Saturday, January 17, 2015

Quantity or Quality?

Quantity or quality – there’s something to be said for both, but the goal of many, I would venture to say most, serious modellers is to increase their skill level, to build quality, so does this conflict with the notion of quantity?

I find myself musing on this as 2014 becomes 2015 (Happy New Year all!). 2014 closed out with 13 completions for me, six of which you see above (yes, the last couple were officially done a few days into the new year, but I’ll not count the last smidgeon of work on them toward this year’s tally). I had meant to total 16 for last year, with two more armour kits in a high state of completion and a Mustang at the pre-painting stage, but there’s only so much you can do between work, family and other commitments, and hobbies always go on the back burner when there’s a buck to be made.

How ambitious am I this year? Including the three pending from last year plus a few that have not yet arrived from overseas, I’m looking at twenty, and I’m the first to say that may not be realistic. Still, to answer my own question more objectively, can I see any significant compromises in the past baker’s dozen that would suggest the tally got in the way of the art?

Well… not really. I explored new techniques, tried new and resurrected brands, finished some shelf queens, tackled difficult propositions like extensive use of etch (I’ve not blogged that project yet, so stay tuned…), completed a second “Tony Greenland tribute build,” worked in four scales… I felt crowded by the work at times, but at others was acutely aware that I was too laid back if I was serious about making inroads on my stash.

Making inroads on the stash is an important point. As I’ve discussed before, do we buy our collections to look at or to build? At last year’s building rate, my stash will not be exhausted in a hundred years, so there’s a clear impetus to build faster. But if that speed is won at the cost of either the quality we strive for or the pleasure, the satisfaction that comes from a well-done project, (or both!), then one is justified in asking quite what the point of it all might be.

We invest inordinate amounts of both time and money in this hobby, so we want the best return possible, and my instinct tells me we’re looking for a balance between quality and quantity. Yes, we want to work through that collection, we want them processed by the action of hand and eye, and proudly displayed, converting that wall of kit boxes to a wall of historic replicas, but those replicas must be of a standard we are happy to display, by the same token. Different modellers have different capacities, some are veritable production lines who crank out quality at remarkable rates, while others focus on one project at a time, savour the experience of building and painting, then reflect on it a while before selecting their next delectation. There is no right or wrong way to do it, only our personal calling and inspiration – and indeed aspiration.

So how many projects did you complete last year? And, even if they were not all your finest work ever, were you happy with some aspect of each and every one? Enjoyment is where the hobby lives, and we each find it in our own way.