Saturday, December 27, 2014

Setting Up Shop

I recently moved and along with all of the joy that it brings there is also a ton of work that goes along with it.  Being a modeler brings certain challenges to the game such as the extra 10 or 12 giant boxes of unbuilt models, or the dozens of delicate built models you need to transport, or the set up at the new digs.  My new house has a good sized basement with lots of room for a model workshop and luckily my better half has no issues with what I do with the basement.  Now I know what you're thinking, "how is this even an issue?" sometimes too much choice makes a decision harder.
So I started with my 6 ft workbench I had at the old house in the corner, then I put my spray booth close to the window so it could be vented outside.  I then decided that I needed a small table beside the spray booth to "prep" the paint, so I used the 2 ft section I had cut off my workbench for that.  Of course the compressor has to go near the spray booth and a set of shelves to store paint and other stuff should be close to the painting area so I had to put those up.  I also needed shelves to put all of my kits on so I used the longest empty wall for that.  I put up 3 10 ft shelves thinking that would be enough space for my kits with room for growth, but I barely fit all of the kits I have.  More building and less buying is in the plan.  I also needed wall space for pegboard to hang all of my detail parts up, so I put that on the wall opposite from my kits.  Since I recently bought a lathe I needed someplace for that, and since you can never have too much work space, I built a 15 ft workbench under the pegboard.  There was already some shelves on the wall so I left them there.  So basically, my shop is set up as a giant "U" with a lot of empty space in the middle.
The last thing was electrical.  I needed more light and more plugs so I put a 4 ft. florescent light above every work station and a outlet every 3 ft around the perimeter.  You can never have too many plugs! I think I covered everything, but as I learned at my last house, no matter how well you think you planned it out, your needs will change.  I still have a few things left to do and some painting here and there, but I think I'm ready to be done moving and constructing the shop and start using it to build models.
"Rat Fink" Ron

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winner, Winner! Chicken Dinner!

I write a lot about contests in my blog because I really enjoy them, mostly because they give me a chance to see other people's models.  I look at them and scrutinize every detail to see what they have done, I mentally (well, sometimes not so mentally) criticize mistakes and poor construction as if I built it.  I do this in the hopes that I will learn from the mistakes of others, although I usually don't.  I can usually pick out the winners in each class but I can rarely see which model will get best of show unless it is blatantly obvious.  I love to see the cool ideas that other folks have for their kits and I enjoy seeing those extra details other guys add to their models.  Some guys are not content with just building a nice model, they have to build the best and good for them.  I can never seem to build them as good as I'd like, something always goes a little wrong. I always try to learn something at a contest.
I know some guys who are great builders, that always seem to build the first place cars and Best of Show winning models. These guys always tell you they build for themselves and some of them truly do, but not all of them.  I have seen several of these guys get a little upset and have "issues" with a show if they don't get a first place and/or a best of show.  They don't want to return to a show if they think they have been slighted or the show was unfair.  They appear completely oblivious to the fact that a lot of other guys entered their models and walked out empty handed.  Not that I'm one of the everybody gets a trophy crowd, but sometimes it ain't your day.  I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why one car wins and another one loses and I have concluded there is no pattern; it's whatever the judges like.  A well built model that is in the style of whatever is popular will beat out an exceptionally built car that's a little different.  Right now, gassers are hot in the 1:1 world and in the model car world, if you want to win, build a gasser.  That is not to say that is the only thing that wins, hyper-detailed Pro Mods are still winners, but you get the jist of what I'm saying.  Each category has it's own "hot" style of build.  Guys who like to win will shift what they build to what is hot and they will abandon a build if it starts to go a little south.
The part that annoys me about these guys is that the whole time they are building these contest winners they tell you how they only build for themselves.  Really? Because if a car doesn't start winning within a couple of shows, it disappears from the show circuit, never to be seen again.  I have actually know guys to sell them as built ups if they aren't winners, all the while telling me how they just build for themselves.
So all of this leads to the point of this post, why do the guys who rarely or never win enter contests?  Why do I enter contests?  I hung out with the guys who are concerned with winning and developed some of their attitude right up until I hit a dry spell with some cars that I thought were really well built, much better built and with more scratch building than stuff I had previously won with.  This led me to really examine why I enjoy contests and I concluded it was more about seeing other guys cars and talking "shop" with other modelers.  I really think I take my stuff to share with other guys and let them see what I have built.  I went to the Toledo NNL this past year with a new understanding of that show.  I have been several times in the past and I had fun, but I never really understood the draw.  I went to see the really cool over the top builds that show up but I could never get why so many of these builds only show up at NNLs.  I also never understood why my buddies who like to win don't seem interested in going up there even though it's close to home.  Then I got it.  It's not about your build, it's about seeing what others are building and sharing what you've built.  Because I've always liked seeing other guys models, I've always liked the NNLs, my buddies were seeing other guys stuff as rivals for the win, they don't want to just go to check out models.  So this little epiphany has changed how I look at contests and why I'm entering, I'm entering to share not to win.  My weird builds are mine and fun to look at, if they win something cool, but I'm here to hang out and talk models.
"Rat Fink" Ron

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Getting Back To It

I took a long break from modeling this summer; and spring; and fall. My last post was about our club's show and how much I enjoyed it, but then I just sort of stopped modeling.  There was no real reason other than I just wasn't motivated to do any.  I was going gun-ho on some altered wheelbase projects and ran into a paint problem on my 57 AWB Gasser project and it kind of took the wind out of my sails so to speak.  The other issue that comes up during the summer is my 1:1 scale 1959 Ford that I horse around with. In the spring i started building a stroker motor to put in it and then got side tracked with that.  At any rate, I'm back and now I have another issue. We recently moved.
I am amazed by the amount of crap I have because you never realize how much stuff you have acquired until you pack it up and move it. There is a lot of stuff you need to build models besides the 10 or 12 big boxes of model kits you have to move and then figure out where to put once you move.  On the plus side, I now have a much larger space for my work area and model kit storage area.
That brings up another problem, work area layout.  What is the best way to layout a work area?  I decided to put my 6 ft bench in the corner by the window and my spray booth close to that.  My kit storage will be along the opposite wall on shelves so that I can see the kits I'm going to rob for parts from my bench.  I also built a 15 ft bench along the wall beside the 6 footer as a work area for other things like resin casting and machining because I recently bought a lathe to machine parts.  I have a large open space in the middle for anything I might add later.  I think I covered everything and kept plenty of room for growth as my skills improve, in the meantime, I'll be busy building benches and adding wiring for plugs and lights, I hope I end up with the "perfect" shop.  Until next time.
"Rat Fink" Ron