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Uncle Mike

What made you return to building?

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Guys, this is a great thread.

I am going to PIN it.

I want these stories, and more, in print.

I don't know if you all know of my humble beginnings, but I was brought into this hobby after walking through our local hobby shop here in Hawai'i at Windward Mall (Sorry, Tom Weller, I found you after), and saw the cover of the Feb 1987 issue of Gary Schmidt's bible, Scale Auto Enthusiast. I was hooked. I even wrote to and received a response from the Hawaiian Punch Funny Car builder on the cover, who is till today, the person I feel got me into this addiction/hobby/job/family/ohana/401K/FirstClassFlights/100KMilePerYearShowTours/ blah blah blah... that I am so blessed to be doing now. That bump up to First was a blast, right J?

Anyway, I was flat on my back, or as the guys in our local club will tell, and this is the truth, I was pushed around the first model car contest I ever went to in a shopping cart.

There are probably pictures out there somewhere on EvilBay, but I heard that there is a cease and desist letter from Wee Sue Him & How, my corporate and copyleft attorneys, and it is impossible to find.

Oh crud, where was I?

Oh yeah, being me.

I want all your stories sent to me in separate emails.

I want the query letter format of the story.

Your one or two paragraph sanobisis (I can't type or speel without a dictionary or red underlines)

I think this is such a major part of our hobby.

I want to start putting these stories together.

Without our history, and past, we have nothing to look forward too.

I think I just made that up....

If not, oh well, I got's kidneys up on top!!!!

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I've been building models since I was a kid in the early '60s, going back and forth between cars and aircraft at least twice. Cars from '60 to '65, then WW2 planes from '65 to '75. Built a bunch of cars in the mid-late '70s after discovering Duplicolor lacquer and Bare Metal foil and had a large collection of rare unbuilt kits and restorable builtups and had a subscription to the early issues of MCJ and SAE. Sold almost everything but the models I'd finished to go to art school in '83. I did a couple first-issue AMT '32 Fords in about '88, though I didn't build regularly until after getting married in '90, aircraft this time, for about fifteen years.

About five years ago, Keith Jones, one of the car modelers in the IPMS club I belonged to brought a car body he'd painted with Tamiya lacquer. His results with that paint gave me the bug to try it. While procrastinating on an airplane build, I tried the Tamiya spray on a '57 Chevy I'd started about ten years earlier. It worked, and I was hooked on my favorite building subject, cars! After all those years, it felt like I was home again!

You might've seen it before, but here's that '57, my first car after 15 years building aircraft...

57chev3.JPG

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This is a very cool thread. I enjoyed reading all the responses here ;)

For me , same as a lot of you guy's, never really quit, but did slow down at times for all the same reasons most of you guy's did.

Grew up in SoCal. Started building around 1949 or '50 on military, but when I saw my first 1 to 1 custom, that was it for me. Model cars only from then on. Most model car stuff then was 1/32 scale plastic or wood kits. Carve your own.

By my teens, the 25th scale models were coming into existance, and I was doing customs, and the hobby shop owner, John Brunson, later to be the one who started and owned Lancer Co. of slot racing fame, used to take us guys to L.A. to enter the major contests there. Had my stuff in mags pretty regularly, including the '62 Winternationals. Met George Barris at the L.A. sports Arena, and was presented awards by him several times.

In my mid teens, two older guy's that I knew, who were big time car guy's and racers, took me under their wing, and took me to car shows and the drags pretty regularly for years, and because of them really helped shape the rest of my life.

Got into street rods and customs because of them. Never forgot 'um. Wayne Alexander and John McKnown.

After high school and college, my buddies and I continued with street rods and motorcycles, and of coarse - models.

John Brunson had just started Lancer Co. and went to work for him as a pattern maker after college. What a blast ;) I was going to design skyscrapers, but one visit to Lancer and I was Toast - LOL

One last contest after I got married, before I moved to Oregon, and of all things it was judged by non other than Bob Paeth, but we didn't meet.

Fast forward to the mid 80's, and I meet Jairus Watson, and he invites me to a SABA meeting, and their I meet Bob Paeth, and I just happened to take the model he judged and won best in show with, and he went crazy. Very fun night :lol: .

Fast forward again after raising 5 kids, retired, and single and still building, but realize I can do this now as much as I want, and to what ever level I want.

For a wonderful hobby, this is the best time in my life. Great friends, I belong to two model clubs, and I found eBay and love it, and the mags are just the greatest, and these forums are amazing.

