More Lessons Than I Wanted To learn


Have you ever been in a situation where you thought that you were in complete control and you weren’t?

Or bought something that was going to be just the thing, and it wasn’t?

Taught you a lesson, didn’t it? Ot tried to teach you a lesson, if only you would be receptive to it…

I frequent hobby shops. Not to the pathological point – I stop short of licking the boxes. But I have been a habitué of these places since I was a little kid. I have been happy, sad, and puzzled in turn when I looked at what was on offer…and like all modellers I now kick myself for:

A. Buying some things.

B. Not buying some other things.

A is the case when the box art of a model airplane or train or car is so seductive as to cause your brain to momentarily tear loose from its rubber mountings and flail around inside the skull. You wilfully disregard all the warning signs; sealed box, serif lettering on all the descriptions ( sign of a maker who does not speak English as a native tongue and will not spend the money for a decent English-speaking graphic artist ), and a smell from the plastic that vaguely reminds you of kimchee.

You go ahead and give the hobby shop man enough money to take the kit home ( another bad sign is when he and his assistant give each other high fives when you walk out the door…) and fantasise about how great it is going to be. You will be happy right up until you open the box and take out the parts.

Nothing fits? Nothing looks right? Parts missing  ( and an address in Guan Zhao province to write to for redress…)? Instructions written in Chinglese? Parts that look like nothing ever seen on the planet? Welcome to the Workshop Of Regret. You will pass many hours here and your soul will be burned clean…

B is when you saw this weird model kit of a 1961 Chrysler Valiant in a dump bin at the Hudson’s Bay Company toy department that no-one would ever buy because it was see-through metal-flake plastic. And bought it because it looked like it would work. But it didn’t, so you threw it away. Not knowing that it was the only ’61 Valiant kit on the planet and would never surface again…and NOW you need one. Ditto all the unsalable Oriental plastic shit that was dumped on the shelves of country general and drug stores in the 60’s and 70’s that made up into really sad stock cars with decals…but that we now need desperately. hey don’t even have it in Japan and I looked specifically for it.

I have to stop now. I’m overcome. Overcome with grief for not getting more of the horrible stuff when it was fresh horrible stuff…and for spending my Christmas present money of current re-issues of horrible stuff. It is sort of styrene penance. You build and suffer, suffer and build. Presumably learning the lessons…

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