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Revell 1/32 Ju 88A-1 build - The struggles we face when building

Posted by David Bruneau on

Modelling is supposed to be fun.  That’s why we do it, right?  Sometimes though...not so much.  As I start the Ju 88 build, I am reminded of the distractions, pressures and problems that crop up during builds that can easily chip away at the enjoyment, like the air being slowly let out of a tire.  You start out pumped up and ready to roll, but end up flattened and deflated, not able to reach the destination.

I know I am not the only modeler who has had a project or two (more) stuffed back into the box or relegated to the corner of the workbench to be ignored for months (years).   Despite all the planning, purchasing and desire, some (many) projects never even get off the ground!  The stash just gets a little bigger, and bigger...and bigger.

Frankly, it’s getting me down.  I used to have so much fun building!  I still do, but all too often I find myself treading water and/or drowning during my builds instead of sprinting to the finish line with my hair on fire like I used to.  What happened?  How did my favorite hobby turn into something I sometimes avoid like a friend with the flu or an ex-girlfriend?  

I thought it might be worth a try cataloging what I see as ‘getting in the way’ of my enjoyment.  You can’t defeat an enemy if you don’t know who,what or where they are, right? With a little thought and effort I am betting (hoping) that I will be able to put some of the issues to rest and get back to just having fun with it!  

For now, let’s just start with the issues as I see them - solutions will come at a later date.  Baby steps!  These are not listed in any particular order.

1)  Budget - Accuracy vs. Poverty

This one hits us all before the project is even started.  Models sure are getting expensive!  And who doesn't want ALL the aftermarket parts as well?  For a tank that can mean interior and exterior photo etch and/or resin, tracks, lenses, stowage, metal barrel, and crew.  And that is just the tank itself - what if you want it in a diorama...and what about reference books?  All together the total can easily be hundreds of dollars.  I am not cheap, but...ouch!   Sometimes I get the feeling that without all that stuff my model will be sub-par, especially with older kits.  This sense can dramatically affect my enjoyment of a build - thinking your model is going to suck before you even start doesn't bode well for project.  Neither does spending so much money that you need to take a second mortgage out on your house.  This is a ‘lose-lose’.

2)  References - Accuracy vs. Effort

Most modelers want their work to be as historically accurate as possible - it just goes with the hobby.  We don’t see many dioramas of hot pink  T-72s cruising down a road on Mars.  But, getting a high level of accuracy usually means putting in a high level of  work.  Sometimes endless work.   We all know what a rivet-counter is!

Here are my basic steps - I am sure they are pretty close to yours.

  1. Many, many hours on the internet turns up hundreds of reference pics.  
  2. Add those pics to the ones you already have from your book stash.
  3. Check videos on YouTube.  Take screenshots.  Add these pics to the pile.
  4. Read all the build articles you can find.  Note all the suggested modifications.
  5. Read all the preview articles.  Sometimes they have good info too!
  6. Hit the message boards.  Other people have already built your model and have compiled lists of all the things wrong with it.
  7. Sweep the net for any available books that you can add to your pile.

Then comes the effort of organizing, sorting, labeling and generally boiling it all down to a list of modifications.  I actually enjoy all this!  But, it can (does) take way too long.  On many occasions SO long that I never actually get to start building!  Analysis paralysis!  There has to be an easier way!

3)  Free time.

Everyone feels time pressure these days.  Life is hectic.  Work, family, friends, TV, social media and so many other things, both essential and trivial, compete for our time around the clock (pun intended).  Most people don’t even get enough sleep - who has the time to devote to building models when even a basic build can take so much time? Add in the research and aftermarket and/or scratch items and adequate can seem out of reach.  Most people aren’t able to stick with a project only working on it every now and then over years.  I know I can’t.   Regular, long stretches of free time are needed to work on a project and ENJOY the project.  These stretches just don’t seem to be available when needed.

4)  Loss of interest.

This is partly the result of #2 and #3, but there are other factors as well.  I don’t know how it works for you, but when I begin a build an imaginary countdown starts in my head.  The amount of time on that clock varies by project - sometimes weeks, sometimes months - but it is always ticking down.  When the clock reaches 0 the model goes back in the box and I move onto another.  The end is near when the time between build sessions starts to grow - from hours, to days to weeks...and a new model starts to beckon.  

Sometimes the clock is instantly reset by seeing a movie, documentary or even picture on the net!  Whatever the reason - time or a cool war movie, suddenly the project I was dying to do just last month doesn’t matter anymore - now the NEW project has all my attention!  Back in the box with you!  I find this aspect of modelling the most difficult to overcome.

5) Peer Pressure

We are social animals, and we crave the attention and praise of others whether we admit it or not.   Peer pressure follows us throughout life, especially when dealing with a hobby like modelling where looking at other people's models and having our models looked at by others is such a big part of it.  We WANT and ASK to be judged!  We don’t do this wanting (or expecting) people to  tell us our models are garbage - we want praise.  This is human nature, no way around it.

This need pushes us to spend more money than we want to (see #1!) and/or spend more time than we want to (see #2) on a project, just to get “shared” on Facebook.  When pleasing others is the goal, or even a fear, then I can’t see any fun it it.  This hobby is meant to give us pleasure, not social anxiety!  

Well, that’s what I came up with after a little thought.  These devilish little issues have been plaguing me for a while, and I need to tackle them in order to have a little more fun with my beloved hobby (and profession!)  Are there more pitfalls to completing a project?  No doubt.  Maybe I will add one or two next time.  In the meantime I will see if I can come up with some practical solutions to these issues - I can see some behavior modification and time management in my future!

I would love to hear of other people's experiences!  Let me know if I am making any sense!


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