Walk, then Run

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I realize that I'm going to catch it for this but this has been percolating in my brain a while. I've got some spare time tonight and I'm going to try to get this off my chest. I'm going to have to word this carefully, forgive me if I miss the mark.

We seem to have a lot of new builders (new to the hobby) on MCM forum lately and this is a great thing. Like me they come here to learn the hows, the whys and wherefores. To see what others are building, and how they done it. They see the chop tops, brass frames, custom this and scratch built that and the infinite creative possibilities that exist within our hobby. But I think they really don't get the best advice of all when it comes to building.

Walk, then run. I see a lot of builds started but few finished. Now I'm no stranger to unfinished builds, but it's mostly due to modeling ADD. With a lot of new builders they don't get finished because they try to take on too much for their skill level. I discovered scale auto magazines in my early 20's and they opened up a world to me. Trying to replicate some of those wonderful models, I turned a lot of perfectly good kits into hamburger. Mores the pity, many are no longer available today. It took me a while to learn what I'm telling you today.

Walk, then run. Learn to build cleanly first. Learn how to paint. Learn what glues to use and when/where they work best. A cleanly built box stock model with good paint will beat a super scratched, chopped, channeled rod with mold lines and bad bodywork/paint every time.

I'm posting this because we see this every day on this forum, but no one says anything to the builders because we're always afraid of how the builder will receive the criticism. We've had too many threads in the past turn into a mess of hurt feelings and the builder storms off the forum to another where everyone will pat him/her on the back and tell them how great their work is, when it'€s not. Many new builders get discouraged because they aren'€t getting ataboys. "I've gotten 476,000 views and no comments! What's up with that?" It's because no one wants to be the bad guy and say, "Hey go back and learn the basics fella."

I'm posting this because I wish someone had been there to tell me this. My dad turned me on to models, but he wasn't much in the tough love department, he just smiled and said "Nice job son."It gave me the warm and fuzzy feeling I was after, but it didn't make me a better modeler.

So here I am. I'll be the bad guy. Put down the saw. Step away from the body filler. Grab out a kit and built it with no alterations, as clean and carefully as humanly possible. Grab out all those model bodies you've trashed and practice painting. All these things I'm still learning now, after modeling off and on for 25 years.

That's all. If this message reaches one new builder and makes him/her think, it'll have been time well spent. I'll step off the soap box now.

Edited by Jantrix

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Posted · Report post

Agree, too many modelers get in over their head and eventually mess up, causing them to just quit.

However, even as a self-proclaimed good modeler :lol: I still have a hard time finishing a model, though it's more about getting bored and wanting to work on something else (which I'm sure most of the modeling population can attest to).

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We have all learned the same lessons Rob.....Some of us learned quickly....some of us are still learning...Thanks for the HONEST thoughts!!;):D :D

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Here, Here brother. Well thought out and articulated.

Sage advise all of it and I would caution new builders to heed it wisely. I myself start many projects only to return them to the box for an unknown length of time.

The trick is to know when it's time to open it back up with perhaps fresh eyes.

The basics are just that, BASICS. Get them down first before you explore the world of whatever it is that tweaks you. Like customs? Go ahead and chop a top, but have a box stock build going as well [You're a modeler, having 2 going is childs play for us]. Switch between them as you hone your chops on the goal you have set for yourself.

There are many "Basics" builder tutorials within this site. Do a search and be amazed at what you'll find.

I'm amazed every time I do.

Bob

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reminds me of the adventures of a young modeler on here who went through what your describing

the main thing he did "wrong" was painting trim with silver paint and a wide brush

it took several of us to bring this to his attention, there was a little fuzz and in the end he got convinced to give BMF a try

and now he's a better builder because of it

im sure looking back he's gratefull for it but at the time he was less then apreciative

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We all need a little 'tough love' every so often. Well stated, Rob. :D

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You know, as a young modeler I appreciate this and respect this. For me, I'll always be a work in progress, but I'm also 1 step ahead of the curve when I'm your age and say some of my friends start modeling, because I've already had years of experience in it. I'm a learn as you go also, and very visual, so if I have an idea I usually am able to create it.

Like, I just got today a 06 Shelby GT-H from Hobby Lobby (half off :D ) and I've already started on my roll cage for it. I really wished to put my nascar engine I built up in it, but I think that's too much of a risk right now to mess with. I'll save it for a later project. My plan for this is to make it into a custom Le Mans type car. I'll be looking for decal sets later, I just want to get the basics done, and I'll be working on my roll cage for about a week I think. But, thank god I got gorilla glue 2 days ago. And that's just getting that built and sanded... painting everything is a whole other story. But I've had lots of practice and luckily enough tools and paints to put my skills to use.

