November 23, 2001A VOICE FROM THE CHEAP SEATS...
Well, I couldn't think of a single thing to talk about this week and thought I'd let you digest your Turkey left-overs in peace. But it seems TWO weeks without your 'Sprue' is like a week without sex, so Tony 'Calliban' Aranjo begged, pleaded and whinned that he be allowed to say something to the masses.
Who am I to say, No?! So without further ado, I present, for your enjoyment, a 'Sprue' brought to you by our lovable, Calliban!!!
O' What a tangled web we heave...
In a recent 'Off the Sprue' Buc mentioned that the catatonic Dave Malin brought up the fact that the number of posts on the Gremlins boards have faded away like William Shatners¹ hairline. When I returned to this hobby in '96, Gremlins was THE modeling site! There were chat nights that I actually looked forward to participating in. The gallery was, and still is, the best resource on the net for identifying kits. I met many fellow modelers and there was a sharing of tips and tricks that has yet to be repeated.
Then came the Pissing wars , The great Recast Re-hash, none of which did any good. It only served to splinter the Grem board . "I'm taking my glue and going home!"
Then came the PLBB. In its infancy it was a refreshing change when it stayed on the subject of PL kits, but it did not take long for the inmates to take over the asylum.
Somehow these boards are perceived as a surrogate family by some. The posts got personal in nature and cover the gambit from 'My dog just dropped dead and I bought a new puppy' to 'Grandpa got caught in a combine while plowing the back 40,' and my personal favorite, 'I shaved today!' (Check the archives.) I honestly could care less about the personal trials and tribulations of these people. After all, they are only faceless names on a board that was created to discuss modeling. If they have this great overwhelming desire to discuss such issues there are plenty of boards floating in the nexus of cyber space for them to air their dirty laundry . Imagine posting "What color is Frankenstein¹s skin?' on a Cancer support group board?! Get my point?
Most of the lesser talented members on the PLBB are more interested in seeing the numbers on their posts change then adding anything of substance. Another favorite practice for them is 'Fag Tag' where they kiss each other's ass back and forth with one liners that Milton Berle wouldn't steal.
Then came the infamous Grecocide incident which spawned even another board.
Not to be left out Ed 'Diceman' Bowkley started his now infamous GK board on Yahoo. The first thing he did was not allow any one that he had personal disdain for into the club. Did I agree with it? Who cares? It was and is his club to do with as he wants. Ed is quick to pee on any potential flame wars. so for the most part the board has stayed on topic. He recently switched it over to private mode. A smart move on his part but he should done it sooner. There have been incidents with assholes and there are probably some sleeper agents lurking in the weeds. Of the 600 plus members maybe 80 are actually active. It is at its best when club members are given a heads up on new sculpts and show info.
Should all type of model building be lumped together? Certainly not. 40 year-old men who glue turtle shells to their forehead, speak Klingonese and debate what shade of copper the main deflector shield on the Enterprise is, can't be far enough away for me. Beam them up Scotty!
Are there people who go above and beyond for this hobby, forum wise? Certainly, my favorite nicotine tinted modeler Buc, and Harry Malone aka Spock, both do remarkable and thankless jobs with their respective sites. But alas, this hobby becomes more fragmented every week.
Now we have clubs for female kits, and boards for DC heroes, Marvel heroes, Diorama's... Hell! There is even a board only for Batman! What is next? A board that only has tips on inner eye lid painting? Or perhaps a board that covers only fingernail detailing.
Yes, I am aware I don't have to visit the boards. And ultimately who gives a flying rats ass about my observations? But in my search for a coherent model forum, hope springs eternal. I leave you with this quote from the late, great Frank Zappa...
You are what you is,
You is what you am,
A cow don't make ham!'
It's funny this came in this week. I was having a similar discussion in the Moderator's forum over on Spock's Clubhouse!!
I'd like to thank Calli for the input to the column this week! Here's a question I received from Diceman...
"If you could produce any one kit, what would it be and who would you have sculpt it?"
Think about it and drop me an email with your answer and I'll feature them next week!
Hope your THANKSGIVING holiday was a good one! If you traveled, you arrived there and back, safe and sound!
Til next week...