Like most kids, I spent a great deal of time in my youth assembling plastic models.
One of my first was watching/helping dad put together a model of the battleship Bismark (I think). All the small parts were so cool. Later I graduated to doing them on my own. Great globs of haze-inducing plastic cement, paints scattered across the desk. Dried brushes I forgot to clean. Great stuff.
I never really liked doing model cars and trucks. The engine work and suspension systems just were boring. My love was for World War Two fighter planes. My favorite ones to make were P-51 Mustangs. I could make them in my sleep and had the painting/weathering effects down to an art. I also did a massive B-17 bomber. It was so fun and cool to do. Alas, none of them survived with me to adult hood. All lost in the moves I've made growing up.
Nowadays, I don't think I'd have the patience to do a model again. Alvis and I occasionally pick up a metal car kit for her to put together, but they are so pre-painted that it's kinda like just assembling a toy car. Not quite the same thing. And the liquid brush-on plastic glues and paints and stuff. Model building today is as much an art as assembly science. While I wait for Alvis to pick out her model kit, I just stare amazed at the paints and tools collection in the local hobby shop. Wow.
I was delighted to find this site the other day...Fantastic Plastic.
The webmaster, Allen Ury, has a collection of some of the rarest, and strangest plastic models (air and space) that I have ever seen some going back into the 1920's and earlier. I spent an easy hour pouring though the models he has posted to his site (and the associated history of them).
His garage is a sight to behold.
Makes me itch for my tube of plastic glue again...
Another fond memory I have is digging under our living room couch growing up and hauling out Dad's collection of coins. He had many, many books of coins he collected as well as some odd coins like from the New York subway system. It was very extensive and always fun to look at on a slow Saturday morning. He still has them, and a while back gave Alvis a few giant bags of loose change to sort through and fill up some coin-books of her own.
The ones that most fascinated me were the steel pennies that he had collected. I had never seen or could even imagine a steel penny in circulation, but there they were, neatly saved in the books.
Lavie still sets aside any wheat-penny's she finds--but they are getting harder and harder to come across. We somehow get a few Canadian pennies as well from time to time.
Alvis has a small collection of foreign coins. As Lavie works for an international company, many of the folks she supports are making trips back to Europe and Asia and return with loose change. Somehow Lavie ends up getting a fair amount of it and brings it back home to Alvis. Alvis's uncle, my brother, also has been very generous in helping her young collector's eye stay busy.
My brother has taken up the coin-collecting challenge and decided to specialized in a few very focused coin subjects to collect. One of the most fascinating are mint-errors. He has an extensive collection he has amassed. Growing up, the only place I could ever see such things were in the coin-books Dad had. Now we can see them right up close and they are miracles to behold.
My late maternal grandfather began collecting Hot-Wheel cars late in his life. Growing up his stories seemed to reflect a lack of any childhood at all. So it is no wonder that in his twilight years he would try to capture a childhood he never had. He fell in love with all things Hot-Wheels. Mom and the rest of the family would buy him Hot-Wheels by the tons. He would root over a bin for some time checking them out and collecting the ones he was missing. The early one he opened up and kept loose, but later he would keep them unopened in the original boxes. Alvis collects them as well and has quite a box full (only a few are unopened....). When he passed away, he left her his collection. I'm sure it will remain a cherished part of her life for a long-time to come. Every time I pass a toy isle and see them, I am reminded of him, fondly, playing with his toy cars and beaming with pride at his collection.
So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this site Dave Elliott's Guide to Hot Wheels Errors.
Good thing my brother and grandfather didn't know about this. Collecting error mint coins is hard enough, and Hot Wheels...well, put the two together and I don't know what could happen.....
Somehow I find this whole collecting of mistakes thing comforting...makes me hope that we can continue to find value in things that would otherwise be undesirable and worthless because they aren't "perfect". And in their ugly and permanent "imperfection" find something rare and valuable instead.
Something Zen-like or "mono no aware" about it all...but then, that's another post.