In a small office lost in the middle of nowhere sits Ebenezer Scourge or ES as we will call him for purposes of brevity. ES is a rather grouchy young man of 45 years. Why is ES grouchy?
Well, the list is long, but we'll start with the fact that Hasegawa released a new 32 nd scale kit without consulting him as to what he was interested in. “How could they” he shouted at his employees, when his new issue of SAMI arrived in the office mail. He was heard to say, “Well, they'll probably get it wrong anyhow” as he huffed off into his office.
Now ES was a modeler from way back. As a child he build every kit he could get his hands on. Heck, he even won an award at an IPMS National. But those days have seemed to have passed ES by. ES was in search of the perfect model. In fact he was so in search of that model that it has been 10 years since he finished his last kit.
On the other hand, ES has a young fellow working for him who builds and builds and builds. Bob Builder isn't really the greatest modeler in the world, but his collection of completed kits is quite impressive. Hasegawa, Tamiya, Fujimi or MPM, it simply doesn't matter, Bob has built them all.
The fact that Bob actually completes kits angers ES a great deal. However, since Bob's actual job isn't related to modeling, ES can't fire Bob without the threat of a lawsuit. This doesn't deter ES from making Bob's life a living hell in an effort to suck at least some of the joy out of his life.
With the day of the “Great Contest of Validation” approaching, ES has a plan. He will make Bob work on that day and try to deny him of validation in hopes to crush his spirit. As ES leaves for the Day he stops by Bob's desk and breaks the news to him. “There will be no validation for you tomorrow, you need to come in and do inventory!!!” says ES with an evil cackle.
While Bob is a bit upset that he will not be able to see his friends or look at many cool models, but he accepts that he will not be able to go and wishes ES a nice evening. (Flash forwards an hour.)
ES is just finishing cleaning up after dinner and goes down to his model room. His workbench is cluttered with half completed kits, spare parts, and hundreds of gimmicky type of tools (none of which actually work). Books fill the spaces where there used to be desktop and Star Wars posters litter the walls. ES settles in for another night of modeling.
Suddenly a crashing sound shakes ES. As his spins his chair around, he sees the ghost of his old modeling buddy Bob Marley (dreadlocks and all!). Bob looks at the modeling bench in disgust and begins to shake his finger at ES. “Ebenezer, you were once such a great modeler mon, what has happened to you?”
Ebenezer rubs his eyes and answers, “Bob, old buddy, I don't know what you are talking about, and I'm just building models like we did in the old days.” Bob recalls, “Ebenezer, you haven't finished a model in over ten years. In the old days, you'd finish two a month. What has happened to you Ebenezer?”
Ebenezer answers, “Bob, they just don't make kits like they used to. Look at this Tamiya kit, the tail is all wrong on this one. This Hasegawa kit has a bump on the nose that shouldn't be there and this Revell kit, well, it's just a Revell kit, enough said about that.”
Bob shakes his head, “Ebenezer, you need to find your modeling spirit again. Tonight you will be visited by three spirits. Each will show you something different about yourself to get you building and finishing again. Expect the first ghost when the clock strikes midnight .”
With a giant whoosh, the ghost of Bob Marley is gone and only reggae music remains playing on the radio. Ebenezer shakes his head and says “darn tacos”. As he says this, the clock strikes midnight and a short, stout balding man stands before him.
“Hi, my name is Bill the ghost of modeling past. I'm here to show you a bit about your past love for modeling.”
ES shrugs his shoulders and says, “ok, let's get this over with”.
The pair is brought back to a small child's room, which ES immediately recognizes as his room from his childhood. On the ceiling are dozens of models. Four Corsairs flying in formation, a B-17 bombing his bed, complete with bombs coming out of the bombay and a drag racer with it's front end in the air and torn up cotton balls simulating smoke off the tires. In the corner is a small desk with a little boy working diligently on his latest creation.
Ebenezer smiles as he looks around the room to see the boy. “I remember that kit, it was the Monogram B-24. I remember it specifically because it had the cool diorama pamphlet from Shep Paine in it. I looked at that polka dotted B-24 for hours trying to figure out how to do it.” As he looks over the boys shoulder he notices him painting the white on the nose of the B-24. “Yes, I remember building this kit. It turned out really cool. My dad even thought it was neat.” Ebenezer watched as the boy put the finishing touches on the brushed white paint and set the kit down to dry for the night.
