Editorial Comment Thought for the day...

THE HOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENTS…

When friends and family buy us kits as presents, it shows that they are happy to be part of our world. What kits did you receive this Christmas..?

If one thing has come out of my round of snooping this morning, it’s the idea that modellers around the world are grateful not just for the presents, but in many cases the tacit understanding that their hobby is important enough to them, to be recognised by their friends and family.

So that’s it: Christmas done and dusted for another year! Well, not really. With it it being Boxing Day, many of us are still relaxing over the holiday period. We’re spending time with friends and family; enjoying down time with some nice food and drink; and for many of us, enjoying the gifts that we have received from those that love us enough to part with hard-earned cash for parcels that will be received with a smile and a grateful heart.

This morning, I’ve spent a few moments checking the Socials to see what friends have been up to and in many cases, what they were gifted on Christmas Day. Obviously, with this being a modelling page, that’s where my thoughts turned, so I was fascinated to see what kits friends had received and how many of those little boxes of joy, will form the basis of enjoyable projects over the months to come.

Christmas is I guess one of the few occasions when family can get involved in our hobby. Model making is by its very nature a solitary and personal pursuit, where time spent on kits that we have chosen is simply part of the game. I’ll wager that in the main most family members will have zero idea what goes on in your work-rooms and frankly, like it that way! They will certainly have no idea what kits you are building unless they take the time to walk in and spend an interested amount of time with you, asking questions, learning about your hobby, being part of your world. So when a family member not only does that, but then translates that knowledge into a kit, or kits, that you will enjoy, that’s a wonderful thing to behold. 

My family very rarely buy me anything to do with model making. My wife has occasionally bought me kits – including some 1/6 Tamiya motorcycles which were very nice! – but mostly, the day job and the sheer volume of such things that I receive through work, means that modelling products of any kind, are not seen as anything special. I’m okay with that, because my hobbies are away from building models and tend to be drum, PlayStation and football shaped, so that’s where ideas tend to come from! What this means, is that I can get vicarious pleasure from seeing what others have received and that’s certainly the case this morning as coffee is drunk and bacon sandwiches prepared.

The thing that strikes me every year is that it doesn’t matter what modellers receive for their hobby, the pleasure is the same, great and small. I’ve seen posts this morning where small Airfix kits have garnered as many thanks as more expensive Tamiya kits; single boxes as much as little collections. The pleasure is the same, the thanks just as heart-felt. And that’s as it should be. We as modellers might have knowledge to fully assess what we want, to make informed choices. It’s easy, right? Pop into your local plastic emporium, scan the shelves and pick a kit that you know will fit the bill. Image doing that when the shop that you have just walked into is filled with items that are utterly alien to you, shelves bulging with fancy goods that you simply don’t recognise and then try and make a decision that you hope will hit perhaps not the bulls-eye, but at least nestle inside the 25! Now that’s pressure!

If one thing has come out of my round of snooping this morning, it’s the idea that modellers around the world are grateful not just for the presents, but in many cases the tacit understanding that their hobby is important enough to them, to be recognised by their friends and family. I think that’s important, too. Many modellers I know are shy about what they do, so to have those closest to them buy into their interests, allows them the time and space to do what they want, especially at this time of year when rest and relaxation is the name of the game.

As the oven timer pings to let me know that my food is ready, I hope that you all have a relaxing few days off and that you can enjoy time with your friends and family. And who knows, if you are reading this having been bought a kit or two, you have the chance to kick back and spend time doing what you enjoy: building kits and painting the results.

See you next time!


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I'm formerly the editor in charge of Military In Scale magazine and latterly, Model Airplane International. Editing duties to one side, I'm now a full-time modelmaker with Doolittle Media, working to supply modelling articles and material for a number of their group titles, including MAI and Tamiya Model Magazine International. I'm also an avid fan of Assassin's creed, Coventry City FC and when the mood takes me, a drummer of only passing skill. Here though, you'll find what I do best: build models and occassionally, write about them!

5 comments on “THE HOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENTS…

  1. baker24earthlinknet

    I do not know what my Christmas present to myself is yet. I ordered an Anycubic Photon Mono X 3D printer on my birthday, the 23rd. The very next day, I saw an ad for a brand new technology 3D printer from them using TI’s DLP light projection technology. It is a vastly better system and I wish I’d seen that ad a day earlier. I am now trying to get Anycubic to transfer my order to their kickstarter campaign for the new machine, so we will see which one I end up with.

  2. Dave Ward

    Good article Spencer; my wife and daughters long ago stopped even thinking of buying me a kit for Christmas/birthday and if they do they will usually ask me if there is a specific kit I might want. So, what did I get for Crimbo this year? A lovely split cane fishing rod (which I’d previously pointed out as desirable) and not a kit in sight, which was absolutely fine. 😃

  3. Darren McQuillan

    I didn’t get a single model kit this Christmas (I don’t think the new Arma Hobby P-51B\C that I bought myself counts). I did get plenty of clothes. My family obviously thinks I needed them more than I do new kits. And if I am honest, they would be correct, considering that the various lockdowns and restrictions over the past few years have given me the perfect excuse to avoid shopping and hence start to resemble a scruffier version of my best self.

    Last year I did receive the Zvezda C-130H. It wasn’t a huge surprise because I had previously shared my wishlist with my lovely wife Caroline. What was interesting was her reason for choosing the Hercules from that list. It was the least war-like to her eye. Which compared to subjects like the RFM Sherman and RFM MRAP was fair enough.

    However, I think the real reason that my family don’t buy me kits of anything modelling related for presents is that:

    a) They wouldn’t be able to determine if I already had it.
    b) I am one of those irritating people who are difficult to buy presents for.
    c) I get more pleasure buying them myself.

    On the flip side, I am actually quite good at buying my wife presents for her hobby (which is sewing). Last year I purchased her multiple pairs of scissors (think sewing equivalent of Godhand nippers – https://www.whiteley.co.uk/) and a very expensive sewing machine (that admittedly I got at an amazing discount). And while those of us in our hobby might consider it hard to justify the cost of a good airbrush, spray booth or the latest Tamiya kit, we are a cheap hobby when compared to the world of quilting and embroidery. These gifts were a game changer for her due to the quality and precision she can now achieve with them. I also knew they were items that she would never have bought for herself so it made my job easy.

    Finally to echo Spencer’s original point, it was not the fact that these gifts were expensive, rather that I had carefully and thoughtfully researched them (her words) that made all the difference. But that doesn’t mean my family don’t appreciate my hobby by not buying me modelling related gifts. Given my personality, it’s actually a sign that they do.

  4. My wife and the rest of my tribe look at me and ask do I need really need another kit when I tell them what I would like for Christmas. Of course giving them a few ideas to help them in finding the right kit that I fancy always helps. Simple and easy always works. I’m not a hoarder in the truest sense although I do have a small collection of unmade kits. Those given as Christmas presents have mostly been built over the years. Occasionally I get a look along the lines of…Are you feeling okay? You’re not ill are you? When I ask for a specific reference book instead of a kit but overall I’m lucky that my family have a good understanding of my needs regards certain gifts.
    Merry Christmas everyone. What’s left of in anyway..

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