Author Topic: Welcome to Solid Model Memories.  (Read 4699 times)

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R.F.Bennett

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Welcome to Solid Model Memories.
« on: June 23, 2009, 11:16:13 AM »
Solid Model Memories and Solid Scale

Welcome to Solid Model Memories – an internet site devoted to a unique hobby. One
that is historical and enduring yet current and modern; one that is individualistic yet cooperative
and supportive, and; a group that spans both space and time. Such a site or club
that at once offers to supply so many conflicting needs can only be described as, well,
unique.

Solid Model Memories : Objectives

Essentially, this group is dedicated to the perpetuation or even the very renewal of a once
great hobby “Solid Scale Modeling”. This implies a seriousness of purpose beyond mere
enjoyment as a form of recreation. It begs the question: Why? This significance, the
meaning of Solid Scale and how it relates today is best understood by reviewing the
hobby’s history and contribution. This is thought especially necessary in this age of
Impermanence and quick store-bought satisfactions. As a point of departure think plastic
models as a similar but contrasting example of the antithesis of Solid Model Memories
and Solid Scale Models.

Solid Models: Defined

With a plastic kit all is a given. The scale. Material. The degree of detailing. Even the
model. But, in comparison, Solid Scale Models – carved wooden and generally “scratchbuilt”
miniatures of aircraft (or ships and cars as some members have pursued) – demand
time, research, ingenuity, skill and innovation; but mostly as opposed to the alternative,
time.

Solid Models: Construction and Method

Typically, a solid model builder follows the sequence: obtain a plan, generally from a
magazine but on occasion, when one isn’t available as when modeling an antique, by
draughting the necessary 3views from photographs; select the materials, tools and wood
for the model, plastic for moulding canopies and the paint. Then he proceeds to carve and
assemble the wooden model: to mould and apply the canopies and other transparencies;
to construct and affix such details as considered necessary and; to paint the model to
attain as great a degree of realism as possible while still mindful of the rules of wood
finishing and preservation. Finally, in many instances, he will photograph and present his
finished work. But only when he knows he has done his best, his model is a good replica
of the real thing, and he senses the satisfaction and pride that verges on parenthood will
he acknowledge completion.

Solid Models: History and Significance

The history of Solid Scale Models, when the aviation component is considered primarily,
begins with the inception of flight itself proceeding, but playing a lesser role right up to
the present age.
Over time they have been used in every capacity from prototypes of design-stage aircraft
to wind tunnel test models; from military aircraft recognition models to travel agency,
manufacturer, sales and airline promotional materials; from movies to museums, and;
from ground schools to commercial kits for both young and adult.
The prime of Solid Scale may be represented by the 1936 kit of the China Clipper
featuring a hollow fuselage and four hardwood ready-made engines. Later, during the
early war years, kits consisting of a 3view plan, a block of balsa for the fuselage and
thinner pieces of balsa to be used for wings and tail surfaces were still offered for sale.
However, as the war proceeded, balsawood became progressively scarcer until only a
block of unyielding hardwood and cardboard made up the kits.
This led to the initial decline in Solid Scale; its ultimate complete demise, almost, coming
about with the advent of the highly detailed, realistic but comparatively effortless and less
time-consuming plastic models of the post-war era.
Nevertheless, such internet sites as Solid Model Memories and Kenny’s Old Time Model
Magazine – together with similar sites and links – indicate that there exists still, in spite
of a more arduous commitment and deficiencies in realism, a vibrant and expanding
enthusiasm for the traditional form.

Solid Model Memories: The Site

From what has been suggested, Solid Scale or the hobby’s “uniqueness” is derived from
contradictions. So, historical and current is taken to refer not only to the historical nature
of an era and the models chosen as representative of that period but also to the fact that
while the construction techniques are old-fashioned the modeler is of this generation or
modern.
Also unique or seemingly contradictory is emphasizing the individualistic ingenuity
necessary while simultaneously promoting the co-operation and support made available –
through SMM. But the individual, now employing older unfamiliar methods, will benefit
from other modelers working in the same medium providing advice, alternatives and
experience.
In short, while an individual has access to say, photographs, plans and techniques from
members’ private sources accumulated over time and distributed free across space – we
have members in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil Argentina, Britain and
Turkey – We also have group advice directed to specific problems. This ability to call upon
other members’ experience marks a chief benefit of Solid Model Memories.

Solid Model Memories: Navigating the Site or How it Works.

SMM internet site is comprised of two features: The Forum and The Gallery.
The Forum consists of a number of subject areas all directed to serving the needs of
members. It is a discussion board of the group:

- General Discussion: reserved for conversation concerning almost anything.
- Cook-ups and Group Builds: members will propose say, an aircraft type whereby
those wishing may partake in building a model of their choice but from the same
type or era.
- Member Projects: a board set aside to post photographs of member projects –
aircraft, ships, cars – for critique and the appreciation of others.
- Awards:
- Links: related internet sites.
- Tips and Techniques:
- Detailing: How to make landing gear, canopies, engines, propellers etc. are all
representative of this service.
The Gallery offers:
- Member Submitted Plans;
- Group Builds or Cook-ups: photo progress reports on models chosen as part of a
group build.

Guides and Instructions:

Of practical significance but often displaying a more
nostalgic touch are again typical of the offerings in the Gallery.
Amazingly all these benefits are free as offered by Solid Model Memories founded by
Ray Bennett in return for only accepting the challenge to “build your own” in an
environmentally friendly way. The compelling significance of Solid Scales’ historical
contribution, uniqueness and survival is the basis for a group dedicated to its preservation
- its “memory”. A new “living museum”.

Cliff Strachan, Founding Member
"The Dude Abides"