Beginner’s Luck

It’s funny, but my experience listening to the weird “bugmen” rant jarred something loose in my psyche. It dovetailed with my earlier post today (busy day today) about what kind of Youtube channel I should have, and whether I should have one at all.

For some reason, listening to weird Nazi ideas does have an effect like a jolt of cough syrup laced with some other substances. You can find yourself suddenly confronted by the root of your distress, and it’s often surprising.

In a flash of insight, I wondered “Why the hell should I be concerned about beginners?”

Yeah. Why?

This is just another oddball legacy from the early years of plastic model kits. How many books, magazines, major motion pictures and television programs were aimed at “novice modelers?” Just about ALL of them. The idea, back in the day, was that a man (always a man or boy) would be “wondering” about getting into model building, and it was assumed that for every pitiful bugman model builder, several hundred (thousand?) of these “beginners” were prowling the streets, waiting to be seduced by a magazine.

Yes, friends, the magazine was the gateway to the world of plastic model kits. This idea sounds idiotic, to some extent, when I just lay it out there but I assure you that this was the thinking. Magazines didn’t really appeal to the “hard core” modeler. They were aimed at the beginner. The “wanna-be.” The dreamer. The Walter Mitty whose dreams of glory pitifully involved an IPMS trophy was the chap the magazines went after.

“HOW DO I DO THIS?” see page 32.

“HOW DO I DO THAT?” see page 11.

The articles included “hints and tips” and it was always, always, always about “how to” shit.

If you wanted to move on from “beginner” status, you were outta luck. Growth from infancy, where the fellow who really worked at it would join the Academy of Model Building, was see as “elitist” and vaguely subversive. Besides, those know-it-all bastards could join IPMS and engage in endless competition, which was what real men did.

It was all about winning. More hints and tips. On how to win.

But the idea of just pursuing excellence for the sake of excellence was put down as sorta commie and probably gay. People–men–DO NOT want to just “get better.” It was incomprehensible. Who wants to get gud just to get gud? What kind of pansy nonsense IS this?

So the idea of a forum for “growth” just never occurred to anybody. Everybody was always fixated on the newcomer, the beginner, the “youth,” the noob, the not-a-noob since that’s a bad word, the “tyro” or the “novice.”

Model building never gave me a word for master. Expert just sounds annoying. Boss is even more annoying. Frankly, I’m stumped. “Master” is not a good word now. So what do we have? Anybody? Bueller?

Maybe I’ll make THAT my goal. To find that word that means “good at it” without having to go to nasty old capitalism (professional) or sports (champion). I have to wonder– can we have a word for a person who is able without having to make them a shill or a predator? Can we just be “good” without having to be “better than?” Can we be accomplished without having to turn that around for cash?

I wonder.

4 Replies to “Beginner’s Luck”

  1. Very nicely thought out and presented question, one that never occurred to my dimbulb.
    So when I was a young kid building models I think I aspired to be good at it. Before exposure to magazines or really other kids building models.
    I am a visual critter, to a fault. Didnt know that until much later in life.
    So, I loved messing with colors and mixing my own, often with dime bottles of Testors, the luscious Pactra flats, and tinned enamels from the hardware store
    I know that from age 10 or so I was mightily impressed with the large scale models of ships and airplanes at the old Smithsonian.
    I aspired to that example, but never felt in competition with anyone. I did some kitbashing on my own instincts, never knew it was a thing. I made something that looked like a 1940’s Tie fighter out of the tail section of a B-25. I got great satisfaction from that and from my own painting, sometimes to match the model with the minds eye of reality.
    I entered one regional competition in the 1980’s, but was so creeped out my the vibe I never went back.

  2. Creeped out again.
    I recently joined the scale modelers critique group. Got silenced for 24 hrs for saying I didn’t give a rats ass about a convoluted thread on metallic surface theories. Ok fair enough.
    Then I watched a video by an Aussie blogger making a sensible argument for some sanity vs. rivet counters.
    Immediate nuclear response via hundreds of defensive, outraged, stupid and even calculated “objective” comments. I quit the group, I don’t give a rats ass about the defense of rivet counters, weathering geeks.

    1. Well I hope we’ve learned our lesson. Repeat after me: “I will not go (yet again) to a gathering where I know damn well my blood pressure will rise and my influence will be nil.”

      Oh wait, that is MY daily pledge!

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