This month’s Sprue Cutters Union asks “what do you think are the essential aspects you cannot afford to cut corners on during a build? What are your imperatives?” For me, there is one thing I have learned that I can’t do without – Patience.
I know this sounds clique and I can already hear the “Well of course you need patience, you are building a kit and that takes time.” But when I talk about Patience I am not talking about the time it takes to put all the parts together or sand the sprue nubs off a delicate part. When I talk about Patience, I am talking about the overall process of being okay with the fact that something might not get done right away or when you want it done. Or the fact that a part broke and now I have to figure out how to make it work and I might not get it done in time for a contest or club meeting and that is okay.
In the past I have tried to rush to get kits completed to either take to my local meeting on contest night or to take a local show. Several times something has happened that was less than ideal. In some cases it was something simple like an antennae broke off or a wheel wasn’t properly aligned. In other cases, I tried to weather something too soon and the process damaged the paint because the sealer coat was not totally dried/cured. All items that could be fixed, just not in the time I had left to meet my self-imposed deadline.
Now I have a cut off for meeting a deadline. If I can’t get it done a day before needing it, I don’t try to rush it or stay up all night with a hair dryer hoping to finish off the kit. This “rule” applies to local meetings and shows. And to be honest, it has worked out great. I am not longer up all night and tired at the show and it allows me to ensure the product I am producing is up to my standards. The “rule” is a little more flexible for events that I may not go to again for several years such as AMPS and IPMS national events. But even in those cases, I still try to plan a little time out to make sure I am not rushing. Nothing good has happened when I get impatient and rush to finish a kit. Several times I have stopped myself and called it a night and tackled the problem the next time at the bench. And in most cases, just stepping away has cleared my thoughts and I am able to either thinking of a solution to the problem, the problem has fixed itself such as with paint curing, or a fresh set of eyes found the part taken by the carpet monster.
Taking that time away from the bench was also important because it kept me from making more mistakes trying to fix the initial mistake. This is an overlooked feature of practicing patience. It keeps you from making more mistakes that could lead to even worse consequence. Prior to getting back into modeling a few years ago, I quit because I hated painting. I thought I was horrible at it and I would never be any good at it. I was always trying to fix my painting mistakes right away and this lead to more mistakes that caused me to not enjoy the hobby. And what is a hobby if you don’t enjoy it…I would call it work. However, either due to maturity or experience or just straight up exhaustion from working and raising a family and having to take a day or five off from working on a kit, I realized that I needed to be patient if I wanted to get a good finish or to get the results I wanted. I started to take my time and the results started to speak for themselves. My builds were getting better, I was enjoying what I was doing and I liked the results.
In all those cases, patience was the key and it has been my most essential tool when working on a build.