Make365 - A Short Essay About Scale Models


This is an essay about models. Not models in the sense of human beings set forth to wear clothing we could/couldn't see ourselves wearing, no. This is an essay about scale models: the little plastic/metal/wood/whatever items that are miniature representations of the real thing. Granted sometimes they are the exact same size and thus a 1:1 representation of the real thing, but that's not what I'm focusing on today.

I've always had a fascination with scale models, but the reasoning behind this fascination has changed over time. It was originally based on the activity of model building, where I could take pieces of plastic and put them together to make something very cool looking. The issue was that being at a young age I never had the patience or practiced skill to ever end up making anything that looked cool. So my frustration led this to be a very short lived hobby. I probably only purchased a handful of model kits when I was younger--no more than five or six.

As I got older, the fascination about scale models turned into the deep appreciation of the craft of model building itself. I knew how hard it was to not only assemble, but to paint a scale model and make it look presentable. It's like admiring the work of an ice sculptor. You appreciation the work more knowing that it was difficult to do it. So it turned into an appreciation kind of thing for the skills behind creating something that looked cool and you could put on your shelf at home.

As I got older still, the whole "scale model appreciation of the craft" thing turned into an appreciation for what the scale model represents. Not unlike the self-contained ecosystem aspect of arcade machines appreciation I have, scale models were representations of a larger whole of something I liked in a miniature form. You could take something large and had meaning, like the above ramen truck, and capsulize it into something that can sit on your desk. The essence is still there, ever present, but in a form factor that is consumable by the eyes and brain on a daily basis. That's where I'm coming from nowadays. I'm always in the presence of said ramen truck. I'm basking under the greatness of this BMO.

This is probably why I enjoyed buying toys (and still do on occasion). This "thing" is a representation of the thing that I enjoy, be it a character from a television show I like or a prop from a video game I like.

The epitome of all of this would be a working miniature arcade cabinet. I built one. I have it at home. I don't play it often, but it brings me very much satisfaction knowing that I have it. To a lesser degree are these scale model arcade cabinets that don't work. They're tiny. Used to hold candy. But those are probably my favorite tiny items I own.