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Author Topic: Has the art of model building died?  (Read 23969 times)

Brian60

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Has the art of model building died?
« on: February 08, 2016, 05:42:36 am »

I've read through many builds over the weekend and all seem to be built from kits.

Does anyone scratchbuild anymore? 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?

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?

Is it because kits nowadays far exceed anything that the average bloke could ever hope to attain themselves out in the shed?

I'd be interested to know the answers.

BrianB6

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2016, 05:58:53 am »

I would much rather scratch build than buy a kit.
Plenty of research helps make it that more accurate although scale plans can be a problem.
Built from scratch:-
Cervia from MB free plan including my first attempt at a fibreglass hull.
Wooden hulled NNS Dorina built from Vospers plans
H.M.A.S. Ararat apart from bought fibreglass hull (thanks Steve)
I had better not mention the Vosper A.S.R. that I am bending over in my photo.   It has been an absolute disaster.
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Umi_Ryuzuki

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2016, 07:22:00 am »

These days it can be difficult to come up with plans for the latest and greatest boats.
A lot of copyrights are bandied about, and if you don't have an "IN", you won't get plans.
And I do so like the modern boats and ships.


All my boats are scratch built...
Nobody makes kits for these. Well maybe the springers, but I built that before kits.
The Japanese landing craft, and SDM tug, I had to do my own research, and draw my own plans.

And the second crane.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VC-oBNfY0w0
Oh, the crane barge for Manson.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=957675


 I have to wonder what I left out,...  %)

inertia

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2016, 08:44:58 am »

I've been designing model aircraft and boat kits since 1972 and much prefer to go that route to building a model. Lacking inspiration at the time I bought two kits a while ago; both wood and both of US manufacture. While one was almost the perfect kit (Midwest Boothbay Lobster Boat - now no longer made) the other was an utter travesty and is still only halfway built for lack of enthusiasm (Dumas Lord Nelson Victory tug). For me there's far more satisfaction in turning a pile of wood into a model, and then fiddling around with all sorts of ideas for detailing e.g. I cut 1" from the handle of a wooden spoon yesterday to use as the plinth for a compass!
I don't have the skills of say Brian King or Jimmy Woods but I seem to learn something new every time I build a new model and my boats always seem to come out OK. Assembling someone else's design from a kit of parts - even if it's well-done - doesn't come close.
Dave M
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barriew

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2016, 08:56:06 am »

Please don't knock those of us who build kits! If I hadn't started building kits - designed by a certain member of this forum- I would never have had the confidence to build from plans - again drawn by that same member. I'm sure there are some people who will argue that if you don't start with the original shipyard drawings, its not scratch building!
It is in my opinion better to build something from a kit than to buy something ready to run, which is where the market seems to be going, but even that may be a way into the hobby for some..
I still occasionally will build a kit if the model I want is available, and I certainly buy lots of fittings as I know my limitations, and the limitations of my machinery.
I think we should welcome EVERYONE who wants to own and sail a model boat - however and whoever made it.

Barrie
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Stan

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2016, 09:05:28 am »

Please check out Stans Schutze build under warships and military.This model started life has kit model.On doing research it was found to some parts needed putting in the bin about 80 percent. To create a accurate model it Involved a lot of scratch building see pictures on post mentioned enjoy.

Stan
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raflaunches

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2016, 09:12:19 am »

Hi Brian


You say you've read build logs over the weekend and none of them were scratch builds, were they on this forum?
I've just updated this weekend on two scratch builds one by my Dad building a train ferry and me building HMS Protector- so don't worry, the art of model scratch building isn't dead! :-))


I'd just like to add that research takes time too, both models I've mentioned do not have commercial hulls available and getting pictures as well as plans takes time. The latest price of plans of warships from the National Maritime Museum now cost more than a kit!
My Dad loves scratch building, other than some hand railings, props and figures his last project HMS X1 was all hand made using lathes and carving by hand. In the long run it's cheaper to scratch build than to buy kits but remember that not everyone has all the skills to use some of machines so kits are the easiest answer to their problems.
I've built kits too and I must admit that they do need some experience and skill to get them right, any idiot can glue bits together but getting it right in the correct order requires patience too.
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Netleyned

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2016, 09:15:39 am »


I think we should welcome EVERYONE who wants to own and sail a model boat - however and whoever made it.

Barrie




 :-)) :-)) :-)) :-)) :-)) :-)) :-))




Ned
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Stan

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2016, 09:16:26 am »

Hi Barriew I still build kits and no doubt will do for a long time.I also like to build from plans. Kit builders have the option to change or upgrade parts of the kit but we have to remember this a personal choice and if you are happy with the finished kit model so be it.

