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From the opposite end of the workbench

…the twisted ramblings of a ship modeler.

Are you a Plastic Junkie???

I seriously doubt that most modelers actually start out as collectors…most of us are builders that simply can’t keep pace with our purchasing…but, inevitably, it happens, and you become a PLASTIC JUNKIE…and your addiction is styrene.

Like most junkies, it starts out simple, with a quick fix…’Hey, these Airfix bagged kits are only $2.00, I built these as a kid’…so you buy 25 of them…which explains why most of our collections consist of these memories of childhood modeling…but it soon progresses into something worse…like Tamiya aircraft or armor…or the uncontrolled urge to build every variant of the Bf-109 in 1/48. Soon, your shop, garage, and workspace start to fill up with boxes.

Before long, like a true junkie, you’re sinking money into your habit…and, like crack, it can drain your bank account faster than an ex-wife with your credit card. The costs start to go up…from $4 Academy Minicraft 1/72 fighters to $50 Tamiya tanks to $100 Trumpter aircraft carriers. Before long, unless you’re wealthy, you’re starting to feel the impact of your spending.

Now, being a junkie does have its advantages…and it doesn’t include waking up in the middle of an interstate with no clothes on, talking to your wristwatch. A plastic junkie is determined to have everything…so, when the time comes to actually build something, he’s got the choice of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of models to choose from. Most plastic junkies put even the best hobby shops to shame. This is a good thing…variety, choices…but unless the plastic junkie actually builds something, chances are it’s a detriment, because he will usually spend more time choosing his next project than he actually will building it.

Being a plastic junkie is not what it was 10 years ago…or when we were kids. Today’s kits are far more expensive than the old Revell  and Airfix kits we built. Today, the cost of a Trumpeter carrier, aircraft, photoetch, paint, and reference materials can easily add up to several hundred dollars investment. And then it sits on your shelf for HOW LONG???

Although each and every one of us is a plastic junkie to varying degree, there’s actually something worse…something equal in severity to freebasing Tamiya paints and using your Aztec airbrush as a turbo-bong. The worse possible form of modeling addiction know to mankind…the RESIN JUNKIE. (Hi Martin!!! Whahahahahaha)

The resin junkie takes things to a whole new level, simply because plastic isn’t good enough. As a self-professed resin junkie, I’m always plotting, scheming, and thinking up new ways to satisfy this urge for resin…

On Ebay right now is a White Ensign Hood…probably the finest resin kit ever made…with 5 days left it’s sitting at $410…it’s going to close around $700, maybe more…arghh!!! Damn you TRIDENT HOBBIES!!! Why do you torture me like this??? And Blue Water Navy’s USS Lexington at $1,200 !! And the Minekaze Tone at $549!! Oh the humanity!! Why can’t I have an extra $5000 laying around???

Ok…deep breathing, time to relax…because there is a cure…well, not really, because I firmly believe that this can become a serious addiction…like gambling or too much computer. Although it’s not really as harmful as drinking or doing crack, it can easily get out of control, especially when things like car payments or the kid’s school clothes take a backseat to the new 1/350 USS Whatever.

I think model kits should come with warnings from the Surgeon General…like the cigarette packs do…


With so many new kits coming out, and the prices going up, it’s a wonder there’s not a Modelers’ Anonymous club yet (IPMS doesn’t count folks).

Eventually, most of us figure out that we’ll never be able to build everything we have, so we try to off-load it to our fellow modelers. This can be hit or miss depending on how badly you want to rid yourself of an excess kit, and how badly someone else wants it.

Most serious ship modelers know exactly what their stuff is worth, and what the market is willing to bear. Some, however, seemingly either have no clue, or they’re out to pad their pockets because they need ‘Mo bettah models’, and the wife has put a stop on the credit card.

Let’s be reasonable here folks…it doesn’t matter if the kit is out of production. Unless it’s a RARE, limited number kit (like a WEM Hood), most folks aren’t going to pay ‘collector’ prices for something you bought 5 years ago. If you do manage to sell something at a ‘collector price’, good for you. Go buy your ‘Mo Bettah Model’. For the vast majority of us, it’s a matter of saying to yourself, “ I had the chance to buy it new for $75 five years ago, why would want to pay $175 for it now?” With all the new kits coming on the market, chances are you’ll find something ‘Mo bettah’ you want anyways. There seems to be a ‘code’ among modelers, that so long as you intend to build the model I’m trying to get rid of, all I want to do is make back my original investment. This is why, if you see me at a model show as a vendor, chances are you’ll find that rare, out of production kit for sale for exactly the same amount I paid for it back in 1999.

So…I got a Banner Arizona for sale… $500.00 to the first bidder… any takers??

For the rest of you, go build a model. And lighten up…times are tough, money is tight, and we’re all trying to make a living and still enjoy this hobby that is becoming more expensive by the week. A little humor never hurts, even if you’re the target.

Jeff Herne