Sunday, April 30, 2017

Don't kids build plastic kits any more?

Corsair Kitbits

I like to keep an eye on Facebook model railway groups to get an idea what the "average" modeller is thinking about. My guess is that specialist forums tend to attract people who are more committed to the hobby and likely to have acquired model making skills. 

Facebook on the other hand is the modern first port of call for many people. There are loads of groups acting as virtual clubs and if you are on there, why wouldn't you join? 

Anyway, I'm fascinated by the number of people for whom assembling a plastic kit if a major step. I grew up sticking various airplanes together with varying degree of failure. I didn't care, I just enjoyed making things. They didn't need to work so simply putting two bits together without glue oozing out was good.

Now people approach a wagon kit and don't know what glue to use. Worse, they are trying to make something that has to work. Even worse, they don't usually buy magazines where they will find lovely, well written and photographed step-by-step articles on doing this sort of thing. That's not a fault of magazines, just that the internet has produced a generation who think they shouldn't have to pay for any information. 

Anyway, what they need is to build a plastic plastic Spitfire. Something that doesn't matter. But kids of today, will they listen? Will they heck.


Mikkel said...

I don't think they do, Phil, although you'll know the market better than I. Lego and Warhammer comes to mind as the closest thing nowadays. Thankfully they don't seem to have lost their imagination, it's just all mediated through screens now.

Duncan Young said...

Utterly agree Phil. BBC made a sneering news item showing two boys- trainee couch potatoes- unboxing a kit and then giving up feigning exhaustion and returning to X Box oblivion.
Also not helped by the chattering classes saying how they'weep for people who build Airfix kits'. teaching IT at school is vital but also is the need to know how to cut and join wood and bend metal into shape. And reading a magazine article on 'how to really build' can transform an abandoned kit with dodgy instructions into a nice and finished model. We have just got to hang in there and keep inspiring the youngsters- a few pick up the standard!

matt scrutton said...

Which is why I did a 3 part youtube series about building a gauge one plastic kit!

Anonymous said...

Two comments really
Ist a lead to Matts u tube seies might be helpful
Second at a 3mm group local meeting one of our older members a crafts man in wood said he was having problems with assembleing the 5 wagon kits he had bought
for one what axel bearings to use I will say the choice in 3 mm could make for problems 2 choice of wheels where there are none in the kit and 3 he didnot know what a sole bar wass

PeteW said...

You're not wrong. And coincidentally, the Corsair in your picture (or one very similar - Airfix, 1/72 scale) was the first model kit I built about age 8 more than 50 years ago. Which set me on a lifetime of modelling.

Making models taught me nearly everything I know about patience, persistence and attention to detail.

BigBenBrotherwood said...

As one of those kids (well 20yr old), I can say that there are plenty of us out there more than capable of gluing kits together!
They might not be the Airfix of old, Games Workshop certainly gains a lot of attention from my generation but the same skills are being learned. The biggest issue is that the majority of my generation is not quite as invested into railway modeling or tradition military modeling as those that came before us. Wargaming is more popular and gains a greater share of the interest.
I think it is false to accuse our generation of not being willing to find information. I have seen people entering the hobby in a variety of age points asking for information over facebook groups that may seem basic. It is worth remembering, without adequate advice for where to seek information, not every beginner is going to find the right magazine. I was lucky that my dad took the time to sit down and help me through my first few models. Not everyone recieves this oppurtunity and they may be daunted by the prospect of starting. It is just as much down to the older generations to pass on their knowledge as it is down to those starging to take some responsibility in finding the information.

CF said...

I don't think that this is just plastic kits. Yesterday's paper did a piece about a report finding how only 25% of males felt comfortable wiring a plug or putting flat-pack furniture together. This was worse the closer to London that you got. Interested to see what happens in two years time when all the blokes who 'can do' get sent back and we're left with all the x-box generation that 'can't'.