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!

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop of Sgt. George Beurling in 1/72 Scale

Sgt. George “Screwball” Beurling was the highest-scoring Canadian ace, with 31 credited victories, the majority of which were scored over Malta.  BR323 was one of the Spitfires he flew with 249 Squadron at Malta, achieving 5 victories with this aircraft in July 1942.  The dual drop tanks on the centerline were a field improvisation, the blue camouflage was applied in theater and has been interpreted in several ways.

DSC_7944DSC_7945DSC_7946DSC_7947DSC_7919DSC_7920DSC_7921DSC_7922DSC_7923DSC_7924

Construction posts here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/04/30/airfix-supermarine-spitfire-mark-vc-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop of 249 Squadron in 1/72 Scale

This is a No. 249 Squadron Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop defending Malta in the Summer of 1942.  Many of the Malta Spitfires were re-camouflaged locally and the colors used are still debated.  This example was finished in an overall “dark blue”, I have chosen Insignia Blue for my model.

DSC_7957DSC_7955DSC_7954DSC_7953DSC_7914DSC_7913DSC_7912DSC_7911

More completed Airfix Spitfires here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/05/25/airfix-rhaf-supermarine-spitfire-mk-vc-trop-in-1-72-scale/

Airfix RHAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop at Hellenikon in 1/72 Scale

This Spitfire Mk. Vc Trop was posted to the Greek 336 Squadron at Hellenikon in 1944.  The markings were gradually changed over from RAF to RHAF roundels, the Type B roundels on the upper wings were the last to go.

DSC_7958DSC_7959DSC_7960DSC_7961DSC_7915DSC_7916DSC_7917DSC_7918

More completed Airfix Spitfires here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/05/20/airfix-supermarine-spitfire-mk-vc-trop-of-249-squadron-in-1-72-scale/

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mark Vc Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

DSC_7899
This Spitfire will be in post-war Greek markings. Mr. Color #5 was a good match for the blue in the Greek roundels. The natural metal finish almost did me in on this one though, as the soft Airfix plastic scratched easily and the Alclad made any scratches jump right out. I ended up buffing out scratches and re-shooting the Alclad a couple of times.
DSC_7900
Everyone agrees that several of the Malta Spitfires were oversprayed in blues, but there is little consensus as to what blues and to what extent they were covered. Here I have layered on two USN colors, Intermediate Blue and Blue Gray.
DSC_7901
For a darker blue Malta scheme I used Model Master Insignia Blue. I still have some stocks of the MM paints, although they do not age well and I often discover a few unusable bottles during every build.
DSC_7902
The last will be another Greek Spitfire in the more usual Temperate Sea scheme. This one will have the hybrid markings with RAF Type B roundels on the upper wings and Greek roundels in the other positions.
DSC_7903
A group shot all glossed up and ready for decals.
DSC_7904
This is the ugly stage of a “sludge wash” to bring out the panel lines. The sludge wash is a diluted dark gray acrylic mixed with a little dish soap. This is best applied over a gloss finish with the excess wiped away before it is completely dry.
DSC_7905
Here the excess has been removed with a damp cotton swab. Always work in the direction of the airflow and any streaking will add depth to your weathering.
DSC_7906
The finished batch. I borrowed some spare Type B roundel decals from the Eduard kit as the Xtradecal sheet didn’t have enough to do every subject I wanted. The only real flaw with this kit is the center sections of the canopies are not as clear as they should be, I replaced what I could with spares from Eduard kits which are much better molded. Overall though I am happy with these kits as they go together well and are fun builds.  In total I spent 26.5 hours on these, or about 6 hours and 40 minutes per kit.

More completed Spitfire pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/05/18/airfix-rhaf-supermarine-spitfire-mk-vc-trop-at-hellenikon-in-1-72-scale/

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mark Vc Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

DSC_7884
The fuselages fit together well with no surprises. I am intending to display two of the models with open canopies, and have removed the door pieces from the fuselage side.
DSC_7886
The wing assembly left a bit of a gap at the wing roots.
DSC_7887
There were also gaps around the filter. This problem was not present on all the models to the degree shown here so this may have been an error on my part.
DSC_7888
Perfect Plastic Putty is ideal for filling these sort of gaps as any excess can be wiped away with a moist cotton swab without damaging the surrounding details. Another trick is to go around the canopy mating surfaces with a black Sharpie. This will prevent the plastic color showing through at the joints and the Sharpie ink will not inhibit the glue from bonding.
DSC_7892
While I do love canopy masking sets some manufacturers are now demanding ridiculous prices for the convenience. On a simple single-seat aircraft I would rather mask by hand and save the money for additional kits.
DSC_7893
A coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 revealed a few seams to address. Always a good idea to check as I inevitably have some errors show through.

