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What am I doing wrong???

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  • Member since
    December 2002
What am I doing wrong???
Posted by SNOOPY on Thursday, September 25, 2003 11:40 AM
I go to shows and watch demonstrations andask question like how long does it take (example - a 1/72 scale) a typical model. I get about the same answer. If it is out-of-the-box about two weeks unless there is some modifications or scratchbuilt parts then it can take about a month. If the subject is to like a miniture of a particular subject like the X-1 then it could take a couple of mobths.

I would like to know how come in I cannot build a model straight out of the box in less than a year? It starts to take so long that I get fed up with the subject and put it off to the side and almost never come back to it. I try to follow instruction step by step but it still seems like it takes so long. a simple model like a AMT Batmobile with about twenty parts has been taking me months to build. I have been puttering around plastic models for close to ten years and you know how many models I actually have finished in those ten years? Two! You know how many I have started and then got bored with them because of time...6. I have about twenty other models on the closet shelf in boxes waiting to be built with others I would like to get. I just do not have a clue on how to put these things together in a timely fashion. After ten years I still consider myself a newbie to modeling. Any really good advice on how to build fast but good quality models or am I stuck and will never get up?

A fustrated modeler!
  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Tochigi, Japan
Posted by J-Hulk on Thursday, September 25, 2003 12:09 PM
Hmmmm...Snoopy, it sounds like more of a motivational problem than any kind of technical problem to do with building kits. How much time do you actually spend working on the model? Sometimes I'll have a work in progress sitting on the workbench, and for whatever reason, I won't even touch it for days or even weeks. Thus, from start to finish, it may have taken me 2 or 3 months to finish a model, but in actuality, maybe I only spent 10-15 hours working on it. No problems when I sit down and do it, but ocassionally the problem is sitting down!

I don't think you should be so concerned with the actual speed of building a model, but maybe you should consider what motivates you to build, and then try to create situations conducive to your style of modeling.

To get motivated, try going to some more shows, read as many modeling magazines and books as you can, and of course, check out the forums here! They always get me fired up!

Whatever you do, have fun! Big Smile [:D]
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Lyons Colorado, USA
Posted by Ray Marotta on Thursday, September 25, 2003 12:12 PM
I'd say the average person could slap a 1/72 kit together in under an hour.
Now, if you want to clean up the parts, ie remove any flash, clean up mold
separation lines, and fill in ejector pin marks, that's going to add some time
to the process. Cleaning up any seams and prepping for paint is going to
add more time. Researching markings and paint schemes is going to take even longer. That's where the fun is for most the small, critical details.
It isn't about how long it should take. It should take as long as is necessary for
the results you want. Other than vacu-forms or limited run kits, a good, OOB build
of a 1/72 scale aircraft would probably take 8-10 hours of actual work spread over
however many weeks it takes for you to find the time or feel like working on it.
Remember the saying "You get what you pay for"? It applies to model building, too. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it.
Hang in there, Snoopy... It's supposed to be fun. Hobbies shouldn't have deadlines.
All the best




  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Sandusky Ohio, USA
Posted by Swanny on Thursday, September 25, 2003 12:25 PM
It's not a race, this is supposed to be relaxation. I usually take 4 to 6 months (sometimes longer) to complete a model. True, I usually have 3 or 4 going at the same time. Work at whatever pace makes you happy and don't worry about the other guy - have fun.
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: The flat lands of the Southeast
Posted by styrene on Thursday, September 25, 2003 12:30 PM
Like yourself, I am an incredibly slow modeler--or maybe I should say overly deliberate. It takes me months to put together a simple kit that a friend of mine can put out in a couple weeks. My problem is that I find myself waiting for one process to finish before I start on another. Of course, other "problems" are family and other, more important issues, that have to be dealt with before I can go back to the bench; but I assume that's not what you are talking about. One thing I am beginning to learn is I have to keep going if I'm going to reach completion. That means gluing wings together while I'm waiting for putty to dry on the fuselage; or putting the turret or gun barrel together while I'm waiting for the hull to dry. Just those small steps have given some quicker completion results. The other thing, I think, is to be obstinately focused, and complete what you start before moving on to something else. Try to establish some sort of personal goal when you think would be a good time to have a model completed by. If you can't see down the road that far, then shoot for a shorter goal. For example, most models are built in sections (road wheels/track, hull, turret and gun). Set a goal for a subassembly, and then the next, and so on; then see the completed model as your final goal.
One important thing to remember, is that this is a hobby; you're supposed to enjoy it. If you're not, then it's time to find another one. Who or what are you building for? If you're not building to please yourself, and see yourself and your creativity expressed in your work, then maybe you need to rethink the why's and whatfor's. I also find a great deal of relaxation in what I do. It helps me escape-for a short period of time-from the cares and demands of the responsibilities placed upon me.
Lastly, it doesn't matter how long it takes, provided you're having fun. I used to get angry at my brother, because he could just about build a kit in one evening, and I hadn't even gotten the first piece cut from the sprue. It turns out he has a great deal more mechanical ability with pieces and parts than I do; he can also "see" better in 3D than I can. I'm too much a two-dimesional type person, but I've recognized that I am who I am, and have learned to appreciate my own abilities and limitations and work within them; you should, too.
In short: Relax, have fun, stay focused on what's at hand, set some short and long-term goals--and remember that a QUALITY build takes time--sometimes lots of it!
Hope this helps.
Gip Winecoff

