A return to the bench, the return of the usual frustrations and what’s next?

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After many months spent away from the bench whilst I refurbished the old workroom in all honesty I have not done much modelling since just before Telford last November this is due to many reasons and not just the fact that I had dismantled my desk and thrown it away. So over the last couple of weekends I have made a welcome return to the bench for a bit of light modelling in the shape of a Tamiya radio controlled car that the ever suffering Kerry  bought me for my birthday earlier in the year, it has been nearly 30 years since I last built a radio control car and it has been a nice deviation from the usual stuff that I build and although not straight forward it has been very enjoyable and I am looking forward to getting it finished and have it tearing up and down the car park of the school where I work. This return to the workbench after close to 6 months away has been really enjoyable and to be honest and not before time. When I  decided to refurb my workspace at the start of the year the thought that it would take me the best part of the first third of the year had not entered my mind, I just thought it would take me a few weeks however these things never go to plan and took me a bit longer than I had planned and hoped.

My modelling year has not really got started and this has been for numerous reasons work of course, this is an unwelcome distraction that at times really gets in the way and eats into my modelling time like nothing else although it is not all negative as it enables me to buy all the models and supplies my heart desires. The household chores and finding the time to keep on top of these also gets in the way and keeps me away from both the workbench and my blog. The yearly model shows we attend has been stop and start we always kick off the year with our local show run by The North Surrey military modelling group in early Feb followed by southern expo in what is usually sunny Essex however we were a no show due in no small part to a downfall of snow which meant we had to miss it. Polarity was restored with our April trip to what is one of our favourite shows of the year in a very sunny Milton Keynes where the only downside was that it was bloody hot and for some reason known only to those who look after the premises that hosts it the heating was still on in some parts of the building and made it very uncomfortable especially upstairs where it was roasting, and we finished our shows for the first part of the year with a trip down to the coast and a day by the sea and the Lancing model show. We now have quite a gap between shows as we have nothing until September where we have a choice of 3 shows, IPMS Farnborough, Euro model expo and a trip to Crewe for the UK garage kit show followed by nothing in October and of course Telford in November  topped off very nicely with the London model show in Early December.

My Blog has been a bit like the other aspects of my modelling and has been very stop and start this year which has been in no small part due to a lack of time, I have come to realise as I get older that I have less and less time to spend on the things that I enjoy doing like modelling. When I started my blog early last year it was born out of the frustrations that I am sure are shared with a fair percentage of us modellers, a lack of time opportunity inspiration and of course the modelling mojo because when that goes it’s a devils own job to get it back. Mine was missing for a good part of last year and I was ever so glad when it made a reappearance in about late spring, the other issue I have with my blog is subject matter there are times when I have loads of things to write about and others there is nothing at all and sometimes I start writing about a certain subject and as I write it feels a bit disjointed and I just abandon the post and it just sits in the half written unpublished section on wordpress until I either have the time to re-write it or have the heart to just delete it completely, there are currently 13 such part written posts just waiting to either be finished or deleted permanently.

The future?, I am planning on a return to the workbench this weekend and hopefully a bit next week as I have a week off from work due to the half term holiday, you see working in a school does have its perks and a holiday on average every 5 or 6 weeks is definitely one of them. I currently have nothing on the bench so now there is the opportunity to either complete one from my pile of shame start one of the builds for Telford or I can crack on with a small project for a 1/48 scale British Armour group build on Facebook that I have signed up for which is a bit strange as the tank I will be building I bought for a British armour campaign on Armorama many many moons ago, I think that will be my starter. This project will also incorporate the use of some of the new AK interactive Real Colours which I plan on using as my first review blog post so watch this space. I thought as each project nips or rather labours across my workbench that it would give me the opportunity to try out new products which I will review here, I am not saying that every blog post will be a review however it will make a pleasant change to the usual musings yet have no fear my usual bleating will still appear from time to time. So that takes care of the present and the near future and here’s to a more productive second half of 2018.

