Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sweet 16 - Episode II

"El Diablo cazador de modelos"

There comes a time in every modeler's life when they must confront adversity - stubborn fit, corroded decals, small budget. But, to me, there is no greater source of frustration than losing a kit part. Throughout my modeling career I have been fortunate to have never lost a piece - damaged them, yes, but never lost for good. That is, until last night. Yes, last night will be forever remembered as the night the devil came for my model.
Every modeler knows the carpet monster that haunts their nightmares. Like the Yeti, or the Chupacabra, it remains elusive and terrifying. It strikes when you least expect it, swiftly carrying small parts into its lair, seldom to be seen again. I had thought it myth until today.

My run-in with the beast occurred late in the evening. The sun had set, the lamps in the house casting ominous shadows across the floor. I was growing tired, and Academy's over engineered air intake was not helping matters. Test fitting and sanding all seven pieces for the intake assembly was taking longer than I expected. I went to cut part E18 off the sprue. As one of the smallest parts in the kit, I should have been more wary.

With one side free from the sprue, I severed it's bond from the other side. Having not ensured it release safely, the action of cutting it lose flung it violently to the table surface, bouncing once before falling silently to the carpet.

My gaping eyes, wild in disbelief, tried fruitlessly to locate its position. Having no idea where it landed, I went into denial, hoping it had landed instead on my lap, or perhaps it was still on the table. A careful search of my person as well as the table top resulted in the confirmation of my worst fears. Knowing full well that time was running out, I got down on my hands and knees, my eyes close to the carpet probing the surface for any sign of part E18. After a ten minute search yielded no results, I sat back down. It was then that I noticed Academy had duplicated the E sprue, and there was a second E18. What luck! Immediately, my soured mood lightened. I was back in business, with minimal interruption. The carpet monster could have that piece for all I care!

No more games!
With the last mishap still in mind, I freed the second E18 a bit more carefully this time. Then I test fit it and saw that I needed to trim a bit of length off for it to fit snugly in place. I attempted to grab the end of the piece with my finger nails, and when it was free of its location within the air intake, the unthinkable happened...With a quiet pew, it jettisoned itself from my grasp and headed to the depths of the monsters den. I would not be ravaged twice - the same part, no less! I quickly grabbed a flashlight and sprung into action. I would make my stand here! It would not take E18 again without a fight.

With flashlight in hand I descended into the darkness, but after a half hour of searching, the dense carpet would not give up its victim. I called off the search, having put all I could into it. Prepared for battle, I faced the beast, but as always it remains mysterious and reclusive. Part E18 and Part E18(2) were recorded as MIA and I would have to find a way to make do. Which I did.

 Using a plastic strip cut from an old, used up gift card, I recreated the part as best I could. Though my pride was damaged, the crisis was averted.
After a long night, that is all I accomplished. After each model is finished and put neatly on the shelf, I like to reflect on what that build has taught me. This one didn't waste time in pointing out some careless deficiencies of mine, and losing the same piece twice in one night might have odds equivalent to being struck by lightning, attacked by a shark, or crushed by a vending machine. Either way, it was the first time that I had run into the devil who hunts models...and I fear now that it will not be the last.

Previous Episodes:
Episode I
Kit Preview

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