I am repeatedly astounded each year when I attend the plastic model display at our local show grounds, and at many things.
Firstly, at the number of models put out for display – even in a lean year there are more put on the tables than can well be seen. In the case of the larger modelling societies they crowd cheek to jowl…or perhaps that should be wheel to wing …on the tablecloth, and each one does not really get a fair viewing in its own right. The variation in the scales makes for a bit of a jangle as well – you just begin to accept one style of painting or animation when you are changing your view for another.
Secondly, the skill level seems to rise each time I see the models displayed. And as some are carried over from year to year, you can see the improvement in real time. This is a little unfair to the previous entires as they were undoubtedly the state-of-the-art standard when first seen. It is probably a fault of our characters that we rush to praise the new by discarding some of the glory of older items.
Thirdly, the variation and arcane variety of kits is staggering. I built kits in the 1950’s and 1960’s and would never have dreamed of some of the things that are being offered. If we had the vast selection of aircraft, ships, and automobiles then that we see now, I do not think that the weird monster figure offerings from Aurora, AMT, and the others would have ever gotten a second glance. They are charming by-blows now and period vignettes, but basically side-show toys.
Fourthly, the detail level is so daunting as to put off all but the keenest of builders, what laser-cut accessories and additional packs for kits that go ever deeper into detail. I applaud it and admire it, but wonder if sometimes more complexity is attempted than is necessary.
Fifthly, the costs. I looked at some of the price tags and, while I do not accuse the sellers of gouging, I wonder that anyone would pay that much money. Perhaps I am just sticker-shocked. Perhaps I can equate the price with groceries and petrol. I suppose that if one would spend a year on one model the price would be bearable, but I can’t see people wanting to restrict themselves to that extent.
Sixthly – well I am also astounded at the good humour and camaraderie of the builders. It seems to be equal to that of the doll house ladies and certainly far in advance of the die-cast collectors. Perhaps it is because the basic premise of the plastic modeller is personal achievement rather than accumulation and then sales for profit. In any event, like the model train people, I found them much more willing to talk and share.
The tank? French WW II heavy tank. Not terribly successful, but it did engage the attention of the German forces through publicity and propaganda.