Aftermarket is a Mental Disorder

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.


4 thoughts on “Aftermarket is a Mental Disorder

  1. Hi

    Good write up. I used to have the same problem as you. OOTB is not good enough. But in the end, it took real effort on my part to say stop, its not healthy. Now i only go aftermarket part if I’m submitting the kit for some group build, competition or commissioned. For personal collection just OOTB with minor aftermarket – only if the part provided in the box using a slang in my country, cannot make it. But it really up to the modellers. If u happy with what u done ootb then its good enuff then thats the bottomline.


  2. Rex

    How dare you ? Why, I oughta,,,,,,,,oh, yeah, I read the first paragraph,,,we’re good.

    Aftermarket is sneaky. I first started using aftermarket just for conversions, because those items are so much easier than creating versions the old fashioned way.

    Then, I got to looking at some of the wheels in some kits. In many cases, especially with older kits, the “tires” are just these donut looking things that we were supposed to capture between two wheel halves, enabling the wheels to turn. I suppose to make our landings easier on the carpet or on our Army blanket spread on the bed as an airfield.

    Ejection seats seem to be fairly common as upgrades, which makes some sense for some of my models,,,,,,but, many of my models come with seats that are so far above the old days that I don’t always see a reason to use resin for those.

    Okay, fairly innocent so far.

    But then, weapons come out in Resin that gives us either better versions than what the kits include, or gives us weapons that never came in model kits.

    Again, still okay.

    Now, why do I have resin cockpits and photo etch,,,,when I build mostly with the canopies closed in 1/72 scale? All that I can think of for those pieces is that I have some kind of self-torture disorder. (It wouldn’t hurt me if you called me a Masochist, I guess)

    The end result is that I can only defend owning about 25% of the aftermarket parts that I have here, with any honest logic. Luckily, I don’t have all that many sets, I know guys that won’t even begin a new-tooled kit until they have about 5 sets for each build. There is enough aftermarket resin and etch out there for the Academy 1/72 Crusader that all one ends up using from the kit is some sort of cut apart skeleton, with the resin attached all over the place. And this is the absolute best OOB 1/72 Crusader ever available. (I only use resin for conversions with that model kit)


  3. Randy

    When I was an IPMS member, i used to shake my head at the nerds who would’t build a model kit until they had every conceivable aftermarket accessory out there for that particular kit. So much crap that I would refer to them as “Assemblers”, not modellers. There is nothing challenging about taking someone else’s creativity (cast resin parts) and sticking it in a model build.


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