Sunday, 17 May 2015

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.

Friday, 15 May 2015

So it has now been a few months since I was fired by Guideline Publications and while the first couple of months were a worrying time, I have now turned a corner and the future looks very bright indeed.

I did not realise how much of myself I sacrificed for Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine in my tenure as editor, although this is what probably made my bitterness as my atrocious treatment by Guideline Publications all that more acute.

I had reason to go over some of my older articles in the past week and realised that I used to be pretty decent at this modelling lark, so I have decided not to put myself in the position where I rush my builds in order to meet a deadline ever again.

With all due respect and much gratitude to Steve Elliot (who amazed me with his professionalism and wisdom) and Andy Evans, I decided that I would not take on a role as a staff modeller with Model Aircraft Monthly. As positive as the experience in working with Andy was, I found myself rushing to meet deadlines and my models suffered as a result. I did not want to put Andy in a position where he was waiting on articles from me, so I thought it better to go back to how I used to build models and submit them to editors when they are done.

The end result is that I am finding myself enjoying building models much more now and I am actually finding some time to do some pattern work for MasterCasters; something I have long neglected. Considering this has been a tidy little business for me for over ten years now, I should really pay better attention to it. MasterCasters has carried us through some tough times and to keep it a vibrant and relevant business, I need to continue to add new patterns to the range.

With Alclad II, thanks to Rob and Howard Bunn, both of whom have shown great faith in my abilities, I have the opportunity to further expand my business horizons and help these two fine chaps develop Alclad as well. This is a venture I am enthusiastically entering into as I know it has a great future and each of us will benefit from my input.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Enjoying the hobby despite the cynics.

  I have long despised the cynics in the hobby. The unfortunate side-effect of the wonder of the internet when it comes to our hobby, are those rank pillecks who feel they have all the answers as to how we all should be building our model kits.

 We are pursuing a hobby that started when we were children. There is nothing more pure than the pleasure we derive from making models of the subjects that fascinate us. We spent years of our youth making models to fight massive conflicts in our backyards, fighting pitched battles in the sandbox and dogfights that would rival the film the Battle of Britain.

 However, at some point the internet took over. Strangers from some land far away started giving us the impression that we had some responsibility to them, or even history, to build models that they felt represented the subject matter as they felt was appropriate. Why, is my question.

 When did this all become so deadly serious? Personally, I gave up on all of the modelling forums about four years ago. I used to engage people in arguments on the forums about seriously silly shit. I was engaging guys who have nothing better to do than argue with strangers anonymously. Why would anyone with a sense of self worth argue the toss with someone who does not even use their real name on an internet forum? I have made many great friends though the internet forums, and still have some of the best friendships I can hold dear to my heart as a result, however I spent so much time arguing the toss with complete strangers and wasted so much time scrolling through endless amounts of pointless babble looking for something to talk about. For what purpose?

 I cut myself off totally. One day I woke up and decided I would never participate in a forum discussion again. I am not saying everyone needs to do this, but for my own piece of mind it has served me well. I have not missed anything and am no worse off for it. I spend more time modelling and more importantly, I spend more time with my family. Have I missed anything in not arguing about how accurate Revell's Bf 109 is? Nah... I have just spent a few enjoyable nights building the kit and adding the detail I want to.

 Do I need to add detail or correct any perceived deficiencies to please anyone who will potentially read my article? No.  Not a chance. If you want to read my take on the model, you will read it and hopefully enjoy it. If not, buy another mag.

 My perspective on this entire modelling lark is that this hobby is a hobby. I feel no responsibility to anyone with my models, I am not responsible for recreating history, that is the job of the real aviation magazines. Let Aeroplane or Air Force Monthly report historical accuracy. Scale Aircraft Modelling is about a hobby. It is about artists building models. It is about guys who love building models producing fantastic articles and interesting projects. And about guys reading articles that inspire great modelling, regardless of what level they are personally at. This hobby is just that. A hobby. Buy SAM if you want, or don't. This magazine does very well on the back of an approach that appeals to people who love building models. And it works. There is no elite concept and nothing non accessible about what we do, just some great modelling.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

I love the Blue Jays and I do not care who knows it...

