Death of DIY aeromodelling

Death of DIY aeromodelling

Postby walrus » Wed May 21, 2014 8:51 pm

Death of DIY aeromodelling?????

I am increasingly concerned about the decline of model building in favour of ARF.
Why has this occurred?
1) Instant gratification. After all why sweat over building a model when you can simply open a box and there it is......a model ready to fly and looking pretty with no effort at all.
2) Time available to build when living a rather busy life.
3) Risk aversion....why sweat time when the model could be wrecked in an unforeseen prang.
4) Price differential ARF vs build yourself....about 1/4-1/3 ARF vs build.
5) And this is the theme of my missive.......poorly served by the wholesale and retail sector when it comes to buying materials at a reasonable price.
I shall expand.
I have had great difficulty in obtaining supplies of balsa wood of the right dimensions, right quality and reasonable price.
I have contacted a number of model shops only to be told that there are problems of low turnover, hence limited or no stock carried or problems with agency agreements for representing certain brands of wood.
I took matters into my own hands and did some internet searching about where to get balsa wood at a reasonable price and assured quality.
I won't go into intimate details of what I found but I will simply say this.
I found a source of supply and put in an order for a comprehensive selection of sheet and strip wood.
The cost of this was exactly cross referenced to the latest price list of wood of the same dimensions from a New Zealand supplier.
What I ordered came to $352NZ including shipping and if I bought that exact amount of wood here it would have cost me $678NZ.
I recognize that there are margins to be made as wood goes down the supply chain from wholesaler to retailer but what I say is...............GIVE US A FAIR GO. If you don't want to deter people from building and end up damaging your industry and driving people like me to do buying from overseas, think about what I have said.
Let's have some ROBUST feedback about what I have written about.
I welcome criticism both +ve and -ve
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Re: Death of DIY aeromodelling

Postby jonathanshorer » Thu May 22, 2014 9:33 am

I think that what you are seeing is not Death, it is Change. New materials and the internet have transformed many aspects of the hobby but I'd say that your assessment is off the mark. In the past few years, the UK model magazines that I subscribe to have often discussed this topic. The two major publishers have bought laser cutting machines to supplement the their plans services and have both had to buy additional machines to keep up with demand. Generally, they are selling part kits with all of the complex parts cut out and leaving the buyer to source the flat wood and strip. The kit doesn't come in a fancy box with great artwork on the outside but they do build well and fly well. If they were selling poor product, their letters columns and forums would soon spread the word.

I too have bought balsa wood in bulk from the excellent Balsa Cabin in UK and knew that I was getting top quality wood at the grades and cuts that I wanted. Something that I could not achieve from retail outlets here for the reasons that Bruce describes. I've seen several members of the club I go to progress from ARF to designing and scratch building their own planes. Other modellers take home crashed ARFs and build new parts to replace un-mendable lightweight structures.

The hobby is changing too. Bruce talks accurately about the investment of time in creating a built up model and this was naturally fostered in a supportive club environment. Today, a newcomer can buy a plane in a box and have it flying well the same day assisted by electronic stabilisation. These guys don't need a club to prevent early disaster but someway down the line may find that the location and the company making joining a club worthwhile. The membership numbers of MFNZ are not growing at precisely the same rate as the growth in ARF aircraft but they are growing quite strongly and almost all clubs report membership growth. This is not the case with many other hobbies.

MFNZ works with the CAA and local Authorities to provide a safe structure in which people can enjoy model aircraft flying be they members, lone flyers or informal groups.

I don't think that the hobby has ever been healthier. The choice of materials, equipment and types of planes is vast. Models are flying that can't be replicated in full size aviation and doing things that pilots could only dream of. When is the last time you saw a full size Extra doing a tail dip in a lake or the Rescue helicopter flying inverted? It is an exciting time to be involved and the changes are a sign of health rather than illness.
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Re: Death of DIY aeromodelling

Postby aurora 60 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:34 pm

Common topic and I hear a lot of people saying that it is lack of time because we're so busy now days. Or because people want instant gratification. I dont see it that way.
The hobby of fly miniture airplanes has grown rapidly. This hobby started from a completely different hobby of building miniture planes or models. I dont call an ARF a model just as a Tonka truck isnt a model relative to a truck built from a Monogram kit. They all serve a purpose, but the hobby of modeling anything is just that. Modeling. It serves a need for people who want the gratification of building something and then have it perform a task. The ARF bring in people that want to play with something without the hassle of engineering or laboring over it. Pretty much, playing with a toy. Where modelers like to build their toys as much, if not more than playing with them.
Modelers, or builders, have always been low in numbers compared to other past times. But their still out there. They're just being shadowed by the many flyers out there.

just my two cents..
aurora 60
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