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Author Topic: Has the art of model building died?  (Read 23759 times)

Starspider

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #50 on: February 09, 2016, 12:02:34 AM »

Surely we are modellers that is what we have chosen to do for relaxation, glory or self fulfilment, it matters not how we assemble our models or from what components. We use the skills we have to reach our personal goals. Personally my favourite mode of model making involves injection mounded plastic but I am in therapy. It is also sad that Brian has now lost the use of the title scratch builder as he now uses Chinese magic to produce his components  ok2
I'll get me coat now I have come out as a plasy modeller.
BTW I follow the builds of members on here and really enjoy the skills shown  :-))
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Norseman

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2016, 01:32:41 AM »

There is something perversely noble in the single minded, and out of all proportion, devotion to something that no one else is remotely interested in. Viva the shed dwelling hobbyist!

Nice Brandy this is  %%  O0
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Subculture

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #52 on: February 09, 2016, 10:14:02 AM »

I would say that within my span of experience, full scratchbuilding in model boating was always less common than either building from kits or using a semi kit e.g. a preformed hull.

I would also say that over time that the numbers are dwindling, those that still practice this craft are not in the flush of youth, and I think in the next decade or two there will be a much sharper decline.

Traditional craft skills aren't taught in schools, and even when I was at school back in the 1980's it wasn't taught very well, with more of an emphasis on design than acquiring competency with hand and power tools, and a reluctance to permit use of any machine tool without one on one supervision.

If you want to see a continuation of traditional skills and model construction, then really you need to think about mentoring some younger people, assuming you can find some interested enough in the first place.

inertia

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #53 on: February 09, 2016, 10:14:48 AM »

Does anyone scratchbuild anymore? If the term relates simply to making a model other than from a full kit of parts, then clearly many people think they do. It just depends on how (I can't use a perfectly good word here because its alternative meaning is anatomical, but it's an anagram of Alan) you want to be about the definition.

Can you honestly say you have built a model yourself when all you have done is assemble a kit of parts by following a set of instructions, instructions written by someone more knowledgeable? Look up the word "build" in any dictionary and you'll find parts and plans mentioned. "When all you have done...." encompasses a hell of a lot of different skills already.... and do house-builders simply 'assemble' houses?

Is it because people don't want to spend the time or have the patience to actually cut/sand/file fiddly bits out of raw stock and its so much easier to splurge the cash and buy ready made? A classic rhetorical question, and you've omitted kits altogether! If it weren't for those guys whose building skills start and end with a chequebook and pen then my workshop would be full to the roof with models. As for "raw stock" you'll have to define that with much more precision e.g. rough-sawn logs or planed straight edges or thicknessed and finish-sanded sheets of wood? With regard to 3D printers and CNC cutters, IMHO they are as valid a modelling tool as a scalpel or sanding block, and they take a lot longer to master.

Is it because kits nowadays far exceed anything that the average bloke could ever hope to attain themselves out in the shed? For every kit which falls within this definition I could show you another which falls a very long way short of it..... and how many "average" blokes do you know?

No - I don't believe that the art of modelling has yet died, but there does seem to be fewer and fewer people who possess the full set of traditional modelling skills. Perhaps it's a reflection of what is happening in the world as a whole i.e. traditional crafts being bulldozed by technology, but that's been the case since the start of the industrial revolution and it's not about to stop any time soon.
DM
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Crossie

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #54 on: February 09, 2016, 10:54:37 AM »


 A jolly good analysis Inertia and I fully agree with your conclusion that in this country and much of the Western world, traditional 'hand'skills of most trades and crafts are fast disappearing because modern folk want cheap and fast, and in the market economy that has to come from countries that can mass produce with cheap labour, and that this trend has accelerated over the past 30 years or so. My eldest son who will soon be 44 was the only one out of 4 siblings to do any sort of practical metal or wood working at school, it had all ceased when his brothers were in their teens. The second-hand market was flooded with ex-school equipment 20 years ago, that's where mine came from!

 Subculture's suggestion of mentoring really is the only way to keep modelling alive and so every time that we 'old farts' are at the pool or lake or flying field we should not huddle into some secretive scornful clique as many do,  but to be open and helpful to any questions from by-standers of any age and offer encouragement for them to have a go, and have not only your latest credit card busting creation on display, but also some of old and simple craft whether built from a baulk of timber or from an injection moulded styrene kit to show.

