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JohnNoack

Elimination of the IPMS/USA Make and Take Program

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Before IPMS existed, I was a cub scout. Our den meetings were largely make and take sessions. We never did models, though a few of us were building them, but made various crafty type things to take home to our parents. I didn't really care what we were making, but simply enjoyed working with my hands and tried to do a good job on the project. But, I couldn't help noticing that others viewed the project as a chore. They were going through the motions because they were at the cub scout meeting. I really hope make and take brought in some new modelers. But I wonder how many of those kids were just going through the motions because they were brought to the show.

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I've seen some interesting comments here. All I know is that out here we have a huge number of kids who eagerly attend any Make-n-Take we put on. Nobody I've seen was just 'going through the motions'. at the Fullerton Airport Days, we've had a line of kids numbering 20+ waiting to sit and build while 15 club members coach 30+ other kids through their builds; and that lasts for most of the day. When we've done it at the Buena Park Library, they library required people to sign up for it by the hour and we've always had in excess of 150 kids signed up.... per hour. And yes, several times we've had some of the families attend our meetings afterwards and join up. Most times they don't stay; mostly because of sports or other activities the kids are into. This year, we are hoping to get at least 200 models for the Fullerton Airport Days since we always run out around 1:30-2:00PM on an event that closes at 4:00PM. I myself are hoping to supplement the 'stash' with anything I can buy to help insure we have enough. Ending this will hurt, but we shall do our best to continue.

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I support the IPMS decision on this as well. The return on investment just isn't there.

 

I do find it interesting when I hear fellow boomers (who started modeling as youngsters in the late 50s and 60s) lament that "kids aren't building models anymore".

 

That is just not true. Kids are building models left and right, all over the place. They just aren't building our kind of models!!

 

Have you been in a toy store? Have you seen all the Lego kits? And what they cost!?!?!! Kids are building models of all kinds of subjects. Lego teaches the same sorts of skills-- following directions, learning that wrong placement of earlier sub-assemblies cause later parts not to fit, etc. These kits have "play value", too-- just like we had when we started modeling as kids! Remember Monogram's kits with retracting gear, bomb drops, etc? Or Revell's Battleships and Carriers with flat bottoms for sailing on the floor or in the pond?

 

My son is 27. He's a modeler, of sorts. He got into miniatures gaming at the local comic book/CCG (collectible card game) shop. Now he's into a couple of sci-fi gaming systems, building multi-media resin and plastic vehicles for Warhammer 40K types of games. He airbrushes and weathers his models, and recently built his own spraybooth, All of his gaming buddies are doing similar sorts of things. If not for dear old Dad, he would never have heard of IPMS or been to a show. (None of his friends have!)

 

If we really want to reach out to kids and teens, we should find a way to reach them with things that interest them, not try to get them interested in our subject matter. Reach out to the gaming shops-- welcome the sci-fi modelers and wargamers.

 

If we want more adults to join in and participate in our events, let's be more welcoming to other hobbyists. Model Railroaders. miniature wargamers- they both are researching, building, painting, weathering, etc.

 

Rather than continue the MnT program, maybe we can think a little more out of the (kit) box!

Edited by rcboater
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What Bill Michaels wrote above is something IPMS Orange County will be doing to some degree. We'll be combining our Orangecon model contest with the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society convention; thus exposing both groups to each other and possibly growing both organizations through this collaboration. We've already been supporting a couple of Gundam and Sci-Fi clubs in the area and it has paid off in increased participation in Orangecon and higher model counts on the tables. Yes, we still do Make-n-Takes, but we do them in other events not related to model building; such as at Libraries and air shows/airport open houses instead of model contests. There is an incredible amount of participation at these events where we've given away between 175-250 models that the kids have built and taken. In some cases, we've even had to turn away as many as 20+ kids because we simply ran out of models. These Make-n-Takes have also brought in a slight increase in people who've come to our meetings and as we continue to do these in the same places on a regular basis, our publicity will only increase. Sometimes things have to be done more regularly before people start taking notice more and more and that is starting to happen here. So whatever IPMS USA decides to do, I support it but in the case of those things Bill Michaels mentioned, we are already doing it.

