Reduction for Production
You know the feeling, don't you? You're admiring your completed work one day (and I'm presuming here that you belong to that group of modelers who actually build things, as opposed to the folks who get the Brand New Kit, open the box, criticize and complain their way into the belief that the model contained therein is totally worthless, then put it on a different kind of shelf to wait for that far-away day when the kit magically morphs into A Collectible That's Worth Something) and you decide that most of the collection is pretty darned good, but that model of the fill in the blank here just isn't up to snuff and doesn't really belong on public display. It happens to us all and, like most things in life, you have choices you can make to correct the problem.
Your first choice is probably the easiest one of all to arrive at; don't do anything at all. Leave it there, right where it sits, and live with the warts. It's your model, after all, and those shelves don't bear a whole lot of resemblance to the Smithsonian, now do they? Fact is, the only people who will notice the substandard piece on the shelf (and "substandard" is most assuredly a subjective term in this case) are your modeling friends. We all know how much of your life is in that little assemblage of plastic, but the sad truth is that nobody really cares but you. Once you accept that as a working premise you can just live with what you've got. I wouldn't, mostly, but it's ok to do it.
The second choice is also relatively easy to make, but a little more difficult to live with---take the offending object de art and introduce it to Mr. Trash Can. You might want to take off any pieces that are potentially worth salvaging, but once that's done (if you even do it!) just trash that Bad Boy! Be sure, though, that you won't go getting all goofy about it later on; when it's gone, it's gone.
Choice number three is the one I like to refer to as The Ego Saver. "I really didn't want it anymore so I donated it to the fill in the blank one more time and they loved it. No, they didn't love it, not really, and they probably put it in a box in storage right after you left (I worked in a largish museum right after college and I know of which I speak in this case, having performed the function myself on more than one occasion) or, worse yet (from your perspective, anyway) threw it away the instant you got out of sight. Museums don't keep everything they have donated to them, conventional wisdon notwithstanding. Save yourself some grief and skip all the middlemen; just give it away to somebody who's admired it.
My personal choice in all this goes back to something a friend of mine used as a catchphase long ago; reduce to produce. If the model's good enough, and the basic hulk usually is, just strip it and redo the thing. Carefully remove anything that can be removed, but only if it stands in the way of such things as bodywork or painting, add those details you forgot about when you did the original build, didn't know about, or were just too danged lazy to do the first time around and, in essence, make yourself a Brand New Model. (Remember that second P-40 we looked at twenty or so installments ago? The one called "The Rebel"? That model was my first stab at "Stardust"; I built a New and Improved "Stardust" and did the reduce-to-produce number on the old one. The result doesn't look too bad, maybe...)
Howzabout we actually do something along those R to P lines while we're waiting for me to get off my Dead End and finish that A-4? Right! I thought you'd never ask, so here's My Next R to P Project; an old 1/48th scale Tamiya Fw-190D that I built straight out of the box about six years ago. I like the scheme, although I may not keep it thanks to the combined research and publications of the JAPO team and Jerry Crandall (and if you're interested in the Dora you really need to get both sets of books---it'll set you back a fair chunk of change but when you're done you'll never again have the need for a long-nosed Fw-109 camouflage and markings tome). We'll see how things shake out.
Sometimes Less is More
There are many different notions on how to finish up a model airplane. Most of them produce really nice results but some don't accurately reflect the way a real airplane looks in service, and I'm one of those folks who doesn't go in for the "shade, countershade, pre-shade and post-shade every single part of the airplane" school of thought. It's ok to highlight things, and sometimes a little shading helps create useful artificial shadows that really enhance the completed model, but it's possible to take things a little too far in my never-humble opinion. My personal preference is for understatement, and I'd like to offer up the following model as an example of that philosophy.
How to Put Nose Art on a Real Airplane
Rick Morgan and I go Way Back. Rick still in aviation and does books too, and those books are just about as good as it ever gets if you're interested naval aviation. He's one of my go-to guys for NavAir and pretty much always has been . During Desert Storm he was aboard the Theodore Roosevelt with VAQ-141 and managed to bag a SAM site or two with HARM, although that's a story for another day. I don't think Rick ever went anywhere without a camera, and his photography has always been on the high side of excellent. Let's round out our Friday with a series of photos he took of EA-6B BuNo 163527 getting her nose art just prior to the opening of hostilities:
And so we end another week. It's beautiful in South Texas; time to get Jenny, crank up the Miata, and go meet Frank and Pam for some serious roadstering! Be good to your neighbor and we'll see you next time.