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AltcarBoB

What model aircraft magazine should I get

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9 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

Nor the use of "too many" bits of the kit - I don't think I really understand that one. 

I meant kit as in tools, not model parts. Sorry - it does come over as confusing, I will edit for clarity.

cheers
Jonners

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We have a problem in this hobby as most modellers are either middle aged or older, and we need to encourage younger modellers into the hobby. To this end I would like to see at least one model build per article that is built to the instructions, brush painted, uses just readily available Humbrol/Revell/Tamiya glue, no aftermarket resin or decals and readily available paint like Humbrol ot Tamiya. I.e items that can be picked up from somewhere like Hobbycraft which, like it or not, is the only country wide chainnow selling kits. Anyone coming into the hobby will start with the basics, and will not be buying their first kit along with an airbrush, weathering kit, resin updates and all the other paraphernalia. Too many builds use paints glues or extras only available from (one of the few) well stocked model shops or mail order.

 

Just my views.

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43 minutes ago, Nigel Bunker said:

we need to encourage younger modellers into the hobby

Agreed BUT I'm not sure magazines are the way to do this. Do young people actually buy them anymore? I suspect that the only way to do this is via YouTube - but is there any commercial value in doing this?

 

Before taking a hiatus from the hobby (30ish years ago) I was a regular purchaser of magazines (SAM, SAMI mostly) - and what I liked were the articles dealing with arcane details of color schemes, techniques and specialised information in general. Basically stuff that made the magazines worth keeping as a reference source. Although I enjoyed reading builds/reviews, I didn't see much value in them as the chances of any given issue covering a subject I didn't already have or was interested in getting were quite small.

 

Since resuming modelling, I have had a look at various titles on the shelf, but have not felt compelled to buy any as the "keep-worthiness" of the magazines seems to have declined in favour of content which I can easily access on the 'net. In fact, it seems to me that the mags are attempting to compete with online content. This is a losing strategy IMHO - I don't need reviews or builds, what I would like are properly researched authoritative  articles on more arcane subjects. It is true that most of such a magazines content will not be of direct interest, but if even just one article discusses an area of interest, then it makes the purchase worth while.

 

Sadly my rather extensive archive - as well as a decent book library  - was sold off long ago as I thought I would never return to modelling.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, ckw said:

 

Agreed BUT I'm not sure magazines are the way to do this. . . .

 

 

And lot's of other good stuff.

 

Trouble is I feel we're trying to return to topics that (for me at least) were debated to death and given up as a lost cause decades ago.  No pleasure to be gained from just being the modelling equivalent of a pub bore, and believe me there's also no pleasure in "I told you so . . .".

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I subscribe to Airfix magazine for these reasons.

 

Variety of modelling subjects

Thick - plenty of pages and content for your money

Not too advert heavy

Caters for a range of abilities, OOB builds not just those that add £150 of after-market to a £40 kit.

 

I know it isn’t an aircraft magazine, but at the same time I’m a military vehicle modeller but I still choose Airfix magazine over dedicated military vehicle magazines because I like the varied content (I like looking at car builds even though I will never do one myself) and that there is plenty of it for your money.
 

And to be honest if I wanted articles on a specific model I am building, chances are I’m not going to find anything in the latest or recent magazine editions but I will find plenty on the internet.

 

So I read Airfix magazine for enjoyment, appreciating the whole breadth of the hobby,  not to help me with specific models.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

 

 

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The subject of modelling magazines is definitely a frequent flyer on Britmodeller and perhaps highlights differences in generation and perhaps even approach to the hobby.

 

Those of a certain age were part of a generation that grew up being ‘aviation minded’ (speaking of my own interests but this could equally apply to military , naval , rail or other forms of modelling) and many of us have had a lifetime of interest in our favoured subject , some have also worked in the aviation industry or have served in the forces but whatever our background we are seriously interested in aviation matters.

 

Others do not have either that background nor perhaps even that depth of interest but have come to the hobby during the internet era where modelling is just another way of public self-fulfillment as evidenced perhaps by the increase in comments such as certain kits (rather than their completion) not being of competition standard , although some 1950s FROG kits I saw at last years Scottish Nationals would challenge that particular assumption.     Background knowledge is not really seen as being that interesting as long as the end is considered to  involve the current trendsetters in paints and finishing products applied in the currently approved manner.       This is not limited to modelling as a hobby but speaking to friends it seems to range across the board in what were once considered hobbies or pastimes where knowledge or interest in a subject has been supplanted by the competition for acclaim on social media platforms.  

