I don’t think my chronic propensity to begin constructing far more kits than I’m likely to finish is an “old man thing.” Many model builders far younger, better-looking almost all smarter than me have described the same malady. My affliction is probably the worst of the lot of us. And . . .  I have resolved that this affliction, for the good of AeroKnow Museum, must not be permitted to continue.

That’s why I’ve decided to FOCUS on what models most need to be FINISHED for the benefit of AKM visitors who visit through out the year and who come to share a few minutes of their time at our model displays, most particularly during the annual fly-in/drive-in aviation scholarship breakfast, sponsored by the Springfield Chapter Illinois Pilots Association and Zonta Club of Springfield.

During our first year at our location at what is now Horizon Aviation at the local airport, I decided that we really need to display built models of a B-52, B-36 and B-29. In the three years hence I finished and displayed  a B-29 I had started years ago, started and completed about 60 percent of the ”52, and completed about five percent of a B-36.  I’ve also noticed a public preference and particular appreciation for models of airplanes that fly/flew fast. Visitors see the completed 1/48 SR-71 , which I completed as a ’71B trainer with raised rear instructor’s canopy, and talk enthusiastically about how wonderful that airplane was. They’re right, of course. They do not talk about the F-22, perhaps because no model of one is displayed here, though I know it should be. The 1/48 kit I started to build  two years ago is 50 percent complete. I rediscovered it in the Intake Room upstairs today.  Why the heck haven’t I finished it? because I started 30 other kits since setting the 22 aside so I could also not restore a damaged  B-47, damaged P-2E,  K5y,  Ford Trimotor,  1/32 F-16A, two Stearman PT-17s, Martin PBM, and many  more.

I started working on models at home for the first time since starting the move to the airport. I’ve started probably 20; finished exactly none. This is not a healthy way to be. I MUST FOCUS on completing these models. I don’t have a 1/72 B-25 displayed, or a Martin B-26. These should be visible in the WELCOME Room.

So I’m solving that problem by discarding many started projects which I feel have no value to potential visitors. Do we need FIVE 1/72 scale Hawker Sea Furies? I thought I needed them when I completed 80 percent of the work on the five kits in “Furias” racer, Canadian, Australian, Royal Navy and Iraqi trainer colors. I will likely build the racer and the Australian examples and pitch the rest. I intend to  FINISH the two SR-71s, one a D-21 drone carrier  and a standard 71 and a YF-12 and maybe an altered single seat A-12.

I’m taking some shelved I brought out to the airport four years ago . . . .back home to expand my modelling there. I’m going to buy a second air brush and use it at home. The clutter in the Intake Room will be reduced and the  furnishings re-arranged to facilitate processing of articles, clippings and scraps for the Research room. There will also be far less clutter in the Process Room. Clutter impedes progress. To make less, I’m boxing projects in large storage boxes and labeling them “TO GET TO AND COMPLTE WHEN CAN” because I sure as bejeebers can’t get to them these days as I approach the end of “four years and no volunteers.!!!!!” In those boxes will be a BUNCH of half started kits and models in need of repair and restoration. Included are two started PT-17s,  a old Lindberg F-80,  If I listed all of them for you, I’d embarrass myself. I’m already embarrassed.

I’m going to quit feeling like a failure for what I’ve TRIED to accomplish with relatively nothing to show for it. I will celebrate and take a modicum of pride from the satisfaction of accomplishing what I CAN do. I’ve taken a big step today.

Many more will follow in the weeks to come.

Thanks for reading this post.

About Job Conger

I am a freelance aviation, business and tourism writer, poet, songwriter. My journalism appears regularly in Springfield Business Journal and Illinois Times. I am author of Springfield Aviation from Arcadia Publishing and available everywhere. As founder/director of AeroKnow Museum (AKM) and a volunteer with American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS), I created this blog to share news about AKM activity and aviation history.
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