ost effectiveThese days, I believe the most effective way for scale modellers to reach out to others in the hobby is through social media. We used to have local modelling clubs, but those didn’t adapt with the times, and many have simply faded away.
I’m a big fan of web-based forums, and I’m fairly active on two, Flory Models, and ISM (International Scale Modeller). Though they’re polar opposites in their approaches, I enjoy both. There are many others, as well, but those are my regular haunts.
I also participate in numerous Facebook groups. Canadian B/S/T Scale Models, Canadian Military Modellers Association, and AMPS ISRAEL (Armour Modelling and Preservation Society Israel) are three of my favourites. Just search for your subject of interest, and Facebook will offer numerous groups for you – or you could even start your own!
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a YouTube channel devoted to my own scale modelling efforts. It’s still early days, but I’m adding a new video pretty much every month, people are subscribing to see more, and several of my videos have reached view counts in the thousands. I’ll never be considered an oracle of scale modelling, but I’m quite pleased with the rate at which my channel is growing.
Finally, there’s my blog here. I’m happy to report that view counts have increased every month for the past year. My sincere thanks to everyone who visits. I try to keep the subject matter diverse, and it seems to have caught on with readers.
No matter what social media you prefer, be sure to join the conversation. I can’t imagine anything sadder than a scale modeller sitting all alone in their space, with absolutely no contact with the outside world. Reach out!
While global tank designs have gotten progressively larger and heavier, China has bucked that trend with a new light tank, called the ZTQ.
The ZTQ was first spotted in late 2011, but few details about it were known, and the Chinese went to great lengths to keep the most sensitive information from being discovered. Prototype vehicles were photographed being transported by rail or truck, but the turret was always covered, keeping its precise configuration from being determined.
One detail that does appear to be known is that the main gun is chambered in 105mm. That’s noteworthy for a couple of reasons: first, it suggests the Chinese are moving away from compatibility with Russian calibres, and second, it suggests the Chinese intend to offer this vehicle for sale internationally. The Chinese likely couldn’t purchase 105mm ammunition from western countries, but they’re obviously capable of producing their own. Potential purchasers of this tank may not be constrained from buying ammunition from the west, so this calibre would be more appealing to them.
It has been reported that China’s People’s Liberation Army evaluated a number of ZTQ prototype vehicles throughout 2014. Presumably, any changes which needed to be made were attended to, and series production then got underway. The ZTQ has begun appearing along China’s borders, in more remote areas, where the terrain precludes any use of main battle tanks. The ZTQ would surely be no match for a full-size MTB, but it could dominate those battlefields a heavier vehicle couldn’t reach.
As Chinese requirements get fulfilled, we may see the ZTQs appearing at international arms exhibitions. Once that happens, we’ll get a clearer indication of what this unique vehicle can offer.