And that was 2022

Wow. It seems as though I just posted the 2021 send-off and I’m already doing another one. This has been a very fast year. That usually means I have been busy and in the case of 2022, yes, things were busy. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. By every account, this year was far better than last year and, of course, night and day better than that dumpster fire of a year in 2020. Actually, I am no longer going to mention 2020 in this blog. 2020 is dead to me.

On the work side, all is good. Work likes me. I like work. My co-workers are professional and the higher-ups have emotional intelligence. Things are busy but because I work with decent people, it isn’t a chore. I am also in the thick of a certification course. That meant studying for, and writing two significant exams this past year. I’ve got three more, but who’s counting?

As the spring turned into summer we had wonderful weather around here. I got out more and did a lot more kayaking. I also went back to playing recreational baseball. The kayaking went great. Man, do I love kayaking. I’m already shopping for my next kayak. However, after two seasons away from baseball activities, I discovered two things: Hitting may come back quickly. Running does not. Not that I ever had much of it anyway.

My summer capped off with another month at a cottage on Lake Huron with the family. I loved every minute of it and I wish I could live there full-time. The people up there are so nice. There is actually some fun scale model-related content up there. Unfortunately, I don’t think work would agree with that type of distance. Then again, these days, you never know!

How about the models?

My city may have been the very last bastion on the planet to re-open for work and model activities but, ever so gradually, things did crack open throughout 2022. Our hobby shop build nights resumed early and we also had a couple outdoor swap meets. It was great to see the usual suspects at these informal events. More on that below.

As far as making models goes I took a few across the finish line in 2022:

Now, I’ll admit: This is a little down from last year but that is ok. I sure had fun building them, writing about them, and creating videos about them. I also took some risks and learned a lot with the Blackbird build. That is really what this is all about: Trying new things, taking some risks, seeing what works, and getting better at this thing.

And when things don’t work, well, at least you get experience!

Lastly, the “Let’s Get Pacific” group build started December 1 and, as of the date of this post, we have almost 100 participants! For anyone interested in joining, please do. All are welcome. I really mean that. My first entry is a Tamiya Corsair (more on that below) and I am confident I will finish at least a couple Pacific War builds in early 2023.

2022 Model Shows

My show season started in March with the return of HeritageCon in sunny Hamilton Ontario. Truth be told, there was no sun. It was downright cold and windy. But we didn’t care because HeritageCon was the first model show in Ontario since the end of 2019. We were all enthusiastic participants. I think it was the most well-attended single-day show I have been to. I had a great day seeing models, checking the vendors, and speaking with new and old friends.

In May we had another local outdoor swap meet hosted by the Hobby Centre. This was as much an opportunity to pick up cheap kits as it was an excuse to again rub elbows and chat with all the regular suspects in the local modeling scene. I am hoping these swap meets continue in 2023 as they are a lot of fun.

The Ottawa Scale Auto Contest also came back in October after its two-year hiatus and we had a gorgeous day for it. 2022 was the biggest iteration of this independent and well-attended show. I had a great time with the Little Intern as she displayed her models, collected her awards and collected free model kits.

What I am looking forward to in 2023

Models I want to build

In 2022 I had the goal of finishing the Tomcat and building the Blackbird, finishing the scratch-built train station, and starting the cut-away Sabre and Marine PBJ. In hindsight, this was a little too ambitious! The PBJ was not even looked at but I got the Tomcat and the Blackbird done. I got more done on the train station project and I started some preliminary work on the cutaway model. However, I discovered these last two projects are not as straightforward as I thought they would be. For example, even cutting a hole for a window is an exercise in precision and takes multiple attempts to locate it and get it right. So, I have downgraded my expectations with these first attempts.

For 2023 I am planning 3-4 Corsair builds in 1/48 scale. I’m starting with the checkerboard Corsair shown above which was flown creatively by Robert Klingman one day over Okinawa. I’ll be following that up with a Guadalcanal Corsair from VMF-215 as pictured above.

At the same time I am going to up my game a little on the writing side by providing more context to these builds. As I explained to the Scale Model Podcast crew, I have found there to be a lack of context in the history books I have found on Pacific theatre airplanes. Most will list unit numbers, dates, and locations. Many will provide some pictures and drawings of the machines and pilots. Some will detail specific personalities within these squadrons or offer vivid descriptions of a single engagement.

