Why choice and distractions are bad…For me.

The more I have the less I do – it’s just a fact of life and I hate it…

“Cluttering my workshop with kits that are not going to be built, or paints that I’m not going to use is akin to my wife wandering in and asking if I fancy going to the pictures or for a pint – just too much to ignore”

I’m currently in the process of designing a new workshop. The Shed, as mine has now become known, is falling to pieces and is in desperate need of a rebuild. That being so, I’ve spent the last few months trying to design a new structure that I can use for work, with all of the necessary fixtures and fittings that I can both use for building models and creating the films that some of you — hopefully — enjoy from my YouTube channel. What that means at the moment is that I’m cramming work in to my schedule so that when it’s demolished, I still have builds banked that can then be used in Model Airplane International. As a result of this enforced upturn in completions, my workshop looks like a bomb site and it’s driving me insane

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Over the years, I have tried as much as possible to focus on one build at a time and where possible to leave everything else well alone. I don’t have a ‘shelf of doom’, nor do I have piles of half-started kits. Instead, I try and tackle one, work through it start to finish and then move on to the next. That plan has gone completely out of the window recently, the result being that my workshop is filled with half-built models that need to be finished, I’m losing interest in them all and now I’ve reached a degree of inertia that’s as worrying as it is annoying. The more I have to do, the less gets done; the less gets done, the more annoyed I become; the more annoyed… You get the picture.

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So this morning I’ve been working on two 1:48 Hiens, Tamiya’s new kit and Hasegawa’s rather elderly offering. Though I’m part way through each one, my attention has wandered on to a couple of armour builds that need to be completed, so I checked those out and then spent an hour or so staring into space, trying to decide how best to approach them. Result? The Hiens languished and now I’m no further on with either them, or the armour, my temper has shortened and nothing is getting done other than venting on here.

I mention the refurbishment for two reasons; firstly, the need to build in advance and secondly, the way that the current shed distracts me in ways that I don’t really like any more. It’s a very personal thing, but a workshop has to ‘work’ for you and so for me, there is a need to have nothing in my eye-line that is not directly related to what I’m working on. At the moment, circumstance has dictated that the shed has rather more unbuilt kits in it than I would like, so they are always there, serving as a reminder of what I need to do and a result of this, the plan is to ensure that my new workshop has as little of this detritus as possible, so that focus can be maintained – because at the moment, it sure as hell isn’t!

But that’s not all: I also feel the same way about racks of tools and paints.

Over the last few years many modellers have had fun creating paint racks and the like to display rows of paints and accessories, turning their workspaces into something akin to a model shop that they can visit. I have nothing against anyone else doing this, but it really isn’t for me, because much like the unbuilt kits, I see these things as nothing more than a distraction, the cluttered walls feeling as though they are coming in on me, grabbing my attention at every opportunity. Though I’ve already removed such things from my current ‘shop, I’m planning to have even less in the new building than I have now, all paints, glues and accessories being hidden away, only the items that I will use day to day (as I have now) being on show. My new shed might look more like an operating theatre than a place to build models, but at least I’ll get some work done – I hope!

I guess it is kind of odd, but I really don’t gain any comfort from having items around me that form part of my hobby or job, the opposite being true – but that might be more down to my short attention span and ease of distraction, than it is a lack of interest in those things. I’m far happier when the space in which I work is stripped away so that all I can see is the build in front of me. The same goes for new kits. Being an editor of modelling magazine, more often than not I receive review samples of new kits and almost never open the box before either previewing them, or sending them out, only taking an interest in one or more when they pass across my bench to be built. Honestly, I have a loft full of kits that I’ve never looked at; I even bought some whilst on holiday and didn’t open the boxes until I returned home! Sometimes I wonder if I’m interested in these things at all!

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Distractions are just not great for me. It may well be the constantly arriving deadlines that make me feel this way, but I often think that even if I only built for myself, I would feel the same way. Cluttering my workshop with kits that are not going to be built, or paints that I’m not going to use is akin to my wife wandering in and asking if I fancy going to the pictures or for a pint – just too much to ignore. So, this morning, I’ve found myself mired in treacle, unable to do anything because my mind cannot focus on what needs to be done, at the expense of jobs that really should be ignored. Still, I managed to write this and now it’s time for lunch, so all is not lost. Maybe later I’ll get back to the Hiens. What’s that? An Abrams? Nice…

See you next time.

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9 thoughts on “Why choice and distractions are bad…For me.

  1. DanTheBuilder August 4, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    I am getting a stack of kits from my dad tomorrow, most of which he hasn’t even started on. I can imagine at some point he felt like you seem to feel right now. Of course he isn’t

    • DanTheBuilder August 4, 2017 / 1:46 pm

      *an editor of a modelling magazine so you at least have an incentive to clean the pile of boxes and start having fun again.

  2. Gordon Ferguson August 4, 2017 / 1:57 pm

    How can I argue against all of these comments , feel as if somebody has read my thoughts

  3. David August 4, 2017 / 2:23 pm

    I feel exactly the same. I put it down to too many new kits. There was a time when you could finish one or two builds before something new came out. Now it is almost every week and the same kit in some cases, so which has the better detail etc. Also to much tiny photo etch for me, bogs me down. Let’s not mention the glut of techniques, I miss the simpler days of Shep Paine and Verlinden, there stuff sure looked okay. Anyway thanks for blog.

  4. Bruce Culver August 4, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    I can definitely sympathize with you on this….. I very recently built two 1/35 Testors/Italeri jeeps for a club project, and managed to get them done without cutting myself – did glue myself to them twice with CA, but that’s life. I have over the years bought about every gadget and assist out there, but for this build, done in a hurry with all my stuff in storage, I did it with four rattle cans of Tamiya lacquer, two colors of Tamiya acrylic paint and one paint brush plus a scalpel with a blade older than some folks reading this blog and a few Swiss needle files even older (belinged to my grandfather and I;m 76). But as cocked u0pn as the build was in some respects, oddly enough it rejuvenated my desire to become more active in actual building instead of just research and writing. It’s an ill wind…..

  5. Blackfire Hobbies August 6, 2017 / 2:38 pm

    Excellent points, like many other things about the hobby it is what works for the individual. There is no right or wrong way that will work for everyone. Looking forward to seeing the new workspace develop.

  6. Andrew Redman August 10, 2017 / 9:38 am

    Your blog has made me think. It is the attraction of opposite thing I presume, as I work in what you describe as a shed that looks like an alladins cave of a model shop. Everything is on display even all my un made models on the shelves behind me. I have two separate work areas and two separate models that I work on at the same time. When one comes to a natural stop, drying time for example then I move across to the other model.
    There is something attractive about working on one model on a wide expanse of desk with the minimum of distraction………. but I am not sure my personality would slow that? I will just leave that as an aspirational concept perhaps?
    Interesting blog though.

  7. Andrew Redman August 10, 2017 / 9:40 am

    That should read allow that not slow that…….

  8. mark poulton September 12, 2017 / 7:36 am

    I generally work on 3-4 kits at a time and when the modelling mojo is there, that is just great. However I know the frustration when the mood to model is just not there, the kits are but a lethargy creeps in and no decent progress made.

    I have a dedicated room for my modelling, recently refurbished and decorated. The original layout began to frustrate me and I know where you coming from about your work space must work for you.

    My new set up does that really well for me and my modelling mojo is frequently present

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