1977 - this is very long story and picture at bottom you may want to skip.
Ships had become a,favorite modeling subject thanks to reading about WW2 naval history. Two ships were absolutely captivating to me.
One was an American aircraft carrier with an extraordinary combat record in the Pacific - the USS Enterprise CV6. I couldn’t find a kit of the ship no matter how hard I looked.
The other one…was the elegant aesthetically pleasing commerce raiding Nazi battlecrusier Scharnhorst. The ship just had the right look plus an interesting history. I found a mediocre Revell 1/570 kit or whatever and built it. However in Sea Classics or similar magazine I found a mail order add for:
1/400 scale Heller KM Scharnhorst
Of course my parents Absolutely Refused to buy it for me despite my persistent nagging. It’s a mail order rip-off. “They take and cash the check and you never get toy. We’re not wasting money on this kid.” I finally scrapped up enough lawn money to pay for it. Same argument. Finally my mother goes, “Well you’re just going to have to learn your lesson the hard way. When it doesn’t show up, you’re not getting your money back - understand that?”
I gave her the $27 or what ever it was. She wrote the check. Being young and naive- I didn’t realize even if the kit showed up I wasn’t getting it. I needed to be taught a hard life lesson about peeing hard earned money away on stupid irrelevant junk.
My mom worked from home and would be able to intercept the UPS package while I,was at school. UPS regularly made delivery to our house related to her business around 1 pm.
Six weeks, then ten went by - NO Package. I’d come home from school ask it the model arrived and get a No and I told you so.
I’d just got home from school one day when the UPS truck running late pulled up in the driveway. The Heller Scharnhorst arrived!!!
My mother wasn’t at all happy.
This was the very best ship kit I had ever seen. Light years beyond the Revell, Aurora & Monogram junk I normally built. It had railings! It had all the little AA guns. It was detailed beyond anything I or my friends had ever seen.
If a modeler can fall in love with a model - I did.
I decided to drill out all the port holes. This was the first time I’d tried to modify something to make it better. I broke 4 of my 5 Xacto blades doing it. I was so proud of that accomplishment.
This was first ship kit with a two piece hull I’d ever scene that fit together correctly . Amazingly even the deck fit as it should. I just knew the Scharnhorst was going to be the best model I’d built.
Now the 43 year old model looks like the HMS Duke of York got a hold of her. All the parts are there and one day I’ll patch,the old Heller kit up.
There one other chapter to share about this model…Why I Quit Model Building Forever At Age 15