Another year has passed us by, so you know what that means: time for a review!
This has been an interesting and, more or less, productive year at the workbench. I managed to maintain my usual build rate, finishing up three kits during the calendar year (and, if we’re luckly, I’ll be adding a fourth to that tally by December 31). Of these, two were started this year, while the other was built up to about 95% by January 1 of this year.
There have been new additions to the bench, as well, with four builds currently underway. If things progress as I hope, this time next year I’ll be adding them to the 2016 review. But enough looking forward: let’s look back instead.
The year started off with the completion of a December 2014 build. The Academy 1:72 P-51B was a relaxing build that I took on as a respite from the intense HMS Hood build that I had just completed at the time. This was a good first experience with ground cover and a rewarding introduction to 1:72 scale – a scale which has since surpassed 1:48 as my airframe scale of choice.
What’s this? Armor? Yup, 2015 saw me fulfil a number of things on my Resolution list, including an introduction to both armor and Great War subjects. Takom’s 1:35 St. Chaomond (Late Type) was an…interesting…experience that taught me just how complicated the building of land vehicles can be. I also tackled some complicated groundcover, found success with using window screen as barbed wire, and figured out just how important it is to seal your wood base before coating it with wet plaster. This was a fun one that also gave me a bad case of the armor bug which I plan to succomb to in 2016. But more on that later.
By far my favorite build of 2015 was Trumpeter’s 1:700 USS Hornet. I’m such a fanboy of the Yorktown Class carriers that I couldn’t pass this one up, and the extensive use of photoetch, resin, and styrene scratchbuilding made this kit a proving ground of skills that will benefit me greatly going forward. Also, using two photographs I was able to represent an April 5, 1942 scene that I’ve not seen modeled before or since. Out of my entire catalog I’m most proud of this build, and I was both excited and saddened to see it leave my workbench.
While these were the finished builds of 2015,throughout the year I began work on a number of kits which are still in progress and awaiting completion:
I’ve had Dragon’s 1:700 USS San Diego in my stash for about two years now, and I figured that 2015 was the year to get it underway. Once Hornet hit the slipway, I quickly pivoted onto this vignette featuring not one, but two same-scale ships: San Diego (representing USS Atlanta) is to be joined by a Tamiya 1:700 USS Fletcher (representing USS O’Bannon) in a scene from the beginning of the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. This November 13, 1942 action saw the end of Atlanta, and my modeled version will show both ships in line, turning to starboard to enter the confused action against the Imperial Japanese Navy. I’m using FiveStar’s incredible photoetch set to super-detail Atanta, and detail sets from Dragon and Skywave to bring O’Bannon up to par as well. This one has been slow going, but Atlanta is at about 80% complete, with O’Bannon not terribly far behind. I’m shooting for a February 2016 completion.
Another kit I’ve had in the stash for years is Tamiya’s 1:350 Bismarck. For whatever reason, I decided that this would be the year that I break it out and get moving on it. I had to purchase a TON of aftermarket to get it ready for how I want it, but after three photoetch sets, a Pontos wood deck, and a bevy of resin, brass, and styrene upgrades progress is obvious on this build. I’m also working on it as part of a group build on Facebook. The group build end date is April 2016; I don’t think I’m going to make that, but I hope to wrap her up this summer.
One kit that I’m only days away from finishing is Academy’s 1:72 F-22A Raptor. This picture is actually a bit outdated, since I’m actually about 50% done with the kit’s decals. This was one of those relaxing builds that i took on just for the fun of it, and I haven’t been disappointed. It’s gone togethere easily and presents a nicely-scaled and accurate version of this deadly-looking airframe. Depending on drying times and workbench availability, I may have this one wrapped up by Thursday, December 31. If not, it’ll be done by the following Monday.
So…time for looking ahead?
2016 might be the year of the armor for me. After the St. Chamond build, I decided that I wanted to dabble in this subject some more, so I’ve been picking up certain unusual or unique subjects for the stash. I don’t really want to build another Tiger or Panther, since those are a dime a dozen. The more unique kits, though…I can get behind that. I’ll post more about 2016 once the date on the clocks actually changes. For now, let’s just say that it’s going to be good times.
So, how would I rate 2015? I’d give it a solid A-. I didn’t finish as many kits as I would like (thank grad school for that), but I made significant progress on several anticipated builds and gained both a slew of new skills and a boatload of confidence to tackle new techniques and concepts. In 2015, this blog’s affiliated Facebook page exploded with traffic, and I was finally able to make good use of The Museum Modeler YouTube channel with a number of unboxings, reviews, and updates throughout the year. Finally (and notably), in 2015 I made arrangements to share content from this blog on Complete-Models, and in March I even placed in an IPMS category:
Lookin’ good, Hood. Lookin’ good.
That about sums up this year. Let’s keep the momentum, shall we? I’ll see you all in 2016, where I’m confident even more good things await.
Take care, happy modeling, and Happy New Year, friends!