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Modelling ennui, obsession, depression... is it just me?


TonyOD
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I mean, I know we all lose our mojo a wee bit from time to time, but right now I feel like binning everything I've ever built or am in the process of building because it's just not good enough, and having a modelling "year zero" and starting from scratch. But I'm also finding it difficult to find the will to do anything at all. After some serious mental health issues a decade ago I still have some residual stuff going on that manifests itself in obsessive behaviours - I'm very aware of it but, well, hello, kit buying at a ridiculous rate!* - but now actually building the stuff is beyond me. Maybe I just need a break.

 

* don't let me buy anything from you, I'd just consider you an enabler. Too late for @fightersweep and @Graham Boak though 🤪

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  • TonyOD changed the title to Modelling ennui, obsession, depression... is it just me?
1 minute ago, TonyOD said:

I mean, I know we all lose our mojo a wee bit from time to time, but right now I feel like binning everything I've ever built or am in the process of building because it's just not good enough, and having a modelling "year zero" and starting from scratch. But I'm also finding it difficult to find the will to do anything at all. After some serious mental health issues a decade ago I still have some residual stuff going on that manifests itself in obsessive behaviours - I'm very aware of it but, well, hello, kit buying at a ridiculous rate!* - but now actually building the stuff is beyond me. Maybe I just need a break.

 

* don't let me buy anything from you, I'd just consider you an enabler. Too late for @fightersweep and @Graham Boak though 🤪

 

Sorry to hear that Tony. I think you're right though. Perhaps a break for a while would be a good thing. I felt the same way myself a few years ago. Life had thrown a few curve balls and as a result, I couldn't even enjoy my hobbies. If anything, they felt like a burdon but I still carried on buying the kits anyway. I thought about getting rid of everything, but stepped away instead. Then the Heller GB came along and I re-discovered the mojo and enjoyed the hobby like I did way back at the beginning. It was very refreshing.

 

Steve

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Just now, fightersweep said:

I couldn't even enjoy my hobbies.

 

It's not that exactly Steve, I've got back into getting out and about on the hills the last few weeks (I've done the Three Peaks of Yorkshire this weekend for something like the sixth time and it was ace, but not much attention was paid to the kits as a result!) whereas before that for a month or so I could hardly make myself leave the house because I was obsessively mucking about with little plastic planes. Despite enjoying that I became very peed off at myself for not getting any physical exercise. I think there must be a balance that I'm not finding it easy to achieve.

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Just now, TonyOD said:

I think there must be a balance that I'm not finding it easy to achieve.

 

Ah! Got ya! Yes! I fallen into that rabbit hole too. It's easy to get obsessed with this hobby, and crikey, I went bats when that Heller GB was on, but that was a different situation for me I guess. I needed a mojo boost. Balance is everything though and life is just one big juggling trick. Glad you're enjoying the big outdoors. Something I started doing recently whilst I could still fit my lockdown self out of the front door! 

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I think I might have a bit of time away from WIPs and enjoy following other folks' builds. I have to say I'm rather inspired by @SaminCam's stunning"as long as it takes" B-24 build. I don't have his skills, but I do have the Eduard "Wine, Women and Song" boxing of the Hasegawa B-26 that has the whistles and bells that would keep me quietly busy for a while...

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1 hour ago, TonyOD said:

right now I feel like binning everything I've ever built or am in the process of building because it's just not good enough,

There's an aphorism Perfect is the enemy of good which I think is particularly applicable to modelling. I think many of us have a tendency to over-reach ourselves, and then get discouraged by what appear to be glaring flaws and oversights (usually invisible to anyone else). In some ways, sites like this don't help as they show levels of craftsmanship we think are beyond us.

 

I don't have any solutions unfortunately, but I think it helps to accept that very few people are ever fully satisfied with their work, and in fact, if it were possible to knock out a perfect model every time, the hobby would soon lose its attraction. I think it is the challenge that keeps us motivated. 

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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47 minutes ago, TonyOD said:

I think I might have a bit of time away from WIPs and enjoy following other folks' builds. I have to say I'm rather inspired by @SaminCam's stunning"as long as it takes" B-24 build. I don't have his skills, but I do have the Eduard "Wine, Women and Song" boxing of the Hasegawa B-26 that has the whistles and bells that would keep me quietly busy for a while...

 

☺️ thanks Tony, sorry to hear the mojo is low and glad you are enjoying my fiddling around with endless slithers of plasticard! I'm not always happy with what I produce but enjoy the feeling of turning my brain off for a little while each day and in the end see something to like about each model I finish. I also definitely think that BM is a better way to waste your time online than ranting on Twitter or scrolling mindlessly on Instagram... as well as the fantastic modelling and photography I really appreciate the writing, which is so often interesting, funny and even sometimes heartwarming! Good luck with the next project, hope the mojo returns!

