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General Ship Modeling
Discuss modeling techniques, experiences, and ship modeling in general.
Hosted by Todd Michalak
Kit Manufacturing Jobs
StephenLarsen
#474
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North Carolina, United States
Joined: June 13, 2015
KitMaker: 26 posts
Model Shipwrights: 7 posts
Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 - 01:54 AM GMT+7
Concur with so much of what has been said above.

I, too, retired from the Army with advanced degrees that serve little purpose and satisfy few employers outside the Army.

Allow me to echo the advice above: the GI Bill is a very, very good option to get further training in the specialized skills required by most employers these days. Decide what you want to do, and make sure the education you pursue will support what your desired future employer is looking for.

Another question to consider is how best to put food on the table while you are getting the specialized training you need for a career. You may need to seek and accept a position that you might not find ideal but will support you while you gain other education and skills for that ideal job. Many employers do hire vets routinely for decent-paying management level positions, although the position may not be thought of as, well, "prestigious". For example, I know many former snake eaters who swallowed their pride and worked in retail for a time, and surprisingly found that they actually liked it. They may not have stayed there, but it reliably put food on the table and paid the bills.

Best wishes to you and thanks for your service.
Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 951 posts
Model Shipwrights: 46 posts
Posted: Monday, February 13, 2017 - 10:03 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

...I think is from Robin from Sweden when he suggested finding something that pays well enough to support modeling as a hobby... my engineering concentration, essentially a minor, is in nuclear engineering




Andy,
I have a BA in Social Studies Education(teachers don't get paid enough--I married one!), but ended up spending 30 years in the Army, where I earned two Masters-- one from the Naval War College in National Policy and Strategy, and one from SAMS/AOASF in Operational Art and Science. Now, I couldn't do anything with any of those degrees when I retired, except maybe teach. However, after transferring from Armor to Chemical branch many years ago, I earned a Nuclear materials certificate (can handle Nuclear Materials safely, maybe glowing in the dark just a little). When I became a vocational counselor after leaving the Army, I found one area where jobs are really in demand is in the radiology technical field, either in hospitals or as a reactor tech-- with your minor in Nuclear Engineering, your military experience, and some further education under the GI Bill, you could likely find a great paying job in that field. look in that direction, and good luck. By the way, civilian Nuclear techs at Naval shipyards and bases are also in demand-- send me a PM and I'll tell you more. I agree with Rob-- you need to make enough to enjoy your hobby-- and ship kits are getting more expensive!
VR, Russ
RussellE
#306
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Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 27, 2010
KitMaker: 1,705 posts
Model Shipwrights: 1,470 posts
Posted: Monday, February 13, 2017 - 09:07 AM GMT+7
Hey Andy!

It's been a great discussion that's for sure!

Robin's right-find something that pays for your hobby, but maybe if you can't do your hobby for a living find something that's related to your hobby.

Since you've got a Bachelor of Science degree in United States history, why not look for a career such as a historian in a field where your modelling interests lie? EG if you're into ships, become a naval historian? Or even look into related fields-that way you kinda get to do your hobby as a job while still getting paid
USMA15
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Colorado, United States
Joined: September 25, 2016
KitMaker: 12 posts
Model Shipwrights: 12 posts
Posted: Monday, February 13, 2017 - 08:31 AM GMT+7
To all the folks who reached out to offer their two cents, thank you, sincerely. Apparently there is a lot of wisdom floating around on these forums...more than a 20 someodd year old has at any rate. It seems like this hobby is best left s a hobby. Hobbies don't make good work anyways...there's a reason I don't go camping for fun.
The best advice here I think is from Robin from Sweden when he suggested finding something that pays well enough to support modeling as a hobby. Thank you alll very much though. I did not expect this much positive input!

Tracey, I actually do not have an engineering degree. That's a common misconception. My degree is strange. It's a Bachelor of Science degree in United States history. If you choose to defect and not study engineering at the Academy, you are still required to take an large number of math, science and engineering classes as *punishment* (I write this jokingly but not really). As a result, my engineering concentration, essentially a minor, is in nuclear engineering

I hope everybody on this thread gets an hour or two at their workbench today, and hopefully the conversation about the industry as a whole continues too, though. It's relevant, and maybe they will listen to us on the forums.
Cheers,
Andy
TracyWhite
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Washington, United States
Joined: January 18, 2005
KitMaker: 513 posts
Model Shipwrights: 450 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 12, 2017 - 07:24 PM GMT+7
99% better Colonel!

I myself love flying and feel happier with a human pilot, but it seems the younger generation is impatient for their self-driving cars and I think they'll have the same attitude with airplanes. That's going to lead the airlines to push for robot cockpits, and I'm sure Amazon will do their part to help.

