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Ham-Fisting Your Models: Join the Discussion

I was reading some of the comments in an article on iModeler and the discussion of mistakes and ham-fisting during a build came up. We have all made errors during a build, some more obvious than others. I suspect that mistakes that I might readily accept might be grievous to others. I make so many mistakes that I truly believe I can actually learn more from trying to fix the mistakes than by building a perfect kit. But, as we all know, some mistakes can’t be fixed. I know modelers who willingly toss such kits in the garbage can, but I usually choose to finish the kit as a reminder not to make the same mistake again.

It is easy to look at the photos on iModeler and believe that other modelers build kits with no mistakes. I don’t think that is true. I think we all make mistakes, but many of us don’t share them. With this in mind, I am sharing some of my mistakes so that you won’t feel so bad about yours. Trust me, your mistakes probably pale when compared to mine. Many of my errors come from not paying enough attention to the instructions, a mistake that many of you wouldn’t make. I am hoping some of you might share your mistakes, or photos of your mistakes. We can all learn from mistakes, find out that some of our mistakes aren’t as bad as they seem, or at the least, make us smile. :o)

3 additional images. Click to enlarge.


29 responses to Ham-Fisting Your Models: Join the Discussion

  1. I’m still making mistakes !! by the look of that undercarriage it must have had a heavy cross wind landing !!!

  2. Interesting concept….

    Not sure how you managed to combine two bottoms and two tops and yet attach the undercarriage.

    Building is only one bit of the hobby. Lusting for a kit, buying it, planning the build, buy all aftermarket, build (or try to…), paint it, decalling it, weathering, finishing it, post it on iModel. So as you can see building the kit is only 1 out of 10 of the hobby. No big deal then.

  3. You are right! I had to drill a hole in the wing that consisted of two wing tops so that I could attach the landing gear. The top of the other wing, which consists of two wing bottoms, has a large hole where the landing gear would fit (if I had built it correctly). You notice that this is a kit that was originally manufactured a long time ago. Most modern kits are designed so that the wrong wing halves won’t fit together, but older kits, or short-run kits that have no locating holes, certainly can be assembled incorrectly. I was once fairly cavalier about paying close attention to the instructions on “simple” kits, especially like the DC-9 that had only 20 parts or so. I figured if two wing halves fit together then they must be the correct parts. But not necessarily so. I do spend more time studying the instructions now, even on kits I think are “easy”.

  4. Regardless of what a finished model looks like, even if it’s a show winner, you can bet your bottom dollar there’s at least one “mistake” somewhere (albeit obvious or not) and over the years, I’ve seen some outstanding and spectacular builds – I’ve also seen some really BAD builds. I guess that’s why they call it just a ‘hobby’, right? 🙂

  5. Mistakes? I’d probably have to list all my previous posts.

  6. Mistakes are a part of modeling.
    As I see it, there are three ways to deal with them:
    1: Fix them.
    2: Conceal them.
    3: Leave them as they are and go on with your build.
    I use all three methods and consequently all my models contain mistakes.
    I think it’s better to finish a model with mistakes than to break off the build.
    A finished model with mistakes can be evaluated and you can apply the lessons learned from your mistakes on your next model. If you don’t finish your model, there is nothing to evaluate and hence little to be learned.
    So, if you want to develop as a modeler, accept your mistakes, finish your models and apply the lessons learned on your nest build.

  7. The short post above by Robert Royes inspired this. With a little help from Paul Anka, Mr. Sinatra…and a Revell Ju 88 that still brings a tear to my eye.

    And now, the end is near…
    And so I face my final Messerschmitt.
    My friend, I’ll say it clear,
    I’ll state my case, this build is utter s**t.

    I’ve built…a stash that’s full,
    I’ve added more, on every payday.
    But more, much more than this,
    I built them my way.

    Spits…I’ve had a few,
    But then again, too few to mention.
    I fixed what I over-glued,
    And saw them through without instructions.

    I planned…each rivet’s course,
    Each empty spue along the byway.
    And more, much more than this,
    I built them my way.

    Yes, there were kits, I’m sure you knew,
    When I bit off more than I could chew.
    But through it all, when there was doubt,
    The Ju 88, I threw it out.
    I finished them all and I stood tall,
    And built them my way.

    I’ve glued, I’ve filed, and sprayed,
    I’ve filled my gaps, the shame of losing.
    And now, as tears subside,
    I find it all…so amusing.

    To think I made all that,
    And may I say – not in a shy way.
    Oh no, oh no, not me
    I built them my way.

