Excuses excuses……

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I was sitting  at the workbench the other lunchtime castigating myself for never finding enough time to start something new or complete an old project and my thoughts turned to how I never seem to find the time to model. Now I do not have a normal job that has normal hours I have to tolerate a split shift, now it is not something that is new to me as I have spent the best part of 19 years doing it. There is also the issue of living on site, this brings up all sorts of issues and the biggest being that if you do not go out during your ‘break time’ you never leave work which in itself makes it feel like your whole life revolves around the job. Throw into the mix the fact that my partner and I live across 2 houses so we need to do all the things normal people do twice and that does not include shelling out for everything twice too. Then there are numerous other things that are calling out for your attention, there are all the household chores, the gardens, shopping, the washing the washing up, washing the car, walking the dog, the list seems endless. I am making excuses of course, when it boils down to it I am a lazy modeller and it is my own lack of motivation and complete lack of time management that is the problem. I saw a post on Facebook earlier on my model clubs page by my friend and fellow bulldog Andy Langridge of a tank he had taken down from the ‘shelf of shame’ and had completed in a 3 week time span, I have to admit I felt a pang of jealousy for his drive to rid his life of unfinished projects and clear the way to start a brand new project later in the year. Now I could deviate from my current ramblings about time and go off on a tangent about shelves of shame and the like however I feel that deserves a topic all of its own, I will say that whenever I remove a box from the shelf of shame or rather the pile of shame and embarrassment which is what mine is called I just end up peering into the box wondering where on earth I was with the project when I last peered in the box and I just end up scratching my head and popping the lid back on and putting it back into the pile where it came from.

Back to the subject at hand, I popped myself into the workroom chair this afternoon, I thought an hour tinkering at the workbench would be a nice deviation from all the chores I had done today it is true to say that there is a never ending list of things that need your attention, after putting  about 30 clocks and hour forward in work this morning, no easy task as the majority are radio controlled and should alter themselves yet they do not for reasons only known to them and they refuse to share this info with me, washing up and tidying the kitchen, ironing for work tomorrow and a touch of gardening, I was ready for a bit of me and bench time. Now I will be honest with you, I went in sat down put the desk lights on, pressed play on the ipod and just sat there blankly, finally got myself some modelling time and there was nothing there…… all the tools were ready, the new pots of glue were waiting in the wings and all I could do is sit and stare blankly at the cutting mat. As the minutes ticked by I looked at my piles of shame and embarrassment, nothing jumping out at me there, I looked around the room just hoping something would jump out and inspire me, maybe a quick build would do, nothing doing there either, maybe I should start one of the numerous builds for Novembers Scale Model World nothing  happening there either, my eyes scanned the walls and I came up empty, the old Airfix Sepecat Jaguar I purchased a few years back in a moment of nostalgic weakness caught my eye briefly, oh the memories of a long past Christmas present long gone now to the big plastic model home in the sky. So after an hour of just sitting pondering and feeling the frustration of yet another lost opportunity, feeling despondent I switched off the ipod and the lights, pushed my chair under the desk and came out and closed the door. I have come to realise in all honesty that it is not just about never finding the time it is about being inspired and using that time to get into that workroom and make the most of that same time to break open a box and glue some plastic together, finish off an old project or start a new one.

The Average Modeller

Magazines

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I was reading on Facebook with interest the other morning a discussion regarding magazines and why we buy them, what we expect and what content we want by the very talented modeller Chris Meddings which fitted in nicely with my own thoughts regarding modelling magazines. Now I have to admit that I am a magazine addict, although I only purchase certain magazines and not every one that is available, a couple of them the content is not what I am after subject matter wise, and others do not look that appealing to the eye regarding layout. When I first started modelling in the early 90’s I went into my local WH Smiths to see what was available and came away with copies of Military Modelling and Military in Scale, I found at the time as a complete amateur that Military Modelling was a touch elitist and was engineered towards the established modeller and I felt way out of my depth reading about resin updates, etch brass detailing, airbrushes and advanced painting techniques that I knew nothing about and had never heard of before. On the other hand I felt  Military in Scale was written with guys like me in mind, it still talked about all the unheard of things mentioned above but it talked about them like they were your friends and not something to be scared of. Now being a novice modeller at the time I was quite susceptible to making mistakes and in Military Modelling these were never discussed, however in Military in Scale they were mentioned openly and not treated as a taboo item. I remember quite clearly an article written by the very talented Spencer Pollard about a Mercedes staff car he was building where he had messed up the paint job by depositing a stray thumb print of paint on the wing or door and not having time to rectify it due to deadline restraints, now there was a modeller I could identify with, he made mistakes and was not afraid to tell us and in print too, now this was the magazine for me. I swiftly subscribed to Military in scale and had them delivered to my door every month until its sad ending in October 2012, I still miss that monthly read it had an excellent balance of articles and in my opinion has never been bettered. I still purchased Military Modelling on and off and I still do to this day, it has fluctuated in quality over the years and I look forward these days to the building articles from the very talented Emmanuel Nouaillier and they are definitely worth a look at. I have dabbled with other magazines, Fine Scale Modeller springs to mind however I only purchase it if it has an article that I want to read, others such as Airfix model world and model Airplane International I have the odd copy of, and similar to FSM I make the purchase for a particular article. I have also purchased a few one off magazines for example model laboratory and cold war aircraft modeller, these are really great magazines covering great subjects and are very much as good as the high street available magazines.

