Friday, November 11, 2016

Meet your President-Elect, Joe B!

BPMS MEMBER INTERVIEWS continue this month with our current VP, Joe Bergman...

Please Meet

Years ago, while on the contest circuit, JOE BERGMAN heard about a model club in Brooklyn. Despite the rumors he checked us out anyway. Fast forward a bunch of years and he’s our current Vice-President, and starts the job as President of the BPMS in January. 

You probably know Joe as the knowledgeable hobbyist who usually builds large figures. If you come to a meeting and see a foot tall Dracula on the table, it’s a safe bet that it’s his work. For forty-one years our fifty-three year-old President-elect has been building just about anything that piques his interest, however his center of interest remains within the realm of science fiction and horror movies. He manages to get quite a lot of work done and is annually at or near the top of the list of members who built most models during the year. He has also won many awards including the coveted TOP GUN AWARD. Within the club he has made other major contributions like hosting panels on skills and sponsoring several theme contests. 

Joe is a married Queens resident who supports his hobby working as an Elevator Surveyor and Inspector. A high-pressure job like that requires serious downtime to blow off stress, so Joe travels and builds models. 

The model bug bit Joe as a child while visiting a neighbor building a model of a Grand Prix car on a TV tray (a makeshift hobby desk). The guy was working on a perfect finish and warned Joe that if he touched it he’d break his hands. The skill involved interested this young man to get started in the hobby. The model that sent him down his path was the Aurora Robin kit. When he was eight his mother helped with it and it was a reasonable success. Everything went crazy after that. That started a long hobby career of trial and error, books, videos, and lots of practice to evolve into the style you see displayed monthly at our meetings. His advice is to ask about anything: “ask some questions, get some good answers and tutorials from most people.” Joe usually works on models at home in his hobby room flanked by display cases. He, currently, likes to build the sci-fi and horror pieces because they are unique and forgiving. There is so much you can do and they are very forgiving. 

Joe reflects on the state of the hobby. With current technologies (3D printers, better casting materials, etc.) anything is possible. New ideas lead to new kits that come out all the time. It’s conceivable that those never-made kits can become a reality. I build a lot of monsters, but how many Draculas, Wolfmen, and Frankensteins can you own? 

Despite the optimism, Joe also sees the dark side of the hobby. I think the hobby is on the last generation. Licensing and excessive production costs are killing the market. How can you buy a plane or a tank and spend $50 for the kit plus $20 in supplies then realize you paid the equivalent of a utility bill? The hobby is eating itself internally and the “bargain hunters” are ruining the spirit of the hobby. 

Joe would like to remind us that we, as model builders, need to understand that if we stop supporting our local hobby stores (the few that are left) and the local shows that there will be nothing left. The “bargain hunters” are killing the business wanting everything either super-cheap or for free. It destroys every show and business. Just think about the next time you don’t buy a plane kit because 20% off isn’t cheap enough. You mail order it and wait two weeks for it to arrive. Now you go back to the hobby shop for supplies but it’s out of business due to lack of support. Now you end up waiting for overpriced supplies that require shipping fees. The convenience of the internet isn’t so convenient anymore. 


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