Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A year in review 2011

Hello one and all, sorry it's been so long in getting round to updating my blog but what with Christmas and a full work bench I've been a bit busy.  Today the weather was awful so the 5-aside football pitch was booked and I did 2 hours with 9 x 20-somethings getting run ragged so I'm hanging out and not really in the mood to make models.  It's a shame as I'll be able to finish the next model in about an hour at the bench!

Anyway, enough of my achy bones, on with the review of 2011.  It's been rather a productive year, mainly I suspect because I'm no longer on the front line and therefore home pretty much every weekend and evening.  2011 has been a bit of a watershed for my modelling, it's been the year I've started doing armour.  I love painting and weathering as I enjoy the challenge of trying to make a small piece of plastic look like the full size thing.  It can be very difficult with a model aeroplane, no matter how realistic the painting and weathering there is always something that gives it away, it maybe the panel lines, canopies or anything like that but usually it's something that sticks out as out of scale.  In many cases that's not the case with armour, just have a look at the master modellers, Mario Eens, Mig Jiminez, Adam Wilder to name but a few.  They can make these things look real!

I've learnt a hell of a lot from the armour modellers and learnt so many new techniques.  I've adapted them for aeroplanes and I think this has really improved my aeroplane models no end.  Anyway, enough waffle, on with the models.

First up the Tristar Storch in 1:35.  This is a lovely model and I really enjoyed the process.  It was the first model finished in 2011 and appeared in SAM magazine.

Nest up is a little collection of Tamiya's Corsiars in 1:72.  This is one of my favourite kits; the RN models were extensively detailed with Eduard photo etch, scratch built details such as the undercarriage springs and canopy details not to mention the airframes were riveted.  These appeared in Scale Modelling Now internet magazine.  The RNZAF model is straight from the box, this one appeared in SAM.  There is another one but I haven't taken any photos, must get round to that one day.

I had a lot of fun painting the next one, it's Italeri's new tool Ju 87B-2.  The kit was a bugger in places however it's a really neat paint scheme.

Sticking with the winter theme, Revell's 1:32 Heinkel 111 converted to an H and also riveted.  Massive!  This was another SAM model.

More winter stuff, this time Hasegawa's P-40K in 1:48.  More photo etch and riveting were used on this one. This appeared in AIR Modeller.

Right, time for some armour.  First up the Hobby Boss M26 Pershing in 1:35.  I tried a few new weathering techniques on this one and aren't 100% happy with it but hey ho, it's all part of learning.  This appeared in Scale Modelling Now magazine on the web.

Next up was a model which turned out to be a source of frustration, it was Tamiya's 1:16 tiger I.  It was a commission for a chap I have done a few aeroplane models for and this was my first AFV commission.  The difficulty was he wanted done in a certain "style" that I found hard to do, I have my way of doing things and this chap wanted it done another way and I found it quite hard to interpret what he was after.  We kind of got there in the end but when he received it he wasn't entirely happy, I have to admit I did take it a bit personally as I put in a hell of a lot of effort into it but then he wanted something that was not in keeping with what I normally do.  My weathering is designed to be done in layers, each complimenting the other building up the overall effect so if you take away certain layers it's not going to look quite right.

Staying with the armour was the first model I think finished up with what I had in mind, Dragon's Panther A with ATAK zimmerit.  I loved doing this model and I'm really happy with the result.  Another one for Scale Modelling Now.

OK, back to the airborne stuff for a bit and this time something a bit more unusual.  Fly's Ba 349 natter in 1:32, this was a tricky kit being limited run but I had fun with the what-if paint scheme.  Another SAM article.

Back to the P-40s now and another Hasegawa 48th effort.  This was a commission and had the Eduard Big-Ed treatment, again another Scale Modelling Now article.

Back to SAM magazine now and a model of an aircraft I actually flew.  It's Revell's Hawk in 1:32.

OK, some Hurricanes now and first up Italeri's new 1:48 Hurricane.  This was a straight from the box review for MAI magazine but I sprayed on the markings using masks from Ian at Ad Astra masks.

This is Revell's 1:72 kit with some added detail such as engine and battle damage and scratch built cannons, a lovely kit.

Back to the armour now and Hobby Boss' 1:35 Sd Kfz 222, a wonderful kit built for Scale Modelling Now.com.

Back to SAM magazine again and my runner up for kit of the year, it's Dragon's Bf 109E-4, a stunning kit and the best E model on the market in my view.  Another SAM magazine review.

Now another jet and Eduard's MiG-21, again we are spoilt with a wonderful kit.  Another Scale Modelling Now project.

Sticking with Scale Modelling Now and it's Special Hobby's P-40F and L in 1:72.  More limited run stuff.

I think I've saved the best till last, my kit of 2011.  This is Eduard's 1:72 Hellcat.  I think most people will choose Tamiya's 1:32 Mustang but trust me, this kit is amazing.  The fit and accuracy are flawless, it comes with photo etch and Cartograph decals (not that I used them) and the result is stunning; not to mention it's only about 13 quid!  It's not a big, shiny, sexy model but it's bloody close to perfection.

Now for my most favourite model I made in 2011, it's Tamiya's 1:35 T-55 with a whole load of detail extras.  This model exceeded my expectations and I think it's the best model I have ever made, it's certainly the one I would save if the house was burning down and I only had time to save one model from the flames.

Gosh, I was right, I have been busy!  What's in store for 2012 I wonder.  I have amassed quite a pile in the shed of waiting projects and I'm oozing inspiration at the moment, so much so it's really rather difficult to choose what's next.  Some of that is dictated by magazine projects, imminent are Trumpeter's 1:16 T-34 for SMN.com, Great Wall Hobby's P-61 for SAM and Airfix's new Swordfish also for SAM.  I've also got more armour to come and some really exciting models to do in this field.

Lastly, I'll be taking a few models to Euromilitaire in September, this is a competition and show which attracts the world's best armour and figure modellers.  I'm also off to Belgium for the BSMC show where I'll be doing some demos to earn my lunch.  There's also a very special project which I am working on, I'm sworn to secrecy but I hope it will be a big success.

Sorry it's been a long one but I hope it was worth it.  model on dudes.