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The Crisis Of Plastic Model Industry


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Cobi Polish notLego is good for "real" vehicles. I have their Tiger 131. There are Korean items for fakeTanks of various flavours.

 

For proper model kits, they seem to be priced uncompetitively against easier alternatives, especially if oneconsiders the need for tools and paints.

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...On top of that, most modeling groups I've tried to get into (Face-to-face and online) were a bunch of bolt-counting douchebags who tut-tutted the fact that I was fine building tanks straight from the box and didn't try hard enough to weather everything to the point it's overdone to their tastes.

That is why I gave up on historical and went to wargames (mostly 40k with a touch of Warmachine and random minis I like) and cosplay prop making, getting sick of douches who were "but that is wrong shade for September 1944, it is the shade for August 1944" crowd. I have never looked back, this allows me way more creativity.

 

 

I quit the hobby altogether because it was getting to be self-destructive. That, plus the douchebags mentioned in your posts. One guy (bless his soul, he's already deceased) once described the add-on armor panel at the side of the Leo2A5's turret as swinging out so it can cover the wingman's tank. I explained it swung out to give way for the engine deck cover when it needed maintenance. He paused and said "That, too" not wanting to admit he was wrong. And because he was a "respectable long-time member of the club" he was believed more than I was. Ok.... :rolleyes:

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Part of the problem is the nature of kits.

 

In the good old daze a box contained plastic, sometimes enough to make more than one variant of a particular aircraft / ship / vehicle. It also contained the transfers (decals) for those variants. The pieces usually only needed at the most a simple set of tweezers for the smaller parts. So anyone could build and enjoy. Sometimes in say five or six sessions over a weekend.

I don't think this is such a big issue, many of the old kits are still in production and there are simple entry-level kits available. I don't think cost of the kits is a big issue either, model kits are if anything cheap compared to some of the other hobbies kids have these days.

 

I noticed the change about 7-8 years ago, up until then markets and toy stores carried a lot of model kits, then in few years they almost completely disappeared. It is understandable in a way, almost every year some new craze or hobby for the kids comes out and the old ones don't go away at same rate, competition for the kids time is simply fierce. What is interesting is the timing, one would have thought that if computer or cell phone games were to put model kits to the pastures, it would have happened in the '90s already.

 

As for the wargaming, Games Workshop has jumped the shark and I'm pretty much done with Warhammer. Their simplified new rules have attracted many older players back but I'm not seeing much new blood, it's just people who ragequit WHFB/40K in the past and moved to Warmachine or historicals. On a related note, Warmahordes seems to be dying, repeating same mistakes GW did: no attention paid to long-term development of the game.

X-Wing is very popular but of course uses pre-assembled and painted miniatures.

Edited by Yama
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Not to be a contrarian but I'm not seeing the issue. Those classic easy to build kits are still mostly available, there's a ton of vintage Revell, Monogram, and Airfix still stocked in my local hobby shop, available on Amazon, and on eBay. If a person wants an easy to build tank, plane, or ship those classics from the 70's-90's are still for sale. If you like tanks, I can get a shake the box and pour out a model of a Sherman, PZ.IV or Panther from Tamiya easily. Revell and Hasegawa have beautiful 1/32 ww2 fighters that are well detailed but straightforward to assemble with no PE or superdetailed aspects. The niche for easy to build reasonably detailed kits has been filled for the most popular subjects for a couple of decades. And for the P-51's, BF-109's, and Panther tanks there are still more basic kits being released. If you have little ones (my youngest daughter is 11) Meng's toon series of kits are easy to build and fun to paint catnip; she's working on a B-17 and Lancaster one literally as I type.

 

In the past 5 years we've got a profusion of new manufacturers for the more experienced modellers. We've got multiple tanks with interiors and the wishlists of most modellers have been shrinking rapidly as kits of more and more escoteric subjects keep coming out. Want a Mk1 Centurion? Platz just released one. Star Trek fan? Round 2 has a 1/350 Klingon K'Tinga coming out soon for less than $80. And a premade lighting kit if you'd like, no more soldering your own circuit boards and hand-wiring LEDs. New Bismarks, new Missouris, and so forth. I have a tough time lamenting the hobby when we have more manufacturers, more subjects, and more selection than we've had at any time since I started modelling 40 years ago. Never mind multiple lines of paint, airbrushes, weathering materials, and so forth. The one area that I think has taken a hard hit are the magazines. But be honest, you could pay 8-20 bucks for a magazine today or do a Google search and hit some build logs on a forum where the quality is as good, there are vastly more pictures, and you can ask the author questions. Or watch the damned build on Youtube for half an hour. For heaven's sake, Mike Rinaldi hosts a free Q&A every Friday! And th brick and mortar shops are in deep crap. But again, they basically have the niche of supplying you with stuff you can't wait three days for and you'll pay more for that. If I want to buy a kit this weekend at the shop I could order it from China today and have it delivered to me by the weekend for less money. That's not the death of a hobby, it's the death of one type of supplier. Which sucks because I like my local hobby shop but I can get a new release kit cheaper shipped to me before they get it in stock. That's just the new landscape.

