A glimpse into my scale modeling hobby

Scale Modeling: Where do I start?

This is the first of occasional posts on the the scale modeling hobby. I have a lot of thoughts from my own experiences, and I want to share them with anyone interested in getting into the hobby for the first time or in expanding their knowledge base.

Any good discussion of a topic starts with an introduction. Every person who has set foot in a Barnes and Noble and ever picked up a “________ for Dummies” guide knows that in order to start something two things are necessary: motivation and the right tools. With this combination one can accomplish almost anything.

For this post, I am going to focus on the motivation aspect of picking up a new hobby, and in a future post I will talk about the needed tools. My guess is that those who have checked out this blog already have a passing interest in scale models. I also would venture to guess that many have already dabbled in modeling, maybe 15-*mumble, mumble* years ago. I remember a dark corner of my parents’ basement, an old wooden table with four layers of thick, citrus orange paint and layers of newspaper so I would not damage the precious paint job. In the opposite corner of the corner lay remains of Pinewood Derby Cars and Raingutter Regatta boats. In the midst of all the ’80s color and glory, that table was my home base. I went down there with a brush, some paint, a bunch of molded plastic and grand plans for the best-looking kit ever built.

Those who have had similar experiences to mine probably also know that trying to build models with skill and precision as a 10-year-old is nearly impossible. And, anyone who experienced those feelings of failure and disappointment may also have quit the hobby like I did. I never lost interest; I just did not think I had the ability.

Fortunately, what I am here to tell you is that disappointment as a 10-year-old does not equal failure as an adult. Two years ago, I got a Roman warship model as a gift from my wife, and a love was reborn. In short, in order to pick those brushes, tweezers, and paints back up, the most important thing to do is to rekindle the motivation and wonder that originally drew you to the hobby in the first place. The same principle applies to those who want to pick up the brushes for the first time. For me, the magic of Star Wars and its fascinating vehicles compelled me to make my own. Combined with a 10-year-old’s natural desire to build stuff, the amount of Star Wars kits available in the late ’80s and early ’90s were the perfect fuel for my feverish desire to build. Find the passion and interest, and you will find the motivation.

For you, it may not be Star Wars. You may get the shivers when you think about vintage World War II planes and tanks or tall ships and battleships. Maybe you love cars, and building a mini-engine on a scaled down car reminds you of working on your own car. Whatever fills you with wonder, pursue it. Scale modeling is a hobby of passion and patience, and the patience will come naturally if you are working on something you love. You may even find that you start branching out into other subjects after you develop an interest in the hobby!

Scale modeling is for those of us who never cared about the derby cars or the regatta boats that performed well. We cared about making them look cool (teaser: one year I built the Delorean time machine. Yep, I was that kid…). Scale modeling is for those of us who were never satisfied with the plain old Legos. We wanted to build it and make it look authentic at the same time (although I do love Legos!). Scale modeling is for anyone who wants to create something he or she loves for their very own. When you tap into that creative force, your motivation will rarely run dry.

What are your thoughts and experiences with getting into scale modeling? Share your stories and experiences in the comments below.

One response

  1. Mike Wright

    WOW, sounds like my first experience, basement table and all. I had to share the table with my brother, and share the glue.. and the hobby knife…..and the paint..and brush.. It was a little more than 15 mumble mumble years ago though. My new surge in model building began when I started seeing the Master Replicas ships for sale on ebay. No way I could ever afford those, but with a little practice and patience, I thought I could do my own. I’m not exactly there yet,( movie replica quality) but I’m getting better each time I build one. Plus I have a little PTSD from 2 tours in Iraq, it is amazing how a hobby keeps your mind from wondering and helps you to focus on other things. Anyhow I have always enjoyed building models, but as you said 10 year olds don’t have the ability to get the right tools and such and get discouraged. Plus we didn’t have the internet with all the information, tips from pro’s like you all, stores to get supplies reference pics and so on. It has changed so much in the last 30 some years, and it is a great time to have fun model building. Always enjoy your posts and seeing your work.

    January 10, 2013 at 8:31 pm

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