When it comes to the life blood of modelling, there are a number of components that keep the body of the hobby afloat and flourishing and being a lifelong Ninja black belt master of the inscrutable art of ‘The Absolutely Bleedin’ Obvious’, one can confidently name kits, paints, tools and references as the ‘four pillars of modelling chi’. These are, if you will, the essential hardware segments of the equation but there’s also a ‘software’ element that travels with it and its influence and scope is such that it surrounds, envelops and permeates throughout that hardware, very much like the atmosphere around our Earth. You and I know it as ‘opinion’.
We all have them. Some of us voice them, some of us choose not to, sometimes they’re expressed well, concisely and eloquently; sometimes not. Either way however, is really nothing more to my mind than the shop window and while I enjoy opinions, whether they comprise a conversational hearty meal or a light snack, it’s not just in terms of what was said but rather by the revealing sub-text indicators, that point to the individual’s own unspoken character and personal agenda.
A great example of all this occurred on Facebook recently. A prominent ‘name’ in the hobby overtly criticised the use of weathering on a particular (and popular) subject. The style and extent of others output was deemed incorrect, out of place, poorly conceived and to the detriment of the subject. The ‘name’ then did as predicted and proclaimed in the next breath that they recognised that the modellers behind the offending builds were ‘free to do as they please’.
The purpose of this apparently disarming foot note to the preceding critique reminded me of the habit the national news has, in ending half an hour of reported crime, murder and economic gloom with a short VT piece recounting some act or other of goodness or story designed to restore faith that one way or another ‘all will be well’. I’ve had it described to me as ‘the little bit of cotton wool that wipes the bottom end of the news’. That sums up the unwritten intent behind the foot note perfectly which, far from genuinely conveying ‘freedom’ to enjoy your modelling as you choose, tacitly stipulates that the ‘name’ has autonomy in deciding standards and what is and what isn’t acceptable. This was then borne out by the obedient admirers of said ‘name’ who duly fell into line and badged their support with suitably expressed condemnation for the errant modellers, while polishing the ‘name’s’ ego to a bright shine. The relief among them that the ‘name’ was there to tell them how to think, what to think and when to think it, was palpable.
Not every high profile modelling ‘name’ engages in this kind of behaviour or projects such a visible need for self-aggrandisement and it’s these gentle souls I happily pay attention to, as their involvement in the hobby is benign, positive and genuinely all encompassing. It’s those (thankfully) few who worship fervently at the alter of modelling celebrity that make me smile, especially when I read Pinocchio-esque asides in their own writings of being ‘one of the crowd’ or ‘just an ordinary modeller like you’.
Have fun. Do it your way. Be happy and when it comes to those modelling egos, remember the scene in ‘Enter The Dragon’ when Bruce Lee points to the sky, before slapping his student across the back of the head, as he says (paraphrased) ‘Concentrate on the finger and you will miss all the wonders of the firmament’…and that’s all you need to know…
Until next time.