 

Ps definitely agree with fresh air and exercise, I think more than anything that keeps me sane!

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Hiya Tony,

Your situation sounds very familiar! On the one hand you get really involved in an interesting hobby that provides mindfulness, intriguing research, a creative result and a link to like-minded others. On the other hand you end up feeling guilty about not making enough time for the exercise that you know does you good because you're getting bogged down by tinkering with bits of plastic and indulging in a hobby that most people seem to think adults should have grown out of in their early teens. The more frustrated you get with the conundrum, the more dissatisfied you become with your own efforts until you start to think that you are incapable of producing results to justify the time and commitment and really would be better off simply not bothering.

 

I've been through that cycle a couple of times and simply decided to stop modelling for a while. On the last occasion I even packed everything away - tools, paints, 'bits' - for a few months. After a while something inevitably spurred my interest and, almost before I knew it, the enthusiasm returned. 

 

Right now I'm in the middle of an enforced absence from modelling. I've taken on a temporary work role a long way from home and hobbies (there are many!), and the necessary travel doesn't lend itself to taking my modelling with me. My role can be both physically and mentally tiring so, when I finish work, getting motivated to pursue my planned 'away-from-home' hobbies (drawing, languages, even trying to hand-sew a Victorian waistcoat!) is frequently difficult. What little time I have at home is mostly spent doing all those jobs that get stacked up while I'm away, or simply doing the family things and giving my wife a break from the domestic workload instead of (selfishly!) hiding myself away with hobbies. I've also reluctantly had to suspend my role as a museum volunteer for the duration. I'm normally a runner, but motivation even for that has been difficult lately, not helped by tiring shifts and a couple of calf strains. On the other hand, between work shifts I manage to get out walking and exploring - not quite Pen-y-Ghent or Ingleborough, but it's exercise! While I'm going through this phase, regularly looking in on BM keeps me in contact with modelling and also reminds me that there are plenty of other grown men and women whose modelling didn't end with fixing a Bonfire Night rocket to a Matchbox Sabre in their parents' back garden to see how far it would 'fly'...

 

In due course my temporary role will end and I'll be able to be back at home full-time, resume my modelling and other hobbies, spend time at the museum again and wave goodbye to the travelling. I'll be less tired and consequently my motivation will return. I'll go back to making models of unusual subjects that won't win prizes (not that they'll be entered for any!), but which will provide enjoyable research and creativity. I know this because that's exactly what happened after my deliberate modelling breaks in the past.

 

So, please don't be afraid to take a break and walk away from the bits of plastic, but don't bin them. As for "not good enough": what on earth does 'good enough' mean? Who is going to see them? Will each creation be chasing a Telford Gold, or will they be 3D representations of something that piques your interest at the time of building?  From your RFI posts, I think I can guess!

 

Apologies for being a bit long-winded, but hopefully some of what I've put down might be useful.

 

Jon

 

 

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The problem, i believe at least, is that modelling is recreating. It can never, ever truly match the original and trying can be downright frustrating.
Creating is something completely different and much less frustrating because you are creating the original yourself.

 

Most people don't even understand these attempts at replication. at most they smile at it.
I personally believe that it is a form of love. Sounds absurd, is absurd, but i feel that way.

 

 

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10 hours ago, ckw said:

There's an aphorism Perfect is the enemy of good which I think is particularly applicable to modelling. I think many of us have a tendency to over-reach ourselves, and then get discouraged by what appear to be glaring flaws and oversights (usually invisible to anyone else). In some ways, sites like this don't help as they show levels of craftsmanship we think are beyond us.

 

I don't have any solutions unfortunately, but I think it helps to accept that very few people are ever fully satisfied with their work, and in fact, if it were possible to knock out a perfect model every time, the hobby would soon lose its attraction. I think it is the challenge that keeps us motivated. 

 

Cheers

 

Colin

I think Colin has nailed it (for me at least).

 

About 5 years ago I got to the point where I couldn't face looking at any models, even though I had access to more than most folk. I had a huge amount of shelf of doom kits partially started, in many cases almost finished, but I couldn't get them over the line due to what I saw as not being good enough. I tried the self blackmail trick of telling my self I couldn't start another before I finished one of them but that didn't work. In the end I took 18 months away from them and when I came back I started with something completely different from my normal 'themes', a tank, and loved it even though it was far from perfect. From that point I gradually got back into the swing of things but I tried not to restrict myself to particular scales or themes as I'd done in the past and started building whatever took my fancy without worrying about the quality. I also didn't try to pressure myself into completing the shelf queens, there was clearly some reason why I didn't finish them first time around. I did finish some of them later and still potter with some of the remaining ones but I don't let them weigh very heavily on my mind, they are what they are and so what if they have some obvious faults. 