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I read Bill's email with interest. Bill and I are in the same chapter and have had discussions on the subjects of M-n-T, Lego and sci-fi models before, and while we agree on many subjects I have to differ with him on this one. Over the years I have read many emails on this site about reaching out to the younger modelers, and while I do not want to see the organization wither away from a lack of new blood, I have to say that if the only way we can keep the society going is to, in effect, change it's complexion, then what are we, the people who have been supporting this organization for decades gaining? What I am saying is that personally I like the organization as it is, and if we can't grow by maintaining the current mix of modeling, if we were to bring in a whole new generation that were to take us in a very different direction, then I for one would no longer be interested in remaining a member as it would bore me silly. Please don't get me wrong, I am not saying that only what I want counts, I'm not. But I have to believe that I am not alone in my feelings about this matter as evidenced by the number of years that we have been in existence with basically the same paradigm. I feel that the current members are members because this is what we want, what we like, none of us are here because we don't enjoy it! . As for younger modelers, I see many at the NATS, and as far as the future goes what difference does that make if we do not get more? I didn't inherit this hobby from my father, and my son doesn't seem to be following me, so in effect this is my hobby, one that I want to enjoy for as long as I can because it pleases me. I am almost 68 years old, have been modeling since I was 5 years old, and have been a member of IPMS for 36 years; so I was modeling before I ever heard of IPMS and I will continue to model even if IPMS were to disappear tomorrow, but will only continue to be a member as long as it holds interest for me; and if no one it there to replace me in the future, so be it. In essence I would rather be a member of a smaller group of like minded modelers than be part of a large group that I have no interest in.

 

As for M-n-T, let each individual chapter decide if they want to do it or not, but keep the national organization out of it. Here in the NE we have a number of hobby shops that will work with us to provide models at a reasonable price. After all, M-n-T basically benefits the local chapter, and the local hobby shop, so let them handle it on that level.

 

I hope that I have not insulted anyone with my long winded screed, but I really do enjoy IPMS and look forward to the NATS each year, and wanted to express my opinions.

 

John walker

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I read Bill's email with interest. Bill and I are in the same chapter and have had discussions on the subjects of M-n-T, Lego and sci-fi models before, and while we agree on many subjects I have to differ with him on this one. Over the years I have read many emails on this site about reaching out to the younger modelers, and while I do not want to see the organization wither away from a lack of new blood, I have to say that if the only way we can keep the society going is to, in effect, change it's complexion, then what are we, the people who have been supporting this organization for decades gaining? What I am saying is that personally I like the organization as it is, and if we can't grow by maintaining the current mix of modeling, if we were to bring in a whole new generation that were to take us in a very different direction, then I for one would no longer be interested in remaining a member as it would bore me silly.

 

John, I'm not sure how to answer you without trying to answer the "meaning of life", and I'm not up for that this early in the morning...

 

A more practical answer is my chapter, which got an infusion of SciFi modelers a few years ago when it was showing definite signs of withering away. I really think that breathed new life into the club. Now our meetings have more people and more models on the show-n-tell table. One of those new guys helped us get our show into a good location and has taken over cooking the burgers at the club picnic. Its nice having younger backs to help set up tables and schlep vendor boxes at the show (our yearly show is still going strong when some of the neighboring clubs have given up). And it turns out the SciFi guys have a lot of the same interests in things like history and sports cars and action-movies (not to mention beer-and-pizza) that fuel a lot of conversations at club meetings. Some of them even build the occasional airplane or armor piece, and now some of our "old-guard" may build a space-ship from a movie or TV show they like.

 

If you look back, the hobby and IPMS has already changed a lot - just so slowly that you probably haven't noticed. At Columbia it seemed that SciFi and Figures and Dioramas were way up in popularity. I can remember when resin and PE were exotic stuff only the "pros" used, and now its everywhere. Modern kits have more parts and (mostly) better fit making a lot of the "plastic surgery techniques" we learned less essential to building a good model. Like everything else, modeling keeps changing but at its core its still the same as when IPMS sent out its first mimeographed newsletter.

 

We used to think of the SciFi guys in our club as "the young guys", but they are getting a little grayer too. I'm wondering who the next new wave of modelers will be the next time we need a kick in the pants. I hope someone is there to pick up the torch, regardless of what they build.

 

Don

Edited by Schmitz

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I appreciate your point, John, but I don't feel the IPMS will ever become the International Plastic Gundam Society. There will always be an overwhelmingly number people that will continue to build Aircraft, Armor etc... My son and his friend for example are each 14 and "if it ain't WW2 , they're not building it." I on the other hand (at 55) am the one building sci-fi, Ma.K, Left '46 and figures.

