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  • Increasing the hobby

    This is in lieu of the on-going topic of how to increase the hobby membership. This is by far not a new topic, and during a meeting session at the last Red Clay event Bob was discussing it and I brought up some thoughts, some I'll repeat here. My main modeling hobby is RC tanks, specifically 1/16 scale. In the late '90's it was really micro-scopic when compared to the other small hobby of RC submarines. You pretty much had to trip over someone in the hobby to get into it. Back in the late 90's 1/16 tanks were unheard of, expensive and a very niche hobby, and very unsupported. RC subs in contrast was very small, but very much larger and supported in the hobby. I look back now and it really seams comical of how RC subs was much larger, while being a very niche hidden hobby. I only found out about it by a guy who got into tanks, but was in the RC sub hobby for a few years who new Merriman...who lived close by. For those that don't know Dave is really a Sci-Fi guy first, and an RC sub guy by default of trade/ living. I'm digressing I know, so I'll get back on topic. As I discussed at Red Clay, the thing that launched the 1/16 tank hobby was the introduction of the 'Battling System'. This was a dual-edged sword as it brought all the gamers in by the busload. They weren't really interested in tanks, they just loved the gaming. So they would get into the hobby, which costs over $1000 to get in minimum (sound familiar) and they'd stay and play for about a year and a half and then get out. There was one hell of a turn-over, so that those getting out were replaced by one or two coming in. The hobby grew exponentially, so much so that the static side of the hobby blew up, which as you know helps the RC side. It's still ballooning. To me, the gamers brought a negative side to the hobby, as they weren't really interested in tanks, and were not very technically competent, except for the ones that had transposed from the RC car or truck side of hobbies and then they were an asset, as they brought the advantages of the electronic aspects with them, which was win-win. Bob had discussed some of this at the venue, and I'm not entirely sure that the gamer aspect would positively add to the hobby, but by the numbers I think it would. The latter group who came in, the RC car and truck side brought in advanced technical aspects to the hobby. I feel that this is what is lacking in the sub hobby. Sounds funny, as there are so many different versions of sub-drivers/ WTC's, dry hulls, etc, but what is really needed and everyone is screaming to get to is...ease of use and reliability. Even the masters spend a hellacious amount of time getting their subs ready to get into the water, and sometimes not successfully. It's the race to build a better mouse trap, and that's also part of the zeal of the hobby...to defy the odds and get your sub in the water and run the snot out of it. At Red Clay, this was my first sub event and there was usually about 4 or less subs in the water during the whole event. To me, I was at the bottom of the totem pole of people who are the zenith of their hobby, really spectacular engineering efforts, and I was continuously entertained, yet there was few who were actually running the entire event. Perplexing to me. By trade I've been a Test Engineer off and on since 1989, so trend analysis is par for the course. This has been long in tooth and I apologize, as I'm trying to get my thoughts down for the benefit of this amazing hobby, but one thing that has to be done is make it easier and more dependable. Unlike tanks, this hobby involves mixing water with electronics, and often to the benefit of the hobbyist. Even for the experts, it's a long effort to get the sub satisfactorily working and not be a casualty...or worse lost. To make the hobby greater and better, ease of getting not just 'plug n play', but more dependable ease of use systems is paramount. I'm sure there are those laughing at this, as they've already been there and done that with these thoughts, but they are the underlying reasons that people who look at the hobby and then run to something more easier...like painting flower pots :)

