I was sitting in the model room the other evening, when it suddenly struck me. I had been searching for my spectacles for about an hour while they were actually perched on my forehead, then my teenage son came in and saw my Black Sabbath CD on the table and asked if they were a gospel group and then finally, I couldn’t remember what model I had last worked on! I had suddenly become one of the so-called …

Older Modellers

So I poured myself another brew, cranked Sabbath up a little louder and pondered the situation.

Yes it’s true. My eyesight ain’t what it used to be. Slowly, I have been drawn to larger scales. Last month I even bought my first 1:8 scale model car, the Monogram ’32 Roadster. My favourite modelling tool is no longer my X-acto knife, or my Dremel – it is now my Optivisor. I use it more and more, and not just for working with small parts. I use it for large assemblies as well … and the other day, I found myself reading a Tamiya instruction sheet with it!

Likewise, the hands are getting a bit shaky. I worry more and more about superglue disasters and screwed up pinstripes than ever before. And as for installing 1:24 carburettor linkages, it’s easier just to glue the hood closed!

Just when I was getting ready to pack it all in and have the “Model Sale of the Century”, I realised that we actually need to take a good look at what we so-called “senior modellers” bring into the hobby as well.

Firstly, I think that we bring quality to the hobby. We have a healthy quest for excellence, no matter how obscure the subject. Our love of modelling drives us to try to achieve ever-higher standards.

We also bring patience, which is no small virtue. Gone are the days when I started a kit after supper on Friday evening and it was proudly standing on the shelf before midnight. Heck, I have a ’39 Chevy Panel that I have been working on for ten years. Come around sometime and I will show you … if I can remember where I put it!

Our eagerness to share is also important. I am continually amazed at the willingness of our generation to divulge our secrets. Even those of us who compete in contests don’t think twice about giving advice – or even spending months on a show-quality model and then donating it to a museum.

Apart from our contribution to the hobby, the “advancing years” also has other benefits.

At this age, my sense of smell is pretty shot, so the aromas of solvents, thinners, paints and resin dust don’t bother me anymore. I reckon that if all these chemicals haven’t killed me off yet, I’m immune to them and I’ll probably live to be a hundred.

The memory loss is great as well. It helps me to accumulate a massive collection of kits. I searched through my cupboards the other night – ‘cause I couldn’t remember where I put my spark plug wires. Anyway, I discovered that I had four Revell Dodge Sidewinders. I had actually bought the same kit four times over. It’s no wonder that the hobby shop owners treat me so well!

But, best of all is my hearing loss, that lets me “ignore” the snide remarks of family members about this old man that still plays with his toys. I was at a club meeting the other evening and I heard one of the younger members say to another, “Check that custom. Look, it’s flawless, I betcha can’t do better!” So I call my old pal Jerry over and ask with pride, “Did you hear what young Bobby there said about my custom?” So Jerry replies, “Yeah, I heard! He said ‘Look at the flaws, my butcher could do better!'”

I just laughed. Jerry’s getting old. It’s no wonder he can’t hear the youngsters properly anymore!

Until next time…

Enjoy the twilight years!

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