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John Bunting29/07/2008 01:19:00
105 forum posts
Much as I look forward to the arrival of RCM&E each month, I get a feeling of, "Oh no, not again!" when the cover photo is revealed. Every month, for ages, we've had an oblique, foreshortened close up nose shot, with a few inches of wing showing each side, maybe a bit of fin and tailplane away in the distance, and a blank monochrome background. For example, the Sea Fury on the latest issue:  the whole thing looks posed and lifeless, and about as interesting as the bottom end of a milk bottle. Just occasionally, it would be good to see a picture of a whole aeroplane - or even half an aeroplane. Meanwhile, tucked away at the back of the magazine, there are the 'Parting Shot' photographs, which are of consistent high quality and full of interest. Why not put something that good on the cover?
Tim Mackey29/07/2008 08:15:00
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I agree - and as has been discussed before, preferably with something / someone to lend it some scale ( but not scantily clad young ladies ) with a nice landscape background.

There must be thousands and thousands of other pictures that could be used - and it surely does not have to be a model that is being featured necessarily. The idea of a cover is to draw ones eye, and indicate the typical content.

John...why not write in your thoughts to the magazine itself, which in many ways exists in its own right, albeit associated with the forum. You never know...may end as letter of the month and win a big fat prize! 

birdy29/07/2008 11:14:00
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1423 forum posts
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The matter of the cover art again.... I agree about the way the cover is always pretty much the same monotumus, lifeless block of colour, but I also think that is one of the things that makes RCM&E stand out on the local newsagent (in the days where I did the monthly 2 mile weekend walk to get it), where all the other AMI, ModelWorld and co are using the whole grass and all stuff. And if we do go that way, scantily clad females are an absolute must. Just joking.
John Bunting29/07/2008 19:03:00
105 forum posts
Been there, done that, Timbo. I emailed the Editor about two months ago, saying pretty much what I put on here.  No response so far!
Ernie29/07/2008 19:30:00
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Hi Guys,

I agree, boring, boring. High res.studio shots. The last thing this hobby is about is  a photographic studio. Sodden runways, yes...dusty workshops yes.

Why not run a competition for  front covers.  They don't necessarily have to reflect the content of the magazine. Is their function, not to sell the magazine?

ernie

Tim Mackey29/07/2008 19:57:00
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I will forward your comments on
Erfolg29/07/2008 20:26:00
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I  am of the opinion that most purchasers of the magazine find the cover formulaic. Yet most other model magazine covers have a similar approach.

In some ways i do sympathise with the magazine staff. Why? Because every one has a list of do not want or like. For Timbo it is a scantily dressed young lady. For me not another Spitfire/Hurricane. There is someone else who has concerns about how the viewer percieves the image of a person.

I personally think it is better to produce covers that are suffiently different to get talked about, but constantly changing in image type. There are no taboos with womans magazine covers or even content. So why pussy foot when it is a mans magazine, as the number of youths who read it, are probably similar to children reading womans magazines.My wife bought a magazine Vanity Fair which had a picture of a naked pegnant Debi Moore on the cover but was linked to an inside article. The same of an almost nude David Beckam in on of my daughters magazines, linked to a product placement and celebrity endorsements story. I do not think these images reduced the circulation figures

One thing that needs to be recognised appeasement to extreme views and censorship does not encourage innovation, or a healthy society. Extremists always try to supress or extinguish alternative outlooks, in the name of "being fair", "safeguarding the vulnerable in society",   and you can all add your own similar quotes.

I sometimes think that there proportionaly less modellers as a fraction of the population today, because we are seen as sad old men, lacking in excitement. Yet at events such as Woodvale massive enthusastic crowds attend. We need modern covers which inspire.

We are now in the dying days of a regime which inspires mediocraty in the name "Health and Safety". Get ready for a change to something hopefully more inspiring. Give us some new covers that will take the publication forword.

The other benefit i would be able to

  1. Find the magazine I want to reference.
  2. Instruct/describe to my wife what it is i would like her to buy.

I think a major problem might be, that most covers of magazines have linkage to the content, which possibly makes producing an interesting image more difficult. Plus the cost issue. Plus time constraints. Plus some will still moan (ohh thats me). Plus some would threaten to buy another magazine if they do not approve (forget the thousands you have lost already to appease them)

Erfolg

Eric Bray30/07/2008 11:27:00
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6600 forum posts
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I do hope that as a spin-off from this, the Editor doesn't decide to use photographs of his readers' workshops! (If you've seen the pic I submitted of mine, you would know what I mean!)

As a change to the regular format, how about some naked models? I mean in the bare wood, not in the bare epidermis! Obviously a glass/foam model wouln't work, here, but a nice built-up model, displaying the mastery of carpentry, would.

