Every now and then we modelers are forced to take a break for a week or two, sometimes more if we're that unfortunate, to indulge in such luxuries as sunshine and fresh air. Yes, we climb out of our holes, shower, spray ourselves with whatever cologne smells most similar to Testor's Dull Coat, pack our bags and head for parts unknown.
It can be quite daunting, the thought of not touching a kit for days on end. Traumatic, even, for the weaker minded. But as I said, it's a burden we all must bear.
For the past two months I had been absent from the workshop. Did you notice? Unlikely. Any way, I had to spend two months in South Korea on a short deployment with my Guard unit. I could not have been further from my workbench lest you launched me into space.
While such a separation would have killed a lesser man, I found ways to fight against the urge to throw myself into a jet intake. Short of actually packing up your latest Trumpeter kit and tools, these tips will help you through your next vacation (or whatever hiatus you are experiencing).
Be Smart, Stay Connected
Bring a smart phone. Really, anything that can connect to Wi-Fi. Technology has made the world accessible at the press of a button. This includes our hobby world. I would wager that I spend more hours per week looking at models online than I do sitting at my workbench.
Use the phone to check updates from the Combat Workshop, or whatever preferred blog or Facebook page you frequent. Use it to stay active on forums or view the latest online news letter from Squadron.
Yeah, you could use a lap top but phones are less conspicuous, especially when you're checking on your latest potential eBay score while you should be making sure your kids aren't drowning in the hotel swimming pool...
Location, Location, Location
For the love of God, plan accordingly! Forget going someplace tropical, you aren't going to be losing that pastey white complexion any time soon. What you need is a museum. Yes, visiting a museum kills two birds with one stone. Not only do they provide hours of family time (which is, I suppose, the goal of vacations) but they allow you to feed your senses with relevant exhibits. Bask in the glory of aviation history. Revel in the might of historic armor. Clear water and piña coladas ain't got nothing on that.
If you absolutely must go somewhere tropical, at least make sure that the sandy white beach you'll be laying on was previously invaded by the US Marines.
P.S. Bring a camera. No one wants to hear about the museum. We want to see it. Remember, we're just using you to bolster our Walk-Around references...
Can't Bring The Hobby? Go To It Instead
Most of us won't have the ability to bring the hobby where it is that we're going. Not that my wife wouldn't allow it, it's just that... my wife wouldn't allow it...
Any way, one option is to visit a hobby shop. Sure, brick and mortar stores are hard to come by but they do exist. Even if it means venturing into a Michael's or Hobby Lobby, it's still nice to get your fingers on a kit even if you can't buy it.
While I was deployed to Korea, the base exchange carried a decent stock of kits that I would look through every time I was there. I would not buy anything, just touch, but that was fine by me.
Also, check the area to see if a model convention is in town or visit a local flea market or antique shop. You never know what you might find.
Similar to finding a hobby shop, locate the nearest book store. If it's big enough, it's sure to have some great reference material that might even fit in your carry-on luggage. The magazine stand may have a few issues of your favorite monthly publications like Finescale or Tamiya Model Magazine.
My wife sent me magazines while I was away and they were life savers, at least for a little while.
Either way, you can't go wrong at a book store while on vacation. Chicks love to read and they love guys who read...even if you are reading Sheperd Paine's How to Build a Diorama...
Keep Your Head In The Game
Though you and your workbench are physically separated, you can still keep a modeler's mindset.
When I'm out and about I like observing real objects and wonder how I would go about replicating them in scale. Take mental notes of weathering and textures, colors and shapes. Or better yet, take pictures with that smart phone I told you to bring.
How well you do this depends on your level of obsession. I stopped taking my meds a while ago, so I'm an expert.
No, not your vacation itinerary. Your next build. If you've got a WIP waiting on you when you finally get home, start thinking about what your next steps are - What pieces you have left to attach; How you're going to paint it. It's a good pass time but also ensures you're ready to jump right in when the time comes.
If you're between projects, use the time to start thinking about what's next. Pick a kit and start planning. Now would be a good time to gather references at the book store I told you to go to...
So those are just a few ways you can stay hobby oriented even when you're out of the State or out of the country. If I can save one modeler from a bout of plastic-deprived induced hysteria, than my job is done!
Did I miss anything? Have a helpful tip of your own? Sound off in the comments!