 With a foot well planted in both camps, where  they've always been, I am planning my next winter's build of a working diorama of a Revell 7c sub, a Liberty ship and a Destroyer, both to Glyn Guest's drawings ( modded a bit). So it's all about having FUN with like minded folk, and not scoring points off each other in some perverse race to penury or ill health.

                                                                             Trevor
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Nemo

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #55 on: February 09, 2016, 12:29:57 PM »

The title of this thread is -  'Has the art of model building died?' Patently it has not, judging by the success of this amazing website.

Perhaps, the questioner should have asked, 'Has the 'art' of scratch-building model boats died?' thereby avoiding the wrath of many who, like me, enjoy this challenging and enjoyable hobby for the pleasure it gives me and the thousands of visitors to my local park who enjoy my boats, whatever the building method.

In my small club I can say that scratch-builders exceed those who use other means.

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Bob K

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #56 on: February 09, 2016, 12:57:37 PM »

Well said Dave M and Nemo.  Would anyone like to define what scratch built really means, without being 'Alan' as Dave nicely put it.  If is just means 'made my own hull' then a dozen plywood parts cut out using a model boats magazine plan then stuck together to make a cabin cruiser is hardly rocket science, and well within the capabilities of almost everyone on this forum.  Only a few basic hand tools required.

At risk of being shot down I will offer my definition.

The following do not count:  Propellers, pro shafts, motors, ESC's, Rx & Tx, wiring, switches, batteries, navigation lights, smoke generators, bilge pumps, etc. 

With what is left around 90% should be constructed from non propriety parts using sections shapes and other materials crafted using ingenuity and largely hand tools.  3D and laser cutting are both standard modern tools so are allowable.  Parts can be adapted / reshaped from something else.

Frankly I have seen some highly modified ships, detailed lavishly way beyond what was supplied to the point where the original 'kit' is only partly represented.  Maybe not a true 'scratch' but using true scratch skills.
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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #57 on: February 09, 2016, 02:16:27 PM »

Amen Bob, that about sums it up for me.
Joe
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BFSMP

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #58 on: February 09, 2016, 02:26:29 PM »

But I raise a question and that is, when does a kit become a semi scratch build model, and I found these pictures on a site that was entitled St Nectan, but looks nothing like the St Nectan that is produced by the company that produces the kit.

So is it a kit or is it scratch built to show a similarity to the model named, because it shows some amazing work whether kit or scratch built.

Jim.
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inertia

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #59 on: February 09, 2016, 03:13:16 PM »

I seem to think there is - or was - a class of scale model competition described as "semi-kit". I also think I've seen it called "modified kit". The mind boggles! These various definitions must surely set down on some stone tablet somewhere in order that the judges had some guidance on what belonged where. Does anyone know where that might be? It would sure save a lot of bitching and bellyaching here!

STOP PRESS! I think I've found it, and the word "scratchbuilt" appears nowhere. Have a shufti here https://mpba.org.uk/PDF/scale_rules_item01.pdf

DM
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Subculture

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #60 on: February 09, 2016, 03:16:55 PM »

The thread seems to have become a debate over what is or isn't considered scratchbuilt.

Here's one, who on here observes much scratchbuilding model marine activity by anyone under the age of say fifty?

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #61 on: February 09, 2016, 03:27:04 PM »

But I raise a question and that is, when does a kit become a semi scratch build model, and I found these pictures on a site that was entitled St Nectan, but looks nothing like the St Nectan that is produced by the company that produces the kit.

So is it a kit or is it scratch built to show a similarity to the model named, because it shows some amazing work whether kit or scratch built.

Jim.


The model you have shown is ST Red Falcon originally a Hull trawler and was lost whilst sailing from Fleetwood.


Ned
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BFSMP

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #62 on: February 09, 2016, 03:47:47 PM »

The model you have shown is ST Red Falcon originally a Hull trawler and was lost whilst sailing from Fleetwood.
Ned

Thank you for that information Ned. I think I have seen a similar model of it in the museum at Fleetwood.

Jim.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #63 on: February 09, 2016, 04:28:19 PM »

All these 'definitions' were only compiled to classify models in competitions to provide differing levels of playingfield. That was when a large number of modellers entered regional, national and international competitions and big shows with competition classes such as the Model Engineer Exhibition in days gone by. Now hardly anyone enters UK competitions and nobody represents the UK in the NAVIGA scale classes. So terms such as scratchbuilt, near scale, standoff scale, semi kit, modified kit etc. are all intrinsically meaningless except as a vague description of the type of model and of course as a means of claiming implicit 'one upmanship' on the part of those to whom this seems to matter!