Erfolg30/07/2008 13:33:00
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11799 forum posts
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Eric

I sence philipancy.

But it has been done.

There was one magazine that used water coloured pictures, there has been every thing and anything you can remotely connect with Radio or Aeromodelling. Yet all the UK magazines have a similar feel to the cover, never really varying

Talking with one of my relatives (some time ago) who owns a publishing house, he strayed into the role of the cover. In his opinion it was a major marketing tool in the area of sales. For unkown authors, exhibition booklets and monthly type publications, it can mean the difference between clearing out the print run or taking up warehouse space.  

Another aquantance has told me ( I do not know if true), that many publications are now produced with very little in thew way of in house journalists, that the printing technology makes short runs finacially viable. Yet margins can be vey tight as the distribution costs remain unchanged, the number of titles in each catogory of interest area has generally grown.

So I guess cost plays its part. But differentiating a title appears to me more important than ever.

A brief word with my wife about covers, had a view which will raise the hackles of many. sic.It is obsene to glory in machines whose sole purpose is to kill, maim and reak violence on individuals and the population as a whole, yet can find the picture of a woman offensive. I countered that these machines are seen as the protectors and the insurance policy of peace. Her reply, no wonder the world is as it is, your views are self serving, devoid of reality ( I did protest that theses views are not necessaily mine). I said I am interested in the planes, not the havoc that they may produce.

Perhaps fewer military planes?

Any way i want more varied covers.

Erfolg

Tim Mackey30/07/2008 14:06:00
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I don't find the "glam pictures" at all offensive  - I am a healthy normal male and father of 3 - even a chauevenist at heart I suppose , but my wife finds them offensive, and is very sensitive about me seeing them...call it insecurity if you will, but she simply does not approve - she is no prude however, in fact she was a nurse most of her life, including private clinics specialising in shall we say..."enhancements".

However, should half naked females start appearing again on the cover of my mag ( which incidentally she also reads ) my life would get slightly more uncomfortable once more every month IYKWIM 

Erfolg30/07/2008 15:52:00
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11799 forum posts
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Timbo

I am not having a go at you in particular. I am having a go at me as well. I am just finishing off my TA 152, so I am at odds with my wifes views (allthough the first military plane in 30 years). Being a Christian I now hold views which are unacceptable to the Government and official government departments, yet were main stream only 10 years ago.

It does strike me that once David and Graham pander to my and others prejudices and believes, pretty soon there is nothing much left.

But I would like to see a bit more radical thinking with regard covers. For the magazines and the  hobbies sake. As I do believe our image is a little last year with the public and I fancy many of us (which could well be me) fit that description.

Erfolg

Tim Mackey30/07/2008 16:11:00
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20920 forum posts
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I agree  Erfolg - as I said earlier...the recent cover shots have been naff as far as artistic effort and so on. I would be happier with the items being shown "in the field" as it were..such as this one maybe ?
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e10/eunos800/STUKA.jpg


Erfolg30/07/2008 18:38:00
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11799 forum posts
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I just wandered down stairs to the lounge, their lying on the coffee table was last weeks Telegraph colour supplement. It is a picture of a model in a pair of shorts and a bikini type top, leaping in a moon type landscape (Morocco?). These types of images hit the newstands every week, causing no offence.

I then cleared my newspaper from the floor, before my wives return, to save myself from a lecture on tideness and newsprint marking the beige carpet. What did i see a magazine, "Now" with images of two (very) scantilley attired men in swim suits.

To some extent I can understand the position of the proprieters of the magazine in not wishing to upset those who may influence its purchase. Yet I suspect there readership will deminish unless it is recognised that appeasing these very people will despatch our hobby to the foot note of cultral history, as we cease to be part of the modern young mans world, who is not afraid to expect the same level of imagry and content as other publications destined for family or female viewing.

We are not talking about nudity or even soft porn, but every day images seen on the high street, the beach and on other non-controverial publications.

Remember the ever so safe "Womans Weekly" ceased to exist as it became irrelevant to its female readers.

Erfolg  

John Bunting17/12/2008 19:33:00
105 forum posts

Hooray, that's better!

Having complained, a few months ago, about the quality of RCM&E cover art, I am happy to see that a distinct improvement has now taken place. Mike Goldby's Sopwith Dolphin on the January cover is not only a superb looking model, but well photographed, in a natural setting. True, we still don't see all of it, but you can see nearly all if you turn to page 27. Sorry to read that you were unwell during the meeting, Mike: hope you are better now.

