I have a real ‘Love/Hate’ relationship with sanding. And it leans mostly towards the hate side of the equation.
I really love the effect that a good sanding job has on the ultimate finish and apperance of a modeler built model. It is very easy to look at any sort of model, be it balsa airplane, model rocket, railroad craftsman structure kit, or plastic model and tell if the modeler put in any real effort into achieving a craftsman level finish on the model. The finished model reflects both the time and effort that were expended on giving it a real quality finish. For many modelers the finish is not really a factor in building the model, they just want a functional model that achieves whatever their building goal is. And I am totally 100% good with that. But for myself, and many other modelers, the finished appearance is a critical part in the success or failure of a given modelling project.
For those that want a high quality finished model, there are many factors that go into the accomplishment of that finish, including the current skill level of the modeler, the availability of affordable finishing products, the time available to invest in a quality finish, along with a host of other factors. But one factor that is pretty much universal in achieving a quality finish in all these modeling areanas is whether or not the model was sanded in a manner to affect that high quality finish. And this is the part of sanding that I love. Sanding is what gives a model that smooth as silk feel, that extra shiny gloss finish, that mark that the model was built by a true craftsman. A high quality sanding job reflects all the time, skill, and effort that the modeler put into finishing the model.
As I said above, I am one of those modelers for whom a great finish is very important. To that end, I’ve invested a lot money into putting together all the tools and supplies that I need, a lot of time into learning all the finishing skills that I need, and a lot of energy into trying to apply all those things into achieving a great finish on my models. And I still have a long way to go before I’d even consider putting my finished models up against models completed by real craftsmen. But all of those investments mean nothing if the sanding job is not done right.
And that is where my real problem lies. I hate sanding! In a nutshell, I find sanding to be a very boring, tedious, and labor intensive activity that I dread doing. It is the one aspect of model building that I really, really, do not enjoy. And it is the major impediment I have to achieving a true craftsman level finish on my models. And even worse than that, it is the major impediment that I have to even finish building my models in the first place! My B-10 Bomber build has been on hold now for the past five months for one reason and one reason only. The next step in that model build is sanding the wing. The entire wing. It is a sanding job that requires a lot of shaping of wing tips, shaping of leading and trailing edges, filling voids, smoothing transitions between sheets of wood, sanding glue joints, and giving the entire wing, top and bottom, a smooth surface from wing tip to wing tip. All of this needs to be done before the model build can continue with the wing being inserted into the fuselage so that it can be completed.
Now none of those sanding tasks are necessarily hard or something that I haven’t done many times before. But they all involve al lot of boring, tedious, and labor intensive activity that I do not really enjoy doing. And so the B-10 has been sitting on the bench waiting for me to approach it. For 5 months now! And as I look around my shop workbenches, I see a variety of other models that are in a partially completed status. And guess what the hold up is on the majority of those other models? They are all at a stage of construction that requires some type of major sanding.
Now, with regards to the B-10, it is not like I’ve not been doing any modeling in the meantime. Quite the opposite. As I’ve documented in a couple of my blog posts, I’ve remained very active with my modeling working on things like the Banshee Refresh, and my COX .049 Spitfire Overhaul. I’ve also been building several model railroad Craftsman structure kits and have been working on a plastic model airplane kit, none of which have been talked about in this blog. The one thing in common about all of these model kits is that they involve very little sanding. Thus, they have been a real good distraction from and justification for not working on sanding the B-10 wing.
(Click on photos to zoom in on them)
However, there is a looming deadline on the B-10 and the wing sanding needs to get done to meet the deadline. I do find that what helps keep me motivated to complete any type of modeling project is to have some sort of a deadline. In the case of the B-10 Bomber, it is the next Brodak Fly-In being held in June 2023. My goal is to be able to fly and demonstrate the COMPLETED B-10 Bomber at that event. And so that means that I really, really need to buckle down and stop procrastinating and finish the wing sanding on the B-10. I’m just gonna hate the effort. But I hope I will love the finished product.