Tuesday, 1 October 2013
A question of Assembly
This week's Sprue Cutters' Union wants to know how involved we all are socially with the hobby, by asking: Where do you gather? It's a valid question; scale modelling tends to be a solitary pastime, involving many hours hunched over a workbench alone in the basement. How do we socialize with other like-minded hermits?
(I had to smile at the photo accompanying JonB's original post, showing a scene from 'Friends'; it's about as diametrically opposed to a typical meeting of modellers as you'll ever see. Not a single beer belly, F-4 ball cap, beard or bermuda shirt amongst them…)
I'd been in a local IPMS chapter in Lancashire since I was a young teenager, and loved every minute of those meetings. Completely in awe of many of the modellers there, I learned so much of the hobby from them. They were friendly, willing to share and just good guys to be around. And they were refreshingly 'normal'. Plastic was the common interest that drew us together, but they also had other interests, jobs, families, etc. Although not a builder himself, my Dad used to accompany me to the meetings and serve tea and coffee to the guys, enabling him to be involved in my hobby. In terms of my modelling development, those were halcyon days.
Not surprisingly then, when I landed in Calgary from the UK 20 years ago I soon sought out a local model club. It was a decent size – 20 or 30 guys at every meeting – and I was gradually accepted into their ranks. Although the format of the meetings was different, the dynamic was similar and I made several good friends there. Unfortunately over time, two or three individuals began to make the meetings less than enjoyable. Politics and personal agendas took over. One member suffered serious anger management issues. Another began telling malicious lies to undermine a committee member. The fun was gone from the club, and a couple of years ago I resigned as president.
Today I'm not in any formal club, but many of my modelling buddies (most of them also having left their former club) and I get together regularly in an informal setting, meeting in each others' homes or at a local coffee shop. Without exception they're all quality builders, and we continue to learn from each other without the stress of politics, committees or in-fighting. Whilst the internet has replaced a lot of person-to-person interaction, and although I have many online friends whom I've never set eyes on, I really appreciate being able to actually hang out with a bunch of like-minded, humorous, affable guys.
Other Union posts on this subject:-
Yet another plastic modeller
David Knight's Weblog
The Combat Workshop
Martin's Bench Corner