By Christina VanGinkel
Model building is a hobby that is attractive to both kids and adults. Oftentimes though, when kids are first attracted to it, they do not yet have the dexterity to work on many of the intricately detailed models that are so eye-catching. My own son was probably about six years old the first time he asked me to buy him a model. It was a
1/25 '67 Mustang GT Fastback. While I am unsure of the exact details of that model as that was over seven years ago, my son recently came across another one that he swears is the exact same one. He bought this one. This one has a recommended age of ten and up, and in truth, at ten years of age, it would have been difficult to accomplish without a lot of adult supervision. He is thirteen, accomplished at building models, and even though it is listed as only a level two, he wants to get it because he is so sure it is the same one, which he attempted as his first go at building any models so many years ago.
The body pieces are grey molded, requiring painting, though the bumpers, valve covers, air cleaner, shifter, and mirrors are all chromed. It came with a detailed stock interior, and the hood opens to reveal a detailed 289 c.i.d. engine. To this day, any toy or model vehicle he is attracted to, be it a model or a hot wheels, has to have access to the engine. You need to be able to either open the hood, or have the engine exposed. For him, it is definitely all about the engine! This model also comes with treaded Firestone tires, and chrome 5-spoke wheels. It has a detailed chassis, separate frame and floor pan, and waterslide decals allowing you to choose to have your vehicle detailed in white, black, or red GT stripes. It also came with separate roof vents, and body side scoops.
Whatever happened to the model from when he was seven? We bought it, and a ton of other supplies, including paint, sandpaper, modeling cement, a basic model building kit, some sort of finishing kit (I think it had more paint in it mostly),and more. I know we bought many more things than he needed to build that first model, but I had no clue as to what was required, as neither my husband nor I had ever built a model in our whole life. He worked on that model for weeks, eventually becoming frustrated, and he packed it all away. When I asked him what ever came of it, he said he thinks he still ahs it packed away. I will have to look for it.
That first frustrating go at building a model did not deter him as some might think. I know it was not long after, and he was asking us for another one. He eventually finished that one, and it is up on his shelf to this day. It is of a Piper Cub airplane. He chose it after listening to me talk about the plane that my father owned in the sixties. We had pictures of it, and an oil painting in color that my brother had done. He used those as guidelines, and painted the model to look exactly like the plane my father owned.
That was the only plane he ever did though, the remainder of them have been cars, mostly classics from the fifties, and a few from the forties. Those cars were chosen for various reasons, but mainly because his uncle happened to be restoring the same vehicles in real time. His love of cars ahs progressed from building the models, to the real thing like my brother, and he is flying out to Texas in just a few weeks to visit his uncle and get his first lesson on welding.
Building models was for him a great way to learn how basic pieces can come together to build something grand. It was also a way for him to experience failure, and realize that it is not the end of the world, heck; it is not even the end of whatever it is you are doing.
Building models can be just that, building models, but do not be surprised if your child comes away from the task with a love of building other things too. It can be an addictive hobby. It is a lot of fun! Buy your child a model and let them experience the same accomplishment that many have before them, and many will in the future.