Part III here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/05/14/airfix-supermarine-spitfire-mark-vc-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iii/

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mark Vc Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

DSC_7878
This is the Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vc, kit number A02108 released in 2020. This is a new tool and very much in Airfix’s home court as it replaces their older tools and, well, it’s a Spitfire. I’ll be building a small batch of these, hopefully as a painless build before trying something more involved.
DSC_7879
I was really pleased to see that Xtradecal issued a decal sheet targeting this kit, and it one with several interesting options. The Airfix kit has two decal options provided, one in U.S. markings and one in South African. I think at least one of the kit options should have been in Royal Air Force markings as this would have provided examples of the most common national insignia for the Spitfire.
DSC_7880
On to the sprues! The kit is molded in the soft light blue plastic we now expect from Airfix. The panel line detail has come a long way and this kit features finely scribed recessed panel lines. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how nicely these were rendered. There are also optional upper wing parts for the clipped wing version, no cutting needed.
DSC_7881
On the smaller parts sprues Airfix has provided the builder with a number of options. Both the Rotol and DeHavilland three-bladed propellers are provided along with their associated spinners. The Vokes tropical filter as depicted on the box art is included, as are parts for the standard nose panel and filter. Exhausts come with or without the gun heater tubes. The modeler can also choose to show the landing gear up and the canopy either opened or closed.
DSC_7882
The cockpit is well-detailed and builds up as a tub to be inserted into the fuselage. You must do this before joining the fuselage halves but it fits nicely.
DSC_7883
Here are two tubs assembled and painted. Seat belts are not included, I have made mine from masking tape. The instrument panel is the kit decal which is fine given what can be seen.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/airfix-supermarine-spitfire-mark-vc-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-ii/

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia in 1/72 Scale

This is the Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia kit with markings from Xtradecal sheet X72117.  X4474 was assigned to No. 19 Sqn during the Battle of Britain.  It was flown by Sgt Jennings on 27SEP40 when he downed a Bf 109 of JG 54 south of the Thames.  It was later assigned to No. 602 Sqn where it was flown by Plt Off Archie Lyall to score a probable on 06NOV40.

DSC_2963

 

DSC_2962

 

DSC_2965

 

DSC_2967

 

DSC_2972

 

DSC_2973

 

DSC_2974

 

Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia Build in 1/72 Scale

AirfixSpitfire_01
This is the Airfix Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia kit released in 2010, one of the first of the Airfix renaissance.  The kit is now well known to modelers so I won’t post sprue shots, those can be easily located on the web if desired.  The kit has several strong points but has been justifiably criticized for having overly deep and wide panel lines which are reminiscent of a die-cast model.

AirfixSpitfire_02
One of the strong points is the interior.  The cockpit is well detailed, and the wheel wells are deep.  The plastic is soft compared to other manufacturers.  If you notice the fuselage halves are thick, but there were no sink marks on any of the parts so I suspect that is the reason for Airfix choosing the softer plastic.

AirfixSpitfire_03
The cockpit painted up and washed with black acrylic to bring out the details.  The instrument panel is a decal, which is adequate but could be improved for those wanting more detail.  I added Eduard belts and seat cushion made from plastic stock and masking tape.

AirfixSpitfire_04
Airfix has molded the landing gear legs as part of the doors.  Eduard’s Spitfire IX kits left a large bag of leftover parts for the spares box, so I raided the extras for some better landing gear components.

AirfixSpitfire_05
The Eduard spares actually fit the Airfix kit pretty well.  Airfix provides some nice wheelwell detail, but this shot also illustrates the excessive panel line engraving.

AirfixSpitfire_06
I sprayed the undersurfaces Sky and the upper Dark Earth, then masked the camouflage pattern with poster putty.

AirfixSpitfire_07
I used Mr. Color for the uppersurfaces and Testors Model Master for the Sky.  I think the Mr. Color Dark Earth is a bit too dark and not yellow enough, and the Dark Green could be a little darker.  The colors should have a little more contrast.  For what it’s worth, the Model Master Dark Earth matches the tone of the Mr. Color paint, so maybe the problem is my perception.

AirfixSpitfire_08
Here is a shot of the finished model.  Decals are from Xtradecal sheet X72117 for the Battle of Britain.  These laid down well but have a tendency to want to ball up so be careful when applying them.  As an aside I test fit a spare Eduard canopy to the Airfix fuselage, the Eduard kit is much more narrow compared to the Airfix.