My eyes crossed counting tiny plastic pieces from the tattered, dirty box holding an unfinished plastic model I had rescued it from the trash. I cautioned any Ebay bidder, “looks like all the pieces but no guarantees.”
One person made a bid. We worried, “What if I miscounted? The winner would be unhappy.”
My husband re-counted, “It is missing two unimportant pieces.”
I did not want an unhappy bidder. I sent a note, “the kit lacks these two pieces.”
Three viewers each offered a bid. The second place bidder from Illinois wrote, “Unfortunately I got ‘skunked’ at the last minute on this auction. I wonder if you would … email the winner and let them know I will pay (15 percent of the cost) for part no. 59, the ‘crane’ which is the only piece from that model I really need to complete my kit bash. If he is also using it for a kit bash project, he may be willing to part with one small piece in a way that helps defray the price he paid.”
I forwarded his message and added, “If you are willing to sell this, I will help the two of you connect.”
The Pennsylvania buyer responded, “I am certainly willing to consider that. I am not sure what the crane part is, but I am using it for kit bashing to finish my own project, so I may be able to help out.”
I found the tiny piece, took a picture and sent him a copy.
The Pennsylvania buyer understood, “It is a small, but very dedicated group of people, who build replicas of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica models using the same parts as the folks at ILM did back in the 70s. [This] kit model has never been reissued. Rumor has it that the molds were damaged. It’s uncommon to find one.”
“He is a Y-Wing builder probably. You can send him that part for free with my compliments if you can figure out the postage.” He then listed his code name for an online kit bash group that made absolutely no sense to me.
I googled ‘kit bash’ and discovered a new hobby. Folks purchase plastic models for specific pieces to build a different scene, exotic creature or futuristic vehicle.
My husband found the crane, tucked it between two pieces of stiff cardboard, slid it in an envelope and sent it to Illinois.
From Arkansas I wrote, “The crane is coming to you. The buyer asked you contact him in case there is a part you might be able to send to him sometime.”
Such an evening of learning we had. My husband googled images of kit bash builds. Most looked like cars transformed into robots. The Illinois bidder sent me a picture of his space ship. Maybe it is like one in Star Wars. I have no clue. I never watched the movie.
I shook my head in disbelief. Such a fuss we made verifying all those pieces and neither bidder worried about it. They sought specific pieces and were willing to pay more than I would have ever considered paying for a hobby. Good information to know if I ever find another trash worthy model. Somebody might want one of the postage stamp sized pieces. Next time I find an incomplete plastic model I will count and photograph parts hoping a kit basher wants just one tiny piece for an absurd price.
I closed my computer, content and bemused that from Arkansas I crossed paths with kit bashers in Illinois and Pennsylvania and, as one kit basher said, “ … made two people happy.”