From time to time, the subject of a model builders stash comes into the spotlight. The mysterious “stash” is questioned by all and understood by few. To really comprehend what most think is insanely pointless, you have to experience the hobby in its true form. Building models travels deeper than just putting plastic parts together. There are layers to every model builder that dictate their levels of commitment to this great hobby. Skill level plays a big part in this all but when you really break it down, we all share the desire to build a good model. Whether it be an airplane, tank, or automobile, we enjoy the build. There are plenty of die-cast or even plastic renditions that we can easily purchase to display, but the satisfaction of creating the end product yourself wins out in the end. So where does the stash come into play in all of this?
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word stash as “an amount of something that is stored or hidden”. Now most of us have no shame in our stashes so we can omit the “hidden” in the definition. So if you have one unbuilt kit or five hundred, welcome to the club my friends. You officially have a stash. Now, the debate isn’t really directed at the stash itself. I find that it’s main focus is why we hoard such a multitude of kits. The main question when someone sees the amount of unbuilt kits I possess is “why do you need so many models?”. Everyone understands hobbies. We all have them and each one has a necessary evil to them. I am not convinced that having a stash is evil but it is necessary. As an example, let’s say that I suddenly get the inspiration to build an F-14 Tomcat. Well, the stash provides. I know that I have numerous options and don’t have to go through the hassle of searching for a kit online and over spending due to the demand that I created. The stash is the future of the model building world. Each kit in the stash represents possibilities. At any given time, I can turn to my own stash and literally build whatever I want.
Growing the stash is another part of the equation. The amount you add varies on the hobbyist. For myself, I add whenever realistically and feasibly possible. If a kit has a premium price tag on it, it’s not likely that it will make an appearance across my workbench. On the other hand, if I have been watching said kit for a while and see no break in sight, I will ante up and purchase it. That does not happen very often here though. The bulk of my stash is built from clearance sales and coupon codes. When the price is right, buy it. I generally try to stay within the $10-20 range per kit. Obviously bigger kits are more expensive so I expect to pay the extra.
When it comes to the content in growing my stash, I generally approach it the same way that I build. I try to be as diverse as I possibly can with what I add. Any airplane is welcome. Another branch that I like to pay attention to are what I consider the staples of my stash. The milk and bread of the stash. I am always looking to add certain types of airplanes that are well used across the world resulting in numerous variants and paint schemes. A lot of WWII planes I consider to be the staples. These are always good to have on hand and make up a good percentage of my unbuilt kits.
After I have answered the why I have a stash question, I always get the follow up question, “are you ever going to build them all?”. Well quite honestly…no. To be even more honest, I don’t even have the slightest desire to try to build them all. It’s unrealistic to think that the stash needs to be emptied out by the time we are done with the hobby. My stash will outlive me and I understand that. That may seem like a waste but it’s really no different than an insurance policy. You can go your whole life without a claim but when you need it, it’s there. Whether you understand the reasons of the stash or not, it’s what we model builders put our hopes and imaginations in.