I’ve recently stumbled upon a hot topic online debating the good and evil around modelers continuously increasing the size of their queen-riddled shelves. For most people, this talk seemed to open up old wounds created by either the sentimental value of the models, or the steep financial cost of it all. Seeing things a bit differently, I decided to grab the old keyboard and put my thoughts on this together.
Now, for those of you that don’t know, in the world of scale-modeling, a shelf queen is a kit / a project that was started long ago, but has since been postponed / set aside. Some might even come to calling it abandoned, but we don’t use that word around models now, do we? There are several reason why this happens:
- losing interest in the model because of a nicer one made its way into your stash (I know I’m guilty of this all too often)
- poor fit after several hours of work (that Tamiya kit with a perfect fit is so tempting, right?)
- getting stuck at a step which you dread (for me it’s either masking, or assembling tracks… they both give me the creeps)
- messing up the paint-job and the decal-work and having to redo everything (maybe also buy aftermarket decals)
If this brings back memories, or worse, gives you shivers, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to make things better.
An exercise of being in control
It’s easy to get dragged into something you don’t really enjoy. A tedious conversation with the annoying couple at the office Christmas party, a never-ending family dinner at the local Indian restaurant, or a night out with friends watching a movie you actually have no interest in. The common theme among all these is the social aspect, pressuring you into saying “yes”.
When it comes to scale-modeling, though, things are a bit more private. It’s just you, the bench, the kit and your supplies. You’re in full control of things, you should get to decide what is right and what is wrong. You should get to choose what gets postponed and what follows. No peer-pressure, no friends getting upset, no compromise.
If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong
This never translates to forcing fun onto oneself, but rather to taking a break from that boring / tedious / annoying project that sucks the life out of you. Also called “losing your mojo”, this state of mind only fosters frustration towards everything you attempt, making some modelers quit the hobby altogether. Which is really a damn shame!
Rather, if you’re not enjoying your current project, just set it aside and start something that makes you smile. They say life is too short to be anything but happy. Similarly, your time at the bench is too short to not enjoy every second of it. And don’t worry, the mojo you lost for that model kit today will come back at some point. And when it does, the vibes you’ll get are such a unique feeling… I would know, I just resumed work on my C47-A Skytrain, (coming soon to a blog near you) and when the memories started pouring in, they filled back the urge and passion I originally had for the project.
Of course, if what brings your frustration levels to a record-breaking height is the actual amount of shelf-queens, then you should accept a bit of a compromise and start getting things done. The key is tricking your brain like you would trick your dog: with a treat at the end.
You dread the weathering of tracks, but love applying a pin-wash on the model? Start with the tracks and imagine how much fun you’ll have doing the washes. Likewise, not really enjoying the current step of the kit you’re working on, but really want to get it out of the way? Schedule starting the next fun kit only after you’ve finished everything you’re currently working on.
Bottom line? It’s your hobby, your time, you’re in control. Do what’s fun for you, not for others. Don’t get pushed into making decisions you’re not happy with. Just enjoy it!