Going in the right direction – fighting AMS

Like too many older model builders, I went from building a given kit in an hour or two (yay!) to clamping pieces  and letting the glue dry before putting on the decals.. so it was taking a day of calendar time for the hour or two… Then I started painting, first glossy, primary, colors, one or two on a given model, then more colors, flat colors, pretty soon every inch… I had a model car with the whole body painted, an airplane painted on top and bottom, AND insides AND nice glossy black tires.

The result was that it took me longer and longer to build a given model, particular if it was complicated or big. I reveled in complexity and detail, and added even more details on my own. But I finished more and more slowly, until I discovered I had a smallish pile of half complete kits and a burning desire to start more and didn’t really want to finish what I’d started. Well, I did, I wanted them to be finished perfectly. But I wasn’t really much of a perfect model builder.  Much easier,  to start fresh, than put in the sweat of effort and enduring the disappointment of a model that didn’t turn out like I’d wanted it to…

Inability to finish something is definately part of the dreaded AMS- Advanced Modeler’s Syndrome.

So I started a chart in my notebook with a line for each kit I had going and each 1/4″  (6.45mm) square represented a month- several years fit on one page this way.  I marked a small letter in the box for each activity I’d done toward finishing the model in that month, Cut, Glue, Sand, Paint, Decals, and Break for when an accident set me back. I didn’t mark L for Lost a part or R for researched the subject or A for aftermarket parts found, bought, etc. CGSPD covers most of what I do, F for File, D for Drill and that’s really about it.

The charts gave me several things. For one, as time went on I had an ‘aged’ status of my work in progress, showing how long each project had been going on and when it was last worked on. I could also see, clearly how many kits I had in progress and this was somewhat successful in stopping me from starting more…

I’ll have to scan a couple of sheets to show this stuff.

The point is, I have somewhat moderated in starting new projects, I know that I need to finish, and have some idea of what would be the easiest to finish.  So including back to December, 2008, ie the holiday vacation, I’ve completed:

Hasegawa 1/72  Ki-44 air-racer (flight of fancy)

Hasegawa 1/72 Grumman F11F-1 Tiger in Blue Angels’ markings

Airfix 1/72 Westland Whirlwind fighter

DML 1/144 F-117A as a YF-117 (small rudders) in 3 tone camo

Trumpeter 1/144 Spitfire Mk V

Crown/Mincraft 1/144 Spitfire Mk V

6 semi-scale toys about 1/160-1/175, made from square stock and scraps of sheet plastic

Crown/Minicraft 1/144 F-104J/G, a Christmas present form my family which I completed 2/6/09- less than 60 days!

1/700 P-38, P-47, P-40 in Olive Drab over Neutral Gray,  SB2C, F4U in gray-blue over gray, 3 P-40s in RAF Temperate Land, Day Fighter and D, desert schemes, P-51 Ds in USAAF natural metal and RAF Day Fighter schemes,  P-47s in Day Fighter and Frances Gabrelski’s camo bird.

Pretty cool!

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