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Model Talk 3 - You Don't Have to be the Best Modeller in the World...

You don’t have to be the best modeller in the world to enjoy the hobby...

 



I meet a lot of modellers in ‘my line of work’ and they vary in modelling ability from the absolute superb who produce museum quality masterpieces, to those whose enthusiasm, shall we say, is somewhat better than their modelling skill levels! The one thing that links them all though, is their enjoyment of sticking bits of plastic (and resin, and etched brass etc, etc) together to create an end product – and enjoyment is the key word.

 

 



To be honest though, I think it might be the ‘less skillful’ modeller that might actually enjoy the hobby even MORE! When ‘really serious’ modellers get TOO deeply involved in a project – that quest for absolute accuracy and perfection of finish – it can sometimes have the opposite effect and merely give a feeling of frustration at not being able to attain the incredibly high target(s) set!

 

 



I readily admit that I’m not one of the world’s best modellers – far from it! Yes, alright you don’t need to agree so unanimously; I do have feelings you know... I think I had one yesterday... – and would class myself as an ‘average’ enthusiast modeller.

 

 



I would like to say that I model to merely satisfy my own skill levels, but that is not strictly true. Although ‘the act of modelling’ – the sticking of the bits together and painting them part – is generally a solitary exercise where you do need to be alone, it is almost essential to know and have a circle of similar-minded modelling friends around to reassure yourself that (a) not only are you ‘normal’ (whatever that means!) and (b) to maintain and improve your modelling skills.

 


I am blessed with having quite a large circle of modelling friends. I’ve known most of them for many years, and many of them have become social as well as ‘hobby’ friends, and I would be a much poorer modeller if I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet with, and talk to, other like-minded souls on a regular basis. It is unbelievable what little gems of information, hints, tips, techniques and inspiration can be gleaned from simply being amongst other modellers – almost by osmosis.

 

 



Also, the knowledge that you’ll be taking your latest effort to a model meeting certainly ‘keeps you on your modelling toes’, as, when you know your ‘modelling peers’ will be closely inspecting what you have just recently lovingly created, you tend to be just that bit more careful in the production of it – extra sanding down to get rid of ALL the join lines, making sure the paint finish is as good as it can be, and that there is no silvering of the decals – it’s basic human nature to want to do your best and gain the admiration, or at least the acceptance, of other modellers with your efforts.

 

 



Of course some modellers will always be better than others, but every modeller I have known, without exception, has improved his or her modelling skills when they have started regularly attending modelling meetings. Admittedly, gazing upon a perfect model produced by a superior modeller can have a disastrous effect and put some of we lesser mortals off modelling completely because we can never hope to aspire to such perfection.

 

 

 

However, being a superior modeller and producing a perfect model doesn’t always automatically mean that the model is accurate. There are so many ‘variations’ of modeller, (ie collector, engineer, historian, artist etc, etc), that just because the finished model is ‘perfection in miniature’, it doesn’t always hold true that the colour scheme and/or markings are perfectly accurate too. I’ve seen some really amazingly made and finished models – with totally spurious markings. Not that I’m saying every modeller who produces a perfect model doesn’t do his/her research, I’m sure most do, but you can never automatically assume that just because the model is perfect, the research behind the model is just as perfect.

 

 




I’ve had the ‘misfortune’ (and I use the word advisedly) to be a competition judge at more than a few model competitions in my time, a role I’m not all that fond of as you ultimately have to make a decision; not one of my strongpoints – that’s why I got married; the Memsahib makes all the decisions in our household! – but that’s another story...

 

 

 

Sometimes the ‘winner’ jumps out at you as soon as you pass your first glance across the ‘contestants’ and sometimes all the competitors’ standards are so high it gets down to nit-picking – and it is usually then that the ‘faults’ (if any) start identifying themselves!

 



Personally, rather than looking at an absolutely perfectly made and pristine model, I also do rather quite like to see a bit of enthusiasm for the subject within a model even if it is not quite so perfectly finished. I’m a bit of a camouflage scheme and markings modeller myself and like to see an ‘interesting’ finish on a model and always feel a little disappointed when I hear, or read, the phrase, "I chose this scheme as it was the easiest to produce..."

 

 

‘Operational’ aircraft always feature high on my ‘like best’ list – especially if they have been ‘in action’ somewhere. Not that I am a particularly belligerent personality, (I’m not big enough!), it’s just that I like to see models ‘fully tooled-up’ and looking as if they’ve got a job to do...

I also like to read about the people that actually flew the aeroplanes, and have a large collection of auto- and bio- graphical books which give a ‘personal background’ and sense of history to the models I make.

 



I suppose, it all boils down to the fact that we must try and remember that we are all merely involved in what is essentially a leisure-time hobby – okay it’s a bit more obsessive than just a mere hobby, but you get my drift – and as such, we aught to be enjoying it...



Neil



PS: To prove my point about not being the world’s best modeller, the photos in this article are of some of my most recently made models...
... see, what did I tell you, more enthusiasm than modelling skill...

 

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