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The Crisis Of Plastic Model Industry


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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.

it is still available

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  • 2 weeks later...

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.

 

The first kit that I ever came in contact with was a Monogram car kit. Given to me as a Christmas present. I think that I was seven or eight, so we are looking at 1963 /1964. My mother build it for me.

 

I have just taken delivery of the same kit, for memory's sake.

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One thing is that the typical model building audience now does a lot more with the computers - maybe the companies should look into making/selling gaming merchandise as well (and sci-fi)? I mean I would love to build the Rocinante or Donnager from the Expanse etc.

In fairness, have you seen the amount of kits of new vehicles which have only been released because they show up in World of Tanks or War Thunder?

 

Plus there are the deals with companies like Italeri or Finemolds, to sell a kit so you can build a vehicle as it appears in your in-game garage.

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One thing is that the typical model building audience now does a lot more with the computers - maybe the companies should look into making/selling gaming merchandise as well (and sci-fi)? I mean I would love to build the Rocinante or Donnager from the Expanse etc.

In fairness, have you seen the amount of kits of new vehicles which have only been released because they show up in World of Tanks or War Thunder?

 

Plus there are the deals with companies like Italeri or Finemolds, to sell a kit so you can build a vehicle as it appears in your in-game garage.

 

Yes, in the 'interesting' 1/56 scale, as if 1/24, 1/32, 1/35, 1/48, 1/72, 1/76 and 1/144 were not enough! If the industry (using the definition: economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of goods in factories.) that produced 1/56 scale kits had been diverted to 1/35, or even 1/48 (which is a fair scale for war gaming) then perhaps we would have a more representative range of models than at present.

 

I look forward to the time that someone, anyone, produces a European Theatre (yes, Italeri did a Pacific theatre one some time ago) 1/35 M4 Sherman with wading trunks, or even a Churchill with the same. There are landing craft extant: LCM 3 from both Italeri and Trumpeter, but no tanks to land from them.

Edited by DougRichards
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  • 2 months later...

Photo etched is tricky stuff. Can bend easily. Some are supposed to be bent to a certain way. Too much bending can snap it. Worse part is that stronger cement is needed that dries really fast. Sometimes there isn't a second chance. Which is why I sometimes don't use it. Too risky. Admittetly though, plastic can't match photo etched grill covers.

 

Level of detail in the plastic itself is more tolerable. Dragan is very detailed, and a bit of a challenge in the first go with one of their kits. But once getting used to, the detail can be appreciable.

 

Plastic model kits are in full force here. Lots of brands, some I've never seen before, like some Russian or other sort of slavic lookng or czech looking in origin, well some sort of European anyway. Lots of selections as far as afvs go, lots of the tin can mid 30s stuff. Although still no US M2 medium or light tank. Not even M2A4.. Among all the 1930s stuff was a Vickers 6 ton in Nationalist Chinese camo and decals. Tiny little pricy thing but it got added to the collection. 1930s and 1940s Imperial Japanese afvs has also seen an increase in selection, many by Finemolds and Dragon.

 

Photo etch has been around for a while, it actually predates super glue / Cyanoacrylates and modellers used varnish to hold it in place.

 

It is interesting that I now have both the Bronco and Tamiya Archers. I was given the Bronco kit by a mate who bought it some time ago but once he looked in the box he decided not to waste his time building it. He is the same age as I and I guess it may have the rest of his mortal life to build. It has a lot of photoetch, you need to attach bolt heads to the wheels (either photo etch or from a number provided on the sprue. Individual link tracks of course, but the wheels are not actually accurately spaced.

 

The Tamiya offering has been criticised for being too simplified, but at least it will not take four months to build.

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Photo etched is tricky stuff. Can bend easily. Some are supposed to be bent to a certain way. Too much bending can snap it. Worse part is that stronger cement is needed that dries really fast. Sometimes there isn't a second chance. Which is why I sometimes don't use it. Too risky. Admittetly though, plastic can't match photo etched grill covers.

Level of detail in the plastic itself is more tolerable. Dragan is very detailed, and a bit of a challenge in the first go with one of their kits. But once getting used to, the detail can be appreciable.

Plastic model kits are in full force here. Lots of brands, some I've never seen before, like some Russian or other sort of slavic lookng or czech looking in origin, well some sort of European anyway. Lots of selections as far as afvs go, lots of the tin can mid 30s stuff. Although still no US M2 medium or light tank. Not even M2A4.. Among all the 1930s stuff was a Vickers 6 ton in Nationalist Chinese camo and decals. Tiny little pricy thing but it got added to the collection. 1930s and 1940s Imperial Japanese afvs has also seen an increase in selection, many by Finemolds and Dragon.

 

Photo etch has been around for a while, it actually predates super glue / Cyanoacrylates and modellers used varnish to hold it in place.