The Average Modeller

Midweek May Musings – The state we find ourselves in, modelling in the modern era……

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As I sit here with a little bit of time on my hands contemplating this wonderful hobby of mine that has kept me both entertained and frustrated in equal measure for the best part of 20 odd years. I marvel at the wonderfully talented modellers whose work grace the many magazines that I look at and buy, the many internet forums I visit and the various social media platforms I use, however within this wonderful hobby we have factions of modellers that just drive me up the wall and I seem to see posts from this particular type of modeller on nearly a daily basis. Now there are those that just live and breathe to just moan moan and then moan some more, then there are those that are just lazy and are constantly posting on forums and social media asking for advice on an array of subjects that if they could be bothered to search the internet for would find the answers to their questions quite easily but instead they cannot be bothered and spend the time posting on forums and social media enquiring what tin or paint they should use to paint the latest project they are working on.

Please do not get me wrong we all have to start somewhere and I can appreciate that getting advice on projects and help with ‘does anybody know if there is a kit in 1/32 scale of an obscure aircraft flown by the Ugandan air force in the 1960’s in existence as I  have been searching the outer reaches of the internet for 7 days straight and have now got square eyes’, that is where I believe the internet forum and social media comes into it’s own and not can anyone tell me what colour paint I need for a German Tiger in panzer grey, this is the type of modeller that just drives me up the wall, and look what it does to me, it turns me into a moaning modeller who then feels the need to vent his frustration right here for you all to see. Now I have posted on forums and social media to ask for advice myself when I am lost and confused as to where I may find a certain metal gun barrel or etch brass set and I have also used it to ask for peoples opinion on something model related which I did quite recently when I was refurbishing my workroom, that’s what I feel these internet platforms are very useful for and not for ‘do Tamiya do a Sherman Tank in 1/35 scale’.

It does not take much time to research these things yourself, I often wonder how these type of modellers would have coped in the 60’s/70’s and 80’s when there was no internet and you needed to get up off your backside to go to the model shop to buy the kit the glue the paint and then get yourself down to the bookshop or the library and maybe even a museum if you were lucky enough to live near one to do your own research instead of relying on others who have already done the leg work to get your information. Maybe it is modern life that is drawing these lazy types out of the woodwork after all you can get virtually everything these days at the touch of a button or two, when I was younger if you wanted a fish and chip dinner from the local take away you had to go to the shop and collect it, these days you press a few buttons and voila within a half hour or so it’s being delivered to your door by someone on a moped, the same can be said for our hobby. We are in a golden age of modelling and we see all manner of kits books magazines paints tools weathering materials and the like being released to us nearly every week and we no longer have to venture outside the front door to go and collect them all we have to do is press a few buttons and within a few days they are being delivered to the door and all we have to do is unpack and use. Which brings me onto something else, are we just a little bit too spoilt by all these state of the art kits and finishing products, whatever happened to the art of actually modelling, through my eyes modern modelling is not about what you can do with the box of plastic and any spare bits you have in the spares box or the bits you can form from spare plastic and stretched sprue it is all about the painting and the finish.

Painting is the final stage in the journey that started when you open the box and start gluing it together however I feel that with all these fantastic kits a fear factor has crept in, the fear to venture outside our comfort zones and try something different, when I got back into modelling in the early 90’s we never had all these finishing products that we see now and from so many different manufacturers too, when I go to shows to pick up some paint I never know where to start, it really must be so intimidating for someone getting into or returning to the hobby. I have tried some of the newer paints and to be honest it has been a bit hit and miss and I often find myself returning back to what I know and have learnt over the years, I think my biggest problem is I have quite large gaps between projects and being quite old I often forget the lessons I have learnt so find it easier to return to what I have remembered. So is modelling in 2018 better than it was 20 years ago? generally I think so obviously it has it’s negative points and feel that the true art of modelling is diminishing, how many of the younger modellers still fell the need to scratch build anything especially with the amount of products available to us, who still mixes their own washes and filters these days, I am not sure I have ever made my own, it is far easier to buy an off the shelf product, even me with 25 plus years experience are guilty of the odd bout of laziness but at least I do all my own research and just for the record does anybody know if Tamiya do a Sherman in 1/35 and if they do what colour grey should I paint it ??…..

The Average Modeller