When it comes to your next modelling project, how do you decide what to build?
“Writing this, it strikes me that I have stopped being a grown man, turned the clock back and I am now a small boy that used to visit the local model shops, pocket money in hand, trying to decide what to spend those precious coins on”
One of the downsides to completing a model is that I will inevitably have to decide on what I am going to build next. It really is. I finish one and then have to try and rewire my brain to tackle something else, something new and in some cases, something that I have little knowledge of and even less interest in.
Being a professional model maker and one that edits a magazine, you are forced into choices that need to be made in order to interest the readers, showcase the latest kits, help generate advertising and in some cases enthuse you enough to create a feature around a model that looks good, offers plenty of inspiration and ultimately, helps to sell the magazine. That’s a lot of different plates to keep spinning at one time. Add to that list a group of authors who all feel the same and the choices become all the more difficult.
Leaving aside the hard-working authors, it really can be a difficult few days after one project is completed before moving on to the next and that is certainly the case as I write these words. The MENG P-51D is done and now I’m planning a new build and coming up blank. Despite having endless choices (yeah, I know, sucks to be me, eh?), I simply cannot find anything that is setting my enthusiasm alight. There are builds around the workshop and a few kits that I’ve started, but like a good film that hasn’t grabbed my attention within the first ten minutes, nothing is really firing up my imagination and drive to watch through to the end credits.
I simply cannot decide what to start.
So I do what I always do: root around in the loft for kits that I like the look of, open some boxes, read some instructions and then put them back on the shelf. I look to see what’s new, work out which companies have been featured or not, ask myself if there is anything that might be of interest to the readers, check some books and magazines for ideas, sit down, sulk and then decide to play on my Playstation until the frustration dissipates and I can grow up, stop being so self-indulgent and pick a model. This is then repeated for the next week or so until I finally settle on something and stop gluing cockpit parts together from half a dozen kits that I have some interest in, until I hit that eureka moment and I’m off. Model started, enthusiasm up, but deadline now only a few days away instead of two weeks, because I have wasted most of my build time procrastinating, rather than doing any real work.
This happens every single time.
You would think that this endless cycle of completion, procrastination and blind panic, would spur me into changing my system and force me into some form of forward planning, but no, I carry on regardless and suffer the consequences. I’ve tried to plan builds a few months in advance but something always pops up that I haven’t thought of, a kit that is shiny and new, or a build that is forced upon me by issues that are out of my control. Forward planning never works, especially when your dutiful scribe has the focus of Homer Simpson and the concentration levels of a particularly energetic grasshopper.
So, here we are, the morning of St Valentine’s Day and I’ve spent the last day or so arguing that the MENG Mustang is not a copy of Tamiya’s kit, drinking coffee and trying to decide on a new build for Model Airplane International Magazine. So far, I’ve narrowed it down to a few kits that I like the look of, some new, some old and some that might stretch me a little in terms of construction and painting – Trumpeter’s 1:48 F-106B, Hasegawa’s 1:48 RNAF F-16A MLU, Revell’s 1:72 Privateer and Revell’s release of the Eduard 1:48 Fw190D-9. All nice kits and all fun projects that I think our readers will like. But then I think, hmm, maybe a Spitfire would be nice, how about finishing off that Alcock & Brown Phantom you started twelve months ago and what about that 1:32 F-14 you requested? And then the confusion and angst starts all over again…
Writing this, it strikes me that I have stopped being a grown man, turned the clock back and I am now a small boy that used to visit the local model shops, pocket money in hand, trying to decide what to spend those precious coins on. I would stand for hours in front of the shelves of kits that I could afford (not those that I couldn’t, that was simply too painful…) trying to choose between the latest Airfix or Matchbox kits, head spinning with giddy excitement. It would take forever and that’s exactly how I feel today: I just can’t choose, not because I don’t want to, but instead of the money of my youth being so precious, now it is time, time that I simply do not want to waste on projects that have little or no interest to me, or to our readers. The only difference between then and now, is that now I only have myself to force the issue and don’t have my mum screaming over my shoulder to hurry up because she has some shopping of her own to do…