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Where Have All The Kits Gone ?

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Old 02-19-2019, 09:24 AM
  #1176  
FlyerInOKC
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Like everyone else on this board I morned the loss of Top Flite, Great Planes kits. As you may know the a while back the CEO of Horizon died and on reading up on him I think I got an understanding why Horizon never got the importance of building to keep our hobby going. The late CEO of Horizon was an R/C Car and Truck enthusiast. He had the mind set of of a car/truck guy. You break it you replace it. You only fix what is quick and easy to get back in the race or go to the next vehicle. Everything is throw away. A Car/Truck doesn't build from the ground up he buys pre-built and may or may not add better suspension and steering parts. Horizon treats airplanes the same as cars/truck. Buy it, break, go on the the next one. Any way that is my take away from what I read.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:33 AM
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I think you nailed it! I always laughed at ground pounders, they have no clue what the real draw of the hobby is, and in today's throwaway society, well, par for the course. They don't understand that if their little car breaks down, they can walk over and pick it up, when our plane breaks down, they crash, and you put the scraps in a plastic bag.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:31 AM
  #1178  
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Oh, I don't think you can blame them. RC cars are another unique type of hobby. There are all sorts of custom car bodies, suspension systems, controllers, etc. They are fun in their own right. Helicopters being so highly specialized mechanically to make them work are more or less a lot of bolt together stuff.

One thing not considered is that today, people have less disposable income to do hobbies with. Gone are nearly all the technical jobs in manufacturing. What's left are mostly service type jobs. Even those, many have evaporated in our throw away society. Used to be that one could repair radios, electronics, etc. Now, once it gets a couple years old and fails, one buys new.

It is, what it is.
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:24 AM
  #1179  
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Quite so GG.

A couple of years ago I bought a new kitchen. The sales lady asked me whether I wanted a new built-in micro-wave cooker. I replied that I had a free-standing micro-wave which had belonged to my mother. My mother died in February 2000 and the microwave wasn't new even at that time.

In the same time period my best friend has had to buy three or four new microwaves.

This proves that we can build things to last but the manufacturers chose not to.

