Happy Place



Modeling is supposed to be a hobby, right? A way to have some fun and relax. But let’s face it, there’s a whole spectrum of fun and relaxing. At one end, there’s swearing horrible seams in prominent-but-hard-to-reach places, swearing at terrible decals, swearing at that tiny piece that just pinged out of your tweezers, bound for parts unknown, swearing at bad instructions, and so on. At the other end is that sort of Platonic ideal of the perfect build. The one that is pure stress relief.

For this month’s Sprue Cutters’ Union topic, The Combat Workshop wants to know:

What subject relaxes you the most?

I find this kind of question maddening. It’s like trying to pare down your favorite movie. I mean, how do you pick between Aliens or Ghostbusters? Citizen Kane or Ben-Hur? I have a ton of movies that I love, often for different reasons. Picking a single favorite just isn’t happening.

Instead of giving a single, straight answer, I’m going to give two.


In terms of subject, I think the answer is fairly obvious.

World War II single-engine aircraft.

Here’s the thing. When it comes to WWII aircraft, I have the beats of the build down cold.

With jets or helicopters or tanks, I don’t. I feel like there’s a lot more that has to be taken into account during the build. Intakes! Tracks! There’s also a lot more that has to be taken into account after you come out of main painting. With jets, it’s the amount of stores slung off the wings. With tanks, it’s when and how to mount all the damn tools, how to deal with clear parts, when and how to weather. And with helicopters, you’ve not only got weapons, but the rotors.

All of these slow me up and stress me out – and it’s little wonder that the two modern jets I’ve been able to finish didn’t force me to deal overmuch with intakes.

So subject-wise, definitely WWII props.

Build Experience

I count the build experience as a whole different thing entirely. My ideal, stress-free build is one that doesn’t fight me and that was obviously engineered with care and passion. One that goes together and doesn’t force me to “improve” it or fight seams-a-million.

For me, the build is a means to an end. My love is in bringing assemblages of plastic to life through painting and weathering. The most stress-free builds get me to that point and beyond without tripping me up with lazy bullshit.

For the most stress-free builds, I just have to go with Tamiya’s 1/32 props and pretty much anything Wingnut Wings puts in a box. But I try not to build them too often, lest I become spoiled and unable to build anything else!

What about you? What’s your idea of a stress-free build?

4 Comments Add yours

  1. atcDave says:

    I work exclusively with 1/48 WWII; no doubt the simplest things are certain single engine fighters by Tamiya. I suppose I could call that my happy place.
    Broadly speaking I really ike modern, well engineered kits though. Not just Tamiya, but Accurate Miniatures, Hasegawa, Eduard even newer Revell or Airfix. Even more complex kits; if things fit and look great with little fuss it just makes me smile!
    I guess I would add, as a step, I love painting the main colors. Especially a more involved scheme, figuring out the order, what to mask, how to weather. That’s my favorite step in any build.

  2. scale172 says:

    It’s just about a year that I went back scale modelling I have to agree with you WW2 subjects and …. Because I also like 1/72 Revell it can be a great fun to build.

  3. SR inSOCAL says:

    Well you make a great case for the modeler and his/her happy place. My “fun part” is to figure out solutions to nonexistent situations (they weren’t there until I created them) that I get me into, the course of my modeling is ,at best, rocky and fitful , but I continue on with a sheepish grin and a tear in me eye

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