Building a Scale Model Drag Racer

Orangeville, ON (James Doan) Personally speaking, I could never begin to repay the hobby for the thousands of hours of enjoyment it has given me over the years. When you think about it, there are very few ways to say ‘thanks’ to the hobby for providing such a wide array of pleasure.

Model building is largely a solitary hobby. Most of us spend hours in our basements or workrooms at the bench with no social interaction. It’s nice to get away for a while. Building models can be a very relaxing experience.

However, it’s not always good to hole yourself up. Modellers can get out to shows, attend club meetings, or hang out at the local hobby shop to meet people with similar tastes and talk to them about their favourite hobby. These are all good ways to share our hobby with others.

Building a good drag race car model involves more than a kit and some glue. Proper research and planning can take up close to half the building time. Photos, magazine articles, TV coverage, and trips to the local speed shops are some of the ways to gather information. Each piece of information eliminates some guesswork and makes a more accurate model.

Photos taken at the track are the best way to get the necessary information. Unlike most forms of racing, fans are allowed in the pits at drag races, so close inspection of the cars is easy. Most racers will let you take pictures of any part of their car, just don’t get in the way during a between-rounds thrash. Try to get your pictures early when the racers are more at ease and the cars are unbuttoned for tech inspection.

Magazine articles are the easiest way to gather information. Convenience stores, drug stores and supermarkets all carry a variety of publications. Check all the magazines; you never know where something good might turn up.

Speed shops also offer a wealth of information. Most have large wall displays and built engines on stands right on the floor. A photo or drawing will help you remember what you saw. These shops usually also have catalogues and pamphlets from many of the equipment manufacturers.

I have no doubts that my skills have improved in direct proportion to the level of knowledge and experience I have encountered. I always come away from any event with a few new friends and a ton of inspiration for future projects. All in all, not a bad deal. It has been my experience that most, if not all, scale modellers are very willing to share ideas and experience. Look, listen, learn and share should be a basic tenet of any participant in modelling events.

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