De Leon: Creative and Hobby Tourism: Scale Modeling at a Glance

THERE is a special niche market that has been tapped but is not yet saturated in hospitality and tourism that opens doors for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibits: Creative and hobby tourism.

Creative and hobby tourism presents a specialized niche market.

Postmodern society has facilitated the expansion of alternative, non-institutionalized travel trends, which oppose mainstream tourism by providing consumers with a broader range of opportunities for self-actualization. Experience, new interests, activity and education are the main characteristics of the travel requested by this new type of tourists (Jelincic: 2009).

The demand of this market springs from varied spectrum: from creative arts, hobbies, sports, congress, health, adventure, culture and other special interests. These special interests add to the push factor that determine their choice of destination, and once they reach the destination, they do not expect passive holiday but active development of their own hobbies and creations that complement with local diversities and other participants, thus enriching not only their existing skills and knowledge, but expands their network and group pursuing the same craft or special interest.

Herein lies the opportunity for hoteliers and property owners to tap such specialized segment. There are many hobbyists and special interests groups today covering collecting, outdoor recreation, performing arts, creative hobbies and crafts, culinary, gardening and many other forms.

For this week, I will feature scale modeling and diorama, which hits a little closer to home.

Creating a replica of an actual object in a smaller form is a special interest of mine. I find it challenging and the task of recreating through scale modelling is a form of mental discipline. Making scale models of objects dates back to ancient times and has gained popularity after World War II, when children made replicas out of wooden kits.

Then came modern plastics, plastic modeler kits have been introduced and have made it possible for people of all age to assemble replicas in different scales.

Many kits are being offered and distributed online today that are replicas of actual cars, airplanes, railroads, armor, soldiers and others. The advent of technology has produced kits that are unbelievably detailed and serve as accurate depiction of their actual, real-life versions.

The International Plastic Modelers Society is an example of a hobbyist group that has grown in number over the years. It was established by modelers, for modelers. This group began in Britain in 1963, and was originally called the British Plastic Modelers’ Society, but soon expanded into a truly International body. Members of all ages and abilities are welcome and build anything from basic kits to complicated scratch built models often using plastic as the primary medium but resin, white metal and card are also well represented (

The Society celebrated its 50th this year. It now has numerous international chapters worldwide, including the Philippines. Members meet on a regular basis to share their knowledge and the fun of kit-building. Chapters organize model shows, joined by other clubs, to highlight stunning displays of various types of models. The shows are supported by specialist traders so provide a wonderful opportunity to stock up on kits, accessories and books.

Baguio has its own chapter and meets annually to hold competition among fellow modelers. Societies like these hold model shows every year covering aircraft, armory/military vehicles, automotive, ships, figures, space and sci-fi, and dioramas, which attract thousands of visitors every year.

Membership to these types of special interest group is typically open to modelers of all ages, abilities and interests worldwide. Some of the benefits of membership include priority entry on model shows, kit swaps, and special offers for new kits, entries to championship competitions, discounts and other perks, plus the opportunity to share and develop your hobby with like-minded individuals around the world.

Our purpose is to “promote the hobby of scale model building, a hobby of individual achievement and significant artistic content. Having built our models, we take great pleasure in displaying them to fellow modelers and to anyone else who might appreciate our work. We meet to do that in each other’s homes; at regular meetings; at displays arranged in schools, malls, and shops; and at local, regional, and national conventions.

It is only natural that such displays also include a measure of competition as we seek feedback and acknowledgment of our developing skills. Not everyone wants to compete, however, and competition should never be a prerequisite of IPMS membership, participation, or satisfaction” The International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS) competitions at any level is guided by the proposition that “every modeler work is a creative work of art”.

Although it cannot be put on the same level as a classic painting or a famous musical composition, it is art nonetheless. Pieces of plastic (and now other stuff too) are assembled, painted, and finished, producing a result in which the builder can take pride in displaying for guests and enthusiasts to see and appreciate. IPMS tilts are a challenging effort to bring many different kinds of models and modelers together in a single competition and convention.

Creative Hobbies like scale modeling showcases one of the finest the hobby industry has to offer to thousands of members of the public. Next year, IPMS-Baguio shall be celebrating our 10th year in Exhibition and Competition of the Scale Models. Please visit us in SM City Baguio on February 2 to 9 2014.


Becoming serious is a grievous fault in hobbyists. It is an axiom that no hobby should either seek or need rational justification. To wish to do it is reason enough. To find reasons why it is useful or beneficial converts it at once from an avocation into an industry–lowers it at once to the ignominious category of an ‘exercise’ undertaken for health, power, or profit. – Aldo Leopold