My Love Hate relationship with “Modelling” forums ….

Yeah, yeah …. I know, first world problems …

Grrrr just a rant that’s been building for some time so feel free to ignore and look at the nice pictures. My New Years resolution was also not to suffer fools by staying silent when someone’s trolling an audience by sounding all experty n stuff because if no one speaks their view the rubbish being put forward becomes internet and RL fact. By the way I will ramble to so if you read on prepare to be obfuscated and confused.

Forums. Firstly I know you have no control over them and sometimes as little control over your own responses in them when irritated. And forums have a cycle of topics and posters, stay around in your favourite ones long enough and you’ll see things get loved and bashed and then loved again. I have three or four forums I frequent, that to be fair to them I do know cater 99% to modellers or shelf kit builders as I term them. So I shouldn’t get my back up when Wargamers get tarred for crap kits, the rise of 1946 over genuine subjects and the Reichstag Fire. I also go through periods where I lurk, don’t post or comment and my personal reason for this is pretty much that I often don’t feel I have much to contribute or to drive either technical discussions or the forums forward. I don’t do months of deep or primary research, I don’t correct an 18 bolt wheel to a 16 bolt one, I don’t correct a 52o slope to the correct 56o one and I don’t do dioramas.

So why do you to them go I can hear you screaming now. A couple of reasons. Firstly the forums I’ve stuck with are generally the ones I started posting on when I first ventured out into the modelling interweb and so feel they deserve a bit of support, even if it’s only through traffic. And I do annoy the regulars occasionally by posting my gaming tat if I think it’s good enough. Actually I feel for all the work in detailing I can generally produce something with my paint that more often than not gives an equal or sometimes more favourable overall impression of the subject than having the correct tool box locks on a build will.

Secondly there are some great and generous people to that I’ve met through forums, in fact the majority try to get along or are at least reasonable when voicing opinions and “assistance”. This can make forums a fun and worthwhile experience.

Lastly I do really enjoy seeing the detail builds, technical discussions and superb ideas and paintwork. I learn from them and despite what “real” modellers” think, do try to incorporate as much improvement in my work as practical, given the budget, end use and probably most significant – the time constraints. The consensus term is rivet counters for the detail obsessed but that isn’t fair or accurate. Sometimes a person has a singular in depth knowledge of a particular subject, that’s fantastic but I don’t have the time or reference material to specialise in that way, nor to be honest the inclination. My interests are way too varied but I can learn and take what I can from their far better knowledge or experience. I’ve also seen detailers (how’s that for a PC and Friendly SJW term) getting an uncalled for bashing for their approach (without which we often wouldn’t know when things are wrong or how to improve them) and a stouch then inevitably breaks out between them and the OOB/fun building crowd, with each not able to appreciate what the other brings to the hobby.

So what’s pushed my rant button then? As I mentioned it’s been building. The last 2 years probably I’ve found the web forums a far less friendly and generally more polarised place than previously. People are tense and ready to diss others views at the drop of a pin, don’t know whether it’s more life pressures recently or people getting older and crotchier but “go time” is set to “on” and just waiting for a manufacturers release to set two sides up for a handbag throwing debate. And this in a time where there’s so many new kits and of niche subjects that I really can’t understand how manufacturers are making money on some releases but I do know we should be at least partly grateful for the bounty.

Anyway my back is getting bent firstly by the “hate and don’t understand” 1946 modelling crowd. Ok also some 1946 supporters too, both sides seems to bring out a red rag instead of an “oh that’s nice” or an ignore. Bring up a new 46 release and those who hate it just can’t help themselves and stay out of the thread. Likewise get Panzer 46 and Fantasy 46 mixed up and you’re likely to become banished to glueless modelling limbo, shunned by both real prototype and real 46 modellers. Ignore if you don’t like the subject, comment if you do. Geeze such a simple formula you’d think, just like all baby food. I did think about waging a crusade of hate against Tankettes. I mean they’re like 46 models right? They don’t really make any sense in the real world? Or Thornycroft pre ’39 Lorries. What’s modelling those about then, why release a kit of that when another perfectly serviceable kit of a Tiger or Panther could be made – good point right? Bollocks it is. For me anyone that’s likes a subject should just have fun and/or get some enjoyment and satisfaction out of it. I can appreciate well built Tankettes or lorries, even if they aren’t my subject of choice. But do you think they could ignore ’46 stuff … it would appear not.

