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Old Aug 28, 2009, 08:24 AM
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Joined Dec 2006
4,258 Posts
Question
How can we better promote model building?

In another thread, I off-handedly asked this question and someone thought this would be a good topic to start, so here goes!

I'm 59 years old, since I was maybe 5-6 years old, I have loved to build models. I have built many plastic kits; airplanes, cars, military, am involved in model railroading, have built ship models in both plastic and wood and balsa flying models, since I was 10 years old. I built rubber powered freeflight and hand launched gliders, did a little bite of control line in my teen years and after graduating from high school, bought my first R/C set and have been active in R/C off and on ever since.

It saddens me to see so much reliance on ARFs and RTF models and that the market is so saturated with them and kits are slowly disappearing. Yes, I have assembled ARFs; but, I find that they only leave the most boring part of the process left to do.

Quite frankly for me at least, building from kits or scratch is the glue that keeps me in this hobby! Those of you who do not build, I feel are missing out on the most fun part of R/C! I have heard all the excusses and don't want to hear them again! I have no problem with your simply choosing to not participate. However, if you haven't tried building models, give it a try! You may find it to be more fun then boring holes in the sky with your latest Yak 54 ARF.

So, the question is, what can be done to bring model building back?
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 09:51 AM
Zor
Suspended Account
Ontario,Canada
Joined Feb 2007
9,742 Posts
A good question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mode One
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So, the question is, what can be done to bring model building back?
With very little hope for a revival.

There will always be some odd fellow building kits if available or scrath building with whatever material they can find.

A few horses are still around but not on the roads and highways.
Freight trains now have priority over passenger trains taken over by airlines.
Steamships like Cunard now unheard of.
Wars now fought by remote control even though some are still killed in foreign countries.

You suggested that your buddy should start this thread but you did it; could not resist.

Wishing you a great time. I certainly will not constantly attack you like what happened in "The Good Old Times".

Best of luck and enjoy. It is not possible to reverse the march of time.

Zor
P.S.: You do not have to tell me to "keep off" YOUR thread.
Just wanted to wish you good luck and not have to lock it.
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 11:38 AM
A swell guy
NJ Flyer 72's Avatar
New Jersey
Joined Dec 2004
312 Posts
Stop selling ARFs and RTFs. That should do it.
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 12:35 PM
yyz
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USA, CA, Paso Robles
Joined Dec 2004
2,408 Posts
It seems like there are many "reasons" (read "excuses") for people not to build, and I mean truly BUILD not the assembly "build threads" we hear about and read.

It's clearly a matter or priorities and the sense of needed instant gratification. Psychologically, I have no idea where that comes from. 54" plasma screen TVs with 1,000 channels of satellite programming, video games, NFL season pass. Who knows?

There were some kids at the local flying field that were showing some interest in several of us flying. They started asking questions and we explained to and showed them winch launching, thermaling, why you can't just "go up" when you want to, etc.

I sensed at least one of them was mentally tuned in and showed some genuine interest so I did a couple of high-speed passes, making a lot of noise, did a couple of rolls, etc. Typical hot-dog maneuvers, thinking this kid would get the soaring hook lodged in his mouth and wouldn't be able to spit it out. Within a couple of minutes, nothing. Not a word.

I'm not saying that the flying demonstration should have been a religious experience or anything like that. Had I seen that as a kid, I would have run home and begged my parents to buy me a kit of let me get a paper route to pay for it.

I'd really like to think that people, and specifically kids, could get excited about flying and building. I keep trying but there is a block there and I wish I understood what that was. I think some adults are actually afraid to build; maybe a fear of failing you don't have as a kid.