 

I've been hearing about the death of modelling since the 90's. I would propose that we've never had it so good as we have right now.

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I, long time ago, used to go to a modeling club, not for a while, but a good mate of mine still goes.

 

Last weekend they had their annual 'auction' for people wanting to sell kits and those who wanted to buy.

 

I sent my mate along with a stack of kits that I was literally willing to give away, because I will never get around to building them and I hoped that someone would appreciate them.

 

They were mostly post WW2 CCCP and associated kits, various Russian and Ukrainian manufacturers, even a Dragon kit with Ukrainian peacekeepers.

 

I could not even give these kits away. The club focus was on WW2 aircraft, and perhaps some WW2 armour, nothing more.

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Update on those kits.

 

I live in a suburb with many people passing by. High population density, lots of foot traffic.

 

I placed six of the kits that I was unable to give away at the modeling club on a very low wall, that serves as a fence, outside the block of apartments in which I live at about 9.30am today. When I returned home at 3.00pm every one of the kits had been taken. I hope that the person who collected them will enjoy the building of them.

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Update on those kits.

 

I live in a suburb with many people passing by. High population density, lots of foot traffic.

 

I placed six of the kits that I was unable to give away at the modeling club on a very low wall, that serves as a fence, outside the block of apartments in which I live at about 9.30am today. When I returned home at 3.00pm every one of the kits had been taken. I hope that the person who collected them will enjoy the building of them.

If you have more to dispose of, try a local freecycle or gumtree, if available in your area.

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I think the times when every kid built at least a handful of plastic models (and blew them up with fireworks) are gone and won't return. There are simply too many other interesting things for kids to do today. I've actually built a few models together with my now 15 year old son, that was OK for both, but he is long since on to playing various computergames and constructing his own AFV design in games offering that - and have introduced me to WoT!

 

But the plastic model business still have us mature men with more money than most kids - and we might provide a market for many years yet. I recently took up buying plastic models gain - but to kit-bash! Inspired from sonny's computedr based designs I started building/modifying my own designs in 1:35 and combining existing kit parts and lots of polystyrene sheets and putty. :D

 

BTW I think the "new" habit of individual track links in the 1:35 is awesome. Quite tedious to collect, but waouv the result kicks!

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I bought my nephew a snap together model for his 6th birthday. His mom, and his two brothers, one older, one younger, helped him put it together. My sister in law, their mother, sent me a pic of the birthday boy and the older brother playing on their tablets, with baby brother in the background playing with the model. I guess the older two had lost interest by the end. Makes me sad for them because I remember spending whole weekends putting together models at their age and felt like I accomplished something. But I can't blame them, if I had a tablet at their age, I am sure I would be more interested in that too. I can't say I am any better as an adult now that I spend the majority of my free time using my PC in some manner.

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Computer games are fast food of entertainment – tasty, cheap, accessible, addictive – and fruitless (or even harmful). There is no way plastic models could complete with them. It is like trying to convince child to eat porridge instead of chocolate. The only option is keeping chocolate out of reach at all (or, even better, not known as long as possible). I’m trying to do it with my son (who is now almost 6) - more or less successfully. His first contact with tablet games was this week when his second cousins visiting.

Edited by Roman Alymov
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Computer games are fast food of entertainment – tasty, cheap, accessible, addictive – and fruitless (or even harmful). There is no way plastic models could complete with them. It is like trying to convince child to eat porridge instead of chocolate. The only option is keeping chocolate out of reach at all (or, even better, not known as long as possible). I’m trying to do it with my son (who is now almost 6) - more or less successfully. His first contact with tablet games was this week when his second cousins visiting.

 

It's actually worse than that. Simple computer games you can play on your phone offer instant gratification. I suspect, but can't prove, they are leading kids away from games that require strategy and cooperation or any kind of investment in time and effort to learn and master.

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There are some Frog molds from the early 1960s that Revel is still using.

 

Matchbox molds from the 1970s as well.

 

It also depends on how mlds have been treated and any modifications. For instance the original Airfix 1/72 Canberra mold was changed to produce the B-58 57 kit so that no more RAF Canberra could be produced.

Edited by DougRichards
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Meanwhile 500 pieces for Universal Carrier track.....................

 

http://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/reviews/vehicles/masterclub/mtl35240.html

 

I would have thought that someone would have simply made more accurate one piece tracks, or link and length, but 250 parts per track (links and pins)... no wonder young people are not interested.

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How long does a mold last before it has to be replaced?

 

Taking carriers:

 

https://www.airfix.com/uk-en/airfix-vintage-bren-gun-carrier-and-6pdr-anti-tank-gun-1-76.html

 

First produced 1964 and molds are still in use: 54 years

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The HRTS (hyper realistic track syndrome) is an unfortunate by-product of modern day scale modelling. Some manufacturers though are taking note and are offering link-and-length in new or revised older kits (Tamiya, Finemolds etc).

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The first kit my dad ever built in the mid-50s was Revells 1/60th scale Vought F7U Cutlass, which was first issued in 1953 and re-released as late as 2010 in a new box.

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