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Eat the Elephant

In a recent blog post Matt McDougall of Doog’s Models took a swipe at the concept of Mojo. If you haven't read it you really should as he is entirely correct and the post is and is chock full of Doogs' usual acerbic insight into the hobby.

However table thumping with blunt advice to not give in to Resistance is great but doesn’t go far enough to be really useful advice. “Put your butt in the chair, do the work, and create an opening for real motivation — not the false idol of mojo — to spring forth” Doogs says.

Rightio but what then. Just like anyone else I have had more than few experiences of Mr Mojo buggering off and taking my keys with him and I am not an expert in the area by any means. But what I can do is share some thoughts on how I deal with it. Sorry Doogs but I am going to pinch your topic and extend on it.

Inspiration Get’s it Started, Discipline Get’s it Finished

It doesn’t matter why but eventually that spark of inspiration that drives you to pull that kit from the stash and start clipping parts is going to abandon you. One too many corrections? Paint trouble? Perhaps it is a day ending in y? Whatever the reason for lack of motivation there is no doubt that this is a dangerous time for your project. What happens next can mean either a new entry into the display cabinet or another resident of the Shelf of Doom. Don’t look for Mojo. Find Dr Discipline instead.

I’ll use an example that I am slightly familiar with - writing. I dallied with the idea of becoming a writer years ago and read up on the successful habits of some of the big names. The one that stuck out for me was Stephen King, author of 63 novels and over 200 short stories. That is a huge bibliography by anyone's standards so how does he manage it? He writes or reads for 4-6 hours and pens an average 2000 words a day every day. With that kind of work ethic he can generate a first draft of a novel in around three moths. Stephen King doesn’t have some secret mojo bottle he keeps in the drinks cabinet. Nor is he genetic freak. He sits his arse down and hammers those keys and get the job done. I suspect Steve and Dr Discipline are good mates.

Back to modelling

These days time at the bench is a precious commodity so I can’t afford to let projects sit while dick about wondering where Mojo got to. So here are some of the tricks I use to get something anything done when I have time in the workshop.

Clean Up

I am a messy modeler. In fact I fairly messy at everything I do. Don’t get me wrong I love a tidy house but in 5 minutes flat the kitchen is a complete mess when Mr T is doing the cooking. So when I just can’t face painting the VF-1A’s cockpit for the third time I head to the workshop and start putting stuff away. Tools, paints, parts and whatever random crap has reduced my work area to the usual 15cm square. In no time at all the bench is clean, I am chuffed and the next thing you know I am picking up the masking tape to have yet another go at the bloody thing. And mojo didn’t never showed it’s face.

I am a messy modeler. There I said it!

Outside In

In 2018 I built a Hasegawa 1/72 scale Macross VF-0B with a wonky looking green circle camouflage which was the hole point of the build. It took a lot of masking and a lot of time to get all of the colors on and looked pretty neat when the tape came off. But at that point I was probably half way though and still had to build all of the weapons and landing gear, add decals and weathering etc. The finish line was a long way off. That last fifty percent was hard and without the Canberra ScaleACT ‘18 show deadline I doubt it would ever have been finished. So when I started the Sex Machine build I knew I would have a lot of challenges as the VF-1 has a lot of modules, fiddly stuff and sub assemblies compared to a regular aircraft kit - perfect conditions for yet another shelf queen. So started what I call Outside In modeling. In short that meant building all of the fiddly stuff that I was less interested in before I started on the really juicy parts that I was interested in. Obviously there are limitations on this depending on what subject you are building. But this time it has really worked for me despite the fact that the build is overdue and I have had the strip the cockpit twice and the nose and fuselage once as well. Give it a try. You never know.

Do the work

This one hundred percent stolen from Doogs. Sit at the bench, pick up a tool stop being a baby and build.

Final Words

So there you have it. One or none of the above suggestions may work for you but the point is that kits don’t get built on their own so don’t give in to all of the excuses we make for ourselves. What are you waiting for? Get over to that bench and get started. After all as Desmond Tutu said the only way to eat and elephant is one bite at a time and getting yourself to that bench is the first taste. Have any tips? Struggle with Mr Mojo and Dr Discipline? Feel free to comment below and share what you know.


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