To me this is probably the all time best in model building history. Been building 58 years now, and really never had this much fun until now, thanks to all of you guy's who make up this hobby. ;)

The Treehugger

Edited by Treehugger Dave

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I started building models in 1960. My allowance was $2.50. An incredible amount of money back then for an 8 year old boy, altho well deserved. My mom was a single parent; I was cooking dinnner for her already at that age and cleaning half the house and helping with laundry every other week. An AMT 3-1 kit was $1.49 then and our local five and dime even discounted that sometimes as low as $1.29. Spray paint was $.49 a can and I even had money left over to buy a custom car magazine or model car magazine as they first came out, small tv guide size. ...

I was one of 5 kids from a poor family. The weekly allowance from 1962 on was 10¢ per week. This usually got me a candy bar or two. No wonder I had some bad cavities!

Models were generally received as a gift for my birthday or Christmas. My aunt and grandmother would send me a card with a $1 in it. So I'd have a whole $2 to spend on models! My dad worked by a hobby store that he passed on the way home and he'd pick up a model if I gave him a buck, they were $1.09 and he tossed in the 9¢. Whatta dad. I would give him a couple of requests off the sheet that came with the AMT Trophy Series kits.

I had this bike shop in town (which is still there, only sells bikes now) that had this awesome selection of models, paint, etc. The $1.50 kits were $1.27 and the $2.00 kits were $1.77, also they had discounted kits for 99¢ which fetch $120 and up now!

If I wanted kits year-round, it was up to me to earn the money. I'd shovel snow in the winter, mow lawns in the summer, clean pools. I also worked for this WWII disabled vet doing chores and odd things like pouring and troweling cement at age 9!

Now I can buy whatever I want and have pretty much too much of everything. But it only tool me another 45 years to get to this point.

Bob

Edited by bobss396

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I'm an old guy building since the fifties, and my heart is always into model car building, but just like others, obstacles get in the way, which curtail or delay your model car activities. I have been through major moves, sports, local moves, two marriages, the industry went kaput, and my model building went out of style, and here I am 61 years old and still building.

It seems the major obstacle is effort. When I move, the kits and tools and cars get packed in boxes, the new place I move to just doesn't have a place set aside, and in Florida, there are always other things to do, and down here, even jobs make demands on your time to prevent building.

But the deep feeling in the gut and heart prevails. In 1982, I had already given up model car building since 1970 as in the area no more car contests, my street rods were going into a direction I didn't like, and customs were out of style. AMT was making weird cars and I lost interest, thinking it was all gone, and thanking God that I was part of the golden age. But a trip to a Ben Franklin 5&10 one afternoon, there were "new" ERTL AMT kits all over the shelves - '40 Ford Coupe, '49 Ford Coupe, '49 Merc, Willys kit and on and on. I immediately bought up a whole bunch at $5 each, and took them home, and got out my old unbuilt kits, then built a workbench, got out the tools and joined IPMS.

I was back, and even though my marriage failed and I have moved several times since, all moves of model cars stuff were "in car moves" and not in boxes. Today, I live in a retirement community in a double wide, and my spare bedroom is a workshop heaven I always dreamed of. I always have a bunch of projects going, and staring new projects, and will be entering a contest this November.

What brought me back is my ongoing love for the hobby, memories of happy days in long and recent past, and inspirations from Chip Foose, Overhaulin', Street Csutom, Unique Whips, Hot Rod TV, and even tapes of American Hot Rod. Now the Barrett Jackson east coast auction is scheduled for West Palm (23 miles up the coast) and I am ready to be super inspired beyond my normal level.

Ken "FloridaBoy" Willaman

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Like just about anyone my age I built models as a kid but pretty much stopped when I got old enough for a real car.

Never really thought much about models after that, and then about 30 years later I just happen to be walking along the toy isle in a miejers store and noticed a model of a 60 Ford Starliner. Well the 60 Starliner has always been my favorite car, but I never knew anyone else even heard of one, let alone produce a model of it! There was no way to resist buying it! I looked the kit over when I got home and noticed it was much more detailed than what I built as a kid. About a year after that I decided to build it...........it turned out awful! I bought another one, built it and it turned out much better. That was about 4 years ago and Ive been at it ever since.

Raisin

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Like so many that have posted before, I also started building as a child. Being a Military dependent, it was one of the few things that was available to do in the winter that wouldn't get me in trouble while Dad was stationed in the Northern States. I kept building well into my 20s even helping to start a local model club here in the low country of South Carolina. Unfortunately, when I started running my own business I didn't have the time to keep up with everything and slowly stopped building models and going to the meetings. When the business failed, the hours I was working for my job and the bills I had prevented me from rejoining the club, buying more kits, or the supplies I would have needed.

When I recently became unemployed due to a company merger, I had the time to go one of the meetings and a show the model club puts on every year. While I was at the meeting, one of the members showed me a copy of Model Cars Magazine and I looked at the website, eventually finding the forum. After reading the posts for a bit and seeing the pictures everyone has posted of their builds, I started getting the old feeling of wanting to build models again. Now I'm digging out my old kits and slowly getting my workplace set up once again. Hopefully I will be back in the thick of it before too long.

