2021: Year in Review
Updated: Mar 14
Year-end. The time for reflection. This has been a busy year for me on the workbench with 8 completed builds. Each model has taught me a thing or two about history, tested my skills, and given me plenty of opportunity to find new uses for old expletives. Simply put, it has been a joy.
On the social side I joined a modeler club. And for the first time, I have been able to share this hobby with other like minded folks. What a relief it is to...and if I may paraphrase a line from The 40 Year Old Virgin...tell a group of gentlemen that I will "make a figure's silver pants blue" and be met with exuberance! They have interests ranging from sci-fi and endangered animals to the usual suspects of Phantoms and King Tigers. Their knowledge is plentiful. And the best part, they are a great group of people.
I didn't plan it at the time, but I ended up with a well-rounded set of military builds: armor, aircraft, and ships. Here they are!
Dragon's 1/700 USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) - This was my first foray into small-scale ships. I learned that the parts in this scale are nearly microscopic and that good light and magnification would be necessary to continue the Modern Fleet series. I am most proud of the "dazzle" camouflage I was able to add to her hull.
Dragon's 1/700 USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) - Aesthetically, the Zumwalt is my favorite ship in the fleet. It looks straight out of sci-fi. At the time of building, the ship was difficult to track down. Perhaps that was due to her stealth enhancing features? But shortly after my build completed, Dragon released a new kit that lets you build any of the three ships in the class. A study of the 1/1 ship's procurement revealed that the 1/700 model ship is really a model of the "model ship".
Tamiya's 1/35 Panzer II Ausf. A/B/C - I kicked off my Panzer Series with a new-tool kit from Tamiya. When it came to weather the tank, I tried a few new techniques: chipping, rust effects, and the use of pigments. I am pleased with the results!
Tamiya's 1/35 JGSDF Type 90 w/ Mine Roller - Neverending Kit Syndrome defeated! This was a 10+ year build that I was finally able to bring across the finish line. The mine roller is a real cool feature of this build. It was intimidating and it was certainly challenging. But in the end, it was oh-so rewarding.
Tamiya’s 1/35 Kettenkraftrad - Sometimes we need to practice our skills. I decided to do just that and repaint an old kettenkrad by hand. Multiple thin layers. That is the mantra. I used Vallejo's acrylics because they are optimized for brush painting.
Tamiya's 1/35 Tiger I Early - The Tiger I is one of the most popular tanks to model. What better way to model one than Tiger 131, the only running Tiger I in the world. This build sent me down the RAL color rabbit hole as I studied camouflage schemes used by the Afrika Korps. The build was a blast and I enjoyed weathering it up. It was built and gifted to a Tiger lover.
Revell's 1/48 P-47 "Razorback" Thunderbolt - The most sentimental build of 2021. A gift for my newborn nephew. His mother, my sister, purchased the kit for me in pieces. Upon his birth, I felt it necessary to return the kit assembled. At this time, the little guy won't know what this plane is, and a few years from now I hope he doesn't try to "make it fly"! But in due time, I look forward to sharing the hobby with him the same way it was with me: as a family activity.
Tamiya's 1/48 A6M2 Zero - This was built to coincide with the 80th remembrance of Pearl Harbor. As an American, building a Zero might seem like an odd way to acknowledge the event. But my goal was to use it as a springboard to learn new perspectives during the lead up to the day that would go on to live in infamy.
For all of the builds that ended up on the display shelf, sometimes a few end up on the storage shelf. There is no shame in this. It's just not hard for Modelers to lose the flame that inspired a build in the first place. Take for example Revell's 1/48 F4U-4 Corsair. it is an old tooling. After putting great effort into the Razorback build, another legacy tooled kit, I didn't have the energy to move forward with another such build. I have great ideas for the Corsair and I truly want to test my skills getting the proper result. But to do so without sacrificing quality or cutting corners, that flame is required. I simply didn't have it in 2021. Honestly this might be for the best. The special youngster that this build is flagged for will be a year older and a year closer to not trying to "make it fly".
As my modeling journey continues, I have begun to incorporate mediums that I once thought were reserved for the glossy pages of modeling magazines. Pigments, oil paints, and photoetch are finding their way into my builds. In the case of the latter, I have even purchased aftermarket sets for some future builds. I hope to gain more confidence with each of these materials in 2022. New Year's resolution? Maybe.
State of the stash
In some circles, "stash" is defined as:
a supply of hidden drugs.
While the folks at dictionary.com probably didn't envision boxes full of random plastic parts fitting this bill, there's really no other way to describe what a stash is to a modeler. And like other less than reputable substances, adding to the stash is usually done on the down-low. I mean, there really isn't a need to earn scornful looks from significant others when they catch you adding to it. Right?
Things are looking good
I'm excited to see what 2022 has in store for my journey. I've made new friends through the hobby, started on some great longer-term projects, incorporated new mediums, and have a self-proclaimed great stash to work through.
The industry also continues to amaze me. Crisper molds, greater detail, easier assembly. That's the name of the game. And that's just the kit side of things. They also continue to give us new tools and innovate with finishing and weathering products. Its a great time to be a modeler.
So from everyone here at igluemodels: stay happy and stay healthy out there. We'll see you in 2022!
Thanks for reading,
Contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org or on IG and Twitter @igluemodels