 

If I could illustrate by mentioning a fairly recent example although to save embarrassment not identify the model or magazine specifically except to say that Jonners can safely leave his white steed in the stable over this one.     One UK magazine and if I recall correctly some modelling websites covered a beautifully finished and weathered example of a jet fighter in the past year or two incorporating excellent use of aftermarket and scratch-built materials.     But the real aircraft was built and re-built in several very visually different versions during its service and this particular model was built as a variant that did not enter rather limited service until several years after the very dissimilar variant whose aftermarket decals were used had been retired and the unit re-roled on a different aircraft type.     Not only that the aftermarket and scratch-built equipment detail added behind the panels that had been expertly opened had never been carried by the actual variant being modeled although the very different interior that should have been there was not.    Lots of skill used in the project, but to all the wrong effect , although from the poorly edited text it would appear that the modeler did not have English as a first language and so possibly could not access the fairly abundant references available.

 

Perhaps a glaring example but that modelling magazines currently address themselves to appearance rather than content is hardly surprising because that is obviously where their market research is directing them.     If the magazine does not sell it will not remain in business and at the moment many but not all do seem to veer (some more than others) towards that type of material perhaps like the onlookers with the fable of The Emperor’s New Clothes.      On the other hand either through loyalty or maybe just inertia many of us who have long-standing subscriptions or standing orders with their newsagents also have corresponding tall heaps of magazines in their lofts and sheds going back over decades as testament to these fluctuating trends , their surprisingly frequent abandonment and the inevitable although sometimes brief return to what some might consider ‘traditional’ content as publishers seek to turn round sales before selling the family cow yet again for some magic beans.   

 

When was the last time anyone here saw boiling aluminium cooking foil with eggshells being recommended to get naturally weathered metal panels yet back in the day that was the way to go , although I cannot remember what we were supposed to use to stick all those little bits of tarnished foil down with prior to superglue !!

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2 hours ago, Des said:

When was the last time anyone here saw boiling aluminium cooking foil with eggshells being recommended to get naturally weathered metal panels yet back in the day that was the way to go , although I cannot remember what we were supposed to use to stick all those little bits of tarnished foil down with prior to superglue !!

I use polyurethane varnish thinned a tad with white spirit.

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1 hour ago, dromia said:

I use polyurethane varnish thinned a tad with white spirit.

That was it , could remember the technique but for the life of me could not recall how it was applied with what available back then that would not melt plastic , thank you.

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23 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

I'd certainly go for rather less of the fashionable finishing techniques.  The latest issue of SAM had a nicely made Bf109E ruined by exaggerated shading techniques making the control surfaces look as though it'd been parked next to an exploding bomb, which had covered the aircraft with dirt.  Further, had I been that interested in such ridiculous extremes, I'm sure I would have been sated by the repetition month after month of much the same information.  This could be covered once a year in a Techniques article, and there'd be no complaint from here, but every article every month?   It isn't that too much knowledge is assumed, as much as far too much repetition of what is after all a fairly standardised process.

 

More generally, although it does apply to the same article, there are too many photos showing small incremental steps in the painting process.  Using the Hurricane build as an example: do we really need a photo to explain what the caption does perfectly well - that the builder found a small gap in the cowling that had to be held together?  Oh, look, here's the wings and fuselage waiting to go together.  Really distinctive that one, who'd have imagined that was so vital as to need a photo? Oh, look, they went together beautifully.  Oh, look, here's the next stage, which would also have done for showing how well the join worked.   Does anyone really need photos of every step, and illustrating every tin of paint?   (No.)

 

So we could see as many reviews in fewer pages, even with some dedicated generic modelling articles added, whilst losing nothing in information imparted.

 

I don't think that there's anything too wrong with the tone: if some contributors differ then ok, some people differ.  It's not a specific problem.  Nor the use of "too many" bits of the kit - I don't think I really understand that one.  The number of adverts doesn't seem excessive - they pay for the mag after all.

