Author Topic: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)  (Read 521 times)

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Offline strobez

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The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« on: January 06, 2019, 10:42:55 pm »
I'm just curious if anyone knows any "urban lore" in regards to the expression "What if" as it pertains to scale modelling.  Obviously it's a pretty straightforward concept. "What if... this I paint this MiG-21 in RAF colours" or "What if... I glue a unicorn's posterior to the back end of this Gundam kit", etc.  But while there are several ways to explain/classify this sub-genre of scale model building... some less polite than others, the phrase "What if" or just plain WHIF seems to be an almost universally understood phrase that means almost any type of free-form modelling.  It feels like the sort of organic agreement that comes from a culture/community over a lengthy period of time, so I'm curious if this is something that's been around from the first time some kid in the 1940s or 50s didn't have the correct paint in a call-sheet and just said "what if..." or if it's a more recent (i.e. "internet-related") phenomenon?

Incidentally, I like to explain that WHIF is modelling that knows the difference between precision and accuracy... unfortunately no one's ever asked me... but I'll be ready if they do!
Thanks!

Greg

Offline zenrat

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 02:30:22 am »
I consider it building the way kids do.  Just i've got better at it.
Fred

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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 05:25:05 am »
I suppose I think of WhIf as the technical ARTISTRY of plastic modelling, as opposed to (but not necessarily in opposition to) the technical ACCURACY of plastic modelling.

Both are only as precise as the skills of the individual modeller can attain. Both are a form of art. Both are enjoyable for the individual undertaking them. Neither is the ultimate goal/form of plastic modelling.
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Offline PR19_Kit

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 07:52:11 am »
Back in the day, and I mean 1972 actually, when Mike McEvoy and I both appeared at the Farnborough Plastikfest with what are now called Whiffs, we called them both Spoofs, as that's exactly what they did to the 'normal' modellers about us. My Spoof was an RAF Lightning F3 (an F-104 Lightning.........) and numerous modellers there said things like 'I didn't know the RAF flew 104s' etc. etc.  ;D

The concept didn't really seem to have dawned upon the others at that time, but over time interest in the genre grew and grew and in the UK became fomalised at the IPMS Nats at Peterborough in 1991 when Ian Hartup went around and gathered a bunch of us together to form a SIG for our brand of craziness. And he, or we, called it the WhatIf SIG at that time, but quite where name came from I can't remember.

I could ask Ian but it's been a LONG time now!  :banghead:
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Offline AS.12

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 09:50:58 am »
Back in the mid / late 1990s there was Usenet group called alt.history.what-if that had a big influence on Internet culture.  It petered-out when the Web took hold but I think a lot of its ideas and phrases have persisted.

Online rickshaw

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 02:54:59 pm »
Back in the mid / late 1990s there was Usenet group called alt.history.what-if that had a big influence on Internet culture.  It petered-out when the Web took hold but I think a lot of its ideas and phrases have persisted.

alt-history-what-if, IIRC was created  in the late 1980s.  I first encountered USENet newsgroups in 1987 when I first logged onto a University mainframe.   Loads of fun and some serious and interesting discussion and some crazies as well.  The USENet still exists.
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Offline The Wooksta!

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 03:01:38 pm »
Back in the day, and I mean 1972 actually, when Mike McEvoy and I both appeared at the Farnborough Plastikfest with what are now called Whiffs, we called them both Spoofs, as that's exactly what they did to the 'normal' modellers about us. My Spoof was an RAF Lightning F3 (an F-104 Lightning.........) and numerous modellers there said things like 'I didn't know the RAF flew 104s' etc. etc.  ;D

The concept didn't really seem to have dawned upon the others at that time, but over time interest in the genre grew and grew and in the UK became fomalised at the IPMS Nats at Peterborough in 1991 when Ian Hartup went around and gathered a bunch of us together to form a SIG for our brand of craziness. And he, or we, called it the WhatIf SIG at that time, but quite where name came from I can't remember.

I could ask Ian but it's been a LONG time now!  :banghead:

I first encountered the SIG in 1993 at a show in Newcastle but didn't join until the Nats at Donnington in '94, thanks to Ian's enthusiasm for the genre (IIRC I met Kit for the first time then too).  Since then, I've played a small but not entirely insignificant part in getting it accepted.
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Offline Nick

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 12:52:29 am »
Back in the mid / late 1990s there was Usenet group called alt.history.what-if that had a big influence on Internet culture.  It petered-out when the Web took hold but I think a lot of its ideas and phrases have persisted.

alt-history-what-if, IIRC was created  in the late 1980s.  I first encountered USENet newsgroups in 1987 when I first logged onto a University mainframe.   Loads of fun and some serious and interesting discussion and some crazies as well.  The USENet still exists.

I was on soc.history.what.if and others until maybe 10 years ago. Usenet then got hard to access as various ISPs stopped supporting it.

I'm now on Alternatehistory.com a lot and I've spotted several Whiffers there too, as well as some from SecretProjects.co.uk . Plenty of good ideas, stories and discussions to be had there.

Offline Dizzyfugu

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 01:14:51 am »
Another funny aspect is: is SF modelling Whiffing or not?  ;)

Personally, I like to apply the what-if term very generously, and it has several aspects to me. One is building/creating things that were "paper projects", things/vehicles that were drawn up but never entered the hardware stage. Then there are fictional fillings for historic gaps or opportunities, be it rooted in real or fictional facts. A further wide field are personal fantasy creations, which border on "classic" SF. And there is even SF-Whiffing!

I like to regards the genre as "breaking the confinements of reality" with hardware products - moving beyond the framework that has been given with your own imagination and skill. And in this context the idea is more appealing to me than the (aspired by some circles) perfect result.

Offline zenrat

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 02:41:32 am »
Don't overthink it.  Just have fun.
Fred

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2019, 04:48:33 am »
I think SF & WhIf are, to some extent, one & the same thing.

However, I tend to separate them by defining WhIf as more variations on reality & known physics, while SF is more in the realms of marginal/speculative physics. Both usually involve some level of socio-economic speculation, too.

Note: This is a personal definition & is not absolute, even within itself.
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Offline NARSES2

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2019, 05:57:17 am »
Don't overthink it.  Just have fun.

Yup, which is why I don't even consider the "is Sci Fi a form of Whifferry ?" question. Way above my pay grade  ;)
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Offline Martin H

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2019, 09:38:37 am »
Don't overthink it.  Just have fun.
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2019, 01:22:30 pm »
On a day-to-day basis I don't think about it but, if someone asks the question, it's rude not to do at least a little soul-searching. ;)
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Offline strobez

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Re: The phrase... "What If" (WHIF)
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2019, 04:45:39 pm »
I appreciate the bit of rummaging about in the soul to come up with an answer.  When I first got into scale modeling I really felt like a bit of an outsider. I really like the planes, but I don’t have a military background and the military trappings of various squadrons and what not don’t interest me very much.  Most scale modeling online communities I ran across seemed friendly but disinterested.  I felt like a bit of an outsider, until I fell in with you lot. ;)

My initial question was really more about the phrases  “what if” and WHiF.  They’re obviously well-used here, but they seem universally accepted terms to describe generically what we do.  I was just curious if a) that’s correct and b) how long has that term been around?
Thanks!

Greg