I spent a few minutes perusing some of the scale modeling internet forums as I usually do every day or so. I typically skim the post headlines looking for something of interest, like a model or kit that I’ve grown fond of, new stuff, and long threads developed over seemingly unimportant disagreements about questions of accuracy in equipment or shape, and other seemingly trivial modeling aspects, the usual suspects: accuracy, paint colors, proper equipment or modifications on a particular real subject (did the P40s flying in Burma in the fall of 1942 have a Bentley or a Percolator radiator intake hose attachment?). But, to be fair, these arguments are important to those making them. It is when others with little interest in those topics jump in to promote their own different modeling values that trouble gathers in the old forum space.

We’ve all seen it time and again. A few modelers who are intensely interested in a subject, like the Bf109, will participate in a thread about a new kit of that aircraft. (The Bf109 is used solely for example here.) There will be interesting discussions about particular aspects of that particular kit, some of them negative. There may be spirited back-and-forth debate about particulars of the model compared to the real thing then, Boom!, someone drops the big one. It often goes like this.

“Hey, it’s just a model for Christ sake. Looks like a 109 to me. Why don’t you stop all the whining and build one?”

This is basically a thread hijack. The discussion that was interrupted by that rude comment was never about building a model, it was about how a particular model kit stacks up against a real example of a Bf109. To think otherwise is to miss the point. And, to stomp on a discussion that one is neither interested in joining or perhaps not competent to contribute to is, well, rude.

To me it is similar to a religious zealot who appears unwanted and uninvited to your group and begins to point out that you all are following the wrong religion. Reason fails. Debate is pointless. Best to ignore the rants and just get back to what you were enjoying in the first place. Perhaps enjoyment is the problem. If someone doesn’t comprehend how in the world you could enjoy detailed discussions about an aspect of the world that have no interest to you, certain of those individuals will not hesitate to call this to your attention.

While these little flame wars are often entertaining, they are certainly tiresome and fraught with hurt feelings that occasionally lead to insulting behavior. Not often though. For this we are grateful to conscientious moderators.