1882: "God is dead"--F. Nietzsche

1900: "Nietzsche is dead"--God

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: Savannah, GA USA
Posted by Bones-coa on Thursday, September 25, 2003 1:12 PM
I'd like to add just one thing: Snoopy, can or would you like to post a pic of one of your completed models? If you're proud of it and not afraid to show it off, then time doesn't matter in this case. Just something to think about.

Dana F On the bench: Tamiya DO335B-2 with LOTS of Aires stuff (On Hold) Trumpeter A-10 with LOTS and LOTS of aftermarket goodies! (On Hold) Tamiya 240ZG (In work)
  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Posted by maddafinga on Thursday, September 25, 2003 1:29 PM
I build really slowly too. I usually just don't push myself to get things done quickly, I get enough of that at work. With constant deadline pressure there, the last thing I want with modeling is more, so I work at a slow, comfortable pace. I will set things aside for days or weeks sometimes. I also have several projects going at once, mostly because as a project nears completion, I start to lose interest with it. I'm that same way with drawings, so I have just accepted that it's my nature to be that way. Once you accept something like that about yourself, it takes a lot of frustration away.

Don't put pressure on yourself to complete things quickly, pressure yourself to complete things well. I still consider myself a newbie also, but I'm learning as I go. Do you feel like your skills are improving as you work? That is worth all the time in the world. I like Gip's idea about setting goals, but keep them realistic. If you know deep in your heart that you won't work on a project often or fast enough to get it done in a week, don't try to force yourself to get it done in that week. That will only frustrate you more and you'll not be enjoying yourself. Above all, enjoy yourself.

You might also try working on another part of the kit while you're waiting for things to set up....e.g. While your putty is setting up, work on another kit, or work on a different subassembly. While you are waiting for paint to dry and cure on the cockpit, so you can drybursh or whatever, clean up and build the landing gears. While you're waiting for that to dry, clean up and dry fit the fuselage and/or wings. Don't be afraid to set something aside for a while, nobody is forcing you to keep on task all the time, digress some. Work on other things, research colors or vehicles, read the forums, whatever. Enjoy yourself, don't just beat yourself up. Learn your nature, accept it, and work inside of your comfort zone.

Madda Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle. -- Leonardo Da Vinci Tact is for those who lack the wit for sarcasm.--maddafinga
  • Member since
    December 2002
Posted by SNOOPY on Thursday, September 25, 2003 4:32 PM
After reading some of the insight here I think I can conclusively say my problem is a bunch of things. First, I would have to say procrastination. When I come home from work I get daddy watch me or play with me. When that is done I make first mistake of sitting down in the recliner. I doesn't help when the History Channel is showing something interesting. Second, I do not build in sub-sections and I probably should. I glue a couple of pieces then wait until it dries before moving on. Then there is that walking through the Hobby Shop and bam, a kit that you gotta have is sitting there and that is all you can think of.

I think I will try the setting a goal for time of completion along with doing more than one step at a time.

Thank for all your comments.
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Dahlonega, Georgia
Posted by lizardqing on Thursday, September 25, 2003 5:45 PM
I find myself at the opposite end of the spectrum. It always feels to that I rushed right through a kit so quick I did'nt really get to enjoy taking my time. The kit I am working on right now has been going on for 3 weeks now, thats the most time I have ever spent on a kit. i can tell a difference in how it looks though. Looks like there is a happy medium between taking to long and getting bored with it to little time and felling it could be better.
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Philippines
Posted by Dwight Ta-ala on Thursday, September 25, 2003 6:13 PM
Don't worry Snoop. I don't think you have a problem. There is really no timeframe for this. I mean that's why you call it a hobby. Things you do for relaxation. To forget about schedules, deadlines and urgencies. When I started late last year, I could build a 1/72 plane in four to five hours straight. I am always too excited to see the finished model. But later I started to realize that I am not into a race here. Besides when I sit on it full time, it takes away my time for other important things. And I guess that does not make it a hobby anymore in its real sense. It's becoming a burden because you feel pressured to finish it right away. And like they said "it takes away the fun of building". When I started reading the posts in this forums and learned that some guys here even take years to complete their kits, I started to realize what this hobby is really for. Now, it would take me from two weeks to more than a month to complete a kit and I don't worry about it. So, don't. Take your time.