 

Possibly moving beyond what you asked, I do wish that the main central historical article regularly achieved the same standard of attention to detail as the Colour Conundrum, and also that the profiles showed the same attention to the colours.  The use of the simplified (Pantone?) colours are a strongly negative feature.  As a subscriber and maker of 1/72 aircraft, there's too often very little else of particular interest but seeing more accurate colour reproduction on the models than on the colour guidance (CC pages excepted) seems particularly wrong.   I guess that this would cost more to put right, but I'd be happy paying the same amount for a thinner but more tautly edited, higher quality, mag. 

Ok so the 109 is not to everyone's taste, yet that does not mean yours is right of course. What sort of style would your prefer? and would you like to see all contributors adhere to it? All contributors are modellers and have their own style. I'd also politely suggest that this does not apply as you state to every article too, and invite you to prove otherwise. "Every article every month".?

What would you prefer the photos to show ? I'm trying to ascertain here what you want. You are forthcoming as to what's wrong (the easy bit I'd venture) but what should the pictures show?
The issue of 1/72nd articles is noted, but magazines are, as I've said before, limited to what people provide.  I'm doing a 1/72 one next time.  But if you have builds you can photograph and write about and they are 1/72nd scale and finished how you prefer- then submit them please. 

Printed flat colours can be an issue I agree. There are lots of print profiles and translation between can result in issues, add in RGB to CMYK conversions and that will also affect things. Better to judge them as guides.

Sorry it's not to your specific tastes at the moment but thank you for taking the time to comment.

cheers
Jonners
 

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5 hours ago, Des said:

The subject of modelling magazines is definitely a frequent flyer on Britmodeller and perhaps highlights differences in generation and perhaps even approach to the hobby.

 

Those of a certain age were part of a generation that grew up being ‘aviation minded’ (speaking of my own interests but this could equally apply to military , naval , rail or other forms of modelling) and many of us have had a lifetime of interest in our favoured subject , some have also worked in the aviation industry or have served in the forces but whatever our background we are seriously interested in aviation matters.

 

Others do not have either that background nor perhaps even that depth of interest but have come to the hobby during the internet era where modelling is just another way of public self-fulfillment as evidenced perhaps by the increase in comments such as certain kits (rather than their completion) not being of competition standard , although some 1950s FROG kits I saw at last years Scottish Nationals would challenge that particular assumption.     Background knowledge is not really seen as being that interesting as long as the end is considered to  involve the current trendsetters in paints and finishing products applied in the currently approved manner.       This is not limited to modelling as a hobby but speaking to friends it seems to range across the board in what were once considered hobbies or pastimes where knowledge or interest in a subject has been supplanted by the competition for acclaim on social media platforms.  

 

If I could illustrate by mentioning a fairly recent example although to save embarrassment not identify the model or magazine specifically except to say that Jonners can safely leave his white steed in the stable over this one.     One UK magazine and if I recall correctly some modelling websites covered a beautifully finished and weathered example of a jet fighter in the past year or two incorporating excellent use of aftermarket and scratch-built materials.     But the real aircraft was built and re-built in several very visually different versions during its service and this particular model was built as a variant that did not enter rather limited service until several years after the very dissimilar variant whose aftermarket decals were used had been retired and the unit re-roled on a different aircraft type.     Not only that the aftermarket and scratch-built equipment detail added behind the panels that had been expertly opened had never been carried by the actual variant being modeled although the very different interior that should have been there was not.    Lots of skill used in the project, but to all the wrong effect , although from the poorly edited text it would appear that the modeler did not have English as a first language and so possibly could not access the fairly abundant references available.

 

Perhaps a glaring example but that modelling magazines currently address themselves to appearance rather than content is hardly surprising because that is obviously where their market research is directing them.     If the magazine does not sell it will not remain in business and at the moment many but not all do seem to veer (some more than others) towards that type of material perhaps like the onlookers with the fable of The Emperor’s New Clothes.      On the other hand either through loyalty or maybe just inertia many of us who have long-standing subscriptions or standing orders with their newsagents also have corresponding tall heaps of magazines in their lofts and sheds going back over decades as testament to these fluctuating trends , their surprisingly frequent abandonment and the inevitable although sometimes brief return to what some might consider ‘traditional’ content as publishers seek to turn round sales before selling the family cow yet again for some magic beans.   

