The Little World – Change Your Focus

If you are a Little World builder you probably have a favourite scale you work in – and if you’re lucky you have a clear vision of a project for it. You might even be one of those super individuals who has a whole chain of work in their mind and who will progress to a logical and successful finish.

Or you might approach your work haphazardly – the most organisation that you can manage is finding the paint brushes before the cat does.

Whichever you are, consider doing your imagination and skills a favour by letting your focus soften for a bit – specifically, change your scale or type of building every once in a while. You’ll benefit from it:

a. You will see the normal work you do in the wider picture of things. If you make cars and decide to make a building, you have a building that relates to cars. If you make ships and build a plane, you now have a whole new palette of colour to work with.

b. Your eyes will change. They’ll change physically with time – rarely getting better – and they’ll change focus as you get interested in new projects. See big, then see small, and you’ll see better when you go back to big.

c. New scales or genres bring you into contact with new manufacturers, new tools, new materials. Everything you learn in one scale you can turn to profit in another.

d. A change in your focus will bring you into contact with new people, too. And that means new ideas. Some will not be good ideas, but that is what you get in any case with normal life. But listen to everybody and look at everything – there is bound to be something useful  about everyone else’s Little World.

e. New scale or new category means new publications, new web sites, new illustrations on Google.

f. If, in spite of it being the most wonderful type of modelling in the world, you find yourself bored with what you are doing…do something different. Go out and deliberately find a new thing to tackle – even if it is not absolutely riveting, it will relieve your ennui long enough to restart your original engine.

g. You might be good at the new thing. Maybe even really good. I’m looking at three trophies on the shelf right now that I never thought I could win.  For a guy who never got one as a kid and never succeeded with radio control boats, it is heartening.


The Little World – You Dirty Thing…

dscf2406Dirt is one of the nicest things you can give someone as a gift.

If you are a gardener, a big bag of dark steaming nutritious dirt to spread around the parched plants is wonderful. If it stinks, so much the better.

If you are a gossip columnist and someone rings you up with the latest dirt on a celebrity or political figure, you dive for the pencil and paper. Not to be missed!

If you are a scratch builder you have to go out and dig up the dirt yourself, but you are very selective; it must be the correct colour and very finely ground. organic fragments must be of the sort not to give the game away. You might resort to expensive weathering materials from the hobby shop, but I’ll bet you occasionally do a scrape round inside the pot plants to see if anything useful is growing. Inveterate weatherers have been knownto bring rust flakes home in their pockets. They all have some sort of an improvised mortar and pestle to grind the dirt finer.

The search for a binding agent is also never-ending. Matte varnish, acrylic liquids, paint, thinned glue, and hairspray have all been tried  – sometimes in multi-layer combos. The goal of reliable sticking with no shedding and no colour change to the dirt is eagerly sought-for. Sometimes it works – sometimes it all flakes off and you have to start over again.

The real trick would seem to be to have the dirt as light-coloured as possible and yo layer it up. Also to go out and observe where it swirls to and collects in the real world. Don’t be ashamed to live in a slightly grubby world – it is the real one.

Now go wash your hands…