Deep Thoughts

Reflections On 2018: A Busy Year

To say 2018 has been quite a year for me is a bit of an understatement.

In late 2017, I was on the verge of quitting the hobby altogether. A decade of continual aircraft builds had become exhausting. The genre I once loved seemed to be almost distasteful to me. It didn’t help that those “life comes at you fast moments” seemed to be piling up at the same time. The fun and relaxation I’d once found in the hobby of scale modeling seemed but a distant memory.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the hobby shop… I “discovered” Gunpla. Which lead to Warhammer. And Star Wars. Then Maschinen Krieger. Before long, I was building again with much joy. And in doing so, I rediscovered my love for writing about the hobby.

Initially I began focusing on a new site, BuildingGandam.com, which is no longer active. Yet as I grew that site, I saw that additional scifi interests seemed to “cloud the waters”, and ultimately decided to roll all that content into my JonBius.com site, which had simply been an on again/ off again blog for my own thoughts up to that point.

A New Direction

In early spring 2018, I made the full shift – everything would be focused on JonBius.com. 

I can’t say I started with any great goal in mind. I wanted to see if I could get a bit more attention on my Ebay sales, but aside from that, I had no grand plan.

Yet a surprising thing happened. People read my work, and they liked it. Or at least said they liked it. 🙂 I was not really expecting that. So I continued to build, and write about those builds. And people kept showing up.

I’d seen other modelers use Facebook pages, and they seemed to be quite effective at communication with online friends. But I was just another regular guy, yet one more middle-aged man who never got over playing with plastic toys. How could I have a Facebook page? Still… I decided to give it a try.

And people liked it. 

At times, I begin to feel almost as if I was on candid camera. This had to be a set up, right? The page grew, and grew, and the blog site’s traffic reflected it. I thought it would be nuts if I ever got to 500 Likes on Facebook. You could have blown me over when it hit 1,000. By the 4,000 mark, I was speechless. (And that takes a lot to happen… 😉 )

Just a few weeks ago I even started a Patreon page, and some very kind people have stepped up there too.

Finding The Fun Again

Through all of this, I built models. If I could travel back in time just two years, I’d never believe it if you told me I’d be assembling stompy robots, make-believe game vehicles, and other things from the scifi world. The 2016 version of Jon would have said “but I’m an airplane builder!” Not so much anymore… (Though I do still build them also!)

And that fresh air coming in to my model days has been amazing. I have an enthusiasm for the hobby that is greater than I ever recall. Building no longer seems as a chore, but rather it has become a real creative outlet. And the added bonus of being able to write about what I build has truly fulfilled a lifelong quest to publish. If I can’t do it the usual way, I’ll simply forge ahead on my own! 🙂

Yet The Best Part

All of these wonderful machinations, blessings as they are, pale in comparison to what happened as a by-product of all this. 

I have met some incredible and wonderful friends.

In the last year, I’ve come to know people I doubt I ever would have before. Made friends that in many cases are almost as close as family. I’ve received encouragement, advice, support, and simple goodwill from so many folks it has been almost overwhelming. If nothing else had happened this year, just the friendships alone would be worth it.

It’s been a tremendous encouragement too, not only in the hobby, but for life in general. To know that people cheer for you is a humbling thing. I read the kind words folks say, and at times it brings me to the point of tears. I’m no one special. Not in the least. Yet in the kindness of friends from all over the world, I am touched beyond words.

A Simple Goal

All of this has served to clarify a purpose for what I do. Through it all, I’ve realized that an underlying theme has been emerging from my work. “Have fun.”

It sounds ridiculously simple. Yet as I look back over my own modeling journey, and see so many others in a similar place, I realize that stripping away all the “fluff” leads to no other conclusion. As I’ve written before, “if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.”

It’s very freeing to think in those terms. Most modelers find the question of “are you happy with the results of your build” a bit difficult to wrestle with. Every project could have been better in some way or another. And even the best project will have its flaws.

Yet at the end of the day, or the project as the case may be, if we can sit back, fold our arms, and put on a satisfied smile… fun was achieved.

And I’d rather have fun in the hobby than anything else.

Looking Forward

The changes of 2018 have been so drastic and dramatic for me, I’m almost afraid of what 2019 will bring. Maybe not afraid – anxious anticipation maybe? 🙂 I’d like to continue to try new things, build different kits, improve my techniques, and provide more content than ever to help my hobby friends enjoy building also. 

Video is on the horizon. I’m hoping to get that going by the end of January. I’m still not sure what I’ll do. I can assure you it won’t be the typical talking hands, though. It will be goofy talking hands! 🙂 I also hope to see Patreon continue to progress, as that will allow me a bit of freedom to take on projects without as much worry for how it will sell once completed. And I hope to get out and about and meet people, with some tentative plans to visit a few shows in my area.

More than all of that, though, is the anticipation of the friends I’ll make in 2019. There are a lot of things you can have too much of, but I don’t think friends is one of them. 

So What Did I Build?