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reminds me of the adventures of a young modeler on here who went through what your describing

the main thing he did "wrong" was painting trim with silver paint and a wide brush

it took several of us to bring this to his attention, there was a little fuzz and in the end he got convinced to give BMF a try

and now he's a better builder because of it

im sure looking back he's gratefull for it but at the time he was less then apreciative

NO NAMES but the young man did start to grow up both as a modeler and a man...his builds are getting better each and every time now.....cause he listened

We all now who he is and I'm glad he is still here and modeling!!:D :D

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Now, about 'quoting' photos...

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Well said, Rob.

Charlie Larkin

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After building models on and off since 1967, I'm still walking... ;)

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I'm a "returning" modeler: built a lot as a kid, then started up again after a 30 year hiatus. This is excellent advice. Seeing what the masters can do is totally amazing, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Learning the basics is the best first step, and I've spent a lot of time reading on this forum, to learn as much of that as I can. I've found it doesn't even matter what the subject is, if someone does good work and is willing to share how they did it, you can learn a lot. Reading is no substitute for practice, but it saves a lot of trial and error. I've also had to develop some skills that I lost or never had.

A finished model, at whatever skill level, is something to be proud of, and can motivate you to do better. It seems like the folks here will help you do that, if you let them.

I'm working on an ambitious (for me) build, and there have been several times where I've wanted to go one step further, but realized I just wasn't there. I think it's OK to stop at "the best I can do". Hopefully next time will be better.

Sorry to ramble on, I, for one, welcome constructive criticism, and am glad you guys are willing to offer it. (But the "attaboys" are nice too! ;) )

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Exceptionally well put! I've been building on&off for 45yrs and have finally learned all those lesson's taught. Research and reference helps alot,Get it in your HEAD before you even start to work on a build. Plus,remember to build for yourself first and take the constructive criticism and elaborate on it.A Great Builder doesn't happen overnight.How to books help also. Best of Luck!!!

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A Great Builder doesn't happen overnight.

;)

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Posted (edited) · Report post

;)

Thanks Chuck-I,should sell t-shirts with that slogan-LOL!!! Here ya go-Man is not Man made.

Edited by raymanz

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Thanks Chuck-I,should sell t-shirts with that slogan-LOL!!! Here ya go-Man is not Man made.

Call the printer!

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Call the printer!

I'll use my Big E phone I posted over in the Nascar link.

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Hey Gang,

I think Rob did an outstanding job touching on something that needs mentioning from time to time. It is about improving your skills, and that takes time. This hobby reminds me of music, something I have participated in since I was born, and have worked on most of my life. It just takes time to improve, but you will improve on your guitar, on your airbrush, with your techniques, whatever you choose to attempt, you will improve. Be patient, be consistent, be passionate, be precise....and have fun.

If you are doing something just for approval from others, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. If you are doing something because you just plain love it, are passionate about it, and can't picture your life without that special thing in it, THEN you are doing it for the right reasons, and just by the act of doing, you will improve. If it is not a passion, a labor of love, a special use of your time, well, you will just plod along until something else catches your attention. There's nothing wrong with that either, if it's not quite the right fit, so be it. Not everyone wants to play the bagpipes!! :lol:

I love my model cars as much as I love my music, I am a very lucky man to have a couple of passions and to have this forum to share this great hobby with others. It will come in time to all of us, and that will be a good thing. I love making mistakes because that is how I learn, and I love getting it righht even more. Now, where do we put the pennies?

Mike

P.S. Exactly when do the model groupies show up? B)

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Rob,

Good for you ! Well thought out and tactfully stated . Now that we seem to have a new bunch of youngsters to help along , it's time for the old guys to start using their heads too !

Example .... Someone asks about which airbrush they should purchase . Answer .... Buy an Iwata ! Really ? A dual action , top of the line airbrush , coming out of the gate for a beginner ? No way ! Too much potential for frustration and failure ,along with a very large learning curve ! As Rob stated , as have I and several others , numerous times , Teach the " walk before you run " premise. Single action with all the bells and whistles makes far better sense .

We all forget the many nights of messing with Lady Trial n Error . Was it because we were too stubborn to quit , too dumb , or because we wanted it that bad ? Today's young modeler has a diffrent mind set , if at first you don't succeed , screw it , back to the video games . We don't want that , we want them to have success so they hang around . Hence , the older modelers need to teach patience , and be thoughtful when offering advice .