On the other hand if you feel that you seem to lack motivation like J-hulk said then probably you should try things that would condition your mind to focus on modeling.

Good luck.

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Panama City, Florida, Hurricane Alley
Posted by berny13 on Thursday, September 25, 2003 6:29 PM
When my children were young, I set aside two days a week to do my model building. I would limit my self to two or three hours each session. That would come out from four to six hours a week. My children and wife left me alone as they knew this was my time. The rest of the week was family time. It worked out very well. You might want to try setting up a time with your family devoted to "Daddy's time".


 Phormer Phantom Phixer

On the bench

TF-102A Delta Dagger, 32nd FIS, 54-1370, 1/48 scale. Monogram Pro Modeler with C&H conversion.  

Revell F-4E Phantom II 33rd TFW, 58th TFS, 69-260, 1/32 scale. 

Tamiya F-4D Phantom II, 13th TFS, 66-8711, 1/32 scale.  F-4 Phantom Group Build. 


  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Foothills of Colorado
Posted by Hoser on Thursday, September 25, 2003 7:36 PM
Don't know if this will make you feel better Snoopy, but I am one of those guys Dwight mentioned in his post. I've kitbashed a Charger pro-street (based on an old Dukes of Hazzard body) and added lots of detail. The engine, interior and chassis is finished, the bodywork is done and in primer ready for paint. I just can't decide on the final paint job.

I started this about 6 or 7 years ago ...
"Trust no one; even those people you know and trust." - Jack S. Margolis
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 25, 2003 8:02 PM
We're with you Snoop. I once had six projects going, all in various stages of completion, As my wife yelled at me to "Please, just finish at least one kit, I hate seeing your desk so cluttered!" Sounds like one problem you may be having is following the instruction sheet as if it were gospel. Sometimes it really does help to break from the instructions a little and work in sub-assemblies. As one part is drying, setting up, or whatever you can be working on a different area that can be joined to the first assembly when its ready. As for the History channel, I also have that problem. Sometimes you just can't turn it off. Hang in there buddy, it took me two years to finish my Titanic and the only extra that I did was add brass railings.
  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: NE Georgia
Posted by Keyworth on Thursday, September 25, 2003 8:50 PM
Snoopy, don't burden yourself with self-imposed deadlines. There's so set-in-stone on how long it takes to build a model. Like the others have all said, take your time, decide what you want to do with kit and just do it, whenever and however long it takes you. It's supposed to be fun and a stress reliever, not a stress inducer. Just kick back, build what you like when you like and smile. Get tired? Go away for a while, take a break (however long that needs to be) and get back to it when the muse strikes. It's when it stops being fun that you worry Big Smile [:D]
"There's no problem that can't be solved with a suitable application of high explosives"
  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Rain USA, Vancouver WA
Posted by tigerman on Thursday, September 25, 2003 8:56 PM
Snoopy, I'm with you. It takes far longer than I'd like it to finish a kit. The FSM forum has been an inspiration to get me into the mood to start building, but I feel almost haunted by it. Even though nobody will see it (unless I post a pic) I feel I have to equal some of the other builders. Wrong. The important thing to remember, is do a satisfying job that you the builder will be proud of. It's not a contest. I'd like to think that the forum has taught me new ideas that I'd like to incorporate into my work.

For those that said the History Channel is a distraction, I second that. ESPN is right behind it. However, After I sacrificed t.v., I'm spending more time in the forums! Sad [:(]Big Smile [:D]

"It is well that war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it."-R.E.Lee


  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 25, 2003 10:03 PM
Sounds like you have your priorities straight ... family first. I'll echo what most of the others have said here ... take your time and work to your own speed. Remember that the kit reviewers and other 'pros' are working to customer imposed deadlines and the rest of us are not.
Myself, when I decide I want to build a ship I usually budget a year or so to research before I start making plans and cutting materials, and it usually takes another two or three to finish. The one I am working on now was researched for 18 months and after about 9 more the hull framing is nearly completed. I have two others in the research stage as well.
I don't budget a set number of hours, but work when opportunity and motivation dictate.
Mind you, I am looking at my stern framing while typing this instead of gluing ...

