Several years ago I was crossing a street in New York City and was hit by a car. I broke my wrist as a result of the subsequent fall, which required surgery to fix and a couple of months to heal. Needless to say, I didn't get much modeling done during that time, and ironically my urge to work on a model was never greater!
There are times in our lives when we have to take time away from the workbench for one reason or another. Maybe you have to travel for work. Family obligations require your attention. The holidays call you to one gathering after another. But even during those times, I remain engaged in the hobby. Truth be told, I think about scale modeling a lot, more than I care to admit to anyone outside of my circle of modeling friends, even when I haven't had my hands on plastic for weeks.
I'll bet you're not much different, so here are five ways that I stay in the hobby when I'm away from the workbench.
1. Watch military-themed movies. Nothing gets me more excited about a project than watching a good war movie. When we're working on models it's easy to focus so much on the craftsmanship that we forget the real-world application of those aircraft, tanks, and ships, and the people who manned them. I won't recommend any movies because I know you have your favorites!
2. Deep dive into the forums. Here's something I bet you've never done. When you don't have the time to sit at the bench, go to your favorite forum and click far back into its conversations, maybe to 2010 or further, depending on how long the forum's been around. You'd be surprised at how much great information is there waiting for you to find it. This is particularly good for newcomers.
3. Catalog your stash. If you haven't cataloged your stash, you should, especially if you have more than 50 models. It's a great resource for your every day usage (ever catch yourself asking, "Do I already have a Tamigawa Fruitbat Mk. Vc?") and a better resource for insurance planning. God forbid your house should catch fire, you'll want to show the insurance adjuster proof of the substantial investment you had. Of course you'll want to store that information in the cloud somewhere. I recommend Dropbox or Box. Or simply email a copy to yourself every few months.
4. Browse your stash. If you're not building the models in your stash, the next best thing to do is look at them. Take some time to peruse what you have and consider the possibilities. Extend your browsing into your collection of aftermarket parts and decals and your excitement is sure to prepare you for your next project.
5. Call friends. Sadly, my closest friends live many states away from me, so when I'm not actively working on a model I always enjoy picking up the phone and talking to them. We always have something interesting to discuss, and I always come away from the conversations more excited than I was before.
One final suggestion, as heretical as it is to this month's Union topic. It's okay to disengage from the hobby from time to time. Life is bigger than our hobby, and it's good to spend time with family and to pursue other interests. I love to cook -- probably should've been a chef -- so I enjoy a day in the kitchen almost (almost!) as much as I do a day in the workshop. If you're passionate about scale modeling as I am, that interest will be there, even when you're away from it for a time.