As the boy clicked the light off in the room Ebenezer suddenly found himself back sitting at his modeling bench. He shook his head and looked around for the spirit. As he looked up, the clock chimed once again. In a flash there was another ghost standing in front of him.
“Dude my name is Ted” said a young man who looked very much like the guy from the Dell commercials. I'm here to show you the present. Ted snapped his fingers and suddenly they were transported to Bob Builders house. Bob was sitting happily building the new Trumpeter 350 th scale Essex carrier. Bob was surrounded by completed models. Corsairs to the left, Fletcher class destroyers to his right. Above him was an Air Force the likes of which the world has never seen. There where cars, ships and figures. Strangely absent however was any sign of an award or any other source of validation.
Ebenezer shrugs and says, “sure there's a lot of models, but who cares, none of it's award winning! What's the point of building if you can't win something with it? And look over there, his shelf of un-built kits is almost empty!”
Ted shakes his head and says, “Dude, you're missing the point. Building is about the sheer joy of building. It's about the history of the airplanes, cars or tanks. It's about being a little kid again.
“Blah, blah, blah. If modeling was not about winning awards, why would there be awards? Modeling is about competition. About being the best. It's about building the perfect model!”
Ted fires back, “Sorry dude, it's not. Modeling is about enjoyment. If you enjoy competition, all the better, but if you look at Bob, he is the true embodiment of modeling. He builds because he loves to build.”
“I do love it!” screams Ebenezer.
Ted quickly snaps his fingers again. Ebenezer is faced once again in his own model room watching himself build models just hours earlier. As he is about to turn to Ted, he watches himself begin to curse a blue streak and throw the model he is working on into the ground. He then watches himself stomp away in anger.
Van Halen's “So this is love” begins playing on the radio as Ebenezer covers his eyes and begins to sink to his knees. As he hits the floor the clock once again begins to strike the hour and the final ghost appears. Before his stands a massive figure covered in a black robe. “I am the ghost of modeling future, come with me and I will show you YOUR modeling future.”
“Oh modeling ghost of the future, I fear you most of all.” Ebenezer says cowering.
With a thunderous clap the robe clad figure stands before a newspaper lying on the driveway of Ebenezer's house, which is surrounded by police tape. Guys from his local club where he was a member stand talking quietly to one of the officers The figure points to the newspaper and says “read it”.
The headline reads “Modeler Kills Self with Xacto Knife After Losing at Contest”.
Ebenezer screams “Noooooo! This can't be true!”
The ghost then snaps his bony fingers and they are transported again. The site is immediately familiar to Ebenezer, it is his clubs annual contest and he is standing square in the middle of the vendor room. There is a huge crowd gathered around one particular table grabbing for any kit they can get their hands on.
As one man pulls himself away from the crowd, Ebenezer overhears him telling a friend that he got this Tamiya Mustang for a dollar! “Apparently some guy from this club freaked at last years show and offed himself with an Xacto knife. Now his wife is selling off his collection so she can remodel his hobby room into a spa. I'm pretty sure there isn't a kit or book there that's more than three dollars! Best part is that she's also selling off his awards! I'm now a “Nationals Award Winner”, well, kind of.” The man says laughing.
Once again Ebenezer screams “Noooooo!!! This can't be true!”
The Spirit stands over him and begins to speak. “Ebenezer, this is indeed your fate. Your evil ways have doomed you to this fate. It has also helped to commit your shelf of doom to being nothing more than a bargain bin for other modelers.”
“Spirit, please tell me that this can change.” Ebenezer pleads.
The Spirit spins to walk away and Ebenezer finds himself standing in from to his shelf of doom, staring. While standing there he hears the announcer on the radio saying “it's 6am in the city, now shut-up and build!”. Ebenezer quickly realizes that the Spirits have all visited him in a single night. He hasn't missed his opportunity.
Quickly Ebenezer calls Bob at home and informs him that inventory is off and he is to meet Ebenezer at the contest when it opens at 9.
Ebenezer paws through his workbench looking for that Tamiya Spitfire that was dangerously close to being done. He finds a couple flaws in the kit, but decides that he can finish it in about an hour, flaws and all. He does and sets off for the contest with an actual finished kit in tow.
Now there's no real telling how Ebenezer did at the contest, or if the experience changed him. However there is a good moral to the story, just build it. It may never be perfect, but it can be complete (flaws and all).
During this holiday season, may you find that simple joy of model building that you had as a kid or when you first got back into the hobby. That's my Christmas (hobby) wish for you.