Back in the day , we raided Mom's sewing backet for her thread ( ignition wiring ) , the pin cushion for fuel lines and linkage , etc . We worked cheap and with what we had . Those days are gone ! There is so much out there , aftermarket wise , it's mind boggling . Yet , we have older modelers constantly chirping about working cheap . Cheap tools , parts , products , etc ,the results usually show through the work and it's not good . Does'nt have to be the Cadillac of tools everytime , the Chevy Caprice with all the bells and whistles will work just fine !

We need to teach the youngsters to put the money in the equipment first , kits second ! This lowers the frustration level in more ways then can be counted . These young modelers have an advantage we never even dreamed of , the Internet . There is literally an entire education waiting for them and it is right at their fingertips ! Books , dvds , tutorials , forums , etc , the list is endless as is the information !

That being said , it still comes down to the older guys helping them sift through the good , the bad , and the ugly and helping them see it for what it is ! Too many times , I've seen a page and a half written on a subject by an " expert " only to go on their Fotki site to find that they can't even glue two engine block halves together without screwing it up ! This drives me batso !

Fair , firm , consistent , advice and praise will go a lot farther in the long run towards making a better modeler then sugar coating . A glue bomb is just that , a glue bomb , nothing more or less ! Praising a bad paint job , build , workmanship , etc , does no one any favors . They are not going to improve without the tough love that is needed ! Notice , I said tough love , not brutality . That is how the flame wars generally start , some people are as subtle as a kick in the face . Criticism needs to be tempered with common sense !

Sorry , Rob , long winded , I guess it was one of those days for me too ! Glad you put this up , I think it will help !

Donn Yost

Lone Wolf Custom Painting

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Coming from a new modeler. I understand whole heartedly what you are saying. Sometimes it's hard not to try and do what many of you guys do. Those wild customs look amazing and I would love to try and copy them but I know it would only lead to frustration and failure. About the only custom thing I do right now is different wheels and maybe an engine swap but only if it is an easy fit and I can find wheels and tires that easily fit the model.

Edited by ra7c7er

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Well said, well thought out, Rob ... Donn ... Mike.

Edited by Danno

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Rob,

Example .... Someone asks about which airbrush they should purchase . Answer .... Buy an Iwata ! Really ? A dual action , top of the line airbrush , coming out of the gate for a beginner ? No way ! Too much potential for frustration and failure ,along with a very large learning curve !

if im not mistaking my awnser to this question was a 15 dollar home depot brush...the same one i used when i got back in the hobby and for the very reasons you mentioned here

plus, the investment is very duable for even a young kid

(ill send it over next time someone inquires)

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Thanks for starting this topic as it rings true for ALL of us modelers. As someone who resisted using BMF for years, I used Lady Trial and Error on a couple of cars before I tackled a 57 Chevy, something that I needed to build confidence in before trying.

I find myself today frustrated with some of my builds even though I have been building on and off since 1972. There are days when gluing two engine blocks can take forever but that mirror like paint job is a snap!

I do hope that anyone who is in this hobby takes this topic to heart, young or old, and realizes that we all had to learn how to do the many tasks involved in building a model.

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Rob, I couldn't have said it better myself! I've been building over 30 years (started at 17 in 1978) and back then there was no internet, and model magazines for me (namely SAE) would not cross my path for at least 10 years after I got started.

My Dad was like yours-----------A lot of "That's nice Bill" or "Hey that's neat!", but looking back I had glue spots galore, smudged paint, badly fitting parts, you name it!

It wasn't until I got magazines such as Scale Auto Enthusiast and some others that I knew I could do MUCH better than what I was doing. It was actually a hobby shop owner who said to me (nicely) where I could do better. Of course, a lot of what I had to learn came through trial and error, but that's how we learn. Not by asking a thousand and one questions---------a lot of times just jumping in and doing it.

I didn't start superdetailing until the early '90's when I was in my early 30's and even then I was rough, I just kept at it, still keeping the basics in mind...........super clean paint, with no glue smudges or mold lines. B)

You're right about keeping the basics in check-----I can't tell you how many models I've rejected off hand when I was a judge because while the model had all the bells and whistles as far as PE parts, opening doors, and whatnot-------the model as a whole looked bad because of orange peel paint, poorly fitting doors, HUGE gaps in said opening panels and obvious mold lines/sink marks.

No one's perfect and there's no perfect model........but getting the basics right will go a long way in getting everyone's attention (in a good way!) :P

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