Sunday 22 February 2015

Sprue Cutters Union 31: Is the hobby dying?

Another month, another Sprue Cutters topic. I can't believe we used to do this weekly and pull it off for 28 weeks!

- Is scale modeling a dying hobby? -

As I'm a little late this month pitching in my 2 cents, most of my colleagues have already written long and detailed statements. Opinions seem united on the answer : No, our hobby is not dying, but it HAS changed a lot since we were kids.

A little history (on a different topic)

25 years ago, we had a tape player at home (the kind with actual reels, not cassettes). It was ancient even back then. My mom had used it as a kid to tape music from the radio. Me and my brother were of course using the more modern cassette player.

When you wanted to share your favourite music with a classmate, you needed TWO cassette players, one playing, one recording. If someone walked in asking why it was so loud, you had to start over. Much later, we got a new player with TWO slots, which supported high-speed dubbing.

When the age of the CD came, there was a lot of resistance, but we adapted. I haven't owned a car in over 10 years that even had a cassette player anymore.

Betamax, VHS, DVD, Blueray, .... the times are simply changing. Nowadays, you can share your playlists with a single-click and order movies online for next to nothing and start watching within seconds. Has the music/video industry died? Are we no longer able to enjoy our favourites?

Back to modelling

Those same 25 years ago, I had my pick of models in various supermarkets, all stocking around 20 kits (all Revell) and a rack of Revell and Humbrol paint. Every time I went back (every few months), they had 2 or 3 NEW models. I thought I'd never be able to build all of them!

New techniques, I had to discover myself. Weathering? No such products lined the shelves, so I was never confronted with them, teasing me into trying out something new.
The amount of kits you could buy on the internet back then? What internet?

Over the years, general supermarkets stopped stocking kits and I had to resort to toy stores. Even later, only the specialist "Hobby store" remained and as of last year, all of them have disappeared in my area.

Have we lost something in the process? Sure. Browsing the shelves, checking new stock, the smell of old cardboard and paint, running into other modellers, ... No more then nostalgia for us, but there's still conventions of course. (now more than way back them)

Is our hobby dying?

I'd say "No, perhaps even the opposite?"
  • I can browse thousands of kits online  (let's forget about aftermarket stuff for now) and have them delivered in just a couple of  days. 
  • Youtube provides hundreds of hours of people teaching new techniques or reviewing new products.
  • Fellow modellers share images of their work. Some even write blogs!
  • Every month, at least 10 new kits are announced.
  • New company's are still being created, both kit and paint manufacturers.

Please follow the links below to see the ramblings and musings of my fellow Sprue Cutters:

Saturday 21 February 2015

Time flies

I can't believe 4 weeks went by without any post. It's not that I've done nothing, but certainly not as much as I would've liked.

Where were we?

  • The patriot radar truck was being painted.
  • The Vipers had been painted and needed a coat of varnish.
  • I had finished the photo-etch on the Panzerjäger.
  • The Chinook was "finished" late september, but requires some light weathering.
  • The castle hasn't been touched since november, when I did some experimenting with oil paints.
Do you feel the disadvantage of not being able to focus on one kit?

So, if I haven't done nothing the past month, what HAVE I been doing?

Patriot Radar

Painting was finished, the entire thing was varnished and decals have been applied. The building instructions only mention where to place 15-20 decals, but many more are provided on the decal sheet. I guess I went a little crazy creative.


The Vipers both needed just a coat of varnish, before decaling. Because the Mark II is going to receive many big decals, I sanded the entire body extra smooth (Tamiya sanding paper, 1200-2000 grit) before I started with varnishing.
I've been experiencing issues with spraying the Alclad II varnishes lately, but if I thin it 50/50 with white spirit (or "mineral spirits") it sprays perfectly, more controlled and levels smoother. It does require at least 2 layers however.

The Mark II has been giving me troubles. First the paint lifted after I masked off the side engines. Then when everything was smooth and done (again), I dropped a big blob of glue on it when attaching the nose gear. Some harsh words could have been heard ...


With the photo-etch done, I primed it black, added a layer of chipping fluid, then the sand-coloured basecoat. I'm doing both the plastic and PE version to see if all the extra PE- trouble is really worth it in the end.


I finally convinced myself to finish the Chinook. I started with a very fine layer of AK dust effects, because I want to make the black and red less "in your face". The dust managed to creep under some of the decals, distorting the intended effect somewhat. I'll add another layer of matte varnish, then do some darkening aft of the exhausts. (and also some dust over the rotor blades)

Also some light dust effects on the Patriot truck, if you can spot it, near the bottom of the side thingies (fuel tanks?).