Though modeling is one of my favorite pass times, few things excite me quite like running. Yes, like the thing people do outdoors to get in shape. At this point in my life, you're more likely to find me on my usual five mile circuit, tuned to my adrenalin boosting custom playlist than seated at my workbench mashing plastic together.
So, what? Why talk about running on a modeling blog? After all, they have nothing in common, right? One is completely sedentary while the other requires constant movement. One is practiced indoors while the other is primarily an outdoor activity. Indeed, the differences are not lost on me but if you try hard you might see some similarities. For instance, both running and modeling are often solitary affairs. And both ventures require focus over a long journey.
Modeling is a journey?
Metaphorically, sure. A modeler has a choice in kits, the same as a runner chooses a distance for a race. Some kits call for more work, a longer process, sharper techniques. A runner, likewise, will have to train for a marathon in a different manner than he or she would for a 5K. In each case, the journey to the ultimate goal (a competed model or the finish line) is different, presenting fewer or more challenges, but a journey none the less.
Now then, the other day I found myself complaining on my page about the pitfalls of Hobby Boss' 1/72 F-5E. I was frustrated by the constant filling and sanding the kit required. I do not find that aspect of builds enjoyable. A gentlemen, upon reading my post, tried to tell me that correcting the flaws of a kit is part of the journey and that if I don't enjoy it, why bother at all?
I'm going to let you know right now, and you heard it here first - IT'S ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY OKAY TO HATE THE JOURNEY.
I understand there are some guys out there who think that having to use those "basic modeling skills" is what makes this hobby so great and if you don't love it then you're a b***h. They are the Joe McCarthy's of the hobby, black listing you as part of modeling's red scare.
As a runner, I'm looking to improve my speed at the 5K. To do that, I can't only rely on running 3.1 miles over and over hoping my time will improve without putting in significant work. Remember, running is a journey, too, that requires techniques to ensure a quality finish. To increase my speed over distance, I must train by running faster. Much faster. Intervals, which are essentially a series of sprints, are used to increase my VO2 max, or the maximum level of oxygen my body can use during intense exercise. Enough of these staged properly through a training plan will boost my performance.
I can't overstate how much I HATE sprints. They're painful. Stressful. And leave me exhausted. I would much prefer a grueling half marathon to intervals but they're necessary and I recognize that. In the same way I recognize that a keen handling of basic skills is a necessity for a quality model finish. As a runner, do I complain on my speed days? Yes. It's often hard to find the motivation to lace up my Brooks sneakers but does that make me less of a runner, a b***h as some might think? No. Because I'm out there doing it any way.
I run a 6:42 mile currently and I'm still looking to improve. I'm no Usain Bolt but I have a firm handle on the techniques I need to use on my journey to increase my speed...but I hate them. I have other friends who run and they're content with their eight, ten, or twelve minute mile and that's fine by me because it's the journey they've embraced. I also have friends who want to get faster and I give them a set of intervals to do. They complain, just like me but it's ok.
Everyone gets different enjoyment out of different things these hobbies have to offer. For some, it's assembly, for others it's painting and weathering, and so on. Some guys think a modeler doesn't weather his aircraft because he can't perfect the techniques when in reality it's a simple preference. Just because someone doesn't like to do something doesn't mean they can't do it. Unfortunately, I think a lot of modelers out there lose sight of that in favor of some absolutist mentality. Hating any aspect of this hobby doesn't make you any less of a modeler. Loving a shake 'n bake Tamiya kit doesn't make you less of a modeler. I don't care what anyone says.