Deep Thoughts

Don’t let the “heard” mentality mess with your fun

One of the aspects of the scale model “culture” that I’ve always found interesting is the willingness that normally independent people have towards accepting what they read on a forum or magazine as “modeling fact”. Whether it be something about particulars colors, the minutiae of some internal detail, the accuracy of a kit, or whatever tidbit you can imagine, bits of information enter scale modeling group think and are seen as absolute. Even if they’re based on something with far less factual grounding than a Bigfoot sighting.

Here’s an actual example of a conversation I overheard, sanitized to protect the innocent…. 🙂

Modeler 1: “I heard that model kit is no good, so I decided not to build it.”

Modeler 2: “Oh, did you read that in a kit review in a magazine?”

Modeler 1: “No, some guy posted it on CyberFineHyper Forum.”

Modeler 2: “Did he build the kit?”

Modeler 1: “No, but he said he knew a guy who had seen the kit.”

Modeler 2: “So you’ll pas up a kit based on third party hearsay from someone who hasn’t even built or seen the model?”

Modeler 1: “Well… he said it’s no good.”

Yeah, I know, it sounds ridiculous. Yet that is not a made up example… I stood and listened to it. 

But it happens all the time. I’ve had that conversation with others too. One time, a fellow said a certain kit was awful. So I asked “what problems did you have when you built it?” To which he replied “Oh, I’ve not built it. I haven’t built a kit in 5 years.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. 

I’ll admit, I fell victim to this early on when I returned to the hobby in 2006. I “heard” kits with raised panel lines were just awful. I “heard” the Aztek airbrushes just couldn’t work. I “heard” it just wasn’t worth building a kit unless it was super accurate. And for a short while, I fell for this line of thinking.

But I started to look around more, to see what others were building, the equipment they used, and the results they achieved. Something just wasn’t fitting in. How could these awful kits, painted with less than perfect equipment, be turning out so nicely? (And conversely…. why did I see great kits finished with the best equipment turning out looking… not so nicely? To put it nicely… 😉 )

Finally, I woke up and realized that it’s just a hobby. It would be what I made it to be. So I changed my approach to modeling. I decided to have fun with it. To build how I wanted. And it transformed the hobby for me.

Now, I view the word “heard” as a red flag. Not to say that every “heard” is bad. Sometimes if you know the source, you realize it may have validity. (“I heard from some guy” has far less weight than “I heard Brett Green said in a review…”)

Of course, you may hate building kits with raised panel lines, using Aztek airbrushes (full confession: I switched to Badger), and can’t imagine building a kit out of the box. Which is fine. I just urge you do do it because that’s what you want to do. Not based on what you “heard”.

You’ll be much happier in your hobby. Explore it, discover it, enjoy it.

At least that’s what I heard.


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