My thanks go out to everyone for producing such a great magazine and to those here that have helped me get back into building models again!

-Scott H.

Edited by Scott H. AKA Cpt. Bondo

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I'm an old guy building since the fifties, and my heart is always into model car building, but just like others, obstacles get in the way, which curtail or delay your model car activities. I have been through major moves, sports, local moves, two marriages, the industry went kaput, and my model building went out of style, and here I am 61 years old and still building.

It seems the major obstacle is effort. When I move, the kits and tools and cars get packed in boxes, the new place I move to just doesn't have a place set aside, and in Florida, there are always other things to do, and down here, even jobs make demands on your time to prevent building.

But the deep feeling in the gut and heart prevails. In 1982, I had already given up model car building since 1970 as in the area no more car contests, my street rods were going into a direction I didn't like, and customs were out of style. AMT was making weird cars and I lost interest, thinking it was all gone, and thanking God that I was part of the golden age. But a trip to a Ben Franklin 5&10 one afternoon, there were "new" ERTL AMT kits all over the shelves - '40 Ford Coupe, '49 Ford Coupe, '49 Merc, Willys kit and on and on. I immediately bought up a whole bunch at $5 each, and took them home, and got out my old unbuilt kits, then built a workbench, got out the tools and joined IPMS.

I was back, and even though my marriage failed and I have moved several times since, all moves of model cars stuff were "in car moves" and not in boxes. Today, I live in a retirement community in a double wide, and my spare bedroom is a workshop heaven I always dreamed of. I always have a bunch of projects going, and staring new projects, and will be entering a contest this November.

What brought me back is my ongoing love for the hobby, memories of happy days in long and recent past, and inspirations from Chip Foose, Overhaulin', Street Csutom, Unique Whips, Hot Rod TV, and even tapes of American Hot Rod. Now the Barrett Jackson east coast auction is scheduled for West Palm (23 miles up the coast) and I am ready to be super inspired beyond my normal level.

Ken "FloridaBoy" Willaman

Loved your BIO man :D . Thanks for sharing. Glad your back and enjoying the hobby. I hope to see some of your stuff, when you have the time to post.

All the best - Dave

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My story is a little odd or maybe even depressing but here goes.

I've built models since the mid 50's, mostly cars during my early teen years, but in the late '60's I got into aircraft and stayed exclusively with that type of modelling till the early '90s. In '91 my father passed away after a short illness. His death made me realize how short life could be and that it was time to fulfill some of my long held wishes, while I still had time. The big one was a long held wish to own a sports car. During my search for a car I started to again look at car models in my LHS and within a year I was hooked on building only plastic with four wheels. (The sports car wish was fulfilled in '94 when I bought a Corvette).

Rob W

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Never stopped, never slowed down. The women who have been in my life learned to appreciate it, my son learned not touch it, and the cats learned to avoid it. That could be be why Chris never got the car jones that the three previous generations had. Of course, I wasn't supposed to touch my Dad's stuff either and I still got the bug. And I touched his stuff when he wasn't lookin' too. (sorry about the Duesenberg model in '65, it was way heavier than I expected and apologies to the cat that I blamed)

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I have another odd story and some of you have heard it but, for the sake of participation in this thread, here I go again....

I tinkered with car models growing up throughout the late 80s and the 90s(I'm 32 now) but never really did much with them because my Mother made spray painting by me "off limits". She couldn't be bothered by me making a mess that would dirty up anything in her pristine house.(I'm not mad, she was an Air Force nurse so go figure. :) ) I have always been picky about how things look so I just didn't really "finish" any builds I started. The biggest reason I didn't push the model car building with her was because I had HO scale trains to tinker with. That was easy enough to build up a layout on a 4X8 sheet of plywood.

Over the years I did buy the odd model kit here and there with the intention of eventually building them. I didn't really put any thought into working on them until I quit smoking and was seeking out something to help battle the cravings. Since I am in my own house and have a supportive girlfriend, I can do whatever I want hobby-wise at least. The train hobby would have to wait until I am in a different house than now as I would have to give up too much space for a layout. I was thinking, "why don't I dig out that pickup truck I started right after high school?" I decided to finish it as my first build. It took me about 3 months of slow progress to finish it and I can say that I am really pleased with it.

That was around March 2007. I have been steadily building models and the stockpile of kits ever since. I can say that I deeply enjoy this hobby and I will continue to participate in it until I am unable to for whatever crippling reason that may be. It hits a spot for me that has long been "un-scratched" so-to-speak. I tried art classes in school and always felt like I didn't have enough talent or ability. This hobby is a way for me to express myself artistically that I feel represents me the best.

