The Purpose of Models
When I started this hobby, I only had a vague idea of what I was getting into. I didn’t think about the hours that I would have to spend researching and working to develop building skills. I was also shortsighted by the amount money I had to invest in buying tools and supplies to experiment with. All I knew was that I wanted the awesome-looking finished product.
First of all, let’s set things straight. Models are toys. Whether you play with them or not, they are still made of plastic and you own them simply because you want them not because you need them. They don’t really serve any functional purpose except maybe decorate your quarters and you can live without them. The same goes for iPads, Xboxes, and a quarter-million-dollar Ferrari–all toys.
[Yup, cats are more creative than I am.]
As for model building as a form of art, it’s somewhat true. Building models is trying to create something that looks nice but the same goes for the drawing my cat pawed out on my iPad. For the most part, model building is not going to make a good living. Don’t kid yourself into quiting your day job to play with plastic full-time.
So what am I doing wasting my time building and painting toys that won’t make me rich?
The short and simple answer is because I can and I want to. There are a lot of things I want in life but I can’t have. Sometimes it’s because they don’t exist or there are too many things standing in the way of getting it (usually money and the US Government). I want my own personal F-22 Raptor but the chances of that is literally none. But to be fair, no one other than the US Air Force can have them. The chances of getting an actual Mobile Suit in my lifetime is about 99.99…% unlikely. So the next best thing would be to get a replica of it. A model imitates things that exist, don’t exist, and what we want to exist. It may be non-functional, but at least I can get the aesthetics.
[Oh, what I would give for one...]
So basically, I’m trying to fulfill my desires by making copies of things I want but there’s a bit more to that. There are a lot of values to pick up in this hobby. Stuff like painting, shading, and decals are the basic skills set for any beginner. Then you might take a jab a making mods (and probably fail horribly the first few times) and discover that you are not limited to the pre-designed/manufactured products. If you go as far as scratch building, your options open up to what you are capable of creating. There are already many kits out there you can buy, but there are so many more things that do not yet have a model form.
[Sometimes when I can't fall asleep, I imagine I was in the cockpit getting ready to take off.]
These same possibilities apply to all forms of design (ex: graphics, engineering, architecture, etc.) Model building is just another form of design. You can draw or paint a picture, create 3d models in software, animate cartoons, or make an over-budget 3d special effects film. And then there’s models, which is the prefix towards actual working products. It’s about making things you dream of into a reality and getting what you want.