Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What Influences Your Stash?

About two years ago, spurned by an uncooperative Revell kit, I made up my mind to approach the models I buy a different way. Prior to this decision, I had just been throwing my money at various kits simply because they were available for a low price at my local hobby shop, or worse, the arts and craft store.
My stash was soon filled with an assortment of inexpensive, ubiquitous Revell kits and even cheaper and more primitive ESCI and Heller boxes purchased for next to nothing at nearby model shows. 
The collection of models I had amassed was substantial but lacking in quality. The majority of my model sessions were bogged down by lengthy periods of having to correct issues such as poor fit, filling gaps, sanding seams, and apologizing to the wife for my bouts of fitful screaming. Something had to change. 
I reached the tipping point while building Revell's Mi-24 Hind. The struggle to fit the canopy, among other things, was more than I could stand. I looked at my stash and realized there was only more pain to come. There were no kits that I absolutely wanted to build but they had found their way into my stash because I am a modeler and cheap kits are very persuasive. 
But I wasn't going to fall for that any more. I gathered up my kits and listed them on eBay. Of course they sold quickly, like I said, cheap kits are chum for modelers. Now I had room on my shelves and money in my pocket (or PayPal account as the case may be). As any good modeler would, I wanted to start buying kits again. The problem was, I didn't know what I wanted.
Up to this point, I had built my stash on a whim, hoarding kits because they were just that, kits. I had no vested interest in the subject matter besides they were aircraft, they were affordable, and they were models. I didn't just want to buy stuff because it was a cool looking plane. I needed a plan. How do I spend this money and recharge my stash?

To answer that question, I developed two goals. First, I decided each kit I spent hard earned coin on had to be a subject that I connected with on a personal level. Since I'm in the Air Force, this wouldn't be difficult. I maintain F-16's for the NJ ANG so naturally getting as many Vipers in New Jersey markings became my primary objective. But I'm not stopping with F-16's. I'm trying to gather as many aircraft kits as I can to represent aircraft flown by the 177th FW and the 108th, which include jets like the F-106 and F-105 as well as the P-51.

It's also opened my mind to aircraft I likely would not have considered previously, like the T-33A. I even consider aircraft that I've crossed paths with, like the Super Bugs from the Black Lions or Tomcatters that I loaded alongside this summer or the T-28 Trojan at a local museum. Since the model represents history that is intertwined now with my own, it makes for an interesting build. It also helps narrow down my selection.

My second goal was to make sure I bought kits that I knew were decent. That meant educating myself. I poured over reviews of models that I was interested in to see if it was worth my time and money. Decals won't be a worry as most of my markings will be purchased aftermarket. My biggest concern is avoiding kits that will get me bogged down performing plastic surgery. Ain't nobody got time for that!

It's adhering to these two goals that have seen my stash grow. The majority of my stash, which was once made up of Revell, is now a balanced mix of Hasegawa and Tamiya, complimented by Trumpeter and Kinetic. All of them are of decent quality and are subjects that mean something to me. Spending time to invest in the right kits for my stash has become just as much fun and just as much a part of my hobby as putting the actual model together.

Of course not everyone can have a personal connection to aircraft like I do. But something out there must motivate your purchases. So how about you? Is there a method to your stash building madness? Sound off! 


  1. What an excellent post - the lure of cheap kits is seductive but ultimately if you aren't going to enjoy the process you won't build them.

  2. Great post, very good points to consider for model builders. I've had a similar experience in the past few years as well. I summed it up with this saying; "life is too short for Lindberg!"
    Thanks and keep up the great posts.