Where have all the scale modelers gone?

...long time passing Apologies to Pete Seeger, and Peter, Paul and Mary.
I used to be a rabid scale model builder. I'm talking 25+ years ago when
I had to give up my "toy room" to my then 2 year old daughter. I stored all the completed and uncompleted models in storage boxes. When I moved to my house in 1984, there were other things that were pressing besides model building, so I kept the boxes under the basement stairs. Just recently, I brought out from under the stairs and started going through them.I found some kits that I had forgotten about and thought I would get back into building them. Obviously, the tons of paints that I had from back in 1980 had dried up, along with the solvaset and other model products, so I decided to go out and find some replacements. I went over to the only hobby shop within 50 miles, and one that I has visited a long time ago. Lo and behold, no plastic scale model kits. No solvaset, and a limited amount of model paints. everything was remote control models. Planes, boats, trucks, tanks, and all the items to get the things running. I then went to a railroad model shop, hoping to get some solvasol there. At least everything there was geared to model railroading in various gauges. But no solvasol, no brass rod,etc. I asked the proprietor where he kept the solvasol and brass rods. He said, 'We don't get much call for them, so there is no sense stocking them'. Don't model railroaders use solvasol to decal their cars and brass rod to further detail their running stock? What happened to all the scale modelers? Are they all on-line or playing war games? How is it with hobby shops in your area? Have they gone over to the joystick models? I would buy the stuff on-line myself, but if I only need a few things costing less than $10, I would have to pay shipping charges that would almost equal the cost of the stuff. Tomorrow, I am going to drive some 50 miles to a hobby store that I used to frequent during my modeling days and see what's what there.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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willshak wrote:

Maybe you are cycling , but for me a round trip of 100 miles will cost more than $10 in refined dinosaur carcass .
noddy
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sheeeeeeee, cost's me 60 bucks in diesel to go to vegas and back, 310 miles....but hey, if silver keeps going up, i'll be buying a little gas burner soon. $13.50 an oz today...
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It did for a while and now it's gone forever, replaced by a beauty salon/tanning parlour. It was killed by the opening of a new-style hobby superstore in the centre of town selling an internet-style range of products at internet prices combined with a long program of (in my opinion) unnecessary roadworks immediately outside the shop. Coincidentally, the new hobby superstore is located in premises rented - at huge expense - from the very same city council which carried-out the roadworks.
(kim)
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Bill, Down here in Pa. Dutch Country we have lost most of the 'real' hobby shops. The closest one can find to that are the 2 model railroad shops. Both do supply Solvaset, Evergreen styrene shapes and brass wire and tubing. OTOH, have you examined some of those newer railroad items? They cost an arm and a leg and the detail level is commensurate. In model railroading, as in other disciplines, the phenomena of modellers buying their detail ready-made is rampant. No one seems to have the time to develop modelling skills. The closest we have to a hobby shop has the models relegated to a corner in the back behind all the ready-built stuff and space-wasting ephemera (die-cast, baseball cards, toys). Only certain supplies are available. Magazines are only supplied through Kalmbach. If one wants something from 'outside' those parameters one cannot get it there. I've been buying online and mailorder for a couple of years now. Heck, sometimes I can get more stuff I need at Michael's or AC Moore that at the 'hobby shop'.
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
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Bill - Is JP's (IIRC) in Mechanisburg still around? I stopped in a couple of years back and, although leaning heavily toward model trains, it didn't seem like too bad a shop, it had a lot in the way of supplies and paints.
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The Old Man wrote:

I'm afraid I don't know. I've heard it spoken of and one friend used to stop in there when he worked in the area but I've never been there myself. Back in the '70s and '80s Harrisburg was pretty much a desert for hobby shops. One converted to lottery sales and the other was an Allied Hobbies in a mall. The stock there was fairly pedestrian. Indeed, the last time I was in there the manager was attempting to get rid of those old Microscale decals that were "cluttering up his shelf." I should have grabbed a few that were in decent shape but most were yellowed.
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
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Mad-Modeller wrote:

