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When did models cease to be toys for you?


Paul821
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My original thought for the titles of this thread was something like when did you become a mature / serious modeller but I considered those words too subjective.

 

The question arose from my entry in the Revell / Monogram Classic GB which I noted my entry was dated 1961 as that was both a key date in my life and my modelling.

 

In the autumn of that year we moved from London to one of the new town being built at the time. I was 9 years old and had grown up alongside my friends. Modelling was at that point just buying an Airfix (and it was always Airfix as my local toy shop only stoked Airfix) model and just a quick glue and paint. Not many of my friends modelled in any form.

 

When I changed towns and schools, I had to make new friends. With it being a new town and school many were like me in that they had lost their old friends. The school structure meant mixing with some older children and I did find some modellers among them. I was then introduced to what I would now call reference sources, other than the Victor Comic, and models other than Airfix. Our local newsagent sold Revel kits. That’s when models ceased to be toys and  a few years later when I moved to secondary school I discovered Airfix Magazine and the rest is history.

 

So my answer to the thread is 1961, aged nine.

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They never were 'toys' to me. Model kits arrived so seldom into my possession that each was a small treasure. Although there was never any paint (I had no spare money to spend on it, pocket money being a very, very small weekly sum indeed), each was built (often quickly, true, but with as much care as I could manage), then placed securely on my bedroom bookshelf, where I could look at it and wish I had another, as well as some paint. 

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Never. I still secretly fly mine around and make airplane noises when I get the basic airframe complete. That exact model stops being a toy as soon as the painting begins. That's ok. I'll just fly the next build when I get to pre-paint. 😆

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I've never really considered them as toys. Even building models as a young teenager, or more mature adult, they've always Ben a representation of the plane or item (have also built sci-fi when younger) that I'm building at that time.

That doesn't stop the better half calling them toys though....:laugh:

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I still think of them as toys TBH and I know my Mrs certainly does. 😜

 

I'm usually at the cheap end of the market as my modelling doesn't deserve more, hence the "toy" stance.

 

However when people are spending a hundred quid or thereabouts on a model they definitely are not toys.

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I can't see I will ever stop thinking of models as toys.  However as an 'adult' I don't see it as a problem.

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Models were never toys for me. Toys were kept in the toy cupboard whilst models from the start went on a shelf.

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Well they certainly started in my existence as a pre 10-11 as toys to supplement tanks and soldiers. Sometime around age 11 I wanted to know more about them and by 12 they stopped being things in my hand scooting over a play battlefield and models of things I wanted to know more about. Then I didn’t want battle damage from diving onto a Panther tank to shoot it up in my mind. So the transition would have been around age 11. 
 

At least that’s what grown up me admits to myself anyway. Whether in some dark recess of the mind an 11 year old is still fighting the air battles of yesteryear who knows

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1 hour ago, jenko said:

They are toys for adults. 

 

But not the other way round. 

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2 hours ago, Nigel Bunker said:

Toys were kept in the toy cupboard whilst models from the start went on a shelf.

Or hanging from the ceiling. A very good point., Nigel. 

Personally, it was probably around age 11 for me too.

Times were hard, and money was short, but I was addicted and almost gave up pocket money sweets for modelling!

Some were played with, but the best (I thought) went on display. I still have some of those. They're hidden in a box now!

 

 

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I think the time I first bought an Airfix Magazine when I was 12 in 1966, was when modelling became more 'serious'. I started buying proper aircraft books shortly afterwards, I was hooked. 

Mrs T reckons all men's hobbies are grown up toys. She might be right. 

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15 hours ago, jenko said:

They are toys for adults. 

 

I can only imagine your disappointment at not finding any Airfix Spitfires in Ann Summers.....  :)

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19 minutes ago, IanHx said:

 

I can only imagine your disappointment at not finding any Airfix Spitfires in Ann Summers.....  :)

But there was an excellent selection of paint shakers. :whistle:

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When I was a kid my dad was always building models and I was bought up with ‘remember - that’s not a toy’ from day one.

 

The distinction became even clearer once dad started scratchbuilding. The thought that something that dad had taken months to build by hand from bits and pieces could be considered a ‘toy’ never crossed my mind.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, jackroadkill said:

Probably when I stopped shooting them with an air rifle.  Such a thug...!

 

You've stopped? 🤣

 

I recall setting them alight too.

 

Too many Commando comics I guess. 

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I honestly couldn’t tell you what age I was, but I think it was probably when I bought the proper Precision Paint* colours for my Matchbox Beaufighter TF.X.  It’s probably fair to say that when you decide that you want the model to look right, it’s probably not a toy anymore. That said, older kits that weren’t up to standard or had got damaged were summarily blown up or shot at. I’ll never forget the way my Frog Ar 234 exploded with the cap and match head bomb we had created. 
 

*it’s wild to think that once upon a time, the small market town I grew up in had several shops where you could buy paints such as Humbrol, Airfix, Gloy and Precision Paints. The latter were stocked by a newsagent, of all things!

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5 minutes ago, Neil.C said:

I recall setting them alight too.

 Oh yes - the realisation that diesel will burn, after all, was a big moment in my life!

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16 minutes ago, lasermonkey said:

 

*it’s wild to think that once upon a time, the small market town I grew up in had several shops where you could buy paints such as Humbrol, Airfix, Gloy and Precision Paints. The latter were stocked by a newsagent, of all things!

 

I think all my first kits came from a newsagent. Specifically Stenlakes in Windsor. And Woolies, of course. Not sure when I first went to an actual model shop. Farnborough or Reading, probably. Can't remember the names...

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I guess I was very young, around 5 or 6. My Dad was always a model maker. In a later career change, he was one of the "pathfinders" if you like, at Humbrol. They brought into existence the Authentic range and other stuff that modellers were crying out for. He was a Member of the Institute of Model Makers, he was a member of IPMS, he was an honorary member of the local Model Engineers and also the Boat Builders. He also was the voice on the end of the phone when someone rang up to complain. He also helped organisations that needed paint matching on 1 to 1 projects. On top of all that, we had constant telephone calls and visits, from many of the "greats" of the hobby. My favourites were "Mac" Kennaugh, Ted Taylor and Dennis Teague. They would talk for hours and gave so much advice. My eldest brother was also something of a talent at the art of model building. He's won a few medals in his time and makes me jealous of his talents.

So, I guess they were never really toys to play with. I've always seen them as a grown up toy if you like. Something to be treasure and admired.

Admiration from any source, I think, is the greatest accolade one can have for taking the risk and displaying your work.

In that case, every member of this Courageous Group has my utmost admiration for ALL that you do.

Regards

Pete

 

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Posted (edited)

Early on I built a lot of the Aurura Monsters to play with,along with a few military things,can't say which,probably was 9-10 years old.Didnt really build as a teenager,so when I started up again,I was probably 25,wasn't playing with them then,save for the occasional jet noise or gun sounds. 😄

Edited by Tojo72
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I am not sure how old I was but it was when I borrowed a copy of "How to go plastic modelling" by Chris Ellis from the library.

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