Over the last 24 hours, pretty much everyone has seen the infamous Rinaldi Studio Press video about SMC.

For a moment, lets park most of the video and address his main point:

The Lack of Risk Taking and Innovation in the AFV Modelling Hobby

There is a lack of innovation at present in the AFV hobby. It is true that styles have moved towards each other and at the top end of modelling, a lot of modellers’ work looks superficially similar. However, it is also true that AFV Modelling has reached a very high level of excellence at the top end. Anyone (other than Mr Rinaldi it seems) who looked at the Masters category at SMC2023 saw models of a very high standard overall, and models that clearly stood out from others in the category. It is true that there were no models that stood head and shoulders above any other, but when every runner runs very very fast, it is going to be a photo finish.

That being said, we are due a breakout modeller, someone who changes the conversation, but how often do those come along? Mr Rinaldi opines for the early 2000s at Euromilitaire and the innovation of Mig Jimenez, and Adam Wilder (He doesn’t mention Phil Stutcinkas, but he should, considering Phil invented the hair spray technique MR uses a lot). Its true, those were exciting times. But they were exciting because the last innovation before that was Francois Verlinden 15 years before.

The fact is, big changes in style and innovation, are not constant. Style will always move on and someone will innovate, but it will take inspiration and the right model in the right hands at the right time. It WILL happen. but in the meantime the hobby, like all craft, does progress, incrementally, over time.

I look at the work of David Parker, Lester Plaskitt, Ivan Cocker, Peter Usher, and Mirko Bayerl, modellers I saw in Euromilitaire back then, and I have seen their work evolve and change in that time. I was at these mythic Euromilitaire shows Rinaldi was at. I’ve been to a lot of shows around the world since, and the hobby has moved forward. Not in leaps and bounds, but it has moved forward and although he won’t accept it, the standard has increased. The very high standard now, and the huge number of modellers circling it (myself not included, I would not have the arrogance to elevate myself to a position where I claim to have that authority) suggests to me the waters lapping at the rim of a dam. We can, I think, expect something huge soon, it will happen, but when it is ready to happen.

But lecturing modellers who are more consistent, and better skilled, that they are soft and playing it safe, won’t make it happen.

Judging the Judges

I want to close this one by addressing a couple of other things Mr Rinaldi said in his video:

1. Accusations of friendships affecting judging: Unlike Mr Rinaldi, I have judged at SMC a number of times. I have never seen anyone’s decision or comments affected by any knowledge of the name of the modeller. Not once. I have never heard of it happening either. Subconsciously it may happen, we are human, but I know I am aware that’s a possibility and check myself when judging models I know. I am sure I am not alone in this. This accusation is baseless and somewhat offensive to everyone else that judged at that show.

2. You don’t need to innovate to get a gold at SMC. Innovation is not in the judging criteria. I was at the Jury briefing on Saturday. I listened closely to Robert Crombeecke, Fabio Nunnari, Ivan Cocker and the team when they told us how to judge. We were there to judge the models on the table against the current standard of the hobby. Not some nebulous idea of where the hobby is going. We were also told by Ivan in the contest room, before we started, that we were there to find the best in people’s models, and to reward it. Mr Rinaldi’s Youtube rant was not in that spirit.


The hobby IS moving forward. Those of us that have remained in touch with it can see it. We see it every day. A big innovation is due, but it will come when its ready, and maybe if you want it to happen, you need to be more involved rather than demanding from the sidelines that others do it.

I won’t be deleting comments I don’t like

About Chris

I'm Chris Meddings, Modeller, Author, Publisher of Modelling Books, Podcaster, and armchair wannabe thinker
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11 Responses to Coachpark

  1. Dennis Loep says:

    I can’t put MEMES here, otherwise I would have put my favorite “ECACTLY” meme here.

  2. Matt Parvis says:

    He does make a good point about pushing skills and trying harder. He isn’t making it to the right group though, Master modellers at SMC already do that, that’s why they are “Masters”. For the rest of us, it’s a good message.

