There is no loftier goal in any endeavor than striving for perfection. But can any human being ever achieve perfection? I don’t know. That is a tough question for me to answer. My mind is ultimately drawn to the upper echelons of human performance; the elite of the elite in whatever task or skill one may undertake. Does a sprinter beat their record time every time they run? No. Does a sharpshooter hit every target where intended? Not likely. I’ve seen Tiger Woods miss putts. I’ve heard virtuosic musicians miss notes.
Have I ever seen a perfectly built scale model? Nope. I’ve seen some seriously impressive ones, but if you look hard enough, you’re going to find flaws. And that’s ok.
Look, it’s true, I did help form The Scale Modeler’s Critique Group with the inherent goal of providing an outlet for myself and others to improve the quality and consistency of our builds. As I’ve said before, I don’t see much sense in undertaking any task, hobby, passtime, or anything for that matter if I am not totally committed to giving it my best. And while perfection is certainly a desirable outcome, it doesn’t mean it is the only valid outcome.
Earlier I had someone post some photos of a previous build of mine and offer some solid criticism of some areas where I failed to achieve perfection. Again, I have no problem with this. It is how I learn and grow; how I make sure I don’t repeat mistakes. While the complaints about my model were valid – I missed some mold parting seams on a gear leg – the underlying thesis of the persons comments suggested that a flawed build is a waste of time. To him the entire build was completely invalidated for not being perfection.
It would be too easy to do the same as this person did and pour over some of his photos magnified 500% looking for anything to discredit him, but I’m just not that bothered with one-upping his as he seems to be with me. Though, I am certain his work probably isn’t perfection either.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
The fact of the matter is that I could just as easily point to ten other things on the same build that I would consider flaws. Fact is, I am never happy with my builds, and the longer they sit on a shelf collecting dust until being thrown out to make room for something more recent, the more I see wrong with them. And I think that is how it should be if I have any hope of improving at this hobby.
I am never going to reach the upper echelons of scale modeling. Not even close. My builds are never going to be perfect, and I am certainly fine with that. Though, I will never stop trying to make myself better. I just think people need to realize that perfection is not likely something that can be achieved, but furthermore, the idea that a model build is completely invalidated by any flaw, no matter how significant, is just absurd and elitist.
It simply boils down to the reality that this hobby represents way too much of some people’s own sense of self worth.