Fine Scale Modeler magazine

I recently broke my 10 year White Dwarf addiction (yes, I do measure my WD collection in linear feet) and have been looking for a replacement hobby magazine.  The local library carries Fine Scale Modeler in the periodicals section & I’ve been reading through a few back issues to get a feel for the magazine.   Fine Scale has always been referenced in the best light, and after reading two issues – the accolades seem well deserved.  This 80+ page magazine generally publishes 4 or 5 step-by-step articles where a modeler demonstrates the use of various techniques used in the creation of a stunning tank, plane, boat or diorama.  Also included in FS are 8 to 10 model kit previews/reviews and a health portion of advertising pages.  Over all, a rather pleasant product filled with new ideas, but I’m not sure I’ll make a habit of purchasing this $6.50 magazine.  Instead, I will continue to pick up a copies from the library to page through.

When comparing the two magazines, I find it amusing that the standard GW fanboy complaints about WD carry over to Fine Scale:

  • too expensive
  • too much advertising
  • not enough content

WD retails for $6.00 and delivers 140+ pages, FS retails for $6.50 at 80+ pages.  So much for WD being too expensive.

Fully a third of FS is advertising for various model makers.  Granted, the adverts come from a large number of companies instead of one and might actually be useful or interesting- but the principle is the same.  In addition a substantial page count is given over to reviews of new kits by various modelers.  In the WD,  it is common for GW to preview new products – an effort that is dismissed by many readers as just more advertising.

The main articles in FS are high end modeling content designed to raise the bar for its gronard readers.  Most of the articles seem to first present a technique, then show how it is used on the model but fail to actually demonstrate how to achieve the effect.  WD focus on beginning to intermediate articles that attempt to teach the new hobbyist the basic skill set (build,paint, play) needed to use the game.  WD achives its goal of educating the reader as much or more so than FS.

Let the old farts read FS and let the young turks read WD – just don’t confuse the target market & everyone will stay happy.

  1. #1 by Brian on January 27, 2008 - 3:55 am

    I’ve actually never seen FS. It sounds like it would be at least worth a look – so thanks for the mention.

    I’m still a WD-reader. I’ve got from 87-till now and even though there’s very little in it for me anymore, I can’t stop. I guess that every so often there’s at least a little bit in there that I can use… and if not, I do enjoy the pictures.

  2. #2 by Hyun @ on January 28, 2008 - 11:33 am

    I used to be a regular subscriber to FSM. Had stacks and stacks of them, including their annual Great Scale Modeling. I found myself that most of the articles, tips, and other contents (not the least of which were the ads you mentioned) were pretty much completely made redundant and irrelevant by the advent of various model-building related websites, such as Missing-Lynx, Hyperscale, Track-Link, etc. Why pay money for print articles with a mix of color and B/W photos with limited space for text, when in a web article you can literally see dozens of photos in full color, bigger detail, etc.

    Having said that, I’m a current subscriber for WD and I just re-upped for two years (they had a “resubscribe at 50% off deal recently). And I’m no young turk.

    With historical models (FSM’s coverage), I feel that recreation of absolute historical fidelity is the ultimate aim and modelers strive for that. But in pursuit of that, there aren’t that many variables. That is, you can’t really get that creative. How many different ways can you build and paint the Bf-109 that Adolf Galland flew in August, 1940? You don’t open a magazine like FSM and say, “gee, I’ve never seen that color scheme on that P-51D!”. Most likely, you have seen it, either in a reference book, or a kit cover, or somewhere.

    With sci-fi and fantasy models, your imagination is the limit and GW encourages you to build your own chapters and paint schemes and armies. And the painting method is easier: bold colors with high contrasts, not too difficult even for beginners to achieve decent results. And this is, I think, where WD is valuable–still–for me. It opens my eyes to new methods, directions, and ideas that I had not seen before, or refines and clarifies them for me.

    Just my two cents!

  3. #3 by Kosh on January 28, 2008 - 5:57 pm

    I’m going to look for this next time I hit B&N or BAM. It seems like it’s worth a look.

  4. #4 by chicagoterrainfactory on January 28, 2008 - 9:17 pm

    I had no intention to rip on either magazine, but I think Hyun hit the nail on the head: most everything is online these days. FS is a bit too far outside my hobby range right now (I’m still too much a gamer for military modeling). Any other good print hobby magazines out there?

  5. #5 by warphammer on February 4, 2008 - 5:09 pm

    I tend to read wargames illustrated and wargames minatures.

    Wargames illustrated it mainly historical gaming but they do have sci-fi and pulp articles in there.

    Another favourite of mine is reading about the big game rules for african safari hunts.

    Link is here

  6. #6 by warphammer on February 4, 2008 - 5:11 pm

    Thinking about it, remember the old days of white dwarf, when they actually had stories in.

    I also remember the white dwarf where they added the rules for the goblin doom diver.

  7. #7 by Dane of War on February 16, 2008 - 8:18 am

    I just got the recent issue of FSM, and I was impressed with it.

    There’s not a whole lot that I can do with all of the articles, but there were enough tidbits and pictures in there that I think I’ll pick it up again.

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