2020: The year we made models

I realize there was one monumental occurrence in 2020 that maintained the headlines for months and ultimately trickled down and affected pretty much everything we planned or looked forward to in 2020.

These lock downs and other measures meant that (depending on location) we could not attend model shows, museums or the hobby shop. Vacations and travel plans were scrubbed and things we took for granted like jobs, flour and toilet paper became confusingly less secure. There was a lot we were not allowed to do or that we could no longer do. But as my old baseball coach used to say when he heard us whining about facing a juggernaut team or an overpowering pitcher: “Ok… but what CAN you do?”

Oh man, that team was weak and unremarkable; I can only remember a couple big games and a few teammates. But, that question I have kept with me ever since and I’ve used it whenever I met a challenge. Whether it was on other teams, at school or at work. I’ve even had the opportunity to use it with my daughter.

So yes, 2020 was and is a resounding crap show all around and we couldn’t do a whole pile of things. But there was still lots we could do. Around here my little one was home from school for months. Among many other small things, she learned to swim on her own, catch her first fish and we explored just about every part of the forest near our home. She can now read (though I had little do with that) and she lost way more teeth than she gained. She came close to riding a bike but I did not have the guts to let go. I guess adult teeth and bike riding will have to be a spring 2021 thing.

Overall it was and still is a very weird experience and I am not sure how I am going to look back at 2020. I guess I took a lot for granted and I have a new appreciation for simple things like going to see a movie or the gym. As things have gradually re-opened I found myself enjoying even mundane activities despite the masks and logistics. I have also counted my blessings.

WHAT ABOUT THE MODELS?

As far as making models goes (which is definitely a blessing), I think I fared pretty well:

  • There weren’t any in-person model shows for me to attend but I virtually attended WrightCon 2020 as well as some friendly shows where we shared pictures of our latest builds.
  • My IPMS meetings were shot but we still had a monthly show and tell of all the models the members had completed or were working on. We even had a blitz build back in May that I gleefully failed at completing in the time given, but I did eventually finish it.
  • My buddy build nights were toast but we discovered zoom and countless other online applications that allowed us to continue our rich tradition of beer, banter, b.s. and building.
  • My LHS was closed to the public for a few weeks but I was able to get all my hobby stuff by email or phone with friendly curbside pickup.

On the actual building of models, I finished far more builds in 2020 than I have in quite some time:

And I am most of the way through a 1/48 Zvezda Hind!

That is almost 8 models! Not bad for someone who finished all of 2 last year. My goals for 2020 were to do some Wildcats (check) and try some serious weathering (which I did on my Lighting). I hoped to try one Wingnut Wings kit (um… nope). Maybe I will get around to doing that last one in 2021.

What I am looking forward to in 2021

Building Goals

In 2020 year I wrote some pieces about building vs finishing models as well as my thoughts of taking things to the next level. I did some weathering with a decent amount of success. And I almost completed 8 models!

I am thinking that 2021 is the year I start to take things to the next level. I am going to do some serious scratch building and I am going to try a cut away model. That is the goal and, as two fine gentlemen from the Commonwealth of Kentucky always ask, “What is your plan?” Well, much like my first steps into decent weathering, I am going to start small, I will not expect world class results (or be disappointed if I don’t achieve them) and I will practice until I have these skills up and running.

And yes, I really need to slip that Wingnut wings build somewhere in all of this.

Model Shows

I really don’t know what to say at this point and I don’t want to get my hopes up. I really hope there is a Nationals in Las Vegas and that it goes off without a hitch. Well before the lockdowns I thought about attending this show but I think it is really a ‘wait and see’ for now. I also really want to go NoreastCon and back to WrightCon. However, this might have to wait a while longer.

Closer to home, my local show (Capcon) has been cancelled for 2021. I know that was a tough call for the organizers to make. I suspect they are not the only organizers who do not want to make any commitments until they are pretty sure things will not be cancelled or sparsely attended. As well, I do not have any indication of shows within a few hours drive either. Maybe for the foreseeable future, I will need to be a model show voyeur and/or virtual participant.

ModelAirplaneMaker.com

This model making blog was started with the idea of giving back to the model making community and be a nice writing distraction from life’s challenges. In 2020 the site added about 50 subscribers and has gotten a lot more views than I expected. I believe the shout outs I got from the Scale Model Podcast (thank you Stuart and Anthony) as well as my guest appearance on Plastic Model Mojo (thank you Mike and David) may have attracted more readers to the site.

I also enlisted the help of Model Buddy Ian to be my spell checker, idea bouncer-offer, and all around sanity check when it comes to producing content for Model Airplane Maker. Thank you MBI!

As promised last year, I put MAM on Youtube in August. For those who are interested, here are the links:

Yes, there are only four videos but I wanted to provide something of substance and my tech skills are firmly grounded in the 1990s. That means longer times to produce a video while I get used to the software and figuring out how get it to do what I want it to. Still, they have been fun to make. I actually enjoy the process of putting these together and fully intend to do more videos in 2021.

As for the future of the site, I am thinking of changing the layout somewhat. I like the one I have because it is heavily focused on the visual. However, there are about 75 articles on there and no easy way to find them. Other than that, I have about 10 solid article ideas in various stages of writing, researching or in a basic outline that exists only in my head.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for all who have taken the time to visit my page and read my thoughts on all things model related. Thanks as well to those who shared their thoughts in the comments. Your feedback is great and I hope to get more of it. As well, I am open to article ideas so if there is burning issue that needs to be looked at, just let me know.

Lastly I’d love to hear about your 2020. What were the things you were able to do? Did you build a lot or do more research? Did you try some new techniques or a different type of model than you usually do?  Do you have any plans you want to implement in 2021? Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

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