Stan
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inertia

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2016, 09:44:30 am »

Please don't knock those of us who build kits!
I'm not knocking kits or the builders of them (apart from that horrible Dumas thing, that is!). For most they are a good way in to the hobby and I wouldn't have learned as much as I have without being commissioned to design and draw kits. My comments were made solely about my own personal approach and preferences. For me the jury is still out on Ready to Run "models"; try as I may they just seem like expensive toys from which you can learn very little about making and operating model boats.
DM
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malcolmfrary

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2016, 09:53:38 am »

For me the jury is still out on Ready to Run "models"; try as I may they just seem like expensive toys from which you can learn very little about making and operating model boats.
DM
Until the owner modifies them, they are indeed as described, expensive (sometimes) toys from which little is learned.  But the lower end of the price range can be a fairly painless way in for somebody who fancies a boat to play with. OTOH I feel that anybody who spends several hundred pounds on a first foray into an unknown hobby is liable to be disappointed, because they will have bought an expensive toy that will become an expensive ornament..
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Netleyned

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2016, 09:54:55 am »

If it wasn't for the RTR Toys, my Springer would be redundant as a rescue boat. :P :P :P


Ned
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malcolmfrary

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2016, 10:02:40 am »

If it wasn't for the RTR Toys, my Springer would be redundant as a rescue boat. :P :P :P


Ned
Just so - and with a bit of luck some of them might decide that their very own Springer might be a good idea.
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BFSMP

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2016, 10:15:59 am »

I've read through many builds over the weekend and all seem to be built from kits.

Does anyone scratchbuild anymore? 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?

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?

Is it because kits nowadays far exceed anything that the average bloke could ever hope to attain themselves out in the shed?

I'd be interested to know the answers.

As a new comer to this hobby I am quite staggered by your statements Brian60, and can only say that had it not been for kits available, I would never have got into building ( dolls houses) as a hobby, nor would I ever have considered ever building a model lifeboat which has come in a kit.

I look at my friends intricate model lifeboats that have featured on here, built from scratch and can only gaze in awe at his skills.

Since your comments I have looked through the forum and pages and threads and would say that the predominant number of builders build scratch models, unlike your statement saying that almost all are now kit builders, and as such your questions are very misleading and quite off putting.

I had a word with my friend about your comments this morning and he has told me to say, that even those who build scratch like to take the pressure off sometimes and build a kit that interests them and he is no exception.

There is absolutely no shame in "putting parts together" from a nice kit, and it is horses for courses.

You might not like kits, but there are plenty from what I see that do, and also even more highly skilled people on here who do scratch build.

And from what I see there are many who build both, much to their personal enjoyment.

Jim.
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Shipmate60

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2016, 10:38:13 am »

BFSMP
Couldn't agree more.
As long as you have built it you will have a sense of pride in what you have achieved.
I build both but not many scratch building now due to time restraints.


Bob
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Robotnik

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2016, 10:54:59 am »

I don't think a scratchbuild can truly be called a scratchbuild if you haven't cast your own propellers, cut down your own trees and laminated your own plywood.

Only joking really ;), ..but when is a scratch build truly a scratch build?
Could you use a fibreglass hull and build the rest yourself and call it a scratchbuild?
Is it ok to call it a scratchbuild if I didn't hand wind the motors for the bow thrusters?
Where does it stop?
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canabus

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2016, 11:06:47 am »

Hi All
I have scratch build three boats in the last year after a number of years off the last one was in the 1980s.
This was a 24 inch tunnel with a OS 40 FSR.
With a step into the brushless and Lipo world I am back!!
The first was a 24 inch deep vee with a brushless outboard and 3S Lipo.
Second was a fibreglass deep vee 34 inch(hull from my old days) 3639-1100kv with a 3S Lipo.
Third was a Sea Hornet(original plans) with a few custom bits.
I am on my fourth a total scratch design based on the old Aerokits boats.
I have never built a kit boat!!
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inertia

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2016, 11:28:36 am »

Last active on the Forum about five months ago, what's happened to Bryan Young? He had some very firm opinions about kits and their builders!
DM
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2016, 11:40:21 am »

 I suspect there are more 'scratchbuilders' out there than many people think. A forum like this appears to be very popular but the number of active posters is very small compared with the circulation of the two main modelling magazines. Most model boaters simply don’t participate online although no doubt many are ‘lurkers’. Most of the articles in the magazines tend to relate to scratchbuilding of one sort or another.

I have always regarded myself as a scratchbuilder, but times change and my last three completed models have been kits, albeit for review purposes. My current project is essentially scratchbuild but it has been so long on the stocks that I have resorted to buying some fittings in an attempt to actually complete it! The extent to which a model has been scratchbuilt from ‘raw stock’ did use to matter when many modellers entered competitions but there is very little interest in scale competitions these days unlike in the 70s & 80s. So if you can save time and effort by purchasing fittings instead of making them, many modellers do find that to be an acceptable trade off as the end result in terms of what the model looks like is much the same.

A lot of people also dislike the idea of making their own hulls which I have personally never understood as it is missing half the fun! So a lot of models now feature commercial hulls and fittings with the bit in the middle being largely scratchbuilt. Probably less work involved than in some conventional kits in such cases.

