How and Why I Came Back Into the Hobby

My Kodak Lumina Build

After a very rewarding career of 43-years of continuous work, having never been laid off or unemployed, I was blessed with the ability to retire. My professional career spanned several technology/engineering/research companies from IBM, OPT Industries, Ford Electronics, Amatek Aerospace, teaching fulltime at a local community college, owning and operating my own consulting business to building industrial machinery in my garage. My forte was, and still is, Industrial Automation with a specialty in Programmable Logic and Programmable Automation Controllers (PLC's and PAC's). I was also blessed to be able to work in a career that not only paid well, but that I truly loved doing. My work was more like a hobby than a job. I followed my dad’s directions to find what I really like to do and then figure out a way to make money doing that. I found early in life that I loved technology and electronics and I found a way to make money doing what I love. However, after 43-years plus, and although it mostly fun, I was totally burned out and thankful for the opportunity to retire. My first day of fulltime retirement was June 1, 2018. My last employer was the local community college, and because they had not found a replacement for me, I agreed to adjunct for one class in the fall 2018 semester and then another class in the Spring 2019 semester. Covid-19 hit during the spring 2019 semester and forced us to an online platform. I love teaching online; however, the courses I was teaching were very hands-on and not suited for an online environment, but my students and I made it work. I decided not to return to adjunct again, but now what do I do, especially since most things were locked down?

One of my coworkers and I used to talk about how we built models when we were kids and I kept thinking... that would be a great hobby to get back into when I retire. I have some great memories of building models with my neighborhood friend. We would build them and then play Joie Chitwood Thrill Show with them to see how well they stayed together. (If you don’t know Joie Chitwood, following are some links to his thrill show. I saw him at Nazareth Speedway (the ½ mile dirt oval) in Nazareth, PA and at Dorney Park Race Track, Allentown, PA.

So...with all the great childhood memories, and missing the challenges and creativity I had every day on my job, I decided to get back into model building. Another deciding factor was that one of my coworker had bought me a Paasche Airbrush for a retirement gift and another had got me a B29 bomber model kit because I’ve always had a fascination with the heavy bombers.

I hadn't done any builds since the 1960's. I was young and built from the box, brush painted everything and basically did a fairly sloppy job. (Click to see some pictures of what's left of my 1960's builds that mom had stored away in a box. [Coming soon])

I love doing research and therefore started researching the hobby and found a lot of new products and new techniques that made me feel like a dinosaur, but that’s Okay because I’m a clean slate that has eraser marks and ghosts of previous images. I started studying and watching YouTube videos of other model builders and found that there are some really great builders out there and I find they are all willing to share their knowledge and experience.

While doing the research I decided I needed to get started. My plan was to build miliary aircraft. As I already stated, I’ve always had a fascination with the heavy bombers. The B29 bomber kit I had received for a retirement gift would not be the one I start with because I didn't want to mess it up while learning, so…I bought the Ernie Irvin Nascar Lumina to start. Far from an aircraft, but I had 50-year old experience with cars and swirvin’ Irvin was one of my favorite NASCAR drivers. The other factor was that the kit was also on sale at my local hobby shop, and I didn’t care if I messed it up.

Another learning curve I wanted to climb was using an airbrush, and that, in and of itself, was a steep learning curve. I did a lot of practice using the airbrush and when I started feeling comfortable with the airbrush I started the Irvin NASCAR.

This picture on the left above is the finished product. I thought for the first build in more than 50-year, it's not too bad. This link will redirect your browser to the Kodak Lumina build.

My '34 Ford Pickup Build

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Skip's Messy Workbench ⇔ Last updated: April 27, 2022