Then there’s the “Real” and “Serious” modellers versus Wargaming Children. Yup, this has been trotted out several times over the last year and it just won’t die. It seems that Wargamers are to blame for the rise of tatty quick build kits and any shortcomings a company likes to push is because it must be aimed at the Wargaming crowd. Hmmmm ….. No. But let me work this one over a bit. There are companies that cater mostly if not entirely to Wargamers. Great, I buy occasionally from them if the subject is good enough or unique. They don’t hide who their market is, nor do they try to appeal overly to shelf builders, except maybe again if the unique category gets ticked. But to compare their stuff to, and then get ticked off when it isn’t up to shelf building standard, is like me complaining about a rugby ball having two pointed ends when I only play soccer. WTF?

The fall of Dragon is one of my … not beefs, but definite disappointments and is related. Going from genuine “Armour Pro” releases to simplified mouldings, one piece track and wheel assemblies is definitely a direction I don’t like. But as an aside to that, a recent “discussion” from “Real” modellers asserted that that approach was ok as long as the base vehicle shape was good. Real modellers were always going to replace the tracks anyway and apparently always correct everything, so to expect a kit to be detailed and serviceable out of the box was a bit to much to be asking. This was their argued viewpoint, seems oddly opposite to what you’d think their view would be right?. Also said view was snidely backed up in several subsequent threads whenever the opportunity presented itself too. Funny men. Now however a Wargaming Kit producer has released a quick build that must be a subject that was badly wanted in kit form due to the spotlight threads it has received. Admittedly I think the company took a few accuracy liberties. Ok they were lazy and didn’t bother to get some of general shapes or details right. And apparently expert help has been offered before and cheerfully ignored as a matter of course. So who cares right. Well apparently “real” modellers. Because the gaming kit company was lazy it’s the fault of Wargamers that their product isn’t up to snuff. Because we don’t give a toss what things look like. A truck that has a cross on it is good enough to be a German one to all Wargamers – apparently. Well not apparently, they were stated “facts” about Wargamers as well as them being like children. It’s Wargamers fault that kit release standards are slipping, Just so you know.

All this would be just wind and pee but the number of Wargamers that build kitsets in “20mm” 1/76th, OO/HO or 1/72nd isn’t that great. They exist sure and I know some avid 20mm gamers and collectors, but are they enough to make shelf kit manufacturers decline their quality and production standards? Are they battering down the doors of kit manufacturers, organising petitions and causing market paradigm shifts demanding pre-builds, die-casts and any kit – just get it out quick sharp? This with their mega dollars of hobby kitset expenditure …. ?

Um. Only in unicorn land I’m afraid ….

So will I continue to forum? Yeah sure. For the positive reasons I stated above, and yeah, there were some, go back and read it again 🙂  What I’m making a conscious effort to do though is to call BS and not back off, why should I when others won’t. And I’m not posting my Project ’46 stuff (or Wargaming dross) up on one forum in particular, maybe a few others too. I can’t be bothered ignoring the back handed snickering for one thing. Plus when I started my own Project ’46 about 10 or 11 years back it was to have an interest that “detailers” (see there’s that neat SJW term for them again) or shelf builders couldn’t call out as being inaccurate. It was stressless imaginerring for me and until recently many others seemed to appreciate it for what it was. But now as WOT has popularised “Paper Panzers” and “What if” 46 stuff it seems that we get a little more release anger spinoff each time a manufacturer wastes their time making 46 junk no one wants or understands when what they should really be doing is making Tankettes or Lorries ……

Rant over, resuming model building and enjoyment mode ……

Q

ps If this doesn’t make any sense, it’s not my fault. Well it is, I’m blaming my lack of focus and education however and I did warn you I’d ramble 🙂

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10 comments on “My Love Hate relationship with “Modelling” forums ….

  1. Haha. A very enjoyable read. I find that this here, WordPress, is a much more fun and useful way of expressing myself and interacting with others. I haven’t experienced any trolls on here or any negativity what so ever. Forums, I find, are just like having a conversation with 30 people at once. 30 people that all think they’re right and want to be heard above everyone else and who, also, want the last word on everything haha. Not my idea of fun.

