I am a bit ashamed to post here to this question, but I have to admit, I have found a new love in my life. I used to have five or six different kits (singular kits) I worked on, and carried them through to completion and then, at least, the base coat, before I would go back and start another model, keeping 5 to 8 in a continuous state of build. I didn't really have a "shelf of shame," per se. Sometimes I would find I genuinely disliked a model and decide it was not worth the time to build, and it would be boxed up and put in a land, "far, far, away".
In January, however, a new phase began. The various Bergepanthers were coming out in plastic and with interiors, as well as Trumpeter' s FAMO/BILSTEIN upcoming offerings, and the various Fries cranes. Then I realized that if I don't build my resin kits of these versions NOW, I will never get around to them once the plastic kits come out.
So I drug out my resin offerings, which included:
7 units Tamiya FAMO/ TMD BILSTEIN
3 units DML/TMD Bergepanther
2 units Tamiya/ OnTrack Bergepanther
2 units Tamiya/Calibre35 BILSTEIN
2 units DES Fries gantry crane
2 units DES 12ton halftrack
I got busy with the FAMO/BILSTEIN conversions first, followed by the TMD Bergepanthers. I also had been working on the AFV CLUB Bussing NAG/BILSTEIN kit, which is beautiful but has a lot of failings and lots of very small parts. I realized that it was sad that so much study and figuring out on both resin kits and complicated plastic kits ends up in only ONE finished model. So I changed my plan of attack.
Since most of the time on a resin kit IS figuring out the directions and test fitting, I built all seven FAMO conversions together. It is much more efficient and enjoyable, plus I have a kit for every possible combination in use- travel mode, crane right, crane left, back outriggers down, all outriggers down, etc. I also built six of the Bussing NAG crane units in the same configurations, according to the reference photos. I built the three TMD Bergepanthers plus five of the TAKOM Bergepanther A kits, which helped me to build the TMD kits, since the TAKOM kits have much better directions. I built three more FAMOs while I was at it, one with a spade and two standard FAMOs. I am also building five of the TAKOM M3 Lee series (two M31, two LEES, and one Grant). As The other kits wound down to completion, I started, together, the two DES Fries and three TAKOM Fries kits, to use the TAKOM Fries kits as comparison to help make the resin DES kits. I am also starting on four Tamiya 116 FAMO trailers.
Why? I can build five of a unit, cleanup and all, with better attention to detail, seam cleaning, efficient assembly, and better painting efficiency, in the same time I would build two regular kits. And I have much more fun. Then I can use the complicated kits in various configurations, not just pick one and forget the others. I make better models, have more enjoyment, paint better. I have bought dozens of plastic storage boxes to efficiently cut, clean by assembly, store, and inventory for subassemblies and final assemblies. A few processes become more tedious by larger production, for example, on the FAMO windshields, cutting, cleaning, taping, cleaning the window frames, gluing, and then priming the entire taped five piece window required time, care, and patience (I did the windows for 13 FAMOs while I was at it, even though I only built a total of 10 FAMOs). This way they are ready and in the boxes whenever a get a taste for FAMOs again. When I replaced the plastic boom tubes on the Bussing NAG Bilstein kits(I replaced them with brass tubes with drilled holes and plastic side bushings), I made booms for 14 kits, even though I only built six NAG/BILSTEIN kits in total. I just doesn't take much additional time.
You might think I am crazy, but at least for now, I am enjoying model building more than I ever have. Better models, more models, more configurations, more diversity, better understandings of the assembly processes. And the more complicated the model, the more efficient the process becomes. The new kits with torsion bars, engines, transmissions, turret interiors, winches, these are incredibly efficiently built in multiples. You study once (take your time, get it right), then build five transmissions at one time. And since there are always bottlenecks,such as waiting for assemblies to dry so you can clean up residual plastic, or painting bottlenecks, having several multiples gives me time to study and reflect. For example, if a question comes up or a problem with an assembly (how it should be), I work on another set of multiples for several days while studying and clarifying the problem. Photoetch is now fun, for the first time. I get crazy glue out for multiple parts on five of the same kit, and after study, it always goes efficiently and quickly. The FAMO/BILSTEIN crane unit handle mounts had six small PE pieces on each crane times seven kits. I studied it a bit, cut them all out and filed down the burr, and then glued 42 pieces at one time. Not a burden at all, and a much more efficient use of glue.
Enough said. I held back replying here until now because of the assuredly negative reaction I will probably get. However, try it, you might like it. And with kits with multiple configurations, like the Bergepanthers and the FAMO/BILSTEIN units, or the complicated BussingNAG/BILSTEIN units, this would allow you to branch out. Pull an engine from a Tiger with one, travel mode one, heavy pull crane three o'clock with outriggers far out on one, crane nine o'clock with outriggers short, tow a Blitz truck with accessories with another. This is what I plan to do with the six I have.
Shake it up a little. And remember, the more complicated a kit is, the easier it is to build in multiples. Five is my desired number, but even two or three becomes much more efficient and opens up additional modelling opportunities.
So in response to your initial question,how many kits am I working on? I still have some of my initial singular builds. A 3ton halftrack, a Russian T35, Blitz truck, Blitz Maultier, Tiger I (with added zimmerit), two 1ton halftracks (I wish I had built ten,complicated little turds), a DML SIG33, a Jagdpanzer IV L/48, a DML KKRAD, two DML 15cm howitzer (again, I wish I had built five). So altogether, maybe 40 kits in process. The Bergepanthers and FAMO conversions are at the point of painting now (some interior and undercarriage painting, as well as engines, transmissions, torsion bars, and recessed areas already painted). Some groups are at 95% complete, some 80%, some 50%, but all moving along steadily and efficiently.
Your comments will be welcome.