It is hard to admit to yourself that you have not been performing as well as you should, whatever you do for a living.
What landed me the job as editor of Scale Aircraft Modelling was my modelling skill. Hopefully that does not come across as pretentious or arrogant, but it is a fact. I had no previous editing experience and all I knew about editing I learned primarily from Ken Jones whilst I worked for him at Military Modelling.
I learned a few things about photography from Spencer Pollard, I learned a fair bit about how to produce and article from Richard Franks and Tony Little, however this was more what I could glean from these fine chaps as opposed to what was volunteered as advice. It was Ken Jones who always took the time to speak to me on the phone and answer any and all of my questions about the craft on a regular basis. I owe Ken a great debt of gratitude for preparing me to advance my skill set.
One of the first, and most relevant, pieces of advice he gave me after I told him that I would be leaving Mil Mod to take on the role of editor at SAM was that my new role would cause me to resent building models. At the time I thought he was mistaken; that I would never lose interest in building. However, much like most of the advice my Dad had given me over the years, it would eventually prove correct and my teenage arrogance in ignoring sage advice would follow itself into my middle age. "Sure, that may be the case for everyone else, but I am invincible!", was what must have been rolling around at the back of my head...
The digression of my modelling was gradual. I never noticed it until it was too late. It was not until Les Venus said to me at Scalemodel World one year that my models used to be amazing and he was wondering what happened to me, that I realised he was correct and I was no longer producing models that I was as proud of as I used to be. Ken's advice was ringing true as it suddenly dawned on me that I was not enjoying building models for the sake of building, I was modelling to meet deadlines and had fallen prey to the trap of trying to beat the competition to producing articles of the hottest new release in the interest of selling more copies on the back of it.
It was at that point that I wished I had followed the path of Marcus Nicholls and not compromised my modelling integrity at any point and continued to take my time to build something I could be proud of, as opposed to pleasing the powers that be. Not that it is anyone's fault but mine though. I simply let myself fall into a world where modelling is secondary and "aviation journalism" is paramount.
Since my joining the Alclad 2 team, I have had the opportunity to go through all of my old articles and glean what I can from anything I produced that applies to my usage of Alclad products and I have realised that I used to be pretty decent at modelling. It is time now to get back to that.