Posted by: markfender | September 15, 2015

Scale Models

The other day, I was browsing someone’s miniature gallery and I stumbled across a scale model they had built. This, of course, prompted the thought: Why don’t I do that?

Fine-Scale-ModelsAfter all, I have assembled some models back when I was a wee person. Glue leaked out of the joints, some parts weren’t aligned correctly, and I never tried to paint them, but, you know, I did it and enjoyed it. And it’s not like I don’t already own all the stuff needed to assemble and paint these things. So I went looking at the wide world of scale modelling to see if any kits caught my eye.

And nothing did. Because there are basically three categories of scale models.

Cars – I barely drive my own car, so I’m pretty underwhelmed by most car models. Yeah, there’s a few cars I like but that particular train would run out pretty quickly. And the idea of painting something smooth and shiny is anathema to the miniature painter in me (and probably really hard, seeing as how I’ve never done it).

Tanks – Oh my God there are so many tanks! Who knew there were so many? I like tanks, but I don’t know anything about them. I could name you about three (Bradley, Sherman, and that German one – Tiger?). One tank would be fine, but assembling a variation on a theme over and over? Man, that doesn’t interest me.

Planes – I know a few more plane models, but it’s another untapped world for me. There’s some cool planes that I would be onboard with assembling, but there’s just something inherently unsatisfying about scale models of planes. I think it has to do with the fact that they’re always on the ground. You just can’t model them in their native environment, and that’s sad.

So, yeah, there’s 90% of the scale model field and none of it really has much appeal to me. But, there’s one thing I post all the time on this blog that I do like…

Mecha – The only other thing that appears with relative frequency in the scale model world are mecha, specifically Gundams. And, oh my God, there are so many Gundams. And they all look the same! I couldn’t tell you one Gundam from another. The colors are different, some of the weapons are different, but it looks like the same exact chassis over and over. Again, I think I could be down for one Gundam, but not the endless variation on a theme that is the mecha scale model field.

So, either I’m looking in the wrong places or scale modelling looks kind of boring. Because the other thing I noticed about that field is how historically accurate everything needs to be. Reading a few reviews of some kits, I noticed that the reviewer was also consulting some sort of military book to get all the details right (probably published by Osprey or Jane’s). My interest in World War II starts and ends with Saving Private Ryan and I don’t really care about historical accuracy. So, there’s a whole other detailed-oriented part of the hobby that sounds like work more than fun.

You’ll note that a common refrain here is that all the models look the same. People leaping to the defense of the scale models would say “Yeah, but those 20 Mechanithralls you painted are all the same, too.” I would argue that, yes, that is true and it wasn’t real fun to paint the same thing over and over, but that the end goal is to get those painted minis to the tabletop, where the duplication works and is fun. Whereas the end result of scale modelling is to…look at it. That’s fun in moderation, but doesn’t seem sustainable to my interest levels. So it doesn’t look like scale modelling is for me. Sad.

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