Another response, and hardly definitive at that...
Years ago I was drawn in to a feature within and across the pages of Scale Auto Enthusiast whereby a builder by the name of Randy Derr debuted a conversion of the 1:12th scale Revell '69 Camaro Z/28 into a same-year Penske Racing/Mark Donohue Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am sedan racer. The roll cage was hand-fabricated, the flares likewise, the wheels and tires were largely hand-done, while the exterior graphics were also created to suit. To me it was something new and left me entranced given the old SCCA series was about all I cared for. I'd tried but had largely failed to create 1:25th scale replicas of what period racers I'd desired, while the article essentially afforded me permission to renew my efforts based upon the acceptance that I'd simply have to scratch build most everything. Humbling this - but clarifying too.
What impressed me at the time was evidence across Derr's project of a strong willingness to devise techniques to solve problems one after other in a manner akin to the thought processes on view within the pages of a favorite book of mine, this being Mark Donohue's racing biography titled The Unfair Advantage. First published in 1975 and written in collaboration with Paul Van Valkenburgh, Donohue's remembrances taught me to think about engineering problems in a way that was both highly deliberative and unusually engaging. In combination with the scale efforts of Randy Derr and his innovative labors, I felt that this was the way forward; i.e. all worries aside, if I was suitably dedicated to the topic embraced, all problems might be solved in time for studied application. Important is was to realize that advances were made at the cost of a great many errors if not embarrassment; i.e. take the lumps, make the progress.
On the book front, Mark Donohue's The Unfair Advantage constitutes a quiet and yet insistent lesson on studied application apart and away from the judgement of the crowd. Something works - or it doesn't, and the process needn't rely on the sometimes caustic 'regard' of others. Mark wasn't carved out of conventional he-man racer material, and it's a lesson to make a careful review of this auto racing/race engineering diary of a sort. While he possessed an undergraduate engineering degree from Brown University and was widely hailed as bringing something extra in terms of viewpoint and refinement to road racing circles, any review of this title will reveal someone who started with an almost complete absence of knowledge teamed to an atypical orientation consistent with learning what was needed to excel. In sum, it's very different and certainly illuminating.
With regards to other possible titles, do consider collecting books penned by Gerald A. Wingrove, author of a pair of works that include The Complete Car Modeller available in two volumes. It's strictly old-school stuff, but his habits of application are total and are worthy of emulation even in small degree. Pre-internet (to say the least), his commitment literally altered how the hobby was viewed. And just in passing, it might also be worth your time to seek out a copy of Shop Class as Soulcraft by Michael Crawford where a writer hard at work on a Philosophy Ph. D. reconsiders his options and embraces an identity rooted in the restoration of vintage motorcycles. A nonfiction work, the book challenges the reader to reexamine and reappraise what expertise and applied passion constitutes.
What thin professional (or paraprofessional) background I bring to scale models are the habits of application consistent with my having been an academic librarian. In short, I start with slender or no knowledge, although I do have habits that will, after a time, yield results in relation to what is researched and discovered. This goes for unearthing technical aspects of what is being attempted in-scale, and also applies to working up means and methods to secure a result in terms of what is being recreated in miniature. In particular, if I read that 50,000 man hours was required to build a particular 1:1 racer, needless to say I worry less if something isn't magically finished in short time.
I care about seeing projects through, but in essence I'm working on my own unspoken schedule that doesn't strictly mate or mesh with what others perceive as right progress. Given I'm not doing contract work, what does it matter? I also work in what others would regard as a goofy scale in disreputable 1:18th diecast, something that sort of designates me as an outlier. This can be both good and bad, but if this habit or proclivity allows me to exist somewhat outside the sharp focus and scrutiny of the contest elite, is this bad? It's also a lesson to look afield and review techniques established and expanded upon across other disciplines; i.e. weathering is better understood and practiced by both military and railroad modelers.
Although I just have some basic tools and supplies versus a lathe or milling machine at the ready, I view what results are achieved through the lense of a formula; i.e. what was possible given the sophistication, or rather lack of sophistication of the tools, materials, research and techniques applied to a situation or circumstance? Other things that help in a mild sense is to have duplicates and triplicates of all the parts and assemblies intended to go into a project. Akin to racing, if one isn't breaking parts, one isn't learning. To limit oneself to single copies of this or that delicate part, even at the cost of stretching what might be a thin budget indeed, is to ramp up felt stress when things go wrong - and things most certainly will. In a manner of speaking, a certain degree of waste is expected and would be unnatural not to encounter. For a certain acceptance of this reality, felt pressure subsides...
To me scale model work constitutes a surrogate for what I might otherwise have or operate; i.e. a 1:1 vintage race restoration facility or at least the option to call at the shots and make all the judgments consistent with overseeing research, fabrication, fettling and final finish work on topics of personal importance. Greater focus and expertise can be developed for the embrace of a limited number of topics - or even one topic. Not everyone can be an all-rounder or strictly embrace all topics - and why should we? Isn't it more satisfying to look over the shoulder of a specialist engrossed in his or her, indeed, craft? Reviewing the results of years of application and skill refinement evidenced by another shouldn't be viewed as threatening, although boorish behavior experienced in clubs and at contests sadly is a common experience. Some possess the skills and tact to be exemplary ambassadors to the hobby, although a fair many simply fall down in this regard.
Even if precious few of my efforts see completion, some satisfaction is gleaned from establishing and extending contacts amongst and across the 1:1 vintage racing community. I wouldn't project as a top-flight model car person in relation to technique or skill, although the embrace of a particular race series and period and expanding awareness of both the vintage scene and techniques to work up what is necessary in-scale, I'm good enough. People know that I respect the topic, and that contributions made and constructive criticism proffered won't go to waste. Maybe it's enough...
Does all this equate to craft? Of this I'm not certain. I do know that things improved a bit for me when not really knowing how to do something in terms of technique wasn't perceived as some unbridgeable barrier. Sharper topic focus for specialization helped, collecting ever larger stacks of research material helped. Networking and sharing builds across threads to communicate enthusiasm and solicit feedback helps. Affording reasoned advice and not tearing the work of others to bits is only good sense. Working to a personal standard to achieve a personal best is advised, while nothing prevents us from selling or moving on what disappoints. Often a reconstituted collection of just a few cherished models will be better loved as contrasted to having mass less quality. Make whatever topic you embrace your own, accept the amount of work that challenge constitutes, and labor to never less then generous to others. Good luck!