Some people have a plan, a theme, a kind of mainline modeling backbeat that guides them on their modeling trip. I seem to be at the mercy of whimsical modeling gods that tend toward randomness and chaos, unpredictability and consequence. I know modelers who have a plan, who have stashed away multiple kits of the same plane or ship or tank all the better to build successive versions or perhaps different camouflage schemes, each kit having been equipped with the thoroughly researched after market detail parts and decals. No such luck with me.
I suppose one reason my stash has been whittled down over the past few years is to help my wandering attention to focus on a small number of choices. It’s helped some although I can’t resist a good sale when I see stuff I need to build. Someday. Yet, I don’t have the spare room filled and organized with hundreds of kits like some people I could name. That would drive me actually insane.
Where is he!
Still in the modeling warehouse looking for a kit.
Doesn’t he have thousands of them?
Well, yes but he’s trying to decide which one to play with now.
That well could have been me but some stray rational thought prompted me to sell the stuff I knew didn’t really interest me any longer. Model kit fascination is like a wave that catches you on the outside, you pop up on the board in your imagination beginning to make that long run toward shore when another wave comes by and you, like the faithless plastic junkie you are, desert your current squeeze and pander after the new one. It’s like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, the closer you get to realizing your modeling fantasy the faster it retreats from your grasp.
So, how does choosing the next model to build actually happen? For me it never seems to happen in the same way twice. Oh, I have something like a general notion all right. This is mostly short lived, but provides some chimera of reason that justifies my actions. Case in point, how did I get from the finished Sturmtiger to the Meng British Mk.5?
After attempting to eek out a bit more modeling joy on the Sturmtiger by more weathering, shading and drybrushing (I even went so far as to clean and paint a bunch of 1:48 Tamiya plastic dunnage to affix to the beast. Didn’t help though. Looked pretty stupid and out of place plopped and awkward over the engine grills.) I began to ruminate on some of my kits that had wormed their way into my subconscious.
Would it be the new Tamiya Tomcat? Hmmm… after all Brett and Spencer and their ilk had been raving about it. Brett even said he actually chuckled with joy during his build. Maybe that was even true, or he’d been far into Victoria Bitter that night. Either way… Fondling the big box of plastic I could picture Tamiya kit pleasure waves awaiting. But wait. The Tomcat is an airplane. Airplanes, especially modern jets are picky. Flaps, landing gear, demanding paint jobs and four hundred stencils not to mention the question of whether to build it with or without the pilot figures. I could sense certain psychological issues reflecting on perfection and self worth waiting down that path. Best to let it rest for a while.
Ah, ha. The big 1:12 scale Tamiya Williams FW14b Formula 1 car. It’s big all right. No dinking around with little fragile parts liable to ping off into the orbiting modelers’ asteroid graveyard. Big tires instead of spindly landing gear that, for me at any rate, is apt to either break or refuse to align on any axis familiar to man. Lots of wires and cables and, damn if that FW14b wasn’t the most bitchin F1 ride ever. But wait. I’d need carbon fiber decals, maybe some in-scale connectors and the right paint to do it justice. More research was obviously needed. After all, I spent months tracking this kit down through eBay at the right price from a reputable seller. Don’t want to hose it up now. Patience, grasshopper.
Ok, what to do? I know, grab a few models from the shelf of doom to keep me occupied and let the subconscious modeling brain network churn through to a solution. I’m a modeler. I can fix these. Shame to just let them sit there reproaching me every time I open the closet door, right?
I put the two Eduard 1:48 Fokker Dr.1 models on the bench along with the various parts that got broken during the move because my built-model packing skills basically suck. Using all three hands and a few incantations I learned in the Navy I got the set of landing gear and the rudder affixed to Weiss’ aircraft. I failed miserably with the other Dr.1 rationalizing that I’d get to it when my mind was clear and hands were steady. Got one on display now and the other is back in the closet.
That’s when I saw the Tamiya Ferrari F60 box. Like the optimist who forgot just how miserably he failed the last time around when I got my ass kicked by trying to join together a complex body structure built of three parts composed of complex curves, and doing this without creating yawning gaps and ugly glue marks is literally above mypay grade. Back in the box.
Wandering aimlessly through the stash and stored models (my display area had been infiltrated with my loving wife’s various and numerous do-dads, momentoes from our kid’s forays into academics, sports and Pokémon obsessions, religious icons, momentos, paintings and eerie flying half-woman-half-fish goddess figures) while trying to avoid catching the eyes of certain New Zealand models that require yards of rigging and hundreds of hand made turnbuckles, I saw my old Eduard Hetzer, the one with the full interior. Man, I have fond memories of that build. Then the siren voice of the model goddess Meng whispered me toward the Mk.5. Yeah, Meng models had not let me down. Maybe a few teeny gaps now and then, but I am a modeler am I not? Gaps? A fig on your gaps, kind sir! Doest thou not know of the stretching of the Sprue? Besides, as far as tracked fighting vehicles go, it doesn’t get much funkier than the Mk.5. Well, maybe the German A7V, but that one just doesn’t look like a real tank, a “get into your shit” war machine. Looks like one of those circus clown cars with guns.
You know, once I settled into the Mk.5, organized the sprues, cleaned off the bench and began clipping a few parts and glueing things together I knew I was on the right track. It’s going to be an adventure that takes me back a hundred years to a world that has forever disappeared and into the innards and workings of a real piece of history.
Modeling. You’ve got to love it.