Author Topic: Insights into my Hobby  (Read 606 times)

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Offline GlennCauley

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Insights into my Hobby
« on: 16 Nov , 2016, 07:56 »
I love my hobby… building plastic scale models.

I returned to the hobby in 2005 (after a 12-15 year hiatus) to build a scale U-boat model (U-625) for my father… a model that holds a lot of family and historical significance.  I learned a lot about U-boats, and I continue to build them to this day.   Today I build anything & everything, in any scale, so long as the subject appeals to me. I take my time when I build.  My hobby keeps my intellect, imagination, creativity, and dexterity alive & well... though sometimes straining the eyesight and neck muscles (and maybe sanity... but that's a whole different story).

Some people build models with a very narrow focus: some people build only airliners; some people build models of one specific scale; some people only build things that start with ‘S’... whatever.  That is perfectly fine by me!   I build for my own reasons, and I do not have the right to impose my own views on how/what other people should build.

I have been very fortunate to be a well-accepted club president of my local IPMS chapter for the past 8 years (and counting), and I also volunteer on organizing committees for hobby-related events (4 CapCons, and counting).  I contribute regularly to different modelling groups and discussion forums, and I also maintain a blog site about some of my models:

In the past, I have even had the good fortune to collaborate with a leading hobby company to help create a commercial product: a rivet set for U-boats.

Part of MY approach to my hobby sometimes involves correcting or improving upon a model kit as offered by a manufacturer.  Sometimes things are inaccurate, sometimes things are bare/boring and I want to “jazz things up” a bit.  But every time, I alone decide how far to take things; it is all done at my own discretion. Sometimes it makes things more interesting to divert from the norm (and instructions), and most of the time when I take on a new challenge it helps to improve my skills. I don't lose sleep if things aren't "perfect" since I decide what is perfect for me.  If I grow frustrated with a build, or hit a major roadblock, I am fine with putting it to the side until I regain the desire to return to it.

For me this hobby is about having FUN, building stuff you LIKE, learning things that are NEW, and SHARING that passion and knowledge with others (that is, IF they want to learn).  There are far better model builders than myself out there, and I would have been lost over the years without their advice and assistance to guide me or inspire me.  I know that I do not have all the answers, but I am always willing to share what I do know so that others may benefit.  I have connected with many wonderful people, and made many wonderful friends because of my involvement in this hobby.

But being human beings (most of us, anyway), sometimes there are dark elements to groups of people that have a common interest.  Personality differences  (and other factors) sometimes make for interesting times, but not always.

The reason for this post?
I am getting to that...

Recently I was called a "rivet counter" by some internet troll in a FB model building group that I regularly contribute to.  The comment was:   “Ouch, a rivet counter...Always thought it’s existence was a mythe! :) ”  [sic].  The comment came out of the blue after I had posted a small group of progress pics on a current model build - as I have done many times to the appreciation of others.

A “rivet counter” is generally accepted to be a derogatory term used to characterize someone who is a self-professed expert on something, someone who takes it upon themself to critique other people's models (whether solicited or not), someone who imposes their own standards & judgment on others about what they feel is accurate & what is not. Sometimes “rivet counters” do not even actively build models… but that typically does not stop them from bringing forth their criticism – usually unsolicited, undesired, and unappreciated. A “rivet counter” typically only focuses on perceived faults - which they feel compelled to point out - while not appreciating (or mentioning) the better aspects of a model. “Rivet counters” have become more prevalent with the flourishing of social media and online discussion forums, where they have become emboldened while hiding behind the (perceived) anonymity of their computer screens. Many times when called out, “rivet counters” attempt to play the “constructive criticism” card, but it is usually pretty obvious when their intentions are entirely selfish, self-gratifying, or just plain mean-spirited. There are many other colourful adjectives that can be used to describe a “rivet counter,” but you likely get the picture by now.

It's not often that someone says something insulting to me that I cannot just shrug off with a mental "Eff U"  but that comment coming from a complete stranger really angered me.  There is a HUGE difference between someone who puts effort into making their models more realistic, accurate, or interesting -- which accounts for MANY modellers throughout the hobby -- and someone who is a “rivet counter.”     I am the former, but definitely NOT the latter.
  • I have NEVER imposed my own personal standards on the models built by other people.
  • I have NEVER slagged another person’s model by critiquing them with a nitpicking, arrogant attitude to show off my own ‘superior’ knowledge of a subject.
  • I have NEVER said to anyone, "Hey, your model isn't accurate because blah blah blah..."
So to anyone who thinks I am or ever would be a "rivet counter"... you are dead WRONG, and you can go away now.
And if you think the description of a "rivet counter" sounds a bit (or a lot) like yourself... well... notice has been served.

Now I am off to bandage my tongue, which has become bloodied from all the biting it's been taking lately.  :o

« Last Edit: 17 Nov , 2016, 12:58 by GlennCauley »
Glenn Cauley
President, IPMS Ottawa

Offline billp51d

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Re: Insights into my Hobby
« Reply #1 on: 17 Nov , 2016, 03:49 »
Hats off to you, Glenn, well spoken ..


Offline dougie47

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Re: Insights into my Hobby
« Reply #2 on: 17 Nov , 2016, 15:53 »
Hello Glenn and Bill,

Nothing wrong with attention to accuracy. Trying to improve kits is the appeal with U-boat model building, especially as there were so many variations between yards and different features over time. Sometimes I think of the quality versus quantity approach to building. I just don't have the time to try to improve every kit and I get pleasure from throwing together kits in a few weeks even if they have accuracy issues. When it comes to aircraft models I am content with quick builds with no PE or resin additions (so I get quantity and fun at the table) but then take another approach when making U-boats (attention to detail rather than quantity). I wouldn't think about criticising others' models as many of my efforts are pretty terrible. The 1/48th Airfix Jaguar that is on my table right now is not going to be a good model but I don't care as I have had fun building it.

The rivet counter insult is a long established one and I've sometimes thought about it as being an unintended backhanded compliment. 



Offline GlennCauley

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Re: Insights into my Hobby
« Reply #3 on: 18 Nov , 2016, 07:58 »
Hear, hear!   :)

It really comes down to the manner in which someone calls you a "rivet counter."   
If it is done tongue-in-cheek between friends, likely it is just playful teasing.   
However if a complete stranger says it... like what happened with me... well, that is a whole other story.
Glenn Cauley
President, IPMS Ottawa