As far as plans are concerned there are thousands out there, the Model Boats range has over 800 alone. However, building from original plans is not easy as they contain a huge amount of information that is irrelevant to the model maker which can make it difficult to extract what you need to build a model. Years ago there were quite a few people around with draughting skills who could produce modelmaking plans from builder’s originals but most of them are no longer around or not active. I built my Isle of Wight ferry Shanklin from original plans back in the 80’s but the plan you can buy from MyHobbyStore was converted to something more suitable for modelmakers by Dave Metcalf. Also, as Umi correctly points out, a lot of available modelling plans are of older vessels because shipyards and owners now jealously guard the copyright of plans of modern vessels. The days when the late Richard Webb could borrow the plans of the Gatcombe tug on a visit to the vessel and nip up the road to the local Kodak shop to have them copied are long gone!

So ultimately it just comes down to ‘whatever floats your boat’ and it will only matter how much work you have put into it, as opposed to taking the short cut purchasing route, should you wish to enter it into one of the dwindling number of competitions being held around the country.

Colin
 
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Capt Podge

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2016, 11:56:26 am »

Last active on the Forum about five months ago, what's happened to Bryan Young? He had some very firm opinions about kits and their builders!
DM

Dave, PM sent.

Regards,

Ray.
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Ardnave

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2016, 12:59:18 pm »

Hi all,
These two of my models were/are being built on commercially available fibreglass hulls, I build the upperworks etc and as many details as I can, but I buy paddlewheels/props, lifeboats etc. So not scratchbuilt, but I suppose elements of scratchbuilding - Semi-scratch?
Never really thought about it, but they keep me busy and give satisfaction (and the occasional bout of frustration!)

Clark
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Brian60

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2016, 01:17:35 pm »

As a new comer to this hobby I am quite staggered by your statements Brian60,

Jim.

No need to be. Its an honest statement and fact. You assemble a kit you do not scratchbuild it.

However the point I was trying to get across as the title suggest has model building died. The simple fact is to develop skills you have to be prepared to spend time and patience getting things wrong as well as right -this is how the human race learns. Scratchbuilding a part whatever it may be teaches you skills with tools and materials, gluing together a couple of parts from a box doesn't.

There was a time when I built kits, back when I was about 14. My early dips into boat building were on commercial grp hulls, but I sat and learned how to scratch build stuff. nowadays if I want a grp hull, I build a mould and laminate my own then scratchbuild.

I wasn't knocking those who build from kits, rather I was lamenting the demise of the requisite skills to knock something up with nothing but a desk of tools and a pile of material.

Bob K

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2016, 01:29:16 pm »

This keeps coming up, like there is some massive gulf between those who put together Airfix/Revel plastic construction kits exactly as per the booklet enclosed, and those who create their deck planks from solid timber plus drill 3 holes in each of 200 brass strip 1/96 stanchions.  Usually what is meant is they made the hull, which is not the hardest part.  Most often 'scratch built' models have quite a lot of propriety fittings, propellers, and most of the internals.

Example:  I built a Victorian torpedo ram, which although started with a fibreglass hull which has been highly modified in shape, almost everything you can see is fabricated due to unusual scale of 1/60.  I did get 3D printed machine guns and etched stanchions so "Purists" will say it is not a scratch build.

Even so-called kits I have built are significantly modified with far more detail than included.

I don't really care.  We all build to the best research info we can get and put as much detail in as our skills are comfortable with.  Personally I love planking and detailing.

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Crossie

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2016, 01:51:43 pm »

 
  Brian, you are probably quite correct in your assumption that in general more models (all modelling disciplines ) are ''assembled'' now rather than being built from raw materials, and that seems to be mostly due to younger folks desire for speedy gratification, though in very many cases they do not have older relatives living near them that often were the source for we older types inspiration and guidance. Modern schooling and the workplace do not help because they no longer instill the notion anyone can attempt complex activities without 'courses, ticks in boxes, safety assessment' and so on.
 
   Surely though, the balance on this forum is not as one sided as your weekend browsing results suggest , there are so many scratch builds going on in the many sub-divisions, that I would have though the balance is around 50/50. For my own part, all my efforts are from plans or are scratch-builds, usually out of the head/scribble pad efforts, and I have 2 of these progressing (albeit slowly) within Mayhem.

   I don't think model building has died, but you are right, there is no doubt that it's in decline, just take a look at 1950's Aeromodellers or model car or boat magazines, back in those days there wasn't an Idiotlantern in the corner of everyone's room that folk squandered the time staring at.

                           Trevor
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Has the art of model building died?
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2016, 02:01:35 pm »

It's not just a question of modelling skills although I would agree that the number of top class modellers have indeed declined over the years, it's more the lack of education that concerns me. Many people appear to have no understanding of basic electricity, the difference between volts and amps, positive and negative, how to scale up and down, how to do simple geometry, use dividers and many other things that I took for granted by the time I left primary school. And a lot of these things have practical usefulness, I was regarded with amazement on a management course once when I demonstrated how to wire a domestic plug - nobody else had a clue. I belong to an owner's club forum for the car that I drive and some of the questions that regularly come up make me really worried that these people are in charge of a vehicle of which they have no understanding whatsoever. They simply have no conception of how things work and are totally lost when they go wrong. 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
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