By Tom "The BeeMaster" Stead, #39989 

Why do we build models?


When we were younger and even more foolish than we are now, most of us built for no better reason than “that’s what kids do”.  But how does that explain the resurgence of modeling among the older crowd?


We have now discovered the pleasures to be found in scale modeling, or to be honest, historical replicas.  Who doesn’t enjoy opening a kit and imagining that you’ll build a masterpiece worthy of the box art?  Let’s face it, it’s a lot better than getting blasted after a ball game, and despite wifely grumbles, it keeps us from pub crawls and such or-heaven forbid-meeting members of the opposite sex.  I personally know of seven divorces that were initiated via softball teams and mixed bowling.  For better or worse, modeling is and will probably remain a stag hobby.  This will be the subject of a future 'nest.


Modeling serves as a form of relaxation.  I know working with PhotoEtch is not necessarily relaxing, but the concept is definitely that of a laid back attitude.  Besides, it serves as a forum for us mechanically challenged types to at least feel better about our abilities (or lack thereof).


However, I think that the largest part of it is due to our love of history.  Real history, not politically correct or feel good history.  We desire to be a part of that heritage.  As we discussed at one meeting, the veterans of all wars are not getting any younger, and the shame of losing those memories eats at us.  Talking with vets, reading, research and, yes, building models is one way of preserving this history.  Perhaps the clubs could start canvassing the VFW halls and find out if they would be willing to set aside some space for a long term loan of models that specifically showcase the chapters’ history.  Imagine the look on the faces of an old vet seeing his Willy’s jeep with his personal logo on it, or a ball gunner seeing his squadron’s B-17.  I’m sure we could even find some old cavalry soldiers if we looked hard enough.


One does not honor evil by recognizing its existence, which is why modeling covers our dark side as well as the triumph of the good.  An associate of mine who visited a war museum in Paris a few years ago told me there was only a single reference to D-day.  Apparently France won WW ll single-handed.  Is this what we want people to think?  Of course not!  Yet that is precisely what will happen if we don’t make others aware of history in all its forms.


So build those models, show ‘em off and let the world know we remember.


September 2003