 

What I think the point is to let it evolve if it's going to. if a "kid" comes in with a Ma.K, then treat it like a Judge. You don't have to like the subject to appreciate the build. But let him enjoy the experience of a few guys admiring the model on the display table (or wherever it is)

As an example I really don't care for the Car models, would never build one, but I could appreciate the build that there's no glue marks, the 4 wheels are all touching the ground the paint finish is even and/or whatever else that car judges look at. Just my 2¢.

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Kevin and Don both touched on one of the MOST important points about keeping your local club successful and helping it grow: Make any and every "new guy" feel welcome and at home!

 

This is a subject I try to mention in our newsletter at least once every year as a reminder. First and foremost, ANY kind of model building is to be supported by our club. ANY interest in ANY genre has a place at our meetings and on our tables. We all enjoy the same thing; nipping parts off of sprues, assembling and painting them, and (generally) trying to make them look as much like their real or fictionalized counterpart as we can. If the new visitor happens to build something not seen on our tables as often as other stuff, we still need to be sure he or she knows they are appreciated for wanting to be a part of us!

 

But, to balance that, I also remind those people who may build models that most of our members don't build: while you have a right to be respected and appreciated as a fellow member, it doesn't necessarily mean that others will be as interested in YOUR genre as you are. So, don't come to meetings with a false expectation of having everyone fawn over your labor of love. Build to make yourself happy, just as each and every member of our club does.

 

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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I read Bill's email with interest. Bill and I are in the same chapter and have had discussions on the subjects of M-n-T, Lego and sci-fi models before, and while we agree on many subjects I have to differ with him on this one. Over the years I have read many emails on this site about reaching out to the younger modelers, and while I do not want to see the organization wither away from a lack of new blood, I have to say that if the only way we can keep the society going is to, in effect, change it's complexion, then what are we, the people who have been supporting this organization for decades gaining? What I am saying is that personally I like the organization as it is, and if we can't grow by maintaining the current mix of modeling, if we were to bring in a whole new generation that were to take us in a very different direction, then I for one would no longer be interested in remaining a member as it would bore me silly. Please don't get me wrong, I am not saying that only what I want counts, I'm not. But I have to believe that I am not alone in my feelings about this matter as evidenced by the number of years that we have been in existence with basically the same paradigm. I feel that the current members are members because this is what we want, what we like, none of us are here because we don't enjoy it! . As for younger modelers, I see many at the NATS, and as far as the future goes what difference does that make if we do not get more? I didn't inherit this hobby from my father, and my son doesn't seem to be following me, so in effect this is my hobby, one that I want to enjoy for as long as I can because it pleases me.

 

This is why no one wants to join IPMS, it couldn't be explained any better. Yes, the society is meant to please it's members. However, you have to expect change and evolution. Your post is nothing short of selfish. 'What do we gain from the younger modelers?' You gain new blood with talent and drive to keep this aging organization alive. Seems like a big deal to me.

 

I'm 30 now and one of the youngest guys at many shows. I build mostly armor, but I gladly support any model entered in a show. The sci-fi modelers usually have the most imaginative pieces that can inspire us a lot more than a green tank or grey plane. They often push the boundaries of painting more than any other segment as well. The notion of a sci-fi take over is nothing short of paranoia.

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I support the IPMS decision on this as well. The return on investment just isn't there.

 

I do find it interesting when I hear fellow boomers (who started modeling as youngsters in the late 50s and 60s) lament that "kids aren't building models anymore".

 

That is just not true. Kids are building models left and right, all over the place. They just aren't building our kind of models!!

 

Have you been in a toy store? Have you seen all the Lego kits? And what they cost!?!?!! Kids are building models of all kinds of subjects. Lego teaches the same sorts of skills-- following directions, learning that wrong placement of earlier sub-assemblies cause later parts not to fit, etc. These kits have "play value", too-- just like we had when we started modeling as kids! Remember Monogram's kits with retracting gear, bomb drops, etc? Or Revell's Battleships and Carriers with flat bottoms for sailing on the floor or in the pond?

 

My son is 27. He's a modeler, of sorts. He got into miniatures gaming at the local comic book/CCG (collectible card game) shop. Now he's into a couple of sci-fi gaming systems, building multi-media resin and plastic vehicles for Warhammer 40K types of games. He airbrushes and weathers his models, and recently built his own spraybooth, All of his gaming buddies are doing similar sorts of things. If not for dear old Dad, he would never have heard of IPMS or been to a show. (None of his friends have!)

