Sprue Cutters Union – Invisible Detail

Let’s be honest here. Who really looks at your models? Who comes into your display area and really digs into the details on any given build? I’m willing to bet no one does. The friends that I can coax into checking out my models usually just give them a look over. No one ever notices or asks if they represent specific subjects from specific times. The fact is they don’t care.

Contests, shows, club meetings and other events are a completely different crowd. These are people who share an appreciation for your craft and possibly even your subject. I’m sure you would agree that these are two totally different audiences. These people not only have interest in your subjects but there is a good chance you will run across someone who knows more about one or more of them than you do.

What does all this have to do with invisible detail? Nothing. No one, regardless of level of interest, will ever see invisible detail. By definition it is unseen, not visible. So what’s the point? Why do some of us include things unseen? Some do it for the practice it gives them thereby improving their skill set. Some do it because they insist on using every part possible in the kit. Some do it because they have that drive to detail every nook and cranny regardless of it ever being seen again.

I am not a methodical modeller. I do have some standard ways I do things but each model I build is done in a unique way. Each one includes detail and processes that I have never used before and may never use again. For me it keeps the hobby fresh. What drives me is the desire to try things I have never done before. To at least attempt things I never have. Besides, organization and methodology are for the workplace and have no business in my hobby room.

My Monogram B-29 build is a great example of my want to try new things and the inclusion of hidden detail. The build includes the use of the Eduard Big Ed PE set which includes every detail you can possibly imagine both inside and out. But this build isn’t about all that detail. It’s about the PE. My only experience with PE up until this project were the grenade screens on a Tamiya Sd.Kfz. 222 and some cockpit panels in a Dragon FW190. Only one piece of which required any need to bend or shape it. I got tired of seeing all the comments online by people about how they don’t have the skills to do PE. So, when I had the chance to get a review sample of a set for a kit I already had, I jumped right in. My intention is to show that even a PE newbie with a limited set of tools can not only do it but do it well. That’s my drive on this one, not the detail.

There are others in my collection like the Trumpeter FW200 with the fuselage full of unseen fuel tanks and countless others with painstakingly done instrument panels. That’s not really the norm anymore because I realized my goal is to get them done and on the display shelf not to get them perfect…

Besides, no one ever looks at them anyway.

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Sprue Cutters Union – Must Stash

The First Model I Ever Built

Ah yes, “”The Stash””. The topic that never goes away. What is “”The Stash”” anyway? Why do they exist and why do they keep growing? They seem to take on life of their own. A living, breathing, growing stack of plastic you might say. I obviously can only speak for myself, but I’ll start off here with some generalities that I have seen in the community of “Stashers” I have had contact with.

Different people Stash for different reasons. Some people are just collectors and are not builders. Some people just can’t pass up a good deal no matter what it is. Some purchases are driven out of the fear that the kit will not be available in the future. Some additions are gifts. And of course there are the braggarts that just like to be able to say that they have more kits than you or I do. Some of these justifications may be more valid than others but they really are all just subjective justifications. There is no right or wrong. At best there is only the satisfaction that you have in your possession everything that you want.

I am actually living through my second Stash now. Having two Stashes was the result of taking a long day to break from the hobby which led to me selling the first one. Interestingly enough, those two Stashes have similarities and differences. My first Stash was accumulated during my mid to late twenties. It consisted of 250 to 300 1/72nd scale World War Two aircraft with a few pieces of armor thrown in for good measure. My goal at that time was to build at least one of every type of aircraft flown by all combatants of World War Two in Braille scale. A lot of the kits that I had at the time were not only out of production and hard to find but I had purchased them at a considerable discount from their original street price. I was finding things at extremely reasonable prices that fit my genre and we’re still sealed. It really was a perfect storm. My second Stash has been accumulated since my return to the hobby in 2010. It has fluctuated quite a bit over the years. Probably 2 to 3 years ago I realized it had gotten to 130 plus kits. Most of that growth was the result of finding a lot of unbelievable deals on quality to kits. A lot of them were of subjects I had no no interest in personally but I rationalized that I could trade them or sell them. Once I realize I was over 100 kits I sort of panicked and decided to do some reduction. I ended up down around 80 or so kits. Fast forward to today. Now here I sit with at least 140 kits. Since the initial reduction I myself only purchased at most 10 kits, probably around five to be honest. The rest of them have been gifted to me. As a result my current Stash is quite varied. I have pretty narrow interests as far as subjects are concerned nowadays. Quarter scale World War Two Mediterranean theater aircraft are what I mainly focus on anymore. That said I do have a fetish for the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, the Monogram 1/48 scale multi engine bomber series, and World War 2 era night fighters.A-20_Havoc

