Thursday, 21 April 2011

Eduard's MiG-21MF, British Modelling Forums and the Airfix Lynx.

After much preamble on the forums, websites and Facebook, the eagerly anticipated Eduard MiG-21MF has arrived.  I was lucky enough to be given a review copy by Geoff Coughlin for his Scale Modelling Now web based modelling magazine.

The model is built and is ready for paint, the fit has been very good indeed, not quite as perfect as the Tamiya 1:48 Zeros but pretty close.  Obviously I can't say too much or Geoff will get a bit grumpy but here's a taster pic of the work so far.  The first instalment of the article is up already and more will follow on soon as will Andy brown's build, he got the subscriber edition while I got the spare sprue deal.  It's embarrassing to be beaten by a crab at rock, paper, scissors!

As I mentioned in my last blah, the other day I headed over to a fairly well know modelling forum based here in the UK where once again they were having a good old fashioned go at SAM magazine.  Unfortunately my frustration got the better of me and I waded in, quite politely I thought, however things kind of kicked off a bit.  A good hearty discussion was had, this lead me to the conclusion that they won't budge in their views and nor will I.  They don't like SAM and they are entitled to their opinion, I respect that.  I think they are wrong but hey ho.  I got some very complimentary PM's from board members which mean a lot, thanks chaps.  Thanks also to the level headed blokes over there who stated their positive SAM views, including one chap who said (and I paraphrase); "stop reading the editorial in WH Smiths, getting cross then having a moan on the forums.  If you don't like it or are offended then stop reading it!"  Bloody good advice I reckon.

Anyway, that's the last of.................oops, I nearly said Britmodeller's name then.  bugger!  As far as I'm concerned that's the end of that discussion.

I have some moderately bad news, the upcoming Airfix Lynx has been delayed again.  There have been some tooling issues, all this delay actually is welcome, it means that they are determined to release the best model they can.  I have helped the designers with photos, art work (they are releasing my XZ 731 "Evelyn", and hosted them at Yeovilton so I get the occasional bit of insider info which is nice.  They told me they were going to do the Merlin in 1:48 scale at Telford but I was sworn to secrecy, I suppose I could have leaked it  something like the Tamiya P-51 drama on Hyperscale but refrained.  I only told Lord Haig, Lord Haig's wife, her friends, her friend's tennis partners and their pet tortoise Alan!  Not really!

That's all I have for now, next time I'll have finished photos of the MiG, that's if I can ever decide what scheme to do it in!  I'll leave you with a few photos of Evelyn taken on my last deployment.

Model on dudes!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Magazines, what are they for?

Hi everyone.

Every now and then there seems to be some people on certain internet forums who kick off and have a moan about certain magazines and the way the articles are written.  These people complain that all the author did was describe how he achieved a beautifully painted and weathered model but he or she has failed to describe all the inaccuracies of the model or it's pit falls in construction.  The article is just window dressing.

I think these people are missing the point.  A magazine article is not just a review of a kit, it's there to entertain the reader, to show case what is possible with the kit.  It's there to inspire, to make the reader think I can do that or, I can't do that but I'll maybe use some of the techniques and advice in the article and I'll aim to try and get close.  I have even heard some people complaining that a model in a magazine was too good, I've even heard someone complaining that there were models in there, all he wanted was a list of new products!  I don't think that particular business model would be successful!!!

I have a vested interest in this subject as I write for magazines.  I can honestly say in all these years I have never had an editor change my text in any way, fluffing up the article to pander to manufacturers (another accusation I have heard), nor have I ever seen any evidence of this in any magazines I contribute to (I do talk with other contributors and editors) or any that I buy on a whim.

If I have a brand new kit given to me for an article then I will try and write a fair review of it.  If I am doing an older kit which has been around a while I will try and choose a theme for the article, it may be a particular painting technique or working with photo etch or resin.  Something I can focus on as a lot of people will probably be familiar with the kit anyway.  In my articles I try to entertain and inform, not just regurgitate a dry review.  One particular editor of a magazine I contribute to positively encourages this and help and guides contributors to write in a style he wants along these lines.

Magazine editors have a thankless task, they will never please everybody all of the time.  What they do is come up with what they think the readership will enjoy reading in order to sell as many copies as possible each month or better still, subscriptions.  After all they are businesses in a very competitive niche market.

I have my own personal favourite magazines, I have to say there is one particular magazine which many people on a certain British web forum love, I can't stand it.  Average models (some down right shoddy),  poorly photographed printed on bog paper in my opinion yet some people seem to love it.  That just proves my point, horses for courses.

Some people on the same web forum have had a go at a particular editor and his editorials, sometimes it's the same people saying the same things over and over again.  As I said before, horses for courses, they are entitled to their opinion (unless it gets personal of course).  Also, I have heard complaints that a certain editor who also owns an after market company pushes his products in articles and in the product section.  What rubbish!  If a contributor uses a tool or product and he liked the result why not mention it?  Just because it happens to be the editor's company's kit why should that make a difference.  I seem to remember when this certain editor took over, a few of his products made their way into the review section, I also seem to remember he made it quite clear that it was unfair to review the stuff, he was just drawing the readers attention to the product.  Spot on I reckon, why shouldn't he.  He did it in a fair way and has continued to do so, I really think that certain people have it in for him and will use any ammunition they can to get at him because he "changed" the magazine from a format they liked.  What I will say is that if he didn't that particular magazine probably wouldn't be around any more, what it is doing is selling as many, sometimes more, than it's rivals and is expanding rapidly overseas.

This seems like a bit of a rant, I suppose it is a bit really.  The internet is a wonderful resource but one disadvantage is that some people seem to think they can have a pop.  I'm all for free speech but as long as it doesn't get personal.  if you disagree with something by all means publish your opinion as I have done here but do not get personal.  It's easy to hide behind a keyboard.

Phew, enough of the politics and on with the modelling.  Here is my latest, it's the Tamiya Spitfire Mk IX.  Some have said it's the perfect kit, I don't think it is, I don't think that its possible.  What it is, is a very very good kit and is probably the best kit I have ever had the fortune to make.  The trouble is, I have to post this one off as it's a commission build, bummer.  I do that the Mk VIII in the shed though, I can't wait to start that one, I quite fancy an Aussie shark mouth job!