As many of you know, modeling has its ups and downs, easy times and hard, periods when the mojo just gets up and leaves. It is unpredictable and likely to strike without warning. Now, as others have remarked many times, modeling is a hobby and should therefore be fun, relaxing and satisfying. I suspect when modeling becomes something other than a personal activity, a series of times when the artist, dreamer and historian can come out and play, it is those times when it isn’t quite so fun any longer.

In my view this is entirely a personal thing and a sign that I have begun to build models for reasons other than my own. I may consider, in the small thoughts that live in the back of my mind, what others would think about that misaligned wheel, or that just a bit askew aileron. Are the landing gear legs in proper position and in perfect alignment? If I substitute a very similar decal to the one I destroyed would that be noticeable? How can I build that tank with full interior in such a way as to show it off to what would in reality be a pretty disinterested observer? All of these thoughts only have relevance in terms of other’s opinions.

Case in point. After dealing with these kinds of factors in my D9R build, which, now that it is complete, turned out to be a very satisfying and interesting model to me, I cast about for my next project. I spent some time looking over my modest collection to find a few models that I wanted to cycle from storage out to the small display area in the living room. I ended up putting out three 1:72 scale aircraft, and one 1:48 aircraft. I enjoy looking at them and I have overall good memories of their builds. This is odd because I had a short time earlier derided 1:72 scale aircraft as too small to be as satisfying (and, for me, more difficult to build because of their size) as the larger scale kits. However, there they were, sitting proudly on my display area. I realized that these models represented significant historical machines and periods, and that they are all quality kits, relatively easy to build and very detailed (accurate) for their size. And I have good memories of the time spent building and painting them. Three of the four are made by Eduard, the Spitfire IXc Early in 1:48, the F6F-3, the FW-190 A8, the F4U Birdcage Corsair by Tamiya all in 1:72.

OK, I said, maybe it is time for more 1:72 airplane kits from those manufacturers, and perhaps get a few additional goodies to detail them out a bit more. An engine, perhaps? Whilst pondering this and internet browsing for kits, details and ideas, I pulled down my 1:20 Tamiya Ferrari F-60 mostly completed kit. It needed some paint touch ups, final addition of some details, painting logos on the tires and such like, but it was mostly done. So, being a Tamiya kit, I expected a smooth run to the finish line. Then the troubles began. I can’t use Tamiya’s tire logo decals worth crap, so I painted them on with the metal stencil supplied in the kit The paint looked great and the front wing assembly fit on the nose without complaint. The rear wing went together fine and the paint was good. What could go wrong? Well, I didn’t let the Future coats dry long enough for the decals. I inadvertently used solvent solution first instead of the setting solution, thereby damaging the paint in a few critical places. Worst of all, I could not get the air intake shroud and the two rear body panels to fit correctly. The more I tried, the more damage I created. Parts began to pop off under my fumbling fingers. Joy slid rapidly into frustration.

Fortunately, I recognized this and put the kit away. Again. Perhaps the third time will be the charm.

My little aircraft though were still sitting nicely on display, telling me that modeling can be fun if you don’t worry about what others my think. A continuing lesson I am fated to relearn on a regular basis it appears.

So, I am now having some enjoyment looking over Eduard and Tamiya’s 1:72 releases. I intend pick one or two, and perhaps a few nice detailing bits to add, and build them just for myself. I may, in fact, attempt to build and add one of those beautiful Brassin engines. Pretty small in 1:72 but I suspect the building of it will be both fun and a new modeling experience. 

Now back to my re-read of Masters of the Air by Donald L. Miller. A book that was the foundation for Speilberg and Hanks forthcoming mini-series on the Eighth Air Force in WWII.

The new Airfix B-17G has moved near the top of my want list.