The original header in 2001.
How it all started
It was probably about 20 years ago that a friend of mine that I had worked with at Value America met with me and proposed creating web sites that would be about specific topics of interest to people online. The first such site was called "Big Reactor" with the accompanying domain name of course. It was going to be all about solar power. Before we took that plunge though I had to do my homework and find a platform to build these sites on. I finally settled on a application being developed as a fork of another CMS (content management system) called PHPNuke. This app was called PostNuke and was a bit more robust and secure (for the time) than it's predecessor. I wanted to make a 'beta' test of this software to see how it worked and where it needed to be refined, so I pondered about what I might make such a site about. Not really thinking it would go anywhere of course. I had been an avid model maker in my youth and still dabbled in buying and making models even at that point in my life, so the idea of a scale modeling site seemed like a good fit for my interests. It was either that or a Star Wars site, and goodness knows what path that might have taken me down. Probably a cease and desist lawsuit from Lucasfilm.
So about a week or two later Armorama was born. I did try to get the word out to people on existing sites that a new site was out there. With some obvious chance luck, a figure site (called HF ironically I believe) had just gone off-line and there were some modelers out there looking for a new site to call home. As Armorama was originally all about 'Military Scale Modeling' we were looking for all sorts of content, not just tanks. It was hard going back in those days though, and I added what limited content I could find. And while the interface did have a way for users to submit news, links, and reviews, it was very rudimentary at that time, so mostly it was me doing all the content addition.
Sadly the business venture that my partner and I started out on did not materialize. We built up the solar power site, but getting traffic to start using any site is always a challenge and we abandoned it after a time. However my partner did cover our early hosting costs back during that early start up period and that was much appreciated.
I think it was 2003 or so before I actually had 'staff' helping out with adding content and that was really were we started to take off from that perspective. The rest is pretty much known to all our old regulars. Some of which are still around, and some who are not. But for the record, without the help of people like Sabot (Rob Gronovious), Kencelot (Ken Fortier), Guntruck (Jim Lewis), Tin_Can (Bryan Dewberry) and a few others I am sure I am forgetting from those early years, this site and network would not exist. They were crucial leaders of that early community we built.
Of course today we have new staff and community leaders. I would be amiss if I didn't mention a few more names to recognize their contributions past and present. The first person will probably shock a few of the old guard, but I would like to thank Vinnie Branigan for his time and efforts during the 2005-2007 period. It was a big boom to Armorama's growth in that time period and one of the reasons we have a network now and not a single site. Of course that said it was also the hard work of Jim Rae during that time period that put the site on the map as a source of news for Armor/AFV. And while both of them were more than controversial at times, they still gave people a lot to look at and learn from. And that is what this site is really all about after all.
Of course there are so many others who deserve mention as well. There have been probably more than 100 people on staff here over the years and many of them have put many uncounted hours of work into making the sites fun and informative. I would like to make special mention of those who are still here almost daily after many years. Rowan Baylis (like forever), Darren Baker (13 years), Andy Brazier (13 years), Fred Boucher (13 years), Marcin K. (12 years), and Mario Matijasic (11 years). And again, if I missed anyone, my apologies.
Armorama around 2011-2012 prior to the final re-work.
A lot has changed
The past year has seen a lot of changes to our community and to our platforms. Today I will be launching the new version of our main portal site (KitMaker) which will serve as a site for general modeling related news, reviews, and other topics. Hopefully people can get behind this idea to have a site for things like painting, tools, and other subjects we can all benefit from. Where as the old portal site was more of a amalgamation of all the content from the different sites, this new version will be more of a stand-alone content site (with of course links to the other sites in the header under 'sites').
Old Site Archves
The work is still going on with (hopefully) the old site archives rapping up this month. The process of getting all the old pages archived was a pretty arduous one as much of the old site's code needed to be tweaked to get the correct mix of pages without overlap. However with much trial and error the final archives of AeroScale should be completed today, and hopefully the last site, Armorama, should be done a week or so after that.
We are looking at adding a few new sites to the network in the near future. One being a replacement Figure modeling site for Historicus Forma. This time we will try to be a bit more broader with that genre and encompass all of figure modeling rather than just historical figures. That site is aptly just "Figure Modeler" (figuremodeler.com).
The second site will be a 3D printing/modeling site for that new part of the hobby. And it will also simply be called "3D Modeler" (3dmodeler.net).
If you are interested in helping out with either of these two sites please contact me at [email protected].