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  1. For years, there have been two related themes in the modeling world: Graying and other interests killing it. I can recall reading an article in 1982 saying that the new video game craze was going to be the death knell to scale modeling. At our get togethers, meetings and shows, grand-parents far outnumber grand-children. Many of us got our start in building cars, especially colorful race cars. Corporate greed in the form of licensing fees has all but destroyed that side of car building. There seem to be more re-releases of kits I built 50+ years ago than anything new on the shelves. Add to that, a generation that seems to have not joined the car culture. And many of those who do build cars want every contest to have a gazillion car categories and they avoid events that don't cater to them. The escalating price of decent aircraft and armor and the complexity of these kits aren't a big draw for newcomers. Good figure kits, too, are quite pricey. I'm am not familiar with ship quality and price, but I'm guessing they are similar to the other groups. Again, here, I see rereleases I built in the early 1960's. There may be hope for the hobby. Maybe even a chance at rejuvenation. Gundam. If you've been in a hobby store recently (dumb question here, right?) you seen the brightly colored boxes of frenetic things from Ban Dai. Every store owner in my area sys the same thing. They can't keep them on the shelves and a whole new generation is buying them. These are based on Japanese anime like series and are the big battle bots in the Pacific Rim movies. There are about 1200 kits in the line up ranging from $10 to $260. Most are snap tite and don't require painting. The engineering is outstanding. One sprue may have several colors. All are articulated once built and poseable after assembly. Think GI Joe with more and better joints. I was in my LHS a few weeks ago and a young man was getting a couple hundred dollars of Gundams for his birthday. This year, we introduced a Gundam class and we promoted it at the fall shows. The first time ever, we had 37 entries in the class, fully 10% of our entries. There were young people in the contest room! And they hadn't been dragged their by their parents! Three of our vendors had good selections of these kits including one who had only Gundam kits. They all did very well. So, I'm tossing this out to the local, regional and national powers that be. Open yourselves to this. Promote it as part of your shows. Reach out to a new audience. Maybe, we can get these people to join and help the local and national memberships grow, keep our LHS's solvent and keep the hobby alive longer.
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