Sunday, February 7, 2016

Stop creating Facebook groups!

When Johannes Gutenberg introduced the printing press to the West sometime around 1440 it was a revolution in mass communication. Within years, anyone with access to a printing press could disseminate his ideas, no matter how prescient or cockamamie they might be, to hundreds or thousands of people. Similar revolutions occurred with the invention of the radio and television and when Al Gore invented the Internet. Today anyone with an Internet connection and a Google account care publish a blog and spew all kinds of crazy ideas. And yes, I count myself among those who believe we have something interesting to say.

Most recently, hoodie-wearing hipster and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has made it even easier for any yahoo to gather likeminded enthusiasts using a Facebook group that can be created with a single click of a mouse. His minions of programmers have gone so far as to proactively suggest groups that you might create! (Suggested to me this weekend was “Friends Who Like Trumpeter & HobbyBoss.")

But before you click that Create button, please take this suggestion: Stop creating Facebook groups!

Here’s the thing. There are too many groups. They overlap each other, share the same content, or dilute the content that’s out there. We've gone too far. There are even groups for Internet forums, discussions about discussions, if you will. It's all so...meta. Let’s take a look at the insanity that’s out there right now.

Note: I’ve retained the oddball capitalization and spelling of all of the groups you’ll see below.

Maybe you’re one of my favorite types of modelers, the kind that builds anything and everything. There’s no shortage of what I would consider generalist Facebook groups; I found roughly 25 with a quick search. Two are informally branded with the Facebook name, Facebook Scale Modellers and Facebook Scale Model Society. Four make it clear they’re all about plastic scale models, lest some capricious fool confuse them with groups whose focus is say, paper models: The Plastic Scale Model Making Group, Plastic Scale Modelers Group, Plastic Scale Models, and Plastic Scale Model Builders. Scale models is the focus of these seven groups:

Scale Modeling Tips, Tricks and Advice
Scale Modeling Workshop
Scale Modelers
Scale Model Society
Scale Model Kit Review
Scale Model Hobbiest

I can only infer from the names of Military In Miniature and Scale Military Models that cars and things without guns are of no interest to their members. Two – The Scale Modelers Critique Group and Accuracy in Scale Modeling: Rivet Counters Unite – I assume,are intended for those who take the hobby a little more seriously than the rest of us. For those who still feel a childlike enthusiasm for the hobby, “I Love Scale Models" (with quotes) looks appealing. Hippies might be enticed by Hobby Beat for scale modelers. If you're among those who incorrectly consider scale modeling to be art, you’ll probably appreciate what the artists in Painting Scale Models With Light have to say, but let's pray your workshop doesn't lose power. If you’re the kind of modeler who needs a pair of OptiVISOR to distinguish a 1/32 F-16 exhaust can from a coffee cup, check in with Old-timers and newbees scale plastic model and The Grumpy Old Scale Modelers Group.

Speaking of old guys, if you realize you’re too old to build all those models in your stash, or if your dementia suggests you have plenty of time, you’re sure to find a bargain in one of these groups:

Scale Model Trader
Scale Model Raffle
Military Model Sell and Trade Area
Military Model Graveyard 
Plastic Scale Models and Hobby Auction
1/32 Scale Model Truck Buy/Sell/Trade
Plastic Scale Models For Sale & Swap U.K.

“But I like building only aircraft models,” you say. “Is there anything for me on Facebook?” Friend, do I have options for you! There’s Plastic Scale Model AircraftAircraft scale modeling, and Scale model planes…for passion. If you want to be assured of communicating with modelers from around the world, International Plastic Scale Aircraft Modelers seems appropriate. If you don’t want to be bothered with pictures of boring old Cessna 152s and slick airlines, there’s the Combat Aircraft - Scale Model Builder Group. Do you focus on large scale aircraft? There’s 1/32 Scale Plastic Model Airplanes. Too big, you say? Try 1/48 Scale Plastic Model Airplanes instead.

If you’re into World War Two aircraft, there’s no shortage of options. Look for Scale Model Fighters & Trainers of WWII, but hear me now and believe me later...don’t even think about posting a picture of a bomber! (The gall of some people!) If that’s your thing, join Scale model Medium/heavy Bombers of WWII and talk about B-17s and Lancasters to your heart's content. If you like meatballs, someone has kindly created Scale Model WW2 Japanese Aircraft. If 1/72 scale is too small and 1/48 scale too large, 1/48 scale WWII model aircraft is just what you need. If you can list the inaccuracies of the Dragon and Eduard 1/32 Bf-109s, you’ll be among friends in Large Scale Luftwaffe Modelers.

