The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED FIFTY FIVE: KIT-BASHING YOUR LIFE!!!
This is dedicated to Adam Savage. He may never read this but in case you do, you helped inspire me in a lot of ways. Thanks for being one of the good guys.
When I was a kid, I got a lot of what I wanted. We weren’t poor so our needs and a lot of wants were taken care of. I had toys to play with and in abundance. But the things I didn’t have or was too expensive to get, I tried to make.
I learned that from my dad.
He fixed and built things. From repairing TV’s and bikes to making cabinets, shelves, a shed out of garage doors to a whole patio. He even built a few different chicken coops.
And he had a workshop. It was on one side of a converted double garage. He built a work table and shelves where he kept various parts from just about everything. He had built places to keep his tools along with two large toolboxes. I loved to go out there and smell this area, the WD-40 and hot soldering, and touch different parts with my fingers and wondering what they went to.
And what they could be turned into.
Maybe it’s in my DNA but I followed that path that my father unknowing (or knowingly) set me on.
For a while, I had put the GI Joe’s away because I thought they were played out. But when we moved into the country, I had my own GI Joe renaissance period. I beg my dad to bring home cardboard boxes. Some of these I tore down to use the cardboard and the others became buildings, garages, and living areas for my Joe’s. I took the extra cardboard from the broken-down boxes and cut them to make stairs and platforms and rooms inside the other boxes. I even took some aluminum foil and made roofs on the lower buildings. One of the Joe’s would ‘fall’ (I pushed him) from the higher ones and crash through the aluminum foil roofs like a stuntman in a movie. I would even take them outside while it was raining and have my buildings flood. Even though I got soaked, it was all great fun and exciting. Those buildings would get totally destroyed and then I would build others.
Since then, I have always loved to build and create something from basically nothing. I loved to see the potential in things that people saw as fodder or trash. I loved to imagine all of the possibilities from leftovers or castaways of things.
Cut to a couple of months ago. Enter Adam Savage. Co-host of Mythbusters and all-around maker of all things cool and nerdy. I had become a fan of his Tested podcast and had started watching his YouTube channel. Inside his channel, he has videos titled One Day Builds. These are videos where he attempts to build things in one day. It might be a 1000 round Nerf gun or building the gun from Blade Runner. But I spotted one where he created a robot from pieces of other models and styrene.
Something clicked in my head. A tumbler from a safe somewhere in my head clicked into place.
I COULD BUILD A MODEL OF SOMETHING FROM SCRATCH!!!
People have been doing this for a long time so I didn’t discover something new. As Adam explains in the video, this is how the famous Star Wars ships were created. But for me, it was new. It was creative. And it was awesome.
So, I started to collect pieces of things. Old bottle caps, anything that was cool and made of plastic. I even bought pieces of styrene off the internet. I had a mission and an idea.
I was going to build a model of a robot from scratch.
A samurai robot.
As I sat there at the dining room table looking at the different pieces and how I could put them together in different ways, I thought about how life is like this. Or it should be.
We are given a box and inside that box is a particular set of pieces. It builds one thing that’s on the cover of the box. If you build it correctly (gluing and painting and added those troublesome stickers), you can have an exact replica of the cover. It’s fun while it lasts. But you’re following someone else’s directions. Put this here, glue. Put this there, glue. Paint here and there.
Nothing is wrong with that. At all.
Or… you could go add something, not in the plans.
A window doesn’t go there. Let’s add one.
I could make a spoiler for the car that didn’t come with it. Let’s do it.
You know, instead of making the Delorean Time Machine, let’s make something else with the same parts and add other things we find from the junk drawer. YES!!!
Where’s the glue?
We can make whatever we want. And guess what? If it doesn’t come out like we see it in our head, no problem. Fix it. Turn it into something else. Or blow it up with firecrackers and start on something new.
Or maybe, even if you don’t start out with something like you saw in your mind before you started, you might see something BETTER!
It’s all in the perspective.
Don’t get too caught up in the directions. Make it your own.
Make it completely your own from the bottom to the top.
Create and don’t be too rigid.
Go with the flow as they say. See where the stream of conscious takes you.
As of this writing, I’m still working on my samurai robot. I still have my spot at the end of the dining room table and making small add-ons nearly every day.
Just like my life.
What would your scratch build model look like… when you’re done?
-Loyd Elmore Jr.
August, 9th 2019
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.