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BrianL last won the day on January 5 2020

BrianL had the most liked content!


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    Ontario, Canada

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  1. While you have a point that the crude calculations of case fatality rate by simply dividing the body count by the number of people who have tested positive likely overstates the case fatality rate, some of your assumptions here are wildly out of step with reality. The reason why we didn't have 56 million cases of COVID-19 in the USA is because when we saw how bad this was going to be, we took massive efforts to limit the spread, shutting things down, avoiding close contact, and wearing masks. Had we done nothing and gone about our business as we do every year during flu season, then yes, we might have seen 56 million people (or even more, considering COVID-19 is brand new, meaning no one has immunity and there is no flu shot for it) catch COVID-19 and we would be looking at a body count in the millions instead of "only" 125,000 and counting. For example, here's a peer reviewed article that suggests that while these crude calculations may be overstating the case fatality rate, it isn't by that huge of an amount and the true case fatality rate is likely a little under 2% in Canada and the USA: https://www.cmaj.ca/content/192/25/E666 When we are talking about body counts, 2% is a lot. 2% of 56 million is over a million. Or, to put it in different terms, imagine what a tragedy it would be if at the Nats, someone came in with a gun and shot one out of every 50 attendees in the face. In fact, an outbreak at the Nats might be even worse than that, considering both the fact that model show attendees would likely have a higher fatality rate than the general population, plus the potential for people to catch COVID-19 at the Nats and then spread it in their communities after the show, causing the death of people who haven't even heard of the IPMS. Maybe we will get lucky and there won't be an outbreak and everything will be fine, but remember, this is what's at stake. Which is why people, including those who have decided to take a pass this year, have some very strong opinions on the subject. Be smart, stay safe, build models.
  2. Nice work. I was doing some Kondo-ing, and just yesterday I gave away a gundam kit to a club member who was looking for something to work on with his grandkids that would help keep them engaged, particularly one of the little ones who is very attached to screens. I'm expecting a report-back at next month's meeting. I think one of the great things about gunpla is that you can really go in any direction with them, especially on the finish. You could make them look clean or weathered, or do some fancy automotive colour-shifting candy coat. You're really only limited by your own imagination. I agree with your final point, I just think we need to be careful with how we approach this and discuss it -- while I think people should be willing to try new things, it shouldn't be about trying to convert people to build what we build, rather, we should strive for the same mutual acceptance that airplane and armour and ship guys have with each other with gundams. Ideally, it should be "I like planes, you like robots, he likes tanks, and the the fact that we have a 109 next to a Panzer next to a space robot on the club display table is cool. Let's have beers and talk shop."
  3. Perhaps you need to look closer then. Bandai sells millions of gundam kits every year, and judging by the average age at the local gundam group, at least half of those go to people under 30. I've seen estimates that they are the biggest model company in the world, possibly even bigger than all the traditional names combined. Young people just aren't as interested in a lot of the "bread and butter" subjects that hobby stores have been peddling, because they have a much stronger connection to subjects from pop culture that is actually relevant to them (like Gundam, Star Wars, Warhammer, etc) than cars that were made 40 years before they were born, or tanks from wars that ended before their grandparents were even born. The guy who won Best In Show at our local contest two years running is probably under 30. I think what actually turns young people off from the hobby is the dismissive attitudes they see on forums and social media -- why would a young person want to join a club when the club forum has people stereotyping and complaining about their generation?
