How many times have you seen someone beat themselves up for never finishing a model? Or abandoning a project unfinished? Who reading this, has a “Shelf of Shame”?
Let me turn that on its head: Why is not finishing kits, a bad thing?
Think about what you enjoy about the hobby, and what you don’t enjoy. If you enjoy construction and don’t finish because you don’t enjoy painting, don’t paint. The model police is not going to come knocking on your door if your airbrush has cobwebs on it.
Maybe you enjoy painting and building, but worry that your weathering will ‘ruin’ your work. Well, you have two choices: you can either let go of the idea that you have to weather, (you don’t if you don’t want to); or you can buy a cheap Tamiya, slap it together, spray it, and experiment at lower risk than some build you spent months on. When you finish that, strip the paint back off and save it for next time you feel you lack confidence, it’s now your mule.
Maybe you just like opening a new box and assembling for a while, then get bored. Maybe you lack the time to finish models. The problem is often not that we start too many models, but that we put pressure on ourselves, or perceive pressure from convention, to finish them.
I’m here to give you absolution, a get out of jail card, a free pass to the next ride:
Finishing models is overrated and you don’t have to do it.
You can enjoy your hobby any way you want. One person, one bench. Define how you enjoy that for yourself, and if you don’t enjoy finishing models, don’t finish models. You don’t owe a model kit, or anyone, anything.
“Yeah Yeah, but what if I WANT to finish more?!“
Well, you can finish more if you still don’t feel happy with just doing the part you find easy to get done.
Maintain the Momentum
Most models get abandoned because we abandon them (duh Chris). Don’t. There comes a point in every build where it sucks: this is The Point of Resistance, push through it. I know it sucks, I know you might not feel confident doing it, I know you won’t enjoy it. Suck it up buttercup, because the other side of it is fun again, and the road to that finished model you want to finish.
“What if I ruin the model?” Yeah, you might. But chances are you that you won’t.
More than likely, you will overcome any problems and get a model you like a lot, and that achieve that satisfaction you wanted from finishing.
An abandoned model will never be ruined, but neither will it ever be finished. You have to decide if the disappointment of never finishing is more palatable than the disappointment of a finish you don’t like. But I guarantee you this, that if you don’t push through, you will never get it finished. You and I both know it will sit there forever, or until you bin it.
Don’t start anything else. Yeah I know, easier said than done, but if you can’t discipline yourself not to open new boxes before you finish something, you will likely never finish anything. In that case, you are better off being honest with yourself and accepting that your hobby is opening boxes and enjoying a little building, not finishing models. (And as I said, that is A-OK). But if you want to change, then stop chasing squirrels.
When you do finish a model, instead of opening a new one, try taking one off the Shelf of Shame and finishing that instead. I often do this and usually I can’t understand why I ever abandoned the project in the first place. Often the Point of Resistance on this one has been overcome by experience, improved skill, or maybe even just distance from the build for a while. At worst, a model taken from the Shelf of Shame is not far from a mule, and you probably won’t have as much invested in it as you did when you abandoned it, so the risk of finishing it is lower than it once was. At best it can rekindle your original love affair with the subject and give you a surprisingly enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Fail to Plan, and You Plan to Fail
Most projects that fail, do so before you even open the box. You need to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve before you start a project if you want to complete it. I know from my own experience that if I don’t have a pretty clear idea of what I want a project to turn out like, whether it is for a dio or stand alone, the scheme, the markings, the weathering, everything, I am unlikely to ever finish it. I have started many models because I wanted to build the kit, but never finished the project because I didn’t really know how I wanted it to look, and building out of the box is anathema to me.
Before you start, make that decisions, and make a plan. You can change it later, if you get a better idea, but being aimless is a killer. If you have a clear goal, you will know what you want and need to do at every stage of the build, and if something is going to be a challenge, (I often take on a build because it will give me a new challenge) you can plan for it in advance. If you have a plan, you will succeed.
Do or Do Not, it Doesn’t Matter
Seriously, you should not beat yourself up if you don’t enjoy finishing. You don’t have to. Embrace your hobby for what it is, not what you feel others think it should be. But if you want to finish more, try the above, and I guarantee that if you commit to it, you will succeed. All you need is confidence and I, for one, believe in you.