    As far as innovation goes, to me, modelling style swings back and forth between a realistic representation and a stylized representation. More realistic with Shep Paine, more stylized with Verlinden, back towards realism with Mig, and Adam, and Mike himself. I wonder then if the next innovation will be towards a more stylized feel?

  3. Bruce Culver says:

    As an 82 year-old styrene butcher with rock-steady hands (fat fingers are extra) but 82 year-old eyes with retinal damage and no ability to see or paint close-up details, I could watch Mr. Renaldi’s video from a safe emotional distance…..:-) I do agree that it seems that many of the models in recent years do seem to be much more similar than they were when I was judging IPMS armor classes many years ago. I have ascribed that to the desire of contestants to win – when certain detailing or finishing styles become “de rigeur” for winning, most modelers will adopt them in order to place higher in the category. In the earlier years, there seemed to be far more variety in models and finishing techniques, and perhaps more open judging, in the sense that these innovative approaches were often successful. I think now there may be the fear that if one does not build a contest model to the “latest” popular style, it will not place as well as one built to the current form. To the extent that may be true, it is a shame. Mr. Rinaldi was speaking to the efforts of the best of the best – I am watching from 5000 yards off shore, through heavy lenses….. Press on!

  4. Tim Campbell says:

    I watched the video, and I’m happy to accept that maybe I am missing the point, but it sounded like a load of self-important waffle. I didn’t hear anything coherent except for something about things not being as good before 2018, and things looking good in photos vs. in the flesh. I guess there’s some validity in the latter, where photo processing, Instagram filters and so on may change the online perception of a model.

    Your comment “when every runner runs very very fast, it is going to be a photo finish” is valid – to bastardise another expression, the rising tide (of better modelling) lifts all boats. Major shifts in style and risk-taking (however one defines that) don’t seem to occur often, but I don’t think that means things are currently stale or safe.

    Better kits, better paints, better airbrushes, better (more?) techniques, better feedback from online discussion groups, better “how tos” from YouTube (and I’ll include Mike R himself in that) logically add up to a higher standard of modelling across the board.

    I don’t attend a lot of shows/contests, but for those that I have, I see improvement and progression, not a backward march or stagnation.

  5. Xavier Léna says:

    Imho, the actual style shift came from Mirko Bayerl frow Sweden, around 1999.
    Mirko’s Pz.Kpfw.IV or Tiger II dioramas were a real shock when they appeared at Euromilitaire contest.
    The others followed and some of them developped new ways of painting (Acrylics, oil paints, Hairspray).

  6. Mike Genner says:

    It is a HOBBY to be enjoyed by the individual and shared with others within the modelling community. Comments made by the MRs of the world do not encourage those starting their journey. The hobby has become a business for some, which is fine as it encourages innovation, however for the majority of us it is an enjoyable, relaxing (for most of the time 😁) pastime. Seeing the work on show at SMC hopefully encourages people to practise and if ultimately it makes that person happy with their resulting work isn’t that what the hobby is about, not masters, medals and pats on the back, but enjoyment, call me old fashioned.

    • Chris says:

      thats great, but for those that compete in masters, improvement is part of their HOBBY. there are different ways to enjoy the hobby.

      • Bruce Culver says:

        An excellent point indeed. To thine own self be true….. I do not have the skill or eyesight to do really competitive armor work anymore, but I am working on some things that may see a contest table, just to show them off – depends on whether my necessarily slower pace allows me to finish them before said shows are upon us. Working to one’s own goals is what is important – the masters lead the way with new techniques and styles that trickle down to the less advanced modelers and thus advance the whole hobby so that eventually even beginning modelers can with guidance produce models that would have dazzled us in years past. All grist for the mill…..

  7. This is so far out of my modelling league that I look at only with curious interest. I do, however, wonder two things. First, has scale modelling of AFV’s (and perhaps other genres) reached some kind of physical boundary where the advances that are even possible have become microscopic. Second, is the improvement that Rinaldi looks for only possible from a revolutionary paradigm shift in how modellers actually think about what they are doing, rather than an evolution? Don’t ask me, just hand me another Airbus A.330 kit and I’ll be happy pottering away with it over here.

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