Building models and memories

Written and posted by Iowan Jay Rogers,

Fear No Evo Drag Racing


I built this 1949 Mercury lead sled, 1/24th scale model car kit while in college in the 80's. I have somewhere around 400 hours in it. Yes you read that right, 400 hours. Idle hands and all of that. This is the story of how it came to be and how I ended up where I am today.

If you have kids or grandkids, one of the things that you can do with them, is build models. Thanks to My Grampa, Ken Rogers, and my pops, J.R. N Rogers, idle hands were never a problem for me.


As I've mentioned before, Grampa worked full time as a pattern maker for the Oliver tractor company. Creating things from wood so that they could be mass produced in iron, aluminum, bronze, and steel was his vocation. Towards that end, Grampa kept a very well equipped wood shop in his basement as a hobby. He also farmed between 80-160 acres in his spare time....


As youngins, we spent a lot of time on Gramma and Grampa's farm. Days were spent learning what it meant to earn your keep as a hand on a self sustaining farm. The evenings were spent around the family dining room table, building models and playing games. Grampa was a good friend of the local Rambler dealer and if we were coming up, he would go into town and get us the latest "Promotional Model Car Kit". These were common in the 60's and early 70's. They were a pretty basic, 1/24th scale plastic kit, perfect for 5-6 year old kids and their Grampa!


Grampa understood the importance of time well spent and the importance of understanding how things work. No matter what we were doing together, he taught us how to solve problems, regardless of resources available. Those evenings on Grampas lap, Gramma bringing us a refreshing glass of Fresca will live with me forever.


So back to the picture. If you've made it this far, you must really be bored and I appreciate the time you've taken to enjoy this memory with me.


Dad was cut from the very cloth that gave us Grampa, and he wanted to make absolutely sure that Eric Rogers and I would understand and appreciate the value of our hands. Both at creating things and at easing a troubled mind. As parents barely more than children themselves, Mom and Dad worked hard to give us a proper upbringing. Chores were a big part of our lives but so was play. Play time for me was spent in large part, building models. No matter the holiday, I was given 1/24th scale plastic model kits. They were inexpensive and kept me occupied for hours.


This particular model was done as a result of the teachings of many people in my life. It was at a time when my life was lacking direction and represented a path back to being whole again. It has been cut into hundreds of pieces and remade as a result of the vision created in my mind by dozens of influences. The body has been Chopped, Channeled, and Sectioned. Nosed, Decked, rounded, and frenched are additional terms that apply to this full blown custom. It is a metaphor for me that represents that no matter how much disarray you find yourself presented with, there is a path to better times. Start small and work towards the end. Nothing is insurmountable with resolve and determination.