June 29, 2001A LIGHTER SHADE OF PALE...
The last couple of columns have been rather gloomy, so thought I'd try to lighten up the party some this week! :)
Received the latest issue of Amazing Figure Modelers magazine last week and was wondering how the rest of you feel towards 'theme' issues? Pro and Con?
Of the modeling magazines I've subscribed to, or read on a regular basis, can only recall two that have done this in the past periodically. The aforementioned AFM and the 'Science Fiction & Fantasy International magazine.
On the Pro side, if the theme they've chosen is one that interests you, then it's great. I remember there was a lengthy Batman - Dare 2 Compare theme that ran in one of the earlier AFM's, written by Richard Hillard that I thought was fantastically well written and laid out.
It afforded a modeler with ample opportunity to discover many of the kits done on this character, and better yet to point out some we might not have been aware of! The recent Vampire issue achieves the same thing, although many of the kits in this issue are more current.
On the Con side, you run the danger of alienating a percentage of your readership if they're not interested in that particular theme. The occurrence of Theme issues isn't that often in regards to AFM, but seemed to be more the norm for SF&FI and I think over time hurt the magazine sales for those folks. Especially if you purchased their mags off a newsstand and while browsing the mag, determined the subject matter wasn't your cup of tea and put it back on the shelf.
Personally I enjoyed this issue, even though I'm not that big a Vampire fan (except for Vampirella, of course). But for theme issues overall, I'll just say the editor's should try to keep them to a minimum. It's too hit or miss. Much rather have an issue with a variety of kits inside the covers, then I know I'll probably find something in there that interests me.
Keeping with magazines, how or what do you look for in the write up of kit articles?
Do you enjoy the articles that feature model kits presently in your possession and use them as a guideline in tackling the kit yourself? Do you like the emphasis to be on the building portion more than the painting steps? And a question that I heard raised at one of the shows recently was, how many of the articles in any given issue do you actually read?
I myself, when a new issue arrives, first skim through it quickly just to see what's covered. Then I'll either place it in my bedroom for night time reading (or close to the bathroom if the needs arises) for more serious reading. I'll always read the editorial and the letter columns first thing. The snap reviews are a combination of skimming if the kit doesn't appeal to me, and reading those that look cool or are new kits that I haven't heard of yet so I can start hunting them down on the web for inclusion on my 'New Release' page.
Once I'm done with that, the rest of the issue is pretty much hit or miss. I'll page through the mag each time I pick it up again, and depending on what the kit is, depends on whether I read the whole article or just pass it by. I find I enjoy the buildup detail more than the painting, since the painting side of the house has been pretty much covered and I get bored easily reading how to dry-brush or apply a wash. I especially enjoy those articles that expand on a kit. I love to read about elaborate bases, and how objects can be used to make stairs or walls or how to create a unique effect which all goes into enhancing what was, up until now, just a simple figure or vehicle kit and making it come alive!! I eat those up with a spoon!!!
There's been a more recent trend on converting toy action figures into various characters, via 2 part epoxy, either for itself or to help enhance a kit and for a while there had no interest. As this practice becomes more prevalent in more and more articles, I'm finding that I'm starting to hate it. This is fine if you're reading Wizard magazine, but in a modeling mag it turns me off.
Now there's been some fine work over on Norm's 'ToyBiz' and later his 'Marvel' bulletin board that consisted of converting the old Toy Biz superhero kits into other superheroes, and I think this is fantastic!! So I'm not sure why there's a line there, but for me there is. How do you guys feel about this?
I also have to admit that I like the ads throughout the magazines! I check out each and everyone and I don't know if it's because I want to know if there's a website for all these companies to add to my Links page, or to see what new kits they're putting out and their prices (especially how they compare to show prices). But for me the ads are a highlight!! :)
I also make it a point to find out who wrote each and every article. It's kinda cool to me that in this hobby of ours it's a pretty good chance that we know all these guys writing the articles. It will actually make me read an article that I would normally by-pass, just because so-&-so wrote it! I don't know, it just makes these magazines that much more personal, and I think that's cool! (Also provides us with ammunition when we see each other at shows!!) :)
One last question would be, do you feel that our interests in the hobby are covered adequately by the 'Big Four' (AFM, Model Maniacs, Modeler's Resource and Kitbuilders)?
This question is primarily directed at the SF ships gang, and maybe the anime folks. But even for you guys & gals mainly into figures, busts, monsters, SF, etc... are you happy with the coverage of, say, the Wolfman's, Aliens, TV icons, etc.? Do you feel that your favorite modeling theme is lacking or are the editors doing a pretty good job? Is one magazine doing better than the others in this regard? Or do you feel, if there is a lack of coverage, that it's more the kit producers not making those kits for the editors to feature in the first place?
Click on the 'Feedback' link below and let me know and I'll feature your answers in next weeks column!
"This ad appeared in a recent issue of Kid's Screen, a trade magazine about kid's programming and how to sell crap to kids. This was their special "Licensing Issue". If Bandai can do this why can't Polar Lights or Revell or AMT?"
In last week's column I invited Steve 'CULTTVMAN' Iverson to clear the air. To date not a peep has been heard, unless you happened to visit his chat sessions last weekend.
So I dropped by the chat on Sunday evening to see if he'd talk to ME about me and it went as I suspected.
Tried for an hour with no response, only to learn the next morning that once I logged off the chat Steve and Dean grew a set of balls once again. (Now there's an "association" one truly has to wonder about?!!)
And yes, three kind souls were nice enough to pass me the chat log of that portion of the session.
I would like to apologize to everyone in Hobby land, that Steve felt it necessary to go public with this crap. This is a classic case of 'Do as I say, not as I do'. Did appreciate the emails, regardless of how you stood on this matter! One, you had the convictions to fully state your opinions, and two, the willingness to discuss it back and forth. Two attributes Steve suddenly lacks.
But he's been pissed before, and this too will pass and, hey, at least the hobby will have something to talk about at upcoming shows!!
So.... Til next week...