 

Duncan B

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Don't worry Tony you're not alone.

 

I have the same issues.  I started scale modelling again, not having done it since I was a teen, and did achieve a couple of good looking aircraft but never really felt I could achieve what I wanted to.  So, because of that, and rising costs/diminishing income, I've had a "year zero" and gone back to what I had been doing for almost 30 years, and that is Games Workshop (or compatible brands) miniatures.

 

Part of my problem is that I tend to want to achieve what the real artists out there achieve on scale models, and I can't.  Lack of encouragement when posting WIPs or RFIs is also an enthusiasm killer.

 

I do still feel the urge occasionally to build a scale model or buy a new kit, but I know that I'll lose interest in it if I don't finish it quickly (although I have that issue with GW models as well).

 

My advice would be to go do something else and come back to scale models if/when you feel like it.

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Hi Tony,

 

I absolutely agree with @ckw and @Duncan B - perfection isn't possible in model making. I found that out the hard way with my railway models, and a railway goods wagon is a lot simpler than an aeroplane, because you have to decide where to stop with details. Do you build fully working brake gear, for instance - an impossibility in 4mm scale, so there's a compromise straight away. Eventually, I decided on a standard where things looked as realistic as possible from a couple of feet away: that was achievable for me and I went from there. Okay, I've still got loads of half-built wagons, but at least I'm happy with them :D With aviation modelling, I tied myself in knots so much that 25 years ago I just chucked the whole lot in the loft and forgot about it.

 

Take a few steps back, enjoy the finer weather and dip in and out of BM as the mood takes you. And in no time at all, you'll be back at the bench with renewed enthusiam.

 

Stay safe and well!

 

Cheers,

Mark

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So, clearly, it's not just me then! 

 

I've become quite down about the number of kits I've not managed to get over the line this year, off the top of my head at least four, and my Dragon Rapide that is still a goer but I haven't touched it in nine months... and despite countless hours beavering away at a very challenging build my Pe-8 is in mortal danger of going the same way at the very last hurdle. I wouldn't mind but all those kits and bits of aftermarket add up to a fair bit... I also feel like I've let the team down by signing up for GBs then failing to show up!

 

The conversation about what's "good enough" is an interesting one. Since I came back to modelling I've managed to complete six builds, of which only one of them (a Wessex I did last summer) would I say I'm "very happy" with. Not that it's Telford gold (lol) but I enjoyed the research and the build, and did a decent job with the various challenges I came up with along the way (and they were not small in number) and ended up with a tidy result. Everything else I've done I feel I could or should have done better. I think @ckw nails it with "perfect is the enemy of good". When I worked in the corporate world I used to live by the maxim "it doesn't have to be perfect, just perfect enough", because if everything had to be perfect I would never have got anything done. 

 

Like I said I think I'll spend some quiet time with one build for a bit and see how I feel at the other end!

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48 minutes ago, 2996 Victor said:

I decided on a standard where things looked as realistic as possible from a couple of feet away

 

I have the "three feet test"... which is completely incompatible with close-up photography for BM RFI's! 😁

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5 minutes ago, TonyOD said:

 

I have the "three feet test"... which is completely incompatible with close-up photography for BM RFI's! 😁

Yes, that's the flaw in the plan! I'm experimenting with a box brownie and sepia film..... ;) 

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9 minutes ago, TonyOD said:

So, clearly, it's not just me then! 

Definitely not, Tony! I've been "back in the fold" just over a year, and had several dips! My Spit Vc is languishing and I'm considering using it as a paint mule and starting another one in a little while. The P-51D, Zero, and two Hurricanes get a bit done and then sit gathering dust or, as I laughingly put it, "are set aside to allow the glue to harden properly" :D Even the Tomahawk is still unfinished after almost a year.

 

What with one thing and another, I've had a break of a couple of weeks and its done me good as I was feeling a little jaded beforehand. The trouble is, when I'm not building, I'm looking and buying, which is never ideal! Just don't tell Jane.....

 

Cheers,

Mark

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I sort of know where you’re coming from, Tony. 
 

I sometimes find the day job really gets me down. About five years ago I had to take most of a year off from building commissioned railway models because I just couldn’t face it any more. I think it was pretty much a nervous breakdown. Accepting that, realising my off days weren’t just a phase but some level of depression, has helped me. Even now, though, I’m not powering through the backlog like I think I should be. I just have to accept that sometimes I need to walk away and do something else. 

 

Happily, gluing together plastic planes is my happy place - most of the time, anyway!
 

I would love to build to the highest standards. I aim high, but accept I usually miss the mark. So I build to please myself. With every build, I like to think I’m getting better. Sometimes I manage to, but most often I have to accept I’ve not achieved quite what I thought I would. I like to share my efforts here. Mostly, everyone is kind enough to like what I do. That buoys me up, and I hope to do better with the next model. 
 

