Well, my details seem to be rather tame compared to some of what I've heard. My mother was an artist, photo retoucher, and musician, and I guess there's some of that artistic streak coming out in my models - the preoccupation with shape and colour. My daughter has that too - she's a professional illustrator.
As a child I wanted to be a car designer. I was always drawing cars. I started building cars at about seven, when I was given an AMT kit of the first Mustang for Christmas! It was a bit beyond me. Cement? That's what you used for building foundations! And all those building versions! Stock? Custom, and if so, which?? Competition? Mix and match all three? Hardtop or Convertible? It took me forever to decide...
I started buying my own kits in '71. I was never much of a one for the girls (too shy); I just kept building, reading, listening to music, and studying - more or less in that priority! Down here in Australia we got a lot of Japanese kits in the seventies, so when American cars went boring (ugly shapes, bouncy bumpers, no guts - no image) and annuals largely disappeared, there were plenty of Japanese and European kits to buy. And I saw those cars on the road every day.
Somehow I finished high school and went to study at a college in the city, which had this great hobby shop just around the corner. It was here I got into some of the larger scale Tamiya, Bandai and Otaki kits. My first job, as a medical lab technician, was just down the road from there, so I'd often walk into town during my lunch break and check out the shop. And often buy something. And later build it.
Eventually I got married at 27. My wife says I didn't show her all my models until after she said she'd marry me! There'd be some truth in that - the pantry was full of models, and the linen cupboard was full of books. My building slowed down a lot after that, especially when the children came along, but I'd still turn out a few now and then.
My career took a massive change of direction, and I went to theological college. This time there was no spare money, and I didn't have time to build much, except during the holidays. After three years I wound up pastoring in a rural area, and it was interesting to go visiting on farms and check out the old iron abandoned or stashed away in sheds. And also to visit the small-town shops and buy up interesting kits that had just been sitting there for years.
Ten years ago I came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I hope none of you ever get this. Recovery was painfully slow for the first couple of years, and my wife was all too happy that I had my models as an interest then. They gave me something familiar yet at the same time challenging to do, so I could find my way out of the mental fog. Healing came by the grace of God; the doctors had done their all, but then recovery speeded up dramatically. Now I'm working part-time again, and managed to build 32 models last year.
As I said above, it's an artistic thing for me, a creative outlet. It's all about shape and colour. Most of my cars are factory stock or not far off it, but I enjoy choosing interesting colour schemes (not always factory). I rarely use black or white on a body. I don't build anything I'd regard as ugly without trying to improve it. It might be as simple as widening the track, maybe removing some extraneous body trim, or something more involved like reshaping a window opening, or taking the hump out of the hood of a '51 Chevy. I tend not to build many customs, because my enthusiasm for modifications often runs away from me - I have several projects abandoned in boxes where my bodywork skills just weren't up to the task. Another Juha I am most definitely NOT!! I also do quite a few light commercials - they take me back to the days when I used to visit the produce markets as a kid with Dad, and I'd see all the cool old trucks the farmers had.
Here in Australia the S-cargo is quite popular with small businesses seeking a distinctive delivery vehicle.
It was never sold here (Nissan doesn't sell any interesting cars here), so all the ones here are used imports. But they sure stand out in traffic.
Well I'm Australian, and I also think the old Monogram Camaro is off. And like Hans, I've built my share of them too. But since Revell brought out their 1/25 kits, the Monogram one is redundant
What's wrong with it?
The A-pillars aren't parallel from one side to the other. Oops!
The body is sort of "anti-sectioned", like someone added a two or three scale inch slice through the fenders and doors. Look at a real one and you'll see what I mean.
The rest of it's OK, but those faults spoiled it for me. But I still built three of them back when they were the only Camaro available.
BTW, I like the red model in the photo. Good work!
Y'know, sometimes I get jealous of you guys who have basements. We don't have them in Australia.
I have two modelling areas. I do my building and detail painting on a side desk in my library. For daytime use I have light from the east and south, and good spotlighting at night. I have a stack of pull-out trays for my paints, but the colours I use most stay on the bench. Under the bench are my part-built projects - about sixty of them.....
Spray painting gets done in the shed. It's about a 30' x 50' tin shed, insulated, also with good lighting. Half the workbench is covered with newspaper. I keep my spray paint out here, with the cans arranged so I scan see the colours at a glance.
Most of my builds are 1/24-1/25 cars. I do both larger (up to 1/12) and smaller (1/87) scale on occasion. I finished an Otaki 1/20 Datsun 240Z this week - a kit I bought back in the '70s.
I do big rigs perhaps once every two years or so. I'm keen on them, but cars grab me more. I went through a phase of building Japanese motorbikes, back in the bad old days when there weren't many interesting US car kits around, but I haven't done a bike for over 25 years. Not that I wouldn't like to, but I can't build everything!
I have built two sailing ships, a stagecoach, a cable car, and I have a couple of Star Wars kits I haven't built yet.
My other interest is HO scale buildings for my son's layout. He does them himself now, but before he got tidy I did about a dozen for him, including a thousand piece two storey mansion.....
What a fascinating topic. And what misunderstandings can arise just from reading the printed word.