  4. I don't think the Red Baron went beyond the norms of what is expected in war and what is expected of a fighter pilot, unlike, say, a Nazi soldier rounding up children to be sent to a death camp. For me, I think discussions like these are fraught with pitfalls, and I think it is important to distinguish between my own personal rules for myself, what I think contests rules should be, and what in an ideal world I think people should adopt. This is also a difficult discussion as we are in a difficult time given real world politics as over the past few years, there has been a lot of high profile neo-nazi activity and terror attacks. It's hard to discuss these sort of issues when politeness demands you don't discuss politics at the dinner table or in the scale model group. Personally, I don't do Nazi stuff, unless it is portraying a rejection of the regime such as a captured aircraft in Allied or Republican service, or a Nazi flag being run over by an Allied tank. I don't like Nazis and don't want to in any way glorify them. Certain other historical figures are also a no-no, like, say, King Leopold. There is also some anime stuff that I stay away from because some of it can get a little creepy; schoolgirls and the like. Also, I'm not really into really exploitative nude figures, though I do have one topless weird squid mermaid figure in the stash. I also don't like combat scenes that are to "real" in terms of blood, gore, etc, or are really intense combat scenes with people getting shot, preferring the sort of "slice of life" stuff like some soldiers not under fire, pausing to check their maps and maybe grab a quick bite. The exception is in fantasy stuff where it is so over the top that it doesn't have the same effect as real-life gore -- an orc getting cut in half by the chainsaw-bayonet of a dude in powered armour is just so ridiculous that it doesn't have the same impact as a bunch of young guys getting mowed down by a machine gun. Those are my rules about what I want to work on and what I want to stare at in my display case. As for contests, I think we have to have rules to keep things family-friendly. These are public events where we want people to bring kids to to get them interested, not to mention that you need to respect the venue if they are uncomfortable with certain subjects. No nudes and some basic rules for keeping things in good taste, and of course if you are in a country like Germany where there are legal restrictions, you have to follow all relevant laws. Seems like a no-brainer to me, though there might be some grey areas here and there, but I think it is good to keep things a little vague and trust the judgement of the show organizers and head judge, just because there will always be instances where people think of new ways to push the envelope that the organizers didn't anticipate. Finally, in general, I think this is a hobby where a little more introspection on controversial subjects might be nice. There is the (silly, IMHO) debate over whether what we do is art, but if we want to claim to be artists, then we need to ask ourselves questions like why are we making a piece of art, what emotions do we want to convey, what story do we want to tell, etc, and those questions have to go a little deeper than "this is like a Bf.109 but smaller." I'm not saying that you shouldn't build German armour, but I feel like sometimes, attitudes towards Nazi stuff borders on an obsession that can be a little creepy. Occasionally, discussions go into some light Nazi apologia -- proclaiming the superiority of Nazi soldiers and equipment, whitewashing the crimes of the Wehrmacht, blaming everything on Versailles, pushing a false equivalence between the Nazis and Allied soldiers, etc. And there have been a couple times where I've seen people online start out saying "just because I build German armour doesn't mean I'm a Nazi" and then trail off into a bunch of racist or homophobic stuff, apparently not realizing that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... To be honest, as much as people complain about not having historically accurate decals, I think the Germans (outside of a resurgence in far-right ideas in some areas in recent years that needs to be kept in check) have the right idea -- take "Never Again" seriously by restricting the display and glorification of Nazi symbols, while at the same time making Holocaust education mandatory in schools. It's the same reason why I don't do Nazi stuff -- I don't avoid Nazi subjects because I want to forget the Holocaust; I don't build Nazi stuff precisely because I remember.
  5. Funnily enough, sometimes I feel worse when I win because I feel bad when that means other people lose. As for your second line... that's basically what I think is the biggest challenge and the fundamental question behind judging at any show. Finding a way to have the incentive of competition to encourage people to finish stuff and bring it out, but balancing that with the downsides that can come from being too focused on competition like drama, hard feelings, etc. That's what I think discussions should start with, because anything beyond that is just details.
