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RLFoster

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Everything posted by RLFoster

  1. Thanks for posting, Phil. I agree with Gil...lots of great looking models. In addition to the phenomenal steel plant, the HMS Campanula British Corvette also appears quite impressive. Thanks again...
  2. RLFoster

    Teaser...T-55

    Here's a photo of my latest build. If you want to see the whole model, as well as my club's group build, you'll need to attend this year's Nationals. I tried to build this... And this is what I got... Until next time...
  3. Amazing what complaining does... I just opened a new IPMS page, clicked on the Armor forum, clicked start new topic, clicked upload image, and the limit is now greatly increased. Thanks, Eric. Although, since I've only uploaded about 8 images - all at 800 x 600 pixels - in the past 2 months, I don't understand anything about an "account quota". Respectfully...
  4. Pete, Yes, the linking of your image to the board does indeed work. However, as Chris first asked, the image "HOSTING" by IPMS seems to have been disabled or discontinued without notifying forum users. When I try to upload any images, the restriction is for no more than 5.42 KB per image. That is just plain impossible...unless you want images that are minute! My profile image is 2.6 KB and it's only 50 x 50 pixels!!! Looks like I won't be posting any more in-progress or completed photos of my builds. It was nice while it lasted.
  5. We will have to agree to disagree, Mark. I do think it's fair to compare older releases to the new ones and I do not believe the changes to the kits warrant the price they are asking. Let's just look at the Panzer IV Ausf D... DML 6265, a 3-in-1 kit, came out in late 2006. I got it in 2007 for $29.95 - expensive for the time, but here's what I got: 1) A turned metal gun barrel, metal tow cable, metal grab handles, and other metal parts (about 20 total) 2) Magic Track individual track links 3) 2 LARGE PE Frets containing something like 40 parts 4) 2 different versions of both fenders - one with holes for those who used the molded tools and one without for those who used PE tool clamps 5) 2 versions of every onboard tool - with and without molded on tool clamps 6) Clear parts for all the periscopes and lenses 7) A detailed turret basket Everything a modeler needed to build an "excellent" Ausf D was in the box! (My opinion) Now, comes the new kit - DML 6736, list price of $75.95, here's what I believe you get (based on what the box art appears to show): 1) Slide molded parts including a 1-piece gun barrel 2) DS Tracks (no individual links) 3) 1 SMALL PE fret (less than 10 parts (if there is more, the box art does not show it) 4) A detailed turret basket 5) NO metal parts (no tow cables, handles, ammo, etc.) For me, this means that before anything gets built, I would need to go out and buy individual track links from somewhere (or acquire them). In my opinion, DS tracks cannot accurately depict "dead" WWII German tracks. Additionally, if I want "accurate" tool clamps, I would need to pick up at least a small aftermarket PE set - unless the art is incomplete and there are more PE parts in the box. Is this a highly accurate, quality model kit of the subject? Yes, it is. Will it produce a good model of the subject? Yes, it will. Is it worth spending up to $75.95 (before taxes, shipping)? For me, the answer is a resounding, NO! It comes down to individual taste and perception of "value". I personally see everything that has been taken out and simply can't reconcile it with the increase in price. Sure you get "redesigned" parts and "new" tooling, but does that mean the new kit will ultimately produce a "better" model? To me, that's the bottom line. Had DML left in the Magic Tracks, the large PE frets, the tool opinions, and everything else, I "might" begin to understand the new price point. As it is, I simply cannot.
  6. Gil, I agree with most of your observations, but I still cannot understand, condone, or support a tripling in prices in only 5 years by DML. Even with 10 year tripling, if Hasagawa had followed this formula with the Phantoms you mentioned, they would have been over $60 by 1995 (conservatively), over $180 by 2005, and would now cost well over $500 each...obviously ridiculous prices, no matter how detailed or accurate the model (again, in my opinion). No, model building will NOT die, but some model companies most certainly will...it has happened before and will happen again. Pricing themselves out of the market is a sure way to accelerate this process.
  7. After receiving the latest Squadron catalog in the mail yesterday, I just had to resurrect this thread... Did anyone else get their catalog and happen to notice, on the first page or two of armor models, the NEW Dragon 1/35 releases? Specifically, did anyone else notice the absolutely ridiculous (my opinion) MSRP prices? $76.00 PER KIT!!! And we're not talking about fancy builds, loaded with extras, or huge subjects...far from it. One kit is just a Panzer III Ausf. M. Another is a Panzer IV Ausf. D. (all of the kits can also be seen on the Squadron website). I happen to have both of those subjects in older DML releases in my stash. They were purchased less than 3 years ago - for LESS THAN $25 each!!! I will continue to maintain that in the case of DML (and several other armor model companies), they are completely pricing themselves out of the marketplace. Sure, a bunch of diehard, older modelers will pick up some of these kits (I will NOT). However, I don't think any new 12 to 16 year old modeler will ever buy these kits...unless they are in a family that's independently wealthy. Just as an FYI, my 1/35 scale "Loki" from DML was purchased 5 years ago and was only $55.00!!! The Leopold Railway Gun in 1/35 was only $100.00!