  • #2
    Originally posted by Davjacva View Post
    This is in lieu of the on-going topic of how to increase the hobby membership. This is by far not a new topic, and during a meeting session at the last Red Clay event Bob was discussing it and I brought up some thoughts, some I'll repeat here. My main modeling hobby is RC tanks, specifically 1/16 scale. In the late '90's it was really micro-scopic when compared to the other small hobby of RC submarines. You pretty much had to trip over someone in the hobby to get into it. Back in the late 90's 1/16 tanks were unheard of, expensive and a very niche hobby, and very unsupported. RC subs in contrast was very small, but very much larger and supported in the hobby. I look back now and it really seams comical of how RC subs was much larger, while being a very niche hidden hobby. I only found out about it by a guy who got into tanks, but was in the RC sub hobby for a few years who new Merriman...who lived close by. For those that don't know Dave is really a Sci-Fi guy first, and an RC sub guy by default of trade/ living. I'm digressing I know, so I'll get back on topic. As I discussed at Red Clay, the thing that launched the 1/16 tank hobby was the introduction of the 'Battling System'. This was a dual-edged sword as it brought all the gamers in by the busload. They weren't really interested in tanks, they just loved the gaming. So they would get into the hobby, which costs over $1000 to get in minimum (sound familiar) and they'd stay and play for about a year and a half and then get out. There was one hell of a turn-over, so that those getting out were replaced by one or two coming in. The hobby grew exponentially, so much so that the static side of the hobby blew up, which as you know helps the RC side. It's still ballooning. To me, the gamers brought a negative side to the hobby, as they weren't really interested in tanks, and were not very technically competent, except for the ones that had transposed from the RC car or truck side of hobbies and then they were an asset, as they brought the advantages of the electronic aspects with them, which was win-win. Bob had discussed some of this at the venue, and I'm not entirely sure that the gamer aspect would positively add to the hobby, but by the numbers I think it would. The latter group who came in, the RC car and truck side brought in advanced technical aspects to the hobby. I feel that this is what is lacking in the sub hobby. Sounds funny, as there are so many different versions of sub-drivers/ WTC's, dry hulls, etc, but what is really needed and everyone is screaming to get to is...ease of use and reliability. Even the masters spend a hellacious amount of time getting their subs ready to get into the water, and sometimes not successfully. It's the race to build a better mouse trap, and that's also part of the zeal of the hobby...to defy the odds and get your sub in the water and run the snot out of it. At Red Clay, this was my first sub event and there was usually about 4 or less subs in the water during the whole event. To me, I was at the bottom of the totem pole of people who are the zenith of their hobby, really spectacular engineering efforts, and I was continuously entertained, yet there was few who were actually running the entire event. Perplexing to me. By trade I've been a Test Engineer off and on since 1989, so trend analysis is par for the course. This has been long in tooth and I apologize, as I'm trying to get my thoughts down for the benefit of this amazing hobby, but one thing that has to be done is make it easier and more dependable. Unlike tanks, this hobby involves mixing water with electronics, and often to the benefit of the hobbyist. Even for the experts, it's a long effort to get the sub satisfactorily working and not be a casualty...or worse lost. To make the hobby greater and better, ease of getting not just 'plug n play', but more dependable ease of use systems is paramount. I'm sure there are those laughing at this, as they've already been there and done that with these thoughts, but they are the underlying reasons that people who look at the hobby and then run to something more easier...like painting flower pots :)
    I can boil down to its essence your painfully long, tedious, mind-numbing never-ending-paragraph screed into one vital word...

    ... Standardization.

    You long-winded, knuckle-dragging, gear-head, tread-head, you!

    David
    Your Torpedoman buddy in arms
    Who is John Galt?

    Comment


    • #3
      Without a major manufacturer mass-manufacturing RTRs/kits/WTCs, something on the level of Tamiya or Traxxas for example, it would be very hard to grow the hobby. There simply isn’t enough quantity to go around. RC tanks only started to grow exponentially with companies like Heng Long releasing RTRs at an affordable price and in big quantities.

