Sections in the Shelf of Doom
A few months back you were introduced to the “Shelf
of Doom”. For those
that may have missed it, the “Shelf of Doom” or “SOD” is the place
in your house where model kits go and never seem to come back from.
It’s kind of like the old Eskimo tradition that the old are put out
on the ice flow and forgot about. The
SOD is your very own ice flow.
it has come to my attention (from the voices that live on my own shelf of
doom, yes I hear voices, is there a problem with that?) that the “Shelf”
is actually a small community or city if you will that is divided into
neighborhoods and developments. A
large city planning commission couldn’t do as fine a job creating a master
plan for this small city as you have done.
Kits get promoted in the minds of their boss (that would be you the
modeler) and then they are demoted based on performance.
Let me take you on a bit of a guided tour of the “Shelf”.
“The Slums”. In
the slums section of your shelf live the kits that have either been a)
started and you’ve lost interest in it or b) it’s from a topical area
that really interests you, but kits are bad and you are praying that will be
replaced soon by Hasegawa or Tamiya.
The kits that you have lost interest in may be one day
moved out of the slums and into the playground (your workbench).
This type of thing happens when a good war movie comes out or when
hell freezes over, which seem to be in about the same timeframe these days.
Otherwise they remain here indefinitely.
The kits where the subject interests you but you have a
really bad kit of it are some of the most intriguing. I really really really want to build a 72nd scale
Spitfire Mk VII, but at the moment the only real kit I can find of this is a
Ventura kit. Have you seen
these? These kits are for
“experienced modelers, which means “not me”.
I figure I’ve got another 25 years before I’ll be ready to tackle
a kit that looks like this out of the box.
But I really really want to build it.
My best bet at this point is to go to church and light a candle and
simply keep praying because I just don’t have the will to beat this kit.
“The retail or mall area”.
This is the sections of kits that you are still buying
“accessories” for. Now the
word “accessory” would imply that the items on this list are simply not
needed, they are just an add-on. Once
again we must look back at our end-game in buying accessories.
This is to delay the inevitable, actually having to build a kit.
There is always a new decal set out there or a rumored resin set from
Aires that can delay your project in the near-term and keep that kit
anchored firmly on the “Shelf”.
The burbs are the area where most kits that leave the shelf of doom
come from. These are the easy
builds. A Hasegawa or Tamiya
kit that just about everyone has good things to say about.
A kit that basically is a box-shaker (throw some glue in and shake
the box and it falls out assembled) with decals for a subject that you
actually may be interested in.
The burbs are basically the modeler’s beer or comfort
food. Kits from this part of
the shelf can make you feel better when you are feeling down about your
hobby. They don’t need
extras, they don’t require a lot of sanding and they sure aren’t
over-engineered. This section of kits is also called the modelers “happy
place”. There is a
reason people love to live in the “burbs”.
“The rich folks neighborhood”. As nice as this sounds, this is really a frightening
neighborhood to be in. These
are the kits that you paid so much for that you are afraid to start them. I have a resin ship model like this. After paying a few hundred dollars for it, I’m absolutely
terrified to actually touch the thing.
Oh I have grand plans for it, rebuilding the flight deck with actual
wood, doing my own photoetch for the expansion joints and recasting all the
planes in clear resin to make them easier to paint. Yup, big plans. Now
the reality is that I will be over a hundred years old when I finish
collecting the blueprints and parts to make this a reality, so there the kit
There are others too.
A resin Claude that is gorgeous, but I have night sweats when I think
about actually sanding and assembling the thing. I mean I paid $80 for it over ten years ago, how can I build
this! This is really one
neighborhood that I try to avoid on my shelf of doom.
I can’t even look these kits in the eye with a clear conscious and
an overwhelming feeling of guilt.
“The historical society” neighborhood.
This is the section of town for out of production kits.
This section has been ruined by Ebay and the big prices that
collectors are getting for kits there.
The thought always seems to run through your mind that you can get
big dollars for this kit on Ebay, why would you build it?
Wouldn’t you feel stupid if you bought the kit for five dollars and
you can now sell it for close to a hundred and you actually tried to build
it? You also still feel
that you need to keep the kit around and not sell it, just in case you need
(that’s such an ugly word) to build it.
“The old girlfriend” neighborhood. This neighborhood is like when you were in high school
and you kept your old girlfriend around, just in case the new one didn’t
work out. Many modelers have
this same philosophy with regards to kits.
They have to buy two just to build one.
Just in case they “screw-up” the kit they are working on.
Many times residents of this neighborhood end up relegated to the
“slums” once the first kit is completed.
Of course there is no need for a second kit after you have finished
the first, but we’d better keep it around in the slums at least until we
can find a second one so we can go back and work on it again.
This area is for those bad/evil kits that just plain tick you off.
This section is also known as the garbage can, the trash bin, the
county dump or the soon to be exploding area.
This is the fate of all “bad” kits.
These kits have been convicted of crimes against modeling and are
sentenced by to “death”. This area really isn’t on the shelf, but is the last
resting place of many kits.
One note about this section. It is inappropriate to try to “compost” kits.
Even though the kits in this section are generally considered
“crap”, they are still plastic and will still be plastic after we are
I would strongly encourage all modelers to take a tour
of their shelf of doom and pick something outside of their burbs
neighborhood and build it. Remember,
it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be finished.