My unwarranted advice would be to not beat yourself up about it. Do it because you enjoy it, not because of some perceived peer pressure. Spend some time away from the bench doing other things. When the time is right, you’ll come back to the bench and be happy to just build what pleases you.

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2 minutes ago, Heather Kay said:

Do it because you enjoy it, not because of some perceived peer pressure. Spend some time away from the bench doing other things. When the time is right, you’ll come back to the bench and be happy to just build what pleases you.

 

Amen to that!

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Modelling is a hobby. If it’s not enjoyable then take a break. I’ve had whole years when mojo left the building. Didn’t stop me thinking about the modelling though!

 

Fell walking will keep you in trim and it sounds that this is your favourite thing at the moment. Come back to modelling when you feel the need (however long it takes) but in the meantime you can still play here in Mike’s Modelling Sandpit and contribute to other people’s threads.

 

I found that in darker moments it was the thought of modelling that amongst other things kept my brain ticking over (that and writing a novel - work in progress!).

 

It’s good to be able to speak out about such things. As you can see, you’re not alone.

 

😁

 

Trevor

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I have always found that modelling gives me a breathing space from whatever is going on around me , a bit of me space and a chance to unwind.

 

Was getting on with quite a few projects until the first Covid lockdown and with having a lot less to do and a lot more time to do it in I found that rather than increasing my output as I thought it might it has actually fallen back drastically.

 

No idea why , no pressure , no worries , wife and I are pensioners with state and private pensions so furlough not an issue , extended family and friends have all dodged the bug so far so no worries there but generally getting nowhere fast with anything.

 

Wondering if the lack of pressure is in fact the problem , day starts off slow and leisurely and mostly carries on much the same , big day out if I have to drive 12 miles down to the next town , and so it carries on until time for bed again.

 

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I am sorry Tony that you are struggling sorting things out at the moment. Some years back I went through a really dark time with life and health and I feel lucky to be here. Modelling actually helped me to deal with what happened as it gave me a form of release and something to help build a bit of self confidence 

As others have said this is a hobby and not a constant competition. I know  my build standard is not the best  and I have reached some sort of plateau. Well to be honest I am fine with that. I know I am mortal and the wrong side of life's hill and so I build what I like and enjoy the process. Building models is part of my life, but there other things going on as well. 

I hope it comes good for you and people are supportive, one of the nice things about this forum is that generally people are fairly decent to each other. 

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22 hours ago, ckw said:

There's an aphorism Perfect is the enemy of good which I think is particularly applicable to modelling. 

 

My builds tend more towards "that'll do... from a distance.....  after a few pints ....." 

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I hope you're finding some equilibrium. It can be a lengthy process to get over mental health issues. It sounds like your approach via exercise is working.

Hopefully that'll continue to help. And other parts of life will become enjoyable again.

Keep talking to people. It makes a huge difference.

One step at a time. I wish you well

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I tend to use modelling as something to focus on because my mental health is quite bad, but I tend to feel that way sometimes, and as was said above, it's not easy to be here or on a FB group and see astonishing builds. I try and take inspiration from them but sometimes it just bums me out and I spiral. But my last kit (this RAF X-Wing) was enjoyable and came out pretty good, so that made me feel better. Maybe we are just as good as our last build. But that's okay, as long as we have fun with it. My stash is overrunning but it's just more for me to build and enjoy. 

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It’s interesting hearing your ‘problems’ with the hobby, Tony. I think what you’re feeling is quite common, and partly due to the digital world we live in. Whilst sites such as this are fantastic for sharing our builds with like-minded people it can, ironically, be quite demotivating. 
 

There are so many fantastically talented modellers out there on the ‘net sharing their work, it’s easy to look at their builds and think that we’re not good enough. I went through a similar phase a while back and whilst, sometimes, seeing a fantastic build can be motivational, it can often have the opposite effect and make you feel you’ll never reach such dizzy heights. 
 

And when you say, “just not good enough,” you have to ask the question: good enough for who? I now build for myself and myself only. Whilst I like to share some of my projects on this site and others, I really don’t give two hoots what others think (meant with the greatest of respect to fellow BM members) and have long given up on worrying if my efforts are any better or worse than anyone else’s. I just do my own thing. 
 

This is, after all, a hobby and really not getting worth stressed over. If you’re not in the mood, do something else. I sometimes go for weeks without touching a model. If you try to force it, it’ll only make matters worse. The mojo eventually returns, and off you go. 
 

My advice is take some time away for as long as the mojo is low, and you’ll come back when the mood takes. And when you do, enjoy building models for you, and no one else!

 

All the best,

Tom

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