Monday, June 1, 2015

If you've read one you've read them all

Never in the history of scale modeling have we enjoyed so many magazines. I haven’t counted, but there must be at least a dozen on the market right now, maybe more. Despite the plethora of articles and works-in-progress via internet forums and blogs, modelers still seem to enjoy hardcopy publications, even if their content can be somewhat repetitious.

I recently bought several back issues each of Air Modeller, Scale Model Addict, Sky Model Magazine, and Tamiya Model Magazine. They’re all very good, featuring excellent models written by some of the best modelers in the hobby, but after reading through them in something akin to binge watching a season of Breaking Bad, I realized there’s a sameness in the techniques, and consequently in the articles. Once you’ve read three or four articles, you’ve pretty much read them all.

Don’t get me wrong. The articles are incredibly interesting and informative, particularly if you’re new to the hobby, but once you’ve learned the latest techniques (pre-shading, the salt technique, masking) and used the newest modeling media (filters, pigments, Alclad) and adapted them to your own style, the magazines largely serve as inspiration.

There’s an interest in these techniques and media otherwise the content would be different. And to be fair, this is not unique to scale modeling. I fancy myself something of an amateur chef, a passion second only to modeling. When I stopped at Barnes & Noble over the weekend to kill an hour I browsed the new releases in the cooking section and found the recipes in them to be familiar. How many cookbooks do you need with recipes for meatloaf or chicken parmesan? There may be variations on a theme, but when you’ve learned the basics and become comfortable experimenting on your own, you don’t need someone — even an expert — telling you what to do.

Isn’t that the goal of a hobby, to reach a point of confidence where you follow your own path rather than copy the recipes of others? I think it is.


  1. One of the reasons I stopped my Finescale magazine subscription this year is exactly what this post is about. Well that and hardly any sci-fi -- how many tanks do I need to see in one issue =)

    1. LOL. I could do without all the airbrushing articles, though in fairness they seem to trouble everyone.