Starting Him Early



When I was growing up, my father made a deal with me. You see, I was less than a stellar student and I needed persuasion in the form of bribery to improve my grades. He told me that for every A I received in math he would buy a scale model airplane and we would put it together, father and son style. Being a little aviation enthusiast that I was, he put forward a hard bargain. However, I put out the effort and I received an A in Forth Grade mathematics.  Holding true to his word, my father and I, both beaming with pride, walked to the hobby shop and purchased our first model. It was an A-10 Warthog.
Dad worked so hard on it, painting it a pristine olive finish, placing each decal just right...and all I wanted to do was play with it. I'm pretty sure most modelers have a similar story. Much of the work that went into building the model was my father's, while I sat and watched, well, for as long as my attention span would allow. And it went on like this for years, simply enjoying the father/son time, to a point where I think we had forgotten about our deal and I'd forgotten how to multiply.
And here I am today, owing my interest in this hobby to a spark my father lit many years ago. It is this flame that I intend to pass on to my son. It may be harder done than said. At three years old he doesn't currently show much interest in hobby, let alone much patience for any task beyond several minutes. Instead, like I was when I was young, I just wanted to play with them. If that is the case, the least I could do is build him a little something to play with, so I set out the other day to find him a simple kit that we could slap together in minutes.

So we packed up and headed to AAA Hobbies, by far the best free standing hobby shop I've ever been to and home of Stevens International.
Their model kit selection is vast, catering to the needs of every aspect of the hobby. I'm like a kid in a candy store when I arrive, and it isn't often I go in there and do not come home with something. So not only would this be a great store to find a kit for my son, but it was a great excuse to get me into the store again. Just look at that picture...you're jealous, I knows it.

I had intended to purchase a little Snap Tite kit. They are easy to build, require no glue and no paint, and finish up in about ten minutes. They are inexpensive as well, making them the perfect candidates for a toddler's enjoyment. However, not unlike his father, when my son stepped foot in the shop he about near lost his daggon mind...He wanted everything. To his credit, he asked me politely, and took it well when I let him down. When I finally got him to the section of models in his skill level, which at the moment is around negative 25, I showed him the Snap Tite planes and cars and immediately he made his selection:

The Testors 2010 Corvette Grand Sport in yellow...

My son can't sit still...he's even blurry in the photo...
The fact that my son has impeccable taste in cars was overshadowed by the fact that this wasn't what I had in mind. The kit is far beyond his range of expertise, requiring a small screw driver and tiny screws to assemble the pieces. Never the less, it was want he wanted and he would not back down. So much so that he wanted me to open it, right then and there. Well, that's enthusiasm I can appreciate!
After paying for it, the associates at the store let me hang out and build the kit as my son supervised the process, highlighting my lack of progress by continually asking, "can I play with it now?" I felt like I was on a deadline but the kit came together quite simply, and in the span of about fifteen to twenty minutes, my son was driving his sports car around the store.

Despite returning with an item I hadn't expected, I thoroughly enjoyed the time with my son and he is quite pleased with his new ride. Though it wasn't a model I am used to building, I hope that I've at least planted a small seed of interest in my son that one day we might share the same relationship my father and I have with modeling. So, thank you Testors and thank you AAA Hobbies for giving my son and I a rather enjoyable afternoon. It won't be the last you see of us, I promise you that!

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