We’ve all done it. We often want to do it but we usually don’t. But sometimes you have to give in to your better judgement and sweep the modeling bench clean and straight into the trash can. Every modeler has a collection of unfinished models. Waning interest, boredom, frustration, major screw-ups. The reasons are many. And, in some cases, so are the unfinished models.
Today’s victim, my unfinished model, has been on and off the workbench for at least a year. Maybe more. Adding parts, fixing mistakes, working to disguise poorly painted or aligned parts. A long bout with 1:700 scale PE railings that was only partially successful. Sloppy “wood” deck painting that never looked right to me. Issues and problems that all modelers have to wrestle with from time to time. But, in this case as I looked at the model yet again, a Fujimi 1:700 IJN Chokai heavy cruiser, I had to admit I just did not like it. I like the idea of it. I like that it was a big player in the Pacific War. That no longer mattered. I fired it into the trash along with its remaining sprues, decals, photo etch and the plans and laborious notes I had taken during the build.
Adios. (Living in the American south west, that seems more appropriate, but since the deceased model represented Japan it can also be sayonara.)
And, you know, that felt good. I’m now free of that particular albatross. Every time I saw the thing, its box and parts sitting on the shelf I had this feeling of responsibility. I should finish it, I would think. A real modeler would see this as another challenge, an opportunity to improve skills, resolve issues and all that. Perhaps, but my analysis finally resolved to the sunk cost argument. Why keep pouring time and resources into an ultimately unsolvable and unsatisfactory project? Just because I already had invested money, resources and time, did that mean I had to continue down that same rabbit hole? If so, what would be the best outcome? A finely done model sitting on my shelf, the result of even more frustrating hours of work which contributed little to the satisfaction of making that model.
There are evidently a number of modelers who can make a silk purse from a sow’s ear and enjoy doing it. I am not one of them. I don’t even understand them. Since this is allegedly a hobby that brings hours of fun and enjoyment to practitioners, the only conclusion I can draw is that those silk purse guys get some kind of twisted enjoyment from bringing an ancient, ill-fitting kit up to modern standards, sometimes complete with an awesome level of detail and accuracy. I certainly enjoy looking at their results. I always feel a twinge of envy followed by the notion that I could do that if only I had the patience, skills and determination. But I don’t.
I like modern, well-engineered and produced kits, ones with a solid footing in historical context and ones that provide me sufficient detail and accuracy that doesn’t require shopping carts loaded with after market accessories, corrections and details. A seat belt set here and there, perhaps different decal schemes, but overall, not a lot, if any extras need be involved.
So, for me, it is probably best that I continue to choose kits from quality makers like Tamiya, Meng, Wingnut Wings, and Eduard, focus on mastering the basics like clean construction and proper alignment and just stay away from the pig’s ears. The big question being, what am I to do with the other unfinished models sitting on the guilt shelf?
“Hi, my name is Michael and I’m a modeler.”