Prop Philosophy: Dumb Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
This Summer I have made the same mistake on two different builds. Yes, on two separate occasions, I’ve glued a piece on upside down. This is what we in the industry call radically moronic.
We’ve all been there. You’re a long way into a project. You’ve overcome all the complex parts that you knew would cause problems. You’re on the home stretch and your mind starts to drift off. Maybe you’re thinking about that cold beer that’s waiting for you in the fridge. Maybe you’re playing back a conversation in your head from the day before. Suddenly you snap back into full concentration and realise that you’ve royally fucked up!
I would estimate that this situation happens to me about once a month. And speaking to other makers I know I’m not alone. The problem seems to occur once the hard parts of a build are out of the way. That doesn’t mean that you won’t make mistakes during the hard parts. But, the hard parts of a project focus our mind and engage us in the learning process They require lots of concentration. No. It’s when you’re doing something simple and often repetitive that these types of error creep in.
When you make a mistake doing something difficult it is an integral part of the learning process. You are mentally prepared for the possibility of failure because it is one of the likely outcomes. When you make a mistake doing something you have done 1000 times before it feels like someone has kicked your ego right in the spleen. For the purposes of this analogy, your ego has a spleen, got it? It is arguable that this type of reaction keeps us grounded and is an essential part of keeping that ego in check. That’s all well and good, but I was trying to make progress and now I’m sulking like a man-child!
I find that I need to take an hour away from the workshop when this kind of thing happens. Evidently, if I was losing concentration in the first place I was not adequately mentally engaged in the task to begin with. Maybe it’s the end of a long day. Or, maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Whatever the case, this kind of thing is usually a good signal to take a break. Thankfully, being mad at myself for being such a ham-fisted simpleton generally precludes me from engaging in any kind of meaningful work anyway.
The reason I am sharing this with you is twofold. Partly it is a way of venting my frustrations. But the biggest reason is a little more altruistic. When we watch other makers goof, we get to participate in the learning experience that they went through. That’s a pretty valuable. But moreover, it is important to see others as fallible. If we go through life only seeing the end results of human endeavours we disregard the blood, sweat, tears and colossal bone headedness that were integral to its creation. In other words, the journey is as important as the destination. And my journey is littered with half-witted blunders.
More Posts From the Prop Up Shop:
Prop builder & ham-fisted simpleton
I’ve been making things since I was old enough to pronounce Lego. Consequently my maker life has been spent constructing, kit-bashing and scratch-building anything and everything that has taken my fancy. After dedicating my time to Wargaming, Model Armour & Railways, I stumbled across what has now become an obsession – Prop building.