The Way Back Machine: My first (completed) kit

As I continue to work on my 1:700 USS Lexington kit, I’m reminded why ship modeling seems to be among the least popular categories in the hobby today: damn if visible progress isn’t slow in coming.  Don’t get me wrong – I love the way it comes together, but unless you have the patience to repeat the same sub-assembly steps ten, twenty, or fifty times (say, in building a battery of Oerlikons or 5″ AA flak cannons) then it can seem tedious.  That’s why this isn’t a build log update on the Lexington: because arrays of tiny weapons only tend to look impressive when they’ve all been added to the ship.  That said, The first phase of the build – the hull from the flight deck downward (minus the flight deck itself) is nearing completion, and there will be an update soon enough.

In the meantime, I thought I’d step back a decade and show some images of the first plastic model kit I ever completed on my own.  I’ve been involved in the hobby since childhood, but usually I sat at my father’s side and tried to help as he built various 1:32 scale aircraft, as well as at least three versions of the Titanic and a couple of battleships.  I tried my hand at building on my own when I was that age as well, but I usually skipped a few semi-important steps (like any paint work at all or even letting the glue dry) before crashing the warbird into the sofa or a dirt mound outside.  It was fun, but ultimately wasteful.

Fast-forward to 2004.  I found myself on my own in Philadelphia and looking for a way to pass some hours, and so I came upon Trumpter’s 1:350 USS Arizona on eBay.  A few dollars later, the kit was at my doorstep, and a trip to the local hobby shop got me the supplies I thought I needed to build a decent replica of the doomed vessel: Testor’s hobby cement (yes, in the squeeze tube), a few small vials of paint, and a pair of sprue nippers.  Yep, that was it.  How little did I know.

Well, with my limited toolset, lack of any real skills, and a still-developing sense of patience, I managed to finish the kit.  More or less.  Fortunately, I still have the finished build sitting (hiding?) atop a bookshelf so we can see how I’ve grown in the hobby from the past to the present:

The overall build.  It doesn't look half bad, does it?  Or *does* it?

The overall build. It doesn’t look half bad, does it? Or *does* it?

Apparently I was unknowingly a member of the "Blue Deck" faction.  That's what you get for painting per the instructions.

Apparently I was unknowingly a member of the “Blue Deck” faction. That’s what you get for painting per the instructions.

I must have found some putty somewhere, though what I was trying to fill on the starboard funnel is beyond me.  You'd think I would use it on the glaring gaps in the casemates. :-p

I must have found some putty somewhere, though what I was trying to fill on the starboard funnel is beyond me. You’d think I would use it on the glaring gaps in the casemates. :-p

Strangely, I guess I felt that "Sprue Grey" was a fine enough color for the superstructure, even if the splinter shields around the 5" guns demanded more.

Strangely, I guess I felt that “Sprue Grey” was a fine enough color for the superstructure, even if the splinter shields around the 5″ guns demanded more.

Propellers?  Rudders?  Who needs 'em?

Propellers? Rudders? Who needs ’em?

Actually, I'm glad I built this kit in the days before I cared about deck seams.  That one would be a pain to clean up any way you slice it.

Actually, I’m glad I built this kit in the days before I cared about deck seams. That one would be a pain to clean up any way you slice it.

A parting shot.  For hand-painted anchor chain guides, I guess that isn't half bad.  But look at that stock-color hull! ;-)

A parting shot. For hand-painted anchor chain guides, I guess that isn’t half bad. But look at that stock-color hull! 😉

We all come from somewhere, friends.  You have to be bad at something before you can be good at it.  When it comes to plastic scale models, I’m not good yet.  But I’m certainly on the path that leads there; I hope you are too.

Take care, friends, and happy modeling.

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2 thoughts on “The Way Back Machine: My first (completed) kit

  1. Hit enter too soon….

    You’ve come a long way, and you seem to have had a knack for modeling even in the beginning. I’ve only been assembling/painting stuff for a few short months — it’s nice to see where people started. Keep up the good work, enjoying the blog!

    Like

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