OK guys. I'll try to explain my position in a manner which won't leave me open to being misinterpreted or misunderstood. I'll even try to use American spelling!
I build for myself. I don't know any other model car builders these days, except for on the internet - if that counts.
I used to belong to a model car club six moves ago - I was in my early twenties then. I'd bring a model or two to theme display nights. That was fine. We all had fun. My cars weren't perfect, but nobody cared. Others were nice about it, and we all had a good time.
Then once we had a "competition" against the IPMS guys. I'd never heard of the IPMS before. Nobody told me what a bunch of_________s (fill in the blank yourself, I don't swear) they could be. Nobody told me they'd be exclusively judging either (open to bias, anyone?).
Well, my cars were shot full of holes over the most trivial lot of ____ (once again, fill in the blank). Those "judges" had NO IDEA about customs or street machines; my cars were just WRONG. This isn't right! That's not right! Color's not right! Where's your documentation?
To hell with them all! No more competitions for me. Ever again!
My work hours changed soon after that, and I stopped going to club meetings.
Nobody even called me to ask why......
Now that was about thirty years ago, but the memory is still there.
I will never ever again enter a judged competition. I gather they're not all like that, but memories like that hurt.
If there was a club nearby I could go to, I might perhaps go. I did display some of my models at a neighbouring city's NNL meet about fifteen years ago, before I came down with a chronic illness which stopped me from driving. I've moved again since then.
So I build models for myself - the way I want them to look. I use factory colors on my stock builds - or something close enough for me. Otherwise I'll paint things to look good to my eyes. I'll detail-paint things as much as my bodily abilities permit. If I want to build a custom body I will - and paint it however I like. I don't worry about things I know my body won't allow me to do - fine work like like wiring and plumbing engines. I'm blown away by the sheer craftsmanship of those who do, but I don't turn myself inside out that I can't do that. I know my limits, and I'm happy with them - but I keep pushing them!
I show my models on the internet. I've made many friends who I'll probably never meet. But I build to suit myself, and nobody else. If others like my models, that's great! It gives me a lift, and I'm happy. But I did it for me.
Generally speaking, Tamiya would be the best. Some of their kits are wire-axle jobs (the Nissan 350Z is another), but the detail and proportioning is still spot on. I was disappointed with the 350Z's chassis detail, but on the other hand I have several unbuilt Tamiya kits where the high level of complexity of the suspension setup has "delayed" the build. I think Tamiya should give some guide to the level of detail on the kit box, if they're going to bring out wire-axle kits as well as the standard we expect from them.
Aoshima kits are great, when you can get them. Here in Australia their distribution is spotty at best. But the ones I have are excellent. Maybe not quite Tamiya quality though, but I really haven't seen enough of their kits to be sure.
Fujimi kits vary a lot. Some of their current kits are old '70s or '80s tools resurrected - can you say AMT? As such, some of their kits (Isuzu Piazza) have no interior door panels; others (the pre-R32 Nissan Skylines) share a common chassis designed for an electric motor and batteries. Heck, they even used that chassis on a Honda Prelude - show me a RWD Honda Prelude, someone!
Their newer kits are excellent. Anything from the early nineties on will not disappoint you; anything tooled from, say, 2000 on is just about right up there with Tamiya.
It's Christmas day already here in Australia, and what did I get?
I'll just list the main modelling-related things....
An assemble-it-yourself office chair for the library/modelling room - I guess that sorta counts as a kit. I put it together in 15 minutes after we got back from church; can't think when was the last time I built a model that fast!
And a lovely resource book entitled "Hot Rodding International, The Best in Hot Rodding from Around the World". 224 pages, all colour, put out by Graffiti Publications here in Australia (www.graffitipub.com.au). It has coverage of events from around the world - well, Australia, New Zealand, America and the UK, and a feature on Janne Kutja's artwork counts for Scandinavia. AND, six pages of models! Most exciting part is that this great ideas book is billed as "Number 1" - I wonder how often they'll come out?
Wall-to-wall photos with sensible captions, no ads, no arty-farty space-wasting page layouts; I'll be into this book this afternoon! Jane said it'd give me plenty of ideas. Lessee, start with the old-style green flatty-powered deuce-grilled early A roadster on the cover... (turns pages) Hmm, looks like I'll be buying a lot of new kits this year.......
I also enjoy the artistic aspect of it. I might not be able to paint pictures, but models are my kind of sculpture. To take a box of plastic bits and pieces, apply my skills to them, and wind up with something unique gives me a real lift.
I enjoy looking at a new kit for the first time, and discovering the neat details in it. Especially the unexpected bonuses Revell seems to put in!
I like planning how I'm going to build a car, choosing a colour scheme for it, and construction when things go well. I feel a real sense of achievement when the body is mated to the floorpan for the final time - and I especially enjoy looking at the finished product, holding it up to my eyes, turning it around to examine it from all angles and imagining it was real!
That's an absolutely lovely build.
Is that kit rare?
I've built two years ago, bought two more this year from a hobby shop, and know where I can get three more at normal kit prices....
You just have to live in a country where nobody knows what an Oldsmobile is!