What I just posted to the Toronto Star website:

Why not trade Bautista? Some of the comments here have been left by the typical fairweather Blue Jays fans with no appreciation for the beautiful game, however trading Bautista is the best thing the club could do. Despite the fact that all they could get for him now is a bat bag and a gatorade bucket. To any intelligent GM that is. What we so poorly lack.
 The first thing the franchise needs to do though is shed itself of Anthopolus. Do I need to say anything more than the Aaron Hill trade? Or Jan Gomes? If I had been raped so badly by the rest of the league I could not hold my head up at team meetings.
 Imagine an infield of Lawrie, Reyes, Hill and either Lind or Eddie? With Gomes behind the plate. Sorry JP, you are a very nice guy, but .209 is not good enough and not being able to throw out the trash is not good enough. Arencebia is a second string catcher at best.

 What is wrong with Rajai Davis? In the second spot in the order with the Raj, we have a legitimate every day outfielder... Give the guy a chance to play. Colby Rasmus is the best centre fielder to play for the Jays since Devon White. He has the tools, he just needs to be given the affirmation of hitting in the 3 spot on a regular basis. The team does not need the negative malcontent that is Jose. Rajai in left, Colby in centre and Sierra in right. With Gose as the fourth. He has had enough time in the minors, make him the fourth! If he cannot do it now, then the time has come to make a serious decision. We have watched him toy with the bigs for three years now.
 The franchise seems to overlook the importance of a positive clubhouse influence. The Red Sox are so good this year because they have chemistry. Up and down the lineup they know the guy behind them knows the basics of the game. Fundamental baseball is what we lack... not passion. Errors are a problem. Because John Gibbons is clueless. How can you expect a team to play small ball when they cannot execute? If you do not do the drills and do not have a concept, how can you win those close games?
 The Jays need to do a couple of things. Get rid of the GM, get rid of his pal Gibbons and find a new catcher.  The rotation will be strong next year, the outfiled is not a problem and Goins (if he can maintain the progress so far) is the answer at second. With Kawasasockittome providing the clubhouse presence and skills that we have lacked since Mac was traded...

 Sorry Dad, I know you like Jose.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Good Decisions / Bad Decisions

I was glad I decided to watch the Bills game this afternoon rather than the Blue Jays, as the Bills came back to win in spectacular fashion in the dying seconds of the game. The Blue Jays on the other hand...

 I am a creature of habit and in order to save myself the effort of creating a Word document for the Bf 109 article from scratch, I went back to find a previous article to work from. At first I was a bit startled as it seemed I had not done any modelling since the Airfix Vampire in the April issue, however I had overlooked the Airfix Typhoon in July. July... not as bad as it could be, although in reality it means I have not touched any plastic in about three months.

 No more excuses, it is time to get set up and start this thing rolling. All I need to do now is figure out which version I am going to make and what parts match which version. Revell's instructions do not help things much, as both markings options feature Black Chevrons, although the early version has a white tail, which will add a splash of colour. Yes, I know the 109 experten will be rolling their eyes, but at least I know the early uses the Revi 12 and not the Revi 16... I hope.

Perhaps I will have a look at the decal options available at Hannants first. I'll have a beer and watch the Dodgers Giants game first, then I will crack on with some modelling after that...really...

First Blog

  I figured it was about time that I joined the 21st century and create myself a blog. Not that I have anything significant to add to the plethora of discussion populating the internet, however I hope that there will be at least a few people interested in what I have to say, if for no other reason than to save the embarrassment of talking to myself. This blog will most likely consist primarily of my reflections on my modelling and the industry as a whole, peppered with my thoughts on the Toronto Blue Jays from time to time. 

Time to get back to modelling

  For no particular reason, I've been putting it off for ages. Not necessarily a lack of interest in modelling, I have sudden bursts of inspiration where I picture some spectacular modelling. I envision heaps of intricate detail along the lines of what some of the guys I most admire do with ease, however the thoughts quickly pass as one form of distraction or another pops up and I find myself busy with something else.
  I have had this magnificent Revell 32nd Bf 109G-6 sitting around, languishing in the "To Do" pile for a couple months now and with the assembly line quickly backing up, I have decided there is no time like the present to get cracking with it.
  Modelling is like baseball I guess and hopefully my skills have not deteriorated through inactivity. I am going to give this a proper go and see how much additional detail I can add in a short time frame, as this article needs to be finished in the next 10 days, if I am to get it into the November issue of SAM as planned...

Right after the Bills game that is...