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Why do You Really Build Models? Please excuse the Gaps and Twists in Timelines.

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Why do You Really Build Models? Please excuse the Gaps and Twists in Timelines.
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, November 28, 2020 3:01 PM

Interesting Question, Right?

          I think so. I do know that back in the day I did it to pass the time. Didn't matter if they had all the parts or not, ( usually, Fountain Rescues). Seems that it was harder than I thought to live by myself while Dad was on a trip out of town.

        Well, We had a Policeman that lived down the street, he checked on me from time to time. Dad set up my meals with the local diner. What to do when homework was done? I could read( Went to the Library a lot) or watch T.V.

 I bought at F.W.Woolworth a Comet E.Z. Flying Model Airplane. Shoot, it was only a Quarter and the Glue was also a quarter and Wow!Spent a whole fifty cents and had some fun. When I got almost done with it I thought it was funny.The real planes at the airport didn't have those rough corners. So I got some Sandpaper and Shellac and finished it out to look more realistic.

 Put some Pactra paint on it( F.W.Woolworth sold that too.) Seven Cents a bottle.( We're not talking Testor's square Bottle sized either, We're talking Model Master Size)White wings and red Fuselage with two narrow black stripes cut from the instruction sheet on both sides. Clear Windshield area.

      You know what? It flew fairly decent too! Only on windless days though! I wanted more. Well, the years went by and I did get more. High School, A Wife  at Sixteen and models galore. She Liked to sit and watch me build them. Viet Nam was in the Future. We, as a couple, weathered Boot Camp and then she Paraded her newly graduated Sailor around to her friends.

     Then Naval schools. No, She stayed and helped her grandfather with his store. Spare time for me. Sitting in the Rec. Center and building a model car. I had built some A.M.T Kits back home with Dad but they were basically Promos molded in White Styrene with Lotsa add on parts and decals. Never used either item.

      When I got transfered to San Diego for Advanced damage Control School I was introduced to Revell I/25 model cars. I remember a kit from the fifties ( 1957 Ford Country Squire, Multi-Piece Body) These weren't. 53,55,56,57 Chevies and all the doors and hoods and trunks opened and front wheels steered.

      But boy, they were sure fragile! But, Then I discovered some old Victory at Sea sets from Revell. I had had them when I was bouncing around grandparents and foster homes after the usual Mom and Dad terminal Seperation/Divorce/Custody rules. The models helped me keep my head screwed on straight. Finding them at the Rec. Center was a trip down memory lane that piqued and renewed my interest in Floaty Thingies.

 Well shoot! Between Service to my country in two different Uniforms and many years gone by. I found myself a Civilian again. Still Married to the original, and have two of three adopted Daughters. ( Got them from the Native American Reservations) One more in the paperwork stage . So? What does this Idjit do? I go to Sea!

    Yeah, Worked my way up from Engineering to the Bridge. Left the company with a partial company retirement, and started my own business. What did I do those long days and weeks at sea? Built models. Ships mostly, and every Plastic Motoryacht I could get my greedy hands on.

 Left the Company when I had to ride herd on my own. Played at being a business-man ( the Wifey really ran it.) I worked every position I could handle except Electrical and Plumbing. Still went home at sunset and weeekends to be with family

 Built models and the girls watched, even when they were in their rocker cradle/carry device sitting on top of the file cabinet next to me. Built a few for friends and moved into the Design Phase of my proffession. Started doing Site models and Custom models on the side. Legal models came next. ( Computers hadn't ruined it for the one man shop yet) Then Presentation pieces. Then Visual decorations( Still strictly in a known scale though) For Restaurants and Convention Centers.

 Then Branched out to Marinas and Rental Boats to earn a living. Built Models of my employer's boats at Clean Bay( we were under contract to them) Clean Seas and a few Museum Quality Restos. A set piece for a Model RailRoad Store. and many, many hand and machine carved, hand finished, period ski and cruise boats.

  Now, I am 77yrs young( two heart attacks and various other things detrimantal to life and I am still here.). Gone through two wives turned Angels and I still Build Models. Ya Know Why? They are still fun and help me keep my head screwed on straight. Scratch-Building has become more fun too. More products available, P.E. Computer Printed and Resin as well as Evergreen and Plastruct.

 Do I still enjoy it? You Bet. Sorry this was so long winded, but I had to complete the picture. I am in the progress of building H.M.Vs Card Model of the 1/250 Andrea Doria. Yes, as a child I was in the area as a Cabin Boy on my uncle's fishing Boat, never got to fish that day. Also never stopped wanting a plastic model of the ships I saw that day. Never happened, so paper was and is, it!

      Lastly, my friends, I never stop promoting Found materials models, never ever give up on those. There's some nice model ships and boats hiding in that stuff!. 


