Tuesday 10 September 2013

I'm not living in the real world

This week's assignment from the Sprue Cutters' Union asks "How has living in the small scale world influenced your day-to-day view of the 1:1 world?", a question that's perhaps directed at the level of obsession we modellers have with our hobby. I've identified three areas that reflect how deeply ingrained scale-modelling is in my everyday life.

1. Dirty Deeds

We've just got back from a long weekend in Canmore, a resort town on the edge of the Rockies about an hour's drive from Calgary. I'm a keen photographer so I took all my camera gear, and there I was, surrounded by a vista of majestic peaks and forests, taking photos of a bulldozer. Specifically, the rust, dirt and paint chipping on the blade and engine cover. As modellers, we understand such behavior – this was perfect reference for the next armor build (I had Meng's D9R in mind at the time). Similarly when a big truck draws up alongside me at the lights I become so engrossed in the weathering on the wheel arches that drivers behind me have to honk because the lights have turned green.

2. Tangled up in Blue

When I told a friend his newly decorated living room was in a shade 'similar to RLM 02 with a hint of RAF Trainer Yellow' I was told politely by his wife that the colour was actually 'Florentine Plaster'. Modelling has apparently affected how I see and identify colours.

3. Dreamer

The hobby has even permeated my subconscious, as many of my most vivid dreams involve modelling. One of the most satisfying is a recurring dream of me rummaging through a model shop that's packed floor to ceiling with kits, most of them old and from obscure manufacturers, of subjects I've never seen kitted before. I'm young in this dream – late teens or early twenties – and my Dad's with me, making this an especially good one. In another I lived in a Brazilian villa with a huge walk-out basement that was my modelling workshop. Completely tiled in white, the room had counters along its full length with every conceivable tool and modelling product arranged on them, and around the corner of this L-shaped space was a vast stash of kits. These pleasant dreams make a welcome change from the usual fare of sitting exams for which I know nothing about the subject, or hiding in kitchen cabinets from lions.

I would have described myself as being passionate rather than obsessive about the hobby, but pondering this week's Union assignment has made me wonder. Then again, I've been building plastic models for over 40 years so it's no surprise that it's affected my view of life. Some other Unionists' interpretations of this theme:-

Scale Model Workbench

The Combat Workshop
The Eternal Wargamer


  1. Spot on man! I look at weathering on vehicles while I'm driving all the time! That is part of the obsession that is easily disguised though. Its when the wife catches me digging up the garden for roots to use in dioramas that becomes a problem...

    1. Yes, that would be a bit difficult to explain. I haven't taken to filching tongue depressors from the doctor's office yet – but next time I'm there I'll be looking for out for some. Cheers Jon!

  2. Hey bud, you are indeed obsessed...but in a good way!

    1. Thanks Frank. Having just ordered another couple of kits from HLJ to add to the hundreds of other unbuilt ones in the stash... I think you're right ;)