2021 Year in Review

2021 saw a return to some degree of normalcy, but as with any great disruption there have been some re-definitions of just what that means.  There was a return to live in-person shows which was sorely missed.  What has changed with the shows is now they are bigger and better attended, with more vendors, more model entries, and an overall increase in quality of the builds.  Fewer group activities have translated into additional modeling time for many people, and for socially introverted types this appears to have been a good thing.  It has certainly resulted in more and better models on display at the shows!

The display area of the 2021 Military Modeler’s Club of Louisville IPMS show.

I was able to go to three shows this year, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Cincinnati.  All three were held in new venues, and all three were very successful and saw half again as many entries above what was normal for the club, if not more.  Many inspiring and innovative builds, and fellow modelers are always happy to share new techniques and tips to try out.  The guys at Plastic Model Mojo have taken their show on the road, and I was able to sit down with them and catch up in person, in addition to listening to their podcasts while I model.   Plastic Model Mojo here:  https://www.plasticmodelmojo.com/

Mojovians Dave and Mike in front of an Fw 190 replica at the Cincinnati IPMS show at the Tri-State Warbird Museum.

For bibliophiles the news is still not good.  Publication dates on many new books have slipped.  The secondary and overstock markets have fared little better, with fewer selections and higher prices all around.  After two years the Half Price Books traveling blow-out sale is still nowhere on the horizon, and I’m starting to wonder if it will ever return.  Hopefully soon!

Blog Statistics and News

The Inch High Guy blog has completed year three!  A big thanks to all who visit on a regular basis, whether new or old.  I am happy to report that I again managed to make a post each day, although there were a couple of near misses.  The blog received 139,675 views and 55,483 visitors, up from 73,992 views and 26,731 visitors last year.  The most popular post again this year was “Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Interior Colors Part I” with 3,267 views: 

https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/b-17-flying-fortress-interior-colors-part-i/

Guess what? If you can see the ribbing on interior of a Fortress it should be Natural Aluminum, with only rare exceptions. Interior Green is for Warbirds!

Models Built in 2021

34 completions, 24 aircraft and 10 vehicles.  In addition I painted 42 figures, 14 horses, and constructed 8 diorama / vignette bases. Everything was built to 1/72 scale as is my preference.  The mosaic has a picture of each build, construction posts and additional finished pictures can be found by searching the blog.

Arma Hobby FM-2 Wildcat x 3

Azur Martin B-10

Trumpeter T-55

Takom MAZ-537 Tank Transporter

Airfix Spitfire Vc x 4

Vickers Mk. VI light tank resin print

Cunningham T1 light tank resin print x 2

Brengun Yak-1

Arma Hobby Yak-1b x 3

Hasegawa Yak-3

Dakoplast Yak-7 x 2

Valom Yak-7

Emher Yak-9

Hasegawa Fw 190D (old tool)

Hasegawa Fw 190D

Tamiya Fw 190D

Dragon Messerschmitt P.1011 x2

Dragon Julia

Revell Fw Fitzer

Revell Ho 229 (repaint)

First to Fight Polish TKS Tankette

ICM Sd.Kfz. 222

First to Fight Sd.Kfz. 247

Dragon Krupp Protze Kfz. 70

Italeri sK 18 10.5 cm Field Gun

What’s Ahead in 2022

This has been a year of exciting announcements for 1/72 scale modelers.  The new Focke Wulf Fw 190D series from ICB looks spectacular, and it even includes an accurate wheelwell for the first time in the scale.  The family will cover all the Dora subtypes.  Flyhawk released a new tool SBD Dauntless which will fix the dive brake issues with Hasegawa’s kit, and will hopefully continue to be available – something which can’t be said for several Hasegawa kits.  To top it off ICM and Special Hobby have both just announced a new-tool Ki-21 “Sally” for late 2022, a subject which has long been on the list of several modelers. The Sally was strangely missing from Hasegawa’s new-ish series of Japanese twins, modelers who had to have one searched for the MPM or 1976 Revell kits.

The big news for many modelers is that Arma is now shipping their P-51B/C kits.  The previous attempts from Academy and Hasegawa both suffered from fatal, difficult to correct shape issues.  Finally, for the first time, an accurate P-51B/C is on the way!  This kit should prove to be a license to print money for Arma, here’s hoping it is a windfall for them!  I have long agitated for this subject, so to put my money where my mouth is I have placed an order through my Local Hobby Store (support your LCS!) for one.  Case.  For starters.

