Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K is for (Model) Kit #atozchallenge

I have this little fetish I'm reluctant to admit.  People collect things like sports memorabilia that commemorate a significant moment in athletic endeavor.  Some collect art which should be self explanatory.  People collect all kinds of weird things and no one knows why.  

I collect models.  No, not buxom beautiful super models.  That would be too easy and it would make me The Most Interesting Man In The Universe without the beer.  I collect plastic models.  Of any kind; cars, tanks, planes, ships, sci-fi, you name it.  If it's plastic and needs glue and paint, I'll build it.  

One of the Grails.
It started when I was five.  My father brought home an Aurora Frankenstein for us to build as a father-son show and tell.  He did most of the work while I looked at the box art.  I was mesmerized by the detail.  We didn't paint it.  We just brought it in and talked about it.  Before you laugh, that kit goes on eBay for over $200 in a sealed box.  

My parents saw this as an opportunity to keep me off the street but it turned into an obsession.  Most modelers stick to one subject, automotive or armor, aircraft or figures.  Not me, I'd build anything.

Frankie in action
 I learned a lot of history from instruction sheets.  No, really.  With each kit they gave you background on the subject.  For military subjects it was where the vehicle was made, how many and , where it fought, etc.   I did well in history when it came to the wars.  While all the other guys were talking sports stats I was impressing the girls with how many Sherman tanks were produced for the war, their armor thickness etc.  Girls love that stuff. 

Then I got into sci-fi kits.  While the guys were talking about how well they did at the game last weekend I was making the girls swoon by telling them how many Constitution Class Starships Starfleet had and how fast an X-wing can go.  Girls love that stuff, too. 

When I got sick my father would come home with a few Testor's airplanes.  When I did well in school, I got that new Corvette kit.  Once, my father caught me with a slingshot which he expressly forbid and he grounded me but good.  He felt bad I was sitting there and came home with a Camaro kit.  There was a kit for every occasion and I loved it.  Which is one reason I cannot throw hit or catch anything unless it's a small model falling off a shelf.    

By the way, I figured out how to really impress the ladies because while the guys were all talking about how fast their cars could go, I was telling them about the engines, the transmissions, carburetors and how they did on the racing circuit.  All because of instruction sheets.  

Gentlemen, scale modeling=chick magnet.  

Of course, there were mishaps.  I once glued my eyelid shut with crazy glue and couldn't tell anyone because I had already glued my teeth together.  I'd often glue my fingers to my cheeks or themselves.  I'd glue parts to my forehead and not realize it.  I'd lose the tiniest part, finish the kit without it, then find the part.  Building all these kits taught me how to be goods with my hands, too.  Need something fixed?  Lemme have it.  If I can't fix it I can sure paint it up nice and put some cool racing decals on it.  

Then my hobby took a turn.  I began to buy more than one kit at the hobby store.  Then I began to visit the hobby store more than necessary.  Soon I had a small stash of kits in the closet.  Then I took over my grandmother's closet.  Then my father had to build shelves in her room to store them.  Then they ended up in the trunk of my car or at friend's houses.  I made a calculation once that if I sat and built every kit I had it would take me four years.  That was 25 years ago.  My stash now numbers around 500 in various places around the globe.  There will never be enough time in the universe for me to build all of them.  And I intend to build all of them.  I'm working on the immortality thing as we speak.  

After running out of room (which happened decades ago) I tried to sell some on eBay but I'd end up browsing and buy a few more than I sold.  My kits are now in closets, basements, shelves and hidden places in several different states and maybe even in an airplane hangar.  I can't remember. 
Here's the thing; I used to think it was just me.  With the advent of the interwebs I've found not only modelers the world over but that we all suffer the same disease.  We buy a kit and don't open it.  We buy ten of the same kit because there were different versions of the actual subjects and we buy multiples just because one can never have too many '63 split window Corvette kits.  I felt vindicated. 
If you love me or even like me and you wanted to get me a gift, you can never go wrong with a model kit.  Any kind.  I may even put it at the top of the list and build it just for you. 
I may be a scale modeler but at least I'm not a Trekkie...oh, wait...

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