Tuesday, April 1, 2014

thoughts from long ago

I wrote this many years ago for a web site that is still in existence but has slowed in traffic. I still go there to see if any of my old friends are posting things of interest as they are a highly educated group in the realm of 1/87 scale vehicles. Sorry no photos accompany this writing but it struck me as still very much appropriate to my feelings on the hobby.



I started this as wanting to get an opinion poll going but when I finished writing I forgot what I was going to ask a poll about. Your forgiveness is requested if this seems a bit too editorial for these pages. I'm off on another rant today, please forgive it's lengthiness.

Every forum or list that I subscribe to ends up having a topic posted like "who are we?". And inevitably everyone gives a brief summary of what they are in this life. Husband, father, construction worker, investment banker etc., how long they've been at it and a brief blurb about how long they've been modeling. This is fine and good and I am very interested and actually quite amazed in the diversity of the participants in our hobby. But it doesn't really say who we are as modelers. It shows us all of the differences in us but doesn't address what we share in common as modelers. One must delve much deeper into the psyche of a modeler in order to find the common ground that makes us as devoted to our hobby as we are. Of any form of recreation that I participate in (I love to fish and I'm a minor sports nut), I have come to the realization that those that share this one with me are the most preoccupied and enthusiastic (some may say even fanatical). Truly a rare breed and in most cases a subject of concern among their families. ("Is Dad alright? He's been poking at that model over 4 hours now.")

It is an odd occurrence that would put me in my pick up to go somewhere, even if only down the road a short piece, that I am not imagining something I would like to model. An old truck in a field, a barn, a tree even a culvert that is passing under me, all become subjects for consideration. Immediately the wheels begin to turn or the light bulb goes off or whatever you use to describe the smell of an idea being born (you don't smell things burning when you think ? hmm..) Thought then turns to the elements of the build process that would bring any of these subjects to fruition in miniature. "OK, now draw it out...and you'll need some 1/16" diameter tubing and some scale wood...hmm... how long to put that part together ?" Soon you have a plan or at least the start of a plan. Now don't make me paranoid by saying this doesn't occur from time to time to you. I know I'm not alone in this thought process and it's time you all came out of the closet with me.

Now that we've established at least one thing in common (hopefully), we share some of the same thoughts as we observe the real world passing by our windshield. Or at least some kind of pattern in our thinking that seems to want to translate everything we are in contact with into miniature. (I tried this with my mortgage but the bank wasn't going for it). I won't try to explain why this is so, I'm not qualified to make that call. These thoughts help to get me through the day, is all I know.

Let's examine too the reasoning that takes place as we go through the day. What takes place in your cranial cavity when we are sorting through the cabinet under the sink or the coffee cans stacked up in the garage filled with every screw, nut and tiny piece of wire that we've ever run across? There isn't one nook or cranny in my shop that hasn't been thoroughly examined for items that possess model building attributes. (what the heck is a cranny anyway ?) All the materials that pass before us become fair game and hold possibilities of becoming a part of our next model. Or at least an integral part of the building of that model. When I asked my wife for her used compacts, I thought she would have me committed. I got equally disturbing looks when I wanted old stockings and nail polish too. But hey, these are standard tools of the hobby we're talking about here. Actually this has all worked to my advantage because now I am thought to have, shall we say, a stability issue, and it drums up a lot of sympathy.

There is one last habit that confirms our bonds and that is the one we are currently sharing. The computer access to the internet has been invaluable in finding those other lost souls who's minds are filled with visions of the world in miniature. We are thrilled at the opportunity to share a technique that works for us and to exhibit the results. We are gratified at the positive responses we get and are appreciative of the constructive criticism. It is pleasing to view the successes of others and motivating to see phenomenal accomplishments. I personally jump at the chance to get any new information "on the web" and make it part of the electronic highway for those as interested as I am to view. I'd like to take the old saying "misery loves company" and give it a new twist by saying that this common interest we all have, loves it's company.

Now this all may sound a little strange to some and I wouldn't blame you a bit if you walked away saying "man, this guys' wife has it right, he's nuts". But I know somewhere out there, someone knows that what I'm saying is so. I'm sure I haven't covered all the little oddities we share because of whom we are and I'd like to think some of them should be kept to ourselves. There is something about who we are that many of us share and it goes beyond what we do to pay our bills or how many kids we have or where we live. It resides in a space inside of us that loves to create and we have chosen to do so in miniature. Perhaps what is most comforting about this is the ability to transcend all the barriers of race, politics, religion, income and I guess even gender and age.
To be modelers first, that just happen to be real people.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great piece.
It defines modellers as professionals in terms of perfecting the illusion of reality, in miniature.

John Kerekes
Graduate, summa cum laude
Armchair Model Railroad Institute

chester said...

Thanks!