Sprue Cutters’ Union – Stashed Away

SCU July 2015

After a few months on hiatus, the Sprue Cutters’ Union blog circle is back!  The format has changed a bit, but the general idea is the same: modelers respond to a given topic on their blog while linking to the other responses that have been composed by other members of the blog circle.  This month’s topic is one to which every modeler can surely relate: Why do we maintain and even grow a stash that may never be completed in our lifetimes?  The concept is so universal among modelers that a term has arisen and entered our collective vernacular; this concept is so ingrained in the hobby that you may ask virtually any modeler about his or her “stash” and we will surely know what you’re talking about.  Also seemingly universal in the hobby is our tendency to, no matter what, grow that stash at all costs.

On its face, the drive to collect boxed models is no different from other forms of psychological hoarding.  Obtaining and keeping as many boxed models as possible is certainly a form of collecting, and it goes without saying that the end goal of any collecting is to reach the point where nothing is left to collect.  Unlike more traditional examples of collecting, however, stash-building is only half the battle, for while in most cases simply obtaining the desired product is enough to satisfy the desire to collect, models are intended to be built and painted once they’ve been purchased.  This process, which by its very nature takes more time than the initial purchase, thus dictates that those that build a stash will invariably find more boxed models coming in than finished models coming out.  It’s the nature of the beast.

Another possible reason for this habit of modelers comes from the psychological need to “own” objects and moments of significance.  Modeling allows the builder to create, freeze, and take possession of their subjects, granting them power and authority over moments that, in reality, can never be controlled.  This classic human need can be easily expressed through modeling; I’m sure that Dragon, Tamiya, and Trumpeter (to name by a few) certainly don’t mind enabling us with our weakness!

Controlling the stash-building drive is difficult for modelers.  While I’ve certainly heard of those that purchase models one at a time – not expanding their collection until the previous model is finished – these are exceptions to the rule.  Most of us – myself included – keep on buying regardless of shelf space, build completion, of (woe to us) finances.  Why do we do such an irrational thing?  While I cannot speak for others (especially those that own a veritable hobby shop worth of unbuilt kits), I at least try not to buy models which I have no intention of building.  In almost every case, I look at possibilities of a particular finished build and decide if such is a project which I would like to undertake.  For example, I can’t see myself ever trying to tackle an airliner or non-Star Trek sci-fi kit; because of this, I don’t buy these subjects.  I will, however, keep myself in stock of US Navy 1:700 aircraft carriers, German jet aircraft of WWII, and particular examples of notable, historic vehicles (remember that the point of this blog is to examine both models and the historic subjects which they represent).  While this is technically subject to change at any time, for the past while my collecting focus has remained fairly consistent.  In fact, I even downsized my collection (deaccessioned, to use a term from my work) in recent weeks, offloading a number of science-fi and modern airpower kits.  Still, a sizable stash remains:


How about an inventory?  Top-Bottom, Left-Right…

Top Shelf:
Tamiya 1:700 B-25 set [used for decals and spares on a Trumpeter kit currently on my bench]
Skywave 1:700 Fletcher-class destroyer 2-pack [will be used for background destroyers in sea vignettes]
FineMolds 40mm quad Bofors set (x2) [for upgrading]
Tamiya 1:700 USS Cushing [will be used to represent USS Johnston in a Battle of Samar vignette]
Tamiya 1:700 USS Fletcher (x2) [will be used for background destroyers in sea vignettes]
Dragon 1:48 ME-163 Komet [because German tech was awesome]
Trumpeter 1:700 USS San Francisco 1942 [will be used with USS Atlanta in a First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal vignette]
Dragon 1:700 USS Essex [will be used with a late-war USS Enterprise in a carrier vignette]
Tamiya 1:700 USS Iowa [will be used with USS Missouri in a Tokyo bay surrender vignette]
Tamiya 1:700 USS Missouri [will be used with USS Iowa in a Tokyo bay surrender vignette]

Middle Shelf:
Accurate Miniatures 1:48 SDB-3 Dauntless [will be used as a Coral Sea or Midway example]
Aoshima 1:700 Tone [will be used in a Midway seaplane launch vignette]
Fujimi 1:700 Nagara [will be used in a Midway flag transfer vignette]
Dragon 1:700 Typhoon vs. USS Dallas [will be used as a relaxing distraction build]
Minicraft 1:72 B-29 Enola Gay [will be used in an atomic bomb loading vignette]
Revell 1:700 RMS Olympic [will be used with RMS Titanic in a fitting out vignette]

Bottom Shelf:
Dragon 1:48 Me-262A-1a [will be used to represent a member of JG7 on March 18, 1945]
Dragon 1:700 USS San Diego [will be modeled as USS Atlanta with USS San Francisco in a First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal vignette]
Academy 1:72 F4F Wildcat [will be used as a Midway example]
Academy 1:72 Ju-87G-2 Stuka [will be used as a relaxing distraction build]
Academy 1:72 OV-10D Bronco [will be used as a relaxing distraction build]
Dragon 1:144 “Carrier Blast-Off” set [will be used as a relaxing distraction build]
Academy 1:72 F-117A “The Ghost of Baghdad” [will be used as a First Gulf War example]
Dragon 1:48 Me Bf-110D-3 [will be used as a technique proving ground]
Tamiya 1:700 USS Yorktown [will be used as a Midway vignette]
Tamiya 1:700 USS Enterprise [will be used with USS Essex as a carrier vignette]
Tamiya 1:700 Zuikaku [will be used as a Pearl harbor example]
Tamiya 1:700 Yamato [will be used as an Operation Ten-Go example]

Zvezda 1:35 T-34/76 (partly completed) [will be used as a relaxing distraction build]
Cyber-Hobby German V-2 Missile [because German tech is awesome]
Academy 1:48 P-38F Lightning “Glacier Girl” [will be modeled in her present-day configuration]

So, all told…thirty one kits plus accessory sets.

You know what’s telling?  I actually took this picture and listed these kits with the intention of then showing a photo of my stash from October 2013 to show how I’ve managed to downsize:

October 2013

But guess what?  There are twenty-three models pictured here.   While I thought I was downsizing, I’ve actually expanded my stash by eight additional kits.


Well, at least it’s a more focussed collection now.

Related Dispatches from The Union

Around the Sprue

The Combat Workshop


The Eternal Wargamer

International Scale Modeller

Kermit’s Bench

Ninetails Scale Models

Shutterace’s Blog


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