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Old 02-20-2019, 06:51 AM
  #1180  
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We still have our first microwave, bought it in the early 80's. Could cook a turkey in it. Still works too. Still have the TC we had in th e80's, still works, can't watch much but old TV programs on Beta and VHS, which we still have the first ones we bought, in the 80's. Belts slip a bit, but they are over 30 years old!
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Old 02-28-2019, 11:38 AM
  #1181  
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It has been a sad thing for me to watch the hobby die little by little. What was the cause, well many things have lead us to where it is today. When I got into the hobby in 1978, there where about 40 kit makers offered in my 350 page tower catalog. It was a great time for the hobby of Building and flying I think. Radios where AM or FM freq control had to be understood etc. To get involved in the hobby was cheap due to the large offering on the supply side. I first bought and built Balsa USA kits , they where cheap only $19 for a good trainer kit, the tempo II, then it was on the smothie, moon raker, pheaton bipe, all less than $25 shipped to my door via UPS. While Balsa USA is still alive and making kits , they are not cheap these days, but at least still going. Most of all the rest are gone from the seen altogether. I can remember when ARFs started hitting the market and many of us saw that they were attacking a different type of person to the hobby that did not have to learn to build a plane to participate. They seemed to have a completely difference set of motivations due to only wanting to do 50% of the hobby. I knew it I could see it coming. So here we are the that result the hobby is about dead and gone. No more RC hobby shops, on kit makers, no RC products suppliers, less and less clubs going, none starting, Nobody in the clubs that are left know how to build even a basic RC plane anyway. It also seems that young people are not fascinated by flight anymore. Sorry for posting the facts ..
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Old 03-04-2019, 12:30 AM
  #1182  
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No apology needed. I've been seeing the same things over the years. I bought my first kit in 1986, a Sig Kadet Jr. It's no longer produced but, fortunately for me, I still have the plans, instructions and hardware needed to build a new one.
What is really sad is what I was told while at work a year or so ago. I was laying out parts for an eighth scale hydroplane and had this kid(well, compared to me anyway) ask what I was doing. When I told him I was laying out the parts to build a scale model of a race boat from the 1970s, he looked at me with a funny expression and asked "Why don't you just order one that's ready to run?" When I told him that there wasn't any one that manufactures what I was starting to build, I was told, very matter-of factly, "If you can't order it online, then it never existed". I then went into Youtube and showed him footage of the boat actually racing in 1974, in Seattle. His reply was "I know Photoshop and computer graphics when I see them and that's nothing but a computer generated fake". I then offered to take him to where the full sized boat is presently housed and show it to him, first hand. The reply was "Another faked display huh? Don't waste my time as what you think is real is a mock up of something some one imagined". About this time, someone else walked in and saw the video playing and asked "Is that the 1974 Gold Cup?" to which I replied that it was. The kid looked at him and repeated how it was a computer generated video to which the guy said "You obviously don't know s**t since I WAS AT THAT RACE IN 1974, ALL WEEKEND LONG IN POURING RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!" Needless to say, the kid walked out without saying another word to either one of us.
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Old 03-04-2019, 02:13 AM
  #1183  
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They don't understand the satisfaction one can gain from building something yourself and then after a long period seeing it take shape, watching it fly, or float as the case may be. There is one young member of our club who builds beautiful models but he works repairing dented motor cars in the local Volkswagen agency. In other words he spends his days analysing problems, then using his hands to arrive at a solution. Regretably there are fewer and fewer jobs in Western Society which demand such skill.
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Old 03-04-2019, 09:54 AM
  #1184  
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Welcome to the wonderful world of the Internet, making the smart dumb, and the dumb dumber.
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:13 AM
  #1185  
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I noticed the newest addition of the AMA magazine had a build article by Pat Tritle of his Helldiver. The plans are free to download and there is a laser cut short kit available. I wonder if this is his latest design. I have the Dumas kit of his DH89 Rapide in my collection.
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Old 03-04-2019, 09:27 PM
  #1186  
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Originally Posted by acdii View Post
Welcome to the wonderful world of the Internet, making the smart dumb, and the dumb dumber.
Not so sure I agree with you on this one. I find the internet a great place to add to what I know as well as a place to learn from. Where many go wrong is that they think the internet is a be all end all for knowledge and don't consider how some that post don't have a clue as to what they are talking about. Weeding out the inept and unknowing from those that actually do is a skill most don't have or know they need to successfully use the internet to it's fullest potential
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Old 03-04-2019, 11:26 PM
  #1187  
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...and of course, as Flyer has implied, plans are still readily eavailable and there are several firms today which will provide you with a laser-cut kit from a plan, so we all have the opportunity, thanks to digital technology and the internet, to build that model which would not have been viable for the traditional kit manufacturers to produce. Fancy a Sopwith Snipe or One and a Half Strutter, a Brewster Buffalo or Ilyushin IL2 or even a Hawker Hurricane? Go for it!

You still have to build them though and for so many of the younger generation, this is a non -starter. Having said that, many young people these days work long hours for low wages so don't have the time to build.
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Old 03-05-2019, 02:41 AM
  #1188  
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Originally Posted by Telemaster Sales UK View Post
You still have to build them though and for so many of the younger generation, this is a non -starter. Having said that, many young people these days work long hours for low wages so don't have the time to build.
And those is a common excuses.
What it really comes down to, in a majority of cases, is that people use lack of time as an excuse. I know my time is very limited due to work and other obligations. That doesn't prevent me from redesigning and building my racing boats or building planes. Hell, I even make time to work on plastic models.
Finances can be a bit more of an issue but, if you want to really do something, you can make it happen. For instance, you want to buy some balsa, eat at home and save a few dollars. Leaving a bottle of wine or other alcoholic beverage in the store will save enough for several pieces of balsa. For the cost of a burger, fries and a drink, I can buy three sub sandwiches in the deli of a local grocery store, covering three meals at work. The same three meals from the cafeteria would cost me over twice as much. These are just a few ways that allow building something on a limited budget. It does, however, require a bit of dedication and the ability to not spend on a whim, something many can't seem to do.

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Old 03-05-2019, 04:02 AM
  #1189  
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I am not very good at it yet...but I am working on it. I went to CAM using fusion 360 and am designing my own kits. I tried to build a hughes H1, molded, had the wing and cowl built, but could not get the whole molding part right, particularly the fillets. There is a thread in here somewhere about it.

That said, I moved to something easy to build and am working on a Porter. Right now I am trying to figure out how to build the flaps using a slot as opposed to a single point hinge. Below is a screenshot of the section I am playing around with. With freeware like fusion and cura. Videos on you tube on how to use them, the only real limit is your imagination. I think my 3D printer was $100 bucks or so. 1Kg of PLA costs 20 bucks.

As an engineer I am beginning to enjoy the challenge of learning a new craft. Perhaps I may even get something made that flys. Lol.

