mwlogo.jpg (15469 bytes)

From the opposite end of the workbench

…the twisted ramblings of a ship modeler.


The Dreaded Slump


Once in awhile, I get the privilege of watching my beloved NY Yankees on network TV. Some bozo (probably Steinbrenner) decided the Yanks were too good to play on network TV, so they started their own channel and want an incredible amount of money added on to my already obnoxiously expensive cable TV bill… (ever see the movie ‘Falling Down?)

Anyway, once in awhile, you hear about ball players being in a slump…they can’t hit the ball…and I still can’t fathom why these knuckleheads making ga-zillions of dollars have a hard time hitting the ball. Had they never been able to hit the ball, they wouldn’t be in the big league, and it would be understandable…but how is that some guy making more money per minute than we make per month suddenly can’t do what he’s paid to do?

Hit the freakin’ ball with the bat, run around the little bags and win ball games…simple, isn’t it?

Well, I’m not a major league player, never came close, although I did have some pitching talent in high school. I don’t ever recall being in a slump until I started model building. Life usually gets in the way of a serious modeling project, and like most other things we do for enjoyment, the project gets derailed by mowing the lawn, soccer games, family picnics with the in-laws, funerals, weddings, walking the dog…you get the gist.

I recently finished my S-100, and was motivated and excited about what was coming next. I was contemplating my next project when I stumbled on the Panda Burke…It doesn’t look tough, so I decided it would be a good short-term project. Maybe it was the simple fact that I wasn’t in a good mood to begin with, maybe it was because I was expecting more from a $20 kit…I simply don’t know.

I cut my modeling teeth on Frog airplane kits, Revell, Airfix, and Lindbergh. This was all stuff you needed to really work on to make presentable, so I’m used to sanding, filling, cutting and otherwise contorting plastic to make a reasonable model.

But this kit did more than just piss me off, it started a slump…not just a ‘ I don’t wanna build tonight’ slump, but a serious, ‘I’m gonna trash this &%#(@#^@#()@*&$( piece of *(#&%#*(@#&$( kit !” type of mood. When you finally do get all the parts together, you’ve got 45 miles of seams to fill…It’s not the best engineered kit I’ve ever built…

Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the quality of kits I’ve been building, White Ensign resin, Regia Marina, BWN and Classic Warships, and the new Trumpeter stuff. Even with the old Tamiya stuff (Bismarcks, Yamatos, Fletchers, etc.), we know what to expect. With almost everything out there being of pretty good quality, I can’t fathom why this kit bothers me so much. Maybe it’s just me, and many of you who have built, or are building this kit, will think I’m over-reacting. Oh well, that’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to have one.

This model is getting the brunt of my bad attitude, and as a result I’ve lost the desire to do ANYTHING related to model building. As I sit here and write this, I’m still in that same ‘Destroy! Destroy!’ mood, but I’m ranting about models, so it’s allowable. Maybe it’s partially due to the lack of sleep, or maybe it was the previous ‘hell week’ I endured at the office that’s finally catching up to me, I dunno.

But what I do know, is that I am breaking my cardinal rule of ship modeling. I am putting this model back in the box, relegating it to the Island of Misfit toys, and don’t care if I ever build it.

I think I’m going to let this slump carry for a day or two, just long enough to prevent me from running over the kit with my car, because maybe, someday, I’ll be in the right mood to tackle this bitch of a kit and turn it into something presentable. Now, before you go jumping down my throat…I can turn this kit into something presentable RIGHT NOW, if I wanted to…but I don’t. My grandfather always said, “it’s kinda like putting perfume on a pig”.

I think a slump occurs when you feel defeated. I feel like this model beat me. I conceded, and it won. I don’t have any other projects at present which will finish up in any reasonable amount of time, so the expectation of having something completed is not there…it’s the same feeling you get when you start out on that long trip YOU KNOW isn’t going to be fun.

This is the same reason that as a kid, I’d sit for 20 hours building a model, just because I wanted it complete. Back then, it was finish it and start on the next one. Now, there’s research, the ritual of preparing the workshop for the next project, and all the ancillary crap that goes into starting a project.

I don’t have a lack of projects…good grief, I have dozens of projects slated, any of which are ready to be started…but at this particular moment, nothing appeals to me.

It just turned midnight, and I’ve managed to kill another 4 hours sitting at this infernal machine, when I should have been building something and having something tangible to show for my time and effort. But, there’s no model shows coming up next weekend, no model club meetings worth breaking my neck over, and there’s always the S-boot to drag to the competitions in the fall…so there’s no reason to keep the production line moving if I don’t feel like it. Maybe I’ll take a break, maybe I’ll just wander into the shop and see what happens.

Now, for the rest of you…Go build a model…

Jeff Herne

mwlogo.jpg (15469 bytes)