Thursday, 15 August 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #4: FML...

It's already been 4 weeks since the launch of the Sprue Cutter's Union.
The what? you say? Check it out over at The Combat Workshop, where Jon had the brilliant idea of launching a weekly topic, for all modelling bloggers (or is that blogging modellers?) to discuss.

The obvious advantage for all of the participants is to share thoughts about our common hobby and increase traffic to our respective blogs. I like that it gives me food for thought and makes me reflect on various aspects of our favourite passtime.

This week's assignment :

- What is the worst experience you've had with this hobby? -

In the past, I've made my share of mistakes. Fingerprints in glue on a fuselage, obscured details because the paint was too thick, parts that fly off when you cut them from the sprue, ... You know, the standard stuff that teaches us what we know now, like we learned not to ride a bike into a ditch (I still have the scars) and not to jump on top of a football.

When I returned to this hobby last year, after an absence of about 10 years, I swore I wouldn't make those mistakes anymore. Still, I can be impatient sometimes, and that's when I make them again : too much glue, hastily masked, too much paint, ... all over again. Experimenting with new tools or techniques can also be frustrating, but the positive thing about mistakes is learning something from them. I think the following cartoon sums it up nicely :

Longterm frustration
The most irritating and frustrating part after this first year is still the airbrush. Whether I'm just clumsy, unlucky, or I managed to get that one bad-mannered, ill-tempered airbrush, I'm still fighting it every step of the way. Don't get me wrong, the paintjob on my finished models is good, and infinitely better than when I was brushpainting. Some people can do magic with a simple brush, but I'm not one of those people.

When the airbrush is behaving, I'm over the moon with how easy it goes, how smooth the painted surface is and how every little detail is still conserved.

But a large portion of my time spent with it, is wondering what I did wrong to make it upset again. Only time and a lot of patience will improve this, but I'll admit that sometimes I haven't made any modelling progress in 2 or 3 weeks, just because I'm scared of going to the workbench, where "it" lies mocking me.

FML moments
Two particular FML moments do come to mind.

#1 - opening the box of the Enterprise-C
It had been lying in the attic for 10+ years when I encountered it again, looking for paint. I remember wondering why I hadn't made that one, until I opened it and remembered a huge chunk of the saucer was missing. (See picture below. The clear part was an early attempty at doing something about it)

I've tried to put a positive spin on it and made an attempt at replicating a part for it with plaster in a latex mold. The result is far from perfect, but it was a learning experience.
This is how it looks now, not completely painted.

#2 - Trying to move a closet full of models and books
When dismantling a closet for a pending move, I was emptying it shelf by shelf, starting with the top. When I removed a big stack of books, the shelf they had been sitting on fell out ... on top of the shelf beneath it ... crushing several models beyond all repair. 

I don't have any pictures of the casualties. There was a Kamov Ka-50 helicopter (dual rotors) with a rather nice camouflage pattern, and the lunar lander module with very fine details, all gold-plated with actual gold foil.

Part of being a member of the Sprue Cutter's Union is sharing links to the other participant's entries.
Here's what others had to say about their worst experiences :


  1. Hey buddy, good post. I cringed when you described the falling shelf landing on your models - we all know that feeling to some degree! - but I am impressed by your repair to the saucer section of the Enterprise. Good work!

    1. Thanks, Frank! Repairing the Enterprise was definitely a learning experience and I already found things to improve upon , in case I ever need to do it again.
      Not that I'm looking forward to the next box with missing pieces :-)


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