Now Arma, if you’re listening, we could sure use an accurate Ki-43-II Hayabusa “Oscar” in 1/72 scale.

Arma’s P-51B/C

The second big release (for me) has a much more personal connection.  Takom has announced a U.S. Navy 16”/50 caliber triple turret in 1/72 scale, packaged as Turret One from USS Missouri (BB 63).  This kit has parts for the rangefinder which was later removed from the first turrets, but with a few modifications could represent any of the main battery turrets on the Iowa class battleships.  Now for the connection part – I served in the Navy, Missouri was my ship, Turret One was my turret.  1/72 scale Missouri’s in both the WWII and 1980’s configurations are on my bucket list, and this kit makes that project one step closer.  If the appropriate 5”/38 Mark 28 mount is ever kitted that would cinch the deal (the 1/72 scale 5”/38 Mark 38 mount included in Takom’s 1/700 Gearing class kit has an unarmored gun house, appropriate for destroyers but not battleships).

Takom’s 16″/50 turret

Lastly, we have purchased a wooded plot of land along the scenic White River, where we intend to build an energy efficient (net zero) home.  This is obviously a time-consuming project, and will inevitably impact time available for modeling and blogging.  In fact, the effects have already begun to be felt as I have been busy on the property cutting down the invasive Asian Bush Honeysuckle which is crowding out the native trees.  Hopefully there will still be opportunities for modeling, but the pace may slow a bit.  If I miss the daily posting on the blog in the coming months this will likely be the reason.

The mighty White River

May you each live long enough to build every model in your stash!

Dragon Krupp Protze Kfz.70 Build in 1/72 Scale

This is the Dragon Krupp Protze Kfz.70, kit #7377 first issued in 2011. It is a nice kit. I often manage to run into these on vendor tables for a good price at the shows and have build a few of them.
Dragon has opted to provide a detailed suspension, and there are several very delicate parts on the sprues. Careful parts removal and clean-up is rewarded. The main sprue is slightly longer than the box and is crammed in there, but this has never resulted in distorted parts on any which I have built.
For all the small parts the kit assembles well. This boxing also includes a 3.7 cm Pak 36 anti-tank gun. This is a little odd as the gun was more usually associated with the Kfz.69 version of this chassis which incorporated ammunition storage (also kitted by Dragon), while the Kfz.70 is a version configured for passenger / cargo.
Here is the model after priming with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and a black base coat of Alclad primer.
The model was given a camouflage of Panzer Gray with Brown for the Polish Campaign. I managed to break off the indicators on the front fenders while painting so sharp-eyed viewers will have noticed they are replaced with insect pins in this photo.
I washed the recesses with black and then dirtied everything up. The canvas cover is made from masking tape. The softskin trucks are ubiquitous and can be displayed in a variety of scenes.

Dragon Arado E.381 Julia Whiffer in 1/72 Scale

The Arado E.381 project was symbolic of the desperate situation faced by the Third Reich in 1944.  Ever-increasing numbers of Allied aircraft pounded Germany both day and night, each raid reducing the ability to continue the war.  The Luftwaffe was on the defensive and was powerless to protect the Reich.  The Arado E.381 was designed to be easy to produce and operate.  The pilot lay prone in the aircraft, which was to be carried aloft by a conventional bomber to be released near an Allied bomber stream.  The E.381 was powered by a Walther HWK 109-509 liquid rocket engine and carried a single 30 mm cannon, the pilot was intended to make two firing passes before gliding clear and landing the aircraft on its belly skid.

Dragon Arado E.381 Julia Parasite Fighter Build

This sprue was included in one of the many re-boxings of Dragon’s Arado Ar 234. I had already built the Ar 234 as part of another project so the little E.381 Julia was an orphan in the stash. What better time to built this one than when I had several other late-war kits on the bench? The Julia project was a rocket-powered interceptor, this version was intended to be dropped from a parent aircraft when in a favorable position.
The pilot was to lay prone and accessed the aircraft from a hatch in the top side. The kit has no interior. I scratchbuilt a “couch” with Eduard PE belts and gave him a control handle on each side. The instrument panel is printed on photo paper using a desktop copier.
The Julia has only eight parts total and a simple configuration so there were no surprises during assembly. Instead of paying for one of the various “thin” hobby glues I buy MEK by the quart from the hardware store, which is about the same thing only much cheaper.
The model primed and cleaned up. There is a wire handle in the rocket exhaust to afford a place to handle the model while painting.
The model received a late-war RLM 76 / 81 / 82 scheme scheme using Mr. Color paints. This is very similar to the scheme worn by the Heinkel He 162 Salamanders.
The finished model with markings from the spares box. The support stand is built from Evergreen strip and is purely hypothetical.