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Old 03-05-2019, 05:58 AM
  #1190  
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Originally Posted by Telemaster Sales UK View Post
...and of course, as Flyer has implied, plans are still readily eavailable and there are several firms today which will provide you with a laser-cut kit from a plan, so we all have the opportunity, thanks to digital technology and the internet, to build that model which would not have been viable for the traditional kit manufacturers to produce. Fancy a Sopwith Snipe or One and a Half Strutter, a Brewster Buffalo or Ilyushin IL2 or even a Hawker Hurricane? Go for it!

You still have to build them though and for so many of the younger generation, this is a non -starter. Having said that, many young people these days work long hours for low wages so don't have the time to build.
Since you brought up the subject, I just purchased a laser cut short kit for the Brian Taylor 69" Spitfire MK 1A. The plans and assories (minus spinner) were purchased from another modeler who never go around to building it. The plans are old enough to have yellowed. This design is owned/distributed by Sarik (Formerly know as Trapet) in the UK. The short kit I purchased worked out to cost with shipping less than the asking price at Sarik. You aid in the cost of shipping between the UK and the USA I saved more than a few shekels. I might add I had the plans scanned and enhanced so I can print a new copy to tear up when building.

Mike
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Old 03-05-2019, 06:31 AM
  #1191  
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
Not so sure I agree with you on this one. I find the internet a great place to add to what I know as well as a place to learn from. Where many go wrong is that they think the internet is a be all end all for knowledge and don't consider how some that post don't have a clue as to what they are talking about. Weeding out the inept and unknowing from those that actually do is a skill most don't have or know they need to successfully use the internet to it's fullest potential

And these two bold areas are what make the dumb dumber and the smart not so much. Too many smart people read things and believe them even though they are false, and the dumb aren't smart enough to do the weeding out. To name a few, anti-vaxxers, gluten free, global warming, etc. There is plenty of information out there, finding the correct and truthful information is the hard part and many people don't spend the time to weed through it all to find the truth. Quite a few hop on the me too bandwagon just to get their like high. It's the new pretty girl club from high school. It also leads to the instant gratification, and why kits are no longer popular, they take too long!

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Old 03-05-2019, 06:35 AM
  #1192  
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I started in this hobby in 1977 when I was 14 years old and my So called instructor talked me into buying a Pilot purple ARF that had a Cox Black widow .049 for power. I also had an Aerosport 2 channel from Hobby Shack. Do you all remember their colored catalog? Wow it was like the model airplane version of the Sears and J.C.Pennys Christmas Catalog. This is the worst way to get into this rc hobby as my instructor who I also worked for that summer turned me over to another guy who had a huge collection of RC airplanes. He had a Kadet and he let me fly it a couple of times. We replaced the Black Widow with a T.D .051 and that made a difference. But the next year I talked my Dad into loaning me some money and I bought a Cox 6 channel radio and Kadet and a OS Max25FSR. After building this airplane and flying it all summer that is when my hobby took off for me.It hard to believe that was 42 years ago. My mentor use to say to me that the best part of this hobby is to watch something you built with your own hands fly straight and level without adding too much trim or something else to make it fly.
Where I live there is a small hobby shop and the guy who owns it runs a laser cutting business. He has made me several kits of different airplanes over the years. He has a huge collection of old RCM's and other magazines down there. He gave me one and it was over 300 pages of companies selling Kits motors etc . I told him there is less than 10 companies listed in that magazine that are still with us today. I found two well stocked hobby shops in the Fort Worth Texas and that is two hour drive for me to get there. I have collected almost ever airplane I have wanted and I am running out of space to store them !
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Old 03-05-2019, 07:24 AM
  #1193  
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All of this reminds me of a argument I had with a young man years ago, who later went on to be an RAF Engineering Officer.

Brief introduction. We both come from the same town, Shrewsbury, in the County of Shropshire, England. This town is only a short distance from the village of Bayston Hill, in fact a very large field seperates both communities. The leading British fighter pilot of the Battle of Britain was Eric Lock who came from Bayston Hill.

The young man was arguing in favour of ARTFs, claiming that you can get them into the air very quickly. I said that if you built your own Spitfire, as an example, you could make sure that it was built properly and choose whatever markings you wanted to finish it off, Eric Lock's markings for instance. When buying an ARTF, most of which seem to be finished in Douglas Bader's markings, you cannot easily check the quality of the construction. He looked at me as if I was daft!

Now of course you can buy an ARTF without pre-attched vinyl and send off to a firm specialising in model markings for any insignia you like.

The last time I saw the young man, he had finished his service with the RAF, had grown his hair and was driving a drop-head Porsche!