Essex book continues; another trip to NARA happening soon. I dabble at the writing but until I can get work settled down a bit more I'm not going to have the mental facilities to do much more than that. That said, the last two months have been a vast improvement and I have been a lot better at progressing with working with my NARA research and getting it in order.
Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 951 posts
Model Shipwrights: 46 posts
Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2017 - 05:19 PM GMT+7

Quoted Text

I disagree with Russ' recommendation to get a pilot's license, unless it's a drone pilot's license. I love airplanes and aviation, but feel we're not that long before a wholesale slaughter of stick shakers by automation. Maybe if you've only got 20 years left before retirement, but it's a big investment up front.

Also, there's no money in model research. I've helped out a number of manufacturer's and cottage companies and they either can't afford the true cost or don't want to *cough* Trumpeter *cough* Companies start with plans and photos they can get online, then try books and paper plans. All the hours I worked and time at archives was repayed with product, if at all. That said, helping with research has been an incredible rewarding hobby and I never asked for compensation.

I would recommend CAD for sure, perhaps specialization in something that is an aspect of the hobby (chemical engineering for paint?) Recognize, however, that you're going to have to compete against China and their wages.




Andy-- pay no attention to Tracy-- he's only the best WWII naval researcher I know. Tracy-- How yadoing buddy? -- last time I saw you you had a heck of a cold! I only mentioned a pilot's license because I wish I'd used my GI bill to do that-- I still think it will be a while before Human pilots get replaced-- there's comfort in knowing a human is going to be there when the landing gear won't come down! I was thinking more along the lines of bush pilot or light cargo aircraft because that's got to have as much money in it as the hobby manufacturing industry- maybe more. And less work than those heavy pilots. Seriously though, if I had an engineering degree from the Point like Andy, I'd look at other industries other than hobby manufacturing-- you can do better. But take it from me, he will need to go back to school (use that GI benefit). I never "grew up"' and ended up doing 30 years, so it was difficult getting back into the "real world" of employment. About 7 years into my Army career, Boeing offered me a job, which I didn't take, and I have mixed feelings about it. On the other hand, after I retired, I applied to Boeing and was turned down (the offer probably didn't age well). I will say there is a huge market in composite materials development, but CAD is going to be in high demand too. On the other hand, you could always write a book! (Apologies to Tracy---I'm still waiting on the Essex class!). 😆
VR, Russ
RobinNilsson
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Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: November 29, 2006
KitMaker: 1,863 posts
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Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2017 - 10:40 AM GMT+7
Aim for something that can't be easily outsourced and pays enough to afford the modelling
/ Robin
TracyWhite
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Washington, United States
Joined: January 18, 2005
KitMaker: 513 posts
Model Shipwrights: 450 posts
Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2017 - 04:00 AM GMT+7
I disagree with Russ' recommendation to get a pilot's license, unless it's a drone pilot's license. I love airplanes and aviation, but feel we're not that long before a wholesale slaughter of stick shakers by automation. Maybe if you've only got 20 years left before retirement, but it's a big investment up front.

Also, there's no money in model research. I've helped out a number of manufacturer's and cottage companies and they either can't afford the true cost or don't want to *cough* Trumpeter *cough* Companies start with plans and photos they can get online, then try books and paper plans. All the hours I worked and time at archives was repayed with product, if at all. That said, helping with research has been an incredible rewarding hobby and I never asked for compensation.

I would recommend CAD for sure, perhaps specialization in something that is an aspect of the hobby (chemical engineering for paint?) Recognize, however, that you're going to have to compete against China and their wages.
Biggles2
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Quebec, Canada
Joined: January 01, 2004
KitMaker: 5,917 posts
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Posted: Friday, February 10, 2017 - 04:11 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

It seems to me that there is still a lot of room for 'cottage industries' working in resin. Depending on how much entrepreneurship you have an appetite for, you might be able find an under-served niche for conversions or add-ons.



Even then, you'd still have to learn CAD, because most (or a lot) of conversion parts are now being 3-D printed. Unless you really want to get into scratch building masters and and producing professional level castings.
Namabiiru
#399
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Virginia, United States
Joined: March 05, 2014
KitMaker: 2,285 posts
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Posted: Friday, February 10, 2017 - 04:03 AM GMT+7
It seems to me that there is still a lot of room for 'cottage industries' working in resin. Depending on how much entrepreneurship you have an appetite for, you might be able find an under-served niche for conversions or add-ons.

matt
Staff MemberCampaigns Administrator
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New York, United States
Joined: February 28, 2002
KitMaker: 5,760 posts
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Posted: Thursday, February 09, 2017 - 11:16 PM GMT+7
I'll second Russ.