Hey Bill:
    Are you old enough to remember the "Mom 7 Pop" hobby shop next to the gas station on 17th street?? Visiting there was a highlight of going to Harrisburg to visit my Grandmothers in the Summer when I was a kid. We are talking the Balsa wood solid model era here.
                        Bill Shuey
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gauges.
Mom-n-Pop shops are a dying breed. After the last 'hobby shop' closed around here, it was 2 yrs before a new one opened. And as you sited, the major line was R/C with a bit of (expensive, Tamygawa)) plastic. The owner is younger and it took him a while to get things re-arranged. Still heavy in R/C and gaming but his plastics have increased and include more mainstream price lines--R/M Airfix along with AMT and R/M autos.
The next closest real hobby shop was doing OK but went heavy into recycling collections and expanded their inventory to anything that they could sell, no matter what, as long as it could 'pass' in a hobby /collectables shop.
Hobby Lobbys, seem to be the biggest culprit around here. Wallyworld and other megamarts don't carry enough current kits anymore or supplies past basic paints and carded glues.
-- Chuck Ryan Springfield OH
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Guess it depends on where you live. In my part of Florida, I have two large hobby shops within twenty-five minutes driving time, but one has started to shift their product base more to RC products (cars and aircraft) in the last few months--the shop down the road from them consistently underpriced them on plastic kits, so they saw little point in competing. Both shops still sell a formidable array of paints, adhesives and tools, though. Neither of these operations is a chain, by the way. Pricewise, the cheaper store can give the Internet dealers a run for their money, and sometimes gets new products in before they do. Still, these are very large dealers, and the little mom and pop storefront outfits are hard to find these days. Gerald Owens
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The scale modelers have gone the same place radio amateurs have gone! A couple of years ago there was a small note in Scientific American about this situation. It seems that it had been noted that very few were building their radios any more. Radio Shack had responsed to market pressure a couple of years before that: their "hobby" secton, the one with the parts, had been cut down at that time. Now, I understand, RS has little of that sort of thing in most stores.
Scale modelers have gone the same way. I don't know if this is a reflection of increased impatience, diminished ability to follow directions, or the distractions of daily life today. Whatever has caused it, I see it all the time: teens today lack the sense of space and of physical proportion we take for granted.
As my daughter says, "Humans are so wierd."
I am said to have four or five hobby stores within 25 miles of me. The best one in town went out of business last year. The others appear to concentrate on r/c and rail.
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Where have they all gone? The answer is simple. Do to too much TV and video games, youngsters have about a 10 minute attention span, that doesn't suit modeling. Most have no sense of histroy as they don't teach it anymore. Therefore, no interest in modeling a piece of history. That pretty much wipes out space, aircraft and ships. You pretty much can't wrench on a car anymore, therefore there is not much interest in building little versions of the big one you enjoy tinkering with.
There seems to be little desire or patience in society today. We have become a society of people who want instant gratification. A modeling project does not provide that.
Thank goodness I am not one of the herd (:>
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While I think that TV, videos, PCs, the internet and all other sorts of electronic entertainment plays a big part, I also think the model companies bear some blame.
Many years ago, the kits cost less than a dollar. We could get Airfix kits from a weekly allowance. Today, the exact same kit in a different packaging is going for around $10 plus or minus.
Some of the rise can be attributed to inflation, but that much money for a kit that is decades old is rather high.
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Count DeMoney wrote:

snippage

Count:
    No where does this show up better than in HO railroading. Used to be there were real model kits that required a lot of cutting, glue and paint and effort to get a really nice model railroad car. Now it's all ready painted and lettered stuff. All you need is a small screwdriver and it's together and running in 1/2 an hour.     I see more and more of these ready painted model airplanes coming out of China, etc. and I wonder if we will be going the same way.
                        Bill Shuey
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William H. Shuey wrote:

When my daughter was young, she wanted an HO train set. She had always liked Matchbox cars and we would buy them for her until she had about 100 of them. She would play for hours with the cars on a 3x3' piece of sheetrock with hand drawn roads. When we bought the HO set for her one Christmas, we let her play with them for a while on the supplied track. I then built a layout for her on a 4x8 plywood table with added track, buildings, trees, roads and crossings, and landscaping. I decided that the train cars looked too clean, so I weathered them all. :-)
--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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willshak wrote:

Did you add grafitti to the cars like 90% of the rolling stock nowadays? There is someone out there selling decals for that. I was aghast. If I'm spending time building nice cars that have prototypical lettering and weathering why would I want to deface them that way? I can't stand it on the real thing. ;]
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
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Ahhh, PP&M... back to reality... There are few real hobby shops anymore. We have a couple in Albuquerque but not like they used to be years ago. They carry all manner of stuff but mostly they have given in to the remote control cars & planes. Nobody left to talk plastic with. Still a fair selection of supplies though. Kit selection is still pretty good for cars & planes, but ships - forget it! Thank goodness for Model Expo a few years ago before they dropped their plastic line. Were it not for them I wouldn't have a tall ship stash at all! I've more kits than years left to live so I know I'll die happy<G>. I lust for one more ship kit, well, maybe two<G>, then all will be well. John
willshak wrote:

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I guess that we are very fortunate in the San Francisco Bay Area. Several really good hobby shops and a couple of excellent IPMS chapters. The average age of the customers is a bit of a concern, but they are holding their own against the internet market.
There are two or three good IPMS contests every year, enough to inspire a good many people. The vendor's tables at these meets are almost always well stocked and the prices can run from dirt cheap to hidiously expensive.
IPMS Golden Gate will start up again this year. Since the '60's the club has met in Berkeley, Vallejo, several locations in San Francisco and now in Marin County. Anyone interested please e-mail me.
Tom
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wrote:

We're lucky enough to have one here in central Arkansas - Hobby Shack (formerly Jack's Hobby Shop) in Jacksonville carries lots of kits and supplies, and has a large model RR section with all the detail goodies associated with that side of the hobby.
--
Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

My "From" address is munged - use 'modeleral (at) swbell (dot) net' to respond
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I guess I am lucky. Here in my area (Mansfield, Ohio) there is a shop called John's Hobby Shop. When I went in it for the first time a couple of months ago I truly thought I was in heaven. It was like the shops I remember in the 60's. Very friendly staff and lots of stuff. I am a car guy and I almost started crying over the kits they had. This is a pretty small shop, but it is packed with most all you can imagine. Russ
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