So what do I know?
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:08 AM
  #1194  
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Originally Posted by Telemaster Sales UK View Post
The last time I saw the young man, he had finished his service with the RAF, had grown his hair and was driving a drop-head Porsche! So what do I know?
You're not in debt like him.
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:44 AM
  #1195  
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Originally Posted by Telemaster Sales UK View Post
All of this reminds me of a argument I had with a young man years ago, who later went on to be an RAF Engineering Officer.

Brief introduction. We both come from the same town, Shrewsbury, in the County of Shropshire, England. This town is only a short distance from the village of Bayston Hill, in fact a very large field seperates both communities. The leading British fighter pilot of the Battle of Britain was Eric Lock who came from Bayston Hill.

The young man was arguing in favour of ARTFs, claiming that you can get them into the air very quickly. I said that if you built your own Spitfire, as an example, you could make sure that it was built properly and choose whatever markings you wanted to finish it off, Eric Lock's markings for instance. When buying an ARTF, most of which seem to be finished in Douglas Bader's markings, you cannot easily check the quality of the construction. He looked at me as if I was daft!

Now of course you can buy an ARTF without pre-attched vinyl and send off to a firm specialising in model markings for any insignia you like.

The last time I saw the young man, he had finished his service with the RAF, had grown his hair and was driving a drop-head Porsche!

So what do I know?
Hi Telemaster, Getting of the Subject here but are you familiar with Elis Peters, the mystery writer who wrote the Brother Cadfael series and was also featured in the Masterpiece Theater which was broadcast by PBS on our side of the pond. The books where based in Shrewsbury and the TV show was filmed in Hungry. It was one of favorites of the early 90's and I wished she had written more before her Death!
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:46 AM
  #1196  
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Some are being a bit hard on the internet here. The web is a great source of info but as has been said, you have to be smart enough to ignore the junk. If I need a mfgr. data sheet or MSDS on just about anything, where do I go .... to the internet. If I want hard to find or rare parts for just about anything, where do I go ... the internet. Even exploded views, engineering drawings and manuals are widely available on the internet. How about medical ... many journals are available on the internet. I could go on but you get the idea. The internet isn't just a source of dung. As a group of fairly like minded people, we're using the internet using this forum.

Now if you want to criticize something, pick on Face Book! Now there is a cesspool of follow the leaders and dumbed down, cookie cutter questionable information. I had reason to join Face Book recently to access some family matters and a few companies that no longer maintain a website. I was on there just a week and cancelled my membership .... and it was quite difficult to remove myself from their ranks. I felt a bit dirty after the experience. My personal space was invaded more than I care for.

One thing I don't buy about why people no longer build is their lack of money and time. When in the last few decades did people have an excess of money and time? I don't know about you guys but when I was younger, I often worked two jobs to get ahead in this life. From 1981 to early 1988 I worked what amounted to two full time jobs. While I wasn't extremely active in modeling at the time I managed to build a couple of planes each year and flew regularly. I also got a private pilots license and somehow managed to log several hundred hours during the same time period .... often flying at night because that was the time I had free. If a person has an interest, there is always a way to find the time and money to participate. Just an excuse otherwise.
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:55 AM
  #1197  
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Originally Posted by Truckracer View Post
Some are being a bit hard on the internet here. The web is a great source of info but as has been said, you have to be smart enough to ignore the junk. If I need a mfgr. data sheet or MSDS on just about anything, where do I go .... to the internet. If I want hard to find or rare parts for just about anything, where do I go ... the internet. Even exploded views, engineering drawings and manuals are widely available on the internet. How about medical ... many journals are available on the internet. I could go on but you get the idea. The internet isn't just a source of dung. As a group of fairly like minded people, we're using the internet using this forum.

Now if you want to criticize something, pick on Face Book! Now there is a cesspool of follow the leaders and dumbed down, cookie cutter questionable information. I had reason to join Face Book recently to access some family matters and a few companies that no longer maintain a website. I was on there just a week and cancelled my membership .... and it was quite difficult to remove myself from their ranks. I felt a bit dirty after the experience. My personal space was invaded more than I care for.

