I have an observation or eleven about this forum.
Being honest, I *want* to roll my eyes when I read the same old "this place is different, humbug!" posts, but I understand that the human brain does not like change. The RPF evolved, grew exponentially, and those of us who remember (fondly or not so fondly) the tighter-knit "club" days are indeed inclined to pine for them. But I guess I'm one of those weirdos that rolls with the punches, and can still find massive satisfaction in my hobby.
May I suggest we all take a moment, step back, and think about why we are here.
• Build for yourself. Make each model better. Share what you can and want to.
• If you do not want to share, SHUT UP ABOUT IT and just don't share. No one will know you have "secrets" and therefore no one will be able to judge you for better or worse.
• Understand there are a lot of different skill levels at play here, and that you yourself started off as a newb once, too. This is a strange forum, full of new meat and old cranky men in the corner. Half of us have paid some pretty expensive and hard won dues, and half have done exactly squat/nothing/crap. You understand the dynamics? This means that there will ALWAYS be a person asking for help. This is sometimes genuine, heartfelt, and born from a desire to grow and "do good" in the forum, and get some dues paid. Sometimes it's motivated by greed, or something seen as "untoward". It's up to us to make that personal determination, and we can choose to help or not. But for the love of god, if you're negative with a response, you are sabotaging this hobby by killing the enthusiasm of your fellow modeler - what if they are inarticulate and just want a leg up on something, and you've told them to "get stuffed"? That's really discouraging, and really not cool. Staying silent is far more effective - the original poster will get the message if they eat static. This segues nicely into my next thought, and it's probably the one I'm most bummed about:
•*There is apparently now a line in the sand between kit builders and scratch builders that goes beyond the delineation these approaches should have. Look, any one can see that a guy making a model from NOTHING has some pretty serious chops. And that the guy making that same model from a resin kit is going to have a much easier time, and will spend less money and get it done faster - with different tangible results. We know a scratch built model is going to be (in the right hands, anyway) a crisp, massively badass model, while the resin kit will have drawbacks in undercuts, or maybe accuracy, etc. They are DIFFERENT approaches, and a BOTH ACCEPTABLE and VALID CHOICES. Why are scratch builders touting their craft as not only "far superior" but "the only valid way to do the job" now? It's elitist in all the worst ways, and I'm really embarrassed for this forum every time I see someone downplay the resin kit version of something that has also been scratch built. Can everyone agree that kit builders have a right to be here too, please? I say this as someone that straddles both camps, and I can honestly say I ENJOY making resin kits, AND scratch builds.
We all know I'm talking about the Probe Droid, right? I'm building both a scratch build and a resin kit and I see some judgmental posts about the kit that strike me as unfair. The resin kit is excellent. It is far more accurate and easier to manage than the first iteration (which I might add was something Rolando was brave and talented enough to do in the first place, as a one-off no less!!), and there is a need for this kit. Not everyone has the funds, talent, time, or self-confidence to build one from nothing. And not even "nothing" in this case, as we're all "cheating" by using some very exciting vac-formed KIT pieces, right?
This is a fun, exciting, expensive (ooof), rewarding, and social hobby. It lets us RPF old timers feel the rush of ID and discovery (like the "good old days" of prop building), and it lets new meat strut their stuff. It can be exceptionally social - I have friends all over the world that I chat with about plastic model kits that I would have never been able to meet if it wasn't for this forum. Let's respect our fellow modeler, and keep different approaches and skill levels in mind.
You can still pass judgement, you know! Judge the final piece. If it's good, it gets comments and stays on the first page for a little bit. Crappy models or ones no one cares about just sink into the muck, and always will.
Enthusiasm is contagious. But so is bitchiness. Keep that in mind, you dorks!