      I am active on a few RC submarine facebook groups where there are thousands of members, but even then there’s only a handful of individuals who are actually building and operating successful RC subs. We operate in the most hostile environment known to RCs, so it’s only natural that we’re a niche hobby. But hey, with advancements like home CNCs and 3D printing, the hobby has been made a lot easier for those who are brave enough to venture into it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Davjacva View Post
        This is in lieu of the on-going topic of how to increase the hobby membership. This is by far not a new topic, and during a meeting session at the last Red Clay event Bob was discussing it and I brought up some thoughts, some I'll repeat here. My main modeling hobby is RC tanks, specifically 1/16 scale. In the late '90's it was really micro-scopic when compared to the other small hobby of RC submarines. You pretty much had to trip over someone in the hobby to get into it. Back in the late 90's 1/16 tanks were unheard of, expensive and a very niche hobby, and very unsupported. RC subs in contrast was very small, but very much larger and supported in the hobby. I look back now and it really seams comical of how RC subs was much larger, while being a very niche hidden hobby. I only found out about it by a guy who got into tanks, but was in the RC sub hobby for a few years who new Merriman...who lived close by. For those that don't know Dave is really a Sci-Fi guy first, and an RC sub guy by default of trade/ living. I'm digressing I know, so I'll get back on topic. As I discussed at Red Clay, the thing that launched the 1/16 tank hobby was the introduction of the 'Battling System'. This was a dual-edged sword as it brought all the gamers in by the busload. They weren't really interested in tanks, they just loved the gaming. So they would get into the hobby, which costs over $1000 to get in minimum (sound familiar) and they'd stay and play for about a year and a half and then get out. There was one hell of a turn-over, so that those getting out were replaced by one or two coming in. The hobby grew exponentially, so much so that the static side of the hobby blew up, which as you know helps the RC side. It's still ballooning. To me, the gamers brought a negative side to the hobby, as they weren't really interested in tanks, and were not very technically competent, except for the ones that had transposed from the RC car or truck side of hobbies and then they were an asset, as they brought the advantages of the electronic aspects with them, which was win-win. Bob had discussed some of this at the venue, and I'm not entirely sure that the gamer aspect would positively add to the hobby, but by the numbers I think it would. The latter group who came in, the RC car and truck side brought in advanced technical aspects to the hobby. I feel that this is what is lacking in the sub hobby. Sounds funny, as there are so many different versions of sub-drivers/ WTC's, dry hulls, etc, but what is really needed and everyone is screaming to get to is...ease of use and reliability. Even the masters spend a hellacious amount of time getting their subs ready to get into the water, and sometimes not successfully. It's the race to build a better mouse trap, and that's also part of the zeal of the hobby...to defy the odds and get your sub in the water and run the snot out of it. At Red Clay, this was my first sub event and there was usually about 4 or less subs in the water during the whole event. To me, I was at the bottom of the totem pole of people who are the zenith of their hobby, really spectacular engineering efforts, and I was continuously entertained, yet there was few who were actually running the entire event. Perplexing to me. By trade I've been a Test Engineer off and on since 1989, so trend analysis is par for the course. This has been long in tooth and I apologize, as I'm trying to get my thoughts down for the benefit of this amazing hobby, but one thing that has to be done is make it easier and more dependable. Unlike tanks, this hobby involves mixing water with electronics, and often to the benefit of the hobbyist. Even for the experts, it's a long effort to get the sub satisfactorily working and not be a casualty...or worse lost. To make the hobby greater and better, ease of getting not just 'plug n play', but more dependable ease of use systems is paramount. I'm sure there are those laughing at this, as they've already been there and done that with these thoughts, but they are the underlying reasons that people who look at the hobby and then run to something more easier...like painting flower pots :)
