Recently, I committed the apparently way over-the-line act of teasing someone who really, really cared quite a bit about the accuracy of a certain upcoming kit. By posting this…
Well, it kicked off a good old internet argument with lots of huffing and puffing and butthurt.
Then, I went and committed an even bigger transgression. I suggested that, when you step back and look at it, this hobby is ridiculous.
My oldest dog, Sam, when he identifies something to bark at, stands up all straight and the fur on his back poofs up. That’s pretty much exactly the reaction I got.
“Harumph! Have you ever made a living from this hobby? Well I have…”
“I’ll have you know, this hobby has brought me forty years of enjoyment, it’s not ridiculous”
Here’s my take. I love this hobby. I derive a great deal of satisfaction from it. It’s a fantastic decompression tool, it lets me work with my hands, geek out about history, gives my mind something to spin on, and in general keeps me sane.
But it’s still ridiculous. Just like most hobbies. We glue pieces of plastic together, then slather them with pigment suspended in some sort of chemical brew you probably shouldn’t drink. When we’re done, we take a bunch of pictures of them to share with other people doing the same thing. Sometimes, we convene in a location and pay money to put our pigment-slathered plastic assemblages on a table with other plastic assemblages, or just to look at other people’s plastic assemblages. Entire companies make money by making different pieces of plastic, or putting together articles about how to put the pieces of plastic together.
It is ridiculous. It is frivolous. It is silly. And there is nothing wrong with admitting that.
If you can’t step back and look at this hobby and have a chuckle about that, odds are you’re probably not the kind of modeler I want to associate with.
Learning to Let Go
I used to get pretty worked up about the way people would dismissively label different “types” within this hobby. Your rivet counters or box-shakers or builders vs. assemblers or paint nazis or whatever.
But over time, I realized two things.
First, all (or at least most) of us are all of these things and none of these things and often skate somewhere in between. I’m no rivet counter, but I will get all bent out of shape when certain details are completely flubbed – like the tread pattern on HK’s B-25 tires or the lack of clear seeker heads for the Hellfires in Kitty Hawk’s AH-1Z Viper. I’m no paint nazi – but I will obsess about my paint mix for a certain color until I get it where I want it. I don’t like scratchbuilding, but I don’t know if I’ve built a single aircraft kit without modifying something.
Second, the people who take these to absolutes or use them to disparage others who aren’t like them generally turn out to be assholes. Or at least on the asshole spectrum. Just because somebody doesn’t place as high an importance on accuracy as you do doesn’t mean they don’t care about it at all. Just because somebody doesn’t want to scratchbuild their way out of a shitty old Revell kit doesn’t make them an assembler. Just because somebody really, really cares about getting RLM 02 right doesn’t mean they give two flicks about getting a perfect match for Dark Sea Blue or CARC Green.
These two realizations led me to a third.
The Problem is People Who Take This Too Seriously
Honestly, this is probably a larger societal problem, but let’s not go there, shall we?
The thing is, when you take something so seriously that you can’t laugh about it, you quickly enter righteousness territory. Because you’re right, damnit, and that other guy is just a dipshit because he won’t realize how right you are.
There are some things that are worth being righteous about. Modeling is not one of them. People aren’t being crucified in Syria because they picked the wrong olive drab or didn’t correct the cowl bulges on their Bf 109G-6.
So the next time you see someone getting all high and might about some aspect of modeling, laugh at them, and encourage them to laugh at themselves as well. Because ultimately, as ridiculous as modeling is, getting all bent out of shape about what someone else thinks about modeling is even moreso.