There’s a new breed of modeler in town. One to whom the actually building of models is far secondary to the talking or more specifically “typing” about models.
In this modeler’s world, one never actually breaks sprue. They just talk like they have. Kits aren’t reviewed as they are built; they are reviewed “in the box”. The kits are still measured, critiqued and insulted, even though they will reside permanently on the Internet modeler’s “shelf of doom” in the “no hope for building” section.
Here’s a question that I have about this whole process. How exactly do you measure an unassembled model accurately to determine if it is 2 millimeters or 30 millimeters too long, too short, too wide, and too narrow? How sure are you of your measuring techniques? Are you sure that it won’t change at all when you assemble it (like that will happen).
Are all in the box reviews evil? Well, no. Many are actually quite useful. If you get nice photos of what’s in the kit, what resin and decals are included and maybe a bit of information about the subject and some guides to finding references, it’s awesome, but how often do you see that?
Another specialty of the Internet modeler is to insult photos of other people’s work. The plane is too weathered, the plane is one shade too dark or the unit markings that came with the kit are wrong. Huh? I’m sorry I just built the thing out of the box. I should have checked with the model police first, shouldn’t I?
What’s wrong with the Internet modeler is almost exactly the same as what’s right with him/her. If you want a quick question answered about a particular aircraft, you can post on one of the various Internet forums and within a couple hours have a pretty reasonable answer to your question. It’s really quite amazing. On the other side of things, you can post a photo of your latest model and receive a three-page dissertation with a list of everything that is wrong with your model, insults to your friends and family and at least one person asking why you built that enemy plane in the first place.
Another “feature” to the Internet modeler is the race to find fault. When a new kit is released the Internet modeler will race to be the first one to find the first real problem with the kit. This problem can be real or imagined. Something can actually be wrong or it can merely look wrong, it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that you were the one that found that problem.
My favorite example is the fellow who threw out that the floats on the Tamiya Seiran were incorrect. He couldn’t provide any information as to why they were incorrect, at least not beyond the fact that they “didn’t look right”, but he threw it out there anyway. Well, as it turns out, there really weren’t any problems at all with them. However Tamiya had just royally screwed up on the Meteor and modelers simply weren’t going to let them forget about that.
So why this new trend in modeling? The answer really is pretty simple. Being an Internet modeler is simpler than modeling. With modeling you actually have to build something and put a piece of yourself out there for the world to see. If you are an Internet modeler, you can simple hide behind a persona, a screen name or a fake e-mail address and insult all you want. You can insult modelers work, books or new products. You can bitch about kit prices, contest judging and entry fees. The best part about it is you can do it all from the comfort of your big fuzzy office chair.
So, what’s my point? Shut up and build something. At least then you earn the right to complain a bit about how difficult a kit was to build and you can point to your example and tell your horror story about what a terrible kit it was and you can do it with a smile.
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