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Why I Build Models?
by Doug Wickman

 

I think it all starts with an intense interest or want of the subject.  I believe this is how it starts with a lot of modelers.  For me, it was want for all things military.  I don’t know how it happened, but I believe I was born with it.

As a child, I wanted toys with a military theme.  I probably had every GI Joe and accessory that was available.  My friends and I would play army and shoot at each other with toy guns (not very politically correct now days).  Ships, Tanks, Airplanes and Army Men (you know the ones) were my bedmates.

One day, in the local Five and Dime, I found a Toy that I just had to have.  It was a beaut!  It was an airplane, swept back wings, pointy nose, awesome camouflage and the name Thunderchief on the box.  Wow, what a name for an airplane!

My Grandmother told me it was a model and that I would need glue.  Heck, I didn’t care.  I just had to have that “toy”.  In short time, I had bribed my Nammie out of the whole $2 or so that it cost. I think I was six years old.

I remember the joy. Ripping off the cellophane, opening the box, and the smell, yes the smell of the plastic.  It was like a puzzle, and once completed would yield a brand new toy.

I sat down and, with a bit of coaching and a couple hours of work, I had my new toy. The sense of accomplishment was immense!  It was my first model and I was hooked. Oh, and being able to “fly” that thing, Heaven. (By the way, any airplane builder who says they don’t “fly” their airplane is a liar).

For a long time, every cent I earned was spent on models.  I would make up chores just so I could earn more allowance.  Sometimes it would actually work! I think my Mom understood….

I dabbled into just about every kind of model that was available.  The Creature from the Black Lagoon, a T-Rex, The Starship Enterprise, and Cars, yes Andy, I said Cars.  I didn’t care what kind of model it was, I was building something, and upon completion, that sense of accomplishment.  Most of my spare time was spent building models.  And over the years the subjects turned from toys to works of art.

About the time I was 12 or so, I discovered girls…

20 years later, after I found and trapped the love of my life, I rediscovered the joy of model building.

Now that I am older and wiser, and think back at why I build models, I realize this:

Model building has made me a richer person.  It has expanded my horizons.  It has taught me patience.  It made me want to know more about history. It has taught me how to read and follow instructions and how to build something.  It shows me how and why things are built the way they are.  It has allowed me to express my artistic side too!

And, like when I was 6, there’s still that sense of accomplishment that I built it with my own hands.