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From the opposite end of the workbench

…the twisted ramblings of a ship modeler.


When did this stop being fun??


As I sit here this evening, listening to Frank Sinatra croon ‘Fly me to the Moon’, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers sing ‘By the Way’… I started thinking about this slight funk I’m in about building…it’s not a slump, I just didn’t feel like building tonight. I covered a lot of ground today between the message boards, and the day job. Today I had a delegation from South Korea do a presentation and donation of Korean War artifacts and photos to my museum…I met a Korean War veteran today that was shot down while flying an A-26 over Korea in 1951. In the course of our conversations, he told he used to be an avid modeler, and of all the things he missed the most, it was building. The fellow’s name is Red Mosley, and he’s a quadriplegic. When Red’s plane was shot down, Red managed to bail out at a very low altitude…breaking both of his legs in the process. The other 2 crewmen didn’t get out of the plane. Unable to walk, Red laid in the snow for nearly 48 hours before being rescued. The frostbite eventually got the best of Red, and he lost both legs at the knees, his right arm at the elbow, and all his fingers on his left hand.

As he sat in my office, staring at the models in the glass case next to him, I couldn’t help but feel completely devastated for this man. I actually felt like crying. He was a modeler, just like you and I, and he lost the very thing that allowed him to pursue that hobby to the fullest. It started me thinking about how trivial things are in life…the arguments about what ship wore what camo pattern, or whether the newest 1/350 ship kit is up to industry standards. Folks are quite willing to completely trash one another, kits, research, comments, just about anything (including long-winded editorials). Maybe it's an ego thing, maybe it's because deep down we're all mutants, I simply don't know...but I started thinking to myself, ‘is this hobby really fun anymore’?

In many ways, it is still very enjoyable, the quiet evenings in the shop, with the Yankees on the radio, or Stevie Ray Vaughn playing in the background on the stereo. The model club meetings, hanging out with Herb and his band of polyester followers, and the friends I’ve made, provide motivation and inspiration, and of course, the model shows, complete with good friends, long distance acquaintances, great modelers, and fellow mutants.

I realize that mutants are everywhere, and so are the Herbs. But with all the stress in our everyday lives, why do we carry it over into our hobby, one of the things that is supposed to provide relaxation, and allow us to escape from the realities of this crappy world we live in?

Now, I’m not asking for fuzzy bunny slippers in every new kit we buy, and I’m not asking for political correctness. All I’m asking…is for people to lighten up a little bit, and remember, it’s a !^&@$%( hobby. If you take your hobby this seriously, then you either have a crappy life, or your hobby is all you have. Either way, it's sad...

Amazingly, I didn’t kill tons of brain cells tonight, I wasn’t medicated with allergy meds, and I don’t think I wrote anything to offend anyone. I think it’s even short enough that maybe ‘Classic Steve’ will actually read it…

For the rest of you, go build a model, and be thankful that you can. Life’s too short. Lighten up…

Jeff Herne


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