Mikey Wood18/12/2008 00:40:00
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70 forum posts

I'm completely new to modeling and flying, so bear with me.
I noticed a few posts mentioning the decline In popularity of modeling hobbies. It got me thinking.


The following aren't necessarily my views or beliefs, more thoughts and hypothesis.

I'm thinking the loss In popularity Is down to a lot more things than just the magazine cover Isn't appealing enough. Particularly the building side of things maybe more to do with these "ready made" £30 Argos things.
It Is similar to that of home cooking - People are cooking less due to fast food and "ready meals".

I know a nice looking cover Isn't going to make me buy the magazine If I haven't been introduced to modeling In the first place by a friend or relative. I'll just walk past the shelf where It sits, lost between the endless amounts of other magazines.

I've just done my first build! I haven't got a "ready to fly" thing. I was introduced to modeling by my Dad, and I believe If I hadn't have helped him with his models the past few weeks, i would have not known how much I enjoy doing It and therefor would not buy the magazine.
I guess what I'm trying to say by that Is - Someone might not even realise they're Into building models. When you get these ready to fly things, you don't have the feeling of achievement when It's completed, or the worry and excitment of it's maiden flight.

The only way to keep It alive Is pass on your knowledge.

Another possible reason Is this "health and safety" world we live In. I couldn't get a taste of flying unless I got insurance, then join a club because you can't actually fly a "park flier" In a public park. As well as have to pass an exam to be able to fly In the club. Soon are the days where we will need insurance to ride a pedal bike or to push a pram - anything.

 The only reason I managed to get a taste of flying was because I was taken slope soaring. Just threw It off the edge and flew the damn thing (on a buddy lead of course).
I wouldn't mind giving powered flight a go because of it - not just yet though, lets get sloping aced first.

I don't think it matters whether there Is a female model wearing a belt for a skirt or just the prop of a plane - It's the content, the stories, the crashes, the reviews. Also RCM&E can not please everybody.

I'm sorry If people disagree, heck - I'm not even sure I agree Its just some thoughts.

Erfolg18/12/2008 09:49:00
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11799 forum posts
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Mikey

There are almost certainly many reasons for the current level of aeromodelling and its age profile.

You are again almost certainly correct in saying that the cover of a magazine will not recruit many new modellers.

However i do think that magazine covers do have an impact. A good cover should entice a potential purchaser, to want to know what is inside. Yes, some will buy a magazine, month in month out, out of habit and believe that this magazine is for them or is always the best. The majority however, may not share that view and need seducing to find out more.

Until recently, I was unaware that there is an annual prize awarded by the Publishing Industry, for the years best cover. The basis and thinking behind the award is that the cover is highly influencial in determining the purchase choice of discriminating people. One of my close relations is a publisher, who has confirmed that he invests a lot of time in ensuring that the covers of his companies publications, are attractive to the audience he is addressing. This ranges from books, scientific journals and major museum  exhibitions.

In reality, it matters little what i think. What matters is what the policies of the Editor and owners of RCM&E think and do.  

Alan B18/12/2008 10:03:00
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680 forum posts
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As we say in our magazine business.  "The front cover is our shop window"  At the end of the day the front cover design has to catch the eye of the browsing public to set your magazine apart from the competition..
Phil Wood.18/12/2008 10:54:00
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3638 forum posts
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Alan B wrote (see)
to set your magazine apart from the competition..

In the case of RCM&E......what competition?.............I mean this seriously, are there other mag's out there that are covering radio controlled models?........I never see them on the shelf at Tesco.

I think the future of our hobby in general is under threat by the RFT market.  Model shops are going out of business not just because of on line buying but because there is a decreasing demand for the raw materials that model BUILDERS use.

Before long all the skills that have taken generations to develop and pass on will be lost to someone with an injection moulding machine in Hong Kong.

If I'm out flying and I get approached my someone interested I recommend this mag to them,  The problem is most of them ask   "Can you get them off E-bay"?  (models,not the mag)  They seriously think they can buy a 'plane and throw it in the air at the local100yd square field next to the power station.  These people will never become long term customers for RCM&E.

To sell more mag's we need more modellers.  To get more modellers we need clubs to be more accessible and councils to allocate more flying space.          The problem is too many clubs are happy to be a small closed group, clinging to their little patch of land and only admit a new member when the chairman's son is old enough to hold a TX or when someone has a fat wallet.

Too many councillors are happy to hide under the blanket provided by the Health and safety officials and never stick their neck out.

Most of all,.........to sell more mag's and get more modellers we need to pass on model BUILDING skills before they are lost forever.

Polyphilla.

