When Chris Ellis first published ‘How to go plastic modelling’ in 1968, I was ten years old and utterly captivated through youthful innocence, by a world of unbridled imagination and creation. Kits were relatively crude in comparison to today, specialist tools were similarly few and the handful of finishing techniques only needed a page or two to fully recount.
Communication between modellers was provincial, confined mainly to club meetings and landline telephone calls. It was a time of comparative simplicity but unbeknown to the modelling populace, there was one facet of the period that is now only apparent looking back – a blissful absence of the insidious unhappiness, introspection, complaint and dissatisfaction that has entrenched itself in today’s hobby culture.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that with stratospheric quality and quantity prevalent in kits, materials, techniques and tools, that pleasure, satisfaction and contentment in the hobby would be at commensurate levels. On an individual basis that may certainly be so but collectively the prevalence of blog posts and forum commentary spin a different tale. Like any coin, there are two sides to this. On the one hand, the procession of self perpetuating complaints about product releases, accuracy, complexity, simplicity, application of techniques, et al carry on ad nauseam, while on the flip, modellers themselves obsess over a raft of introspective psychological insecurities – shelves of doom, ocd, ams, lack of confidence, habitually starting but never finishing, huge stashes, it goes on and on.
The causes of this paradigm shift don’t interest me – because it’s tedious. There’s nothing inevitable about being caught in this tar pit though. You can still model like it’s 1968 but first you have to accept that ‘it’s only plastic’, that it’s only a hobby and that the world is already full of issues, enough to satisfy the most prodigious appetite for angst. For some bloggers, recurrent introspective and mock self deprecating confessionals are a staple and also tedious. Thankfully, returning to innocence is a choice, so climb down from the critical carousel, disconnect from the ‘dis’ brigade and plough a furrow back to 1968.