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How to Start Modeling for Beginning Beginners Guide to Starting

The reason I wanted to start writing about modeling is that I am really (really) not that good at it. Okay, that’s not entirely true, I’m decent at it. Since I finished my first model, which is the featured pic right there on this page, it’s probably been just over a year, and in that year I have completed about 20 other models. Does not make me an expert by any means, but also not quite a novice. And not that I won’t be really good at it someday, it’s just that that particular someday could be very far down the modeling road (1:35 scale road if you please). Oh, I need to finish my thought from up there before I go on, because not being good at (fill in the blank) is not really a reason to do anything, unless your ultimate motivation is to get better. Like, you don’t want to become a sky-diving instructor because you suck at it and only because you suck at it. So, with the intention of getting better BUT not being that good at it right now, I thought it might be worthwhile for me to write a column as to encourage other people who think they might not be that good at modeling to either give it a go, or to keep on even if you are not artistically inclined (not that one has to be artistically inclined to be a modeler, it helps, sure, but model-building is also a technical skill that can be learned) or are having a rather hard time with it.

You see, there is something that attracted you to this hobby enough that it got you to do a Google search and find this article about beginning, didn’t it? And I don’t think giving up on the hobby will ever make that thing go away, I know it didn’t for me. If you read my last post, then you saw that I have at least been buying model kits since I was in middle school (or junior high depending on what part of the country you are from, as for our readers in the GB or further into Europe, this is what we call our 7th and 8th grade schools).

So… in there somewhere is the when and probably some of the reasons I was drawn to building models in the first place, at least that was the time in my life when I purchased my first few models and gave some of them a go.

But that’s what I’m saying, I could never abandon the idea of modeling for my whole life! Whenever I went home those old boxes teased me from the closet. And then occasionally I’d find some half-painted face of some Big Daddy Roth knockoff figure stashed somewhere else in the house, all just to say, “Hey Buddy! Look at me, I’m not finished and it’s pretty aggravating,” and just another reminder of all the other stuff I never finish.

So maybe in my next column I will write a proper “How To” and write all the tools and paints and tapes and other things I think necessary to really be “up and running” as a beginning modeler, but for now I am just going to say this: Finish one model.

That’s how you get started modeling.

Put the WHOLE thing together and paint it almost the colors on the box… or paint it whatever you feel like, it’s yours! That’s it. It doesn’t matter if it sucks, or if you want to throw it away immediately, or if you are banging your head against the wall wondering why the finished one on the box somehow has shadows and highlights (How in the world do they do that?); just the act of finishing it will propel you into building more models, and this is, like, real psychology kinda stuff. This works with anything and everything. Whether it be starting an exercise program or a hobby. Just do it once. Complete something one time and more likely than not you will keep at it.

Mine was in East Dallas and was mostly comprised of Mexican gang members (not kidding at all). In the first week of school a kid named Sean Ross came up to me as school let out and started punching me in the mouth repeatedly, granted, just earlier that previous summer he had been rude to one of my friends while playing what we in Texas called “Concrete Hockey” and so naturally I threw a broken-off chunk of sidewalk concrete that easily weighed two pounds from something like 40 yards away and it hit him right in the back of the head/neck area, right around where a human’s spinal cord base should be.

Man, this moment floats in my head like the slo-mo scenes from The Sandlot or something. It was such an astonishing piece of sportsmanship and full-body concentration and projectile guidance acumen coming from me that after watching the slow and perfect descent of this awful mass of shrapnel connecting with his headneck and him collapsing to the ground, and the other five or six guys he was with running full speed to catch us even as their friend lie their twitching on the little hockey rectangle, that when we (my best friend and I) hauled it back to my house hoping that none of them spotted which house we ran into (they didn’t), and after the worry of having killed and or quadriplagiarizing (might not be a real word) someone (side-note: Sean Ross’s less than human ancestry is probably what saved him that day, him being (what looked like) half human/half sea potato (or is it cucumber?) ANYWAY he probably isn’t a full vertebrate and therefore had no spinal cord base to shatter); and that once the shame(?) of my maybe being a murderer wore off I was in a bliss that could only be achieved by perfectly orchestrating one’s body and adolescent musculature into a death machine. I felt exactly what J. Robert Oppenheimer when the Trinity Test went off, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds,” and I laughed OH how I laughed AHHAHAHAHAAHA… ahem.

Why was I talking about all of this? OH YEAH, so school was way scary! I essentially got beat up in the first week. Most of the kids were in gangs and beating people up all the time, whether they deserved it or not who knows? And then the third week of school a girl repeatedly stabbed another girl in the stomach before school one day! I thought the kids who got there early were supposed to be, like, the good ones! AND she had done it with a No. 2 pencil! How scary is that??? They set up metal detectors to mollify the media attention the story was getting even though on TV and in the newspapers they hadn’t mentioned that the stabbing had been done with a regular, everybody’s got one, No. 2 pencil; which somehow made it scarier than if it were a knife, because this just made everyone into a potential threat, whereas if it were a knife you thought they would hopefully catch the threat at the newly installed metal detectors.
Now that I am busy remembering, so many things are coming back to me (just like Proust and his madeleine!), like the ONLY time in my six years at schools with metal detectors did they ever catch a kid with a deadly weapon it wasn’t even at the metal detectors! The only time they caught a kid with a gun was when his gun fell out of his baggy pants during science and he ran away before the teacher could get him. Whew, remembering is weird, I think that’s why I don’t do it often…

And so for all those reasons (did I even give any reasons? I don’t think this article makes any sense… OH WELL!) I think it’s good for me to be like the motivator guy, because you’ll see me going from being really terrible, to sometimes not being so terrible, and sometimes right back to terrible again the very next model. It’s sort of like also in middle school (sheesh! these memories are on a heavy-flow day or something) when everyone was just all of a sudden awesome at skateboarding (and by “awesome at skateboarding” I mean that they could ollie) but somehow I missed everyone’s practice stage, or same thing when everyone was suddenly good at some instrument! It’s like, You guys were hiding all this practicing you were doing until you were GOOD! And that to me is sort of like lying because they just came out when they had something decent to show, instead of admitting that they ever sucked at whatever it was that they were pretending that they never sucked at… well I’m here to tell you that I suck!

I mean… uhhhh, like, I mean I’m not that good at modeling… yet… is what I mean… look I can hit people from large distances with heavy rocks, okay? So don’t mess with me! Jeez, like, nobody understands me… I’m gonna go listen to the Cure!!!

P.S. I’ve ended about seven articles I’ve written in my life this exact same way, I think middle school really got to me…

Justin Skrakowski

I am a capital D Dude. I like Rock & Roll in my music and Blood & Guts in my movies. I was born in Dallas, Texas and currently live in Manhattan with my girlfriend who is awesome and beautiful.
I am also a journalist, and I have a book available on Amazon entitled Strongman, you should totally check it out!
My first model I actually finished was AMT’s 1:25 Munster Koach.
I’d like to thank George for letting me share some thoughts on this wonderful site :)
  • You obviously did not bother to read my article. I am thinking this must be the work of an internet troll or maybe one of those robots that posts to things so you will link to or something. Are you a robot? If yes don’t answer.

  • Sorry I don’t have any idea why you would post here. This is a professional site and I have no use to hear about your antics in gangs. I hope to see more constructive comments than what you have stated on here. Why don’t you make a career choice and do something for your country such as retire after 20+ years in the Navy as I did.

    • George Collazo

      Howdy John, nice to read you my friend. I just emailed Justin to double check. This seems like the handy work a Spambot.