The boy and I entered a hobby shop the other day. I try not to go into hobby shops, because it is all too easy to decide to pick up a new hobby. This hobby shop was no exception.
On one side, of the store is the RC car and airplane section. Wheels, controllers, engines, props, you name it. Everything you might need to enjoy a radio-controlled anything is right there. On the opposite side of the store is the model train section, with every gauge of track, every type of artifical landscape you could imagine. In between is a cornucopia of potential interests, from model-building to model rocketry.
I am always drawn to the models. I went through a model-building phase when I was a kid, mostly spacecraft. I always enjoyed putting the models together, but then I would get really frustrated when it was time to paint them. I could never get them to look like the perfect scale model depicted on the box. Instead, mine looked like crap. Plastic crap. With obvious brush strokes and beads of extra glue at the seams.
But I did enjoy some aspects of model-building, and so I like to cruise the aisle and see what is available. I went through the car section (never very interesting), through the model ship section (more interesting), to the aircraft models (now you’re talking), and started looking for the spacecraft.
When I was a lad, you could construct an “Eagle” from Space:1999, fighters from UFO, the space shuttle, the lunar lander, and of course, the USS Enterprise. But the only familiar model I could find in this store was a set of “adversaries” from Star Trek. Everything else was some type of spacecraft or mecha from an anime or manga I’d never heard of. Everything else.
Wow. I’m getting old.
So, I was a little dispirited. I looked at the Estes rockets, but my heart wasn’t in it. I wandered over to where my son was playing with a Brio train set in the model railroad section. My gaze drifted upward, and I saw them.
Wooden ship models. The were arranged along the wall above head height, big cardboard boxes with beautiful pictures of sailing vessels on them, their names ringing down from history: USS Constitution, the Cutty Sark, the Santa Maria, the Bluenose II. I immediately compared the experiences I had with plastic models to the time I had spent helping the boy with his derby car. There was no comparison. Working with wood was so much more satisfying. And more forgiving.
The models were arranged by skill level, level 1 to level 3. I got the attention of an employee, and asked them if I should really start with a level 1 model. After all, I had some experience with modeling, and I wasn’t some child. He answered immediately. “Oh yes. Even though the level 1 kits are easier, there’s still some modeling to do. You can still spend several weeks on one.”
Hmmm. After much consideration, I settled on the level 1 version of the H.M.S. Bounty, infamous site of the Bligh mutiny. According to the box, when I’m done it will look like this:
I picked up some fine grit sandpaper, and a bottle of cyanoacrylate glue, and headed home. Once there, I opened the box to examine the contents.
Holy crap, what are all those tiny little pieces?
Ah. See, an “easy” kit like this is usually considered “easy” because it includes a solid hull. You just have to paint it. You don’t have to build it from ribs and planks from the keelboard up. However, all of the other fittings, and the rigging, of my Bounty would have to be built from their tiny, tiny, little component parts. Whoo-boy.
Well, I’ve started already, and I’ve actually completed the very first baby step. It’s entirely possible that I will actually continue this project, and there is a small chance that I might even complete it. Perhaps to give myself some incentive, I might just create a ‘Bounty’ page where I track my progress. Maybe.
I’ll think about it.