Organizing Your Model Build
Scheduling your model build will suck the fun out of it
You suppose so? Well, let me explain what I think that scheduling is, and you decide. The question assumes that scheduling means that you will set up dates at which your various modeling tasks must be done – a deadline. That’s simply not so; it just sets the dates at which the various modeling tasks can be done. In fact, until you attach dates to the tasks, you’re simply organizing the tasks and nothing more.
In order to show examples of what this process looks like, I’ll show the process of a 1/48 Italeri Fiat Cr42 build. Based on my schedule beginning on March 16, the part of the process where I fit the sequence of tasks to my schedule, I could complete the project around March 23. That’s all that it is; it would be possible to complete by then. (without going nuts with every free moment). There will be links to each step of this process that you can check out.
Three aspects to this organization
The first part is consolidating tasks that really go together; call that the build sequence. In this process, you study the instruction sheet and put things in a more logical order than it, thus limiting redundancy as much as possible. Sketching out and organizing the build sequence usually takes about an hour at the coffee shop and is a process that I enjoy. An example of that organization is airbrushing. Multiple parts of a model may be shot the same color; why not do all of it the same time? I simply go through the instruction sheet and list all the parts that need to be shot that and can be done at the same time. This helps you avoid replicating steps – a major time saver. That doesn’t cause the build to be any less fun, does it? Or do you enjoy cleaning your airbrush that much? There have been many times that I’ve thought that I airbrushed this or that, only to discover that something was skipped, causing everything else come to a screeching halt. That could delay a modeling session that you were really looking forward to doing. That’s frustrating. This will also help avoiding errors; I sometimes will start cementing wing halves together only to realize that I’d not drilled necessary holes for stuff that needed to be attached. Ouch. I see no fun suckage in organizing the build. This process alone will make your build more efficient and less frustrating, and is a powerful tool all by itself. You don’t even need to do any planning beyond this and still increase your efficiency significantly.
I call the next part the build timeline; what you do then is take the build sequence and divide it into what can be done during each modeling session. There’s really no difference to this and the build sequence other than establishing the number of steps to complete the build. The completion of each step (crossing it out a you go along) gives you a real sense of accomplishment. If you do skip something, you may need to push it into your next session. Maybe you didn’t dull-cote the interior and aren’t able to insert it into the fuselage until that’s done, or something like that. A task that takes 10 minutes could delay the project for a day. Again, I don’t see putting together logical steps like that sucking the fun out of the hobby. If you stop just there, you’ve not done a thing to feel rushed or to make the build more like a chore than a hobby; it’s still more or less an extension of the instruction sheet.
Actual Scheduling is the third part of the process. It’s where you take the timeline, and put the steps onto your calendar or planner. With that, you will establish an estimate of when the model could be done. Is it a deadline? No. It is just what you make of it. If you feel that you must follow that schedule, then it maybe it is a deadline. I don’t; as far as I’m concerned, putting the steps on my calendar just helps me set aside some modeling time. I don’t see a single thing wrong with setting aside time on my calendar. I frequently do that, and just as frequently deviate from it. The schedule itself is yours to use however you like; if it feels like a deadline, don’t use it. It’s just not a big deal. ASIDE: I have put social/personal stuff on my calendar for years, and it’s just as important to me as work stuff is. Balance between work and personal is pretty important to me.
Let’s summarize the phases:
Sequence – organization of build tasks
Timeline – dividing logical tasks together in modeling sessions
Schedule – setting aside modeling time for those sessions.
Looking at this in those terms, I don’t feel that the fun is sucked out of model building at all. However, if you establish a strict deadline of the build, it can feel like a job. Maybe that would suck the fun out of it. It’s every modeler’s choice to put a deadline on their building. I don’t; I just organize and make sure I actually put aside time in my planner to go to the shop. I do this pretty consistently, build more frequently, feel less frustration at errors, and complete more models than I had been. Other modelers say I’m a speedy builder, but I’m not; I’m just organized.
What's your style?