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Re: Age thing

Heading straight towards my fifties now, into the hobby since the late 70s.
Received my first kits & figures as gifts from family members who also were WWII veterans.

A quick look at this and related sites (Bennos e.g.) reveals a good insight into origin and age-structure of the respective audiences.
Although a first glance suggests that mainly older European men enjoy the hobby, the reality is probably quite different. Russia and East Asia are most likely to be significant markets as well.
Undeniably, the vast majority of potential customers are located outside the English-speaking world and actually there are younger people interested in the hobby.
Two observations which manufacturers could take into account when planning future business strategies.

The fantasy segment is very likely one of the most promising ways to get young people interested in the hobby.
Unfortunately, PSR has only recently and quite half-heartedly started to change its approach in this respect. Too little, too late maybe.
It would be relatively easy to persuade more GW customers to buy 1/72, if only because of the incredibly better price-performance ratio.

Another immensely important and long known aspect is of course the availability of popular, self-contained and widely covered ranges. :wink: :smile:

Btw, a concept which Strelets, unlike other less successful manufacturers, understood from the beginning. A look at their earlier CW- or recent WWII- & Nap-ranges proves this convincingly.

Re: Age thing

Well, I'm 52 years young man living in Moscow, that definitely in Russia. Collecting 72 staff for the last 40 years

Re: Age thing

Just turned 63 (yes, Airfix and Woolworths have a lot to answer for), but we had a young visitor from out of state when we played Battlegroup Torch at a friends house recently. He is 15 and we let him command some of the British attack force: he enjoyed so much he wants to start his own collection.....

BTW if anyone knows of groups or clubs in Hagerstown, Maryland USA he could join, please contact me

Re: Age thing

Not sure how much success this hobby will have with any 'young' people. As already mentioned by others, people have less time on their hands, lots more options of what to do with their time (games consoles/internet) and less likely to spot them in a shop (how many shops actually sell models/toys anymore?!). The other issue is that models and military history are just not 'cool'. And that counts for a lot when you're younger (at school I did not tell anyone about my hobby and now that I'm early 30's the only person who knows about my hobby is my fiancé!). I have never met anyone my age who collects models or has any interest in military history...

I would agree with others who have suggested the biggest chance of success with a younger generation may be through fantasy sets. I think if someone were to produce Game Of Thrones (including the main characters) this could appeal to a much more diverse audience. What would be really convenient is if some current major celebrity came out and said they collected toy soldiers...If Kit Harrington said he spent his weekends painting or Emilia Clarke said that she found men who paint soldiers alluring then this hobby would have its next generation sorted...!

Re: Age thing

Hallo Everyone

I am 51 years old .And get my first set in 1975 (Airfix Raf ,still in box,never open).Get my first Strelets ,when they where Brand new ( swedish inf,great nothern War)still wondering what to do with 15 figures of Carl 12. He He.I was thinking that my 15.000 soldiers was a lot.But then i saw many of your numbers.Have never in Denmark meet a person under 40 interesstet in 1/72 plastic soldiers

Best regards from Denmark


Re: Age thing

Well I'm 67 and I guess I've been started seriously collecting since about 1966 or so. I've collected over the years seventy eighty thousand figures who knows. Last time I did an inventory was about 2002 and that was about 50,000 and I know I bought thousands more since then. One of the biggest things about getting younger people into the hobby is unfortunately the price. Now the figures have gotten more sophisticated more details and a variety that would be unimaginable when we were kids. But back then Figures were fifty cents a box and then they got up to about $2 and they held at $2 for most of the 80s. So back then even by saving my lunch money and working minimum wage and entry level positions I could still afford to spend 10 or $20 every few weeks and I could get a decent load of Airfix or ESCI figures and in a few years I had quite the collection even back then. Nowadays retailers want 10 to $20 a box and a youngster just can't afford that. I'll admit they are much much better figures then you throw in all that accoutrement such as buildings trees and terrain features a computer and a library of books and videos for reference gosh it gets to be quite an expensive Hobby. I was a kid I was just starting out I'd probably pick another hobby nowadays

Re: Age thing

Thats a good point about prices.
When I was a kid (80s/90s), you could buy a Airfix 1/72 scale Avro Lancaster for around £10-£12.
Now you will be lucky to get a Airfix Lancaster in 1/72 for £25, especially when chances are, you would have buy online so would have pay postage.

If i was a kid now, my parents would no way allow me to spend so much for "a piece of plastic". They wouldnt accept the "its had new tooling" or "a different manufacturing process" arguments.

