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#BuildHappy : Ken Cronin

Sep 21, 2022

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Moyu store

Model building is often considered a hobby and profession that involves creating physical models using kits or materials and components acquired by the builder. The kit contains several parts that need to be assembled to make the final model. Taking a break from the stress of everyday life, sitting down for a few hours and building a model is a great stress reliever and is often recommended for people with high-stress jobs.

Models allow us to understand and imagine a finished space in a way that 2D drawing cannot. Most importantly, we believe this is a process of actually making things by hand, which leaves room for inspiration.

Every model maker has a story about how they got into the hobby, and metal artists are no exception. Ken is a retired engineer working in the US who used to work in a car workshop but was intrigued and inspired to start making models out of cement.

 

1. When did you get started with assembling model kits?

I was probably 10 years old when I started building models. Back then it was plastic models with cement that took overnight to dry. It took days to build and then just as long to paint. I have always been a fan of jigsaw puzzles. Both my children enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles with their families. I remember models being part of Christmas.



2. What makes you assemble the model kits continuously? You know it takes a longer time to build, not to say the building difficulty.

Over the years I continually built different types of models to relax. Models have become more complex over the years but on occasion I would find an old one at an auction. I would still be building models randomly but 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer. The treatments were successful but the side affects left me with issues. My hands and feet were the most affected. At one point I went through 6 weeks of therapy so I could walk. My hands have fine motor skills issues. I needed something for therapy so I used models for that. I started with wooden models with larger pieces but over the years I really enjoy the smaller pieces that challenge my mobility. It may take the average person 8 hours to build a model that takes me 40 or 50 hours but when finished I feel accomplished and my overall skills increase. Don’t get me wrong, there are days I want to throw it in the trash and walk away but they are getting less and less.



3. Can you tell us your favorite model style?

I have 2 answers. My favorite style model is anything aircraft. I love building planes and then military anything after that. My favorite model style has to be metal. I was a huge fan of wood for years. The challenge with wood is fit and finish. Getting seams right and a tight fit. Metal adds a major complexity of bends and tabs. I work hard to make sure every bend and fold is perfect. Every tab fits perfectly and every curve matches.



4. Do you have a favorite and most satisfying work? Can you introduce it?

My all-time favorite is a replica of the Wright Brothers aircraft. We just moved so it is packed in storage right now. The model was pretty generic except it duplicated all the rigging of the original plane. It took longer to install the rigging cables than it did to build the base model. I am a huge fan of sailing ship models with the huge sails and rigging but I never had the opportunity to build one.



5. There are wooden assembly models and metal assembly models on the market. Which one do you prefer and why?

As I stated above, my personality fits well with metal. I like the perfect folds and bends. Does every bend need to be perfect? No. Do I really enjoy trying to make everything perfect? Yes. I have seen wood model builders that add color and lights and take the wood to the next level. I don’t think I could do that. Everyone has their favorite for different reasons.



6. What do you think is the most difficult part of the assembly process? Can you share your experience with us?

That’s easy. The instructions. I have been approached by a couple of new model designers that sent me new models to try. I remember a couple because they wanted to save money. Terrible instructions, no online help and you can tell they did everything they could to save money. A good builder knows to look ahead to see where the piece they are working on fits in. If the instructions are garbage the model is no fun. Frustration is not fun.



7. Will the self-assembled models be kept or dismantled? What kind of works would you be reluctant to dismantle?

I don’t usually dismantle. There are instances I have given models away. I usually display everything I build.

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