To the question of whether traditional 'scratchbuilding' skills as traditionally understood are dying out I think the answer is yes as there are unquestionably less top class scale modellers now active than in days of yore. Does it matter and is the world the poorer for it? Well, I rather doubt it. As Dave M says, skills become redundant over time and are replaced with new ones to suit the world we live in. Sail training used to be considered pretty essential to produce competent seamen once, even well into the age of steam. These days its only benefit is probably only character building as it is totally irrelevant to the modern maritime scene. You don't need sail training experience to navigate a box boat from China to Harwich or to fight a type 45 destroyer. (in the latter case the ability to change a fuse might be more useful.) I doubt if there are many people around today who possess the carpentry skills of the builders of the old wooden walls but we don't build wooden walls anymore so those skills are largely obsolete. Similarly, in R/C modelling who now knows how to design and build a TX/RX combo from components that need both a HT and LT power supply - a skill which was once highly prized?

People's brains haven't changed and, while there is probably a greater bias towards consumerism these days, those of a more ingenious bent have plenty of opportunity to exercise and apply their talents in different situations to those in which many of us on this Forum were familiar in their youth. The world moves on and people need to keep pace. I still like the old stuff because it is that which gives me pleasure but a freely acknowledge the appeal of CAD, 3D printing and Arduino to those who wish to move forward. (But I do agree with Dave that it is easier to draw a line and cut it with a knife rather than fire up a CAD program, input the coordinates, transfer them to a CNC machine, set that up and watch it do the job instead!)

Colin
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #64 on: February 09, 2016, 04:28:57 PM »

The thread seems to have become a debate over what is or isn't considered scratchbuilt.

Here's one, who on here observes much scratchbuilding model marine activity by anyone under the age of say fifty?


I do! They may not be museum quality models most of the time, but I can confirm that three manned battleships, twelve square rigged sailing ships and a plethora of WWII vintage landing craft and merchant ships, that make up the heart of our displays are predominantly scratch built. Below 50? (its my birthday today and I still qualify....just :D !!) I may have to check the quantity of coffee over Horlicks that is consumed amongst our members, but know of at least four members not quite past that 'watershed' yet...
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BFSMP

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #65 on: February 09, 2016, 04:33:30 PM »

Happy birthday to you sir.

Jim.
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inertia

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #66 on: February 09, 2016, 05:14:11 PM »

I do! Below 50? (its my birthday today and I still qualify....just :D !!)

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I can't figure out how the hell I shall be entitled to a state pension next birthday when I'm still only 19. Maybe it's the strain of all this scratching.

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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #67 on: February 09, 2016, 06:13:01 PM »

Thank you gentlemen :-))

I have cast my mind back to how many models I have built, modified, improved or ruined over the years. Most were scratch built, many looked like it too! Kits build included a fair number of HFM vac formed models, some of the best of their type ever produced in my opinion, plus not too many others. A half build Billing Mary Ann ended up with a re-built upper structure after I decided planking was not for me (1982, I have since planked one funnel, went well too!). I think the idea of being told what to do, even in a hobby, made me dig my heels in and just say no. i am quite capable of drawing up my own plans, a dying art also, however I have not done that for quite some years, and enjoy the free form building style of having little clue how the next but one stage will go, until well after I have got there..
I do see people scratch building, very often after they have cut their teeth on a number of kits. more so in a club environment, as there is still that 'Competitive' edge there ( Wrong word, but I am getting old!). A member with skills passes those skills on, consciously or subconsciously, to others just by doing, or showing his work. Everyone passes on at least one skill, I was more than pleased when a supposed 'silly old codger' showed me how to use the reflected image in a razor saw blade, to do 90 and 45 deg cuts in timber. NOT a silly old codger, don't prejudge, he also flew Halifax bombers during the war, so DONT PREJUDGE...don't do that any more..
So I think we all have at least one scratchbuild ( or semi-scratchbuild, or semi-kit, or whatever the latest term is...) in us, just some may not have quite gained their confidence yet..to them I say, go for it, whats the worst that could happen? The next one will be better :-))
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warspite

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #68 on: February 09, 2016, 08:00:07 PM »

They cannot understand why you are not supposed to put a skinny space saver spare tyre on a front wheel as if mixing a normal wheel and tyre with a wheel which is two inches less in diameter and half as wide with a different tread pattern isn't going to affect the steering of over a ton of metal in some way.

Colin
Is this covered in the manual - and who do you think reads that, given the lack of interest most have, they seem to just want to get in and go.