 

When was the last time anyone here saw boiling aluminium cooking foil with eggshells being recommended to get naturally weathered metal panels yet back in the day that was the way to go , although I cannot remember what we were supposed to use to stick all those little bits of tarnished foil down with prior to superglue !!

Hi Des.

I'm interested that you seem to think that many who have come to the hobby in the "internet era" - that's the last 30 years by the way- are just here for "public self fulfilment". What is that? Is it the same as winning medals at contests? Or getting your local clubs best model award? Can you expand a little? I have to say your statement does seem a little judgemental.

I'm afraid I don't know the model you refer too, so it's difficult to comment. But if it's the only example that you can give then that does not an epidemic of acclaim-obsessed-modellers make. Just a talented modeller who has got things wrong. Can you also tell me when the last "frequent abandonment" of contemporary "fluctuating trends" was? And what was the trend too?
Anyway, surely "trends" add to the hobby? Even if they start out as overblown, they soften and enter into the cannon of the hobby. They are just techniques after all. Why would you be afraid of being exposed to, or learning new things? I've never ever seen an article that says you must do something. 

There is a reason the foil in eggshell technique is not now widely used. It's bloody hard to do!  There are now dozens of metallic paints that are simple to use that have replaced it for the majority of modellers. You can of course write an article on it and submit it, which would help newer modellers to rediscover what may be soon be a lost technique.

Thanks for your input

cheers
Jonners

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I have only just recently taken up a subscription to a paper magazine again after having given them up in the previous decade. After a few months I am remembering why I gave up on the multiple subscriptions I previously had as I am having mixed feelings towards the experience of purchasing a subscription again.

 

 I am finding that, most often, I have little interest in the subjects of the articles although within each article there will be a snippet of wisdom or a technique that I was unaware of that is worthy of me taking note of. I do enjoy looking at the photos of the various stages (I'm not so fond of the regular mistakes with the captions though) and trying to work out what technique has been used to overcome problems or to achieve a particular look. This morning I read half of the latest issue in one session (the other half got a quick scan but wasn't of interest) but lying on my bedside table are the previous 3 issues which I have only scanned through due to there being very little of interest to me in them. This begs the question is it actually worth the expense to me? It works out at about £20 per hour's worth of reading.

 

When it is all boiled down the bottom line is that on the internet (on here for an example) if there is a build of a subject I am not interested in then I will simply not bother with it and skip to the next one, it's not likely that I'll run out of things to find after all.   Skipping topics that are not of interest in a paid up magazine results in unread copies lying on the bedside table regardless of how well the articles are written and presented. The sheer quantity of subject matter and the ability to be able to pick and choose what to view is where the internet will always win against the printed magazines. The printed magazines should win on the quality of the subjects on view of course.

 

Everyone has different views and interests, I guess I don't have a broad enough interest even within aircraft modelling to warrant the expense of having a subscription to an aircraft modelling magazine so when my subscription expires I'll not be renewing it. That's not a reflection on the magazine, more a reflection on my limited interests.

 

Duncan B

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17 hours ago, Des said:

Perhaps a glaring example but that modelling magazines currently address themselves to appearance rather than content is hardly surprising because that is obviously where their market research is directing them. 

Not sure if this is a "bad thing" or not. It may well be that there are fewer modellers today with an aviation background - on the other hand, there is now perhaps a new breed of modellers with a war gaming or anime background, Is a model "better" for being a technical replica or an artistic work (most Luft 46 models would be in this category). Certainly any hobby which doesn't evolve will wither and die. And while the current crop of magazines doesn't appeal to me, the fact that they continue to survive is surely a good thing and indicative of the overall health of the hobby.

 

17 hours ago, Des said:

where modelling is just another way of public self-fulfillment

... and this differs from modelling competitions of the pre-internet era how? I'm sure many of us can recall a certain type of person at model shows who's sole aim in life seemed to be to loudly point out the mistakes in other people's models. And what is a model show if not a an example of "public self-fulfillment"?

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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I admit that I have bought very. very few magazines over the last ten or so years. This is in stark contrast to the monthly ritual of buying 3 magazines per month that I had followed over the previous ten years: SAM, SAMI and MAM.

