Then and Now- How modeling has changed

I have to agree with you Rob. I really miss the old Pactra liquid glue. It worked slowly enough that one had time to put the parts together before the glue evapourated. Testors can probably do it but the stuff always makes me ill. Now I'm using Plasticweld and sometimes I'm not as fast as it is. OTOH, every so often I crack open a really old Humbrol tin and the aroma takes me way back. That gets to be a rarer event as time goes on.
The kits: Well for one thing there is plenty of interior detail. The first few kits I built had essentially hollow fuselages that one could look through. Pilots were either little bumps moulded on a flat plane where the cockpit was supposed to be or they were stuck on pegs coming out from the inside of the fuselage where one could see them floating in a void under the canopy.
References are far more satisfactory - and not, at the same time. We've come to expect that we'll find what we need when once we didn't know what we needed, or that we needed it. I can recall when I started building 'seriously' back in junior high and all I had to go on was the books in the school library which were illustrated chiefly with publicity photos from the DOD. It wasn't until 1967 and my discovery of a copy of "Scale Modeler" that I found out there were others with the same afflictions. Prior to that I figured I was the only non-kid building model planes and certainly the only crazy one in this locality.
The abundance of resin detail parts seems to have made doing them yourselves obsolete. I guess this makes a super-detailled model more easily attained but to me the building is the fun. It's part of the trip, the end of which is the finished model. Unfortunately, I have way too many unfinshed trips here. ;]
Bill Banaszak, MFE
Reply to
Mad-Modeller
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I miss Pactra enamels, original-formula Floquil, and good old Revell Type "S" cement (the best tube glue ever made, IMO).
Reply to
Al Superczynski
Another thing I thought of- when I started there were no flat hobby enamels. To get flat finish we added some talcum powder to bottle. Then they came out with flat finishes- a great advance :-)
Reply to
Don Stauffer
then they told us to clear coat those flat finishes before adding decals,and finish with a flat overcoat... My latest discovery is...using gloss finishes! Saves money and unneeded thickness of paint.
Reply to
eyeball
Solvaset - directly over flat paint, followed up with a flat finish.
Takes a bit of work...but it works. Look for my writeup here, under the Articles link:
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Reply to
Rufus
The fall of Communism actually made a huge difference in modeling. As American kit companes failed and moved to other countries the Eastern Block excercised their newfound freedom to beat us at our own game.
Starting with Czech Master resin kits, essentially smuggled out before the fall of the wall, and continuing through the amazing quality of Toko/Roden and Eduard kits, the market is now loaded with new releases from the ex-Soviet satelite countries. While Hasegawa, Tamiya, Revellogram, Italeri and the like produce a handfull of new kits and bushels of new decals disguised as new kits, the aforementioned Czech companies and their neighbors pile up scores of truly new kits every year. Of course many of the new kits such as A-Model are not quite state of the art, but most are of good buildable quality and the subject matter can't be beat.
Outside of Eastern Europe there are brave smaller companies that are producing kits that we have begged for for decades. Mach 2 is but one that tries to give us what we want. Like A-Model they have quality issues, but patience and modeling skills usually suffice. Pegasus cranks out very limited runs of very desireable subjects with good quality.
So, bottom line, while American companies have faded away to almost nothing, the number of new kits coming out every year is huge. I'll post some data under a ESM 72 heading that should show how some things have changed.
Tom
Reply to
maiesm72
When i was a boy ..I used to make model planes (usually ww2 british or american) and they were all hanging from the ceiling of my bedroom with fishing line.They werent very good ....but i was impressed. I cant go along with the theme that modelling is a dying hobby,I have 3 kids .......they all have made models at various stages in their lives, in between Archery,Football,School, Arts and crafts,Music and Computers.The options are better for kids these days .as far as hobbies go ....but Model making as far as I am concerned is just getting better......my daughter loves nothing better than a great simple diorama.(usually with a tank)
Reply to
Arcusinoz
To balance my somewhat nice comment about Mach 2:
I started their Piasecki HUP a few years ago and got stopped when fitting parts together prior to actually building the kit. The right half (IIRC) of the rear pylon top was molded canted away from the center line by a considerable margine. Eventually I cut a horizontal slice at the base of the offending section and pried it into place. Filled the existing gap with plastic, puttied, filed and sanded to shape and there we have it.
