Restoring The Faith

Editorial by: Christian Schonberger / DF Co-Webmaster


How many of us have ongoing projects which came to a halt because one wants the best quality and the job simply became too tedious and daunting?

The unfinished model usually is carefully stored in boxes or wrapped and stored in a safe place until we pick up again some day (?) where we left off.

Then we start a new model. Of course, something easy to provide us with a much needed sense of accomplishment, but with less effort, maybe in a smaller scale, and we promise ourselves to be less ambitious this time (almost straight out-of-the-box with only minor improvements) simply because this is a model to take a break from the other, bigger project. But trouble is waiting just around the bend.

Of course we do a little research on the original ship, a few posts on the DF Forum and a couple of emails to fellow ship modelers - and we find ourselves planning on fixes and detailing again. As our knowledge grows, we become attached to the ship and soon we are unable just to ‘slap it together’. The kit's errors become unacceptable as if each one of them has a magnifying glass attached. Seeing the fine work of fellow modelers posted on websites doesn't help either. We are inspired yes, but we want to prove ourselves that we ‘got what it takes’. That is only human.

Soon the work that still lies ahead becomes tedious and daunting. So this project comes to a halt, just like the one before. Here we go: boxing and storing, joining the first model.

And so on...

I guess one of the reasons modeling fun becomes a daunting task is the fear of making mistakes, the fear of not being ‘accepted’ by the ‘modeling community’, whatever that means. Of course we all know that superdetailing has no end. We must make compromises and omit certain things for the sake of getting the model done one day. Yet any ship modeling project with fixes and the use of photo etched parts with the goal to closely represent the original at any given time frame is time consuming and requires concentration, and might eventually become tedious and discouraging to the stalling point.

Our hobby is not only about relaxation, it is about challenges as well. The latter is the refreshing part.

Yet in spite of all these conclusions we desperately need the aforementioned sense of creative accomplishment - an integral part of the modeling hobby - and the human mind.

My suggestion is the following: Why not assemble and paint a 1/600 model almost straight out-of-the-box, with a very limited and pre-defined number of fixes (no second thoughts!)? We can display the model and one day replace it by a finer, more accurate version. I would almost bet that the latter will not become necessary at all.

Here are three suggestions for this kind of project:

1) The 1/570 (+/-) Revell Queen Mary using the TMW generic 1/600 photo-etched set which contains the railings and the shrouds / ratlines. We do not change any of the styrene parts except for cutting out the railings to be replaced. We use the paint suggested by the instructions except for the funnel color for which we chose a more orange-red. We only use putty for obvious sink holes and ill-fitting parts.

2) The 1/600 Airfix Queen Elizabeth (the first one). We use the TMW generic photo etch set for railings and ratlines and the ‘Russ Wild / Scott Reigel’ window decal set. Again, no fixes of styrene parts and the only different color is the funnel color, same as Queen Mary.

3) We participate in the Build The Same Kit Event by building the Airfix 1/600 Queen Elizabeth 2 almost totally straight out-of-the-box. This time the only fixes are applying Evergreen K-2 styrene strips on the downside of the forward bridge wings (this fix only takes minutes) and using a better choice of colors (Onno's model is an excellent guide), including a two-tone lower hull. The upper color being a medium bright red and the lower a flat brick / claypot color, slightly darker than the upper red. Some puttying is required. No photo etched parts.


Rules for all three projects: No drilling out of portholes. The ones in the white hull area will be marked with a black permanent marker fine tip pen.

We do not go for contest quality. Some minor errors are allowed. We do not need to airbrush everything if it's inconvenient. If we feel like brushpainting certain parts or areas, we go for it.

The idea is to get the model done the best possible as opposed to striving for perfection in each detail. We go for the overall look, feel and appearance and focus on the whole, not the detail.


Objective: With only an hour and a half of work each evening any of the above projects can be finished within a little over a month. And after that our faith in ourselves - and modeling - might be restored. Then we can pick up work on the stored-away models again. Most likely we will have a new approach to modeling and know that a model is not the sum of its parts, it's about balance.

Now I need to have the strength to put the above into practice myself!


Happy modeling!



CS / 12-03