2021… what can I say? In many ways it was far better than 2020. We are still in the middle of a health situation that, much like an unwanted roommate, is both confusing and not going away. But life goes on. We adapt. And hopefully someday we hand this pandemic its well deserved eviction notice.
Non-model wise, it has been a year of considerable change. I finally left a horrific and toxic workplace and I started a great new job in June. I also spent a month with my family away at a wonderful cottage on Lake Huron which had some surprising and interesting historical and scale model content nearby:
In person model related stuff remained heavily curtailed for most of the year but there were still a lot of virtual meetings and build nights. I had a blast building with my modeler friends from 100s to 1000s of kilometers away and it was almost as if we were all in the same room. However, very recently I attended an actual, physical, model club build nite! It was great to be out with the guys again and everyone was enthusiastic. I know it was a success because most of us spent our time talking with little building actually being done. I am definitely looking forward to the next one. Maybe something will actually get built!
THATS ALL NICE BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MODELS?
As far as making models goes I took a few across the finish line in 2021:
- 1/48 Hasegawa Ki-15 Nate
- 1/4 Corsair Instrument Panel
- 1/48 Zevezda Mi-24 Hind
- 1/48 Eduard Ki-115 Tsurugi
- The Academy Phoenix
And if I wasn’t so heavy handed, there would have been an Arma Wildcat in this group photo! Oh well, it won’t take much to finish that one. At the same time I completed some experiments in scratch building which have given me a lot to think about in terms of some ‘next level’ projects I want to try. More on those below.
Lock downs and other safety measures eliminated local model shows and contests for yet another year but we were able to resume visits to museums and trips to the hobby shop. I’ll be honest, I have come to really hate the term ‘pivot’. However, I really appreciated the efforts of a local model car club. They were unable to secure a venue for their annual model show in 2021, so they organized an outdoor swap meet. This was a real treat for us starved for physical model content! The success of that swap meet got some thinking this might be a regular occurrence in the future. Count me in for the next one for sure!
In April, I entered the 2021 Virtual Contest held by IPMS Mexico. It was open to the entire planet and there were over 3000 models entered. I believe they employed an AMPS like system where each category could have numerous Golds, Silvers and Bronzes. Here are the big award winners. Here is a video is a slide show of the special award winners. It got me thinking, what a great excuse to head on down to Mexico someday!
What I am looking forward to in 2022
2021 was to be the year when I started to take things to the next level but a bit of life and a good amount of time away from the bench (I’m estimating at least 3 months total) limited that. That said, I figured my scratch building should start with something boxy and therefore relatively easy. Earlier this year I scaled down drawings of a train station I want to build and I experimented with cutting, aligning and gluing walls and roof structures that had the proper dimensions and angles. I learned that I had to be much more consistent with my cutting. The only real snag is getting that roof structure correct. I’ve seen the actual building, its like they made it purposefully complicated. That said, the Grand Trunk was known for making an extraordinary structure when a simple one would have done perfectly.
I also started preliminary work on a cut away model I am going to attempt. The issue I ran into with that one was more along the lines of figuring out the most strategic places to cut away the model to ‘reveal’ the scratch built innards. At this point I just need to ‘git er done’ in terms of diving in and making the attempt.
I know I will probably have to cut and assemble several stations to get it right and I am pretty sure my first cutaway model will not be a winner. But that’s ok. I see these projects as baby steps towards more ambitious projects in the future and I need to start somewhere.
Models I know I want to do in ’22
There are two for sure. I am going to finish my 1/48 Tamiya Tomcat and I want to complete a Hasegawa PBJ-1H Marine. Those are the definite builds. Other than those two, I am hoping the Sabre and the Train Station will be accomplished. But I do have my eye on the new Revell SR-71 and since I asked for it previously, it would be rude for me not to build it.
Oh man, I really missed these in 2021… as much as I did in 2020. Virtual shows helped fill the model show void. However, and this is not a criticism of any virtual show organizer, but a virtual contest is just not the same as an in-person one.
The good news is that HeritageCon, has announced it is a “go” for March 27, 2022. It is rather fitting that the first “local” show to re-open after 2 years is one of the biggest (within driving distance). I‘ve been to this show at least two other times and the venue is second to none. HeritageCon is also one of the most organized shows I have ever been to. Considering the show is on a Sunday with a long drive home, this is a very important consideration! So, unless there are unpleasant health directives or the snowmageddon of the century, I will go.
Otherwise, I’m planning on going to something a little bigger in the summer. I really don’t know what to think at this point and I don’t want to get my hopes up. However, the hotel room is reserved, the arm has been jabbed multiple times, and my build project is planned so that I can attend Nationals in Omaha. My last Nationals was in 2018 and I really enjoyed it. I missed out on Nationals last year because of our unwanted roommate but I hope to make up for it this year.
More than just attending these shows, I want to reconnect with some friends and finally meet some of my fellow modelers that I have gotten to know digitally over the last few years. First round is on me, boys.
2021 has been the most successful year for the blog in terms of page views and visitors. This is certainly due to some excellent promotion generously thrown my way by great podcasters, youtubers and fellow bloggers. The shout outs from Plastic Model Mojo, the Scale Model Podcast, Sprue Pie with Frets, and A Scale Canadian TV have definitely contributed to the awareness of the blog and I really appreciate the kind words these gents have thrown my way.
I was also flattered to be asked to be a guest on the Plastic Posse Podcast this summer and the Scale Model Podcast this fall. It was great to sit down and talk models with like minded model builders. I had fun with these guys and they were excellent experiences.
I also took more chances with my writing and I think that it had a positive response I don’t mean that I tried to be ‘edgy’ or ‘hot take-ey’. I wanted to inject a bit more fun and humor, more story telling and more interesting history into my posts. My thinking is that anyone can find a bland “construction started with the cockpit” piece elsewhere on the internets. But if you want some light hearted commentary on the plight of our culture alongside some cool model pictures, well look no further!
Lastly – a special thanks to Model Buddy Ian (or, MBI as I like to call him) for once again being a sounding board, sanity check and chief editor of the written word.
As for MAM on Youtube, I started 2021 with four videos and ended the year with sixteen. I think I am getting better with each one. I found myself paying closer attention to other videos and trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t production wise. I also found out shooting good video involves a lot more light than a normal person might think. Like a blinding amount.
I have also found that even the best photography has to ‘move the story along’ in a way that is entertaining. As in, each shot must convey information. But once the point is made, the rest of that shot becomes pedantic and boring. This is the dark art of editing and I have gained a deep appreciation for those who can do this well.
Suffice it to say, I am still learning but I actually enjoy the process of putting these together and fully intend to do more videos in 2021.
One Last thing
I’d love to hear about your 2021. Any highlights? What did you finish or accomplish? Did you try some new techniques? What about your thoughts on 2022 – any build plans? Are you going to go to some shows in the spring? Please let me know in the comments.
Once again, thanks for all who have visited my page, read my thoughts and shared their thoughts in the comments. The feedback has been great and I hope to get more of it. I am open to article ideas, feedback, corrections and hearing from my fellow model makers. So, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or click “Contact” up at the top of the page and I’ll get your email.
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