Sprue Cutters Union #5 – Philosophy


The Combat Workshop recently kicked off an interesting idea called “The Sprue Cutters Union”. Basically, the idea is akin to a group build, only with blog posts instead of builds. Every week, a new topic will be tossed out, and participating blogs will each write their own post on that topic.

This week’s topic:

What is your modeling philosophy?

Well. I don’t have a single, unified philosophy of modeling as it were. I DO have philosophies about different aspects of the hobby, however, and this seems as good a place as any to explore them.

Modeling as Meditation – A few years ago, I came across an article on concentration that expressed the idea of western – as opposed to eastern – meditation. Whereas eastern meditation chiefly concerns itself with clearing the mind through intense focus on some internal task such as breathing, western meditation clears the mind through intense focus on a task. To me, this just about perfectly sums up what I get out of modeling. There’s a “zen” to the proceedings that really helps me to decompress.

Invisible Effort is Wasted Effort – I don’t “do” tank interiors. I don’t detail the interiors of bombers unless it’s an interior that’s clearly visible. Likewise, my aftermarket purchases are informed by this philosophy. I will never, for example, buy a resin gear bay set. Unless I’m planning on building an aircraft that will be displayed on its back.

Doogs’ Hierarchy of Needs – Everyone has different things they look for in models. Some are cheapskates. Others are scratchbuilding fiends or rivet counters. Personally, I prefer kits that build well. Then, kits that pack good detail at the, um, detail level. Then, kits with clever engineering (installing exhausts after painting, or using wing spars to force proper dihedral alignment, etc). Accuracy counts for a lot, too, but I’ll take a slightly inaccurate kit that builds like the dickens over a poor-but-accurate kit any day.

FICE – Stands for Fuck It, Close Enough. It’s very easy to go into the weeds in modeling. Obsessing over matching a paint, or correcting too-wide prop blades. Well guess what – nobody cares. Most people who see your model in person will probably be lucky if they can identify the subject, much less get all butthurt about a 109’s cannon bulges being too flat. Contests aren’t an excuse either, since they don’t score kit accuracy problems. Nor will they ding you for only having an 85% color match.

I get it. It’s fun to care. It’s fun to nerd out about some minute aspect of an aircraft or  tank or ship. But care can veer into obsessiveness pretty quickly, and it’s important – to me at least – to know when to step back from the brink.

Go with What Works – Don’t be afraid to experiment with new tools, materials and techniques, but don’t be a slave to some “right” way of doing things, either. Figure out what works for you, and if you can, figure out WHY it works for you so you can articulate it to others.

Don’t Get Trapped by the Build Roster – So I have this problem. About 1/3 of the way through any build, I start getting antsy about the next build. When Group Build opportunities pop up, it gets even worse. Right now, my loosely sketched build roster includes Tamiya’s new Corsair, a Hasegawa Fw 190A-8/R2, two Wingnut Sopwith Pups, Trumpeter’s MiG-3, and on and on. But it never quite works out the way I plan because a third of the way through a build still leaves me with something like a month and a half to change my mind a bazilion more times!

I’m still learning, but I’ve found it’s fun to speculate and plan, but save actually selecting a build until you’re literally ready to start work. What will I build after I wrap up my two 109s? God knows!



Part of being in the Union means we share links to our fellow contributors’ posts. If you liked this post, take a look what some other modellers have to say about this topic:

One Comment Add yours

  1. Bruce Anders says:

    once again I find myself agreeing with Matt Do you have the grey matter conversion for the Buchon? Brett green tackles it in the latest issue of his mag, some fit problems but looks interesting, must say though, deadlines are obviously taking their toll on his modelling, his a/c in particular look really bland Still no Adam Wilder Photo etch DVD!! wouldn’t have stuffed up those fenders if I had it!!! The last one must have got lost, I contacted Adam and he said he was sending me a new one, that was 2 weeks ago. The Greens were campaigning somewhere in NSW tonight on the news, complete with interpretive dance!!! I have to vote for them now, how can you go past interpretive dance?

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