 

It is interesting that I now have both the Bronco and Tamiya Archers. I was given the Bronco kit by a mate who bought it some time ago but once he looked in the box he decided not to waste his time building it. He is the same age as I and I guess it may have the rest of his mortal life to build. It has a lot of photoetch, you need to attach bolt heads to the wheels (either photo etch or from a number provided on the sprue. Individual link tracks of course, but the wheels are not actually accurately spaced.

 

The Tamiya offering has been criticised for being too simplified, but at least it will not take four months to build.

Some of the kits I had came with individual rivets. Some were etch, some were plastic. But I had no confidence in getting such tiny things to align so cleanly, so never used them.

 

How was the varnish utlized? Use just like cement and hold until it dries?

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It has been about 20 years since I have seen a model kit (except Lego, if that counts) in any department / toy shop.

 

Even the specialised hobby shops now do a lot of their sales on line.

 

So little passing trade. Not much bought on impulse. I buy most of my kits on line these days, after reading over reviews and the like. My best mate buys most of his kits over the counter, without reading reviews. I think that he gets more unpleasant surprises than I do.

 

It is interesting that many of the older companies have been able to produce fair kits without photo etch, or at least not much, incorporating those finicky details in the polystyrene without recourse to brass: Airfix, Tamiya, Italeri, come to mind. When Tamiya decides to do photo etch they do it as an extra detail set, but the original kit does not need that detail set to still be a good model.

 

About varnish as an adhesive for etched brass. Yes, just like a cement but as there should be some surface tension with the varnish and the two surfaces, you would probably not need to hold in place until it dries, but would be helpful if the surfaces were horizontal at the time.

Edited by DougRichards
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It has been about 20 years since I have seen a model kit (except Lego, if that counts) in any department / toy shop.

 

Our local toy shop, Grooves, has a small, but good selection of plastic model kits (all Airfix IIRC). I haven't noticed a decline over the last ten years.

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In Sydney, a city of 4.5 million, give or take, there is one shop, with two outlets, selling plastic kits. Nearby, well a few hours drive away, there is one large retailer of kits in Newcastle, a city of about .6 of a million, that seems mainly to survive by on line sales. Melbourne, with a population of 4.3 million, has just two retailers of plastic kits. (Mind you, the same comparisons can be made for train sets and the like).

 

There are a few other retailers in outlying areas, but no where near what things were like even in the 1990s.

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  • 2 weeks later...

PLA ones are still crap, resin ones OTOH...

Unless you are making proprietary models you might as well as get out of business in a few years.

Edited by bojan
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It is not the arrival at the destination that matters.

 

It is the journey.

 

Except some model companies make the journey harder than it has to be.

 

If all anyone wanted was the finished product, then there are many finished models on the market.

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Thing is that most people want something that assembles easy and looks "OKish".

Big companies can survive, smaller ones not.

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Some companies have found a sweet spot between being 'just okay' and 'damn, I have just opened the box and I have no chance of building this'.

 

Airfix has been doing well lately, releasing a good number of kits steadily. Tamiya is doing what it can to fill in gaps. Academy is beginning to re-release old kits after a pause.

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  • 3 weeks later...

One of the real reasons for the demise of plastic modelling.

 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-05/instant-gratification-in-teens/10675880

 

Instant gratification behind teen anxiety epidemic, but parents can help

At a school in Perth, a group of teen girls is sitting in a circle, practising breathing techniques. One. Two. Three. Four.

"I've only got a couple of minutes with them,'' a school counsellor tells me later. Why? Because if this cohort can't learn to slow-breathe in two minutes, they'll consider they've failed.

Failed breathing? It seems risible, but this is a telling example of how the curse of instant gratification is colouring our teens' lives.

In an instant we all can — and expect to — do our banking, book a holiday online, or check a medical diagnosis. Success needs to be now. We don't have time to wait, or waste. And nowhere has instant gratification found a more welcome home than in the teenage world of touchscreen and WiFi, of devices and apps, of television on demand, music in the pocket, and 24/7 connectivity.

The Perth example is one of dozens I've encountered since writing Being 14, which charts the challenges faced by teen girls, and how the rest of us might help them. Often we — their parents — are feeding on the same diet of instant gratification: sprinting through the doors at Boxing Day sales, or cursing the slow driver in front of us.

 

snip

 

Tell the story of the photograph

Schools are helping our teen girls navigate this anxiety by offering yoga and meditation and lessons in mindfulness. But the disease of instant gratification starts being cured at home, where hard work, failing and then succeeding and setting goals are talked about and role-modelled.

Professor Ian Frazer co-invented the science behind the cervical cancer vaccine, which saves millions of women's lives. But success came after a decade of failed experiments. Ask your teen daughters: what would have happen if he'd given up after one year? Or even nine?

