Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On stuff that I'll take to my grave

What it's supposed to look like...Some things, I have discovered, are meant to last a lifetime. I have, for example, a partially completed Airfix model of a Russian Mil-24 attack helicopter, which I bought and started building in about 1982.

It is, I realise, cursed.

More than cursed, in fact.


I planned to enter it into the Thames Valley Wing Air Cadets model-making competition that year - for which obsessive nerds with collections of single-hair paint brushes, magnifying glasses with built-in lights, and nippy tweezers competed for a small, battered trophy. Past winners were a procession of spotty youths, locked in the bedrooms, spurning the opposite sex whilst working on perfection. My victory would be a triumph for the workshy layabout, and would be the ideal diversionary tactic to avoid revision for school exams.

Determined to build the thing properly, I remembered to paint the pilot before I stuck him to his seat; and tried my hardest not to get glue all over the windows to make it look like the crew are all steaming up the windows.

Sadly, it was a little bit trickier than I anticipated, and it was packed half-built into a nice biscuit tin several weeks later.

The tin has followed me from house to house for the best part of a quarter of a century, and I'm still building the sodding thing now, 26 years later. In fact, I got it out of its biscuit tin last week to have another go, but I'm stuck on the rotors, which seem to require a degree in engineering to connect to the rest of the aircraft.

My helicopter, as it stands (or rather 'lies' as I haven't quite got round to gluing the wheels on) is a wonderful piece of minimalist art, an indictment of today's time-hungry age and the short attention span of feckless youth. See? It's beautiful as it is (pic right - 25 years of effort).25 years of effort

I now know that it is my life's work, to be completed on my last day on this mortal coil, some day in 2075, when I shall sit back on my commode, admire the workmanship, and sigh contentedly with my final breath.

Additionally, I am painfully aware that the second I unite airframe and rotors, the thing will no longer fit inside my lovely biscuit tin, and I will be entirely committed to completing it instead of keeping it under my bed for another five years.

The boy Scaryduck Jr has an unfinished 1:72 scale Concorde which we found, untouched, in a wardrobe these last five years. It's genetic.

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