Not many suggestions to help but some personal observations,

Mike

ps: Like you, I can't get enough of building. The sense of accomplishment and just the complete focus and "zone" you get into while doing it is an incredibly relaxing and peaceful thing. You have to have a good stereo in your shop to reach the desired level of building Nirvana, however
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 12:37 PM
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Mcminnville, Or USA
Joined Jul 2009
597 Posts
I think you will see ARF's vanish when the wages for third world countries gets to at least what the minimum wage is in this country.
There are still many countries that have workers that make less than 3 dollars a day for a 12 hour day.
If it wasn't for these workers ARF's would be too expensive to produce.
How much would a ARF AVA cost if the worker was making 15 dollars an hour.
My guess about 3000 or 4000 dollars.
People would immediately start looking for kits.
Many people don't have the time or are too lazy to build a kit these days.
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 12:53 PM
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USA, CA, San Diego
Joined Jan 2007
213 Posts
I think building has to be handed down form father to son/grandson. A father would need to instill the desire to build. I love building and will continue to do it. I built my first plane and I have had ARF's. Both are fun but I will still build.
Another idea would be for flying clubs to include a junior flying aspect to their club where older members would teach the younger ones the ground work of the hobby.
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 01:02 PM
MaxiR novice
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Joined Aug 2009
65 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by zero2444
I think you will see ARF's vanish when the wages for third world countries gets to at least what the minimum wage is in this country.
There are still many countries that have workers that make less than 3 dollars a day for a 12 hour day.
If it wasn't for these workers ARF's would be too expensive to produce.
How much would a ARF AVA cost if the worker was making 15 dollars an hour.
My guess about 3000 or 4000 dollars.
People would immediately start looking for kits.
Many people don't have the time or are too lazy to build a kit these days.
I think you may be onto something there Zero. When I was a kid I built model planes and boats and flew and sailed them around home. I am now getting back into the hobby 30 years later and it's a different world. I did assemble a helicopter but all the pieces in the kit except for the canopy were premade. Not nearly the same experience as I remember. Getting a box of diecut wood planks or even buying balsa planks and following a paper plan to cut everything out with an exacto. I remember building an Airtronics Olympic 99 and it had the ribs already cut out and sanded. I couldn't believe it!

I wouldn't mind really building again and I may yet do it but there is a TON of really cool stuff available now that flies great and is cheap. It's just so easy now to buy and fly. Guess that's the way to go if you don't have the urge to create something.
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 01:20 PM
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I would just as soon not hear the "I don't have time to build", answer! We all make time to do the things we want to do and we all have 24 hours in every day!
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 02:03 PM
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Midland, Tx / W. Lafayette, Ind.
Joined Dec 2002
2,949 Posts
In my senior design class this semester, we have to design, build, and attempt to fly a model for a specific set of mission goals. Out of 42 students, when the class was asked who had actually built a model aircraft, 3 people raised hands. Other than myself, I think the other two probably have only put together ARFs. And this is a senior class in AeroE, when I first got to school my Freshmen year I thought there would be many other people who loved to build airplanes. Not the case. Anyways, it does not look good for model building.
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 04:02 PM
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Staffs, UK
Joined Nov 2003
10,675 Posts
Consider this. When you first started and got enthused by this hobby, how many of the people you knew then would have jumped at the chance to go flying without having to spend much painful time and effort building their own model first ?

Building was the only way to get a plane to fly then and some people got excited by the building and continue to this day...and many others gave up the whole hobby because they hated the building part. Today both sets can continue with the hobby.

If we manage to improve computer controlled machinery such that any kid can design his own model on his computer and get the parts automatically produced in minutes then there's a chance that design will survive. But (and I don't say this often) I think Zor has it right, the days of every kid learning lots of craft skills to become a builder in your sense have already gone the way of the horse-drawn carriage and the home car mechanic adjusting his cable brakes and tweaking his carburettor .

Steve
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 04:39 PM
A new day, a new gadget
Brighton, UK
Joined May 2006
571 Posts
I enjoy building, have just scratch built a sloper from plans and have made many, many kits. And I agree with yyz about the relaxation and peace, not to mention the pleasure that comes from flying something you have built from sticks.

But it's only a hobby, there is nothing deeply or innately meaningful - or socially valuable - about it, and if people don't want to do it I don't see that we should worry too much.
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 04:51 PM
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United States, NC, Locust
Joined Jul 2001
179 Posts
I agree,builders for the most part have all gone the way of the horse & buggy. Were it not for ARF's, the r/c airplane hobby would probably be dead. Young people these days, are looking for instant gratification. That's why the X box and other video games are so popular. I'm always amazed that so many flyers don't have a clue about basic aircraft construction. When was the last time you saw a kit built plane at your field, let alone something built from just plans ? My $.02
zx32tt
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 05:51 PM
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I began building 3 years ago at a hobby group (there is no english word for it, which is one of the reasons there aren't many like these), it's sort of a club where we have guides that help us build from plans and when we're finished they teach how to fly. this club is part of a big organization like the AMA and has many small club all over the country. after a year of building (under some special circumstances) I went to "guide course" and now I'm a guide at my club and also build there. americans should have more clubs like this (it's similar to soccer practice or basketball or dancing lessons in it's structure of student-guide-place).
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 07:19 PM View Post
John Lydon
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