Along the same lines as yesterday’s Bonsai post, here’s another brief hobby I tried that involved making big things little, and that take a lot of time to get a final result: model shipbuilding. Maybe it was all those years of playing with legos, but for some reason I really like to admire miniaturized things, whether they be models of houses, trains, armies, landscapes, whatever. Maybe it makes me think I’m a big powerful giant or something, I don’t really know. But I consider it art on some level.
With model ships, there’s a unique quality that is different from other miniaturization projects. It’s not just getting the outside to look right, it’s all the parts on through to the inside, too. I tried plastic model cars as a kid, and although I learned a little bit of cars’ components, the ones I attempted were not that educational. The pieces went together so that when you lifted the hood or opened the doors, they looked like a car inside, but you didn’t learn how an engine was built. This isn’t the same with model ships. It seems that a good model ship is designed to be a such a replica of the original that by the end you will know all about every single part of ship. A lot of times you even cover up very detailed things that you’ll probably never see again – but you know it’s there. That’s fascinating to me. Theoretically, I could build a real boat someday just by working on one of these kits.
Ok, that’s probably stretching things a bit. And as someone who’s barely been on a boat, it’s surprising that I even enjoy this. It’s probably the complicated nature of the endeavor, along with the creative aspect, along with the solitary aspect. Once again, I like the idea of it, but the reality of it is beyond my reach right now. Mainly, it’s cost; a good kit starts at $150 minimum. Time is not on my side either because I have other things in my life more important to me, like my family and my writing. Finally, I don’t really have a good work area to keep the work in progress protected in between sessions. But, as I’ve said before and will say again, I hope to someday give this a try again.
So that’s another thing I’d rather be doing now, building model ships.