Sunday 19 July 2015

Sprue Cutters Union 34 : The stash!

The Sprue cutters union is like an old friend. Life and work keep you away from hanging out for months on end, but once in a while, you get together and it feels like no time has passed at all.

As the mythical Phoenix, the Union has once again risen with a monthly topic for us to discuss :

- The stash -

In my first run as a scale modeller (age 10 to 20-something), I had no stash at all. I hadn't even encountered the concept. Remember, back in the days, we had no internet, and I didn't know anyone else who did scale modelling until much later.

Of course, as a kid, a stash would have been a financial disaster. But even when I got a job, my exposure to new models was limited. I mainly bought Science-Fiction at a once-a-year convention. The most I ever bought at the same time was 3 models (Star Trek's Voyager, Maquis ship and Kazon raider), but I build them in the same order before I considered buying new kits.

Fast forward about 15 years later.

Now, I have limited time to do scale modelling, a giant amount of ambitious ideas and the financial stability to "invest in the future", which is probably the worst excuse for a stash you'll ever hear.

I had no intention of building a stash, and just keep it to 4-5 maximum. When this number got to 21 in only one year, I had to make a very conscious (and surprisingly hard) effort to stop it from growing further. Knowing I finish about 4 models a year, you can extrapolate how bad this would get if I just continue like this for another 30 years.

I even bought a batch of second-hand kits, knowing fully well that half of them would never get build, because the subjects hold little interest to me.
I intended to trade these unwanted kits away, but actually rarely do so. Luckily, our local IPMS chapter has a New Year tradition of giving random gifts (usually old kits from big stashes) and for two years in a row, this has given me the opportunity to a) get rid of an unwanted model, and b) encounter a kit I would probably never have noticed otherwise.

There is no model car, plane or tank out there that particularly strikes my interest, so I am never actively looking for any specific kit. But then, once a year, I'll visit a convention or hobby shop and there it is : the model kit I never knew I *HAD* to have. My main reason for buying it then and there is the (probably irrational) fear of never finding it again. The chance of - one day - deciding to want to build it and not find it for sale anywhere.
When I recognized this growing pattern, after buying 4 kits in the range of €75 and higher, I called a halt to this kind of spending before it got out of hand, having seen the results of this in fellow modellers' attics.

Call me a scale model addict that managed to shake (most of) his Stashing-habbit and intends to build what he has. The only kits that will get added to the stash will be gifts and insane sales-promotions (and even then, within certain limits as to the number of kits).

I will allow myself ONE impulse-purchase per year. And maybe one when on vacation, as they might have kits not available over here. Or maybe just TWO then? ...

Part of being in the Sprue Cutters Union, is sharing links to one another.
Read up on my fellow Union members view on their stash (or lack thereof) :

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Lost and found

         - Great service! Garbled communication.

Grab a snack and sit down for my latest horror-story, with a happy ending!

About 6 weeks ago, the airbrush broke down on me. The trigger was no longer moving the needle. In the past, that was caused by the needle being stuck in the nozzle, but this time something was stuck in the interior of the airbrush, conveniently placed in an unreachable place. (the needle-thingie in the second picture).

I managed to soak it up a bit and clean out the worst, to get it moving again for one more session. A week later however, there was no more persuading it to move.

So, I was faced with a dilemma : 1) break it open, voiding the warrant, and potentially screw up, or 2) send it accross the Atlantic, potentially never seeing it again. (The trust in postal services is strong in this one).

Even though I bought it second-hand, Testors support (now "Rust-Oleum Product Support") said the lifetime warranty was still applicable and I could just send it to them for clean-up or replacement. Sending it accross the world in a secure way costs about twice what the airbrush is worth, so I opted to send via regular mail, but with Track-and-Trace. Yeah right, track ... no trace.

The first and last "trace" on the tracking page was the package leaving Brussels. Then ... nothing. 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks ... starting to worry now. Contacted postal services, who confirmed something had gone wrong with the processing of the tracking numbers, but they would fix it. A couple of hours later, it shows up as "Return to sender. Address unknown." (can't get this song out of my head now :-)). I was sweating all sorts by then, but luckily - 2 days later - it showed up as "Delivered".

I contacted Testors .... nothing recieved, sorry. Back to postal services. And ping-pong from there.
It's now 3 weeks after the supposed arrival of the package, nothing from Testors, postal services are "looking into it", so I was starting to become convinced I was one of the lucky ones with another "cool story" about the horror of postal services. If only I had just cracked it open and cleaned it myself...


A package arrived, with my thoroughly cleaned, good as new airbrush. I will be giving it a test-run tomorrow. I sent a message to Testors, thanking them for their service and asking how the hell they got it this clean, unless there's a secret to cracking it open without voiding the warranty?

I will sleep better this night!