Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Parting Company

Hobbies can be frustrating.

Take mine, for example. Still a kid at heart, I enjoy building the occasional model kit. For those who have forgotten the anticipation of converting a hundred or so plastic parts laying flat in a cardboard box into the three dimensional representation of a real vehicle, let me remind you of a few things.

First, there's the issue of those dollar bills (or credit card) lasering through your wallet. Shelling out twenty-five bucks for a bunch of oil byproduct shaped like a Corvette isn't a cognitive process. That issue leads to the next: marketing. The very thing which compels you to have to make payment arrangements with the electric company next month is as close as the airbrushed object of your affection displayed proudly on the box.

Speaking of money being spent, don't forget that no model can be successfully built without glue, a knife, paint, and brushes. Oh, and don't forget that pack of sandpaper formulated specifically for plastic models. At an additional five dollars, it's a steal. You'll also need flat black. (And what self respecting chassis would be caught dead without it?) That tacks on another three small ones. Of course, the coil springs will need to be represented. That means you'll be purchasing a bottle of silver paint -at two dollars more. Need glue? Here's a tube, and it's yours for another couple of bucks.

See what I mean by this being a frustrating hobby?

Then there's the issue of having spent thirty-seven smackaroos on supplies for a twenty-five dollar model kit. Actually, those supplies will also be used on future projects. They had better, or else you've wasted more money than could ever be accounted for by Brazil's gross national product.

Now you're at home, focused on all of those sprue-laden parts spread out before you. Great! Time's a-wastin', and you have a sports car kit to build.

Not so fast, Elroy. Before you begin, you need to remember that those parts, which were spit out of plastic moulds somewhere in Dyersville, Iowa, need to be washed with warm water and dish detergent to remove a thin film of oil used to aid in the parts not sticking to said moulds.

Uh oh.

You're out of dish detergent, being a dish washing machine kind of person. When you get back from Kroger with your Palmolive (great for hands, according to the bottle), you sneak a quick glance at the clock. The parts are going to take a few hours to dry. Disappointed, but with anticipation of a fun evening, you look over the instructions. Wow, there are so many ways this thing can be built. As much as I love the thought of a chrome-laden supercharger poking out of the engine compartment, I can't bring myself to butcher a hole through the hood just so some friends of mine can come over and say, "great job on the hood there, Lizzy Borden". With the decision made, you'll build this thing the way the factory did, although you'll deviate from the course just enough to include the nifty mag wheels which came with the kit.

Hmm. Seems that one of them has an irreparable crack. Now you'll have to spend an hour or so combing through your parts boxes (yes, the ones which also have loose change and old receipts dated November 2010 from Wendy's). You found four matching wheels which are going to look great on the 'Vette.

Except that they're just a little too big for the kit-supplied tires. Not a problem, you reason. "I'll simply trim the inside diameter of the tires.

Oh, yeah. Now the wheels fit. In fact, they fit so well that now they fit all the way through the Goodyears and onto the carpet. But hey, that's what glue is for. With four tires and wheels now firmly in place, it's time to get to work on the body. After sanding off the excess plastic, you paint the thing a light metallic blue. Absolutely stunning in its beauty, you realize that the whole odyssey has been worth it to this point.

That point is over as a gnat, smelling the sweet odor of the lacquer, decides to land on Runway Corvette. While he does his best impression of Ice Capades across the top of your otherwise pristine paint job, you look down in time to see the wheels once again slipping out of the tires.

Money can't buy you happiness.

Sixty-two dollars, however, can buy you a roomful of irritation as you box the whole mess up and toss it on the top shelf of your closet. Good thing you still have most of that sandpaper.

You'll need it next spring when you feel the urge to indulge in a hobby.

Until then, parting isn't such sweet sorrow.


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