Thursday, January 14, 2010

Are you a model BUILDER, or a model ASSEMBLER?

I was looking for a review of AMT's recently reissued "Hippie Hemi" dragster/showrod today, and stumbled across a build thread on SAE's message board. The builder became discouraged with it's "flimsy" frame and the less than perfect fit of some of the parts, and threw his semi-completed kit into the garabage. I've started this model myself today, and though I wouldn't call it a snap kit, I think that with a bit of patience and forethought, this a completely viable model.

Many modern day hobbyists seem to have lost (or perhaps never actually developed) any but the most rudimentary modelbuilding skills. As a kid, I remember having to trial fit, reshape/clearance and fill seams with regularity. Filler was a necessary part of every builder's toolbox. As moldmaking technology has advanced, it seems many have forgotten what that's like.

In comparison to the kits I remember from my childhood, today's kits nearly fall together. Open a few paint bottles and one of liquid cement, dump them into the box, shake, and out comes a completed model! I've talked to builders that won't touch anything but a Tamiya kit, because they "take too much time to assemble". I thought that was the POINT of this hobby!

My Hippie Hemi is being built box stock. Not only does the kit include a vinyl blower belt, flexible upper fuel line, and transparent oil pan with visible chrome crankshaft, but the envelope-style body (that has to be painted AFTER assembly if I wish to smooth the seams) is part of the CHALLENGE of building the best model that I can from this kit. Sure, this means that I'm going to have to revive nearly forgotten (for me) aircraft-style masking techniques, and the actual assembly order may not EXACTLY follow the instructions, but I'm daring the judges at the next contest I enter to fault me for it.

And I dare any of you to go out and buy a kit made from an older, worn, prone-to-warpage tool and make it the absolute best that you possibly can...

..or maybe just scratchbuild something.

1 comment:

  1. Man, if there are car modelers out there that can't or don't want to use filler and do sanding then they better never try to build a figure kit! loads of filler and sanding there.

    But really, what ever happened to not letting the inanimate object win?