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Warwick, RI
Posted by paulnchamp on Thursday, September 25, 2003 10:06 PM
You will adjust, Snoopy. There are many of us with similar problems. I think you have already identified one part of your dilemma - you don't build in subassemblies. You should - it's a great way to get a feeling of accomplishment. And J-Hulk nailed the other part - motivation.

I used to go to shows all the time and come home depressed, thinking that I could never produce results that good. After a few years of this I learned to get inspired from visiting shows, rather than bummed out. View everything you build as practice, and it will keep getting better and better. As Maddafinger, Keyworth, Dwight, Swanny and everyone else has said, this is about relaxation, stress relief, and PERSONAL satisfaction. Don't make it into a chore. Deadlines are for your job, not your hobby!
Paul "A man's GOT to know his limitations."
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 25, 2003 10:21 PM
speed is not of the essence in model building. if you start to rush things, you will find yourself doing crappy work and you'll end up not building any more.all modelers i think are concerned with is the finished product. no one cares how long it takes, just what you end up with. keep going and dont give up building.
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Third rock from the sun.
Posted by Woody on Thursday, September 25, 2003 10:36 PM
I get frustrated some times with how long it takes me to finish something, any thing. What helps me is to just build something rather quickly. Just solid construction and a nice paint job. It is not my style to build quickly so the feel of finishing one gives me a boost and I get back to my regular building habits refreshed.

" I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way." --John Paul Jones
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 26, 2003 7:02 AM
On the contrary speed was what used to scare me. I usually finish my projects in less than a week *1/72* allowing paint and putty to dry etc. so when i heard of people going on for months i had them in my mind as the real pros!!!. Then it occured to me that it was a bid odd to spend 1000 hours in a 1/72 plane.....(OR NOT?).
  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Central MI
Posted by therriman on Friday, September 26, 2003 9:29 AM
Like everyone else said. Slow and steady. Take your time and enjoy it. Model building is more in the journey than it is in the destination. Also when fustration starts to set in, it's time to either 1) set that kit aside and go to another one, or 2) walk away for awhile.
Tim H. "If your alone and you meet a Zero, run like hell. Your outnumbered" Capt Joe Foss, Guadalcanal 1942 Real Trucks have 18 wheels. Anything less is just a Toy! I am in shape. Hey, Round is a shape! Reality is a concept not yet proven.
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Central USA
Posted by qmiester on Saturday, October 4, 2003 10:59 PM
Have you considered changing what you model? Maybe you would be happier modeling a car, armor, trains etc. I can and have built a 1/72 model over a weekend - by the same token I've got 1/35 M-109A5 that I have been working on for five years - got all the operators and maintenance manuals, slugs of pictures and for some reason have been installing every nut, bolt and electrical line I can see on it - by the same token I have spent many an evening in my modeling room never touching a model, just reading and listening to the stereo - I figure that room is for relaxing and isn't that what a hobby is for?
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Bicester, England
Posted by KJ200 on Monday, October 6, 2003 7:17 AM
I finally got around to assembling and dry bushing the under cart of my Arado555, last night, only 3 months after I did the initial paintwork.

In a similar vein, I only painted two lineside huts for my model railway last week, 18 months after I built them.

My He177 sits atop the fridge awaiting delivery of a compressor so that I can actually paint it (I can't paint any area larger than a stamp with a brush, without it looking like I applied it with a trowel!)

And I have never managed to finnish a model railway layout!!

But I do still enjoy it.

Like most of us, I have kids, a wife, a job, and modelling, in that order of priority.

Is it any wonder everything takes so long?


