My new best friend forever hobby shop has a fine selection of goods and is within a short drive from my home. It is open pretty much every day and is air-conditioned. The shelves are widely spaced and the products set out logically in divisions. They have credit card facilities and do not impose a surcharge for usage. the staff is kindly, knowledgable, and attentive.
So why do I walk around in there muttering under my breath?
Because it costs $ 69 for an AMT 1/25 scale plastic car kit.
It is a good kit. It has lots os spare parts and you can build the car in many ways. It is accurate and well-moulded and is of a vehicle that one would never have been able to obtain in the 1960’s. And it is $ 69.
$ 69 buys me an extremely good meal in a hotel with drink and dessert.
$ 69 buys me a bottle of good rye whiskey.
$ 69 transports me for two weeks around the town in my little car.
Of course, I also need to be honest and admit that $ 69 buys me all the new clothes I get in a year, and that’ll give you an idea of what my dress sense is. And $ 69 is the price of one of the cooking-quality die-cast cars that I collect – not a sophisticated piece by any means whatsoever. Modest tastes.
It’s old-guy sticker shock brought into the hobby store. It doesn’t take into account profits, inflation, economic trends, or anything. But it is a barrier to entering the world of model kit building – a barrier that I have finally had to leap by commencing scratch building.
Of course, that has its own impediments; skill levels, organisational plans, need for tools, need for ideas, need for courage – everything looks too difficult when you first see it. Even the books on the subject daunt one, as they seem always to have people who accomplish far more than you could ever contemplate…so how could you even start…
But one thing the scratch building does have that is appealing – price. I proved to myself just how little need be spent on weeks of fun by building a Cobbers caravan in 1:18 scale for my new diorama. The wheels are the only thing that had to be purchased – everything else was sitting in the scrap box or on the shelf of the office. Paint included, it represents the price of pint of beer at the Guildford Arms Hotel…and well under the price at the posh Swan Brewery pub.