  6. My first thought is that it should be considered that if a narrow victory for GSB isn't enough of a mandate to change, a narrow loss for 123 should also not be seen as enough of a mandate to completely shelve GSB and stick to 123 for the foreseeable future. 51% may not be a strong mandate, but neither is 49%. Honestly, I think Gil is correct. Following a lot of the commentary on here and on facebook, I think a lot** of the objections are based on not much more than assumptions -- for example, people assuming that GSB has to be done the way AMPS does it and is therefore too much work, or assuming that is too expensive, and therefore can't be done. Correcting these assumptions is difficult to do through online discussions because people rarely change their minds because someone on the internet made a good point. It would take firsthand experience with GSB to change those assumptions. **Not all, there are some that just prefer 123 or highly value direct competition. I personally disagree with that, but I feel like "I prefer 123 because X" is a more valid argument than "GSB can't be done because Y" where Y is an assumption that may or may not be based on reality. Personally, I think while this may be a good idea, I don't think it goes far enough to really address my fundamental concerns with 123 and how this style of competition ends up contributing to unhealthy attitudes towards the hobby. And to play devil's advocate, the people who like 123 because they dislike what they term "participation trophies" and need there to be losers so they feel good about winning probably won't like this either.
  7. Actually, while I haven't checked the math on the specific numbers, the purely statistical perspective rests on the assumption that the sample is randomly selected in a way that is representative of the population being sampled. Since those who voted self-selected rather than being randomly sampled and called up like in a poll, the idea of a "margin of error" doesn't really make statistical sense. Since people self-selected, I suppose it is theoretically possible that there is a silent majority that did not vote but lean one way or another. Further, there are a number of people who may have an interest in the question but are not eligible to vote, such as IPMS Canada members that regularly attend the nationals, that given the tightness of the results could have swung things one way or another if they were asked their preference. While one could argue that the razor-thin victory doesn't show a clear preference for either system, if the general attitude emanating from people in charge is one of "we hear what people have said and we don't care, lets shelf this whole GSB idea because we're never going to change it," that's not a good look either.
  8. I did see one or two aircraft in the markings of some Tintin fictional countries at a recent local show. Can't say I remember which show it was, which countries, or who the builder was.
  9. Good craftsmanship is separate from accuracy - or at least, most people tend to see it that way. If I have an extra antenna on a plane that that specific sub-variant of the real thing didn't have, that's an accuracy issue. If next to that antenna I have a big blob of glue on the canopy, that's a craftsmanship issue. Besides, if what we consider to be good craftsmanship is based on accuracy, then that would preclude any judging of a lot of sci-fi and fantasy subjects as you can't say that "well, that's inaccurate because the real thing didn't have seam lines, glue blobs, nub marks, and messed up paint" because there is no real thing to compare it to. The reason this concept is tricky for most people is because you are using a definition of "accuracy" that is not the same as the generally accepted definition, and which is conflating together what most people consider to be two separate concepts -- accuracy and craftsmanship.
  10. I'm not saying that a seam line is accurate, but that issues like that should fall under the category of craftsmanship issues as they represent an problem with the application of skill in the construction, not with research into the specific shape, colour, etc. of the subject. That's where we get into the semantic issue. Everyone agrees that seam lines are bad; it's just that most people file them under craftsmanship issues, because most people don't share your idiosyncratic definition of "accuracy" as it pertains to our hobby. As for the bright pink 109... I may be in the minority, but I would say that if is the best aircraft on the table, then it deserves the award, and I would personally congratulate the builder for his or her creativity. As an aside, I am currently working on a P40 that I plan to paint bright pink. I'm sure everyone knows that P40s weren't painted bright pink and that I should get dinged hard at first glance and not even make the first cut for doing such a grossly inaccurate representation of the subject, no matter how skillfully I execute it. But what if I were to show you a picture of Suzanne Parish's mount which inspired it?
  11. I think this argument over "accuracy" is coming down to semantics, and the issue that keeps coming up is that Dak's definition of "accuracy" that considers things like seam lines and glue blobs to be accuracy issues is one that isn't really shared by anyone else. Personally, I would put things into three categories. 1. Craftsmanship: This is stuff like seam lines, alignment, brush strokes in the paint, glue blobs on the canopy, etc. 2. Composition: Stuff like vehicles on soft ground with no tracks to how they got there, how the various elements go together in such a way that they tell a story and make sense. This is primarily a factor in dioramas, but also can be an issue in figures where you are painting highlights and shadows and need to have a consistent light source. 3. Accuracy: Does it represent something that his historically accurate -- are the markings a historically accurate representation of a specific vehicle, is it the right shade of paint, does it have the right number of rivets, etc. This is something that we really can't and probably shouldn't judge for a litany of reasons, including the vast subject matter expertise needed to prove someone right or wrong on every possible individual marking or detail on every possible variant of every possible vehicle.
