I have a good friend Daina in her late twenties who takes ballet lessons because she loves to dance. Its been her hobby since she was a young girl and she loves it. Her husband Morgan (also my good friend) partakes in his childhood hobby of playing video games. He still owns and plays the original Nintendo system he had as a kid. They both still get a lot of enjoyment from their childhood hobbies.
When I was I a kid I used to build small scale models; that was my hobby. My mom encouraged artistic endeavors so she bought me lots of model kits, planes, boats, cars; it was a great way to learn about the way things worked. It was a wonderful hobby but I gave it up when I left for college and never picked it back up. Until last week.
In a way Daina and Morgan taught me that it is okay to be an adult and indulge in the hobbies from my childhood. I don’t think I would’ve ever built another model again had I not learned that from them. It was my son Jack however who pushed me to pick up model building again. He gave me the excuse to build my first model in twenty years. I took him to the local hobby store to buy a new battery for his radio controlled car. When he saw the shelves in the store stacked with model airplanes he got all excited.
Dad, I want this one! Build this F-15 fighter plane so I can play with it. Please!?
He was really excited about a model kit of an F-15 fighter jet from a company called Tamiya. I didn’t put much thought into revisiting my old hobby at the time, I just thought I’d build one airplane model for Jack so he could play with it. So I picked out some paints, glue, sandpaper, a knife and a few paint brushes to go with the model. It was all relatively inexpensive — less than $100.
When I got home I set it all up on a newspaper and started building it. I cut the pieces from the plastic molds, I carefully trimmed the excess plastic and I sanded the edges so that they fit better. Building this model brought back a lot of great memories from when I was a child but what surprised me is that as an adult my skills are much better. Seriously better.
As I painted some of the pieces I realized I needed more tools. Specifically I needed an airbrush. An airbrush makes a big difference when painting a model because you can layer in colors and create realistic effects like weathering. I took airbrush classes in high school and I loved it but I never owned an airbrush.
I decided to buy the airbrush I always wanted as a kid so I fired up my browser and went to Amazon and purchased both an airbrush and a compressor. They arrived a few days later and I wasted no time getting it out of the box and setup. I watched a few YouTube videos showing how to paint a model airplane using an airbrush so I was ready to try it out. I used some of those new techniques with my new airbrush and it worked great. The model plane looked better than anything I built as a kid. It was so exciting and in a way I felt like a kid all over again. But this time with mad skills and the proper tools.
There is still a kid inside of me and occasionally I’ll do something that allows me to get in touch with him. Returning to a hobby from my youth struck a chord. At first it was something I was doing for my son Jack but now it’s something I’m doing for the both of us. I’m going to finish this F-15 and hopefully convince Jack that model building is fun. Maybe he will enjoy it too and we will go on to build many together. Or maybe I’ll build a few for myself. Either way I owe a thank you to my friends Daina and Morgan who reminded me that its okay to revisit the hobbies I loved as a kid.
Do you still partake in your childhood hobbies? I’d love to know about them — please tell me about them in the comment section below.
Originally published at www.joshkerr.com on May 9, 2015.