For those that are familiar with and read my blog you will know and be aware of my struggles when it comes to finding the time drive and inspiration to get myself to the workbench and do some modelling, my poor return of 1 completed kit in the last 7 or so years speaks for itself and although that is not just down to the fact that I have had several long bouts of modellers block life also gets in the way too. This last week has given me the opportunity thanks in no small part to having 2 weeks holiday to get some quality modelling time in and although it has not been at my trusty workbench I have managed to get quite a fair bit done. Whilst I was sitting waiting for the glue to dry this afternoon it occurred to me that all of my current builds (and most of the ones previously) have all had one thing in common, the paint finishes are all the same. Whether I am building and painting armour from WWI to modern day if they have anything but a one colour finish I avoid them like the plague, that is not to say that I have not attempted a camouflaged finish however I have not had much success and being my biggest critic found them to be not very good and not very authentic. It is a similar reason I avoid both figure painting and aircraft the thought of painting faces and eyes plus the gluing of the two halves of an aircraft fuselage together fills me with dread and gets me running to the hills. I know it may all be just in my head and a matter of knowledge or lack there of also a lack of confidence, still I avoid it and it plays a big part in what I decide to purchase and build for future projects. Last summer I planned on building 3 projects for that winters trip to Telford, I chose the Tamiya MKIV male tank, the Tamiya Char B and the Dragon 15cm Sig33, both the Tamiya kits went together like a dream however the Dragon offering fought me all the way and was dropped as August became September and then October, by this time I had also dropped the Char B as painting the camo scheme was keeping me from finishing anything even though I had a set of J's work masks to help me complete it so in the end I poured all my energies into the MKIV and had it finished just in time to make the journey to Telford.
The same can be said of my choice of model kit manufacturers, for the most part I also play that safe, if I was to list here what I have in my unbuilt 'stash' it would be predominately Tamiya, I love a Tamiya kit, the instructions the parts break down and the overall ease of build makes me reach for one of their kits over everybody else's nearly every time. However sometimes they do not offer in their fantastic range a particular vehicle that I want to build so that is when I am faced with a huge dilemma, I am currently in the middle of 2 builds, the first being a lovely little T34/76 from Tamiya's 1/48 range, a no brainer really, I wanted to build something quickly and a T34 so I reached for the Tamiya one, their 1/48 scale range of vehicles are lovely easy to build and if you are quicker than me can be built and painted in a week or so, even a weekend if you have the time and a longer concentration span than me. The other was not so simple, I wanted to build a WWI British tank, last year I built Tamiya's MKIV male tank which I thoroughly enjoyed building and painting, I have Mengs MKIV male however this has a full interior and did not want such an involved build as I knew there was a good chance I would not finish it and would just get added to my 'pile of shame' so I thought maybe I should source another of Tamiya's lovely MKIV's after having looked at prices of these on eBay I decided to look elsewhere. Like how all good modelling projects start I decided to 'google' 1/35 British World War one tanks and up popped the whippet now this is done by both Meng and Takom so another google and I decided that the Meng one would be my kit of choice and low and behold one came through my door a week or so later. I have to admit I was a bit concerned that it was not a Tamiya however these fears were soon to be dismissed as the Meng Whippet is a lovely kit that goes together just fine and the only issues I have had have been with my own inability to read the instructions properly, 20 plus years as a modeller and I am still making rookie errors….
The choice of scale I choose to model in is also a safe bet, when I modelled in my early teens it was always from the Airfix and Matchbox 1/72 1/76 ranges simply because they were cheap and easy to get hold of after all you could buy them in the local sweet shop and post office, as I got into my mid teens my eldest brother in law kept saying to me you should get some 1/35 Tamiya kits and it was these I turned to when I got back into the hobby in the early 90's, plus I had an old Tamiya catalogue that had been looked at time and time again so much so in fact that I knew exactly what I wanted to buy on that very first trip to the model shop, sadly it was not to be and I had to buy what they had in stock so that wonderful 88mm I had drooled over for so long had to wait a few more years. 1/35 is definitely the scale for me it gives you a great amount of options across the board as long as what you want has wheels or tracks there is a vast array of figures and accessories plus that was the scale of those wonderful dioramas I had studied in my dog eared Tamiya catalogue. That was until I went to Scale model world in about 2009/2010 and saw on a club stand the Tamiya 1/48 KV II and got a bit hooked they are lovely kits so from time to time I will dabble into the Tamiya 1/48 range like I am currently with the T34. Moving forward and looking to the future I would love to have a go at painting some figures, it's not that I don't have any, I have them in 1/35, 1/16, 1/24, 1/48 I even have a few busts, it's just those eyes and those faces, I know, I know, practise makes perfect and all that What I need to do is step out of that comfort zone, maybe I will later on in the year when Telford is over and it's too cold to go outside and tend to the garden. As for aircraft well, I have these in 1/72 1/48 and 1/32 scale I just dread that gluing of the 2 halves together I know it is another case of stepping out of the comfort zone, sad thing is I kinds like it in that comfort zone I can sit building and painting single colour tanks in1/35 and 1/48 until the cows come home yet that leaves me a touch frustrated, does not push my skills and I will never know if I can paint a face, glue a fuselage together or paint a camo scheme if I do not come out of that comfort zone and stop playing it safe.
The Average Modeller