There's no getting around the fact that the landscape of hobbies and entertainment has shifted over the years. Take, for example, the massive popularity enjoyed by the video gaming industry, which continues to evolve at an impressive clip with each passing year. Even more pertinent to today is the social media and video craze popularized by outlets such as YouTube, which has allowed people across generations and lifestyles to express themselves via the digital landscape. Keeping up with the shifting world of hobbies and entertainment can be a full-time job in and of itself, as trends and fads seem to disappear almost as soon as they arise.
While it's true that the prominence of the digital realm is continuing to increase, there's something to be said for tangibility in hobbies, which is exactly where model making comes into play. Building scale models has long been an American pastime, and one that comes with its own unique set of benefits that simply aren't shared by many other forms of entertainment.
Here are five benefits that prove model making still has relevance in the digital era:
1. Model Making Capitalizes on our Interest in Creating Things.
While video games may be in vogue at the moment in terms of popular forms of entertainment, there's no getting around the fact that the Legos phenomenon remains alive and well throughout the world. Thanks to some brilliant marketing and a wealth of opportunities for customized experiences, 'Lego Mania' is a real thing, and it speaks primarily to the urge to build and create that is shared by individuals of all ages.
Many parents start their children off with Legos at an early age, allowing them to shape problem solving and reasoning skills over time to build elaborate, imaginative creations. Model kit building is the natural progression from Legos for children who have a penchant for creating things, taking things a bit further while enhancing focus and attention to detail.
2. Building Models is a Hands-on Experience.
It's easy to control our world with a remote handset, which is what many people find themselves doing more hours a day than they'd like to admit. Video games can be a lot of fun, but they don't represent anything close to a hands-on experience in most cases. The closest scenario would be that of Minecraft, an extremely popular cross-platform video game that allows users to build their own creations and share them digitally across the web. Though useful as a learning tool and fun for all ages, Minecraft is limited in that it cannot be used to create tangible, physical collectibles like a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter, for example.
As far as hands-on hobbies go, model making is difficult to top. It requires a great deal of precision and careful attention to detail, both of which can help to deepen one's understanding of how materials bond together and help develop a sense of satisfaction that can only come from creating something by hand. Add to this the physical collectability factor, and it becomes clear where model building sits in comparison to virtual representations like Minecraft.
3. Model Making Helps Develop Important Skills.
If there's one benefit that comes along with playing certain video games, it would be the development of problem-solving skills. This is especially true of puzzle games, which can create a challenge for the mind that is intellectually stimulating. Collaborative video games can also help to increase communication skills, but this is essentially as far as the skill-building aspects of virtual gaming go.
In order to effectively build a model kit, a number of different skills must be learned and honed - cutting, sanding, gluing, and painting all come to mind, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Planning skills play an even more important role in model building, as one wrong move can create problems that can be difficult to recover from, especially true of highly detailed models like the U.S.S. Constitution. The multi-skilled approach to building models can be carried over into many other aspects of life - model making is one of the more versatile hobbies one can choose to embrace.
4. Building Models Reduces Stress Levels.
Many people experience each and every day what it's like to live and work in a society that is constantly on the go. Stress is not only a minor annoyance - it can have a severe impact on our health and wellbeing. Some people don't take the time to properly deal with stress and thus experience what is often referred to as 'burnout', whether it be in their professional or personal lives. Either way, burnout can be enough to derail even the most well-adjusted individuals.
As a method of reducing stress, model making is exceptionally effective. In many ways, it's not unlike meditation in that it requires you to slow down, focus, and take a moment to decompress from the stressors of the day. For those who suffer from anxiety and similar disorders, the benefits of building scale models as a hobby can be especially prominent.
5. Model Building Forms Parent/Child Bonds.
Parents today often struggle to get through to their kids, especially given the amount of digital distractions that exist in our world. It's often difficult enough to get the entire family to sit at the dinner table together, let alone ask for additional bonding opportunities to present themselves. It's one of the reasons why the nuclear family unit has changed over the years, and the consequences of this have presented themselves time and time again throughout society.
The fact is, model making can be an excellent tool and activity for bridging the gap and creating some familial 'together time', especially when integrated into the child's life at an early age. Leading by example throughout the process of building a scale replica of something fun like a Eurocopter can help to strengthen the parent-child bond, all the while creating entertainment for the whole family.
While digital entertainment has its merits, it can never eclipse the tangibility and inherent benefits associated with making model kits. Getting involved in this hobby doesn't have to be expensive, and there are many different types of kits available, ensuring that there's room for practically everyone to join the community of model building hobbyists. Interested in getting started? Choose a kit that is relatively easy to build for best results, and don't hesitate to ramp things up once you get acquainted with the basics.
The model-making hobby is here to stay - get started with your new creation now!