As you can tell it’s time to do another reduction. That’s not always easy as it sounds. Actually I have a column on my inventory spreadsheet that specifies whether I’m willing to sell a it are not. Today not many of them are marked for sale and that needs to change. I do, however, have some rules when it comes to selling kits. First and foremost I do not sell gifts. Kits that have been gifted to me will be retained and built. That right there may be 30% of my Stash. Once you add to that just the kits that fit into my genre and fetishes I would guess we’re talking 60 to 70% of “”The Stash””. So the reality is that I probably have 40 to 50 individual kits that are in my Stash only because they were too inexpensive to pass up. Perhaps I should sell them but I always talk myself out of it by telling myself it will not be financially worth it. I mean, just exactly what is my time worth? If all I get at the end of a eBay sale is a few bucks profit I don’t see that as a good use of my time.

Stashes provide us with a couple of other positives. First and foremost it assures me that the subjects I wish to pursue are available to me a when I wish to tackle them. They can also provide trade fodder when you find a deal on something you really have no interest in. Then perhaps one of the best effects of “The Stash” for me personally is that I can usually aquire a subject that I am interested in for much less than its original street price. In a way those of you out there that feel the need to have the latest and greatest immediately are warehousing kits for those of us who don’t need them right away. Thanks for that!

So the question that comes to my mind after all of this is “Can “The Stash” exist without a goal?” I don’t think so. No matter what it is that we are stockpiling, collecting, or hoarding we have a reason. Perhaps illogical, and definitely subjective, but ultimately purposeful. That is why we Stash. To get us one step closer to that goal that only we can see in our minds eye.


Sprue Cutters’ Union – Is The Hobby Dying?

I’ve decided to jump on board with the Sprue Cutters’ Union, a blog carnival, to help keep me focused and share a bit too. There is more information about SCU at the bottom of this post if you’re interested.

 Who Care’s!

Well I do in so far as I have friends that make their lively hood from this hobby. Other than that absolutely not. Why? Why such a hard nosed attitude?

I’m not hard nosed. I just have lots of other things to worry about other than where my next plastic fix is coming from. Granted I see this from the same perch that I browse my 100+ kit stash from so I’m a bit shielded  from any mass shortage of plastic. Add the fact that I have almost everything that I actually want to build and there is not a whole lot of concern at my bench.

That’s not to say that I don’t have concerns about the hobby or what it is morphing into. Perhaps it’s not morphing. Splitting may be a better verb. In my eyes 3D printing is the big enemy to traditional modeling. Why? because it uses an entirely different skill set to get the basics done. Is that a problem? only in a competitive sense, at least at this point in time.  To me it’s exactly the same issue that has plagued the photography world the last few years. The culprit in photography is called HDR, High Dynamic Range. It’s a technique where the photograph is manipulated via software to the point that the colors and saturation do not represent the actual scene at the time the image was captured. You really can’t compare a”standard” image with an “HDR” image because they are two totally different things. One is highly stylized and the other isn’t. How does that relate to modelling? Well, how would you like to put your 500 piece kit up against a model that was printed in one piece and then painted. No seams to fill, no pin marks to remove, no sink marks. Just a paint job(Not that that is easy). And for those who think I’m making this up it’s happened. I saw it with my own eyes. I don’t have an issue with HDR images or single piece 3D printed models. I do however have an issue when they are compared to traditional media. That’s just wrong in my book.

So there it is. We are involved in a hobby that is changing. One that will one day allow average modelers to sit down at their PC and print the kit they want. Any kit in any scale. Compete with paint and markings and weatheriong! How do you think the manufacturers and the judges will deal with that? What about the LHS owners that are still out there? What will they have for sale if a large portion of “modelers” no longer need supplies of any kind from them?

So, if the hobby does implode I don’t care. I don’t care because I’ll just sit in my workshop and build the kits I’ve accumulated over the years with the supplies and tools I have accumulated over the years. Change is inevitable, it’s not just a political slogan. It’s the nature of the beast we call capitalism. The law of supply and demand rules all. My advice to anyone out there? Get over it!

