My experience with the Ultrascale conversion over the last few days has highlighted a few things to me which I think sum up pretty well what 'finescale' modelling is all about.
My initial approach was to assume that it would be a simple half hour job - drop out the old wheels, drop in the new ones and Bob's your uncle! Well, maybe not quite, but nonetheless I thought it would be a pretty quick, simple task. As my blog post last Tuesday demonstrated, as soon as it became apparent that a little more effort - and thought - was involved, I became disillusioned, not only with the task at hand but the whole P4 lark.
But, with my initial reaction out of the way and having resolved to stick at it, I've quickly been rewarded with the discovery that a little more effort is actually very rewarding. I'm still in the process of doing the conversion, so I can't comment on the end results yet, but it's quite evident that my initial fear of having to do a little more work was unwarranted. What's more, far from just wanting to get the job out of the way as quick as possible, I've found myself actually thinking of additional things I could do along the way to improve the appearance, even if they require more 'surgery'.
the trouble is, I had approached the whole thing with a decidedly 'coarse scale' mindset. From that perspective, the thought of having to actually put knife to plastic was out of the question. I wanted the quick and easy route - no fuss, no mess, no effort required. Once I'd got over this and accepted the fact that I was going to have to be a bit more adventurous and actually get my hands dirty, it suddenly all seemed much more manageable.
I think the key is in the way you approach a modelling task. 'Finescale' modelling generally requires a willingness to work to a finer level of detail and an acceptance that it will require a greater investment of time and effort than might be the case with a 'coarser' scale approach. And that can be off-putting, even a bit scary at first. But once you've overcome that, it suddenly seems much less daunting. Exactly the same thing happened with my first hand-built turnout, or my first compensated wagon chassis.
Perhaps it's a good thing that there aren't necessarily step-by-step guides to everything you'll encounter in modelling. Sometimes it's actually the best thing to have to sit and figure out a problem and come up with your own solutions. You learn a lot more that way, and in fact it's actually a lot more fun too!