I also did a copy of the left fuselage half n order to have nice clear windows that actually fit. Did some interior and that's about as far as I got. I have, however, accumulated a bg stack of detail photos from a couple of surviving examples.
Not unbuildable, just a lot of work to get it actually started.
Tom
Reply to
maiesm72
Modelers now are five times older, have ten times as much money to spend, and have about 1% of the free time...
Reply to
dancho
I'm 37 and only started modeling at 16. I have too much free time and not enough money. I get sticker shock at $15 models that were $6 LAST YEAR to say nothing of these "It's worth it we recommend it" $50-$100 ones.I'd rather buy groceries than a tamiya kit.Maybe that's why almost-free paper models seem to be becoming more popular...
Reply to
eyeball
They're not nearly as common as they used to be but clear stands still show up once in a while. Academy includes a pretty nice one with their F-84G but strangely doesn't supply a pilot. Maybe it's supposed to be a drone...
Reply to
Al Superczynski
I made my first plastic kit in the late 1950's. It was an Airfix Me109e and I was about eight years old. My father and I made a complete mess of it and it put me off modelling for a long time. Later on, my friends developed something of a craze for kits and I had another go. This time, things went well and I have made models ever since.
A great many things have changed over the years. One is the range of references available. I knew almost nothing about aircraft as a boy and the information supplied with the Airfix kits was the only information I had. This was similarly true of the AFV kits when they appeared in the early 1960's. Airfix Magazine, when it appeared in June 1960, was a revelation. The huge range of specialist magazines and books of all kinds that are available now would have been dismissed as a ridiculous fantasy then.
Materials and techniques were very different. Balsa wood, cardboard, sprue, paper and an unpredictable filler called Plastic Wood were the usual modelling materials until the latter half of the 1960's. Plastic card was a major step forward. Liquid cement, which I first encountered in the early 1970's, was a huge improvement on tube cement when a neat join was needed. I could hardly believe the standards that one scratchbuilder had achieved with it.
Kit standards have risen tremendously. The early kits were often incredibly stark. I remember being given a kit of an F-100 that had only six parts. It had no undercarriage or cockpit interior and the one-piece wings and tailplanes slotted through aerofoil shaped slots in the fuselage sides. There was an F-84 kit on the same lines.
I remember that Airfix suddenly increased the quality of their kits at some time in the mid-1960's. Their B-25 and B-17 kits were streets ahead of anything they had done before. Even so, I still thought rivets were great!
Various things that are now commonplace seemed unbelievably impressive in the early days. A decal sheet with more than one set of markings seemed positively luxurious. Interior detail was largely lacking and any indication of interior paint colours was unknown. In fact, it was several years after I began making models as a hobby before I met anyone who painted his kits at all. The wide range of accurate paint colours that we have now was only just beginning to appear from Humbrol. Airfix paints were few in number and mostly gloss. They had the great virtue of cheapness, though. A bottle of Airfix paint was 6d whereas a tin of Humbrol was 9d.
Aftermarket parts and decals were a late development and I remember wondering who bought the sheets of decals advertised on the back cover of Airfix Mag.
I think it was the magazines that really forced standards up. They provided reference materials and instruction in techniques. In so doing, they showed what was possible and led their readers to want better models. This had an effect on manufacturers in a more competitive market and kit standards improved.
On balance, things have improved enormously but I often wonder if the fun has gone out of modelling. Perhaps I'm just getting old.
Gordon McLaughlin
Reply to
Gordon McLaughlin
Whenever I hear someone mention working parts I smile.
When used in larger scales (Monogram F3F) they don't look too bad. In 1/72 scale they just look horrible (Aoshima P-36).
Then there are the exceptions. Several years ago, before the fall of the Wall, a couple of the guys behind the orginal Czech Master resins vsited here. One of the guys had a KP Avia CS.199s done with beautiful detail and finish. Contest winning quality. What really dropped all of the attending jaws was when he reached nto the cockpit with needle point tweezers and moved the rudder by using the control stick! Then he pushed down on one then the other pedals and the control surfaces moved accordingly!!! In 1/72 scale!!!!!
Most amazing thing I have ever seen.
Tom
Reply to
maiesm72

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