This post has very little to do with modelling, but it still has everything to do with our hobby, and the internet part of it. Internet has revolutionised our hobby, maybe even more so than resin and photo etched brass. Internet makes us come together in a way that we´ve never been able to do before. Well, there were modelling clubs and large competitions even before, but nowadays we can share ideas and knowledge on a daily basis, not just with a cuple of guys from the same area, but with nerds from the whole planet. There is a backside to this coin however. Everybody who has participated in a heated forum discussion in wether the “spanish school” is better than the “nordic school” or wether preshading is a technique from hell or not knows what I mean. Sometimes someone tries to calm down the discussion by saying things like “you scare people away from the hobby!”. Well, that might be true. But if that´s the case, the one scared off shouldn’t take on photography. Nikon or Canon? Digital cameras are the devils tool? No, PHOTOSHOP is the devils tool.. well, you get the idea. The discussions are just the same, just swap “MIG Pigments” with “Canon cameras”.
A discussion that made me look with a different eye on our hobby is the one that has been going on at some modell train forums. That discussion is about which material is the best one for models, metal/brass or plastic? At least I have never seen a similar debate on any of the modelling forums I have seen. I know that some modellers shy away from resin kits, or hate fiddeling with working toolclamps from Aber. I know some modellers that rather makes their on details than buy an expensive PE-set. But I have never seen a heated argument about it.
The debate among the railroaders of course puts the spotlight on a big difference between plastic modellers and railroaders. The modellers are mostly concerned with the way the end result looks. While this is true among many railroaders, some of them are more collectors than builders, and most engines and rolling stock is sold as completed pieces, which of course makes feel, percieved quality and the status of a heavy brass piece more important.
There is another thing to be learned as well. There are some really skillfull railroad modellers who build their engines and rolling stock from brass. Etched brass is to the railroading hobby what resin is to the plastic modellers. There are resin kits available too, but as far as I have learned, not in the same magnitude as in armor modelling. So these modellers are bending and soldering brass, and the end result is absolutely fabulous.
With the increase in PE-detailing kits that replaces more than half of the original plastic kit, in our hobby, and with the increase of resin and plastic kits in the railroading hobby I believe we will have something to learn from each other.
My foray into the model railroad community is far from over, and one of my modelling projects in the near future will include the “superdetailing” of a Märklin RC 1 engine that I got as a christmas gift over two decades ago. I´ve already bought a PE-kit for it, and I will also order some decals. While model trains is not what this site is abut, modelling is, and I´ll use the skills I have aquired as an armour modeller to try to make this engine look lifelike. Wish me luck!
Happy new modelling 2008
PS Another important lesson learned after writing this, was never to put a chocolate bar next to the hot air exhaust of the laptop.. it is messy…