But few resources do a good job of providing the context as to why these people and machines were in certain locations. Few explain the objectives were and how the Corsairs were used when they conducted their operations. This is what I want to hunt down and explain while I am building a model or two. So, wish me luck as this might not be all that easy to do!

As for the train station and the cutaway Sabre, I have come to accept that I might have to cut and assemble several stations to get it right and I am very sure my first cutaway model will be far from a winner. But that’s ok. I see these more as ‘practice and skill building’ exercises and not as show-stopper models right out the gate. I also see these projects as baby steps towards more ambitious projects in the future and I need to start somewhere. In 2023 I will continue to plug away at these because I am genuinely curious to see how they will turn out.

2023 Model Shows

The good news is that HeritageCon is a “go” for March 26, 2023. I will be there with my hat on. As I wrote above, this is a huge show and very much worth the trip. There is a strong possibility that I will be joined by my friends from Plastic Model Mojo, the indescribable Jim Bates from A Scale Canadian TV, Luftraum72 Kris, and Panzermeister36 Evan. If that all works out, this could be an epic show experience. Or we will have to hire a designated driver and get a lot of coffee at some point.

Probably both.

Closer to home, those rumors of a possible return of my local show may turn out to be true! As of the date of this blog entry, CAPCON 2023 is tentatively set for Saturday, October 14, 2023 in Ottawa at the Canadian War Museum. This is still not written in stone but if it makes its return, I will definitely be there.

As well, rumor has it there will be another Ottawa Scale Auto Contest sometime in the fall of 2023. I sure hope so.

2023 on ModelAirplaneMaker.com

2022 was another record-setting year for the blog in terms of views and visitors. Once again I benefitted from excellent promotion generously thrown my way by great podcasters, YouTubers, and fellow bloggers. The shout-outs from Plastic Model Mojo, the Scale Model PodcastSprue 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 flattered to be asked to be a guest on a Plastic Posse Podcast live-cast this spring as well as on the Scale Model Podcast as a walk-on HeritageCon show guest in March and as a regular guest a couple weeks ago. I will always find the time to sit down with model builders who share the same outlook on this hobby. I had a lot of fun with these guys and these guest spots were excellent experiences.

The most popular blog posts this past year were F-14 Tomcat: A Cultural Phenomenon and Enjoy Your Hobby Guilt Free. The first was a somewhat whimsical take on a Tamiya model build with some social commentary. The other discussed the hobby as a lifelong pursuit rather than as a series of end goals. Both were a lot of fun to write and are prime examples of my kind of blog writing.

I know I should be posting more and that I should have a regular posting schedule but I find I write better posts when I get a good idea and work on it for a bit. This does not happen at a regular interval. That said, I try to average at least two posts per month. I am sure that I can continue at that pace.

2023 YouTube Videos

As for Model Airplane Maker on YouTube, I started the year with 16 videos and I am hoping to end the year with over 30. At the beginning of this video making thing, everything was about experimenting. Some stuff worked. Some did not. Throughout 2022, I made a lot of changes to how I record and edit. I think this has led to creating more interesting videos. More importantly, I am still having a lot of fun with the process.

The most popular videos are those centered on skills. This makes sense. I was really surprised at the response to my Blackbird Painting video. It must have struck a chord with modelers and I sure appreciated the feedback I received.

Of course, there is a lot more to learn and try. I have a good half dozen video projects in various forms from pre-production to editing. I think it will be a fun 2023 video-wise.

One Last thing

Once again, thanks to all who have visited my page, read my thoughts, dropped me a line, or watched my videos. I feel humbled whenever I see that someone has subscribed to the blog or the channel. I also have to say, it has also been great to meet and talk to fellow modelers from around the world. I really appreciate your support. I’m looking forward to 2023, I have a feeling it’s going to be a great one!

So, let’s wrap up this 2022. I wish you all a reasonably silly holiday with the little ones and I hope that you spend the optimal amount of time with your friends and family. If you partake, make sure to have one for me. Otherwise, take some time for yourself to relax a little. Maybe spend a little more time unwinding at the bench over the holidays; you’ve definitely earned it.

If you have a minute, I’d love to hear about the highlights of your 2022. What did you finish or accomplish? Did you try some new techniques, tools or products?  What about your thoughts on 2023 – any build plans? Are you going to go to some shows in the spring? Let me know in the comments.

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