Mind Modeling

Mind Modeling

FSMI’ve expanded the hobby magazines I read with regularity to three now: White Dwarf, Wargames Illustrated, and most recently Fine Scale Modeler. One of the features I have been enjoying the most are the editorials. My favorite is the monthly article “Standard Bearer” Jervis Johnson writes for WD.  While looking through the latest Fine Scale Modeler (July 2010) I came across a guest editorial by Aaron Skinner.  He talked about having between 600 and 700 model kits to build.  As he put it, if he were to complete a kit a week, he’d need to live to be 100 to finish them all. And that’s if he doesn’t buy any new ones. 

Reading this got me thinking about the miniatures I have in various states of completion including unopened minis in the box, cleaned minis, primed minis.  My unfinished projects include an SS mortar platoon cleaned, primered black, and waiting to be painted, a whole new Bretonnian army that I plan to paint in a Da Vinci Code theme, Dwarfs primed white, Soviet Strelkovy platoons to get companies to full strength, Finnish support weapons, and so on.  Then there are the projects that I have only conceived of but haven’t moved to even buy the models yet. For example, I want to build 2. SS Panzer Division in every period of the war, representing all of the actions they were in. I also want to build a mid war Soviet force in three scales: micro amour, 15mm and 28mm. I still haven’t gotten anything done on my MW Italian tank force or my US Rangers.

Then there are peripheral projects like army lists, producing a proper rules supplement for what we’ve play tested in micro armor and 28mm and so on. I have many ideas for terrain pieces and whole tables in all 3 scales. And I haven’t even touched the great new plastic fantasy buildings from GW.

Every once in a while I get bummed thinking about how I haven’t gotten around to some of these projects. But Mr. Skinner had an interesting point of view. As he put it, “Unbuilt kits are as much a part of the hobby as time spent at the workbench.” And I take this a step further to include unfinished models and ideas that are yet to be acted on.

He goes on to say that with limited time, he spends small amounts of time reading instructions, analyzing how he will put the kit together. Either the way the instructions suggest or possibly some other order if that makes more sense. The point being, he spends time building the model in his head, or “mind modeling.” This is a great point and I started thinking about how it relates to the current state of my hobby. As an employed, thirty-something father of 3, my time is pretty much in demand. So I steal away time when I can get it. I like to pull out one of my favorite army books, like North Africa, Eastern Front, and so on. I build the armies in my mind. Sometimes I’ll write up an army and analyze what I will need to buy to be able to play it. As I have stated, different scales also distract me. I’d love to build a whole division of WW2 Soviet tanks in micro armor, complete with dedicated divisional support just as the Total War rules suggest. And as I am currently working on a small force of Soviets in 28mm, I have a completed 1/48 scale T-34/85 that I need to finish painting. And once I get the 40 or so infantry models painted, the 3 HMGs, NKVD guys, and the 120mm mortar done, there is much more to add. The goal: to build a complete company of Soviet infantry with tank and artillery support. Then I can move on to the great 28mm SS models I’ve been eyeing. And then there is Early War…

Now, how much of this will I ever complete? Who knows? Hopefully, I will have a long life spent painting and building forces that hopefully will one day see the table top. With that said, in addition to collecting and painting miniatures, there’s producing videos, writing for this website (www.thehobbystudios.com), and the goal of writing our own rules sets and army lists. I guess it’s true that this is a never-ending hobby. And I’m ok with that. Even the things I won’t get around to doing are still fun because of the thought and planning that went in to conceiving the idea. I very much enjoy the time I spend “mind modeling.”

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