Banking Time

Or the art of modelling on the move.

Bench time is a preciously scarce resource. That means traveling for work really knocks down my productivity and projects like the poor old Sex Machine lies neglected at home.

So close yet so far. Sex machine gathering dust at home.

Eventually things will change and before I know it I won't know what to do with myself but in the meantime it feels like nothing is getting built.

But there is an alternative.

Like most modelers I have a stash of kits that I want to get to one day. Chrissy would say otherwise it is a fairly modest stash as I basically quit actively trying to acquire new kits and have a very limited scope when I do. But with a production rate of something like one kit a year what I do have will last me quite a few decades.

Modest stash

The concept of wasted time bothers me no end so I have taken to using spare time on work trips more effectively. Whether it is drafting up blog posts or learning Fusion360 (always be learning folks) there is always something to occupy my time. I also try to take as many kits as I can so that I can so that I am getting something done. For example on my latest trip I brought the Moscato Hobby Models 1/350 scale Starfish and 1/48 scale M-72 Gabriel, ancient MPC Star Wars ROTJ AT-ST and the Dragon Models 1/35 Scale SdKfz 234/3.

Quarantine kits

Since painting kits would be a major hassle I didn’t bother even trying. Travelling with paints etc. Is just asking for trouble if something leaks and besides packing dangerous good like paint thinner etc. Is a big no no. Limiting myself to just the assemble meant that I could take a rudimentary set of tools that would see me through:

1 x Goodman Models Super Sanding Blocks

1 x half sheet of 800 grit wet and dry

1 x Scale Modellers Supply single edge nippers

1 x Excel saw with handle

1 x Set assorted jewelers files (flat, square, round, triangular etc.)

1 x small bastard file

1 x Side cutters

Quarantine tools - next time I won't be bringing the side cutters or as many files

While I didn’t get much of an opportunity to do any modelling in the first few weeks of the trip I ended up with loads of time when I got back to Australia (at time of writing it is mandatory to undertake two weeks of hotel quarantine). So I managed to clean up all of the resin parts for the two MHM kits to the point where I can start to assemble parts any time I am ready.

For the resin kits I set myself up at the sink with Netflix on in the background. These days I wince every time I see someone dry sand resin as there is no need for it. Abrasive paper suitable for wet sanding is readily available and a container of a suitable size easy to come by. Any shallow tray, plastic takeaway container or old plastic blister packs will do the job. For the tool whores out there Sean's Custom Model Tools has been prototyping a wet sanding accessory for the Super Sanding Blocks which looks very cool. Anyway long story short only jerks dry sand.

Hotel Wet Sanding Moscato Hobby Models and M-72 Gabriel in 2020

Sean's Custom Model Tools sanding tray

I use the saw to lop off casting blocks as close the the kit part as I dare. For efficiency I rip through the entire kit and then circle back around for the next step. After dealing with the big stuff I then switch to the excellent Goodman Models Super Sanding Blocks with 80 grit and finishing off with the 180 grit as a staring point. This process gets me pretty close to the point where I can assemble items later when I start the build proper.

Some of the cleaned up Starfish resin parts