I am a big fan of Andy’s Hobby Headquarter’s YT Channel. He is a great guy with great personality, he explain stuff clearly and his techniques are simple. This makes modeling approachable and certainly I got back into armor modeling largely because of him.
He has create a FB group Mediocre modeler’s, the joke being someone calling his models mediocre and he made the group in jest. It was a good forum for modelers of all strata, from beginners to experts. There are very little criticism of other people’s work, so participants can feel safe sharing their work. Questions are of all levels.
I joined the group about 6 months ago and was pretty active. Although there were no criticism of people’s work, many battles were waged over product endorsement. People religiously believe their airbrush, color brands, and to a smaller extent techniques. I remember I got pretty pissed with someone dissing H&S airbrush which I have one. Then there are Godhand nipper discussions, where people who don’t know the difference criticises people who spent $40 on a nipper when they can use a wire cutter for $4. There are some psychology to this type of arguments and I thought about it a bit, it’s all pretty pointless. But when you start talking about “best paint” “best company” I just can’t take it.
With FB you can’t just ignore it because these threads people comment heavily, which means they get surfaced up all the time; and FB doesn’t let you snooze a post unless you block the original poster completely. This type of moronic posts are from idiots who don’t understand the specialty of each type of paint and their place on a modeling desk, and how stupid it is to say “Meng is the best”. I have tons of Meng kits, but Tamiya build its empire based on QC, every single kit from 90s onwards are guaranteed easy builds, which is why they are builder-friendly and sell tons even though you get giants like Dragon and new comers. Even when you talk about individual kits, “best” is a vacuuous notion when you can get a “best” Dragon kit with 10 pieces per wheel, and you may not finish it ever. The question itself is wrong and yet it keeps coming back because new people keep joining.
The paint thing is even more ridiculous, I’d say Mr. Color is the best paint in terms of scratch-resistance and durability, but when I switch to armor and need to do a lot of paint chip I can’t use it anymore, even though I spent non-trivial amount of time and money to figure out how to paint chip with it. As a result I needed to go back to the paint I gave up 20 years ago, Tamiya. It chips beautifully, unlike all the other vinyl-based acrylic paints such as Vallejo and Mig. The downside to Tamiya is the lack of exact colors needed for armor, and Mig has those. Well, they matter when you’re a beginner like I was, but soon you realize it doesn’t matter how exact it is because your weathering is going to mess up your “accuracy”. In the end you find a good mix for Tamiya and go with it, like I got my Dunkelgelb with XF-60 + 55. Of course now Tamiya came to their senses too and releases more colors for RAL and the like. I guess as a newbie you want to commit to the best line of paint, but without doing your own research, FB suggestions are just noise. Anyway this type of posts just annoys me to no end.
I got involved more lately as I tried to answer questions that are less common and felt I can offer good advice on. Like how to deal with Mr. Color and such. Part of me like to show off and demonstrate knowledge, but if that also helps the person in the process I thought that was a mutual benefit. Well until of course you felt you’ve wasted your time. One person was asking about hairspray for chipping and they got some very strong hold Aqua Net brand, and I know from experience and Rinaldi that a weaker HS will work better. HS chipping is really simple but also complicated because there are a certain type of chip you want to obtain, and it depends on the paint film and the HS. So I answered him that weak HS works better, and other people just say his stuff works. I mean come on, did they even know what “works” mean? I can get chipping to happen with my wasted bottle of Tresemme hold lvl 4, but it gave crappy chips I’m not happy with. Then I realized there is no reason for me to waste time in offering advice because the people in the group are not capable of understanding the difference. Mediocre modelers can help each other being mediocre, I didn’t want to be mediocre so it was wrong for me to be in the group the first place.
I think the last thing is, there are very little feedback available for improving my skills. I mean perhaps I can gauge the level of my finish with the number of likes, but worse finishes have gotten more likes before so it seems like a bad metric. Of course in another group with more critics it is much easier to get yourself crushed because the internet is just a cruel place. Unless you are fully prepared to accept *any* criticism you’re bound for some eventual attacks you weren’t prepared for. Well but then getting likes is not the way to improve either, although it gives you some warm and fuzzy feelings.
Anyway for these reasons I don’t think staying in the group is worth the time… and I wasted too much on it already. I really hope I don’t renign and rejoin. But who knows, being a Leo I really like the Likes. Which is why I wrote this rant to remind myself why I left.