The Southern Maryland Scale Modelers meet every third Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm at High Tide Games, 22599 MacArthur Blvd, California, Maryland, (San Souci Plaza, between McKay's and Mission BBQ).

We are also meeting online via Zoom most Thursdays at 7pm -- an email is sent to members with meeting info.

Everyone is welcome, all we ask is that you bring a project, finished or not, theme or non-theme to share during our Show-N-Tell discussion. Okay, you don't really have to bring a project...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

117: Spare Parts

Spare Parts

Odds and ends, tips and tricks, miscellaneous musings.


What’s in it for me?

“It’s a fun hobby.” “It helps me relax.” It’s a great stress relief.” If you ask a modeler why he is a modeler you’ll probably get one of those answers, or something along that line. Despite the wide variety of personalities (or lack of personality) and backgrounds that make up the population of the scale modeling world, we all do it for basically the same reason. Now, if you take fifty modelers and ask each of them what their favorite modeling activity is, you’ll get a hundred different answers.

            There are many aspects to the scale modeling hobby, lots of genres in a variety of scales. There are disciplines that our little group does not address, like model railroading and RC. We do have some members who engage in those activities and we certainly don’t hold that against them, even if they are into RC cars. Right, Jon?

            Some modelers specialize in a particular genre and scale, like 1/72 aircraft, 1/35 armor, or 1/24 cars. Then there are modelers who live in the moment and will build something just because it looks cool or unusual, regardless of the scale or category. Some modelers enjoy the research aspect of the hobby and can cite the most arcane historical details of their current project. Some modelers aren’t satisfied until every last panel line is exactly right and will tell another modeler when they aren’t. Others build out of the box and when the glaring, egregious errors are pointed out they shrug and say, “It looks like a (insert subject here) to me”.

            Then there is the build process itself. Going from opening the box to putting a finished model on the table is a long, sometimes endless process. Just like the modeling hobby, the model building process is multifaceted. There is the initial cleaning up and assembly of the parts. Parts are joined to form sub-assemblies, which in turn are joined together in the final assembly steps. You may or may not add aftermarket or scratch built details along the way. Usually seams need to be filled and cleaned up. Parts and assemblies need to be prepared for paint and then painted, and decals are applied. Then comes the application of washes, dry brushing, filters, and pigments to achieve the desired weathering effects. Again, if you ask fifty modelers what is their favorite part of the build you’ll get a hundred different answers.

            Some model clubs are specialized. I belong to a model car club and some of our members belong to RC flying clubs. There are armor model clubs, figure model clubs, and railroad model clubs. I think that one of the neat things about our club is that it is not specialized. The variety of modeling experience and expertise leads to some spirited discussions at our meetings. It also leads to some interesting comments that we can learn from. For example, I never realized that a modeler who would scratch build details for a 1/144 scale aircraft cockpit would need “… to have his head examined”, or that building link-to-link tracks for a tank is “… the definition of insanity.” What I have learned from such comments is that everyone has an opinion and people will frequently have differing opinions. It’s a matter of choice.

            Which brings us to the overarching reason that every one of us is a modeler. It’s a matter of personal choice, actually an iterative series of choices. First one decides to be a modeler, then decides what kind of models to build and how to build them. Of course those decisions change as one evolves, learns, and grows as a modeler. So, what is the answer to the question that brought on this musing? I’ve always been a proponent of Socratic pedagogy, so I’m going to answer the question with a question:
What do you want?

            (NOTE: If you don’t know what “Socratic pedagogy” is, look it up. But be careful, you might learn something!)



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