The monthly topic over at the Sprue Cutter’s Union is all about planning your builds or not. Specifically, “Do you plan and prepare for every step of your build’s process, or do you wing it as you go?”
I would like to think I plan out my builds but not to the level that I really should to avoid future problems. For most builds, I will read the directions, look at the sprues, see if there was a build review or photos of a build on the web, see if anyone I know might have built the kit and pick their brain or sometimes I just go for it. Especially if I think the build will be out of the box.
However this is not the best way to do things given my love of After Market Parts and all things brass and resin. You really need to plan out what you are going to do in order to increase you chance at success. Yes it is a model kit and odds are you might be able to fix the problem you created. But wouldn’t be better if the problem never existed in the first place to need fixing? This is why I need to do a better job planning not just before the build but during it as well. In some builds, I have taken the time to highlight where AM or PE parts will go and reviewed what I needed to do to prep the kits. Other times, I don’t and I end up looking at the kit and wondering why I have some much brass left only to realize I didn’t replace half the things I could have or should have. Of course this normally happens after paint so there is no chance I am breaking off parts to get the PE in place.
Planning is not only needed for working with AM parts or conversions of kits, it really is needed throughout the whole process. I, for one, still have a hard time building things out of sequence. I figure the manufacturers did it this way for a reason. However, I have learned that sometimes you shouldn’t glue item X on the kit even though the instruction say to do it. I have also learned that you need to think of all the other stages of kit assembly not just the one you are working on at the moment. In my most recent build, I glued the lower and upper hull together on a 1/72 T-90 thinking I would have enough room to add the running gear later. Wrong! I had a hell of a time getting the tracks in place and it involved a lot of repainting and frustration. Had I taken the time to plan to keep the parts together for painting but not in a permanent way, I could have done a better job on the running gear and tracks. It just is really hard sometimes to go out of order. Not sure if it is OCD or some lack of confidence in my skills but it is a challenge for me. Now, what I plan to do in the future is to include notes on the sheets so I know and remind myself about future pitfalls. My hope is that my kits will be better and I will not spend as much time reworking things.
So while I think I plan, I really don’t. But I am not really winging it either; I mean I am not building a Tamiya kit where I can just add glue and shake; “ducks from the oncoming comments.” So Plan People! Your builds will be better and you might find you enjoy the hobby more.