Thursday, July 2, 2015

Why do we have stashes?

Hi everyone, recently I have once again tried to start a blog about scale modeling with the hopes of sharing wisdom, industry news, tips and unsolicited advice to the masses. To help push me in posting more I have looked into joining a blogging ring about scale modeling called the Sprue Cutters Union,  The idea behind the Union is that everyone blogs each month on the posted topic and posts it to their blog. Of course more posts are encouraged on your own blog but the monthly topic is usually the starting point for the month. The topic for July is a very timely topic as I keep looking at my growing stash of kits - Why do modelers maintain and even grow a stash that may never be completed in their lifetime?

I have a few ideas on this issue. Some of it is financial, some is due to the vast number of kits and kit makers that exist now and some of it has to do with plain old addiction and how that makes us feel as well as how easy it is to find our drug. I will start with financial. We have all mused and pined away that the hobby is made up of males that are mostly in their late 30’s and older and it is not getting younger. There have been several articles in modeling magazines and editorials in said periodicals that allude to the aging of the hobby and while some this may be true there is other evidence showing that the hobby does have some young blood coming in to keep it refreshed. But that is another topic for another time. Here we are talking about our stash. And while the hobby goers may seem to be getting older, there is one advantage to this – money. Most of us are currently employed or we were employed and now enjoy the lazy days of retirement gluing PE together. This current or past employment gives us something we probably didn’t have years ago, disposable income. And while we can’t go buy those $100 plus kits all the time, when that one kit we have always wanted to build or a new subject that we have always been interested in comes on the market, odds are we can skip a few lattes and pick up some plastic to get the kit we want. Income also gives us the ability to purchase all the add-ons that go with the kit, the PE, the resin wheels, the upgrades and the aftermarket decals and figures. You start to add this all up and you can see why the stash grows – Because we have the means to make it grow. However, as I said money is not the only reason, the proliferation of kits and kit makers doesn’t help much either with their shiny new plastic and ever increasing detail and add-on parts.

It has been said that we now live in the golden age of modeling with all the kits and kit makers and none stop line of various topics that stream out of the plants in HK, Japan, China, Europe and the US. Odds are if there was something or some topic you really liked, it is in kit form somewhere or will be soon. We now have kits of things people thought would never happen or in scales that are mind boggling, 1/32 bombers, 1/35 helicopters and 1/200 battleships. All this choice has led to larger stashes because there is just some much out there. You no longer have just one version of a kit that if you wanted to build would have involved hours of rework to make it look presentable. You now have two to three new version of said model that put the old one to shame. The new kits are in most cases easier to build, fit better, have better details and are not that expensive when you think about what you are getting. Sure there are some duds out there; I am looking at you Dragon and your Black Series kits. But overall, kits are better than they were ten to twenty years ago, except for Tamiya kits which seem to be the Dorian Gray of model kits, even the old ones go together great. This great amount of choices combined with the money I talked about above are two of the reasons for the growth of stashes. The third is Al Gore’s invention and how we use it to get our fix and how we feel when we open that box.

The internet is a great and powerful tool that has made the world a smaller place and has opened options and markets to people that didn’t exist ten years ago. You can now order direct from places overseas had have kits here as soon as a week. There is no need to wait until the kits come in to your LHS, another topic for later discussion, you can order direct from the stores in HK that don’t have to literally wait for the slow boat from China to get your kit sent to you or to have it arrive here in the States. In addition to access to Asian sellers, we have eBay, message and forums where you can buy and sell to other like-minded souls and a relative new activity at least to me, buying and selling on Facebook. There are several groups where you can buy and trade kits and there is even support in Facebook to help post what you have for sale or trade. Of course products like PayPal and Facebook’s new fund transfer system make paying for items safe and secure. All these options make it possible to find the kits you are looking for or to just get that new one that you have to have. And to go along with this ease of purchase is the psychological effects one has when you open that box to inspect your new kit. It makes us feel good, we enjoy it. Yes this is similar to how addicts feel when they get their fix but the same could be said for the person that enjoys a certain food, or good coffee or shopping for any other item. It all has to do with how purchasing and enjoying something makes us feel. The internet and other avenues allow us to experience this satisfaction quicker and whenever we want if we have the money and the kit makers have made the kits we want.

In closing, we have stashes because we can afford them, the kits we want are now being made or being redone to current standards and purchasing a kit has never been easier and it makes us feel good. All of these factors lead to the growth of our stashes. Is that a bad thing, maybe? But remember that large stash today will keep the vendor rooms at the shows buzzing years from now when we replace the new kits we purchased today with the kits we will want years from now. It will also allow us to ramble on with the next generation about how kits in our day didn’t even come with metal barrels or photo etch. So I say stash on! – Just don’t tell my wife.

Until next time,