Let me just begin by straight out saying, no, I don’t think you have a mental disorder for using aftermarket. Inevitably someone is going to read the title and get all incensed before reading the post, if they ever read it, so I thought I’d clear that up.
However, I do think in my case there’s some deeply clinical affliction in my own personal addiction to aftermarket. Over the past couple of days I’ve been thinking a lot about this; much of it spurred by my recent purchase of a resin set that cost me 150% of what the kit it is meant for did. And the aftermarket didn’t even stop with that set!
The Zactomodels Mig-29 upgrade set for the 1/32 Trumpeter kit is a lovely product. If you’re interested in a review, I made a video you can find here. But despite the loveliness of the resin, and the admitted upgrade the pieces are to the kit, is it going to make the build more enjoyable?
And thats my problem. Of late most aftermarket that’s gone beyond just simple seats and wheels has been more of a drain on my builds than a stimulating factor. I said in my Zacto review linked above that AM for me is a means to more, or better, detail. That is always my biggest motivator in acquiring these pieces. The Zacto set fits that requirement with most of it’s pieces, but a couple (the nose in particular) is more of a correction for misshapen kit parts. Coincidentally, it also appears to be the piece thats going to cause the most work. No extra level of detail. Just more work for more accuracy; something I don’t even care about.
So why am I going to put myself through the extra work? Some abnormal psychology created in adolescence probably. I remember the first time I realized aftermarket was a thing. After navigating my tween and teen building years surviving off Kmart and Toys R Us purchased kits, I found myself in a hobby store that stocked resin and photoetch. My desire for that resin Verlinden set for a Hasegawa Bf-109 was likely driven by a desire for modeling elitism (in my mind) as much as it was all the intricate detail that the kit had left out.
Who doesn’t fondly remember their first set of aftermarket parts?
I will just tell you, that didn’t end well. The kit was never finished. But that didn’t stop me from becoming obsessed with hoarding every little bit of resin or metal available for a kit even if it wasn’t always possible. From being a kid with limited financial means to a college student struggling with the first years of marriage and trying to survive, the reality was often trying to make craft acrylics work on Revell kits rather than amassing AM for high end kits. However, that stage of life has passed, and here we are.
Take a look at my last build. My Tamiya F-14 arrived with an Eduard Big Sin set and some resin seats from Quickboost. These parts made the kit more work than I intended for what was supposed to be a mojo building exercise. I had to take a belt sander to the QB seats so they wouldn’t sit too high, and the Eduard pit tricks you into thinking it fits. However. if you aim to close the canopy you’re left to learn that it spreads the fuselage enough to make that join ever so janky.
Yet I’m still amassing aftermarket.
Look, I feel when you’re in the manscale realm that certain aftermarket is mandatory. An injection molded ejection seat isn’t going to cut it. Wheels from a kit, especially when vinyl, just don’t live up to the scale requirements. If the Zacto set has taught me anything, it is probably that resin exhausts are equally mandatory.
But there needs to be a line, and with this Mig build, I think I have successfully drawn it. Full resin cockpits seem to be more trouble than they are worth. Ditto to wheel wells. My need to put some aftermarket into a kit is still there. There’s still this underlying psychosis that tricks me into thinking my models are less worthy of attention if they come straight from the box. And as long as there are no shrinks specializing in aftermarket response to intervention, I’m fucked.