 

If we really want to reach out to kids and teens, we should find a way to reach them with things that interest them, not try to get them interested in our subject matter. Reach out to the gaming shops-- welcome the sci-fi modelers and wargamers.

 

If we want more adults to join in and participate in our events, let's be more welcoming to other hobbyists. Model Railroaders. miniature wargamers- they both are researching, building, painting, weathering, etc.

 

Rather than continue the MnT program, maybe we can think a little more out of the (kit) box!

Alamo Squadron, as well as a few other clubs around the country, use the ABC program. The easiest way to explain what the ABC course is, is to think of it as an MnT for Adults.

It's not a "build night", it is a curriculum-based approach to teach modeling skills to new modelers, and to re-teach those same skills to more experienced modelers who want a refresher course. ABC also can be tied into the club's general membership by involving the members as "coaches" or "instructors". There are many ways in which an ABC can benefit newbies, can benefit the club, and can benefit IPMS.

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John,

 

Thanks for your reply regarding my thoughts on Bill's idea of expanding the society by actively recruiting modelers not generally thought to be "mainstream" IPMS. I guess you are correct that I am selfish when I say that if the society should change it's complexion then I personally would not be interested in remaining a member. That is just the way I feel. So then why my selfish comments? Well, please reread Bill's email where he states, about kids building models, "They just aren't building our kind of models." This is what I was basically responding to. What I had in mind was that the society has been around for 50 years with fairly much the same complexion (IE: generally "our kind of models"), so why would we want to change that? I wasn't trying to say that we shouldn't encourage a modeler of any type who approached us to not join, just that, in my opinion we shouldn't go looking for modelers who weren't building "our kind of models". Although, in fact, I believe that we already have those kinds of modelers in the society, so in a way Bill's statement is not correct.

 

As to "what the society does for me", yes I guess that I am selfish there too. You see it is my feeling that my association with the society is stickily voluntary. I am here because it interests me. This may sound selfish, but only if you think of the society as an end in, and of itself, that is, that the society must continue no matter what, and we must all go along with whatever direction the society goes. Obviously, I don't personally subscribe to this idea. As I stated in my email above to not get me wrong, that it is not just what I want for the society that matters. The society can, and will go in any direction it wants. It is not for me to dictate that direction. All I was saying is that if we should actively recruit members that "aren't building our kind of models" to the extent that it should change the complexion of the society, well then I'd have to rethink my involvement. Now, do I think this will happen? No I do not, in fact, I think there is zero chance of that ever happening. We as a society are very set in our ways. Why? Because we, the current members like it the way it is, if we didn't, the society would have faded out long ago. Will we recruit new blood? I hope so. Will they be "our kind of modelers"? Yes, most of them will be. Why? Because that is what we have been for the last 50 years. In other words, we are what we are because we are what we are. I know, circle logic, but true none the less.

 

So to summarize, I guess my comments could have been clearer, but all I (there's that selfish word again!) was trying to say was what brought and keeps me in this society, and that is simply, what interests me. I'd have to say that we are all here for that same reason, and if that makes me selfish, then guilty as charged, I will not apologize for liking the society as is. However, If others want change, go for it, just don't look for me at the conventions. Is that being selfish? Oh well, I guess that's me, but no offense meant.

 

John

 

BTW, John I loved your seminar at the NATS this year. Terrific.

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John B: I think John W's remarks seemed more harsh than they really were. His explanation above proves that.

 

I fall into the "old guy" group with him, so I understood his position from the start. But, and this is the important part, he didn't reject new members who build differently, he just said he'd be less interested in IPMS IF it tilted towards their interests instead of his. This is actually the SAME problem IPMS has been fighting since day one, but stated from inside the membership instead of outside looking in. He's not being selfish because he's not saying they can't be members. He's saying he'd be less interested in IPMS if they became the majority.

 

The problem has always been getting people who build cars, Sci-Fi, Gundams and others types of models to join us (IPMS); a group of "military modelers". JW simply stated that as a military modeler, if IPMS became "the NNL" (to oversimplify it), he'd rethink being in IPMS. I don't think he's alone. That fact is born out by the VAST numbers of people who won't join IPMS because they're not interested in what WE do. It's two sides of the same coin: modelers like to hang with people who build what they build.

