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!

Valom Yakovlev Yak-7B of Captain Vladimir Zalevskiy in 1/72 Scale

Vladimir Zalevskiy was credited with 17 personal and 23 group victories.  He was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union, but was shot down and killed on 05JUN43.  This was the aircraft he flew with the 157th FAD during the summer of 1943.

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More completed Yak-7B pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/dakoplast-yakovlev-yak-7b-of-lieutenant-ivan-golubin-in-1-72-scale/

Valom Yakovlev Yak-7B of Lieutenant Vladimir Orekhov in 1/72 Scale

Vladimir Orekhov was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union for achieving 19 personal and 3 shared victories during the Great Patriotic War.  The model depicts his aircraft during the fall of 1942 while operating with the 434th FAR on the Stalingrad Front.

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More completed Yak-7B pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/07/29/valom-yakovlev-yak-7b-of-captain-vladimir-zalevskiy-in-1-72-scale/

Yakovlev Yak-7B Build in 1/72 Scale, Dakoplast and Valom Kits Part II

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Limited run kits often present fit challenges, and the Dakoplast Yak-7 is no exception. The wing roots will take some filling to eliminate the seams.

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The underside is no better. The kit features a gap where the chin scoop fits, and my example was short-shot behind the scoop. Nothing some Evergreen and a dab of filler won’t fix!

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The undersides of the Valom kits are also rough. I prefer to fill areas like this with superglue, using accelerator they can be sanded and re-filled right away. Also, the superglue will not draw in along the seams later, which can be a problem with thin glues and soft plastic.

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Just like the Brengun Yak-1, these Yak-7’s also have different thicknesses between the horizontal tail pieces and the fairings molded with the fuselage. These can be reduced with an Xacto knife and sanded smooth.

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Everything is filled and sanded. The canopy pieces are in place and the gaps filled with Perfect Plastic Putty. The landing light is sanded flush and buffed out before painting to ensure the will be no gaps.

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A shot of the underside of the Dakoplast kit showing the wheel wells and repairs to the oil cooler scoop. In contrast with the clunky fit issues the surface details are pretty well done.

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Seamwork on the Valom kits, which had fit issues at the wing roots. I replaced the cowl guns with Albion tube.

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The Valom kits are a little better underneath, but only a little.

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Priming with Mr. Surfacer 1000 always reveals a few areas to fill and re-sand, but it’s also the first time the model starts to look like a model and not a collection of parts.

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The obligatory photo showing the Mr. Color paints used.

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I used decals from Begemot sheet 72-051, which contains eighty marking options. Only seventy-seven more to go, I’m not sure how I feel about that. The decals went on without any drama, but the whites could be a little more opaque.

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Here is the underside of one of the Valom kits. The inner wheelwell doors were replaced with plastic card, stencils are extras from the Arma Yak-1 kits.

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All three together. These are classic examples of limited-run kit technology and take some work to build up. They are not quick builds and there are several areas where some basic improvements go a long way to making the kits look better. If the Yak-7 is your thing, this is the way you’re going to have to go, at least until someone issues a new tool.

More completed Yak-7B pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/07/27/valom-yakovlev-yak-7b-of-lieutenant-vladimir-orekhov-in-1-72-scale/

Yakovlev Yak-7B Build in 1/72 Scale, Dakoplast and Valom Kits Part I

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If you want to build a Yak-7, you’re going to wind up with a limited run kit from the East. Years ago I bought a box of VVS kits from our friend Dixieflier, who visits here regularly. One of the kits was this example from Dakoplast which was first issued in 2001. It has also been reissued by Eastern Express as well as Modelist.
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Inside are two sprues. No locator pins and a bit on the crude side but with some nice recessed surface detail molded on the surfaces. It will take a little elbow grease but looks like you can get a model out of this!
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The box contained even more VVS goodness.  Valom issued their kits in 2007. There are parts to make the trainer version but everything you need to build the standard fighter is still in the box so I went that way.
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The sprues differ, but really the parts are very similar. The Valom kits give you some details for the cockpit and wheels in resin along with a small PE fret. There is also a choice of cowlings, with and without gun troughs.
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This is the Dakoplast cockpit. Detail is actually pretty good, but locating the floor to the fuselage sides is tricky. Test fit until you find the right spot, always good advice.
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Wheel well detail is non-existent. The gaps will make this a minor challenge, but everything can be filled in with Evergreen and a little modeling fluid.
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Valom provides resin side walls and PE to jazz up their cockpit. Placement is not clear from the instructions so test fitting is again a requirement.
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The trailing edges of the wings need thinning on both kits. Here you can see the beginnings of the wheel wells being enclosed. The plastic strips may look thick, but I went for a solid bond as I will be sanding the height to fit within the wing.
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This is the Dakoplast cockpit ready to close up. Adequate but nothing fancy.
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The Valom cockpit has the resin and PE to help it along. The PE instrument panel and seatbelts add nice touches.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/07/23/yakovlev-yak-7b-build-in-1-72-scale-dakoplast-and-valom-kits-part-ii/