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:

1 comment:

  1. Of course the changes in modeling are/is tremendous but they are just that changes, not the death nil. Hard to imagine, but the first transistor radios powered by a 9 volt "transistor" battery were so advanced, that you could go anywhere and hear your rock and roll!! radio stations- until the battery died or you had to go in for dinner. Your time may vary.