Stop blaming others and seize the opportunity

I saw this on a forum I use:

But, as it seems I don’t build etched brass kits or even whitemetal ones some will say that I’m not a modeller

Who are these “some”? I haven’t met any of them.

Anyone who goes beyond simply opening boxes is a modeller and the idea that you have to build etched brass kits to become a modeller is nonsense.

This is akin to those who refer to, for want if a better way of putting it, “finescalers” as elitist. Well, I know some of the best modellers in the country, and not one of them is in anyway elitist. Sure, they want to make their models as accurate as possible, to the finest possible standards, etc, but not one of them has ever told me that everyone else must do the same, or that anyone who doesn’t is somehow not worth anything. And all of them, and I do mean every single one, are prepared to share their techniques with anyone who is interested. The only complaint I ever hear from them is that too many are afraid to try.

Personally, I am getting sick and tired of it. We all have limitations, be they time, money, space or skills, but we can increase and improve our skills given time a degree of time. And time can replace money, too: start with raw materials and learn their properties, and acquire the basic tools to work with them. Cutting out and embossing takes longer than buying etchings, yes, but the mistakes and hence the lessons learned are your own, and with time these mistakes are replaced with new ones, and new lessons.

The only times I see the idea that what someone is doing isn’t good enough to be “proper modelling” is from their own minds. There are no right and wrong ways to be a modeller: just putting some personal effort into making a model look more like the real thing, which is as much about careful observation of the real thing as it is about anything else. And you don’t have have to go back in time to see how dirt and weathering affect things.

No, when I see people refer to “some”, I generally incline to the view that the speaker is the “some”, and rather than admit that they feel they could do better, they project their disappointment onto a perceived elite which doesn’t exist. Feeling that you could achieve more and better is quite possibly the defining characteristic of the human condition: it drives us to self-improvement, to every model being slightly better than the previous one (in the early stages, to every model being significantly better than the previous one) until we reached a point where the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in.

From what I have observed, that doesn’t usually happen until one is well advanced into one’s dotage.

As the Bard put it,

From this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.


8 thoughts on “Stop blaming others and seize the opportunity

  1. Simon Post author

    As an addendum, in trying to stir a sensible debate about the degree of error-tolerance individuals might have, and when this crosses a threshold for a model to become “wrong”, I have been accused of being the “Finescale Taliban”.

  2. Trevor

    Bringing this back to a more serious note… I’ve read it again and you’re absolutely right. These sorts of comments are far too common in the hobby. It’s a hobby, and we each do it to the level of our own abilities. We do not have to apologize for being a novice. Nor do we have to apologize to novices for being a craftsman.

    That said, there’s no barrier to improving our abilities EXCEPT THOSE WE SET UP AGAINST OURSELVES.

    Anybody can learn to cut and glue pieces of plastic or wood. Anybody can also learn to judge their own work, and work more carefully to improve their abilities to cut and glue said pieces of plastic or wood.

    Anybody can learn to solder – and learn to solder well. Anybody can learn DCC. Or how to create beautiful, convincing scenery.

    There’s nothing stopping a person from trying – from researching how it’s done – from asking questions of those modellers better than they – and so on.

    As you know, I’m learning to work brass, and learning to mill and turn pieces. The basics are simple – and the craftsmanship comes from practice. I’m not there yet – but I’m trying. And that’s what’s important. If someone is not trying, they can only blame themselves for their mediocrity.

    Again, well said!

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