , this forum has an excellent mobile device interface.

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