Driving Miss Daisy

Ask anyone and they will tell you I’m pretty much stuck in my own little miniature world. When it comes to assembling models, I usually stick with my favorites, which are airplanes and armor. Rarely will I catch myself in venturing out doing or constructing something away from my comfort zone. Building a car kit is one of them.

Next to ships, cars never did it for me. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I remember building ALL of Tamiya’s 1/12th formula-one race cars when they first came out. I still like those a lot! Some of their first releases are almost 50 years old! Quality and design wise, they are timeless!

But other than that, I can’t recollect, building another car kit. As with ship models, I was tempted a few times over the years but a purchase never came to realization.

I’m also convinced and correct me if I’m wrong, that car modelers are a breed of their own. The knowledge, subject dedication and possessing an absolute commitment to produce immaculate masterpieces is something a true car modeler is passionate about. When I see these guys talking shop of which carburetor would fit on what Chevy or when a discussion erupts about a certain car maker who switched door handles twice in 1967, I am completely lost and only embarrass myself taking part in the conversation…unless they start arguing about a 1957 Belgian made dipstick. I’m sure I could relate to that and add a few words!

I have also observed that for some reason, car modelers are also one of the elect few species that can handle an airbrush like no other. Applying gloss lacquers is not for the faint at heart. But somehow these fellas are true masters in spray-painting a varnish without one dust spec or applying a coat of metallic apple-blue-sea-green, without blinking an eye!

Besides being a stand-on-its-own article, car models are the perfect lure to ensnare a younger generation into the realm of our hobby. Especially because the majority of manufacturers usually have most of the parts pre-painted with the appropriate colors. Therefore, it makes it the perfect gift to a “young ‘un” without costing a fortune or the mess of knocked over thinner and paint bottles!

Don’t get me wrong, I can stand in awe for quite some time, gazing at the craftmanship that goes into a car model when entered in a competition. The chrome-work, paint job and an organic harmony of well-connected cables and wires, gets even a hopeless dweeb like me to dismount his horse. The artistry and skill that is injected into a well-executed car model, deserves or even mandates extra attention. That’s why car modelers are different than people like me, who’s undying passion for weathering, directs him towards an incurable urge of slinging mud and grease stains around!

That said, building an automobile can be very relaxing and for the novice out there, a rewarding, uncomplicated experience, easing into the hobby.  Take a crack at a car kit soon with Squadron’s expanding collection – a change of pace is always a good thing!


Jef V.

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