Beneficiary benefits

WO2 Wayne Cooper shares his account of joining in with the recent 48hour build, his fears, his anxieties and his triumphs.

“I grew up making models with my father but from 16-47 I hadn’t touched a brush or paint or even considered building models again. Since being diagnosed with PTSD I never realised how much modelling could help me focus and get away from this horrible disorder. I joined M4H when face to face builds were allowed and started forming some good bonds with other veterans and support staff.

During the Pandemic I have found that modelling has helped me every day. I have also found that the interaction with other M4H beneficiaries and volunteers on the Facebook site and via the weekly live shows to have been an invaluable means for me to escape.

I joined the Model Officers Mess site to take part in the 48 hour group build on the Wednesday before the event was due to start. I decided that I would build the 1/48 Airfix Jaguar and paint it in a desert scheme. About 30 minutes before the event was due to start I decided to open the box and check the contents, read through the instructions and make a plan for my build.

On checking the first sprue I noticed that the cockpit tub was missing, this got my anxiety going and I had to change my plan as I didn’t have any materials to scratch build a replacement. I rummaged through my limited stash and found an old kit from Monogram, 1/48 A37 Dragonfly. I started by taking pictures of the sprues. There was flash everywhere and the parts didn’t look too good, it was too late now to change my mind on what to build.

I started with the cockpit which surprisingly went together well but the pieces did require some cleanup. Most of the build went ok and I had it in my mind that I needed to build the parts on that Friday evening to stand any chance of finishing by Sunday evening. This didn’t happen due to family issues and therefore set me back. Saturday morning I woke early to get the build done. I felt quite a lot of pressure as I knew I was behind schedule. I almost gave up as the pressure was starting to get to me. I decided that if I didn’t get it finished, so what! I would produce what I have done.

…A Kit That Pushed Me To My Limits

Saturday went reasonably well after this and I managed to get it fully painted and ready for gloss coat on Sunday morning. On Sunday morning I quickly glossed it up and then joined the M4H live show for an hour. This hour really invigorated me and got me fired up to complete the build. After that I struggled with aged decals and painting the finer details and pilots. I think I finished with about an hour to go and felt absolutely knackered. I also sat and reflected on the achievement that I had made by getting through the build with a kit that pushed me to my limits.

I’d like to thank all at M4H for all their help and support, without them I firmly believe that my mental health would be much worse.

by WO2 Wayne Cooper.