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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Looking for mojo

I've had a bit more than a week to decide if the last post was a heartfelt cri de coeur or the world's loudest whine. Still not quite sure how to categorize it.

However, there are two strategies for trying to revive your modelling mojo when you hit the wall, for whatever reason. First is to try and finish something that has lingered for some time or has fallen on to the Shelf of Shame. Second is to start something completely new. Being naturally inclined toward excess, I decided to do both.

First, the brand new item. I am well on my way to having built almost all of the line of Huma kits. Since the owner/creator of the brand has retired, this is one of those lines (like Merlin, but in respect for the squeamish we won't go there) where you actually can build everything they have produced. I'm well over halfway. But one of the kits I hadn't gotten to yet is the Messerschmitt P-1106. This is one of their Luftwaffe 1946 types, a subgenre that I still have a lot of love for even if the rest of the modelling world seems to have turned elsewhere.

Not a very complex kit, it consists of 30-some parts. It would be even simpler except for the parts that involve the engine, which only exists in the model because parts are visible through the landing gear bays. It is one of those Luft 46 types that looks fast while standing still, with the cockpit mounted well to the rear of the aircraft.

Once the fuselage is together and the interior (including that engine) are painted, the rest of the basic construction goes quickly. I can feel some rust on my modelling technique - it has been almost 5 months since I've done anything much - so there will be some cleanup required to the seams. One issue is that of nose weight. The only place to put anything is precisely where the engine is exposed by the wheel wells. So it looks like some sort of clear support will be in order, despite the fact that I kind of hate how that looks.

While grazing around the net, I stumbled on a paint scheme for the plane. It was a natural, given my interest in the desert war. I should be able to swipe the decals from any number of desert Bf-109 sheets. Attached is the color scheme, along with progress to date. Next up is masking the camo and laying down the lower surface RLM78. Though, on further review, it might be easier to do the white fuselage stripe and yellow nose first.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Withdrawing from the hobby?

This has been a quiet summer here in the 72 Land modelling bunker. There are actually reasons for this beyond common indifference, and some of them are rather grim.

First of all, this has been one of the hottest summers in my entire 30 year tenure in the Pacific Northwest. I was about ready to buy in to the oddball Nibiru stories about pole shift; it seemed we had ended up somewhere around Atlanta’s old location. From late June through mid-September, there couldn't have been more than a couple of days where the high was under 80. Those of you in more deserty climes will get a chuckle out of that, but that is extremely uncommon in the NW. And most of those 80+ days were actually 85+ days. We set numerous individual daytime high records, though thankfully we never broke the “hottest temp ever” record of 103. Don’t forget, those of you chuckling in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tunisia, that this is a region where virtually no one has home air conditioning. We are down to one fan in this household, and it had to stay wherever the most people were congregating. And that was not my workbench.

The economic news was worse. I am well into a fourth year of unemployment. This is not unique either, which I know from the various forums that I post to. Nobody wants a 55+ year old who hasn’t worked in his field for that long (some periods of temp work, but that doesn’t seem to count for anything). If the economy was blistering I could probably find something anyway due to my 25+ years of experience, but it is still in the dumps, with no clear sign of future improvement.

From this, the economics kick in. You can’t lose a $98k salary per year for that long without massive budget destruction. Everything is mortgage, monthly bills, food and fuel. And there is still a negative balance each month.

Which leads to the problem (that is actually related to the subject of the blog!) of having to sell off the stash. To a person who has the collector gene, the idea of selling your prized possessions is almost physically painful. Kits, books, magazines, collectors comics, things I have accumulated since the 70s are all going on the block. I long ago ran through the duplicates (of which I never had too many) and kits that I probably wasn’t going to build if I was honest. But now I’m well into things I didn’t want to let slip away. It is personally uncomfortable, depressing, even demeaning to know you’re in a spot where you have to do this. Ebay, for all its faults, at least provides a worldwide audience to allow your items to find someone who wants to pay for them.

But it is still depressing. I feel like one of those types who feels compelled to give away all of their possessions before they jump off a bridge or something. The miasma just sort of takes over your free time and you can’t summon the will to get on the workbench and keep on building, because you know that you’ll never finish those subcollections because you’ve had to sell off some of the kits that were going to take up spots in the lineup.

Like the blog header says, this feels like withdrawing from the hobby. But I’m fighting it. I certainly don’t want to become an ex-modeller with an empty garage. But consider your own hobby habits – where would you be if you couldn’t spend money on new kits, paints, glue, tools, display areas, books? It’s not a good place to be, but I have to keep reminding myself that there are still more kits in the stash than I can build in a reasonable remaining lifetime. And finally, as the cooler weather of autumn spreads into the region, maybe I can get my mojo back and get something back into the “completed” column.   

Here is what I'm dreaming of....