It seems that I have always been a builder, but it has been repressed in a way. It took breaking an addiction to bring it out of me. At least I picked up something healthy to replace something very unhealthy! :)

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What's goin' on...

As a kid I was (and still am) obsessed w/ semi trucks/trailers and hot rods I also liked to play w/ the Lincoln Logs,Tinker Toys, and Erector sets so it was inevitable that building models would be next. I started out putting togather 1:25 scale trucks. My folks thought those were too challenging for me at the time so they suggested snap-tite kits. From that point on I got the monogram 32nd scale semi trucks and funny car snap tites. Several years later my folks got divorced and my moms boyfriend who was in the Army Air Force (in China ,Burma ,and India) during WWll facinated me w/ the stories he told me and I started building WWll aircraft for a while. Then I got interested in BMX racing and girls and just hanging out w/ friends. I became the son that was never home. Later on I became interested in the guitar so I got one of those and an amp and tinkered w/ that until I turn 16 then I got rid of the bikes and the guitars and got the Notorious NOVA glass packs 4bbl carb jacked up w/ the fat tires and the polished aluminum slots!!! After hearing (WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO W/ YOUR LIFE) talks from my folks and school administraightors I decided to be either a train engineer,underwater welder(wish I pursued that one),or a truck/trailer mechanic. (Having like semis I choose that field) My senior year in high school I was cruising around in my 442 when I saw a hobby shop and stopped in for old times sake. That's when I picked up the R Model Mack 2th scale kit. I put that togather then the itch came back to build. I did muscle cars and semis thru college. Once I graduated and strated working I did it w/ a vengence working two full time jobs close to five years straight. By that time I wanted to get another R Model Mack kit and the Fruehauf dump trailer but I wasn't verse w/ model/toy shows or clubs and I looked for years w/ no luck. About six years ago I was injured on the job that put me on workers comp for about 8 months. Exploring the internet I found ebay and that's what did it. Since then I've been building models.

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:lol: Well it's on page 3 already, and I ain't added my .02 cents yet. Mostly caz I NEVER stopped building. When I was a kid,I would go to the store(Arlen's) with my mom an Dad, an I would head to the toy dept. to look at the models. My Dad knew I liked em, so bein his namesake, and the youngest of 6 kids, he'd usually get me one. Then when I got older an started likein girls, I'd go shoppin with them, and THEY would buy me a model. Then I met my wife, and she was used to my hobby. Then in the service, I'd go to the comm and buy them there. Then when I got out, I STILL bought em, and when my Daughter was old enough, she'd always get me one for my B-Day and Christmas.Now I'm retired an STILL buyin em. So, you see, I NEVER quit buyin an buildin em. I got a whole sh8tload of kits downstairs,an at my Daughters storage facility. At last count I had almost 800 kits! Sure hope I can hang around till I build em all! :blink:

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After a 12-year hiatus, lowriders brought me back to modeling by way of music videos like Eazy-E's 'Eazier Said Than Dunn' from '88 & Kid Frost's 'La Raza' from '90 both rekindled that lowrider fire, a purple/multicolored-topped '66 Grand Prix & a few '64 Chevys along the way, & strike three did it w/ my 1st Lowrider mag in July of '95; my 1st model since then was a '70 Impala that has taken many backseats to later kits until i retired it for the sake of becoming a lab rat of spray-painting techniques. :(

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I built from the time I was 5 until I was 18 , nothing but cars ! An older cousin was a drag freak on top of being model car crazy . He took me with him , and I mean everywhere he went , I was right there beside him ! I had the best of both worlds . I then turned to HO trains and for the next 30 years , I was buried in creating real life art in a much smaller scale .About 7 years ago , a buddy of mine came down into my shop and started opening up cabinets and pulled building after building out , he just went crazy over the detail . He started getting on me about building a few model cars and going to a show with him . I said "NO! Needless to say , he got his wish. The rest is , shall we say , history. I have made so many new friends in the car modeling world , I can't even begin to count them . Traveling to the shows to compete is second to none. Hanging out with the guys , stone busting , trading tips and tricks , you just can't beat it . I started a new business with it , doing custom airbrushing , and did a how to dvd for show quality finishes . I always have modeled , you never quit , it is the supreme addiction ! Greatest thrill? Watching my daughter's face as she walked up to get her Junior Best of Show trophy. Getting your kids involved , building shoulder to shoulder with them , nothing like it .

Donn Yost

Lone Wolf Custom Painting

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This thread has been running for a bit so I think I'll toss my $.02 in.

I haven't quit building... my unfinished project pile is ever increasing.

Alas the problem started 20+ years ago when I joined the M.C.M.A. and figured out that you were SUPPOSED to get rid of mold lines, fill in seams etc.... :P:D:) !

Finishing one is the part that always gets me.

Edited by 84vanagon

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