  8. Another batch of good looking builds, Mark. (Looks like this may the only place for you and I to stay in touch from now on)
  9. Simply outstanding! Love it. Well Done!
  10. Outstanding model and an excellent step-by-step recap. Thanks for posting your build here!
  11. Bob, I've been looking into the same issue (white decals) and have reduced my choices to two options...other than paying someone to actually print white. As someone else mentioned, for solid white decals, you can simply created a box of the same base color as your model and then superimpose the white portion in this box. Then, you print it out on white decal paper, cut as close as possible to the white subject, and place on your model. If matched correctly, the color left around the edged of the decal should blend into your base coat. Another option, but one I cannot vouch for, is a product I found online called Hobbycal Decal Paper. It claims that all non-printed clear areas of the decal film dry white on the model. I was going to buy some and give it a try, but haven't done so yet. Good luck,
  12. Thanks, guys...appreciate it!
  13. Finished as a tank from the 24th "Leaping Horseman" Division on the way to Stalingrad, late summer 1942.
  14. A minor, but important issue. Upon entering the new site, a banner appears across the top informing me that my browser is "out of date". I own a Windows Vista Home Edition computer (this is it) and for those who may not know, this OS is being supported by MS until 2020. The latest possible IE browser that one can run with this OS is IE9...period. Newer versions of IE will not run. So, to say that my browser is out of date is technically not correct. Is it old? Yes, but only about 4 years old and it is the most current version I can run. Is it out of date with the "new" HTML code? Possibly, but since I'm not a programmer, I can't say for sure. Now, please no "IE stinks", "get Chrome", or "get Firefox" replies. I have tried both Chrome and Firefox and do not like either of them. I'll muddle through as best I can on the new site (already have run into a couple minor issues). Respectfully,
  15. While the prospect of health issues definitely played a factor, it was the cost of cigarettes (and the personal decision to quit) that finally got me to kick the habit about 2 years ago. At the time, I had budgeted $250 per month for the habit...ouch! 21 September 2012...the date of my last puff.
  16. Outstanding build...love the weathering!
  17. Love the model and the presentation...Top Notch, Joe!!!
  18. Another point that I failed to adequately mention is that I'm approaching this subject from the point of view of someone in a very specific modeling genre - 1/35 scale (only), pre 1945 (only), military subjects (armor, artillery, softskins, and figures). Perhaps my chosen area of modeling is simply the one where the inflation of prices is occuring at this pace. I don't think kids or even casual newcomers to the hobby are in any way completely shut out in terms of affordable kits. There are literally hundreds of 1/72 scale A/C kits for under $10.00. There are hundreds of car models in all scales for under $15.00. There are even hundreds of 1/72 scale military models for under $15.00. Like I said, even wtih the inflation of prices these kits will never become so expensive that modelers can't afford them. As long as modelers are not tied down to a specific genre or scale, there will more than enough choices available to them. Affordability in general is a very subjective thing. If someone has $400 or $500 in a monthly hobby budget, they are not going to think this thread is even worth the time of day...I know I wouldn't. Those modelers are the same as the guy I saw walk into my local hobby shop and drop nine $100 bills on the counter and carry out the 1/35 Dora Railway Gun the day after it came in. I would have loved to have gotten one of those kits, but I just plain couldn't afford it. While I can afford something like the brand new Roden 1914 British Armored Car, I will NEVER buy one at full MSRP of $73.00 - excellent details or not. I can pick up at least 3 armored cars from other manufacturers with a satisfactory level of detail for the same price. I wish Roden well, but just shake my head. The one other thing mentioned a couple times in this thread is the effect of the "middle men" on pricing...I agree. I also honestly think the days of distributors are numbered. Hobby Shops will survive a bit longer because they can order direct from the manufacturer in the same way customers are starting to order. The hobby shops may have to live with a lower mark up on some models or diversify their product lines to help out (our local HS is big in selling gaming sets and holding tournaments), but they aren't tied to a single profit line like distributors are. There have been some more great points brought up...thanks for all the feedback!
