Jan 1, 2012

Where have all the model builders gone?

One of my on-line friends (thanks Paul) sent me this link to convalesce with: Aviation: Where Have the Models Gone? The author attempts to link lost mechanical understanding and skills with the demise of kids' building detailed models. One of the activities I've let slide has been building motorcycle models. For a few years, I bought and built everything Tamyia made two-wheel-ish. I have about a half-dozen really cool models that I plan to get back to this winter.

When I was a kid, I had a huge collection of Revell and Monogram models, from Big Daddy Roth hot rods to WWII and Korean Conflict military planes, trucks, and ships. I don't know what I learned about mechanics from building models, but I did learn about following instructions, detail work, and how to blow stuff up. Every 4th, I would take out the year's model production, load 'em up with M80s and cherry bombs and spread plastic bits all over my parents' backyard. Nothing was spared. I had a tiny basement room in my parents' home. There was no room for anything other than me, a twin bed with a bookshelf headboard, the built-in desk and bureau, and if I wanted to make something new in the next year, I had to clear out the previous year's inventory. Plus I liked blowing stuff up. Still do.


RichardM said...

I think there are still some around but the medium may be different. Instead of the plastic models I built as a kid, the current generation is using Legos. Some simple assemble following directions others create new designs. Some even add robotic features to perform complex tasks. Have you ever seen the Lego creation that solves a Rubix Cube?

But you are right about the lack of model builders. It used to be something that we all did. Not any more.

T.W. Day said...

From what I've read, Legos are in trouble, too. (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/01/business/worldbusiness/01iht-wblego.html?pagewanted=all) The attraction of the mentally and physically lazy virtual world is pretty strong.

Geoff James said...

I built models from when I was about 9 or 10 and have continued on and off for the next 5 decades (my last bike offerings: http://geoffjames.blogspot.com/2010/05/model-motorcycles-never-again.html).

I don't know whether you remember them but in the 60's, I think it was Revell did a limited run of cartoon-type characters driving dragsters and hoy-rods. I think building and painting them gave more pleasure than anything!

Nice post!

T.W. Day said...


I think you're talking about the Big Daddy Roth models? I built and blew up a parking lot full of 'em. Fun stuff.

Geoff James said...

That makes perfect sense because your comment has just brought back a vision of this character with bloodshot eyeballs and I'm pretty sure it was called Big Daddy.

Thanks for the memories!!!