JOE’S CORNER: Am I Still A Modeler?

Hello Friends,

I can’t (or, rather, I don’t want to) explain it, but, ever since the COVID stuff started last year, I’ve not been myself. I was on a roll when 2020 started, and TMD was booming. But then, they locked everyone down and my spirit seems to have been locked-down as well. Since that time, I can do anything and everything necessary to run TMD — except make new masters!

I have tried, but nothing seems to keep my attention long enough to bring it to market. It’s almost as if all the joy I used to find in modelling has disappeared and what was once an exciting hobby has become nothing but monotonous work. This feeling has grown until, now, I find myself wondering whether or not I am still a modeler, or am I now just a resin-slinger? If that’s all I am anymore, then I don’t want to continue and it’s time to close up shop.

When I started TMD, I did it to help other modelers, and that is still my motivation. But something has changed over the years. Where I once felt a sense of camaraderie and friendship between modelers — both on line and at the shows — now all I feel is anger and animosity. Rather than sharing our builds and how we managed to get them to turn out the way they did; or discussing the newest kits and how great it is that the hobby was giving us models that we never thought we’d ever see in plastic; it seems all we do is hang out on the computer and complain. So, again, if this is all the hobby has become, I’m not so sure I want to be a modeler anymore. In the words of one of my favorite tank commanders, it all leaves me wondering:

“What’s with all the negative vibes, baby?”

All of this negativity is only multiplied when I think that I have not actually built and painted a model since I started TMD. That was twenty years ago! This is why I wonder whether or not I can actually call myself a modeler anymore. Everything has changed. You guys are using totally different paints and techniques and building models that make me feel like a rookie who just woke up from a coma. T me, the top of the line modeling techniques are pin washes and dry brushing, but have you tried to dry brush with these super-thin acrylic paints lately? I did. It didn’t turn out so well. Does streak-a-palooza mean anything to anyone? Honestly, it’s getting rather discouraging.

Then there is the growth in 3D printing. Hey, I have no problem with competition, and if I get pushed out of business by honest competition, I’m good with that. So, to those guys who are printing very high-end masters and then using them to make traditional rubber molds and resin masters: My hat’s off to you! I wish you all the success in the world. But, to those guys who are pushing out the actual printed product… Hey, folks, I’ve been in on rapid-prototyping since it was only a wax-like powder master like the raptor voice box in the Jurassic Park movie. I know the advantages and limitations of this technology. One of the kids who grew up in the TMD shop back when we were a big deal now owns his own industrial casting company and five 3D printers. He even helps design them. So I know that the stuff some of you guys are buying that has actually been printed is not exactly what I want to sell. I’d rather stick to traditional craftsmanship and, if I go the way of the horse and buggy whip companies, then so be it. But I cannot and will not join the crowd of people putting out products I consider to be less than my customers deserve. Still, these and other changes in the hobby are adding to my malaise.

But it’s not all doom-and-gloom. I am not going down without a fight — and by ‘down,’ I do not mean business wise. I mean, I am not going to give up a hobby that used to be so much fun. I never saw the movie, so I’m not really sure “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.” All I know is that Joe either needs to get his mojo back and start building again, or it’s time to pack things in and close up shop. Even better, I actually have a plan as to how I can do it!

Starting this weekend, I am going to build something. I am going to build it straight out of the box (or, as much as possible). I even have my ‘victim.’ I have an old orange box DML Tiger I, and I have already started on it. I intend to stick with this until I either finish it — to include painting and weathering — or I am going to accept that I am no longer a modeler and my time to retire and find something new has finally come. For those who are interested, I will be posting pictures of my progress in a build blog I will start here on the TMD Blog Page. You’ll be able to watch, offer suggestions to help me, and cheer me on as I progress. Or, if you are of the mind, you can cast hexes and spells at me to try and prevent me from accomplishing my mission. Either way, this is going to be a big test for me — and for TMD.

One last note. I try not to preach to anyone, but I have been wrestling with my faith for several years now. I see TMD as my way to serve the Lord by serving each and every one of you. But I am also trying hard to actually live my faith — as it is taught in the Scriptures. Consequently, I have grown to see much of the stuff I have acquired through TMD as a possible violation of those teachings. If I am actually using or will use the stuff I’ve put in my ‘stash,’ then I don’t see much of a problem with it. However, if all I am doing is hording it… Well, then that is a HUGE problem and I need to do something about it. I am called to be a good steward with what is given to me and, either I am going to start doing just that, or I am going to correct my failings. The Lord has been far too good to me not to do as He asks. And, trust me, I know how many feel about such matters but, ever since I bowed to Him and bent my knee, my personal life has been amazing, and so has the health of TMD. The connection between obedience and prosperity has been too clear for me to have missed. I can look back at the past few years and tell you when I was living obediently and when I wasn’t simply by looking at how well things were going with our bank accounts and personal relationships. So, for me, God is very real, and He is far more important to me than anything in this material world. Which means, ultimately, my desire to be obedient is what is at the foundation of what has been troubling me. It’s time to find out whether or not I can be obedient with TMD, which is why I have decided to place so much on this coming build. To those of you who understand, consider it my version of ‘casting lots.’ 🙂

I hope you’ll wish me luck and cheer me on as I try to become a modeler once more. Until I do, or until I give up, please stay safe.


2 thoughts on “JOE’S CORNER: Am I Still A Modeler?

  1. Joe,
    don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. Don’t feel pressured to crank out the products if you wish to take a sabbatical. Yes, get back to modeling. Your products are outstanding. These times are grinding on all of us. We know the threat is diabolical and only the Lord can get us out of this situation. I have many of your products in the stash. As far as feeling intimidated by the skill of others, so do I. I haven’t finished a model since 1977. But I got back on it last year and with the bar being raised by others along with the great tutorials, I am happy with my efforts. I’m 71 and wear contact lenses, 3X glasses, and an Opti-Visor to do most of my work. I’m no David Parker or Alex Clark (along with dozens and dozens of other great builders and painters) but I’m liking this “new” experience………stay strong and kick some butt!

Leave a Reply