Modeler’s Block Could Be SAD

In the past I have like many others who build scale models for a hobby and the enjoyment it brings have come to a point when they lose interest in it. They lack any motivation to pick up their tools and build. It is sad when we lose the passion for the hobby but in this case it could be tied to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Many of us have our modeling caves in parts of our dwelling which receive little if any natural light and we tend to spend more time in our caves during the winter months.

The onset of Modeler’s Block begins when you as a modeler finding yourself uninterested in the model you recently or just started building. A good indication that it has set in is the growing number of partially started kits being added to the in progress or Shelf of Doom. You look for excuses to not build and when opportunity presents itself to build you’d rather spend time elsewhere.

During the winters (northern hemisphere) the days are short and the sun is low on the horizon (especially the farther north you live). Our workshops are lit by artificial light, which is not in the same spectrum as the sun’s. We get vitamin D by absorbing sunlight, in the winter it is made more difficult because of the short daylight hours and all the clothes we bundle up in to stay warm.

If you are like me, your mood tends to be better on days when you are either out in the sunshine or its beaming in through your window. On dark gloomy days, I find my productivity tends to slip whether at my bench or in my office at my computer editing images, posting or creating graphics for clients.

Research the symptoms of SAD and you’ll see that they are similar to those that lead to Modeler’s Block. Lack of interest, lethargic and depression cause us to step away from the bench or nothing gets done while we’re there forcing ourselves to work. We make more mistakes and are dissatisfied with the results of our efforts.

What to do to avoid Modeler’s Block and SAD? The key is in how we light our workspace. Use full spectrum bulbs where possible. These will not only help you to combat the effects of Modeler’s Block/SAD but also give you a better light source to judge paint colors. One of the treatments recommended for sufferers of SAD is to supplement with light from a light box that contains bulbs that provide the proper spectrum as well as intensity. You can find these on the Internet or even at most drug or medical supply stores.

I have one, that is now used as a light source that I use for my indoor/studio photo/video tasks. As winter gets closer and the days start to get shorter and short and I find that I am once again spending more and more time in the modeling cave, I am going to set the light box on the bench and use it. Not only to test my theory, but to have more light of the proper intensity and spectrum to see those small pieces and parts!

Animals too undergo behavior and life changes based on the availability of natural light. As the days get shorter migrations begin and those which hibernate or spend the winters dormant their bodies start to slow to minimize energy expenditure. Even our pet Chipmunk – Chippy, like her outdoor cousins modifies her behavior based on the weather and light conditions. She prefers and is most active when the office curtain is open and sunlight is beaming into the office. During the winter months, even though there is plenty of artificial light, she spends more time napping. conserving energy and finding her Zen place. Chipmunks don’t hibernate, they live an isolated quiet, slow and peaceful life underground in their dens during the winter. No wonder they are so active the rest of the year!

So if you’ve ever experienced this or are, consider the light sources you are working under as a possible cause. Replace them with full spectrum and have ample intensity to give you the light you need to see and combat Modeler’s Block and possibly the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you can recognize it before it begins, its much easier to deal with…and your time at the workbench will be more enjoyable as well as productive!

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