Archive for May 22nd, 2022

What with work, and moving at an imminent but as yet unknown point in the future, not a lot of model making is happening at the moment, but I’m still reading lots and a recent entry by James Hilton caught my eye. Aimed primarily at exhibitors and called “Why are you here?” the post expresses dissatisfaction with the “normal” discussions at an exhibition about the techniques used or sources of models.

His question is why people don’t ask “deeper” questions about motivation and why people choose to make specific models:

What is holding us back from asking deeper questions and having better conversations with one another?

… there are tiny glimmers but at best all we manage is a sentence about how the modeller remembers standing on the end of a platform as a child, or perhaps making models with their parents, even these are superficial and stumbled over quickly so we can get back to the comfort of talking about technique and materials.


I don’t think I’m suggesting anything radical when I say model making tends to attract a fairly similar demographic. Most of us, for example, are of the male persuasion. In many cross cultural studies, men tend towards the traits of Openness to Ideas, whereas women report higher Agreeableness, which includes interest in feelings.

On top of this, model making involves a lot of time sitting alone and gluing small fiddly things together or writing blogs about it. This is something that appeals more to introverts than extroverts, and speaking as an introvert, this same trait makes us much less likely to strike up a conversation in public with a stranger.

A (noisy) model railway exhibition, in short, may not be the ideal place for exhibitors to get peppered with questions that require spontaneous and personal answers. As one painter once said when asked about his reasons for painting a certain picture “Kindly be respectful enough to look at the painting instead of expecting me to explain it as well.”

Writing is better; we can think before we put those words out there, but it still involves risk; would people really be interested in my feelings? Can I write it in a way that would interest people, especially in demographics not generally inclined to talk about such things.

So, do we need this generally? I’m not sure. I can see that for some people it would be a new and exciting element to model making, but for a number of others it could be a dis-concerting societal expectation that they are trying to get away from.

As this doesn’t actually answer the question James put forward, I’ll inflict my reasons on you at a later date, probably next week, to hide a further lack of progress…

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