Friday, November 15, 2013

More, Better, or More Betterer?

I have about 200 kits in my stash from cars to figures to all kinds of goofy stuff like a model of a guillotine.  I'm betting compared to most guys my stash is a little on the low side, because I know guys that have 1000 kits in their basement.  You're probably already thinking, "this is going to be one of those, we're getting old and won't be able to build them all" type of posts.  You are wrong.  This is a "should I build more kits faster or build fewer kits better and more detailed?" post.
I have a friend, Matt, that builds at lightning speed.  He builds several kits a month, mostly box stock or close to it, with some cool graphics on them.  He goes to shows with a huge plastic container of cars to shows and usually wins a few awards.  His stuff is pretty cool, but lacks details and realism to some degree. I'm not knocking his stuff, it's good, just not great.  I have another friend, Rob, he spent a year building a 1/12th scale Mustang.  This this is awesome! Machined parts, custom panel work, wired, plumbed, custom built exhaust, paint like glass, the works.  This thing wins best of show everywhere, it has been a feature car in Scale Auto Magazine, and has numerous awards for everything under the sun.
The question I pose is this:  Should you build more models or better models?  Would you rather have every kit in your stash built or 5 kits built to the nth degree?  I recently challenged myself with this very question and I decided I would rather build one kit exceptionally well rather than 5 kits just OK.  I have challenged myself to slow down, not say, "it's close enough", and to plan out my builds better.  The other thing I do is...*GASP*... buy fewer kits!  I know you're thinking, "but dude, there are so many cool kits coming out and I don't buy them how will my local hobby shop stay in business?" Well, buy all of those really cool detailing parts and lots of them, buy those cool decals from Slixx, learn to build better, and paint better.  Scratchbuild stuff, add metal parts, create stuff, and learn to paint realistic finishes both on the top and bottom of your kits.  Make them look real!  Take some tips from the "rivet counters" and don't be afraid to stretch your skills.  Develop "Singularity of Focus", something I made up to describe when you concentrate on one thing and do it well.  You can use this to develop one skill to perfection or develop a set of skills.
So, do you want to build more kits, build better, or build more betterer?  Next time we'll talk about contests and judging, this should get pretty messy.
"Rat Fink" Ron


  1. Frankly, it depends on your goal. If contests and winning are your goal then by all means build fewer - better. But if just having cool shelf models is the goal then build accordingly.

    I do a bit of both. I've found in my local contests that the unusual - catches the eye. A unusual paint color, weathering, theme, whatever, pulls the eye and interest, Those are the models that I build with contest quality. If it's just another '69 Charger, another Ala Kart build up, folks are used to seeing them and they get less interest regardless of build quality, even from judges. It might not be right, but there you are. Plan the build. Decide what level to built it to and do it.

    As for your points on build quality, you're right on the mark. A perfect realistic finish is the key to winning awards. It could have no added detail, but, a perfect finish, top to bottom, inside and out - wins. I have seen it happen. Best in Show with no added detail. Once you have this step down, then start adding detail.

    Buying fewer kits. Very hard to do. But I'm trying the same thing. I now have about 50 build-ables and fifteen parted out kits. I can't let it get further out of hand. It's hard enough to stay on one task with just what I have. I've also learned not to buy it until I have a plan for it. Spending money on something you don't have an immediate idea/plan for is wasted money and space. I watch the kits coming out each year and study them and do a little brainstorming. If something comes out that I really have an interest in, I'll get it. But I won't buy one just because it's a nice kit or I might have an idea someday.

    Anyway, I look forward to participating with your blog. Keep at it.

  2. Rob has a lot of good points. It depends on your goals. I try to work at one skill, painting (paint job). I have painted quite a few bodies just to work on my paint jobs. That seems to attract attention first. I try to add a few details. I don't buy a lot of aftermarket detailing. I have tried get to a happy medium. (more and better)
    It is tough not to buy the new kits! They have excellent detail... I try stick to kits that have good detail, rather than subject matter that I like. Again I try for a happy medium.

  3. Thanks for your comments (and the encouragement)! I think even the ones I build for my shelf should be better, I am learning to enjoy the process of building not just the finished product.