Alan B18/12/2008 12:12:00
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680 forum posts
92 photos

Hi Phil

There is plenty of competition out there Phil.  In the case of RC mags mostly you will find them in W H Smiths, Menzies and model shops etc  Not Tesco's.  Most magazines employ a whole sale distributor.  It is their job to get the magazines into as many relevant shops as possible to boost sales.

As far as Tesco's, Morrissons etc are concerned you cannot just put your magazine into these places. You have to go onto a waiting list for them either to consider you.  Especially if your are a small publisher and not a major publishing group.  In our case we have been offered a trial 3 month period in selected Tesco stores in the Midlands area. That has taken us nearly 5 years to get that far as the magazine has grown, and we are only a small family business.

Magazines are a complicated business.  Yes you have your readers but magazines sales are just a small part of your recovered running costs.  There is a lot of wastage in this business. A shop may receive for example 20 magazines and only sell 9. that means 11 unsold mags have to be absorbed into your running costs as you still have to pay your staff, printers ,designers etc irrespective of how many that haven't been sold. So you might say! then just supply the shop with 10 magazines. Then the following month they go and sell the whole 20!    It is very frustrating!! The main income that pays the bills is the advertising. You need to sell the advertising. So for example if your your production costs are £10,000 a month then you need to sell £10,000 of advertising just to break even.

It is a very worrying time for the publishing industry at the moment like most Industries.  People are pulling there belts in and are very selective with their now reduced advertising budgets. Everbody is now scrapping for any available advertising. Even usual regular advertisers do not now advertise at all, they are waiting for they economy to pick up. So our problem is now  -is how are we going to put a few thousand more magazines into Tesco's as there is hardly any advertising out there to pay for it! Its a catch 22 situation.

All I can say to all readers is to support your favourite Magazine. Not only to buy the magazine, but when you approach a advertiser with your business is to mention where you have seen their advert. That then makes them think where the best place is to advertise with their reduced budgets. Hopefully your favourite magazine!! The catch 22 situation with us modellers is . Our prospective buys have gone up on average of 50%. So we think - we will wait a bit till the price comes back down.  The Retailer dosn't get the sales - so they cut their advertising budget!  Its a vicious circle.

We have one pay for magazine and the other is a free magazine. The free magazine is purely advertising driven to support it . Reduced advertising means less pages, reduced print runs and distribution. No advertising - No magazine!!  People loose ther Jobs. The last annoying point is that our magazine sales have gone up 30% every year. Which is wonderfull on paper, but just magazine sales wont support the magazine.

As I have already said - very worrying times.

Well thats my 2p's worth

Al

Gemma Jane18/12/2008 13:18:00
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1349 forum posts
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Probably a very large factor in the reduction of the sale of magazines is actually the medium we are now communicating with. If I buy a model and run into problems, 30 minutes searching the net usually provides numerous solutions and opinions, if that doesn't work, well I post and ask directly.

The fact RCM&E has this very active forum to its credit will ensure that it remains in my view and I will be honest that I bought my subscription after visiting here.

Years and years ago I only had one window on the world of aeromodelling, namely the old aeromodeller magazine, that was it, if the answer wasn't in there I had to find out for myself as I knew nobody locally who was into flying models.

I think in many ways aeromodelling is healthier than it ever was due to the ease one can now find success in the flying aspects. A look on youtube will show that many young people fly models like the HZ Cub or mCX. All this far more successfully than when I started out by building kits such as FF CO2 models and watched most of them get destroyed on the first flight. Don't write the young people off either, many are prepared to modify the models and upgrade them, soon they will have a taste for building from plans and kits and perhaps designing their own models. I'm sure too that they will use any of the modern materials available to them and that is just what aeromodelling should be about. As they progress throught those mediums don't be in the least surprised to see them buying balsa and building scale models 30 years down the line. 

What doesn't really change much is magazine content. I often read articles that actually tell me very little that I didn't already know, with perhaps just one paragraph of information that gets stored away for future reference. So that brings up what is the purpose of the magazine? Does it assist in the knowledge of aeromodelling or is its purpose more as I use it to just read about a hobby that for me was a long time dead but was hiding in the wings (excuse the pun) to entice me once again. You see the young won't do that, they will just go out fly the model and if they have a problem ask any of a thousand people who have been there and done that what they should do about it on the internet.

PS half naked women on the cover, hmmm if you want to consign the magazine to the image of an old mans hobby that would be just the way to go!

The exclusively male orientation always seems a bit of a turn off. Glad to see in the January mag there was at least one article that said his or hers models etc, that was refreshing!

So perhaps in a long winded way I arrive at congratulations on the January cover, it captures all the essence of why I buy the magazine, aeromodelling, please don't go for a studio shot for February

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