I’ve been back in the hobby for a couple years now, but am only recently starting to turn out enough final model product to be able to enter in contests. I’d gotten stuck in an unhealthy mindset about whether I’d participate. Largely, I suffered from two issues:
- “I’m not good enough” – My work, while improving, is still not award winning. I was really worried that people would wonder “Why is he bringing this crap?”
- “Why bother?” – I’ve too focused on the end prize of 1st place. If I don’t have a real chance of winning, what’s the point of entering?
When I was a kid in high school building models, I took them to shows at least 3 or 4 times a year. I was blessed living in Southern California – a few hours drive in any particular direction would get you to a new contest. You didn’t have to wait long, you just had to convince your parents to drive you… then hang out and wait all day. (Thanks, Dad and Mom!) I won a number of contests in the various junior categories. I always knew that I won often because of a lack of other entries, but damn it felt good. I think I was stuck in a mindset the last few years that I didn’t want to “lose”. And that’s just the wrong way to think about it.
It dawned on me shortly after I attended ModelFiesta (without entering anything), down the road in San Antonio a few months back… quantity of models in the show is as important as the quality of any particular model. I found myself flipping through the photos I took of (nearly) all the models there that day and wishing there was more. Not because it was a small show, but because each model held a particular fascination and I just wanted more. MORE!
Amusingly, as I was collecting my thoughts to write this post, I ran across another blog post about this very topic. Here’s my favorite bits:
If you need only one reason, it’s this one. People want to see your models. Really, we do. Have you ever traveled two or three hours to go to a contest only to find 50 models on the tables? I have. It sucks. Although these events are centered on the contest, the main reason for entering your models is to share your work with other modelers. The next best thing to building models is looking at them, so the more models the better, right?
Exactly. And further …
Look, most of us who enter contests know our models won’t be competitive; we know there are visible seams, misaligned parts, glue marks that the judges will find within 10 seconds of their inspections. That was exactly the case with the Hasegawa F-117 I took to Mosquitocon. Major issues. As I’d expected, it didn’t place, but a couple of guys complimented me on it, and that meant as much to me as an award.
So I’ve rejiggered my thinking, and I’m going to start taking something… even if just a figure or a single, unbased model to contests whenever I can. Traveling with models is always tough, but I’ll figure out a way. I believe there’s a duty to give back to the communities you participate in, and part of the way I need to start giving back is to enter models.
And all this has the side benefit of pushing my modeling to yield more final product. I’m a little embarrassed about the ratio of half built models to finalized ones. With a contest entry goal in mind, it’s easier to draw focus to completing more models before starting the next one.
And yeah, a prize wouldn’t be so bad either…