My experience for the best part comes from the plastic fantastic brigade, the external of the 'KIT' is done for me, maybe a few additional embelishments to improve either the look/correctness/scale of the boat, all the internal changes are a Guess if you look at my boats - I live in awe at those that can make all the parts to make a scale vessel.

I am reasonably comfortable at making plastic card parts that look like a piece of kit on the boat - not great, but I have had a go, the radiojoe brocklesby, steve pickstock and stan's shultze are a invaluable source of how to do it, (I wish I could only just get it to look half as good), I am proud of the masts I did in brass for sovereign - just should have maybe made them in plasticard - but then would they with stand the stress of in use - lack of experience dictates (you just have to learn from your mistakes).

My main problem and it probably figures quite heavily with others of a similar age or set of commitments, is time and funds, it seems every time I pick up where I left off, something major happens - redundancy, illness, work commitments, changing jobs. so a kit may be easier for others who just want to get it done in as short time as possible, lack of tools or space may not afford them the luxury of countless tools and workspace.

Personally I'd love to buy all the tools and machines and start to build in wood, a hull, superstructure, fittings etc, and put a running gear in that actually works first time and every time - not a chance being the klutz I am.
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davidm1945

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #69 on: February 09, 2016, 08:01:40 PM »

 Of course, the Napoleonic prisoners of war built fabulous model boats using the bones leftover from their dinner.
 Now, that's what you really can call scratch building!

 Dave.
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ballastanksian

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #70 on: February 09, 2016, 08:06:39 PM »

I would say that within my span of experience, full scratchbuilding in model boating was always less common than either building from kits or using a semi kit e.g. a preformed hull.

I would also say that over time that the numbers are dwindling, those that still practice this craft are not in the flush of youth, and I think in the next decade or two there will be a much sharper decline.

Traditional craft skills aren't taught in schools, and even when I was at school back in the 1980's it wasn't taught very well, with more of an emphasis on design than acquiring competency with hand and power tools, and a reluctance to permit use of any machine tool without one on one supervision.

If you want to see a continuation of traditional skills and model construction, then really you need to think about mentoring some younger people, assuming you can find some interested enough in the first place.

Amen, my design technology education was underfunded and spasmodic. I think my school aspired to be a super cool accountant producer as my first CDT teacher left under a cloud having brought up the funding issue ad nauseum and the next one was better but again not supported in the way they should be. In the five years of my education there, I recall the foundry and forge equipment dissappear and the milling machine never used once.

The middle aged adults with grown up children will provide a source of fresh blood to the hobby, but I expect that as many will have come from non vocational jobs, they will not have the skills that many older modellers have, though naturally a proportion will have, and another proportion will see scratch building as a challenge.

Lets just get back to enjoying our hobby however we do it, read each others topics however we are realising our plans.

CALM DOWN DEAR, IT'S ONLY A HOBBY (despite being one of the bestest:O)
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Z750Jay

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #71 on: February 09, 2016, 10:42:14 PM »

I can see the appeal of scratch building your own craft but can also see the appeal of a kit. So far I have only made 1 kit (Springer tug) as I was lazy ;)
Mostly I buy second hand boats and convert them.
Currently building a WW2 merchantman based on a hull of a trawler I dropped. I consider it a scratch build as the origional hull was a 1/24 trawler which I modified to a 1/35 armed trawler and now after a small oops have had to put new started rebuilding into a 1/72 merchant/ convoy rescue all based on photos and drawings. No plans as such, just what is in my head. Also I like making most of the upperdeck fittings myself but know my limitations either in skills or manufacturing ability.
Oh and I am under 50!
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dreadnought72

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #72 on: February 10, 2016, 01:21:01 AM »

Just a moment.

If I'd been able to offer previous generations of model builders the internet and forums (and particularly this one) to share tricks, tips and skills, access to new techniques (CAD and 3d printing for two), access to new tools and materials, and all available at the click of a mouse, they'd have leapt at the opportunities.

Model building is in a golden age, for those that want it.

Andy
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RAAArtyGunner

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #73 on: February 10, 2016, 04:04:08 AM »

Also don't forget about the "Yes I will take it up, model boating or whatever, when I retire".
Wrong, wrong, wrong, do it now.
When you retire, you may be  physically unable, financially incapable, lacking in resources, including equipment, materials or space.
The saying never put off what can do today applies to the art of model building.
So in those instances yes, the art may be dead or dying but not the desire.
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inertia

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #74 on: February 10, 2016, 08:47:43 AM »

Model building is in a golden age, for those that want it.
Andy
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