Viewpoint – April 2017

Modellers tend to be creatures of habit. We mostly stick to the subjects we like. We generally build in a constant scale and we often develop particular styles and methods of construction as we become more experienced.

It isn’t a hard and fast rule and I sometimes spread my building across many genres of modelling, but for more than 30 years my subject and scale of choice was 1/35 scale and (mostly) modern armour. Even within those parameters, I had particular favourites. Engineer and recovery vehicles were always on the agenda, as were any and all variants of the M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier. Over 20+ years I must have built in excess of 30 M113 kits, nearly all of them different and very few of them in American markings.

But things move on and as anyone who follows this column on a regular basis will know, I made the momentous decision to change my allegiance to 1/48 scale armour a few years ago. It was a combination of factors that brought about this move to a new scale. I felt increasingly overwhelmed with the sheer Continue reading “Viewpoint – April 2017”

Viewpoint – March 2017

So much of what we do is about perception. We are reliant on the information that others provide and all too often we base our opinions on the information that is provided for us, rather than making any real effort to find things out for ourselves.

I was reminded of this recently when I saw a conversation on one of the online forums I frequent. The thing that shocked me most was that the arguments were old ones; they were resurfacing and reinforcing old perceptions, old prejudices, old assumptions about our importance in the world order.

It’s no secret that my preferred modelling scale these days is 1/48; often referred to as ‘quarter scale’ because a quarter of an inch equates to one foot, or more arrogantly by some as TOTS – ‘the one true scale’. The reality is that my preferred scale is a minority one in armour terms. It’s a niche interest in a Continue reading “Viewpoint – March 2017”

Viewpoint – February 2017

I was reminded recently that I’ve been a member of IPMS (UK) for nearly 30 years. It came as a shock to think that I had been part of the Society for that long because it doesn’t seem like it at all. Yet, so much has changed in that time, in my own life, in the Society and in the wider hobby not to mention the world as a whole.

Back then, the Internet was a new and curious technology that few people understood the potential of. Mobile phones were the size of house bricks (almost literally) and their battery packs even bigger. I well remember attending a seminar at college, promoting the newly developed digital camera technology – at the time it was little more than a converted Nikon F4 that offered tiny (by today’s standards) images. Me and my fellow photography students looked at each other and thought ‘it’ll never catch on’…

I joined IPMS (UK) about a year after I started work. I can’t remember the precise motivation but I was clearly in the mood to get involved in the hobby in Continue reading “Viewpoint – February 2017”

Viewpoint – January 2017

The face of our hobby has changed massively over the past 20 years. Technology has played a fundamental part in those changes for any number of reasons. Changes in the way models are designed have led to a huge expansion in the number of manufacturers out there who are producing high quality plastic kits. Allied to this has been a huge growth in the number of small (and not so small) aftermarket companies that are releasing equally high quality and often very niche products.

Much of the expansion has been the result of the Internet taking hold of our lives, for better or for worse. Our knowledge of, and access to, manufacturers in other countries around the world is infinitely greater than it was in the 1980s and early 1990s. It has also opened our eyes to how the hobby operates in other countries. A great example is the consistent level of commentary about Tamiya ‘re-boxing’ Italeri kits. We in the western hemisphere question why Tamiya would bother to do this, not realising that they have been doing so for the past 40 years for the domestic Japanese market. That’s the difference. Pre-Internet, this part of their operation was hidden from much of the rest of the world because those kits rarely left Japan. Post-Internet, when anything Continue reading “Viewpoint – January 2017”