        Paragraphs and commas are your friends. Use them.
        Of the 40,000 men who served on German submarines, 30,000 never returned.”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Davjacva View Post
          This is in lieu of the on-going topic of how to increase the hobby membership. This is by far not a new topic, and during a meeting session at the last Red Clay event Bob was discussing it and I brought up some thoughts, some I'll repeat here. My main modeling hobby is RC tanks, specifically 1/16 scale. In the late '90's it was really micro-scopic when compared to the other small hobby of RC submarines. You pretty much had to trip over someone in the hobby to get into it. Back in the late 90's 1/16 tanks were unheard of, expensive and a very niche hobby, and very unsupported. RC subs in contrast was very small, but very much larger and supported in the hobby. I look back now and it really seams comical of how RC subs was much larger, while being a very niche hidden hobby. I only found out about it by a guy who got into tanks, but was in the RC sub hobby for a few years who new Merriman...who lived close by. For those that don't know Dave is really a Sci-Fi guy first, and an RC sub guy by default of trade/ living. I'm digressing I know, so I'll get back on topic. As I discussed at Red Clay, the thing that launched the 1/16 tank hobby was the introduction of the 'Battling System'. This was a dual-edged sword as it brought all the gamers in by the busload. They weren't really interested in tanks, they just loved the gaming. So they would get into the hobby, which costs over $1000 to get in minimum (sound familiar) and they'd stay and play for about a year and a half and then get out. There was one hell of a turn-over, so that those getting out were replaced by one or two coming in. The hobby grew exponentially, so much so that the static side of the hobby blew up, which as you know helps the RC side. It's still ballooning. To me, the gamers brought a negative side to the hobby, as they weren't really interested in tanks, and were not very technically competent, except for the ones that had transposed from the RC car or truck side of hobbies and then they were an asset, as they brought the advantages of the electronic aspects with them, which was win-win. Bob had discussed some of this at the venue, and I'm not entirely sure that the gamer aspect would positively add to the hobby, but by the numbers I think it would. The latter group who came in, the RC car and truck side brought in advanced technical aspects to the hobby. I feel that this is what is lacking in the sub hobby. Sounds funny, as there are so many different versions of sub-drivers/ WTC's, dry hulls, etc, but what is really needed and everyone is screaming to get to is...ease of use and reliability. Even the masters spend a hellacious amount of time getting their subs ready to get into the water, and sometimes not successfully. It's the race to build a better mouse trap, and that's also part of the zeal of the hobby...to defy the odds and get your sub in the water and run the snot out of it. At Red Clay, this was my first sub event and there was usually about 4 or less subs in the water during the whole event. To me, I was at the bottom of the totem pole of people who are the zenith of their hobby, really spectacular engineering efforts, and I was continuously entertained, yet there was few who were actually running the entire event. Perplexing to me. By trade I've been a Test Engineer off and on since 1989, so trend analysis is par for the course. This has been long in tooth and I apologize, as I'm trying to get my thoughts down for the benefit of this amazing hobby, but one thing that has to be done is make it easier and more dependable. Unlike tanks, this hobby involves mixing water with electronics, and often to the benefit of the hobbyist. Even for the experts, it's a long effort to get the sub satisfactorily working and not be a casualty...or worse lost. To make the hobby greater and better, ease of getting not just 'plug n play', but more dependable ease of use systems is paramount. I'm sure there are those laughing at this, as they've already been there and done that with these thoughts, but they are the underlying reasons that people who look at the hobby and then run to something more easier...like painting flower pots :)

