Monday, January 9, 2017

Resurrecting old models and overcoming "modeller's block"

Over the weekend I had a chance to work on some old models, and it was quite illuminating to see how far I have come as a model maker and what new techniques I have picked up over the last few years.

Back in about 2010-2011 I had plans to build a diorama around the Americans in the Ardennes forest. I built two vehicles, both ancient kits. One was the old 1970s Italeri M4A1 Sherman kit, and the other was a 1960s White M3A1 Scout Car kit from Peerless, a manufacturer who is no longer around.  Both kits have massive faults, but I used photoetch to bring the Sherman at least up to modern standards.

Ancient, ancient kits. I believe the Scout Car was re-issued by Italeri in the 1990s.

Modeller's Block

But then I got cold feet, I couldn't really finalise the diorama in my mind's eye, and I never finished either kit. They were painted to a level which I thought good back then, but large areas were left unfinished - the doors were never attached to the Scout Car, and I never painted or installed the tracks on the Sherman tank. This was because I didn't know exactly how they would work on a diorama - would the door be open because a passenger had just gotten out, or would they be shut in a fire fight? Would the tracks on the tank be muddy, or covered in snow, or just dusty?  I wasn't sure, so I didn't commit. I call this "Modeller's Block", similar to writer's block - what do I do with this partially finished story I am trying to tell?

And now, six or so years later, I am glad that I did leave those decisions unmade, because I can now finish these models and don't have to wrestle with a glued-shut door that I want open!

I have decided to commit to finishing these kits, and installing them in a wintery diorama.

Most importantly, it gives me a chance to assess how far my skills have developed. I had made an attempt to colour-modulate the Sherman, and it certainly serves as a solid foundation to build upon now, but it is pretty boring. And the White Scout Car looks factory fresh, all I had done was a panel line wash and some drybrushed highlights.

So now I am in the process of resurrecting these old models, and trying to turn them into something I can be proud of. It's a little time capsule, and I'm enjoying it immensely. Plus I can get over feeling guilty about those unfinished efforts which have been quietly mocking me from the shelf for years!

I'm making a video of how I update them, and of course when it is ready I will tell you about it here.

Until next time,


This was how I left them in 2010.  From this...

... to this in one afternoon. All will be revealed in my video!

I'm already pretty happy with that weathering.

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