  12. I just went to the Sword and Brush figure show in Toronto this past weekend. While judging is a little different in that they use the open system, they still do have "best of" categories which are directly competitive. Regardless, all the names were plainly visible and everyone knew what everyone else entered and the sky didn't fall. I suspect this tradition does more for the perception of objectivity rather than objectivity itself. As Dak points out, a lot of the time, especially at local shows, judges have a good idea who entered what anyways, and are pretty objective regardless. I don't think it does much for actual objectivity; it's just a little piece of theatre to make the entrants feel better. Finally... Dak makes a good point in that there are benefits to having names public. In the world of social media, if someone made a piece you like, you can look that person up and talk to them about it, maybe make a new friend (which is way more valuable than a plaque or a deal in the vendor hall), or ask them for advice. I once had someone try to look me up after a show because he liked one of my pieces, but since my name wasn't visible, there was a lot of "hey, does anyone know who made this?"
  13. Personally, my preference for GSB isn't based on a lack of confidence in my abilities or any other personal failing (of which I have many!). While I do occasionally have that self-hating artist streak, I will gladly enter into both 123 and GSB local and regional contests. And, not to brag too much, I do have a decent collection of hardware from both, so I would say that I can at least hold my own in my area of expertise. For me, the crux of the matter is that I believe GSB promotes and encourages a much healthier attitude towards competition and towards the hobby in general than 123.
  14. That is fair. Personally, I don't like the skill level format because I end up agonizing over what skill level I am at. I end up being not sure if I'm ready to swim with the sharks, but also don't want to just be a big fish in a little pond forever. It can be especially tricky for these talented first time contest entrants to know what category is most appropriate for them in advance. I think that question is a little moot in the world of GSB though as it is more focused on self-improvement and objective standards than going head to head with people -- those who are at lower skill levels can simply manage their expectations and shoot for Bronze one year then once they achieve that, shoot for Silver the next and so on. Regarding percentage of winners... that is a good point, and to be honest, I think this is a bit of a fundamental issue with the 123 system. A lot of the time, it feels we say we want a 123 system because we want to have that hardcore competition and don't want to just give out participation trophies. But then when it comes time to actually name a small number of winners and a large number of losers, it feels like we balk at that and end up splitting categories down finer and finer so that more people have a shot at taking home a trophy. I mean, I've seen people push for splits mainly because they feel there are too many models in a particular category and they need a split so more people have a chance (not to mention drama over accusations of judges splitting categories to give more awards to their friends, or people wanting a split so they can take home a little trophy). To illustrate a point, Richard posted above that he likes the 123 system because he sees the IPMS nationals as like the Olympics of our hobby. However, if want to have that level of hardcore Olympic-style competitiveness... well, the Olympics doesn't go "geeze, there are a lot of entrants in the 100 metre dash this year. Let's do a split between runners who are wearing Nikes and Reeboks so we can keep a reasonable ratio of entrants to winners and give out more gold medals" Basically, with all the splits and ever more granular categories, it feels like we have started out with a system that is competitive and not about participation trophies or everyone winning, but then watered it down once people realized that no participation trophies means that often they are going home empty-handed.
  15. tl;dr on my post above: I think instead of trying to prove that anything other the way we currently do it is impossible because of small details, we can have a much better and more informative discussion by starting with the assumption that both GSB and 123 are possible and doable. With that assumption in place (for the moment, at least), now let's talk about which one we prefer and why. Do we like the good old-fashioned American-style competition with each other, or do we want a focus on self-improvement against objective standards over direct competition? Do we like a system where everyone can win if they work hard enough, or is that too much of a namby-pamby participation trophy thing? These are the important questions that need to be discussed before we start going into the weeds on details.
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