Currently on the bench: AZ Models 1/72 Mig 17PF

  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 6, 2003 11:02 AM
Hey Snoop,
I had (and still do to some point) the same problem as you. All the advice everyone has given here is great, but I'll still throw my 2 cents in, just so I can get a cool star by my number of postings Smile [:)].
Anyway, I was given what I thought was great advice...Just build SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Right out of the box, from start to finish. Dont worry about painting and seam filling or making it perfect. Build it like you did when you were a kid and have FUN!!! Do afew like that, then the next one, try to make it ALITTLE better. Maybe just paint the outside of it. Do afew like that, then when your happy, try something new, like puttying, or painting the interior. Once you have 5 or 6 models completed, you will feel better, even if they aren't "show quality". You can always build those later Smile [:)].
Build a plane, then a car, then maybe a dinosar. Switch out every once in a while to keep from getting bored.
And most important of all, dont fall into the rut I found myself in. Dont look at the pictures in modeling mag's and on websites like this and expect your kits to turn out like them the first few times. Even now, I look at my stuff and then at the Readers Galleries or something and think..."Why am I even TRYING?!?" Then my wife slaps me in the head and reminds me, I do it because I ENJOY it, not because I want to impress anyone. (Not yet atleast Smile [:)])
Just remember, you only have to make YOU happy, not the world. And if you had fun building it, who cares what it looks like when its done?
Just my 2 cents...
  • Member since
    December 2002
Posted by SNOOPY on Monday, October 6, 2003 11:58 AM
Well, I think with Fall here and in Upstate New York, Winter usually last until late May, I can probably get my motivation going. The only other problem is trying to find the money to go and get supplies I need for that next step. I think if I told my duaghter that I do not have the money for Christmas just so I can get either building supplies or another kits I would be looking for a lawyer from my wife really quickSmile [:)].

I think from what most of you said, just having fun building is the key. Let see how this Fall and Winter goes.

Thanks guys for all the help.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 6, 2003 1:09 PM
Our model RR friends have a technique I use in my efforts,"just good enough", when things do not show,backs of buildings etc,dont spend the effort,make yourself happy as to speed of construction,finishing,weather and add detail later if possible . Above all make it not seem like going to work.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 7, 2003 8:38 AM
My cars in 1/8th scale usually take between a year and 18 months to build. Mostly scratch. The devil is in the details! I turn my own pulleys, create my own blower belts, floor mats, and tires in rubber. I would note there are some I am familiar with who rvel in "a model a day"... to what purpose? The "I did it all" is real strong for me. I have been in contests where awards are given for best use of aftermarket parts, and to me, I make all my own aftermarket parts-wondering why would you want someone else's parts on your own creation? Time is basically irrelevant in building. As Amadeous put it.... It takes a certain amount of notes to make a song.Whatever time it takes to embody the image you hae of the finished model.. well, there it is!
  • Member since
    February 2003
Posted by Jim Barton on Wednesday, October 8, 2003 3:51 PM
Check out my post under "Estimate how many models you have built..." In the 1970's, when I was a kid, I used to churn models out like an assembly line. I got back into modeling in 1996, and as stated in that post, I've only built four models since then! Being out of work, I've got lots of time to model, but after ten months, I'm still less than halfway through my current project. (Part of this was because I wanted to open two doors and a rear liftgate, and when I did that, I had to do MUCH correction on the interior tub to get it looking right, plus a lot of boxing in by the vehicle's taillights. If Tamiya had an "open doors" option on their Jeep Cherokee, I'd probably be 60 to 70% finished.) With all the time on my hands, there are other hobbies that I indulge in...hiking; watching football; cleaning and admiring my insulator collection; reading and listening to music (yesterday, I painted parts of the model's interior tub, then put the model away and listened to Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, Dire Straits and the Atlanta Rhythm Section). So don't worry about the amount of time it takes to build a model (although I must confess, I worry a bit, also).

It is natural to sometimes feel you're stuck in a rut, especially if you're at a stage when all you're doing is trimming and filing, filling and sanding, more filling, more sanding, a little more trimming, a bit more filling and sanding, apply the primer and let it dry, ARRRGH! The primer reveals MORE holes that need to be filled and sanded; and after that's done, more primer, and maybe a little MORE filling. (I just recently went through this!) And then you look at your references and discover that you forgot to model that extra detail you wanted to put in, so it's back to that. On the other hand, it's sure a lot more fun when you're applying the actual paint and then assembling the parts. Just remember, every part that is glued into place is one part you don't have to worry about!Smile [:)]

"Whaddya mean 'Who's flying the plane?!' Nobody's flying the plane!"

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Canada
Posted by gar26 on Wednesday, October 8, 2003 4:00 PM
You could actually build a 1/72 scale model in a day if you were'nt worried about how it looks. To do a model you really have to be motivated to do it, time is not a factor. Some nights I will come home from work and maybe just paint 1 item or glue on a piece and that's it. Other nights I will work for a couple of hours on a kit.
On average I will have 2-3 kits on the go at one time, since sometimes when working on a kit all you can do is glue a piece then wait for it to dry. With the other kits I have to work on fills in the time. Never like to see anyone leave modeling but I guess in the end you have to ask yourself do you really want to build models.

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