To Win Or Not To Win

Can Showing Your Model Without Anxiety Be Just As Exciting As Winning? - I Say Yes!

I used to be a big competitor at model shows when I was a lot younger.  I would go above and beyond and most of the time to the extreme, to win the coveted 1st prize.

Usually a $3.75 award with an engraved plaque that announced in a burnished manner that you were the Kaiser and that every other modeler should be honored to subsist in your presence.

As I grew older and when competition became a lot more aggressive, I started to look at it differently and realized that winning is not all that important. It actually never was.

Agreed, it was and is a stimulant to conclusively finish something and to show the outside world that you are capable to build a model kit that will keep people captivated for more than 3 seconds when they undertake the effort to walk over and look at it.

But competition also has a down side. I can’t remember the exact number of times when some modeler told me that he would never bring his project to a show out of fear to embarrass himself when he had to put it on the table next to possible “winners”.

Although he wanted to but felt like he only would besmirch the tablecloth and not be worthy to put his model next to someone who spent $50 to install the “correct” rudder pedals in his Messerschmitt!

I’m sure there is division between modelers that like to be competitive and the ones that just want to come out of the closet, put their model on the table and receive some creative feedback.

Winning a model contest is not all that important when you think about it. While it is nice to be recognized and take home the prize – the true fun comes from competing and challenging yourself to become a better modeler.


Most of the trophies end up in a yard sale a few years later or serve as the base of your diorama when you can’t find the correct size board.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to the ones from EagleQuest 🙂 …

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Now don’t get me wrong here. There is nothing off beam or sinful to compete and as I mentioned at the beginning, I was deep into it.

I once bought a $100(back then) 1/32nd Tamiya F-14 for the canopy, two Blue Thunder helicopters for the helmets and a Revell F-4 for its drop-tank so I could finish a conversion! Crazy! Was it worth it? Hell yes!  I won everything there was to win and more and I loved every minute of being in the spotlight!

Since then I became a little bit more conservative, realizing that showing your model, without the anxiety of being judged by your peers, is just as exciting. More so, it is inviting. There would be a lot more entrees on the table from modelers that finally can leave their basement devoid of pressure and the relief that they are not the Quasimodo in the room.

Then there is the judging by itself. I’ve seen fistfights and chairs flying through the ballroom over an exposed seam line. I witnessed shouting contests when someone was demoted to “only” winning an honorary achievement certificate when a critic detected a glue mark while shining a pen shaped flashlight, holding a dental mirror underneath his pièce de résistance!


But all in all, we modelers are docile creatures that are passionate about our hobby which, sometimes leads to funny situations. Anecdotes we can all laugh about when we reminisce at the Convention- hotel bar. And that is also a big piece of the hobby. Chill out, enjoy your model and have a beer with friends!



P.S. Thanks for your patience on the F-84 Build Series. I am trying to finish the final chapter of this build very soon. I’ll be sure to post it when I do. If you haven’t read my previous blog posts on Building Encore’s 1/48 F-84F Thunderstreak, please check out Part I HERE and move on to II, III, IV, & V from there. Hope it encourages you to pick up one of these limited edition kits…it’s been a fun build for sure!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lloyd Schrecengost

    Hi Jeff; Really enjoyed the”Fatherhood & Modeling message in the June flyer.
    I remember my dad helping me build that 1957 T- Bird ( it was1957).
    Later helping my sons to build their first models. (usually aircraft) I made it clear I would coach but not actually touch the project.(this was sort of a problem when it came to spray painting at first.)
    My sons have grown up and moved on and the old man still thinks he can turn out a barely respectable aircraft or car model. Who knows ,maybe the urge to build will return to them someday. Thanks for the memories.