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Old 07-08-2002, 04:34 PM
  #1  
TTARK
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I have a question, how come the manufacturers always send kits to the guys that work at magazines for a review, would it be better for them to send kits or ARFs to someone like me or most others in the hobby who don't know the shortcuts to give them an honest review of the product then we write an article from the view point of the guys (gals) who are spending their hard earned bucks on the product??. It would give honest opinions on the product rather than a writer for the mag who has to be concerned with revenue from the advertisers when he writes the article. Anyone but me ever thought of this??

Terry
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Old 07-08-2002, 07:58 PM
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Thomasr
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It would be a more honest review, but how should the producers do this? They can`t just send a plane to somebody, and hope that they will write a good review. If there were certain things you needed to know something about or have to receive a plane for review, the one knowing these things or having the equipment would soon have the same pressure as the normal writer for a magazine. Also, it is hard to publish the review when it`s not in a magazine. (Well, should be fairly easy on-line, but what about the "disconnected" RC people?) But I have thought of it, just too many problems to actually make it work.
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Old 07-08-2002, 08:45 PM
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Depending on what you are looking for, there has been some effort at a British site to do what you are suggesting: users reviewing the planes they buy and build/assemble. It just got off the ground this year, but there are about 70 or so reviews so far. You will find it at http://www.rcmad.co.uk/ To look it over, you really don't have to name a specific model, just click on the search button at the bottom of the homepage. Dzl
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Old 07-08-2002, 09:57 PM
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TTARK
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What i am refering to is something done in conjuction with the manufacturer and a magazine. Send the product to an average modeler, even make him pay for it then reimburse him when the review is done for publication. this would give honest product reviews and opinion and would be invaluable to the manufacturer. I also would not cost any more than they are spending now. Why should professional writers get all the freebies, I know golf and tool companies do this and it works well for them.

Terry
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Old 07-08-2002, 11:44 PM
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gpmikemorse-RCU
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Why should professional writers get all the freebies, I know golf and tool companies do this and it works well for them.
They probably get the freebies because they know how to write and they've proven their integrity over time.

But you can get what you want, just go to the newsgroup rec.models.rc.air. Ask any question about anything, and every genius in the world will reply. Also, every idiot, and you will have zero way to tell the difference.

This is why magazines like R/C Report stay in business despite all the information on the Internet. Most folks appreciate professional writers and editors.

The problem with amateurs (and I'm one of them, and I've written reviews) is by definition, they don't have much experience. They can make little mistakes, and conclude that the "plane sucks". Or maybe they don't balance or trim the plane well, and conclude it doesn't fly well.
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Old 07-09-2002, 10:33 AM
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Default Some of us "regular guys" are doing it.

Terry,

Some of us "regular guys" are doing just that. I answered a post on RC Universe, requesting someone to build an airplane, and re-write the instructions in the process. I got lucky, and I had a writing style the man liked, and also did both a construction and flying review.

I did the job in return for the kit. There was no other payment, and the company owner specifically asked me to be honest, even with negative comments. As it turns out, I didn't have any, so this was a non-issue, but it was a fun experience.

The review is of a new, very light .60-size 3D plane, called the "Extase". (pronounced "Ecstacy") The article is at http://www.nextcraft.com/rcpp_extase01.html

I hope I get to do more, because I agree with you. I think RCers are more prone to believe one of us "regular guys" than the monthly reviewer in a magazine. (as long as the thing is readable and professional) Both the company owner and I got lots of feedback, both here and by email, that was quite sincere.
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Old 07-09-2002, 01:07 PM
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Steve Lewin
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I think you have a rather inflated view of who the writers in magazines are unless it's very different in the US. Over here most of them are fairly ordinary modellers with real full-time jobs or perhaps retired. They're nowhere near professionals. They are simply people who have volunteered for this sort of thing and usually tried their hand at a few reviews for their club magazines of things they bought themselves and then moved on to the national magazines.

The reason why you see the same ones over and over again is because there are not that many people in the hobby who can build quickly and reliably and write reasonable English (a quick glance these forums should convince you of the last part).

While the manufacturers usually like honest unbiased opinions they like them from people they can trust. An "ordinary modeller" chosen at random could be very inexperienced, not too bright, a big fan of their competition, semi-literate, anything. I've seen reviews on the Web from people who slated kits because they were trying to build something far too advanced for them. I've seen reviews on the Web where people couldn't even spell the name of the plane correctly. That's not fair and reasonable either.

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Old 07-09-2002, 02:24 PM
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Two big problems... And they both relate to the same cause. The kit manufacturers don't know you. I mean really, they don't have a clue who you are. Imagine this, you have a kit that you don't have time to build. Some generous guy tell you that he'll build it for you.

"Do you have any building experience?"

"Oh yea! I've built hundreds of planes! Everything from WW1 biplanes to F-16s. I even have some hanging in a museum."

Well, what the heck! You give the guy the plane and 6 months later he's still not finished.

"This is a REALLY tough kit! The so and so wasn't right, and the instructions stink", etc.

Then finally he brings it to you and it looks like it has already been through 20 crashes.

"But... but... you said you've built HUNDREDS of planes!?"

"Yea, they all pretty much come out looking like this, I just have a hard time with wood and glue. And this is the first time I ever had to use that iron-on covering stuff, BOY is THAT hard to work with!"

But... but... you said you had planes hanging in museums!"

"Oh yea, back in the little town I grew up in, we had a local history museum and they hung up the plastic model of a dinosaur that I made ."

Get the idea?

The other problem is they don't know whether or not you can read, let alone write. They just can't take a chance on someone with no credentials to back them up.
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Old 07-09-2002, 05:14 PM
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Hey fellas,

Guess what? The RCU Magazine has all regular modelers doing the reviews...each person including me that has done a review so far and including upcoming reviews in the next issues are all regular average modelers just like you. We are not professional writers and I am not a professional editor (read the reviews....you can tell we are just plain old modelers doing a review as best as each of us knows how). This is what I wanted.

Take Erick for example who is one of our reviewers in the first issue. He asked if he could do some reviews for stuff he had. I said show me what you can do and he did a nice job (I thought great job actually) and I published his reviews. He is not affiliated with any RC company nor a professional writer. As far as the "in print" RC mags I'm sure they could also do this but perhaps choose not to. If RCU goes into print the mainstay of what we review would be done by "regular" modelers as you say. Of course the requirement is that they can in fact assemble and fly well along with having a reasonably good ability to write a well written review of the process.

And to address the 1st post regarding making advertisers happy...even if an average modeler did a review and it came back negative do you really think the magazines would publish a bad review...it would get shelved. I know of this happening many times. A review that is either too negative or not glowing enough sits on the "to be published" list but never makes it into the magazine so nobody gets hurt (except maybe the guys who buy the bad kit because the info never made it out there).
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Old 07-09-2002, 07:21 PM
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We have one club member who does about 4 or 5 product reviews per year for RC Modeler. He is retired and not aligned with any manufacturer or magazine. This year so far he did a P-40, the E-Z Mustang (Altech) - June issue, and he was at the field this week with a 40 size WACO (ARF). Walt is a very competent writer and builder and the magazine always gets his approval on the final text. In the last 3 years all of Walt's product reviews have been ARF's.
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Old 07-09-2002, 09:05 PM
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ramcharger,

does that make him a "professional" or just a plain old average modeler like us? Most of the guys for the magazines are like Walt or a good percentage of them. Some guys at my field have written for MAN and again just a regular guy with another job but does review models too.
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