OLD Newbie Questions

Thanks, I really appreciate any input you can give me. I have been reading (lurking) this list for many months, and finally got up the nerve to post a few dumb newbie questions. As I enter into this hobby again after 35 years, I would like to get back to building tall ships like my Father and I did many years ago.

I know that many of you are REAL hobbyists, some on the fanatical side, so this may be the wrong place to ask these questions, but here goes.

1) As a whole (US nation wide) has there been a decline in the popularity of this hobby?

The reason I ask is that in my youth you could find a nice assortment of models in almost every town. In the little town of 256 I grew up in the local drug store always had 40 or 50 different auto's, planes, ships, and the neighboring town of 2,000 had a full blown hobby store with hundreds of models year round. I have noticed that even Wal-Mart (is this a dirty word here?) does not carry many if any at all, and I have to travel 50 miles to find a hobby shop that stocks even a mild assortment of model anything.

2) Is there a consensus of what models are the most popular? I know you all have your favorites and I don't want to start a war, but what do you think?? Planes, Trains, Autos, Boats?

3) Are there key resources on-line for models and modeling supplies?

Thanks Again JOhn >

If you want to reply to me in person, take the please's out of my return address!

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Undoubtedly. I imagine the percentage of adults is about the same; but there are *far* fewer kids involved in the hobby.

As far as static scale models, I guess automotive may be the most popular. In the "historical modeling" circles that most of us are involved in, aircraft probably dominates; but I think that there are probably a lot more automotive modelers out there. There just seems to be less "cross-pollination" between aircraft and automotive, as opposed to, say, aircraft and armor. And then there is model railroading....

Far too many to give a fair listing...but remember:

"Google is your *friend*."


Reply to
Greg Heilers

John > wrote

Welcome back! It's good to see another new face in the crowd. (c: Hmmm - real hobbyists? Is that a bit like a Real Modeller (tm)? You won't find too many of them here, I hope. As far as your questions go, looks like I get first bite at the cherry, so here goes...

  1. I'm an Aussie, so I can't speak for the US-based bods, but The Hobby is probably more popular now than at any other time. It's just the little shops that are having trouble staying open. There's as many reasons for that as there are closed shops, but the growth of on-line shopping has certainly had an impact. As has Wal-Mart. Just joking. I think it's harder now to operate a small business, especially a specialist one, than in the past. What HAS changed since you discovered cars, girls and alcohol (in that order??) is the group that buy models. Actually, that's not quite true - the group is the same - we're all just a lot older and more wrinkled. (c: Most of the guys buying kits (and on this group) these days are a bit like you - late
30s or older, grown-up kids and a bit more disposable income that they had years ago. Some of us are divorced (wheeee!) so we have the time and money spare as well. Mostly, we're just Old Farts trying to recapture a bit of youth.

  1. Most popular models? Aircraft, without a doubt. WW2 aircraft, to be more accurate. German WW2 aircraft to be pedantic. Bf-109s to be completely specific. But there's room for all, and there's more and more esoteric things being moulded every year. The great beauty of the hobby is that you can choose what you want to build. Try a P-51 Mustang today, a Ford Mustang next week and an Apache on a mustang the week after - it's all good! If you get bored with cars, build a tank. Or a motorcycle, or a ship or ... you get the idea. Have fun!

  2. A good place to start is Tony Matteliano's Scale Model Index, at
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    It's a big list of modelling related stuff. Also
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    . Both Aussie sites, but damn good places to start. I'm sure the other guys will have some more suggestions. When you start looking around, you'll find some of your own, too.

Tall ships? These days that usually means wooden kits, although there are a few plastic ones around. Somebody else will have to fill you in here, as it's not really my area.

Welcome back and don't lurk. We're all here to help and learn (most of us, anyway) so ask away!


Reply to
Rob Grinberg

Definitely. Another good site to explore is

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, not to mention our own FAQ at
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Reply to
Al Superczynski

Actually, you could say that the hobby has matured. It used to be pre-teenaged boys spending allowance or lawn mowing money on a plethora of kits that were under $1.

Today the hobby is mainly populated by the former pre-teen modelers who now are in the late 30s, 40s and 50s.

The older, more sophisticated modelers have higher standards and the models have become relatively expensive. A little too expensive for small discount stores to have any meaningful inventory.

While I like to see the Wal-Marts, K-Marts and Targets carry a basic assortment of popular cars and planes, I doubt we will see the full range of models return to the variety stores. Rob Gronovius Modern US armor at

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Reply to
Rob Gronovius

My first thought was they yeah, the hobby has dropped in popularity, but not really. Many of the kids today make Warhammer or other miniatures. I have shown some of these kids finished M-49 or M-60 kits as well as others and they are astounded at the detail, etc. They are just not ready for the real stuff yet. When they get older I think they will retain some interest.

As for the shops, the Internet has done them in... I second the Google reference.


Reply to
Lance Mertz

Do you see the on-line sites providing a significant discount to cover shipping costs, or just a vast source for the largest variety of models?

I can see a brick and mortar store with limited display space not having as many models in stock as on-line warehouses with no retail overhead.

Thanks JOhn >

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The hobby has also changed all around.

What used to be a handful of big manufacturers and a tiny handful of"garage kit" manufacturers, the situation is now reversed. The huge percentage of new kits are from the small firms with the big boys bringing out tons of the same thing they produced decades ago with new boxes and decals.

Overall from the MAI aircraft database:

Aircraft kits and models (models are built ups such as ID models and airline desk models) in all catagores (plastic, wood, vacuform, etc.) to 1/72 scale (or close) in 1988 when our book came out...5,900.

Today's database count per description above...13,385. That's without including repackaging such as Frog-Novo, etc.

The increase % since 1988 for vehicles is even higher.

The largest influence is the emerging Eastern European kit industry. The crude, heavy handed kits of the old Iron Curtain days is long gone. Companies such as Roden have become the new standard.

The best capitalist is stll an ex-communist.


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They make the best (small 'd') democrats, too...

Reply to
Al Superczynski

It varies. Some online retailers give a nice discount and some try to sell at MSRP.

It's often just the opposite. Some online retailers carry little stock on-hand, ordering from the distributor or manufacturer as customer orders come in.

Reply to
Al Superczynski

In case you need it, here's the URL for the rec.models.scale FAQ's:

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The Keeper (of too much crap!)

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When you've been denied something all your life, you tend to appreciate more when you finally get it. And, unfortunately, I think the reverse also holds true in that when you've had it all your life, you don't appreciate it until its gone.

-- John The history of things that didn't happen has never been written. . - - - Henry Kissinger

Reply to
The Old Timer

You mean if I get down to 180 lbs I'll appreciate the fat? Kim M

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