  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by TnT92 on Friday, December 4, 2020 3:59 PM

Funny how our lives change over time, and for some of us modeling sticks with us.  First off thanks for your service. 

I am 57. Born in 63. Built my 1st model in 72, it was tom daniels fire iron. My grandma on moms side passed at the age of 50 in 72, i was 9. My always said she has never seen any body closer than us 2. Heck i cried for 3 days. We were poor. Or very close to it. For therapy DRs told parents to find something to keep me occupied. On a trip to the local superx store( superx was like walgreens or cvs.) I found the model. Built it. Then i think my 2nd one was a little battleship. I built quit a bit in the 70s. 81 after graduation went in the army. Built a few while in service. Wife, kids, work, and life came about. This last time i jumped back in with both feet and then some. I have built a few with my kids. Son passed in 2019 from cancer. He played warhammer 40k and built some models. I was lucky to be off from work on dissability. One of our last days out we drove up to a new hobby shop, mostly warhammer. He picked out a model, we got started, barely.  So for me " why i really build models" is more like a therapy. But i do like trying to improve my skills. This past year i have bought way more kits and parts than i ever have. Now just need to find the time to build.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, December 4, 2020 4:10 PM

For lots of reasons and they've changed over time.

I was a lonely little boy and usually had one friend at a time. We would build models after homework.

I was a lonely guy in High School with a lot of manual dexterity so I worked on cars and built models. Played a little piano. 

Architecture school is pretty self-explanatory.

Later it kept me out of bars.

Now I model when the subject is featured in something I'm reading.



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Friday, December 4, 2020 5:06 PM

I enjoy learning about history and the process of the build sequence.  I really like opening a new box and examining the instructions and figuring out the best way for me to get it together.  Modeling has so many various techniques and the most fun part is expermenting what works best for me.  I always felt comfortable being alone and this is a hobby I can do by myself.  

I would watch dad build models so I'm sure that's how it started.  I always loved race cars and fighter planes so no surprise that's what I build.



  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Friday, December 4, 2020 5:26 PM

Chicks dig it

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Friday, December 4, 2020 5:28 PM

Ed has the best response.  Wish I thought of that.  Thanks for the laugh.

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: the redlands Fl
Posted by crown r n7 on Friday, December 4, 2020 6:19 PM

For me its therapy. I've building all kinds of models over many years. The brands of paints come and go.The different cements, tube to super thin types. i can go on and on. The only constant is the smell when you open the box its like getting a test in elementary school printed on a mimegraph machine and every one in the class would smell the test paper yes... I still fell good building models.



  • Member since
    November 2020
Posted by TnT92 on Saturday, December 5, 2020 6:30 AM

crown r n7

For me its therapy. I've building all kinds of models over many years. The brands of paints come and go.The different cements, tube to super thin types. i can go on and on. The only constant is the smell when you open the box its like getting a test in elementary school printed on a mimegraph machine and every one in the class would smell the test paper yes... I still fell good building models.



Aw yes that smell. Naptha is what it is i believe or partly is. Every now and i still get a whiff of that smell from time to time.  Turning out blue/purple printed papers with a hand crank. Good stuff right there.

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Denver
Posted by tankboy51 on Saturday, December 5, 2020 12:00 PM

Why do I build?  Good question.  It has been something that is part of me.  I have also been as big on models as I have on the entertainment Star Trek, J.R.R. Tolkien, and things of that nature.  I am not into traditional activities, sports (I am bored with them), mechecal, woodworking, anything electronical.  I do like handling small parts and airbrushing and hand painting.   I love reading, History and Sci-Fi fantasy.  

My life was very (I guess) normal.  Mom and Dad, regular home life, school and for me, college .  Advance degrees in Anthropology, Geology.  No military.  I kept on modeling because it was something fun to do.  I did get married had a daughter who loves medical work and also very artistic, ( she has won few modelling awards with her Dinosaur models).  

I did join IPMS  45 years ago when I was 25.  Loved it!  I'm still in it.  I go to contests, judge, give classes on building models and I have won a few awards.  I have traveled a little in the U.S., some Mexico and Europe.  But my life has been mostly about plastic models.  And mostly Word War II tanks and aircraft.  I have largely every tracked and wheeled subject made, a lot of the prop planes and a few jets.  Why do I build?  I realy don't know.   

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Saturday, December 5, 2020 12:22 PM

Chicks dig it

There's the comment of the week. Yes



  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by Surface_Line on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 1:38 AM


Chicks dig it

Must be true.  When the first wife left, she took some of my built models with her.

And over the past 34 years, the current wife has been accumulating some of my models on her desk.  (There's another one coming to her for this Christmas, but don't tell her)


  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 3:32 PM

Simply, I like doing it and always will till I take the stash up to the "Great Workbench In The Sky". Hopefully Angel but if not Devil.

Jim Captain

Stay Safe.

