Hunting the Mojo!

As I mutter fairly regularly in several parts of this website much of my modelling is done to meet one or another of my self-imposed timescales, usually to tie in with a show in which the What If? SIG is appearing at which I hope to provoke that quick second glance. To this end I generally have two or three models struggling for their share of the restricted space on my workbench, which in itself can be influenced by the size/scale of the models in progress. The upside of this system - system? - is that the bench is generally cleared more or less in one swoop so that I can start on the next bit of the, or at least a, Master Plan with another end date in view and a self-motivated impetus.

But I've discovered a downside to this. Traditionally there's a lull - and not just for me - following Telford, made up of a combination of exhaustion and indecision. Part of this can be attributed to the selection of goodies that emerge gradually from the boot, or at least the back shelf, on reaching home with much of it vying for attention as soon as the modeller emerges from the semi-daze that follows ScaleModelWorld as surely as filler follows resin. This year the "Lonewulf" Sidetrack Sea Harrier was an easy choice for my restart, with a donor kit already to hand and an obvious and ready colour scheme - well, obvious to me anyway - and while there was no imminent show to which it could travel it was done and on the Workbench page by the beginning of December. It was the other and much larger occupant of the bench that, along with the imminent arrival of the Christmas hiatus and another consequent self-imposed deadline that contributed to something of a hiccup.

I've covered my Javelin FAW.6 in "Mike's Pick", and there's no doubt in my mind that while its BIG box had been nudging me almost evey time I sat down to pick up a pair of cutters or sanding stick it was the choice of mark offered by the Alley Cat conversion, bringing as it did the option of a slightly different shape and a less familiar unit marking that galvanised me. And of course it took its, and my time; once the Shar was done and offered up to cyberspace the Javelin took centre stage both metaphorically and literally, with the push to get it finished coming from my plan to get it on to GOM.com before Christmas. In the event was foiled by gremilins (the Roald Dahl kind, of course, not those critters) and until this hiccup was sorted I felt less inclined to hurry back to the workbench at the beginning of the year, partly I suspect because with the Milton Keynes show which had previously been my first target for a new year moved right for climatological reasons I dithered over what to start next, and for when (I can dither well given the opportunity - it's must be the residue of my management training). The little F-RSIN Wibault took up a bit of space and time, so that any confusion over what to do next could clear gradually and the sharkmouthed Typhoon and the twin-boomed Boulton Paul shuffled their way forward; both boxes and "Sharky's" decals were nudging me as I tried to use a little of the lull to sort out my workbench and eventually the modelling squeezed out the worthy, but probably doomed, wish to be able to find any particular paint at will. Anyway the cement is flowing again, I have the second Unicraft Boulton Paul to attempt - and I'm almost sure of the intended scheme - and the Osprey with the big eyes that I saw at El Centro this time last year and which got muscled to one side by 7 Squadron is becoming insistent; I have the t-shirt on which to take its photo, and that's been lying around reproachfully for twelve months now. And it's about to be my first big show of the year; I'm off to the People's Republic of South Yorkshire (aka Huddersfield) in a couple of days , and surely there'll be something to bring back from that that'll stamp its little foot and demand attention and application, maybe even the Airfix Tiger Moth to remind me of the one in which I learned how pilot naviagation could render you seriously uncertain of your position. Perhaps like incipient signs of Spring it's not too much to hope that the Mojo is stirring! 13/02/14

Me and The Resin

There are some stages in my modelling that I can date fairly precisely. Plastic modelling, at least in its then available form, was for me when I was about ten years old, with the first of the Frog Penguins to become available after the war, and I remember very clearly the Spitfire XII and the Vampire 1, not least for their retractable undercarriages, and for some reason the undercarriage of one of the Dorniers - 17? 215? - comes unbidden to mind. Whether they just disappeared from the market or just became too expensive I don't now know but my next medium was invariably balsa, with its attendant residue of "sawdust", partly involving what we now know as "scratch-building" but also with much input from the local firm - I was living near Bournemouth - of Veron. They also produced kits of flying models, to which I graduated in my early teens in a rather haphazard manner but abandoned when the fruits of my labours showed an unerring instinct for homing on to trees and railings; it maybe that my predeliction that continues ro this day for finding it very hard to mend the broken stems from their kamikaze habits. This method of production, both at home and at school, continued with a steady flow of my own "designs" until, in my new "best blue" I went to Canada where I met not only the Harvard but also the first of a new generation of plastic kits, using polystyrene and principally from Revell, Lindberg and Aurora (one or two of these are sometimes revived to this day!).

Back in England I have equally clear memories of the first of the new Frog plastic range, notably the Sabre and the Hunter (43 Squadron markings, of course, and the pilot's head moulded in to the cockpit halves) when I was at Chivenor in the glorious summer of 1956; and my first Airfix kit, probably a Gladiator but perhaps a 109, was bought while on detachment to Sylt that December (well, it was far too inclement for Abyssinia Beach).

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