Overcoming Those Dry Spells

By Michael Benolkin

If you've been modeling for any time at all, you experience those great periods where you're knocking out several great models in a row, or you've had the time and inclination to complete that one intensive build. You take your completed projects, show them off to your disbelieving (and envious) model club compatriots, then park them amongst the other trophies on your shelf.

Then there are the dry spells. Draught. No inspiration - no energy. No model building. Why? Many times, it is just life in general - family responsibilities, work pressures, or even just trying to accomplish that lofty goal posted on those roadside billboards - "Drink Canada Dry". What a concept.

If you read Lorna's editorial last month, that one hit very close to home for me! I can't possibly embark on a project without adequate references. But what then? There is all of the necessary aftermarket stuff out there that needs to get folded into this next project. Let's see, photo-etched set from Company A, resin wheels w/flattened tires from Company B, a resin cockpit detail set from Company C, and of course the special anniversary commemorative solar eclipse markings from Company D. By the time I get all of this great stuff rounded up, the next great model release has happened and it is time to shelve this project and begin collecting for the next. Sound familiar?

When was the last time you built a model straight out of the box, just for fun? And when was the last time you built one of those projects without cracking open a book, magazine or some other reference? If you can do this on a regular basis, then you're one of the lucky ones. As for the rest of us, this is part of the creative constipation that causes these lapses in building. What we need is to periodically put our hobby back into perspective.

As an avid aircraft and armor builder, I would regularly get myself trapped in that creative stagnation zone. To break out of my rut, I'd don my favorite disguise and head to a hobby shop where they don't know me. In there, I can freely wander into those parts of the hobby shop where plastic model builders don't usually tread - the model railroad section! I found that grabbing an inexpensive HO scale freight car kit (or two) would provide a fast and easy project that can be finished in less than an hour. Heck, the bloody things are already pre-painted! And if you've seen the price of some of those model railroad references, you're instantly cured of any desire to research that simple freight car - you are free to build!

Next I would pick an easy build project from my stash and build it more or less straight from the box, with the understanding that it would never be a contest entrant. With that 'freedom' I can even try out a technique or two that I read about in one of the magazines or out online too. Pretty soon, we've begun another creative cycle again.

There is a downside to this technique, if you have too many dry spells, you could find yourself with a shelf full of boxcars…

Let's go and have some fun out there!

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