For they shall forage throughout the land and profit greatly from the junk bins therein. And Lo – objects long dead will live anew.
Those readers who build their own small worlds know what I am writing about. Whether they are engaged in assembling model aircraft, building a train layout, or constructing miniature doll’s houses they have all been seen at various times going down the aisle in their local toy store peering at the Ninja Turtle figurines and wondering if anything could be made of them*.
Worse. They have done the same at the supermarket amongst the lighter fluid cans, plastic lunch boxes, and one-use dairy containers. ” Weirdo In Aisle Three.” Hardware stores have detectors at the door for model builders. Not to exclude them, you understand. To alert the staff to put out cardboard boxes of broken sprinkler fittings and discarded plastic packing pieces – in the entirely reasonable hope that the model builder will seize upon them and buy them for the turret of their new Crusader tank model.
A scratch builder is this again with the wick turned up. Scratch builders keep milk crates stuffed with plastic, wood, and metal scraps that they have accumulated over 35 years. The crates are a jumble but the contents are perfectly organised – in the mind of the builder. Model builders have a mental filing system that operates on shape – they remember the look of the cap of an SDI amalgam capsule from the dental surgery – normally an item thrown into the contaminated rubbish – and realise that it is the exact shape of the searchlight housing for a British torpedo-boat destroyer of the 1900’s. And 23,000 more shapes and sizes that are really other things in disguise.
Some people are fed by great art. Some by great greed. A model builder can gain nourishment in a dumpster and if it is parked out the back of the local watchmaking factory they need never hope for Heaven – they have found it already.
Model builders are the foragers of the workshop or warehouse floor – converting the detritus into something better. If you find one in your garage, do not squash him or her. You may have to put up with the occasional set of glue fingerprints on the refrigerator, but the overall effect will be to clean things up.
Just don’t leave any broken Walkmen or coffee makers around and expect them to have all their parts…
- Soup. Plastic soup.