So today, i probably wouldnt of ever been bought my 1st model kit, and so therefore, may never of had the door opened into the hobby. That very 1st model kit (a De Havilland Mosquito, my fav WW2 aircraft), i was ever bought was what begun my journey into the modelling hobby, and thus eventually soldiers.

Even now as an adult, i look at certain kits and figure sets and think that its way overpriced for what it really is. But then, if its a set i really need, i still buy it!!! 😂

Re: Age thing

A 39 years old/young gentleman. Graphic designer and musician. Started my journey with a box of ESCI French Imperial Guard and Prussian/Austrian Infantry at the age of 6. Since then, miniatures, wargaming and military history are my constant companions. While I'm not solely into 1/72 (have lots of 28mm miniatures), it's still my 'first love'.

They are so much cheaper

Dear Roger,

As with most consumer goods, the figures are actually far cheaper in today's terms.

Your ten quid in 1980 is equivalent to 40-odd in today's terms. You can calculate by hand or 'cheat' and use an online calculator that applies annual rates of the consumer price index. Here's the link to the Bank of England one:

Electronic goods have become ridiculously cheap, consider how TVs are the same price as they were in the 1970s. That is why 'every' kid has a mobile phone that is a pocket computer. Compare them to my first hand calculator, a Sharp Elsi-mate, that was twice the size, performed basic maths functions only and had no memory!

At the same time wages have doubled, trebled or more (although stagnating in the past ten or so, for most people)...

Regards, James

Re: Age thing

Like many here I'm in my mid 50s, played with small soldiers as a kid, then dropped it, and came back to the hobby in my 30s. Dont know how many figures I have but they fill half a bedroom, so quite a lot probably. Loving the range available today. I think some of the success of fantasy in the last 10-20 years has been down to the success of films like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thromes. If someone would remake Waterloo or some other film and do it well, that might inspire many a potential new collector and gamer. Works for me. Italeri big sets are also very appealing, and might encourage new customers. But online presence and communities like this forum do a lot to promote the hobby. Thanks Strelets!

Re: Age thing

My wife and I some years ago bought taught pipes and drums to young girls between 12 and 17. We hard a very hard time bringing girls into the because there is so much to do now on the internet. Kids spend more time on there phones and tablets then doing something constructive with there hands and minds.
Stay safe and keep painting.

Re: Age thing

Some clarification is needed here, are you asking for physical age or mental age?

My physical age is 61.

I'm sure I recall Airfix sets being 1s6d, but memory is not my greatest asset.

For our generation having soldiers and tanks and planes to play with when we were young was just normal. But for the generations of kids that came after us their parents were the sixties hippies and war toys were taboo. The moratorium on war toys was supposed to create a world of peace, love, and harmony. Which would have been nice if it worked, but...

The youngsters today do seem to be returning to a version of the hobby but it's Sci Fi and it's Fantasy and it's Pseudo History rather than anything real.

Re: Age thing

Some clarification is needed here, are you asking for physical age or mental age?

My physical age is 61.

I'm sure I recall Airfix sets being 1s6d, but memory is not my greatest asset.

For our generation having soldiers and tanks and planes to play with when we were young was just normal. But for the generations of kids that came after us their parents were the sixties hippies and war toys were taboo. The moratorium on war toys was supposed to create a world of peace, love, and harmony. Which would have been nice if it worked, but...

The youngsters today do seem to be returning to a version of the hobby but it's Sci Fi and it's Fantasy and it's Pseudo History rather than anything real.
Yes, I remember them being 1/6d too, way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth:blush: One of the important factors then was the packaging - the wonderful vivid box art that promised so much (and the early 'window' boxes so yo could see what you were getting along with a list of poses on the back which was how we managed in the days before PSR!). What you had was instant gratification that you could take home and play with right away, and that's important both for kids and well meaning relatives buying gifts. A visit to grandma's house was always made even better for me by a trip to the newsagent at the end of her road (two of them in fact) that sold the Airfix range.

If you wanted metal figures you had to send off for a poorly typewritten price list, wait a week or more for a reply, go buy a postal order and send that back and then (as the small print said) "allow 28 days for delivery". For a 12 year old kid, that was never going to happen, especially when a cavalry figure could cost as much as a whole box of Airfix.

