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The Zen of Model Building

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I have always worked hard on my builds. Cleaning up each part to remove flash, mold seams, ejector pin marks. Sanding and filing the parts to make sure they fit together properly. Paint detailing the parts with a wash to add depth to the part’s recesses or dry-brushing to accentuate the raised detail. You know good sound modeling practices. But most of the time my finished projects left me flat, uninspired. There was something missing for me and I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was about this time I was attending one of our model club’s meetings. A member came up to the display table and sat down a scale car battery. I chuckled a bit and said where’s the rest of your model. He said ’That’s it.’ I looked at him puzzled and he just turned and walked away. I then started to check out his ‘model’. He had carved the cable terminals from solder, the water fill caps were each and individual piece, the clamping bracket had threaded bolts and nuts, photo-etch hardware, the whole bit. It was a work of art. I then had an epiphany, my Zen moment. Up until then I had defined a model only as a completed project. A collection of parts assembled to create a model. The parts don’t create the model, the parts are the model. Each part is a scale replica of an object - a model.

My entire outlook on model building had changed. No longer was it just about getting through paint and assembly so I can finally see how my model turns out. I enjoyed the building process far more now. I took satisfaction in completing a subassembly or scratch building a single part. I no longer felt pressure to complete the build. If I felt like it I would go down to my work bench and just build an engine or a set of headers. The part or subassembly didn’t even need to be for a specific project. I was still building and completing a model. Sure using this approach I complete fewer entire builds. But when I do, I am far more satisfied with the results. Try this approach, It might work for you too.

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I've seen this view expressed before this in other places.Not a bad idea at all.I think that making all these "models" fit together properly is the final challenge.

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Ah grasshopper, enlightenment has now led you to the true path of modeling nirvana! :huh:

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People ask me how I can stick with a build for three or more years. This is the only way a model can hold my interest for that long.

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...The parts don’t create the model, the parts are the model. Each part is a scale replica of an object - a model...

My entire outlook on model building had changed. No longer was it just about getting through paint and assembly so I can finally see how my model turns out. I enjoyed the building process far more now. I took satisfaction in completing a subassembly or scratch building a single part. I no longer felt pressure to complete the build.

Exactly. I focus on and enjoy the journey, not worry about and rush to the destination. B)

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I have felt this way for a while now . I'm no longer hurrying to finish a build , instead I enjoy working on the subassemblies . It can be the rear suspension or the engine or even the engine bay and I might spend a month or better on just one area !

Even though my detailing is a long way from some of the stuff I've seen on this forum , I enjoy the challenge of trying something new with each build .

I guess that's why it takes me forever to complete a model ! :D

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As a long time member of the LIARS Club, even though I don't live on Long Island in NY anymore, I'll always remember when one of the club members (Anthony Cairo) said that he tried to build each part of a model as if it was a model itself...... and if you do it all right, when you put all of those little models together to make one BIG model, you'll usually come out with an exceptional piece. While I don't go to the extremes that Anthony did, I do try to do my best to detail everything as correctly and as neatly as I can.

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You just made me think of Anthony's Nova Pro Mod. Man, that still is one of the nicest builds I've EVER seen…

I used to study his stuff constantly. What a builder.

_____________________________________________

​Hey Rich, look whats still floating in cyber-space…..

Anthony's Nova is at the top of the page. Digital camera technology has come a long way in 11 yrs….

http://www.angelfire.com/in4/blu4/p5.html

Edited by FASTBACK340

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I once read a quote that said something along the lines of "treat every piece of the model as a model unto itself."

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You just made me think of Anthony's Nova Pro Mod. Man, that still is one of the nicest builds I've EVER seen…

I used to study his stuff constantly. What a builder.

_____________________________________________

​Hey Rich, look whats still floating in cyber-space…..

Anthony's Nova is at the top of the page. Digital camera technology has come a long way in 11 yrs….

http://www.angelfire.com/in4/blu4/p5.html

Yeah John, Dave's website is still out there. He loved not only the weird stuff but the GOOD stuff too.

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Very Good philosophy, and to be honest I never really thought of it that way, thanks for sharing that JC!! :)

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once I finish enjoying a finished model, I sometimes, am saddened that I will not be working on it any more. :huh:

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Yep, the journey there is what's fun for me, completion is almost a letdown.

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Ah grasshopper, enlightenment has now led you to the true path of modeling nirvana! :huh:

I was thinking the same way. What would John Teresi say on this subject? He is a bit of a guru for knocking builds out of the park. We do tend to put John on a pedestal too but he does them with masterful detail and builds quickly. I just send him subjects that i think are cool and he just puts them over the top. There are a lot of amazing model builders on this forum, John certainly is not the only one. Personally, I am unable to paint and glue those fiddly little parts together.

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I think you said it very nicely, JC. The satisfaction of modeling a single element in high accuracy can be just a great as a completed project. - or at least pretty close.

(Although a super clean box stock build can be a treat to see also,)

Scott

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I think you said it very nicely, JC. The satisfaction of modeling a single element in high accuracy can be just a great as a completed project. - or at least pretty close.

(Although a super clean box stock build can be a treat to see also,)

Scott

Scott I agree 100%. A well built model is just that, a well built model, regardless of the detail level. I guess my larger point is enjoy and embrace the process. Don't focus so much on the final outcome.

Edited by afx

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Hmm, maybe I should try that... B)

Much as Pete J. says, it is the reason it can take years to build "one" model, and the reality is there are literally dozens and dozens of individual models in each of those "single" long term models. And that collection of little individual models is what keeps the long term project interesting to build.

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To each their own.

Too many kits in the stash, too many ideas and concepts for future builds scratched out on paper to get to for this to work for me.

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I enjoy the quiet and solitary environment to un-wind. My work day is noisy, and at times chaotic. When I was restoring the Barracuda there would be afternoons I'd take 6 hours to do 3 hours worth of work. I enjoyed every moment of building that car. Same goes with the models. I haven't touched the `70 in 2 days, the `68 in a week now.

I guess I don't need the therapy right now…. although I did cut all the "glass" for the `68 this morning over coffee.

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Today I went to my factory which is pretty much empty today except for the G scale train store we have in our plant. It was a bit chilly as the heat gets dialed back over the weekends. Anyway, it was quiet and peaceful. It's my away from the female time and just me and the plastic. Worked on the Renault Alpine A210 from Heller and got its windows installed, and body placed onto the frame. Wet sanded the Mazda Cosmo and did a second coat of primer on it and started the first coat of primer on the Celica. Zen indeed!!

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Missed this thread previously.

Very interesting and thought provoking. It applies equally to railway modelling and I will bear it in mind for future layout projects.

Man thanks.

steve

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Interesting perspective JC.  I have gone back and looked at my list of unfinished models and came to realize that once I had conquered the real challenges of obscure research, scratch building, modifying, correcting, etc. I pretty much lost interest in the more mundane final assembly.  

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Ah it's suddenly 2014 again!  :D

For me the "Zen" is the total concentration that model building requires.

I don't get that from things like browsing on the Internet or watching TV.  Those passive type activities only take part of my mind.  I'm still worrying, thinking about work issues and the like at the same time.

But model building takes me away from my daily bull.  I generally don't bother with TV or music because my concentration tunes them out.  When I take a beer to the work bench, it goes warm.   I can look up and 2 hours have passed. I don't even care what I accomplished,  I'm happy.  And my headaches have gone away, I feel refreshed!

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