    For what is a man, what has he got,
    If not this hobby, then he has naught.
    To build the kits that he would choose,
    Not follow words of one who reviews.
    The model clubs…I built the duds.
    ..and built them my way

    Yes, I made them my way…

    This is what happens when I have time on my hands. I need to go find some work. Thanks for a great thread, George.

    @gblair

  8. Hi George. It looks like you’ve got a lot of company with this post. I am certainly guilty of (just a few!) mistakes. Mainly from a surplus of haste & a paucity of instruction reading combined wit a lack of forethought & planning. I usually manage to control my more destructive urges & treat these ‘offending’ models as a challenge; admittedly with mixed results on many occasions. Sometimes these problems occur as a result of trying to ‘improve’ the kit & sometimes because the manufacturer has made such a ‘pig’s ear’ of it in the first place. In these instances, of course, I have no-one to blame but myself; I shouldn’t have bought it to begin with, & this has led me to cross off certain manufacturers from my shopping list. Still & all; it’s a learning curve & I’m still happy to have such a wonderful hobby at my fingertips after so many years!

  9. I don’t think I have ever built anything without at least one mistake along the way. Some you can hide, some I just ignore. I am definitely not a perfect person and possibly like the old Persian rug maker who deliberately ties one dodgy knot to show that he is in fact human and not infallible like the higher being of your choice l do not stress about it too much but just once…………..

  10. Oh yeah – you could play “find the mistakes on this one” with just about all my builds! Some are errors of not enough research, or research too late, or getting ahead of myself while waiting for glue/paint to dry, brain farts, or one of my kids wandering in to pepper me with questions right in the middle of something!

  11. Forever with a sense of shame, my infamous modeling sin is having a 50% drop out rate of model projects. I truly think I’m well above the average of you guys in this matter, but every shelfed or bin project drives me to improve. This year started with a firm resolution to get some of these shelf queens back on track and I intend carry it over to 2020. Most are the dire consequence of blunders during the build

  12. As to mistrakes, I never mak enny. Unlesss I do.

    David @dirtylittlefokker, you did very well doing it Your Way. The new song lyrics are excellent and well written. And VERY funny!

    I agree, we ALL make mistakes, some of us make more than others. LoL!

  13. Ham fisted is my specialty!

  14. All my finished models have some mistakes. Some I’ve made during the build, recognize it and continue. Others I don’t notice until finished. Those are strategically photographed and strategically place on the shelf. (Lesser flaws get the lower, eye-level shelf. Big oops make the top shelf, or a box in the closet.) Port side out if the error is on the starboard side, and vise-versa. 🙂

    But there is one thing I’ve noticed and that is that I don’t often notice (or worry about) the error months, or years, later.

    There was however, the time my son looked closely at the 1/48 HE-111 on which I had hand painted the canopy framing. It had sat on the same bedroom chest for years without comment. After staring at it awhile he said, “You know dad, I used to think this model was perfect”.

    Well, I had known the truth all along. 🙂

    • Great story, Gary. My wife is a quilter, and she says you should never point out a mistake you made on a quilt. First, she knows that the quilter is much more critical than most of those who look at it, and second, most people won’t notice the error. I think this is also true of models, even though we know that there are modelers who will notice and critically comment. I don’t build kits for contests anymore, which has made my modeling much more enoyable. My DC-9 whose photo I posted above sits on an eye-level shelf with the most obvious wing-error sitting forward, and no one has ever noticed (or maybe they did and didn’t say anything). In any case, I try to learn from the mistake and I keep the poorly built models around so that hopefully I can see a progression from really big mistakes to smaller and smaller mistakes. Sadly, some mistakes keep popping up because I get in a rush or don’t refer to the instructions as often as I should. I used to be an Air Force pilot, and there is nothing worse than someone like me who doesn’t refer to the instructions or reference material because “I know about airplanes”. Some day I will learn my lesson. Till then, my rogue’s gallery of misshapen kits will continue to grow.

  15. I agree. Mistakes are what make us as model makers better. Yes I have made some mistakes as well. Some more obvious than others. I’ll have to say one mistake that sticks out in my mind is building the B-2 Stealth from Testors. Anyone who has built this kit knows what I’m talking about.

  16. Oh yeah! At some pont I ALWAYS do a mistake on all of my builds. The outcome depends on how succesful I can be when I fix them 😀 Currently there is a plain box in my hands from Revell Germany with a complete replacement F-18E lower fuselage half in it. Figure out why 😉

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