About Military Model Scene
I started writing about modelling way back in 1985, a time when the release of new plastic kits was very slow, and when we saw the rise of what is often referred to as the 'Cottage Industries' of producers of small scale model military vehicles using the then new polyurethane resins. Often they lacked wheels or gun barrels, which the modeller had to add for themselves, and in many cases the detail was basic. For that first year I wrote a monthly feature in Airfix Magazine of the day, under the heading of 'Armoured Column'. Even that magazine has closed and been restarted a couple of times since. Then, when that ceased publication, I started writing a monthly column in Military Modelling Magazine called 'Small Scale Scene', thanks to the then editor, Ken Jones. It was always done as part of my hobby, wanting to share news and ideas that in those days was otherwise difficult to find, hoping that others would share my enjoyment from the hobby.
Now, over 30 years later, so much has changed. Among the changes there have been a number of factors which have altered the modelling world we live in. The availability of news on the Internet, and access to shops and prices from around the world have changed the face of modelling and seen the loss of so many high street model shops. All printed magazines, not just modelling magazines, suffer from ever falling sales as more and more people want to access information online rather than on paper. Printing has a cost to it, and the lead times to get things prepared, printed and distributed will always leave it lagging behind the web, so that by the time it gets out, little of the 'news' is actually new. Added to that, we see fewer youngsters getting into the hobby, partly due to a lack of 'pocket money' kits on sale in local shops, such as Airfix kits in Woolworths which were a feature of my youth. They also have to compete with the interaction that can be experienced with modern computer games.
The greatly increased capability of computers have changed the face of model kit production, both with design, the level of detail and computer cut moulds rather than needing to be done by (very skilled) hand. The level of detail seen in models these days is a world apart from when I started back in the 1960's. It has also led to growing sizes and scales featured in modern kits, while the cost of them, and the level of work involved in building them is no longer a pocket money hobby. New kits are expensive, frequently bigger, and take longer to build, finish and then where do you have space to keep them? The increased capability in production has led to new manufacturers, particularly in the Far East, and who are producing new kits at a rate which is difficult to keep pace with.
If all this wasn't enough, there have also been great changes in the volume of reference information available to modellers, along with whole new ranges of paint, weathering materials and techniques which have proved very popular indeed. Adding extra detailing to basic plastic kits has also blossomed. In particular these includes etch brass detailing sets, turned metal gun barrels etc, additional stowage for vehicles in either resin or metal, and resin accessories for bombs, underwing stores and so much more.
I am now at a point where I am in the age of retirement from my working life, something which never actually included modelling as a full time job. However, I still get incredible enjoyment from the hobby, and which I hope to continue to share with others, encouraging you perhaps, to get the kind of lifelong enjoyment from it which I have had. I don't say 'do it this way', as there are many far better modellers than me out there, but that doesn't stop me enjoying it for my own standards and capabilities and which gives me my enjoyment from modelling. It doesn't matter what standards you achieve, so long as you get enjoyment from it. My aim is simply to share information about a wide range of models, of all sorts of scales and subjects, and hopefully give others the idea to think it is something you'd like to have a go at.
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