RESOLUTIONS! Well, really things in general I should consider more carefully this year.
Buy less. Build more. This also means sticking to $0 balance buy vs. sell as much as possible (outside of Cosmos Models sales). Last year I also started a spreadsheet of sold kits vs. built kits vs. bought kits but it only kept a tally and wasn’t a financial spreadsheet. This years will include that info to help stay on track. If I do have to buy something, stick to only NEW kits! There are plenty coming up this year in every theme I build in so I can regulate a little better. Still, being able to say NO is a good urge-control skill that I should be exercising more this year than last. Sometimes shopping online and putting it in a cart is a good method for figuring out a new project cost, but then closing the browser window before starting the checkout process feels really good!
As a follow-up: Build kits I have all aftermarket for before buying more aftermarket. I keep a spreadsheet of my inventory which includes all manner of aftermarket parts. From resin wheels to photo etch parts and even whether or not the kit would benefit from lighting. A fair number of line items are actually in the green, meaning they are ready to go with all the aftermarket items! This is called a “Full Meal Deal” for those unfamiliar. This by no means indicates a priority of projects; I could very well build something out of box (OOB) without any of that stuff (in fact I’d like to build a 1/48 MiG-29 from the Swifts aerobatic team using only aftermarket decals). Point is, there are plenty of projects to choose from before ever purchasing that one piece of photo etch for the landing gear.
Tertiary follow-up: Sell what I really won’t ever get to. Seriously. Every modeler probably has a number of kits in the stash that are just taking up space and will probably never be built. I’ve got a lot of kits. Even if I slow my building pace down (from 113 this year!) to 20 per year, there’s at least 25 years of modeling ahead of me. That being said I have a number of kits, mostly airplanes, that are ziplocked and stored away. Someday I’ll have to photograph and post them for sale. Some I’ve taken to swap meets, etc and passed along but there really needs to be a mass exodus of sorts. I’ll bet I could cut my stash in half this year. It’ll be painful but if I stick to kits I know are readily available on the market it’ll be fine in the long run.
Maintain Rule of Three. Attention span isn’t only a problem with the youths. It’s a frequent ailment of the scale modeler and I am no exception. As of today, I have in progress four commissions, two near completions, five shelf queens, one scratch build and eight master patterns. That is way too many projects to focus on and sometimes I get an urge to start something thinking it will be a quick project and it ends up on the shelf for months at a time. Also, I’ll occasionally get stuck and because other projects are in process, it gets shelved. (Case in point, the Mi-24 Hind build that I intend to motorize.) So, for the New Year, I’m going to do my best to work on ONLY THREE at a given time in earnest. For starters, I should be working on one commission, one shelf queen and one master pattern. Once the shelf queens are taken care of I can swap that category out for personal builds. But if I’m honest with myself, there will be an occasional moment where I’ll scratch an itch and build a TIE Fighter or something similarly easy in the hopes it won’t sidetrack The Three.
Document builds better in photographs and take time with technical notes. In the past I’ve felt pretty good about documenting work. It could always be better though. Sometimes there’s a specific paint mix that will take a few tries to remix, or there is a specific technique to applying photo etch that I’ll forget about. Documenting build steps both photographically and technically not only keeps a record but also doubles as potential article material. As I build more commission work and propagate projects across the internet more, people start to become more interested and ask questions. I by no means aim to create step by step guides, but careful and clear documentation will go a long way for a lot of reasons.
Slow down in the finish! What’s the finishing stage? Well, to me it could start anywhere from applying primer to the final photographs. Painting is the point at which I’ve rushed in the past because it can be the most cause of frustration. Often times I’ll get a project to the point of adding primer and set it aside for weeks or months. If it’s an airplane with complex camouflage, there’s layers of masking and it could take upwards of a day to get it all done. Ah! But see? I catch myself even now! I use acrylics and they tend to dry very quickly. But sometimes more time is needed for things to dry properly and I forget that. My painting also needs to be pushed further. This past year I started experimenting with panel highlighting and black-basing and they’ve proved to be good methods. I can push them even further to get consistent. There will never be a perfect paint application but there is always practice. Secondly, weathering comes out of this. For Sci-fi builds, lots of scoring and thick washes are nice, but it’s a different beast for airplanes. Subtlety is key so I need to pay attention to each step and it’s intensity.
So, with all that being said, what are some specific project targets? For starters, I’d like to build a really nice diorama. Not just make an airfield base or asteroid stand, but really add the details that make it believable. There’s one project I’ve already been gathering materials for: a 1/72 Su-33 on the flight deck of the Admiral Kuznetsov. Just about everything is in hand or on the way so once other projects are complete this will get started.
Otherwise, I can get more creative with the displays. Acrylic rod for vessels in flight, support vessels for capital ships, nice mirrored bases with studio-style mounting, wall mounting mechanisms…Of course the options depend on the build, but there’s definitely room for improvement over the standard black base and rod.
To narrow the specific projects down a bit more, I definitely want to build a 1/48 Flanker and a 1/48 Fulcrum. The Flanker I have in mind is Eduard Limited Su-27UB kit in Ukranian colors (with all manner of aftermarket!). The Fulcrum? Great Wall Hobby’s kit is a perfect out of box choice for a Swifts build. I even have the decals ready! Aside from those two, I have an idea for a kitbash for the Keeper of the Force forum group build and of course there will be a couple SMA BSC builds, which the Flanker or Fulcrum could be a part of. Lastly, I definitely want to build a large scale kit this year. There are a few to choose from in the stash but Tamiya’s Spitfire MkVII has been staring me down for a couple years…
That’s about all I can think of for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to hit all these markers! Wish me luck and happy modeling to everyone this year!