If you like aircraft that saw combat in your lifetime, how about Scale Model Cold War - Modern or Fighter/Strike/Interceptor Trainer jets, or Aircraft of the Cold War, Cold War Model Making & Photos or Cold War Soviet Aircraft?

Maybe you’re a brand loyal kind of guy: Scale Model Grumman Iron Works and Scale Models of Lockheed’s greats. My mother briefly worked for the former, so I should probably join.

“But I’m from South Africa,” says the guy from Pretoria. You’re in luck! Look for Scale Model Aircraft Fanatix South Africa. His friend a few continents over might join ModelArt Australia or Scale Model Builders (Australia).

Do you like the F-4 Phantom? Of course you do. You’re in luck! There are nearly a dozen groups dedicated to this venerable old fighter, where modelers and enthusiasts like you share photos and stories. Here they are, in case you need a little direction:

The F-4 Phantom II
The F-4 Phantom’s Group
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II
McDonnell Douglas F-4 “Phantom II”
F-4 Phantom Apprciation Group
British F-4 Phantom Aviation Group
Phantom FG1/FGR2 and F4J(UK) Group
McDonnell Douglas Phantom plastic modelers
USMC F-4 Phantoms
F-4 / QF-4 Phantom
Friends of the RAAF F-4E Phantom II

“I build tanks,” explains the guy wearing the AMPS “Tanks for the Memories” t-shirt. May I suggest AMPS’s own group, Armor Modeling and Preservation Society with its 1,800 members, or The Armor Journal: Scale Modeling Group or Military Truck and Half Track Scale Modeling? If you’re trendy, you should belong to 1/48 Armor Modelling.

Armor modelers with a penchant for a specific era might look to Modeling WWII, Pacific War Armor Modelling Interest Group, or going way back, the The Great War/First World War Armor Model and Discussion group. Fans of Soviet armor like me belong to the Sovetsaya Bronya - Soviet Armor Modeling Group or Soviet/Russian Scale modeling.

If you’re into German armor of World War Two, there are groups to quench your thirst for PanzerspƤhwagens and Heuschreckes. It’s all about the panzer at The Panzer Page, Panzer Model, Panzer Fakten, and Tanks and Panzers in Focus. Other groups are more specialized, such as these two groups for the Panther: Panzer Kampfwagen V Panther Medium Tank and (Sd.Kfz.171.)Pz.Kpfw.V. “Panther.” Others are similarly focused, such as TIGER KING TIGER JAGDPANTHER PANTHER (looks like someone's caps lock key is stuck), The Armor Journal Medium Panzer-III and –IV, and Tiger Panzer and other tanks & places.

If you’re interested in more recent conflicts, how about Modeling the Vietnam War or the Vietnam Allies & Adversaries Scale Model Group? Or Military Vehicles of the Syrian Civil War or the Syrian Army (1945-present) special interest group?

There are even groups dedicated to scale models of one manufacturer:

AMK (Avantgarde) Model Builders
Bandai 1/48 Military Scale Models
Monogram Scale Models
WingNut Wings Fans
Airfix Modelling Club

And may the gods save us, Hasegawa EggPlanes. Seriously. This is not a joke.

Do you want to show photos of your workspace to make other modelers jealous or show off your stash and entice geeky thieves? Look for Modeling Man Cave or Scale Modeling Work Spaces.

So there you have it, roughly 90 groups to meet your every need. So the next time you think about creating a new group, think twice. Look around for one that's close to your idea. I can appreciate your special affection for the De Havilland Vampires of 45 Squadron of the Indian Air Force circa the Indo-Pakistani War, but do you really need a new group for that? Do you reckon that maybe the existing De Havilland Vampire Appreciation Society group might meet your needs? I bet it does.


  1. I've posted my comment to the Scale Model Soup "Stop creating Facebook groups!" Group.

  2. Phhffft. You could have created links at least. :)

    1. Hey great. You missed a lot of great groups, but you have also suggested a lot more I didn't know about, heading to FB to Join and Like them now...thanks !

