10 Confessions of a Modeler
Like all influencers worth their weight in pixels declare at some point: "today we're going to do something a little different". Today is confession day.
I've been at my second act of modeling for a few years now. I've built over a dozen kits, read 100s of kit reviews, watched countless hours of modeling videos, and spent an embarrassing amount of time on modeling-related social media. In the process I've learned a lot about myself, and more about my relationship with the hobby. Now it's time to share 10 of my self-assessed idiosyncrasies with you, my awesome readers!
1) Spends more time at the bench thinking about modeling than actually modeling. Let's face it, sometimes the hobby bench is your you place. It is a place offering comfort after a long day at school, work, or life's other stressors. But just because you are sitting right in front of that half-built kit, doesn't mean you are in the mood to actually build said half-built kit. Nah, not tonight! Tonight is about scalemates.com or watching the latest Night Shift video.
2) Has multiple kits on the bench at any one time. I started to log my building time. That relatively simple 1/35 Tamiya T-34/76 1943: 36 hours! Nearly a work week. That's an eternity in the age of instant gratification. So how have I adapted? The answer is multiple kits spanning several genres in various stages of completion. Armor? Check. Ships? Check. Plane? Check. You get the idea. That way plastic can be on the menu tonight, painting tomorrow, and photoetch hell can be saved for the weekend!
3) Enjoys building more than painting. There, I said it! This is a confessional after all. Today's kits are so well engineered that the emphasis in the hobby has shifted from construction techniques (read: mold-error-correction) to painting and weathering. Now it feels like 90% of a "build" is really "coloring", my catch-all phrase for adding color to bare plastic. Not great! But it's still ridiculous to suggest pulling an ill-fitting legacy kit out of the stash to restore the build/coloring ratio.
4) Likes the challenge of hand brushing but the results of an airbrush. Tube glue and paint brushes. That's where our journey started. While the former is easily replaced by superior alternatives, the latter is still an indispensable tool. These days, many modelers "trade up" to an airbrush. It's become something of a milestone, and I remember the joy when I got my first one. But there's something more here. How much of acquiring the airbrush is an admission that the hand brush is too difficult to master? Every now and then I like to revisit this question.
5) Builds kits along themes. I like cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Modern US Navy. Check. Panzer evolution. Check. Pacific Aviation. Soon-to-be-check. I think it's nice when different vehicles can be paired with their peers or foils. Doing so creates a more immersive modeling experience for me.
6) Needs to visit "Model City" Shizuoka, Japan. Fujimi, Aoshima, Hasegawa, and Tamiya are some of the big names that call this city home. It started shortly after the Second World War when the city began to make wooden toys. By the 50s, plastic became the material of choice. The rest is written in history, sitting on our bench or waiting in our stash. Why do I want to go? Well, where else can you find sprues as public art pieces, an annual convention, and a model history museum?
7) Watches a movie, reads a book, or has a meal and is inspired to buy a new kit. I'm sure I'm not the only one that's contracted "modeler's itch" from books and movies. Pretty standard stuff. But it turns out that meals are also triggering. Recently I was treated to an amazing Israeli meal, and within 5 minutes I was daydreaming about a dusty M51 Sherman on the workbench. Go figure. And be forewarned.
8) Sees weathering on the street and wonders how to recreate it. We modelers probably don't get enough exercise. Just know that you don't need to sit at your bench all day to get that modeling fix. Go outside. Into fresh air. Let the sun restore your Vitamin D deficiency. There's tons of inspiration on the streets. For example, fire escapes and other metal fixtures tend to have chipped paint and 1:1 scale rusting galore. Definitely don't forget about streaking effects on cars and buildings, too.
9) Never builds anything from the stash. The Stash is for building. I will leave you with that ambiguity.
10) Buys paint for yet-to-be-acquired kits. Nothing is worse than building a model only to find that none of the dozen greys in your current inventory are the right grey. And when the time comes to pick up that very-specific-only-this-shade-will-do color from the local hobby shop, it's guaranteed that they won't have it either. Clearly there is a run. And you don't want to fall victim to a paint run. Ergo, an expanding inventory of unused paints is really an insurance policy to protect against future frustrations.
Now that you've read my confession, it's your turn in the comments! Do you share in any of these idiosyncrasies, or have your own? Remember, there's no time like the present to find like-minded people :-)
Thanks for reading,
Contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org or on IG and Twitter @igluemodels