Dragon Focke-Wulf Ta 152 H-0 of Oberfeldwebel Walter Loos in 1/72 Scale

Walter Loos didn’t join his first operational unit until January 1944, and was one of the few late arrivals to survive the war.  He served with the Sturmgruppe IV./JG 3, whose mission was to penetrate the massed American bomber formations in heavily armored Focke-Wulf Fw 190’s and engage the bombers at close range.  While he was credited with destroying 22 heavy bombers, he was himself shot down 9 times.  He was credited with a final score of 38 aerial victories.

The model represents Loos’ Ta 152H-0 of Stab/JG 301 based at Neustadt-Glewe in Germany during April 1945.

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Dragon Messerschmitt P.1101 Build Part II

Here the major components are in place and seams checked with Mr. Surfacer 1000 primer. No matter how carefully I think I have prepped the parts and filled the seams, the primer inevitably reveals an area or several which needs more work. I have applied a coat of Alclad and stippled liquid mask to the wingroots for chipping.
I am building one of the kits as a nightfighter in a scheme commonly worn in the Luftwaffe, overall RLM 76 with 75 Gray Violet mottles. I think one of the things which helps “sell” a whiffer build is to use realistic camouflage and markings as much as possible. The viewer is already being asked to take one leap of the imagination in believing the design could have entered service, adding fictitious paint schemes only complicates the matter.
The P.1101 day fighter received a hybrid mix of schemes which reflect the chaotic state of German aircraft production during the last months of the war. Production was de-centralized, with components being produced in smaller plants and shipped to a common location for final assembly. Each production facility camouflaged their components with what paints they had available. Several Fw 190D fighters were produced in these mixed schemes, with some even having additional field-applied colors oversprayed by the units once they entered service.
This is the underside of the day fighter. The kit provides four of the Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles, which I painted like the example on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton. Given the fuel consumption of the early jets, I thought it more likely that drop tanks would be more desirable than a full missile loadout.
The nightfighter will need radar, so I ordered this beautiful FuG 218 Neptun set from Hannants. These are wonders of precision machine work from Master, and are quite fragile. They would appear impossible to machine effectively, yet here they are.
Both finished models together. This was a fun project and they went together pretty well for Dragon kits. They are something unusual for the display case, and there will be a few more “whiffers” on the way soon.

Dragon Messerschmitt P.1101 Build Part I

This is Dragon’s 1993 kit of the Messerschmitt P.1101, which was later re-released by Revell. The P.1101 prototype was 80% complete at the end of the war and was being developed as an experimental testbed to study the effects of wing sweep angle on compressibility. In the U.S., Bell built the X-5 for the same purpose, a design clearly “inspired” by Messerschmitt’s work. I’ll be building two of these as “what if” (whiffer) models in operational markings and camouflage.
The parts are well-molded and feature finely recessed detail. Not a lot of parts on this one, but they do include a sprue with four Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles, a nice touch. The Ruhrstahl X-4 was in production at the end of the war but was not used operationally. More on the Ruhrstahl X-4 in a previous post here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/rurhstahl-x-4-guided-missile/
The fuselage traps the engine assembly, which also serves as the nose wheel well. These parts required some test fitting to get everything aligned and closed up. Since this design used a tricycle landing gear configuration I added weight in the form of fishing sinkers and epoxy to keep it from being a tail-sitter.
The engines were painted and washed prior to sealing up the fuselage. Only the back section of the engines will be visible on the finished model. Dragon includes a small PE fret with cockpit details, but this appears to be made from stainless steel and I found the parts impossible to cut from the frets. Cockpit details on my models are from frets found in the spares box.
I attached the landing gear legs early to make sure I could get them in past the fuselage sides. Putting them in later would have been difficult with the mounting tabs in place and I wanted a secure fit. Seatbelts are from an Eduard PE fret.
Here the fuselage is joined and re-scribed. I applied MEK thin glue over the scribed panel lines to remove any burrs. I like the shape of this assembly, with a few adjustments this could serve as the basis for any number of futuristic vehicle projects.