What has changed ? To me that the content of the 3 magazines started to be less and less appealing for various reasons. I won't go into the story of the 3 magazines over the years, in any case these affected my interest and I almost stopped buying any magazine. I sometime buy SAM, that today is the one that I find closer to what I like in a magazine.

And what do I like in a magazine ? Really I like a magazine to inspire me and inform me. And the best form of information and inspiration to me is when I find a mix of historical and technical information turned into model form. It's the reason why I loved MAM in the 2000's: an article on a conflict or a certain operation or a certain era, one on the related colour and markings and then one or more builds where the subjects discussed in the previous article were converted into model form. I loved to read of all the various camo schemes with all the official references and the various details associated to pictures of the real things and then seeing the same built in plastic. The magazine at that point was not only something to read over a couple of evenings but became a piece of refefence to keep in case I built one of those subjects.

SAM in those same years was interesting for similar reasons: a main article with history and profiles, builds that often made reference to real subjects with information on these, sometimes a walkaround of a real aircraft and so on.  Moving outside the UK, a magazine that I found great was Replic from France: most builds were accompanied by walkarounds and sometimes historical notes. It was possible to fully understand all features on the model in light of the other information coming in the same magazine

Today SAM is the magazine that more reminds me of this approach and if an article covers a subject I'm interested in, I'll buy the magazine. None of the others is of much interest to me anymore. Airfix Model World also sometime has something similar, and I have bought a few issues for this reason.

Guess it all depends on where I see myself as a modeller: I've been in the hobby for a few decades, I like to find new techniques but at the same time I don't feel I need to see how to do a certain thing anymore. Not that I can consider myself an accomplished modeller, far from it ! However I've come to the conclusion that I don't need to be told or see how to fill a gap or how to apply a wash, even when I don't do it right it's something that I have to improve by practicing, not by reading it in a magazine for the hundredth time. At the same time I understand that there is a lot more out there about colour schemes, variants and details on aircraft than I know and I love the idea of finding out and see how these can be applied to a model. Show me a build where the modeller explains how to perfectly weather a model and I may be in awe but I'll likely forget it quickly unless it is something totally new to me. Show me a build where the modeller shows the features of a certain aircraft and explains how to reproduce them on a model and I'll keep it in mind for ever as a must read before I build the same subject.

So, would I suggest Jon to move a magazine in this direction ? Actually I'm not sure, probably not ! It is a direction I love and I know other modellers, including some here, also like a lot. However I don't know how many we are, judging by all the threads I read on this and other forums we are probably a minority.. and would anyone want to publish a magazine aimed at a minority ? It can of course work if such minority is large enough or willing to spend enough to guarantee the right cash-flow, but I've been in the hobby for long enough to understand that my dream magazine/kit/accessory is not necessarily a good commercial choice

 

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On 6/30/2020 at 8:08 AM, Nigel Bunker said:

We have a problem in this hobby as most modellers are either middle aged or older, and we need to encourage younger modellers into the hobby. To this end I would like to see at least one model build per article that is built to the instructions, brush painted, uses just readily available Humbrol/Revell/Tamiya glue, no aftermarket resin or decals and readily available paint like Humbrol ot Tamiya. I.e items that can be picked up from somewhere like Hobbycraft which, like it or not, is the only country wide chainnow selling kits. Anyone coming into the hobby will start with the basics, and will not be buying their first kit along with an airbrush, weathering kit, resin updates and all the other paraphernalia. Too many builds use paints glues or extras only available from (one of the few) well stocked model shops or mail order.

 

Just my views.

To offer another perspective:

 

I bought my first modelling magazine, Scale Models International, in Feb 1993, when I was 14. I knew no other modellers and had never met or communicated with anyone else who built models. What I absolutely didn't need were models aimed at the 'beginner' with tools and techniques I already had and knew of. What I absolutely did need was to be blown away by how models could be put together. For me, the point of modelling magazines has always been inspirational: to have my horizons expanded and something to aim towards. I realise everyone's path in modelling is unique, but I am so grateful for SMI and how it pushed me, at that age, to get an airbrush, buy photo-etch (the good old way, with my mum writing cheques on my behalf to obscure shops dotted round the country), resin, modify kits to improve accuracy (I'd never been aware a kit could be inaccurate!) and try a hundred and one different new techniques. Yes, those early steps were faltering, but also exhilarating. I'm now 42 and that journey is mapped out on my website. I'm still on that journey, I still buy two magazines a month for that inspiration (Airfix and SAM) and I'm pretty sure that had I read articles when I was 14 aimed at 'the beginner' I would have felt patronised rather than encouraged.

