Keeping An Open Mind

Over the recent years there were many occasions where I attended model shows. I still do actually.  Usually I look forward with a big dose of excitement for those days.  Mostly it is to physically monitor what’s new on the market but more important, to observe the quality and craftsmanship that is on display currently.

When I look back twenty thirty years ago or maybe even longer, when the hobby really was flourishing, it seemed that compared with today, modeling must have been held back because of the lack of availability of certain things.

I’m not necessarily talking about accessories but about the absence of good tools, paints and information.

When I started my career, I was confident that the models I cranked out were “as good as it gets” but when I look at the same projects now (still have a few), compared with current work and the efforts that I see from today’s modelers, I’m shocked.

I know that back then, I invested all my energy and commitment in those ventures and was overly convinced that I left many contenders in my dust! But lately even an average modeler’s piece, looks better than the most prolific model of mine twenty years ago!

So here’s the question, if I had better tools, paints, books etc. back then, would I have done a better job? Or did I really evolve from those days and simply have become a better modeler over time?

I know it is a strange question and maybe one that is completely pointless but it does trigger some sort of “need-to-know-philosophy” with me.

I see young modelers finish pieces that, I know now, I would never have been capable of back then, even if my life depended on it.

Yes, I had a scalpel, tweezers, good glue, sand paper and plastic sheet and strips. I had a decent airbrush and access to decent paints but I did not get the results of today’s generation. So what is it?

Maybe I didn’t “see” it enough. When you try to project an unbuilt kit into something you envision and you know exactly what to do to make it happen. Maybe I did evolve in my skills over the years.

Or maybe it is the combination of the two. Learning from mistakes combined with good tools and paint. I don’t know if I can consider myself a pioneer but I’d like to. So then the answer is a little simpler – I did it the hard way.

I am not saying that modeling became a lot simpler but the tools at today’s disposal make it more inviting, more rewarding but most of all stimulating. The least a modeler wants to do is experimenting with a high dollar kit and I did a lot of that! Spending three-four weeks on a project just to toss it in the garbage can was not all that uncommon because of a wrong wash or making the wrong cut.

So it is nice that there are pre mixed washes available with all the explanation of how to apply, publications that help you avoid mistakes and guide you through or just a healthy dosage of determination  and confidence that with all what’s out there, you can get the result you envisioned.

So after all, maybe, the hobby has a better chance to be more tempting to today’s generation who seem only to be interested in quick results.

As for me, I’m still evolving the old fashioned way I guess. Learning one step at the time as I have been doing for almost fifty years.

Now if I only could stop shaking….


Jef V.

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