I have not really done any card stuff this month at all. Instead, all my time has been spent working on models. For the past 9 years, since 2011, I've been in a major slump, where nothing I had been trying to do worked. I still grinded out of a few models most years, but I have thought about leaving the hobby totally. On multiple occasions. I didn't, though, and finally saw some success returning in 2018 and 2019. It all came together in 2020. My normal success rate on doing anything is under 10%...or at least it had been since 2011. For some reason, and I don't know what other than all the failures taught me what NOT to do...but in 2020, I'm operating at an about 95% success rate! As you probably know by now my passion in modeling is documenting NASCAR history in scale. in 2007 I finished 21 NASCAR models...my all time record. It got worse after that...For the entire decade of the 2010s, I finished a grand total of 15 NASCAR models. 5 of them were last year...but in 2020, I've already completed 11 NASCAR models, and I have 4 more that will be done in short order...and more than 30 more in various stages of completion!
Here are the first ten models I've completed this year. Since it is the first time since '07 that I've completed 10 in a year, I wanted to celebrate so I made this chart. All but the first three were finished in September, and the 11th, not yet photographed, was as well. May finish off one more before the month ends as well.
Here's a little blurb about each build:
1988 #63 Jocko Maggiacomo. This is a car I never expected to be able to build. Then decals were surprisingly made. Jocko is from Poughkeepsie, NY, the next town away from me (actually it's a city, but, you know). I actually went past Jocko's race shop, where the real car was built, many times, but didn't know it until it exploded due to a gas leak circa 2004. Luckily it was the middle of the night and no one was hurt. Jocko is most well known for t-boning Bobby Allison at Pocono in 1988, in this car, ending both of their careers. It is the first #63 I've built- and is in fact the only #63 possible to build.
1999 #58 Hut Stricklin. This is a pretty obscure car, running only three races in mid/late 1999. My main goal right now is to build one of every number and I needed #58, so I built it.
1981 #22 Stan Barrett. Another more obscure car, Barrett was supposed to be the full time driver of the Skoal Bandit team, but it didn't go well and he and the team parted ways after only 10 races. Harry Gant replaced him...and stayed with the team, albeit with two owners, until he retired after 1994! This project is one that had been stalled out since 2008, because I messed up the paint. I was able to polish it and save it, which is a big deal- first thing I've ever successfully polished.
2016 #16 Greg Biffle. I wanted to build this one because the paint scheme, only used at Daytona in February 2016, reminded me of the chicken bucket. It is also the first #16 I've built. The roof and trunk stripes are supposed to go the entire length of both but the decals are too short. I didn't want to spend the money on a second set just to get more stripes.
1999 #24 Jeff Gordon Star Wars. This was a tough one- the hardest decal job I've ever done. The entire car was covered in full body wrap decals, and it was the first full body wrap ever made in decal form..when the car was new. Decals don't age particularly well and this was a major, major challenge. I don't build Busch cars of Cup drivers as a general rule, but I will make exceptions for certain cars. This one has been in progress since 2012 at least, that's when I posted an in progress shot to my Fotki.
2001 #36 Ken Schrader. This car was raced only once, the first race after September 11th, 2001. M&Ms took their logo off the car and made it just look like a flag. Totally coincidentally, I finished this on September 11th, 2020.
1969 #98 LeeRoy Yarbrough. I built this one now because the box got wet and moldy and I lost a place to store it, so I figured, might as well build it. Unfortunately I painted the hood black before I realized that the decals were specifically for the white hood version. I later determined that the car ran white hoods in 1969 and black hoods in 1970. If I can locate another hood, I will paint it up and transfer this black one to another car. It's only the second Mercury race car I've ever built.
1998 #12 Jeremy Mayfield. A car I have great memories of, and one I've always wanted to build. Finally, I did, although the Pegasus on the side is way too large and shattered on me badly. As a bonus, it's the first #12 I've built, surprisingly, as that's a popular number with a lot of different decals available.
1992 #1 Rick Mast. This one is, by far, my favorite build of the year. I have been trying to build this car since 2005. This is the third different body I've started trying to do it. I had to combine decals from 6 different sheets to build it since there was never a sheet made for it, specifically. I also had to polish it...a lot of work went into this build. Rick himself commented on it on Twitter!
2005 #16 Greg Biffle. I actually started this one in 2019, before I even had the decals for the KFC car, but it took longer to fix it so I ended up completing the KFC car 3 weeks earlier. Pretty unusual for me to build two cars from the same driver in one month, as I am all over the map. Now I have to decide which 16 I want to put into my chart.
I'm not sure if I ever showed the chart on here...back in April I made something in PhotoScape that shows the numbers I've built and the spaces for the ones I have not built yet. Since I made it in April, I've finished 4 new numbers, and was able to add 36...not a new number, but I was unable to find the photo of the #36 I had built previously. Not pictured above is #03, which I finished last night. I have #s 02, 48, 57 and 60 progressing nicely and other numbers will join them, hopefully. Since I paint outside, it usually gets too cold to build by the end of October so they may have to wait until 2021. I'm doing fast work, but not rushing. If I didn't want to put in the effort to make them right, I could go a lot faster, but I want to have something I'm happy to look at, instead of looking at it and thinking "I could have done so much better"
The biggest thing holding me back over the years was body work. Monogram made the bodies in multiple parts, where the real cars did not have these huge gaps, and I couldn't live with just ignoring them anymore. I have been fighting with the seams for more than 15 years, and always failing. Until 2020. At Christmas last year we visited a hardware store, which has a Christmas train display, and I purchased a tube of Bondo. I had read that it was the best thing to use several years previously, but had not been able to find it. That changed everything, literally, this was what I needed and now I've been able to do seams. That has allowed me to pull out dozens of old projects- about 30- that I had considered failed projects. I have been able to resurrect them, and although I have not finished any of the cars that I resurrected with the filler, they are coming, soon. I got the first coat of paint on one of them and getting closer to paint on many others. It's not exactly a fast process but I'm getting there, and spending a lot of time working on it.
In fact, I'd be working on models now, but it's going to be rainy for the next three days, and I took tonight off to watch the last game of the Stanley Cup Finals. (writing this at 1:40 AM on Tuesday...basically still Monday)
But even though I'm not actually working on models today I'm still thinking about them, still looking at my chart thinking about what cars I want to build for those numbers, and more. My modeling hobby has my full attention and will continue to do so until it gets too cold to build this year.
Wednesday is my brother's birthday so I likely wouldn't be doing much building that day anyway, since we will need to celebrate that occasion!
It really feels good to be able to say "I build race cars" again.