The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Stress Relief: Get a Hobby

The work I do for a living is fulfilling. It is also demanding and creates much stress in life.

Needing to relieve this stress, I rediscovered one of the great truths. A hobby takes your mind off your troubles. Years ago I had dabbled briefly in N scale model railroading as a hobby. I have some equipment, the beginnings of a layout, and a couple of models I had picked up and never built.

I started looking through this material literally decades after I stowed it away. I'm glad now I didn't get rid of it. I have had to reconcile myself to one truth, however, I really don't care about the trains. I have no concern over running a realistic railroad. What I find fascinating are the buildings and scenes to be created.

I have long felt that the town of Cumberland, Maryland, especially the central city, would make a wonderful layout. So, once the basic track is in place, I will turn my full attention on the portion of town I intend to recreate (fancifully, not reliably) back in the era of my childhood, the 1960s.

Having determined all this, I took out the simplest model kit I had--an old plastic boiler house kit. I figured I could practice on that and no harm done if the model didn't turn out. I was startled to discover all I had to learn to get this job done. There was no suggested paint scheme outside of the colors of the molded plastic. So, what did boiler houses, coal-fired, look like? For that matter, what does a pile of coal look like? Off to Google images, off to a marvelous hobby shop near my office, and off on an adventure.

What I discovered was that in the hours I was researching the modeling, painting techniques, and all the rest, hours flowed by (more of them than I had imagined) without a single worry about my work. I had also completely forgotten how pleasurable (and at times irritating) the actual construction could be after all the hours of painting. It was nice to learn how good a simple plastic model could look when properly painted.

One great thing I discovered as well that is a tremendous advantage now over when I originally tried this hobby. Almost anything you need to know about getting the job done and successfully starting your hobby is available online. I kept my tablet close at hand while I worked to look up what I did not yet know. Here's one handy tip: did you know your small hobby paint brushes clean up really well with an application of Windex? Go figure!

So, my advice to you, get yourself a hobby, any hobby, and give yourself a break from the news, from work, from electronic media, and get those hands busy. If it's a hobby where there is an end product to enjoy, so much the better.

Now, you'll have to excuse me, I've got a teeny-tiny world to plan. See you later.

Here's the result of my first experiment: the paint work included small brush work, dry brushing, and washes. It was a blast.

Started with my simplest plastic kit. Nothing to lose, right?
Detailing the base would come later, if I choose to use this model. 


Yeah, I know, a boiler house wouldn't have that detail over the door, but I
wanted to see if I had the dexterity to pull it off. Yep. 

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