  3. I don't like football, so I guess there shouldn't be 20 games every week and a Stupid Bowl capping it off that everyone goes nuts over either.

    You forgot some groups too. Ammo of Mig, "I Love Scale Modeles," Pinnacle, Barracuda, and a few others that I can think of.

    You didn't even mention forums either. Sure no one needs FSM's shitty forum, but what about ARC, Zone Five, LSM, LSP, MSC, and on, and on, and on, and on. I guess they don't have a right to exist either?

    How about we cut it with the over-saturation of shitty modeling blogs too while we're at it? Let's start with this one. What exactly is "Scale Modeling Soup?" Does Tamiya make a version?

    I guess you could just NOT join the ones you find useless and repetitive? Or join none at all? I bet you contribute very little as it is anyway.

    And let's not forget the modeling personal pages. Maybe we start with The Combat Workshop, and then maybe we'll see if you can still muster some traffic to your little shithole on the internet without The Sprue Cutters Union directing people to you?

    1. LOL. You make some very valid points in your disparagement on my little blog. You’re right, I didn’t mention the many discussion forums, whose conversations overlap almost as much as the pictures shared among Facebook groups. As for blogs, they're a dime a dozen, and to be honest I couldn’t fault anyone who chooses to skip my blog in preference for another. I’m humbled that anyone beyond my four or five best friends are interested in what I have to say, so I’m happy to make my small contribution to the hobby. You highlight the reality of our world today, that there are many ways to spend our time, particularly online; maybe we should all simply spend more time building models and less time reading about them. Or writing about them.

    2. OMG, I'm dying from laughing here. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but, still was surprised, that someone with a Blogger account takes the time to type that long a response on another's blog. I also like "little shithole on the internet". I wonder what "Unknown" would think of my blog?? It goes for long periods of time without posts because I don't have anything new to say all the time.

      By the way, "Unknown", I didn't find this blog entry by a cross posting from Sprue Cutter's Union, Blogger lets you "join" Blogs to follow and then you get a little post on your page each time someone you like to read posts a new blog entry.

      Rex (pretty much known on the forums, lol)

  4. Thanks Stacey. Glad you got the humor in it.

  5. I have two words for you... Brian Scott.

  6. I have two words for you... Brian Scott.

  7. I'm actually flattered that my group was mentioned, but you didnt complete the subtitle! Its "Accuracy in Scale Modelling: Rivet Counters Unite"!! :D

    1. Thanks! Stupid Facebook tends to cut off long group names. I've corrected the group title. And for the record, I love rivet counters. :)

  8. Id also like to invite anyone who is interested to join our group and share knowledge, builds, questions, or answers!

  9. Id also like to invite anyone who is interested to join our group and share knowledge, builds, questions, or answers!

  10. Scale Model Trader sends its regards! Yeah, I started that group...

  11. Scale Model Trader sends its regards! Yeah, I started that group...

  12. 'If you’re the kind of modeler who needs a pair of OptiVISOR to distinguish a 1/32 F-16 exhaust can from a coffee cup, check in with Old-timers and newbees scale plastic model and The Grumpy Old Scale Modelers Group.'
    have you even been in one of these groups? seems like a very unreasonable and not very nice comment

    1. I don't think I'm in either group, but I use OTC reading glasses when I work on models and I'm getting quite grumpy in my 40s. It's all in fun.

  13. You goin' to hurt someone's wittle feelin' you keep this up! I am understanding about it. I get one posting and three more show up of the same photos. I mean Damn, folks! Show it once and get on with it!

  14. Thank you sir for mentioning my groups on your blog, it's always been about modelling and not the $. Anyone is welcome to come visit the sites: Military Model Sell and Trade Area, or the Anything Goes Hobby Auction. However I also have a awesome site for builders that just build, rivet counters, beginners, and kids! Come check it out all are welcome : Sprue International Model Builders Association :) Enjoy all and let's keep this hobby alive, grab a kid and bring them into the hobby!
    Steve "Wookiee"

    1. Agreed! I've bought and sold on MMS&TA. It's a great resource.

  15. Or perhaps maybe just not use Facebook as much? Facebook is so much about ego it's kind of crazy we are going to let a unsearchable linear media replace the tried and trusted forums and blogs we already have. Sadly we are probably already too far down this rabbit hole to flee from it now.

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