A Sense of Perspective

I keep seeing the words ‘lock-down project’ or ‘coronavirus project’ cropping up on the various forums and social media groups I frequent and it’s clear that many modellers are using their time constructively, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Already there are some modellers who are able to post images of multiple models they’ve completed since late March. The vast majority are to a very high standard so they aren’t just throwing these projects together – the same amount of work is going into them as usual.

My own building rate has increased slightly I suppose. With little else to do when I’m not at work, I have been able to crack on with a couple of projects more rapidly than intended. I’ve finished three models in the past two months, one more than my usual average of around one project a month.

Having said that, under normal circumstances my build rate varies through the year anyway, so perhaps it isn’t a fair estimate of my productivity. The better assessment will be to wait until the end of 2020 and tally up the total number of models completed over 12 months. Only then will I know for certain whether this unexpected extra modelling time has generated more models or just more opportunity for modelling procrastination.

The last couple of days are a case in point. Rather than focussing on my current T-54 project I got sidetracked by a feature I’d spotted on several vehicles used during the current conflict in Syria. It’s an anti-missile system and having tracked down some additional information I decided I needed to scratchbuild it in 1/48 scale – Why? – it has nothing to do with my current project and I don’t even know whether I’ll ever build a Syrian T-55, but it was an itch I needed to scratch.

I’m still avoiding the main project today. This time I’m constructing some suitable 1/48 scale ammunition crates for carrying 100mm tank ammunition. I have scraps of Evergreen strip all over the workbench and I’m really pleased with the end results – but again it has no relevance to the project on my bench. No matter – it means that I am enjoying my hobby and it’s passing the time. Both side projects have value because I will incorporate them into a future build at some point, even if I’m not sure when.

Modelling, in fact any craft-based hobby, is an important safety valve under normal circumstances for relieving the stresses and strains of the day. However, spare a thought for those people who do not have the luxury of a hobby to turn to in these trying times. I was chatting to an elderly aunt a couple of days ago. We tend to keep in touch by phone but for my aunt these past couple of months have been enormously trying. She turned 80 last year and is used to ‘pottering about’ as she pleases, hopping on a bus or a train and visiting friends whenever the mood takes her. Living in a housing association apartment means that my aunt is still able to meet up with neighbours in the communal garden (sat on strategically placed chairs around the patio) so she isn’t isolated, but one of her comments during our most recent chat really struck home – ‘I wish I had a hobby’.

Modellers are lucky that we have a hobby we can retreat to in times of need but remember that there are those around you who don’t have that advantage so try to make time for them too. Losing yourself in your hobby may help you, but is it necessarily helping the people around you?

John Tapsell

IPMS (UK) Publicity Officer