These days, the 'instant gratification' is from social media and computer games; I've seen younger people playing a cell phone game while waiting their turn to roll dice on the table top! Our hobby is being squeezed out by the Evil Empire with stores that sell only a certain brand of fantasy and related products: I disagree that producing 1/72 plastic figures to compete with them and entice new players is the way to go, as those stores will never stock something that takes away from their bottom line. And they flat out refuse to sell anything historical other than a certain 15mm WWII game and nothing whatsoever in 1/72

Re: Age thing

I am 65 and have been collecting for over 60 years. I have well in excess of 2000 sets of figures and thats only the 1/72 scale ones. Looking forward to another 60 years of collecting.

Re: Age thing

I am another 69 year old who started buying figures and 15mm afvs once I retired after a break of 50+ years. I do not buy excessive amounts but it does mount up!

Basically there are more things to do when you are young! Going abroad to Switzerland with the school was a BIG thing when I was young - now going abroad several times a year is accepted as norm by so many - especially us pensioners. Throw in such organisations as the U3A and modelling has become one of many activities.

Is it becoming an older activity? Probably but it is not all doom and gloom as I suspect it is another activity to do. However as several people have commented on plastic models have gone up market with very complicated products (never understood why people want very detailed cockpits that you cannot see when the hood goes on) and price.

The other comment is the image of modellers (and hobbies such as train/aircraft/bird spotters) as a bunch of 'sad lads' that is churned out in the media. Unfortunately, some modelling clubs do attract such characters which certainly put me off!

Re: Age thing

Hello Friends,
I turned 58 on the last 30th of June.
I wish younger lads could join the hobby for it to carry on in time.
But painting figures is much more difficult than Playstation...

Re: Age thing

my mother in law says I am 12 and should grow up ?

I can't and won't but I am a bit older🤣😂🤣

Re: Age thing

Despite being 57 years old, when it comes to toy soldiers I feel the same pleasure as when I was 12 years old. My father once said that I would no longer play with toy soldiers when I became an adult. I think he was wrong!

Re: Age thing

Collector and painter of 28 here. I started collecting at the age of 14 or thereabout. I must admit that I discovered the hobby by accident. I have been interested in (military) history for as long as I remember but never really encountered this hobby as a child. At home we did have a collection of antique William Britain soldiers which once belonged to my great grandfather. These little colourful soldiers had always fascinated me. This resulted in me collecting statuettes of knights and soldiers of the kind you might find in souvenir shops at historic sightseeing places. Yet I remained oblivious of the fact that there were actually figures available at shops that you could paint yourself.

One day I happened to be in a model shop with my father, who's into collecting model railway stuff, when I noticed an Italeri box with some nice box artwork (Highlanders and British infantry). I have been painting and collecting figures ever since (admittedly with interruptions), mostly 1 72 Napoleonics, though I do occasionally dabble into other scales and periods as well.

I think that my story shows that much could be won with better marketing. In my case all the "ingredients" for a painter and collector to be were already there in early childhood, yet I had to accidently stumble upon the hobby in order to learn about its existence.

Some things could be easily improved. I recently introduced my younger brother into the hobby and taught him most of the little tricks that I picked up over the years. He did, however, rightfully remark that it is strange that manufacturers don't include some of these basic tips on modelling on the box. Why is there no information on how to prepare your model for painting on the box (washing in detergent, removing mould lines etc.)? I had to find out all of this stuff the hard way and with a lot of frustration which almost put me off the hobby after just starting it.

Visibility of the hobby is another thing, as my story shows. Had I not wandered into that model shop by accident, there would have been no other way for me to find out about the hobby. Would outreach programmes at schools be an idea? Perhaps there should also be more starter sets; a few sprues of soldiers, some paint and brushes and a set of simple wargame rules and painting instructions, all in attractive packaging and not too expensive.

Re: Age thing

Interesting what CW says, most of us older ones were drawn in by seeing shop displays but that doesn't really exist nowadays and we need to find news ways of creating awareness.

Re: Age thing

48, and on occasion my teenage sons will play a wargame with me.

Re: Age thing


may we ask you a question, if there\\\\\\\'s anyone here, who is below 14 years of age?

Same question for people, who are below 40 years of age.

We\\\\\\\'ve got a feeling that overwhelming majority of our customers are people of senior age. Is that the case?

Best regards,

Hi Strelets,

I did a quick paper and pen count and came up with:

40's and younger - 19

50's and 60's - 57

70's - 2

It looks like you are correct. Have you come up with any conclusions or strategic ideas coming out of this thread? Just curious.

Cheers - GC