  19. Since my original post, there have been some interesting and well reasoned replies which added valuable information to this discussion. I wanted to post a follow-up to clarify my thoughts. Let me be clear – I believe there will ALWAYS be models, model manufacturers, and hobbyists who build models. Modeling as a hobby is not “dying”. Models have been around since the dawn of man and will likely exist until man disappears from this pale blue marble. Where my primary concern lies, is in the possibility – perhaps probability – that the “Golden Age” of modeling is coming to end very, very quickly. This doesn’t mean I think modeling will end, but it will have to evolve into something which may or may not be as good as the hobby we now enjoy. My assertion is that run-away pricing is leading this evolution and unless business changes are made, I don’t believe it can continue. Please, keep the comments coming…
  20. Over the past five years or more, numerous online postings, magazine articles, or just word-of-mouth comments have foretold the demise of modeling as a hobby. Some of them predict an imminent slide while others envision a slower, more predictable decline. I typically found myself disagreeing with these comments and saw modeling as a hobby holding its own and persevering over the long term. I could not agree with the “Doomsayers” who said the population of older modelers was declining too fast or those who claimed video games would keep new modelers away from the hobby. My view had always been that modeling will prevail and excel regardless of the challenges. However, there is one factor that only got mentioned from time to time and is the one that I now believe will ultimately spell an end to modeling as we know it – economics. Nearly everyone understands the basic principles of economics and has seen the recent increases in modeling costs across the board, but I wonder if everyone truly understands just how great and how fast these increases have been. The speed and degree to which the prices are rising is the primary reason why I am now incredibly worried about the sustainability of model building in its current form. I read online (Dept. of Labor) that median income in the U.S. was somewhere around $53K per year and rising. Great statistics, but we all know “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics”. Anytime I hear about an average, it sets off alarms because a small anomaly at one end or the other (like approximately 4.5% making over $200K per year) can seriously skew the average. Yes, average income is not bad, but the FACT is about 23% of households and 35% of individuals earns less than $25,000 per year before taxes. Now for someone like me who is single with no children, it’s enough to live on, but for a family…I shudder to think about it! Over the past 4 years, the Global Inflation Rate (Statista.com) has averaged approximately 4.3% per year. Modelers from the U.S. might be somewhat surprised by this average because the inflation rate in the United States has averaged a bit less than 1.7%. So, while a $1.00 item has only risen to about $1.07 in the U.S., in the rest of the world, that same $1.00 item would now cost about $1.18. But this doesn’t sound too bad over 4 years, right? If you are like me and live on Retired Military Pay or Social Security (or both), in 4 years your pay has risen by about 7% while the cost of a model kit produced overseas (from an existing mold) has seen a price increase of about 18%. Let’s extrapolate the inflation averages over the next 10 years or so. If the rates were to hold somewhat steady, income in the U.S. would increase by about 18% while the prices for those model kits would increase by over 52%!!! Even if you work at a normal job making either hourly or salaried income, there’s no way in the world you are going to see a 4% pay raise every year, year after year to keep up with this inflation. Speaking plainly, the disparity between income and global inflation with a corresponding rise in model prices is unsustainable in the long run. I have personally tracked the inflation of existing model prices ever since rejoining the hobby about 11 years ago. Most of the model kits that I purchased during the years of 2003 through 2005 have had their prices increased by anywhere from 20% to as much as 70%. If your model purchases are of the lower priced variety – say $20.00 kits – then these increases don’t “seem” quite so bad…$24.00 to $34.00 for what was a $20.00 kit 8 to 10 years ago. However, with higher end kits, the inflation not only looks bad, it actually prices some customers out of the market. The 1/35 scale Tamiya Dragon Wagon that I purchased in 2005 for $99.00 now retails for $167.00…ouch! The problem with pricing becomes even more apparent with new models produced from brand new molds. Let’s look at a new Tamiya offering, a 1/35 scale Toyota Model AB Phaeton. This is a small, Japanese sedan from WWII and in 1/35 scale is of a comparable size to a German Kubelwagen or a French Citroen. The new Tamiya kit has an MSRP of $43.00 while the older Tamiya Kubelwagen kits have an MSRP of only $20.00. Between these two releases was the Tamiya Citroen Staff Car and it has an MSRP of $30.00. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the evolution of pricing over time (about 5 year increments) on these three kits, with similar size, similar level of detail, and all from the same company. While the economy of the U.S. and even most of the world may be improving overall, there is a large difference between the rising costs to produce models and the rise in the incomes of those of us who build models. Once again, in my opinion, this difference cannot continue without adverse consequences. Speaking only for myself, I have very little to worry about. At 52 years of age and with over 300 model kits on-hand, I have more than enough “hobby” to keep me happy for the rest of my life. However, for those modelers who are just being born or perhaps have just discovered the hobby in their teens or early twenties, I now have serious apprehension about their ability to enjoy the hobby the way we have for the past 40 years or more. I honestly think that unless there is some significant change in the current climate, model companies may very well price themselves right out of business in the next 10 to 20 years. I hope I’m wrong… Your comments or observations on this issue are greatly encouraged.
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