          Originally posted by Das Boot View Post

          Paragraphs and commas are your friends. Use them.

          Yeah,
          the,
          KISS,
          system,
          is,
          sometimes,
          far,
          away,
          For,
          each,
          component,
          you,
          add,
          the,
          rate,
          of,
          failure,
          will,
          incrase.

          At this side of the pond,
          we like to joke with the German subdrivers,
          they have high tech subs,
          but almost never are wet.
          Indeed standardization / modulair systems ar the way to go.

          Grtz,
          bart

          Practical wisdom is only to be learned in the school of experience.
          "Samuel Smiles"

          Comment


          • #6
            A fun cycle:

            You need critical mass for a large manufacturer to invest in making reliable and low cost parts. You need reliable and low cost parts in order to get critical mass. You need critical mass to....

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RCSubGuy View Post
              A fun cycle:

              You need critical mass for a large manufacturer to invest in making reliable and low cost parts. You need reliable and low cost parts in order to get critical mass. You need critical mass to....
              It's true, from a business model perspective, decisions sometimes involve letting go of certain aspects, like u did. I truly admire your approach sir.

              However, based on my experience, low cost and reliability don't always align. As an engineer, when you prioritize cost savings, you must be sure that the impact of potential failures must be less critical.

              A WTC is the most critical part of our hobby. The challenge is to make it simple but open source so people can tinker with it.

              An STL will do the job for the hulls nowadays, and even propellers are within range now. Casting and moldings don't see a future in it.

              I want to refer to PRUSA; all components are open source, and the community makes them better. Good ideas which have an acceptable cost are integrated into their future releases. Despite the open-source nature, people still buy their printers.
              Practical wisdom is only to be learned in the school of experience.
              "Samuel Smiles"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by He Who Shall Not Be Named View Post

                I can boil down to its essence your painfully long, tedious, mind-numbing never-ending-paragraph screed into one vital word...

                ... Standardization.

                You long-winded, knuckle-dragging, gear-head, tread-head, you!

                David
                Your Torpedoman buddy in arms

                Observing two Torpedomen engage in this argument is akin to witnessing the initial sequence of "2001: A Space Odyssey," with a comma taking the place of the monolith.​

                Steve
                Nukes: Rickover's favorite children
                Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go on an overnight drunk, and in 10 days I'm going to set out to find the shark that ate my friend and destroy it. Anyone who wants to tag along is more than welcome.

                Comment


                • #9
                  That long read explains it all. If most can't take the time to read that paragraph, most wont take the time to build something found in these forums.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There are actually a good few submarine kits on the market that a relatively inexpensive, e.g. under /$150. They're small and dynamic divers, but hobby grade. They also come with a large amount of prefabrication e.g. cnc and 3d printed parts. These are much easier than the kits of old and a dynamic diver presents less issues than boats with ballast systems.

                    So cost and accessibility isn't a barrier to entry IMO.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Exactly. Though i believe anybody truely interested in the matter will scratchbuild his own model of whatever kind sooner or later.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Unfortunately, unlike RC cars, planes etc, not everyone has access to water areas that would allow them to try and play with their subs, along with the Subs being more complicated to do so to increase the interest over to subs people need to know where they can use them, bathtubs are too small, most public pools won't allow them. I am just getting into this and when I build my first boat, I will need a place to launch it, a nearby lake or buy a house with a swimming pool. A car you can use it anywhere including the house, a plane your back yard or a field, a boat needs water and a Sub needs water with some depth and no alligators, lol, just threw that in there because I will be moving to Florida. Wht got me intro this was seeing the you tube videos of the RC model Seaview in the pool and how cool that was, I was not looking at or thinking about RC Subs, we just used premade cars but the video got me wanting to have my own Seaview and then the Forums got me wanting to try this out as a hobby and not just one working Sub. Just my opionion.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's a good point regarding venues. Just like how RC submarines are a subset of a subset of a hobby, our venues are also a subset of a subset of a location:

                          Submarines:
                          RC models-->RC Boats-->RC Subs

                          Venue:
                          Location nearby-->body of water-->body of clear(ish) water with easy access

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I enjoy the heck out of scratch building! I love picking up skills, especially following David on his today thread. My scratch built models are surface boats and I am able to run them just about anyplace that's possible. I can work on them day after day and not so concerned about getting them wet in a pond, although it's nice to do once in a while. We have what's left of a club, 8 people, that used to be over 100 in the 90's. Everyone moved away, got old, or died. Recently, two months ago, I even saw one member that moved away years ago, and getting older, put his boat up for sale on marketplace. I have two subs, both styrene kits. A third styrene sub will be next. And I have another one acquired at Subfest (XXI) that I don't know what I'm going to do to with it. I don't need 3D printing. Although I'm into technology, I prefer to scratch build surface boats and find it a challenge to build the styrene subs into more than what they are. Younger people like the 3D printing, something they will grow up with and perhaps get them into the hobby. Whatever way works is fine. I think styrene kits that can be RC'd will eventually disappear.