Now skipping forward 20 odd years there are a plethora of magazines that are vying for our money, today I picked up Tamiya Model Magazine International and Military illustrated modeller, 2 magazines that I avoided buying for a while, Tamiya modelling magazine I was aware of when I was in high school and did not buy until it had a build article on the then new Tamiya Dragon Wagon, it is a great article on a great subject. Military illustrated modeller I first bought at issue 3 or 4 simply because there was no other magazine available on that particular day and I fancied a modelling magazine fix and I have purchased every one of the military vehicle editions ever since. Another magazine I look forward to is AFV modeller, I avoided buying this when it first came out as I felt it was not aimed at modellers like myself and was just full of builds by the best in the hobby, that part is still true, the quality of builds is astounding and is full of fantastic inspirational models, my first issue of this particular magazine had a picture of a WWII German Grille H (I think) and just seeing it on the front cover was enough for me to part with my money and of course I have bought every issue since, it is definitely worth the cover price every 2 months in my opinion. Model military international kind of came around close to the end of Military in Scale and helped fill the void that it left, this is the only magazine that I have purchased from issue one and still buy it religiously every month, it’s a magazine with a good balance, good articles/builds and with it some great modellers, I especially like the 1/48 scale pages by the very talented Luke Pitt, it helps keep me in the loop with everything 48, a quite under valued scale for Armour in my opinion. Being very much an armour modeller I tend to stick to magazines that feature that genre and plus you cannot buy every magazine, I probably would if I had a never ending supply of money, there are a lot of great magazines available in the high street newsagents that cover the two main modelling areas, armour and aircraft. Figure modelling on the other hand is quite poorly represented in the high street and is left to specialist publications, there are only one or two in my limited knowledge,  Soldatini is an Italian magazine and I only know of it’s existence because I have seen it sold a couple of times at model shows, there is also the Mr Black publications figure modelling series however these are really classed as books, maybe a thin line, however it is also not what one would call a periodical so maybe it is a book, a quality book I may add, and not a magazine. Another magazine I have started buying of late and purchasing a few back issues of is Panzer aces, it has some really fantastic work featured within it’s pages and I have to be honest I am a real sucker for a glossy well taken photo, I find them inspirational and full of ideas when it comes down to my own work (when I do some).

Over the last couple of years we have seen the arrival of the specialist magazines in the guise of the Weathering magazine from very talented modeller Mig Jimenez and Tanker magazine from AK Interactive (which was a company once owned by Mig I am sure), I bought the first couple of issues of the weathering magazine and was impressed by it’s quality and the plethora of tips on how to get the best out of the various weathering products that have arrived onto the scene over the last few years and I have added most of the issues to the workroom reference library.  The tanker magazine is in  a very similar format to the weathering magazine, I rather like it and I have got all the issues so far, the most recent issue is centred around Tigers, Panthers and Leopards of the tracked variety and is full of great pictures and well written articles. I think from my point of view if a magazine features work by fantastic modellers with great pictures well written articles and a varied subject matter it is a sure fire winner and has a good chance of me adding it to the burgeoning library.

The Average Modeller

Perfection

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Perfection‘the action or process of improving something until it is faultless’

