Tamiya 1/48 Crusader MK I/II Build part I

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Now I have only ever done 1 build for any kind of article before and that was for a kit I had not chosen and was just thrust at me in the car park of the international centre Telford the year before last and was the subject that kick started this whole blog thing off early last year. I have chosen this particular kit for a few reasons really, the first being simply because earlier in the year I signed up for a group build on Facebook titled 1/48 British Armour and another was that I already had the kit having bought it for an Armorama campaign several years ago. I was also looking at something to do on this blog other than just my normal blog posts and finally I fancied trying out some of the reasonably new AK Interactive Real colors and thought this was a great opportunity to do so. The Tamiya 1/48 range are great little kits and I have bought and built quite a few and they are always a joy to build, they can be built straight out of the box with very little problems or you can add some after market if you so choose to do so.

The kit was started Saturday lunchtime and by my own admission my builds usually take forever however now my workroom has been refurbed I am doing my best to be more proficient with my space and time. On with the kit, now I am not one that usually follows the instructions stage by stage and this project was not going to be any different so instead of cracking on with the wheels I decided to skip the first 2 stages and cracked on with the lower hull parts planning on returning to the wheels and then the tracks further on down the line, the lower hull parts went together without any issues and to be honest if there is an issue to be had I will find it whether that be an inherent issue with the kit or one that I have made myself. Since the workroom was refurbed I now have this lovely clean workspace with plenty of light and space the only down side is I do not know where anything is, which rears its ugly head often which it did last Saturday when I needed some super glue, after searching for what seemed like forever and making one hell of a mess I found it and was able to crack on with the build. One of the things I like about the early kits in Tamiya’s 1/48 range is the metal chassis and although I am not the most proficient with superglue it kind of gives the kit a nice weight to it and there is not too much to super glue so the risk of me making a complete mess and cocking it up is greatly reduced.

Moving swiftly from lower hull to upper hull the kit was slowly coming together and I was beginning to enjoy the build, Tamiya’s instructions and parts breakdown in my opinion puts them head and shoulders above their competitors in this department and although they may simplify the kit in some parts it does make for an easy and pleasurable build. As I approached stage 8 and started attaching the first of the upper hull features this is where I encountered my first issue and I really needed to take several looks at the instruction sheet to make sure I put part B2 (which is a little box) in the correct place that on first look sits on the rear mud guard however on closer inspection it sits in a little space next to the mud guard, disaster number 1 averted. If you are following the instructions by the letter this is where you screw the upper and lower hull parts together however as I had not done the wheels and tracks yet I chose not to and cracked on with the upper hull parts then return to the wheels to enable the glue to set on the upper parts. This particular Crusader kit enables you to build either a mark I or a mark II, decisions time, it was a simple decision really as I had purchased paint for a vehicle from 42/43 and according to my reference I needed to be building a mark II, so I cracked on completing the upper hull parts only coming upon one other issue and that was part B27 as I was not quite sure where it sat so a little peek at my references and voila the upper hull was complete, I had left off a few bits that either need painting separately like the spare tracks and the tow cable and parts A26 that I will attach once the wheels and tracks are in place and I have screwed the 2 halves together.

With the upper hull off to one side drying it was time to turn my attention back to the wheels and to be honest they are easy to do just a bit repetitive, the only issue I had was with one of the drive sprockets and that was self inflicted as I was being a bit to eager and gung-ho with the craft knife and removed a large part of one of the teeth however all was not lost as once the tracks are on it will be hidden, once these were all fixed into place I could turn my attention to the turret and if the two hull halves went together without too many problems the turret was the complete opposite. The first part I needed to deal with was the mantlet and gun, no issues there and in all honesty if I had followed and concentrated on the instructions and references I am sure that the turret would have caused me no problems at all, however me being me all common sense flew out of the window and I made a real rookie error, once the gun machine gun and mantlet were ready they glue nicely onto the front of the upper and lower parts of the turret, now for some reason there are 4 little bits of excess plastic that need to be removed from the upper turret half, normally you would remove them and dry fit until the 2 halves fit together without leaving a gap between the 2 parts, yep you guessed it for reasons only known to me I just went all out and glued the 2 halves together added the mantlet and put it all down to dry and when I noticed my error it was a bit too late, now the gap is not too obvious however I may leave it or may fill it and once it has some primer on I will decide the next course of action and of course having made one cock up I was on a roll, as I started adding the turret detail I could not help myself and as I came to add parts A3 (the 4 turret lifting hooks) my common sense left me once more and I blundered on and did my best to look like a right amateur whilst cleaning these up and left 3 out of the 4 sitting flat on the turret side instead of leaving them slightly proud, normally this is where I would be checking my references however for some reason I just cracked on. The rest of the small turret parts went on fine and I am now left with a Crusader MK II minus tracks and a few small details that although is not perfect looks like a Crusader and hopefully with a bit of luck I will get the time and opportunity in the week to come to finish it off and once my paint arrives I can crack on and get it primed and painted.