                            All that being said, we've done what we can to recruit people into the hobby. I have a FB page for the club. We used to go to antique boat shows and show and demonstrate our models and try to get people interested in the hobby. What do we get from the public..... do you race them...... they are really nice. That's it. No interest in getting into the hobby. Once every year or two we might get someone, usually oldish, over 50ish, come to a club meeting. Maybe they continue, maybe not. I have had enough spending the effort trying to recruit. If it happens, it happens. I'm excited about having Alucard come over to my house and talk subs, or models. We arranged that thru IM. New blood, excellent! Excited! A rarity. People these days do not have the long term interest in this sort of thing. Nathan seems to have gotten the bug from his father Steve. A beautiful thing. I love our meets at Groton and Subfest. Being with like minded people in a rare hobby that I love.

                            BTW, I did not read Jake's entire dissertation. Only a few first sentences. Run on and no punctuation like Casey said. I know where his story was going. Perhaps I'll go back and read it.

                            AND, there is no place near me I can run subs without worries about what is below the surface. I already lost the Marlin for 8 months. Another reason why Groton and Subfest is a wonderful things to attend.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ken_NJ View Post
                              I enjoy the heck out of scratch building! I love picking up skills, especially following David on his today thread. My scratch built models are surface boats and I am able to run them just about anyplace that's possible. I can work on them day after day and not so concerned about getting them wet in a pond, although it's nice to do once in a while. We have what's left of a club, 8 people, that used to be over 100 in the 90's. Everyone moved away, got old, or died. Recently, two months ago, I even saw one member that moved away years ago, and getting older, put his boat up for sale on marketplace. I have two subs, both styrene kits. A third styrene sub will be next. And I have another one acquired at Subfest (XXI) that I don't know what I'm going to do to with it. I don't need 3D printing. Although I'm into technology, I prefer to scratch build surface boats and find it a challenge to build the styrene subs into more than what they are. Younger people like the 3D printing, something they will grow up with and perhaps get them into the hobby. Whatever way works is fine. I think styrene kits that can be RC'd will eventually disappear.

                              All that being said, we've done what we can to recruit people into the hobby. I have a FB page for the club. We used to go to antique boat shows and show and demonstrate our models and try to get people interested in the hobby. What do we get from the public..... do you race them...... they are really nice. That's it. No interest in getting into the hobby. Once every year or two we might get someone, usually oldish, over 50ish, come to a club meeting. Maybe they continue, maybe not. I have had enough spending the effort trying to recruit. If it happens, it happens. I'm excited about having Alucard come over to my house and talk subs, or models. We arranged that thru IM. New blood, excellent! Excited! A rarity. People these days do not have the long term interest in this sort of thing. Nathan seems to have gotten the bug from his father Steve. A beautiful thing. I love our meets at Groton and Subfest. Being with like minded people in a rare hobby that I love.

                              BTW, I did not read Jake's entire dissertation. Only a few first sentences. Run on and no punctuation like Casey said. I know where his story was going. Perhaps I'll go back and read it.

                              AND, there is no place near me I can run subs without worries about what is below the surface. I already lost the Marlin for 8 months. Another reason why Groton and Subfest is a wonderful things to attend.
                              What I like about you, Ken, is your kid-in-a-candy store smile and demeaner whenever we all hook-up for a run. Infectious. Even I can't help but crack the occasional smile while trading insults with you. You're one of the sparkplugs in this game. Never lose that charm, pal.

                              (I now desperately search for a crowbar, needed to extract my nose out of your butt).

                              See you and those other bums this Saturday's Zoom meeting.

                              David
                              Who is John Galt?

                              Comment

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