One thing I don't buy about why people no longer build is their lack of money and time. When in the last few decades did people have an excess of money and time? I don't know about you guys but when I was younger, I often worked two jobs to get ahead in this life. From 1981 to early 1988 I worked what amounted to two full time jobs. While I wasn't extremely active in modeling at the time I managed to build a couple of planes each year and flew regularly. I also got a private pilots license and somehow managed to log several hundred hours during the same time period .... often flying at night because that was the time I had free. If a person has an interest, there is always a way to find the time and money to participate. Just an excuse otherwise.
Well you see, you pretty much nailed the issue. Social Media. The younger crowd who would normally be filling the ranks at the flying fields are now too busy liking and tweeting and spending their time with their nose on a phone instead of actually being social! The Internet has a great source of technical information, but the problem that makes people dumb is the social media side of it, and that does hurt the model industry, youngers would rather spend all their free time texting and posting rather than building, they get no satisfaction from taking a box of wood and making a flying aircraft, can't get enough likes to boost their endorphins. They now live in a fake world instead of the real world.

I tried to get my kids interested, but they would rather be on a computer than physically doing something. We are to blame for this generation of computer fixated youth.
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Old 03-05-2019, 11:24 AM
  #1198  
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That is true about people saying they don't have time to build there own planes . It is easy to just buy a ARF and go flying. It does not take any wheres near the same level of commitment as when a person was forced to learn ALL THE SKILLS needed to build a working, safe flying, reliable airplane from a kit or plans built. That is the TRUE reason people dont "cant build" airplanes. A person has to go buy a bunch of tools , many that you only use for RC related work. Have the space available to do the build , etc. And that is not even talking about a the other problems that men have to deal with from their wives, "What, how much did you spend on that toy airplane" ha ha ha.
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Old 03-05-2019, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by acdii View Post
Well you see, you pretty much nailed the issue. Social Media. The younger crowd who would normally be filling the ranks at the flying fields are now too busy liking and tweeting and spending their time with their nose on a phone instead of actually being social! The Internet has a great source of technical information, but the problem that makes people dumb is the social media side of it, and that does hurt the model industry, youngers would rather spend all their free time texting and posting rather than building, they get no satisfaction from taking a box of wood and making a flying aircraft, can't get enough likes to boost their endorphins. They now live in a fake world instead of the real world.

I tried to get my kids interested, but they would rather be on a computer than physically doing something. We are to blame for this generation of computer fixated youth.
Agree 100% with one addition. Many mature adults (read that 50+) are just as addicted to social media as the young people.

Another story and it relates to building though maybe not models. For the last couple of summers and for at least one more season to go, I have been rebuilding / remodeling and adding on to a family cabin in northern MN. The main part of the cabin was built in 1924 and added onto in 1956. Well back in the woods all previous work was done by hand powered tools as there was no nearby electricity. Though I have modern conveniences and tools today I'm trying to maintain the integrity and spirit of the old construction by using the same types of materials, construction methods, appearances, etc. In short, it remains a cabin and is not a house. These days I've acquired a nearby neighbor, he's in his 50's and is quite well off financially. Overall, he and his family are very nice people. In no way, shape or form can he even start to understand why I would put all that work into an old cabin! In his mind it is just a tear down property then you call a contractor to build a new one. In contrast, I want to preserve the memories and spirit of my pioneering relatives who built the place by their own hands. All of that would be gone if the structure went away.

This represents much of why building model airplanes is so out of favor among some people today. Many people just don't understand that creating something with your own hands imparts a sort of spirit and sole in the finished product that you just don't get otherwise. This is something you just can't buy! Yes I own ARFs but I still build some too though it is considerably more expensive to build something than to buy a similar ARF. I have several older planes I just keep around for their memories. Some are over 40 years old but they are treasures to me because I built them. No ARF will ever create that feeling of accomplishment that one gets from creating something from a pile of wood or parts. In the past most of the manufacturers in our hobby were also modelers who imparted a bit of that same spirit in their products. When we bought an engine, radio or whatever, it came with that pride and spirit that another modeler imparted into it. Many of us knew those people and considered them friends. Even if we didn't know them we often knew their story. When I buy an ARF, radio or engine today I get none of that as I don't know anyone in China.

Until people once again start to appreciate hand crafting and independence and that not all things in life are "social" I doubt we'll see much grown of our hobby. Building isn't a very social activity. Some of my grandkids can't understand what a workshop is. I've even been asked what tools are for and this was from teenagers! I just hope we can maintain what we still have! Sorry for carrying on ...... just too many things make me wonder where we as a society are headed.
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Old 03-05-2019, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by chip_MG View Post
And that is not even talking about a the other problems that men have to deal with from their wives, "What, how much did you spend on that toy airplane" ha ha ha.
Not to mention the Harbor Freight and other tools bought (like a 25 gallon 3.5 HP air compressor, paint guns, etc.) to support the hobby.
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