The Average Modeller

 

A return to the bench, the return of the usual frustrations and what’s next?

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After many months spent away from the bench whilst I refurbished the old workroom in all honesty I have not done much modelling since just before Telford last November this is due to many reasons and not just the fact that I had dismantled my desk and thrown it away. So over the last couple of weekends I have made a welcome return to the bench for a bit of light modelling in the shape of a Tamiya radio controlled car that the ever suffering Kerry  bought me for my birthday earlier in the year, it has been nearly 30 years since I last built a radio control car and it has been a nice deviation from the usual stuff that I build and although not straight forward it has been very enjoyable and I am looking forward to getting it finished and have it tearing up and down the car park of the school where I work. This return to the workbench after close to 6 months away has been really enjoyable and to be honest and not before time. When I  decided to refurb my workspace at the start of the year the thought that it would take me the best part of the first third of the year had not entered my mind, I just thought it would take me a few weeks however these things never go to plan and took me a bit longer than I had planned and hoped.

My modelling year has not really got started and this has been for numerous reasons work of course, this is an unwelcome distraction that at times really gets in the way and eats into my modelling time like nothing else although it is not all negative as it enables me to buy all the models and supplies my heart desires. The household chores and finding the time to keep on top of these also gets in the way and keeps me away from both the workbench and my blog. The yearly model shows we attend has been stop and start we always kick off the year with our local show run by The North Surrey military modelling group in early Feb followed by southern expo in what is usually sunny Essex however we were a no show due in no small part to a downfall of snow which meant we had to miss it. Polarity was restored with our April trip to what is one of our favourite shows of the year in a very sunny Milton Keynes where the only downside was that it was bloody hot and for some reason known only to those who look after the premises that hosts it the heating was still on in some parts of the building and made it very uncomfortable especially upstairs where it was roasting, and we finished our shows for the first part of the year with a trip down to the coast and a day by the sea and the Lancing model show. We now have quite a gap between shows as we have nothing until September where we have a choice of 3 shows, IPMS Farnborough, Euro model expo and a trip to Crewe for the UK garage kit show followed by nothing in October and of course Telford in November  topped off very nicely with the London model show in Early December.

My Blog has been a bit like the other aspects of my modelling and has been very stop and start this year which has been in no small part due to a lack of time, I have come to realise as I get older that I have less and less time to spend on the things that I enjoy doing like modelling. When I started my blog early last year it was born out of the frustrations that I am sure are shared with a fair percentage of us modellers, a lack of time opportunity inspiration and of course the modelling mojo because when that goes it’s a devils own job to get it back. Mine was missing for a good part of last year and I was ever so glad when it made a reappearance in about late spring, the other issue I have with my blog is subject matter there are times when I have loads of things to write about and others there is nothing at all and sometimes I start writing about a certain subject and as I write it feels a bit disjointed and I just abandon the post and it just sits in the half written unpublished section on wordpress until I either have the time to re-write it or have the heart to just delete it completely, there are currently 13 such part written posts just waiting to either be finished or deleted permanently.

The future?, I am planning on a return to the workbench this weekend and hopefully a bit next week as I have a week off from work due to the half term holiday, you see working in a school does have its perks and a holiday on average every 5 or 6 weeks is definitely one of them. I currently have nothing on the bench so now there is the opportunity to either complete one from my pile of shame start one of the builds for Telford or I can crack on with a small project for a 1/48 scale British Armour group build on Facebook that I have signed up for which is a bit strange as the tank I will be building I bought for a British armour campaign on Armorama many many moons ago, I think that will be my starter. This project will also incorporate the use of some of the new AK interactive Real Colours which I plan on using as my first review blog post so watch this space. I thought as each project nips or rather labours across my workbench that it would give me the opportunity to try out new products which I will review here, I am not saying that every blog post will be a review however it will make a pleasant change to the usual musings yet have no fear my usual bleating will still appear from time to time. So that takes care of the present and the near future and here’s to a more productive second half of 2018.

