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Model Talk 4 - Space

Space, (in this instance, ‘space’, being the area(s) in which we keep all the paraphanalia of our hobby)...
... the final frontier..?


I suspect that many of you will have similar domestic situations to me, and also have more models stashed away than you are ever going to build in several life times, never mind the one we have been allocated – but we still go on buying new ones don’t we...


If I average building twelve models a year, I consider it to be a good year – this year was a very rare exception as I built over 30 for the Battle of Britain Special Interest Group display at Scale Modelworld at Telford, but 2010 was not a typical year.

The twelve-a-year ‘production output’ average doesn’t necessarily equate to one model a month though, as I tend to build in ‘batches’, as with the Battle of Britain models, to a specific or general ‘theme’, and at the end of any particular building ‘batch’, which normally lasts several weeks, I might have three or more models finished, with the next ‘batch/theme’ not seeing the light of a model meeting display table for a couple of months, or three, later.

I have never been able to explain, nor really justify, to the memsahib, (aka She Who Must Be Obeyed), why I ‘need’ to buy even more kits when I have got a loft FULL of them; I just mumble quietly that it is a ‘man thing’ and tell her that when I eventually shuffle off my mortal coil, she can sell them all and go on the world cruise I have always promised her for a dim and distant ‘milestone’ wedding anniversary present! (I’m sure she’d have more fun with a new ‘toy boy’ than me anyway!)

The ‘problem’ is, what SWMBO doesn’t understand, is my primal fear that if I don’t buy that new kit when it is released, whether I actually intend to build it straight away or not, it is Murphy’s Law that it will not be available when I DO decide I might want to build it – in three months or three years time, so, it seems to me, to quote our ex-Prime Minister, that it’s prudent to buy it NOW! Perfectly logical...

However, where this ‘buy it now/repent at leisure’ logic tends to break down somewhat, is that manufacturers are releasing kits faster than I can build ’em, and it’s odds-on that I will NEVER actually get around to building anything but a small fraction of the kits I buy – but don’t tell my wife that!

The other thing is, and this is what she cannot get her lovely head around, that as I don’t actually know what I might want to build in six months time, I have to be prepared for any eventuality and buy everything! Simples, tsheech?

The same theory/logic/obsession, call it what you will, applies to aftermarket decal sheets and resin accessories. In my previous existence when I edited modelling magazines, I did get a fair proportion of aftermarket decal sheets and resin accessories ‘for free’, in the form of review samples – but I still bought a considerable amount for myself, and of course now that the ‘freebies’ have dried-up, I have to buy everything I 'need/want’. The point I’m trying to make is that despite my best intentions to actually use all the decals and accessories I buy, I still only end up using a relatively small proportion of them, the rest being carefully allocated to my ‘spares’ box(es), which, together with my unmade kits, literally takes up 99% of the entire space of the loft – which resulted in me having the same old annual problem of scrambling to get the Christmas decorations out from the small dark corner where they were stored at the end of the previous festivities!

Of course, that now brings us to reference books – my pride and joy. I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat after a bad dream where I have been asked to make the unthinkable, heart-rendering decision to choose between keeping my models and modelling paraphernalia or my books...

Thankfully, I have always managed to wake up before actually having to make the decision..! Phew!!!

To me, books are ‘for ever’. As I hurtle, ever faster it seems, into my dotage, and as my modelling skills start to diminish, (... even further through failing eyesight and lack of hand-to-eye coordination), at least I will still be able to look at and read my books. However, they are starting to rather take over the house now – literally – my book collection is rapidly outgrowing my bookshelf space.

When we first moved in to the house we live in now, about fifteen years ago, I had custom-made book cases built into the walls of one of the upstairs bedrooms that I had originally sequestered as my model room and into a smaller downstairs room that I euphemistically call ‘my study’. They were filled almost immediately.

I did a similar ‘bespoke conversion’ exercise, when we converted our detached garage into ‘my office’ with separate adjoining model room (about five years ago – from where, incidentally, I am writing this). Those shelves were also filled within a year or so, and I was reduced to buying commercial book cases, (Ikea... oh the ignominy!), and screwing them to any available free wall space I could find in garage/office/model room or the house! But they are now very close to being FULL!

However, when I do eventually shuffle off my mortal coil, (not for a few more years yet, I hope!), I do rather fancy the idea of having a Viking-style funeral – being laid to rest in a longboat, surrounded by boxes of all my unmade kits, decals and accessories, and my belovéd books, and then being pushed out to sea whilst a regiment of IPMS archers fire (plastic injection-moulded of course) flaming arrows into the boat – what a send off that would be!

Neil Robinson