Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 8: Rule 6 and The Joy of Hoarding Airfix

Red boxes! Red boxes! Since Airfix.com go in and out of production of items and occasionally bankrupt, I have often taken to buying certain Airfix figures whenever I see them.

This expanding red box collection is in addition to the small hoard (or tiny hordes?) of vintage Airfix figures that I have had kindly donated or found in charity shops in the last few years https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/07/warning-more-vintage-airfix-nostalgia/

Some of this ‘new’ red box hoard, built up over the last three to four years, were absolute bargains. They came from a garden centre type Hornby stockist that was going out of stocking Airfix figures whilst maintaining its railway stock. £3 a box was a half price delight. I left behind lots of WW2 aircrew.

Occasionally I think I have snatched these budget entry level figures away from local youths who might just be able to buy them, tempting them into the hobby, but then the eternal “seven-year-old with limited pocket money” part of me kicks in.

Likewise the Ancient Britons, Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood figures that came from a small local small arts and craft shop that was shutting down its tiny Airfix section. No brainer – such useful figures – and reduced prices!

I wonder – is it the carefully designed trigger colour of red boxes and familiar vintage Airfix classic illustrations that creates this compulsive response? Or a response to figure famine and the absurd second hand prices offered for certain Airfix figures in the hobby magazines of the 1980s?

But stop there, Mark Man of TIN! Do you have enough space in your life and house for more of such tempting impulsively bought things?

“The goal of tidying is to make room for meaningful objects, people and experiences. I can think of no greater happiness in life than being surrounded only by the things I love.” Marie Kondo / KonMari

In a world of Marie Kondo Decluttering expert, where curiously she has started her own “lovely things gift range”, do I have an Airfix hoarding problem that needs dealing with?

Do these trusty ‘old’ new and original old childhood survivors still represent a meaningful part of my life? Yes they do, in a touchstone, still used and still inspiring way.

Am I still surrounded by the Airfix things I love?

Does opening up a fresh box of Airfix, washing them ready for painting, basing and gaming still have the excitement it did in childhood? Yes it certainly does. Two boxes can make a new game.

or

Should I thank these objects for the part they once played in my life and pass them on, as Marie Kondo suggests? Over my dead body! (Literally).

Rule 6: Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Am I dominated by the lead and plastic mountain of many future gaming projects in many scales that I have hoarded away figures and materials for against uncertain future supply? Not yet. Though to be honest, I may soon be reaching the limits of my current storage space.

So many figures, so many projects, so little time?

I was listening to a recent BBC radio programme “So Many Books, So Little Time” about a writer called Mark Hodkinson who has just moved house with 3500 books. He wonders if he has a problem. Is he a lover of books in control of his collection (a bibliophile) or is he controlled and dominated by his excessive book collection and collecting (a bibliomaniac), a collection that he will physically never be able to read or reread again in his lifetime?

Mark Hodkinson ponders the nature of our personal book collections, why and how we gather books, what it says about us, and how we ever expect to find time to read them all.

Author Mark had just moved house. By far the most difficult task was carrying, storing and alphabetising his collection of 3,500 books. It made him stop to think. If it took, say, four days of solid reading to finish a book, he’d need 38.3 years to go through his collection. He would have to make his way through 315 million words. And that’s if he didn’t take time off to sleep, eat and have the occasional night out…

You can hear this documentary on BBC IPlayer / BBC Sounds at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000bp3s

I wondered if I had that sort of bibliomaniac collecting in Airfix form, building an uncontrollable plastic and lead mountain in reserve that I could never possibly paint and game with, or if I should sensibly continue to pick things up as I see them in case they are not there next week / month / year?

As Harry Pearson wisely observes in his memoir Achtung Schweinhund!, “You can never have enough of things you don’t actually need.”

Wise words indeed, Harry. Not sure what decluttering expert Marie Kondo would say in response.

As we approach Christmas gift time and New Year’s Gaming Resolutions, I would be fascinated to hear how others shape, curb, control or glory in their growing or shrinking collections of gaming figures, books and projects.