I'm a CAD designer by trade. Even now, the Toolmakers and true "Machinists" are a dying breed with the reliance on CNC machining. Heck even patternmakers for castings are getting fewer with the reliance on CNC's. I'd say go back to school and learn CAD and CNC programming if. If you're a jack of all trades (working in wood, metal, autobody etc.) you might be able to find a job with a prop making company.
Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 951 posts
Model Shipwrights: 46 posts
Posted: Thursday, February 09, 2017 - 01:22 PM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Hello my fellow ship maker friends,

I have a question that I figured would not hurt to pose here on the forum. I am currently an active Army infantry officer who is transitioning out of the service within the next year and I have to face the facts that I need to figure out what I want to do when I grow up! I love models and always have and I figured I should look into jobs with one of the manufacturers. The problem is my first rudimentary google searches came up with nil regarding employment in a small, niche industry.



Andy,
Working in model manufacturing is pretty difficult these days, since most model design is done by CAD and the tooling is overseas in China or East Europe as some folks have already said. Monogram-Revell is the only large company still based in the states (and their stuff is still made in China or Europe), although there are a few others with some presence here, notably Glencoe (if they're still in business). Mobious, Round 2, Minicraft, and some smaller companies. Periodically you'll see an add for a CAD designer or toolmaker in magazines like Fine Scale Modeler, but you'll need the appropriate experience. I used to know a couple of distributors based on my experience working in a LHS after I retired, and they always told me it was hard to make it on the manufacturing end. Unless you already have the skills, plan on going back to school to become a CAD designer or Toolmaker if you want to work in the industry.
When I retired from the Army in 2006, I took up model building for commission, but it has it's drawbacks-- the first is you will never get to work on your own projects, the second is you will always be looking for work. I was fortunate in that I had several commissions right away, which led to others, and a few turned into museum work, but again, they were very time consuming. I retired at a fairly high rank, so I really didn't need the money, thank goodness, because I would have gone for long periods without enough work to feed the family. I really took it up to keep busy. Eventually, during the downturn after 2008, I found employment as a vocational counselor, focusing mostly on industrial training, including CAD, Die-making, Machinist, and Tool-making trades. That's why I recommend going back to school using your GI benefits to get the necessary training to compete for those few jobs in the Hobby industry. But if it were me, I'd use your GI benefits to get a Pilot's license, train for multi-engine and become a commercial pilot. You'd make more money that way. Bottom line, it's tough to make it in the model manufacturing world anymore.
VR, Russ
Biggles2
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Quebec, Canada
Joined: January 01, 2004
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Posted: Thursday, February 09, 2017 - 12:05 PM GMT+7
Maybe you should learn Chinese, and be prepared to move there!
RobinNilsson
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Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: November 29, 2006
KitMaker: 1,863 posts
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Posted: Thursday, February 09, 2017 - 11:00 AM GMT+7
One important point to consider is how many suitable manufacturers there are in the US.
Maybe that could be the first thing to research ?
/ Robin
RussellE
#306
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Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 27, 2010
KitMaker: 1,705 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, February 08, 2017 - 09:26 AM GMT+7
Hi Andy

first up I wish you a successful transition out of the Army into Civilian life.

I know what you mean about wanting to work in the Model manufacture industry. Whilst I cannot let you know of anyone on the 'inside' I can say that you would need to focus your efforts on the plastics industry. Specifically product design, toolmaking and molding shop operations. These are the main fields involved in bringing a kit to market.

The other area you might try is research based as most kits need a fair amount of research before designs can begin.

Thereafter I would suggest approaching the manufacturers' HR departments directly.

All this assumes of course you are seeking a job with plastic kit manufacturer

Hope this helps
USMA15
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Colorado, United States
Joined: September 25, 2016
KitMaker: 12 posts
Model Shipwrights: 12 posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 08, 2017 - 06:29 AM GMT+7
Hello my fellow ship maker friends,

I have a question that I figured would not hurt to pose here on the forum. I am currently an active Army infantry officer who is transitioning out of the service within the next year and I have to face the facts that I need to figure out what I want to do when I grow up! I love models and always have and I figured I should look into jobs with one of the manufacturers. The problem is my first rudimentary google searches came up with nil regarding employment in a small, niche industry.

So after reading my novel of a post, does anyone here have a friend on the 'inside' that I might be able to call or email just to ask a few questions about the industry? If so, I would be quite grateful.

Happy modeling,
Andrew

Ps on my workbench is Bluejacket Shipcrafter's 1/192 John C Butler class destroyer escort. I started a build log but shortly thereafter my phone's camera broke ad I not have a digital camera. So no more pictures for now :/