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One Kit Is Never Enough Part 3


One Kit is Never Enough Part 3 - Where does inspiration come from?



I have often wondered what is the source of inspiration for the next kit I want to build. At first it was relatively easy, for a long time I only built Tiger 1E’s, Tiger B or the different Ausf Panthers. I did not limit myself to a particular Ausf of Tiger or Panther, I was happy to build all of the various Ausf’s. A late Tiger was just as enjoyable as an Early one. The same could be said for the Panthers as well. Any Ausf of Panther, whether it was an Ausf D, Ausf A, or a Bergpanther. Even if it was a “paper” Panther such as the Panther II or the Panther F. The enjoyment was still the same. But that was all I built. I did not build PIV’s, or StuG’s or any other Axis Panzer.



In my loft I have a whole shelf of the display unit with just Panthers and Tigers on, over 16 of them. If you add the Tiger B’s, Jadgpanthers and Bergpanthers then I have over 20 kits of just those AFV’s. That is more than any other AFV that I have ever built. There are 11 tigers in total, mostly depicting the LAH, as are the Panthers. Why I choose the LAH as the unit to base my models on I am not sure. I do know that I have no love of the Waffen-SS at all. I don’t think anyone in their right mind could ever love a Waffen-SS unit. However I do respect what they did on the battlefield. So maybe that is why and seeing as the LAH were the 1SS Division, maybe it was just the logical thing to start at the beginning.



Why only build Tigers and Panthers though? It is not like the LAH did not use any other AFV’s. At one time or another during the war they used every AFV fielded by the Germans, as well as all the ancillary vehicles that a Panzer Division would need, such as halftracks, flak vehicles, recon you name it. I never did like the look of the PIV, PII or PI. I did try to build a few StuG’s, but they just never seemed to come out as I wanted them to. Although saying that, other people who have seen them were impressed, but to me they just did not look how I wanted them to.



Having looked around the various websites that I post on I have noticed that I am not alone in this “strange” behaviour. Many modellers only build a certain type. That might be Allied, or Axis, but they only stay to their particular type and never stray outside of their comfort zone. Perhaps that is the answer to this “strange” behaviour we modellers exhibit. We are afraid to challenge ourselves and so stay in the area that we are most comfortable with. This has its advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious advantage is that it allows a modeller to perfect their chosen subject and attain a level of detail and satisfaction that they would not necessarily obtain if they did not specialise.


However I now feel that this leads to certain stagnation, again something that I have observed on the web. I have seen many threads started by people who say they are in a rut and do not know how to get out of it. My answer to that is to move outside your comfort zone and just build something for the fun of it. I believe it does not matter if you get it 100% right just so long as you enjoy what you are building. After all we spend a lot of money on this “obsession” of ours and if we are not getting enjoyment then what are we doing it for? Money is in short supply these days so the enjoyment we get from what little disposable income we have has to be even greater than when we have a larger amount of our income to invest in our hobby.



Now that I no longer build WWII AFV’s I have found that, apart from the M-113, I will build a wide variety. The only exceptions to this are the UK Challengers, USA Abrams and the various nations that use the Leopard. However there are some marked differences between these. No one who knows their AFV’s would ever confuse a Challenger 1 with a Challenger 2, just the same as no one would confuse a German Leopard 1 with a Canadian Leopard 2A6M. I think I have built just about all the major Western countries MBT’s now, and have enjoyed all of them, but apart from the above named AFV’s I do not feel the need to build multiplies of them. Even the IDF AFV’s that I love building I only build one of each variant.



Why this is I do not know, as there are many different variants’ of the same AFV that I could build, but I just no longer feel the desire to. I think I have arrived at that happy place where variety is the spice of life. Nowadays there is a definite thrill of the unknown when it comes to opening a box for the first time. My enjoyment has increased as well, which I put down to the variety of the builds i now plan. I have even got plans to build some WWII Allied halftracks, something that just a year ago I would never have contemplated.



However, when it comes to aircraft I seem to be falling into my old ways. I have several Phantom kits and several F-16 Viper kits. In fact I have just bought the NATO Viper kit from Graham, making that the fourth Viper kit I have in my stash. There are three unbuilt Phantom kits in there as well, and I have completed two others. But, I do have several different aircraft kits in the stash and sometime this year I will be building my first prop driven aircraft kit, the E2c Hawkeye and I am really looking forward to doing that. There is a SLUF(Short Little Ugly Fellow) in the stash, as well as the new Airfix Sea Vixen. So although I have the Viper and Phantom obsession I am not going to stick exclusively with them like I did with the Tigers and Panthers.



So if you are in a rut, if your modelling does not seem to be as rewarding as it once was, try something new. Try something that you would never have thought you would build. Maybe do not take it as seriously as you would you more obsessional builds. Don’t bother to spend the money on aftermarket parts and just build the model out of the box. Again this is an approach that can invigorate your interest in modelling. Maybe find a kit that is in a sale, or is selling at a very reasonable price and give that a go. That is what I did with the Italeri F-16 Barak. Yes there are fit issues, but nothing that filler can overcome, and the level of detail in the kit is almost on a par with much more expensive kits. I did not feel the need to throw after market items at it, not even a replacement resin seat. Instead it is an out of the box build that I am totally doing for the fun of it. After all, is life not too short and full of people who want to bring you down, to not have out hobbies generate fun for us?



I know that at the moment fun is what I crave, Satisfaction, enjoyment, which is what I want. If the model, AFV or aircraft, also turns out to be a surprise, such as the Italeri F-16 than that is an added bonus. I am almost shocked at how much my interest in modelling has been rejuvenated by this change in what I build, and even in how I build. It used to be that i would throw as much after market kits at my builds as I could afford. But now I do not need to. Yet the satisfaction and enjoyment is just as much, if not even more compared to how it was when I added every after market item that I felt the kit needed.



Now I am off to stick some more bits of plastic together, i am in the need of some fun.



Until next time. 

Ethlian Middleton