“Whatever. It’s just a hobby.”
“It’s your model. Do whatever you want.”
What if – bear with me here – but what if we all agreed to put aside these dodges when discussing various aspects of modeling?
Why? Because they add absolutely nothing to any discussion of any kind. And because, in my opinion*, they cheapen the hobby and our shared passion for it.
*NOTE: When I say opinion, I mean exactly that. I’m not making pronouncements or holding up commandments of modeling. This is not a manifesto. This is my soapbox and I can stand on it and say what I want, and you’re free to agree, disagree, or flat out ignore me. Isn’t that great!?!
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Here’s the thing. Of course modeling is, in the grand scheme of things, a hobby. And of course nobody is standing by your bench, holding a gun to your head and telling you to build a certain way. To me, these two things are self-evident. There is no need to restate them, and they in no way constitute a counterargument.
It’s like wading into a political discussion with “all politicians are corrupt” or a heated debate about football/basketball/curling and saying “it’s just a game”. Congratulations! You just contributed absolutely nothing!
These things, they’re un-arguments.
In my experience, they’re trotted out when someone disagrees with something but can’t be bothered to put together a coherent counterpoint. It’s almost like an attempt to shame someone for having the gall to have a take on a specific topic.
Have Some Pride!
The first aspect of these dodges is banal. The second – again, in my opinion – is more insidious.
Modeling is a hobby. And a pretty ridiculous and frivolous one. We take pieces of plastic, stick them together, and slather chemicals on them.
But you know what? Most hobbies are ridiculous and frivolous. Some people cut out pieces of paper and glue them to other pieces of paper, or weave yarn together in patterns. Other people pluck metal strings strung over a box with a hole in it and enjoy the sounds the box makes. Still others find pleasure in getting in a hollowed out piece of wood and floating on a body of water. Or sleeping outside. Hobbies by their very nature are ridiculous and frivolous. We pursue them for no end other than to relax and get away from the pressing responsibilities of life, if only for a little while.
But to say modeling is just a hobby, or only a hobby or whatever, cheapens it.
Hobbies are valuable things.
They help us relax. They give us pleasure. They give us diversion. And in the case of our hobby, well, we choose to spend time on it. Obviously, to us, it’s more than just some meaningless thing.
We care about it enough that we hole up in basements and garages and craft rooms for hours on end. We care about it enough that we get antsy when we hit that part of a build when the real fun begins. We care enough to go online and geek out with the like-minded, to go to contests, to lose sleep over the next stage of our builds. We care about it enough to get into impassioned debates about the shape of a cowling or what was different between this variant and that, or the best way to achieve a certain effect.
Modeling isn’t just a hobby. Modeling is a hobby. It’s my hobby. And I love the hell out of it. If you’re reading this, odds are, it’s your hobby, too.
Fucking own it. Take some pride in it.
The same goes for “it’s your model…”.
No crap it’s your model! You can do whatever you want…but come on. If you’re online reading up on the hobby, talking with other modelers, and choosing to spend your time this way, I’m going to guess that whatever you want generally follows an upward trajectory of improvement. Nobody says “I can build whatever I want, and I want to build a shittier model than I built last time!”
You can joke about buying a King Tiger and painting it hot pink, but you’re not going to. Because you give a shit.
Bottom line? Contribute to discussions…or don’t. But can we please stop it with the un-arguments and the casual dismissiveness? Our hobby is ridiculous and it’s (to us, at least) awesome! We can take it seriously and laugh at it at the same time! But give it its due. You owe it (and yourself) that much.
The background for this post’s title card is Brandon Bird’s excellent “Lazy Sunday Afternoon”. I highly recommend you do yourself a favor and check it and the rest of his wonderful and offbeat work out at http://brandonbird.com/