We modelers are a strange bunch of characters. Although we share the same hobby, we are not all that alike. I’ve been around the block of this industry a few times and tend to claim to “have seen it all”. But once in a while, still, I wonder what some of “us” are thinking when I see them at conventions, carrying an old beat up Heller 1/24 Renault TN6N Parisian Bus model under their armpit! These observations make me question and at the same time realize how diverse modelers are in their way of exercising the hobby.
However, without knowing it, we all slide into one category or another, either we like it or not. Force of habit I guess. Going to shows and conventions over the years made me somewhat observant of the parade of eccentrics that passed in front of my window. I see them every year.
The Competitor– arrives last and usually has an entourage of friends to help him out in carrying his stuff. He will spend whatever it takes to make his model stand out from the rest. He is there to win! He’s also a little aloof and very secretive about his skills, reluctant to share any tips or techniques.
The Contender- above average modeler. He participates wherever there is a show and brings as many models himself and his wife can carry. Whatever he wins is fine. Doesn’t have to be first place, any ribbon will make him happy. Contrary to the competitor, he will explain in so much unbearable detail how he built his model that it makes you wonder why you absolutely had to ask that question.
The Fun Builder– he builds everything. Doesn’t matter what. Winning is secondary. He just wants to display and enjoy the event. He manipulates his model like he handles his hammer at home and you can tell this from its finish. A seam and a visible ejector tab doesn’t bother him too much. Having a good time is his main objective.
The Closet Builder– does not compete. He comes and observes. Doesn’t speak much but steals with his eyes. He is there to learn. He knows he’s not all that good but it doesn’t bother him. All he wants is personal satisfaction.
The Happy modeler– hardly builds anything. He has some projects he is working on but nothing special. Usually obscure subjects that never get finished but he is very knowledgeable and can talk about everything and anything. He reads a lot.
The Collector– same as the happy modeler and not a frequent builder but buys a lot. This troupe supports the industry and keeps everyone in business. Also the largest group. His mind is all over the place. He will buy a Saturn V today and a HMS Victory the next. He also buys in multiples but will not sell one back to you if you would ask him.
El Cheapo– spends a lot of time at the vending booth, hovering over a model he desperately has been looking for and wants badly but can’t coordinate his hand to touch his wallet. He will make several trips back to the table and drive the vendor to a point of insanity when negotiating a price while drooling over the kit. Eventually he leaves for home empty handed and regrets every minute of travel time not to have bought the model.
And then there is, last but not least:
The Basement Dweller– I see him all the time. Scruffy, not all that clean and in desperate need of diet intervention. Never wandered too far away from his mother’s bosom and still lives in the house where he was originally conceived. Nice guy to talk to and always spending money that he pulls all wadded up, warm and damp, out of his right front pocket. He builds like a madman but keeps it contained at home and never competes. You’ll find him scraping resin on the couch next to a supersize bag of Funyuns and a 1.5 liter diet Coke bottle.
Regardless of the category, one thing is for sure. We all love to build….and can’t wait for the latest new kits to come out so we can plan what will get added to our stash the next time we shop. While we are all very different people….we are definitely also all the same. Glad to be a part of it!