Adding tailfin lights to the Moebius Seaview
When you've modeled many years, and as you get older as an adult, life can sometimes get in the way of actually getting any real modelling done. It doesn't seem to matter where you buld your models, or exactly how you do it. Stuff gets in the way. Most of us are working long hours during the week, so to come home and attempt to wind down, even for a few moments to focus on modelling, is not easy. If only I had more time.
Often we try squeezing model time in at any given chance. Finishing up breakfast? Got a few moments before it's off to the office? Maybe I'll just glue a few parts on and then go. Or you find yourself trying to sit down after a 13 hour day, trying to get your mind to focus long enough to figure out where you are in the build, what needs to be done, and should you glue or paint something before it's off to bed.
It's not that there's a rush to get the model done. After all, it's a hobby, it's something you enjoy. But waiting for glue or paint to dry isn't very exciting. So if you can sneak in a moment to glue a few parts together, so they'll be dry later when you're back to your projects, it always seems to be a good idea.
But things can go wrong, and this happens to every modeler. Especially when you're building something from scratch, or trying out a new model idea, or making a modification to the kit itself. In cases like that, you can't follow the directions exactly. You have to plan, to map out your course of action. What parts need to be assembled first? What needs to be primed or painted first? Do you glue certain parts after the modification, or before? Which parts of the project will take longer to modify? Do you need special accessories for the model kit, or special paint or supplies? Do you need to order them ahead of time? It's a dance that many modelers know well by now after building many years.
Take for instance what I'm working on now. This is a long term project. It might take me a year to finish between smaller model kits along the way. It's the Moebius Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Seaview submarine. First off, it's an amazing kit. It's seriously 36 inches long. And while I could easily glue it together in probably one day, there are of course seams to fill, and a lot of modifications I have planned. So it's going to be a long term build.One day when I had a few minutes to spare, I thought I would go ahead and glue a few parts together. The printed directions are SMALL, and there's not much to them. Not like other Moebius kits where you get a booklet of many pages and some of them are in color. The tailfins seemed like easy parts to glue together and they were. Badda bing boom - a little glue, and they're done. I set them aside to dry. My few minutes of time were over and I had to leave. Now, I've built Moebius kits before. If you've built their science fiction models, you know they usually mold in channels and spaces for wiring. In case you decide you want to add wiring and lights to the kit. It's an awesome idea (Round2 does it too on some of their kits as well). The only thing is, they don't normally MENTION THIS IN THE DIRECTIONS. If you're experienced enough to add lighting to your model, you know enough to notice the spaces left open for the wiring. (that's my guess why they don't mention it).
Yeah, well, that's the theory. With my mind foggy and being in a rush, I didn't notice the channels molded into the rear fins. I didn't think much about it till a couple of days later. I remember seeing the channels when I was gluing the parts, and thinking, that's unusual. Oops. The glue was quite dry in a couple of days, so now I had to back pedal to add the wires for the lights (the end of the fins have a light on them on the TV model).
If this was a $ 20.00 kit, I would have just bought another one for the fins. But at $ 80.00+, I couldn't do that with this model. I thought about it for a while, I even thought about skipping adding the lights on the fins all together, but hey, I really wanted those lights. And as DEVO once said: "Are we not men?". I'm a modeler. That's what I do. I build stuff! Nothing a power tool, some putty and primer can't fix, right?
I marked the channel with a pencil (you can see it if you hold the fins up to a light), and then took out my Dremel, and used a burr to open the channel up. I had to pry open the gap a bit to fit the wires through, but I got it to work. Once the wires were in the channel, I used CA glue to hold them in the fin (note: I did test the light to make sure it would light up before making all this permanent). Once the glue was dry, I used putty to fill the gaps, and primered it. It came out fine. So I did the other side as well, and I'm sure it will be ok once I primer it.
I'm telling this story because as modellers, we're all pressed for time to build. It only takes a slight lack of focus to turn that model project into a hand grenade. With work, kids, and and everyday life, it's not always easy to get some modelling time in. But always remember that you're modelers. You're a PROBLEM SOLVER. Whatever has gone wrong can probably be fixed, corrected, scratch built, or repainted. It will just take a little longer than you thought. In repairing these fins, I learned something new as far as a model building technique, and I'm probably more proud of the work I've put into it than I would have been before. It also makes a great story to tell when discussing building the Seaview!
So keep modelling when you can. Don't be afraid to find a solution and learn something new when building.