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Everything posted by BrianL

  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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. 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?"
  10. There are a number of ways to do this, but: 1. The whole point of the system is that models are judged against an objective criteria instead of each other. This means that you can give out any number of any colour of medals per category (and yes, zero is a number). If you have four amazing gold-tier models in a category, you can give out four gold medals. 2. Since models aren't competing against each other and you can have multiple medals per category, you don't need as many categories in order to have like competing against like and a reasonable number of models per category. You could simply have a few categories, such as aircraft, armour, automotive, figures, etc. 3. One thing to consider is whether you want to judge every single model or a modeller's work within a category as a whole. By this, I mean if I enter eight models in a category, should I get one gold, five silvers, and two bronzes, or should I just get a single gold to represent my best work? There are pros and cons to each; the second way of doing both cuts down on award expenses and doesn't drag on the award ceremony, but it means that entrants have to put all their models within a category next to each other in a little group so you can tell at a glance which models all belong to the same person.
  11. For Badger airbrushes, I always pick up the high roller trigger. It drops straight in to replace the regular trigger, and is taller and more ergonomic. Because it is taller, it gives you more leverage, which helps make the pull smoother and gives you better fine control over the needle.
  12. Regarding accuracy and reference material, since we are explicitly not judging based on accuracy, then while it can be interesting, the only time that extensive documentation of historical material would really matter would be if you are intentionally trying to do something that is accurate but which could be mistaken for poor craftsmanship such as markings that were hastily applied in the field, surface detail that happens to resemble mold lines, etc. Rather, I think it is more important to include details of the build on the entry form. As both a judge and an passer-by, I find details info such as which parts were scratchbuilt or modified, how you achieved certain effects, etc. to be more informative and interesting than proof that this specific tank with this specific serial number had this specific marking on this specific date. Also, "showing your work" helps with judging scope of effort. This then brings up the question of, if we are not judging for accuracy, does it really matter whether something is a "what if" or not? And do we really need to have separate categories for this sort of thing? If I did a Mig 29 in the colours of the air force of Tannu Tuva, would it make more sense for it to be compared to other modern jets of the same scale, or to a biplane in the colours of a fictional country from Tintin? Of course, this, and the issue of skill level that was raised, could be both addressed by going to GSB, but that's a whole other topic.
  13. I think on an individual basis, the best you can do is point towards the official judging handbook, which emphasizes that it's about craftsmanship, not accuracy, and then encourage them to volunteer to judge and get some insight as to how the proverbial sausage is made. However, in a larger sense, I suspect that it is easy for people to get this mistaken impression. Sometimes, the way individuals and clubs conduct themselves, both in person an online, can give the impression that they are a bunch of obsessive, miserable people who argue over the correct number of rivets on the glacis plate of the mid-war model and take this hobby way too seriously, or that you need to be at a certain skill level to be welcomed and appreciated, or that people who build mostly less traditional subjects like fantasy figures and gundams aren't welcome. While that hasn't been my experience, I do think there is a negative stereotype about IPMS and modelling clubs in general that it would be nice if it could be corrected. Personally, I try to do my part to explain things to gundam guys and the like. Also, Dak has a good point about style. Different sub-genres have adopted different styles, and often different judging systems at their own shows. Some of this can result in misconceptions or frustration where what does well at one show doesn't do well at others and people aren't sure why. For example, I know that my style is very different from what is common at gundam competitions, so how I place can be a bit of a crapshoot.
  14. I have not used it personally. To be honest, I have sort of avoided it because I've seen a lot of negative reviews online. The main complaint I've seen is that it shrinks a lot as it dries so it only works on very small gaps. My understanding is that Vallejo Plastic Putty is basically what Liquid Green Stuff should be, so I've stuck to that. I'm also not sure how well it sands; it may be one of these things that is better for organic shapes and adding grimy texture than it is for filling gaps on vehicles.
  15. Consider this -- in spite of all the talk of the hobby dying, the best-performing company on the London Stock Exchange in recent years is a plastic model company. No, it's not Airfix, it's Games Workshop. While I haven't dug too deep into this, and not all these companies are publicly traded and have their financials easily accessible online, I would bet good money that the two largest plastic model companies in the world by sales over the past year are not Tamiya and Airfix, but Bandai and GW. Food for thought; take it how you will.
  16. I think you may have misinterpreted me. The point was, turning the output from a 3D printer into a finished model requires the same skill and level of craftsmanship as turning a box full of sprues into a finished model. Possibly even more given some of the unique challenges with working with 3D printer materials.
  17. Regarding 3D printing, my general feeling is that for most of us, the technology isn’t quite there yet. It can be useful for things like wargaming terrain, but you need a really expensive printer to produce parts with the quality required for display models. Printing to a high resolution takes a lot of machine time on a really expensive machine, and is commensurately cost-prohibitive for everything but printing small parts for conversions or making a master from which you can make a mold and cast a bunch of parts I resin. Maybe in a few years it will take off, but I do think the technology can be a little overhyped (such as the controversy in the news over the ability to print a terrible gun that is as likely to blow up in your face as it is to be effective for nefarious purposes) and I see no reason to jump on board the hype train and be an early adopter of such an expensive technology. Regarding the question of whether 3D printing is really modelling or not, it seems as though there are some misconceptions here that it’s as simple as doing some work on a computer and telling a machine to make a model for you. There is a guy in our local club who is working on a big 3D printing project, and it’s not like he’s just sitting on the computer until he has a 3D rendering of a motorcycle, hitting print, and taking a sip of his coffee as a perfect model comes out the other end. He has to make parts in the program, figure out how to design them so they go together, assemble them, make sure parts are strong enough to support the weight of the model (sometimes reinforcing joints with brass rod and the like), iterate on his design if it isn’t working (such as finding out the hard way that the spokes on the wheels in proper scale are too thin to support the weight of the rest of the model once it all goes together), sand off nubs from the scaffolding structures that support the model as it is being printed, and so on. Basically, if you have access to a really expensive printer, some expensive software, and you know how to do it, you can make a pile of pretty good parts. Turning that pile of parts into an actual model still requires all the same skills as building a kit. You’re effectively just making your own kit. And, even if 3D printers could produce a perfectly accurate model in one piece with no need for assembly, sanding, filling, etc., you still need to finish it with paint, decals, etc. – no different than when I enter a one-piece or two-piece resin bust that required minimal cleanup and assembly into the figures category. I would not feel as though it would be unfair if one of his 3D printed models was next to one of mine from a commercial kit in a competition, or that what he is doing isn’t that different than what the rest of us are doing. If anything, he’s displaying a greater level of craftsmanship and skill because he’s pretty much designing his own kit from scratch then building and finishing it, and working with materials that may not be as easy to work with as injection-molded polystyrene.
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