When I was quite a bit younger my parents would occasionally  buy me the odd Airfix, Revell or Matchbox kit for Christmas and I would sit watching whilst my Dad stuck it all together probably with an ample amount of glue squeezed freshly from the tube, waiting impatiently on the sidelines for it to be dry so I could lay my hands on it and rush off to hasten the models  premature demise. No waiting around for it to be painted or for the paint to dry it was off to wherever to ‘play’ until it was beyond repair. The old brain is not what it used to be however I do remember a few of the kits, there was a dark blue Corsair, a grey Sepecat Jaguar (still a favourite of mine) a helicopter in blue plastic (cannot remember what it was for the life of me) a red and white Alpha Jet, a Gloster Gladiator that had flimsy wing struts that would not hold the second set of wings no matter how much glue was applied, and a Westland Lysander, now the Lysander was a wonderful model, looked majestic when it was finished and it flew wonderfully up and down the stairs and round and round the garden, looking so perfect unpainted sitting on the makeshift coffee table runway with the little clear lights on the front wheel housings covered in glue, great memories of great models, I’m not sure what happened to it, I  guess it went the way of all the other kits my Dad built, to the big plastic home in the sky…. skip ahead 30 odd years and those old models and how they were built stay in the back of my mind, a permanent reminder of the need to be better, do better, and to try harder. Of all the projects that I have built or started to build perfection is something I have strived for, my Dad although never a seasoned or frequent modeller was a precision engineer and a perfectionist in his work, I am a perfectionist in all my projects whether I am modelling, at work or attempting DIY which I undoubtedly get from him. Perfection is the pinnacle, perfection is the ultimate, I want to see perfection when I look at my own work the way I see it when I look at somebody else’s, whether it be on Facebook, the various Internet forums I frequent, in magazines, books, on a club stand or in the competition at a show, a piece of work that takes your breath away, that makes you go wow that is amazing, that is incredible, that is perfect, a masterpiece. My mind then turns to the build itself and it makes we wonder about the modeller and their skills, the amount of work that has gone into it, the careful planning, the locating of all the necessary parts, the pitfalls, the difficulties overcome, the triumphs and perhaps the many oh! My god I have cocked that up only to drag the triumph from a near disaster. I know from experience that feeling when you sit at the workbench deflated after cocking up the project you have spent hours on, your heard earned cash on and have put your heart and soul into, when the realisation hits you that the blob of badly glued together and painted plastic is only heading for the bin and not pride of place in your ‘I have finally finished the bloody thing’ collection, another project that started out so well and with such promise only to go the same way as all the others, well nearly all the others, you know that one project that goes together near seamlessly, when the paint goes on virtually without a hitch and you weather it like a pro, that rare project that makes you feel like you have finally arrived and a best in show and gold medals are just around the corner only for that optimism to disappear as quickly as it arrived when you start your next project only to cock it up from the beginning gluing parts A1 and A5 in the wrong places and you sit there saying to yourself how I am gonna sort this one out. Now I know making a complete cock up is not exclusive to rank amateurs like myself and can happen to the best of us, I put mine down to a lack of concentration, a short concentration span or thinking I know what goes where only to look at the instructions and realise I haven’t got a clue what I am doing and the 20 odd years I have been modelling means nothing if you can’t follow simple instructions…. Which leads me back to striving for that elusive and exclusive form of modelling……. perfection, I will hopefully one day build paint and finish something that I deem close enough to perfection however until I do it will just be a case of blundering along adding to the ‘that is not good enough’ pile until I find that magic formula…………

The Average Modeller

 

 

 

 

To stash or not to stash that is the question…

 

dsc_0001When I look upon the internet whether I am doing a bit of research, looking to make a purchase, on Facebook or having a trawl through the various modelling forums I cannot help but notice the numerous proud pictures of ‘the stash’. Now I am as guilty as the next person regarding owning a stash, it is rather large and a source of great embarrassment however I keep on adding to it, I cannot help myself, it is like an addiction. At the start of virtually every year in living memory I vow not to buy any new kits and then low and behold something will be released and it all goes out the window, I wait with bated breath at the start of the year for the Nuremberg toy fair waiting for the new kits to be announced then when they finally get released I cannot wait to add them to my stash, making the purchase either on the internet or at a show just waiting for that moment to sit down, open up the box and marvel at the lovely sprues in their little polythene bags, weighing them up one by one and putting them to one side admiring each sprue in turn until the box is empty. I then turn my attention to the instruction booklet, a slow flick through the pages picking out the areas that will be tricky noting these in my mind so when it comes to picking the next project I can avoid the kits that may cause me a headache. I then return the nicely bagged sprues to the box putting the instruction booklet on top before closing the lid and popping the box on the shelf adding it to the ‘stash’. It is like a ritual, the excitement as the kit is announced, the avoidance of the negative talk on the internet, the wait for it to be released, the making of the purchase, the unending wait for it to be delivered, the box opening and the sprue inspection, the instruction booklet perusing and then onto the grand finale, the adding to the stash. I guess it is the thrill, the thrill of the chase, from the moment of the kit announcement to the moment it is in your hands waiting for that final installment of the thrill, the adding it to the stash……

The Average Modeller.