 

As a long time local club officer, I try to balance that in our club (see my last post above). Just this weekend I had to reassure a visiting automotive builder that he was both wanted and welcome when he expressed some reservations about seeing so many tanks and airplanes on the tables. He had a unique and interesting approach to his car builds, so I sincerely hope he'll come back and eventually join us. The point here is we made a conscious effort to welcome him once he did attend; which is what every IPMS club needs to do to ALL model builders regardless of their preferred genre.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Thanks Gil,

 

You expressed my thoughts better than I did. I guess that I should send you my raw emails for editing before I post. :)

 

Some more thoughts:

 

I have been in my local club for 36 years now, and over that time we have had, and still do have, modelers building all sorts of models; AC, armor, real space, ships, SF, railroad, doll furniture, toy soldiers, we even had an artist who once brought in a ceramic sneaker (the left one I believe). You name it we had someone interested in it. While we have never turned anyone away, or treated anyone badly, we weren't successful with all simply because of what I'll call the lack of commonality factor. This factor is not one way, IE the club towards the modeler, it is bidirectional, and it comes about from the different reasons for the modelers building what they build. As an example I've noticed that a modeler using the IPMS philosophy building a car model would in general be as realistic as possible because that is what he is trying to achieve, whereas those modelers I've known in the local car clubs are more interested in the shiny finish, the 2 bbl carb, the flocking on the rugs, etc., it doesn't interest them in the least that there is no steering column in that open engine compartment, nor any spark plug wiring. "Hey, look at that Holly!". It would be like a guy builds a P-51 without a propeller. Another example is the toy soldier guy. When I paint a figure there is shading and highlighting, the face is done proper (with eyes), that which should be flat is flat, and shiny, shiny, and almost nothing has just one color, He on the other hand, paints like this: white pants, check; blue coat, check ; black hat and shoes, check; face and hands coated with a flesh color, check. OK maybe I should put a couple of dots in for the eyes, then gloss coat the whole thing. However, even though we paint different I still enjoy his figures if for no other reason than they are so varied, and he's an interesting character. So, while we all get along at the club, it is sometimes more of a tolerance of each other. By that I mean we all like one another, but don't share the same interests. Over time people will just drift off, especially if they have a specialty club catering to their interest, leaving just us like minded members remaining year after year. I think this is in a great part why IPMS is the way it is and why we do not appeal to all modelers, even though we do have those modelers amongst us. It is not because of anything that we are doing wrong, it is because other clubs are doing it more right in the minds of those modelers. It is as you state Gil, like minded people gathering together. They're on the same wavelength. I don't think that you can, or will change that, and for that matter why would you want to? I think that I would rather be in a club of 10 like minded modelers than a club of 100 doing things that don't interest me. It is those few regulars that have carried my club all these years even though I am the only remaining member from 36 years ago. New blood, we've got it! Also, I think that you have to remember that as modelers we spend about 99% percent of our time alone in our workshop anyway, so how important is the club? I actually see the cadre of my club at the local hobby shops more that I do at the meetings.

 

On the matter of "new blood", younger members, I'm not so sure that there really is an issue there. We had our club contest yesterday and I was one of the older folks there. Now when I go to the NATS, I am amongst the greyhairs, but there are also many younger than me there too. Further, the younger modelers have more reasons for not attending, family obligations, kids back in school, work, lack of disposable income, etc. I attended my first NATS when I was 32, but only because it was in NYC only 4 hrs away and gradma would babysit. Then there was a gap of a decade or so until I could afford the time and expense to go (and then only if I could drive and share a room with a buddy). As I got older I had more disposable income (got a second mechanical engineer's degree leading to a better job) and started to attend more. Now I am retired, the kids are gone, and I have the resources to come and go as I please, so I attend regularly (already have a room for next year). What I am getting at is that back when I joined the organization at 31 I was the new blood, and while I am still here I know some who come and go due to all sorts of reasons, so I really don't see us any different today then back then. It may just seem different now because we did not have a "history" or "track record" to compare to 36 years ago. One other thing that I noticed is that back in my early days I could recognize a great many of the members, but I don't know many of the faces I see at the convention these days at all, so if they are not new, where'd they come from?

 

We'll somewhat long winded, but again not meant to offend, just thinking out loud, so to speak.

 

John

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John,

Why you may not recognize many faces at the conventions these days has a two fold cause. One part is that our conventions are about twice the size they use to be. Just more faces to see. The other is that very many, perhaps even a majority, only go to conventions to which they can drive, like you all those years ago. So, you may not see the same faces in Atlanta as you do in Omaha, etc. I see my old friends, the ones that go to all the conventions no matter where they are held, every year and I usually meet a few new ones from amongst all those unfamiliar faces.

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