Happy 8th December – only 16 sleeps till Christmas. Here’s hoping that maybe a bright Airfix red Santa has left you one of those nice red Airfix boxes under your Christmas tree or in your Christmas stocking!

Blogvent posted by Mark Man of TIN / Eternal seven year old boy of TIN, 8th December 2019

10 thoughts on “Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 8: Rule 6 and The Joy of Hoarding Airfix”

  1. A thought provoking piece today as I type this in a cluttered bedroom with box files and sundry storage things. I do horde and l do keep collecting. eBay is so handy and such a bargain. Without it l would never have got such a collection of semi flats or old cars worn Britains needing TLC. I think that your Airfix collecting is investing in the future and in your creativity. Two boxes do indeed make a game and a jolly good one at that.
    I have given away stuff on the blog to folk. I post it and they donate money to a Charity of their choice. This has worked well and l intend to continue with it.
    Sometimes l have given away books into charity shops only to replace then some years later. I am aware l have far too many books and am trying to curb buying too many currently. Yet there are so many temptations either new ,shiny and fascinating or rebuying books long since gone from my youth . In the past one was limited mainly ( though l did get dealer catalogues sent for rarer stuff like ecclesiastical history) to second hand book shops or perhaps post Christmas sales in John Menzies/ W H Smiths. I remember the joy of hunting down greatly sought after items in second hand bookshops and the thrill of success. I can still recall where many of my Bruce Marshalls were found.
    Years ago through necessity l downsized dramatically and survived the process. My late wife Jan was really helpful at encouraging me to pass books to Charity shops regularly and I recall a friend who was mega organised and for every new book that entered his house two left. I am sadly not like him.
    Finally after rambling on let me say l like and equally dislike how easy it is to get stuff now. Perhaps it is too easy and l am too weak..

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    1. I think your way of disposing of spare figures and rules, books, etc is an excellent idea. Likewise your late wife’s downsizing encouragement to find new homes for books through charity shops. Like you I have disposed of books only to buy another secondhand copy years later.
      EBay might be a temptation but it is a good way to replenish copies of books passed on, which have no sentimental attachments.
      How amazing to be so organised as to give away two books for every new one arriving in the house. One way to stop!

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  2. Ah, the eternal question! The key to it all is whether you spend most of your time acquiring stuff, or using it. If the former, then you should definitely start worrying! I try and control the acquisitorial instinct by strict budgeting of funds and storage space (I only buy stuff using money I make by selling beforehand, and I have ‘designated storage spaces’ for my use), and as a final resort years ago I told my wife to shoot me if the stash around my computer desk gets above head-height. Gulp!

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    1. Hexeres
      A sensible view of the eternal question. Thankfully I hope I am the latter. I spend most of my time preparing, converting and painting it all. Expenditure is small scale, often second hand and within the small budget. Keeping track of it all is another matter. Like you my storage is limited.
      Hopefully your wife hasn’t loaded the gun yet!

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    1. Over the years I must have had a thousand books, now down to several hundred. I hopefully have found the others good new homes over the years.
      The plastic mountain across several scales and Lead Figures is still verging in parts on the “Rescue” bibliomaniac, but I am now far far more conscious of my limited time to paint and play and storage spaces. Casting, converting and repairing thankfully slows down the acquisition.

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  3. Well, we all have to give up our collections – eventually. Keep hold of it while you can and enjoy having it. I think we can be too hard on ourselves. A pile, even a big pile, of boxes from a harmless hobby is not something we should feel too guilty about, I think. That said, if that huge pile is causing us distress, then maybe it’s time we gave some of it away.

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    1. Wise words. It all still gives me joy (Rule 6).

      As you say, it all has to go somewhere one day. Enjoy it while you can!

      No doubt my vintage 1960s / 1970s Airfix will become more brittle and fragile with age alongside me. Time to make the most of its vintage charm whilst it’s still in reasonable condition.

      Liked by 1 person

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