All that said, I don’t think it’s going to happen. There are too many companies putting too much money into this market for me to believe that it is dying any time soon. If you think they are pumping out these kits without doing market studies think again. They know what we want and what we will pay for it.

Model on.

Other Members Posts…

The Combat Workshop
Kermit’s Bench
Mattblackgods World


sprue cutter union 2

Want to join the Sprue Cutters Union? Its simple. If you model and have a blog that is all you need to start. Just write a post in response to the weekly topic, copy the link in the comments section for that week’s assignment and you’re in! Check out more detail about joining the Sprue Cutters Union by clicking on the logo above.


Sprue Cutters’ Union – Old Dog, New Tricks

I’ve decided to jump on board with the Sprue Cutters’ Union, a blog carnival, to help keep me focused and share a bit too. There is more information about SCU at the bottom of this post if you’re interested.

Let’s jump right in…

More Old Than Tricky

Old Dog, yeah that’s me. I’ve been in and out of this hobby for 44 years. Not as long as some but longer than a few I’m sure. I don’t have any new techniques or products on the list to try in 2015 but I do have some demons to kill. Like anybody that has done something for a long time I have my habits. Some are good and some are bad. I like to call the bad ones ghosts because it seems no matter how hard I try to crush them they always sneak back. There are some that I would like to kill off for good this year.

My Biggest Enemy

A lot of us fight this one, some with more success than others. Some call it AMS but I call it The Anal Ghost. There really is no better description. Now I know some of us embrace this ghost as a friend and live happily ever after but not I. This ghost totally ruined the hobby for me back in the 90’s. I got so caught up in correct details, especially color schemes and markings, that I would freeze. I could barely get a kit finished and when I did it was never good enough. The only thing that stopped the cycle was a growing family. Having small children in the house put a damper on any serious modelling attempts for about 12 years.

After a few false starts I came back to the hobby full force at the beginning of 2010. My focus was on getting a good looking model, not so much as to having all the details right. Perhaps it was because I was a noob again? I don’t know. I was more concerned with technique than results and all was right with the world. The Anal Ghost was nowhere to be found.

But it’s not over. That ghost continues to pop into my hobby tempting me with things that really don’t matter, things that I know will destroy my sanctuary if I let them. He seems to have gotten stronger lately but I fight and the battle continues on and on.

My primary goal this year is to kill this demon or at least banish it from my life so that I may enjoy what I enjoy and not be led astray.

Don’t Screw It Up!

This ghost visits me often. The Ghost of Paralyzing Fear. Fear of what you ask? Fear of screwing up of course. Lets face it, this is not necessarily a cheap hobby anymore. Nobody wants to destroy an expensive kit. Not only that but there are lots of  irreplaceable kits or aftermarket sets or even OOP paints? What if you screw up something that literally cannot be replaced? Paralyzing it can be.

I have pretty much beaten back this cousin of the Anal Ghost. I just had to learn to expect and accept that I am going to botch something somewhere on every build. That wasn’t an easy one to swallow but I got most of it down.

The Time Bandit

This guy is my worst enemy at the moment. He really has been for many many months. The only way I see to beat him is to schedule my bench time. Not a big deal you say. Well it is for me.  You see, my home life isn’t that organized. A wife and three kids between the ages of 10 and 16 tend to put a kink in any plans a man can make. It seems there is always something that somebody needs from me at all hours of the day. Not only do constant interruptions make trying to start something hard but it absolutely crushes any momentum you may have. We all know how important momentum can be during a build. My wife tries to force me into my workshop from time to time but there always seems to be another task that “needs” to be handled by dad. My wife recognizes my need to decompress and that I do that when I build. I guess we need to come together as a family and figure out when dad gets his time. We shall see.

Know thy enemy… and kill him!

Everyone in this hobby has their own ghosts. Be they ghosts of excess or need or want, we all have one or two or more. Although not necessarily bad in themselves, they can suck the enjoyment right out of this hobby. I am not willing to let that happen again. My goal in 2015 is to identify, evaluate, and destroy these ghosts .

Model on.

Other Members Posts…

The Combat Workshop
Doogs’ Models
Yet Another Plastic Modeller
The Museum Modeler
Kermit’s Bench

sprue cutter union 2

Want to join the Sprue Cutters Union? Its simple. If you model and have a blog that is all you need to start. Just write a post in response to the weekly topic, copy the link in the comments section for that week’s assignment and you’re in! Check out more detail about joining the Sprue Cutters Union by clicking on the logo above.