Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #5: Getting philosophical

This week's Sprue Cutters Union question is:  What is your modeling philosophy?

I would love to get all high brow and explain how I am a modeling existentialist. A modeler disoriented and confused in the face of an absurd hobby. A man so disconnected that my thoughts alone prevent me from finishing a kit. A modeler full of angst and despair at his lack of modeling success and completion. But that would be inauthentic...possibly even inaccurate. (A fatal flaw maybe?)

It is true I don’t finish much and it is also true that the hobby does, at times, fill me with angst, but they aren’t part of my philosophy. For many years I struggled with the fact that, ultimately, I want to build the perfect model. (Notice I didn’t say an award winning model. I really don't care about that stuff.) I want to build a model that looks like what I have in my mind's eye when I purchase the kit.

I am a frustrated pilot and wannabe museum creator and curator. I can’t buy a real Tomahawk (or Spitfire, or Mustang, or...) right now (finished in RCAF markings, of course), so I settle for a 1/72 version. I’d like a model to look like a scale representation of its fictional real life counterpart. Not an exact replication of a 400 Squadron Tomahawk in 1942, but a slightly cleaner show plane that is flown with some regularity. So that means, while it won’t be 100% authentic, or slavishly copied from a photo, it will be well built, with no seams, no decal issues, no paint issues. Obvious shape accuracy will be corrected. Colours and markings will be mostly correct, but occasionally with a few slight changes because I think they are cool. I'll add seatbelts to the cockpit, but I don't need resin and photoetch accessories just to add detail. The cockpit will be closed, as will all the panels. It also won’t be weathered so much I wouldn’t be willing to fly it and it won’t be so glossy that your eyes hurt...we aren’t taking 1970s warbirds here...

Sadly, my name is not Mike Grant and I don’t have the skills to build that perfect model as I envision it. That vision hung me up for years and put me in a position that I don’t finish many models. I bought them. I started them. Then as soon as I made a mistake that destroyed the perfection I put them aside. I was miserable. Everyone ragged on my for not finishing and I started to get frustrated and press. The next one will be perfect. Nope, mistake. Ok, the next one will be perfect. Nope...eject...and on and on...

I started to realize perfection is both unattainable and unnecessary. These are just plastic toys, right? Even a less than perfect model on the shelf is better than no finished model on the shelf. So, right now I’m focusing on fun and enjoying the process. Rekindling my childlike sensibilities I had as a young boy when building a kit was the most exciting thing ever. Sure I’m going to take care. Sure, I hope I turn out an OK model, and, sure, I try to improve with each kit, but right now the focus is on fun. Fun is my new philosophy.

Part of being in the Union means you must include links to fellow contributor's posts within your own response.  So here are a few posts from some of the other members:

Mr. Knights is getting better all the time. (He can't get much worse.)
Yet another plastic modeller's trying to keep it simple.
Martin wants to enjoy it all.
Kermit is all about fun.
Havoc Models wants to keep it simple.
MattBlackgod says anything goes.
The Eternal Wargamer is a rebel.
Scale Model Workbench says if it feels good it's alright.
Doogs is about the Zen.
The Combat Workshop is all about his enjoyment.

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