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by Surface_Line on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 9:35 PM


Simply, I like doing it and always will till I take the stash up to the "Great Workbench In The Sky".

One of the items on my Future Project list is a hearse with a U-Haul trailer behind, full of model boxes.  Maybe I'll need a train of half a dozen trailers - haven't figured that part out yet.


  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Central Oregon
Posted by HooYah Deep Sea on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 10:16 PM

Frankly speaking, life itself is scratch-built. Assembled from mostly unassociated pieces/parts in the hopes that it will someday be at least fairly complete when the day of our demise comes. Assembling models, out of the box, bashed to hell, or scratch-built like life, permits me to be creative without the ultimate worry of my own timely or untimely passing.

There, is that deep enough?

"Why do I do this? Because the money's good, the scenery changes and they let me use explosives, okay?"

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 7:21 AM
No big deep reason,I enjoy it,its my hobby and relaxation.

  • Member since
    July 2014
Posted by modelcrazy on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 8:29 AM

Lots of diffrent little reasons but ny wife summed it up just the other day. She asked what was my calling in life (what makes me happy and I'm good at)? I said I don't know but I do know I'm not doing it. She said "I was always happy and thrived when I was building houses". I thought about it and concluded she was right. I always loved building things, but alas that aspect of construction is a younger man's career. She said "your outlet now is modeling". I thought about it and again she's right. I love building things and it also allows me to engage my brain with history and research. It's also an outlet for my artistic side.


Building a kit from your stash is like cutting a head off a Hydra, two more take it's place.

  • Member since
    August 2013
  • From: Michigan
Posted by Straycat1911 on Saturday, December 26, 2020 11:10 PM

Honestly, the older I get, the less I have any idea why. 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Sunday, January 10, 2021 8:40 PM

Well, I'm a bit late to this topic, but I'll chime in my with story.

I'm 53, born in '67, and built my first model by '70-'71 (with help from Dad).  During my early years, I can think of a couple of reasons why I built.  First, those old Monogram kits with the working features were fun and easy to put together and yielded hours upon hours of great play time.  In those days it was just a process to open that box up, get the Duco cement tube and start building; no painting until I was roughly 8-10.  Second, there were some things in my life that were entirely beyond my control (parents divorced when I was 7 and I relocated with my Mom to my grandparents' home town), so modeling gave me some focus while I went about a difficult transition to a town where I knew no one outside of family (and where I would never count more than 5 or so people as good, life-long friends).

Up until some time in '77, I only built WWII subjects (mostly aircraft) and a few monster / dinosaur kits by Aurora.  Then a couple of things happened that changed my focus:  a movie came out that I had no interest in seeing - Star Wars.  My Dad ultimately convinced me to go see it about a month after it came out; when we got home, I immediately grabbed all the loose cardboard and tape I could find in our house and set out to build a fleet of X-Wings and TIE Fighters.  Soon enough MPC would release their iconic kits, of which I built all of them, some repeatedly.  The other thing that happened was a new-found interest in baseball.

Baseball coincided with the move to my grandparents' town, and as I went through this new interest in sports and all through junior high, my interest in modeling waned.  I still built an occasional kit - I remember building the Black Hole and Star Trek The Motion Picture kits that came out with those movies, and I built that ALIEN figure from the movie that scared the ever living cr** out of me, Alien.  As for aircraft, I did many of the Monogram jets that came out, but I knew that I had changed when Monogram released their massive B-36 with that glorious box art, and I opted not to ask for it for my birthday (much to my Dad's surprise, as those big bomber kits had always been gifts at the birthday or under the Christmas tree).

High school and college years, I built maybe 5 kits. Maybe.  Then I built a couple more right after college graduation when the Persian Gulf War erupted - and that was that. I was done with modeling.  But you know, it's easy to say "that's it, I'm done", and I even went several years.  Strangely, though, I kept having some truly wierd dreams during this time frame, dreams where I'd be in some kind of warehouse store, and there would be an entire row stacked floor to ceiling with models.  And not just your regular 1/48 offerings; no, some of these would be in a scale so big the box was never going to fit in the cart.  But, these were just dreams; I never acted on them - until I did.

I found myself shopping at a K-Mart for toiletries, stuff like that, when I ventured down the toy aisles to find a good selection of kits.  By this time, I was well into my software engineering career, was not married as yet, and had been working on a novel about WWII (never finished, at least not as yet), so when I saw the Revell 1/32 Beaufighter that I had (a) never built and (b) never even knew such a kit existed, well, that was the spark.  I loaded up my basket with about 5 new kits that day, as well as a meager list of supplies, and off I went.

That happened in '95. I've been building ever since.  I've continued to build all these years for some of the same reasons as I've already cited.  It's fun.  It keeps my brain focused.  And a new one, geared for my wife - it keeps me out of the bars or off the golf course (I stink at that game, but still); she always knows where I am.


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