Spraybooth Logic
The Joy Suckers
“Did you make that correction to that tail on the PBY?  You know that Monogram got it wrong, didn’t you?”   “On that particular model of Hellcat they changed the cowl flap arrangement; you can tell by its serial number that it needed to be changed.  Now had you used the Bizzaro hobbies kit rather than the one YOU used, it would be right.”  “Hey, the color on that aircraft is wrong, it should have been exactly two shades (not one shade) lighter.”  “The kit decals were wrong on that kit; it should have been a 1 instead of an L.”
Oh yeah, I really want to continue building models after hearing these things.  I guess I see why people say “it’s only a hobby” and then roll their eyes and walk away.  It’s also why modelers get a bad rap, it’s because we deserve it for comments like those above.
Now should we be concerned about accuracy?  Sure we should.  Should we be concerned enough that we go out of our way to destroy the hobby for someone that just likes to build?  No.
The problem we seem to have is that we try to force our own ideas and standards on others.  In other words, we try to suck the joy out of their modeling, much as we have sucked the joy out of our own modeling.  We’ve brought it down to being a mechanical exercise that involves a great deal of precision and skill, but very little joy.  We schedule our time to model and we approach subjects based on the amount of references that we have, we study and pore over documents like we are going to discover the secret to the universe.  We don’t want to make a mistake because the other joy suckers will be there waiting for us, lurking, pointing and laughing.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
In our club we have a few joy suckers, but we also have some guys who won’t be stopped.  They are pretty good modelers in their own right.  They produce copious amounts of models of various shapes and sizes.  Some of their models are great, some are average, but every month they show up with a big smile on their face and four or five kits in tow to the meetings. 
They place their kits proudly and all gather round them.  They then proceed to tell the story of the build.  “Gather round boys and girls and we’ll tell you how you actually finish a kit” their story begins.  They then go into great detail about how they assembled and completed this kit that had only been on the shelf of doom for a bit over two months.  “My word man, it’s only a baby!  You can’t build a kit that is that young!  You must let it age and the decals yellow before you can break sprue.”  you think quietly to yourself feeling shame all the while remembering your failed attempt at building the kit.
See these guys are filled with the joy that we all like to suck.  They have realized that this hobby is supposed to be fun and they actually approach it that way.  It’s amazing; they have smiles on their faces (although that could be from the large amounts of MEK and the enamel paints that they use) and kits on the table. 
That smile is like kryptonite to the joy suckers.  They simply move on to their own kind and sneer from the other side of the room.  The problem is that their nit pickiness simply bounces off these guys.  The bottom line is that they really don’t care about the flaps, cowls or anything else.  They simply enjoy building models, good, bad, accurate or not accurate; they are all the same to them. 
There is a word for these guys.  They are called modelers.  Scary thought isn’t it? 
So, how do you tell if you are a joy sucker?  In the vein of Johnny Carson, you might be a joy sucker if…
  • You have nothing nice to say about any models but your own.
  • If your first thought is about what’s wrong with a model rather than how cool a model is and that someone actually finished an MPM or ProTech kit.
  • If you ponder if that Hellcat has the right shade of zinc chromate green in its cockpit (or you snapped immediately when your read the above line to correct me an tell me that it is interior green, not zinc chromate).  See how easy this is.  Deep cleansing breath now.
  • If you go to a modeling meeting with the guys and you can’t work up a smile or a laugh.
  • If you spend your time thinking to yourself how much better your model is than the one sitting next to it.
Don’t be afraid, there is hope for you.  Here are a couple suggestions for those of you who might be joy suckers or even joy suckers in training.
  • Find something nice to say.  There is always something nice to say about a model.  It might be the color of the tires or the cool paint scheme, but there is always something nice to say about them.
  • Build something out of the box.  The term I’ve heard for these are “slammers”.  Slam them together and paint them.  Nothing fancy, just something fun.  It’s ok, you don’t actually have to show them to anyone.
  • Remember that this is all supposed to be fun and it really is a hobby.  Keep it in perspective.
  • Finally, let it go.  What I mean by this is that you may be the smartest guy in the room about a certain topic, be it color or details or even a certain aircraft, but you probably are the only guy in the room that actually cares that much about that particular topic.  If people are interested, they will ask you.
Now, shut and build something.  Really, I mean it this time!