 

Or tell them how photographs were taken when you were their age. Remember? Firstly, we needed to adjust the focus because that was not automatic. And then we would snap a photo and put the camera away.

 

Why, they ask? Because we had to wait to take another 11, or 23 or 35 photos, before we could develop them. Then, when the film was full, we'd open the door (that's right) of the camera and remove it.

 

I've relayed this story — given to me by a teen psychologist — in dozens of schools now, and it's the next line that's the clincher. We'd then take the film to the pharmacy to be developed.

It's only a story, but it's a reminder that memories are built up over time, and not everything needs to be uploaded in an instant.

But when we returned for the photographs, a week or so later, we'd carry two things: money to pay for them (which meant we thought about those we were taking) and a delightful sense of anticipation.

 

Instant gratification has stolen that feeling from so many of our children. We need to help gift it back.

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One of the real reasons for the demise of plastic modelling.

 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-05/instant-gratification-in-teens/10675880

 

Instant gratification behind teen anxiety epidemic, but parents can help

At a school in Perth, a group of teen girls is sitting in a circle, practising breathing techniques. One. Two. Three. Four.

"I've only got a couple of minutes with them,'' a school counsellor tells me later. Why? Because if this cohort can't learn to slow-breathe in two minutes, they'll consider they've failed.

Failed breathing? It seems risible, but this is a telling example of how the curse of instant gratification is colouring our teens' lives.

In an instant we all can — and expect to — do our banking, book a holiday online, or check a medical diagnosis. Success needs to be now. We don't have time to wait, or waste. And nowhere has instant gratification found a more welcome home than in the teenage world of touchscreen and WiFi, of devices and apps, of television on demand, music in the pocket, and 24/7 connectivity.

The Perth example is one of dozens I've encountered since writing Being 14, which charts the challenges faced by teen girls, and how the rest of us might help them. Often we — their parents — are feeding on the same diet of instant gratification: sprinting through the doors at Boxing Day sales, or cursing the slow driver in front of us.

 

snip

 

Tell the story of the photograph

Schools are helping our teen girls navigate this anxiety by offering yoga and meditation and lessons in mindfulness. But the disease of instant gratification starts being cured at home, where hard work, failing and then succeeding and setting goals are talked about and role-modelled.

Professor Ian Frazer co-invented the science behind the cervical cancer vaccine, which saves millions of women's lives. But success came after a decade of failed experiments. Ask your teen daughters: what would have happen if he'd given up after one year? Or even nine?

 

Or tell them how photographs were taken when you were their age. Remember? Firstly, we needed to adjust the focus because that was not automatic. And then we would snap a photo and put the camera away.

 

Why, they ask? Because we had to wait to take another 11, or 23 or 35 photos, before we could develop them. Then, when the film was full, we'd open the door (that's right) of the camera and remove it.

 

I've relayed this story — given to me by a teen psychologist — in dozens of schools now, and it's the next line that's the clincher. We'd then take the film to the pharmacy to be developed.

It's only a story, but it's a reminder that memories are built up over time, and not everything needs to be uploaded in an instant.

But when we returned for the photographs, a week or so later, we'd carry two things: money to pay for them (which meant we thought about those we were taking) and a delightful sense of anticipation.

 

Instant gratification has stolen that feeling from so many of our children. We need to help gift it back.

I see these stories constantly and while I think there are elements of truth in them, they miss other aspects that run counter to the narrative. Both of my girls and their friends still draw and paint and wander outside for 2 hours to walk to the fro-yo shop while babbling away. Less so than they did in my day because they are on their electronics more than we were (considering we had hand helds and eventually a coveted Atari 2600 we didn't have their opportunity!) and that concerns me. However, have these people watched what they do on the things? My youngest spent longer on a detailed construction in Minecraft than I do on my average tank model. They spend hours designing cities and destroying them or create intricate webs of relationships and houses in the SIMs. Or they play a single player campaign in AC Odyssey (my eldest) while tracking stats and grinding quests and so forth. Whether their prolonged creativity moving from the physical to the digital realm is a good thing or not I don't know. However, to go down the road of these alarmist papers and state that they are all magpies flitting from shiny thing to shiny thing is myopic.

 

I am more worried about the loss of physical interactions in favor of sedentary ones than some loss of focus and creativity. I don't know about everyone else, but while I spent time building models and wrestling and playing soccer and getting my ass kicked in karate, an awful lot of my time was spent just bullshitting with my friends in a backyard or while walking in the woods. These articles make it sound like kids of my generation were spending 10 hours a day painting or rock climbing instead of watching TV with their friends and eating Hostess products with breaks to beat the crap out of each other or get driven to football practice. . .

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