 

My advice to younger (by which I mean mid-teens) modellers would be this: you're young, you're adaptable, you've got time and energy, so throw yourself into every new technique and tool that interests you and you can get your hands on. It's never too early to learn to airbrush or do anything else. Dictate your own pace and don't let anyone else's opinions of how things 'should' be done hold you back.

 

Jon

Edited by Jon Bryon

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I apologise for drifting a little off the topic, but it was mentioned in another thread on here that perhaps the biggest threat to this hobby recruiting younger practitioners is the demise of the real subject matter rather than the type of articles in the magazines. I am not a skillful modeler, rather just someone who likes to try and recreate the aircraft that captured my imagination at the airshows I attended in the 80's and 90's. A time when there was at least one airshow every weekend between May and September. There were a lot more active bases and types and movements too. I also attended quite a few Navy days at Plymouth and Portsmouth, so it isn't purely an aircraft thing. Another factor could be that the WWII was a bit fresher in the memory and my early Spitfire and Hurricane models were inspired by my D-day veteran Grandad reading a Warlord annual to me whilst sitting on his knee. I'm not sure if many people took up this hobby because they developed an urge to simply build models kits.

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9 minutes ago, Filler said:

I apologise for drifting a little off the topic, but it was mentioned in another thread on here that perhaps the biggest threat to this hobby recruiting younger practitioners is the demise of the real subject matter rather than the type of articles in the magazines. I am not a skillful modeler, rather just someone who likes to try and recreate the aircraft that captured my imagination at the airshows I attended in the 80's and 90's. A time when there was at least one airshow every weekend between May and September. There were a lot more active bases and types and movements too. I also attended quite a few Navy days at Plymouth and Portsmouth, so it isn't purely an aircraft thing. Another factor could be that the WWII was a bit fresher in the memory and my early Spitfire and Hurricane models were inspired by my D-day veteran Grandad reading a Warlord annual to me whilst sitting on his knee. I'm not sure if many people took up this hobby because they developed an urge to simply build models kits.

 

Most modellers have likely been attracted by their interest in the real thing and the wish to have a reproduction of these on the shelves. I am strongly convinced that the popularity of subjects depend on their visibility, however visibility must be considered in the broader term: an aircraft appearing in a popular movie can easily be much more popular that one enthusiasts can see at every airshow.

The matter of popularity must also been seen in the wider spectrum of things that can be popular: a while ago someone in a different section asked if anyone knew what a Gundam is... well, Gundam kits today are the best selling subject in model kit form in the world ! So maybe younger modellers have not disappeared, simply they have moved to other subjects. The success of Games Workshop shows that people are still interested in "models", just different models from the one most on the forum are interested in.

The vision that aircraft dominate the modelling market is very "Eurocentric", as aircraft are indeed the most popular subjects in pretty much all of Europe. However other parts of the world differ, Japan for example is dominated by anime and sci-fi subjects while race cars have always been very popular in the US while being a niche here.

Just to give an idea, compare the figures in this article from a financial newspaper to the kind of figures regarding Hornby or other model companies we are more familiar with...

 

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Bandai-Namco-to-expand-production-of-Gundam-plastic-models

 

Maybe this is where the younger generation modellers are, buying a few of the milion Gundam kits pumped out by Bandai every year. So maybe this is also where modelling magazines have to consider moving, although I suspect that if the market expands we'll see the birth of specific modelling magazines dedicated to such subjects, as already available in Japan.

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Good point Giorgio. I was being very Euro-centric, even UK-centric in my view. Interesting that Gundam kits are the worlds best sellers. I'm not sure about the rest of Europe, but the anime have never been broadcast in the UK and thus are not well known here, unlike Pokemon or even say Dragonball. It's probably not surprising that the scale model magazines on sale in UK newsagents and supermarkets feature aircraft, armour and ships. In fact, thinking of Airfix's mag, I don't recall often seeing ships feature - but I buy it very occasionally.

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