As the list below shows, I’ve had a lot of plastic flying off of the workbench in 2018! All together, I finished 36 model kits in 2018. There’s not a single one of them that I’d hold up as “the best thing ever”. Yet on all of them, I had fun to some degree or another. And I’m really happy with the variety – though it’s all essentially airplanes and scifi, the diversity in sub-genres is not something I’d have expected.

The list is arranged roughly in the order I finished models, based on a spreadsheet I keep. Below the list are photos, one for each. (They may not be in the same order as the list.)

Thanks to everyone who has followed my work, connected through various outlets, and has supported and encouraged me all along. It’s an incredibly humbling experience, one that I am so grateful for. I know I do not deserve it – but I am thankful for the graciousness I have been extended.

Here’s to a healthy, happy, and fun 2019 hobby adventure for all!

Warmest regards,

Jon Bius

  • Bandai 1/144 HGBF GM/GM
  • Bandai 1/100 Schwalbe Graze
  • Trumpeter 1/48 MiG-3 Late version
  • Bandai 1/100 RGM-79C GM Type C
  • Citadel Imperial Guards Chimera
  • Bandai 1/72 A-Wing Fighter
  • Citadel Land Speeder Storm
  • Hasegawa 1/48 F-4E Phantom II
  • Bandai 1/100 Gunner Zaku Warrior
  • Moebius 32 Colonial Viper Mk. I
  • Fantasy Flight Games AT-RT
  • Citadel Space Marine Razorback
  • Bandai 1/100 Guncannon Detector
  • Hobbyboss 1/48 F8F-2
  • Citadel Ironclad Dreadnought
  • Citadel Deathwatch Corvus Blackstar
  • Citadel Armiger Helverin
  • Trumpeter 1/48 L-39ZA
  • Eduard 1/48 Spitfire Mk. VIII
  • Bandai 1/72 X-Wing Fighter
  • Bandai 1/144 RX-78-2
  • AMT 1/48 P-40E
  • Citadel Astra Militarum Valkyrie
  • Bandai 1/100 RGM-89 Jegan
  • Trumpeter 1/48 Fairey Firefly Mk. I
  • Citadel Space Marine Stormhawk
  • Wave 1/20 New Rally Pawn
  • Moebius 32 Colonial Viper Mk. II
  • Bandai 1/100 Gundam Mk. III
  • Wave 1/20 SAFS
  • Takara 1/24 Brutishdog
  • Airfix 1/48 Defiant Mk. I
  • Bandai 1/144 Gundam Lightning Black Warrior
  • Citadel Scout Sentinel
  • Bandai 1/72 Y-Wing Fighter
  • Citadel Imperial Knight Paladin

8 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. I started following your blog after listening to you on Stuart Clark’s podcast. I thought it was particularly interesting because it seems like we’re in about the same place, but almost passing by each other going in opposite directions. You started out with aircraft and traditional subjects and are moving into sci-fi and gundam because it’s fun, while I started out with gaming stuff, found that I am not particularly good at the game and like to paint stuff, and am starting to dabble in aircraft again and discovering the joys of things like photoetch (ugh). I also feel like your approach is just what the modelling community needs — a focus on fun, and an openness towards trying out different and unusual subjects instead of turning one’s nose up at “those gundam guys” in the corner. After all, what’s the worst that can happen – you spend $20 on an HG kit and find out that to your horror, you actually like gunpla?

    For video, you should also look into twitch as well as youtube. While the platform is primarily for video gamers, there are a lot of miniature painters and gundam people on there, just building and hanging out with people in chat live. I’ve been considering doing something like a Monday evening twitch paint stream, though some of the technical aspects are currently beyond me.

    As an aside, any plans to do something Orky in 2019? I think that may be up your alley as something that looks like it is just fun and over the top, and how could you say no to something called a “Boomdakka Snazzwagon”?

    1. Hey Brian! Thanks for the kind words – I truly appreciate it. 🙂

      Initially I’ll stick to Youtube – baby steps. LOL Right now my set up is very basic – a camera phone and a mic. So it’ll be simple stuff at first.

      No plans for any Orks, but that doesn’t mean I won’t! I have looked at a few Ork kits, and they do invite over the top don’t they?

      Thanks again for following my work! Happy New Year!

  2. I find it interesting that I was at the same place as you … I could not build another plane if my life depended on it! I wated to sell my airbrush and give my stuff to a friend. My wife vetoed my decision… I am glad she did. One day I saw a video by a guy called Foxx on youtube … I know you know him 😀. He made me laugh and was so relaxed VS the rivet counting world I was from. Suddenly I was interested again .. sci-fi, Gundams … The only thing I gave away was my airplane kits …

    I enjoy your work very much. I am astounded by how many kits you have done this year. I am a very slow builder with limited bench time. I look forward to seeing what you will do in 2019.
    I would like to take the opportunity to wish to you and yours health, peace and prosperity in the new year.

  3. 2019 should be great Jon. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and your writing style. Your writing style is excellent in my humble opinion. I’m excited for more.

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