    • Very true! It’s probably also a little down to if you can be bothered blogging you’re generally a bit more open and rounded as well of appreciative when someone takes an interest, comments or questions.

      A lot of forum posts/topics are just grandstanding without being constructive … despite that I’ve meet some great people there too – hence the Love/Hate thing !!!!

  2. I used to forum a lot for wargaming and I still read wargamerAU, Lead Adventure, and a few others fairly regularly, but mainly blogs these days. It’s easier to find stuff you want, though it can be easier to get advice on forums… Which I guess is where your problem comes in.
    I like “wargaming kits”, and what you do because it represents something effectively and you can play with it! The true modelers; I respect them, I am impressed by them, but I have no interest in doing anything other than getting a few tips from them.
    Anyway we like what you’re doing, keep posting!

    • Yeah they both have their places I think. I find the switch of a lot of groups and modellers to FB interesting too. I think if the FB mechanic worked more like most forums instead of the sinking post format then it would be even more prevalent, plus the search is naff and trying to scrool down to look at say three days of posts when you’ve been away just grinds my poor PC to a halt. For ease of viewing an index and picking posts to look at the forums still have sway, even here it’s tricky to look back and find a post (not helped by my own use of the tricky cloud index system!).

      Definitely always posting here though. When I do post on Forums and FB it’s always a summary, I keep the narrative detail and big/extra pics for the blog 🙂

  3. Brent, I think that you have a lot to offer various fora / forums. You’ve got incredible skills and knowledge. If they let you down, just remember that we “people” are involved. We people are often inconsiderate, boorish, and self-centered. That said, there are quite a few of us out here that do care about you and are grateful for your efforts. Please don’t lost heart and vent all you need, if it helps.

    • Hey George, as I said it is the great people I’ve met (you’re one of them) through forums that make them very worthwhile places.

      And they go through the cycles, there was a ton of conflict last year over various issues and I thought most of that was gone, it was for a while.

      As you say there are some people who can appreciate others interests enough to be at least encouraging or silent and others who have a need to tell people that they don’t.

      Definitely why I thought I’d let some steam off in here for a change!!!

      cheers
      Brent

  4. All of this in spades. I’ve my own set of carefully tailored gripes, but the gist is the same 🙂
    As for Facebook, can’t really say it’s working out for me for a lot for the reasons you mention in the comments above. I also like the relative digital anonymity forums and blogs allow – I don’t risk spamming my wider social circle with my plastic and lead perversions!

    • Yeah more and more forums seem to be intending to go to FB but it’s just not properly set up for it IMO. If you’re not checking everyday you miss so much stuff – and I don’t have a smart phone (I’m doing the John Connor attempt at living off the grid) and don’t want millions of notifications chasing me everywhere …..

  5. I walked away from forums a while ago and have never really felt any regrets. The unfortunate nature of many that I posted in was that due to the focus on real world settings, threads would inevitably become politicized and I could find myself getting quite steamed at some of the jingoism I would see. While I was a bit younger I would respond in quite a combative and often offensive manner, but as I’ve gotten older I mostly just find it exhausting and eye-rolling. Blogging is definitely the right setting for me at this stage in my life.

    • Yup, definitely seen this aspect too. Crazy from a toy soldier perspective and on game/model forums. It’s one of the downsides of the “net”, the ability for people to drop in wind up comments and defend them ruining a thread.

      I pulled out of a Bolt Action forum recently because I got trolled on a “I want to use swastikas on my Nazi vehicles, is that ok” thread. I suggested the Balkenkruse was more common and that swastiaks should be kept mostly to the DAK palm and air-recog flags and offered some places to look for additional info on historical markings. But nope, that wasn’t as good as the “tons” of tank pics on google showing swastikas apparently in common use on tanks and trucks right up to the wars end. It was very very common didn’t I know ? 🙂

      So that plus the abundance of new generation revisionist history/fact made it clear that I was wasting my time. BA and WOT are both great and bad influences at the same time. Bringing in lots of new people to the hobby but also filling their heads with a distorted view of what’s real. Unfortunately the instant fix is better than book and research collecting so it becomes fact …. at least I know when I’m creating a fantasy vehicle or paint scheme!

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