The Average Modeller

Midweek May Musings – The state we find ourselves in, modelling in the modern era……

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As I sit here with a little bit of time on my hands contemplating this wonderful hobby of mine that has kept me both entertained and frustrated in equal measure for the best part of 20 odd years. I marvel at the wonderfully talented modellers whose work grace the many magazines that I look at and buy, the many internet forums I visit and the various social media platforms I use, however within this wonderful hobby we have factions of modellers that just drive me up the wall and I seem to see posts from this particular type of modeller on nearly a daily basis. Now there are those that just live and breathe to just moan moan and then moan some more, then there are those that are just lazy and are constantly posting on forums and social media asking for advice on an array of subjects that if they could be bothered to search the internet for would find the answers to their questions quite easily but instead they cannot be bothered and spend the time posting on forums and social media enquiring what tin or paint they should use to paint the latest project they are working on.

Please do not get me wrong we all have to start somewhere and I can appreciate that getting advice on projects and help with ‘does anybody know if there is a kit in 1/32 scale of an obscure aircraft flown by the Ugandan air force in the 1960’s in existence as I  have been searching the outer reaches of the internet for 7 days straight and have now got square eyes’, that is where I believe the internet forum and social media comes into it’s own and not can anyone tell me what colour paint I need for a German Tiger in panzer grey, this is the type of modeller that just drives me up the wall, and look what it does to me, it turns me into a moaning modeller who then feels the need to vent his frustration right here for you all to see. Now I have posted on forums and social media to ask for advice myself when I am lost and confused as to where I may find a certain metal gun barrel or etch brass set and I have also used it to ask for peoples opinion on something model related which I did quite recently when I was refurbishing my workroom, that’s what I feel these internet platforms are very useful for and not for ‘do Tamiya do a Sherman Tank in 1/35 scale’.

It does not take much time to research these things yourself, I often wonder how these type of modellers would have coped in the 60’s/70’s and 80’s when there was no internet and you needed to get up off your backside to go to the model shop to buy the kit the glue the paint and then get yourself down to the bookshop or the library and maybe even a museum if you were lucky enough to live near one to do your own research instead of relying on others who have already done the leg work to get your information. Maybe it is modern life that is drawing these lazy types out of the woodwork after all you can get virtually everything these days at the touch of a button or two, when I was younger if you wanted a fish and chip dinner from the local take away you had to go to the shop and collect it, these days you press a few buttons and voila within a half hour or so it’s being delivered to your door by someone on a moped, the same can be said for our hobby. We are in a golden age of modelling and we see all manner of kits books magazines paints tools weathering materials and the like being released to us nearly every week and we no longer have to venture outside the front door to go and collect them all we have to do is press a few buttons and within a few days they are being delivered to the door and all we have to do is unpack and use. Which brings me onto something else, are we just a little bit too spoilt by all these state of the art kits and finishing products, whatever happened to the art of actually modelling, through my eyes modern modelling is not about what you can do with the box of plastic and any spare bits you have in the spares box or the bits you can form from spare plastic and stretched sprue it is all about the painting and the finish.

Painting is the final stage in the journey that started when you open the box and start gluing it together however I feel that with all these fantastic kits a fear factor has crept in, the fear to venture outside our comfort zones and try something different, when I got back into modelling in the early 90’s we never had all these finishing products that we see now and from so many different manufacturers too, when I go to shows to pick up some paint I never know where to start, it really must be so intimidating for someone getting into or returning to the hobby. I have tried some of the newer paints and to be honest it has been a bit hit and miss and I often find myself returning back to what I know and have learnt over the years, I think my biggest problem is I have quite large gaps between projects and being quite old I often forget the lessons I have learnt so find it easier to return to what I have remembered. So is modelling in 2018 better than it was 20 years ago? generally I think so obviously it has it’s negative points and feel that the true art of modelling is diminishing, how many of the younger modellers still fell the need to scratch build anything especially with the amount of products available to us, who still mixes their own washes and filters these days, I am not sure I have ever made my own, it is far easier to buy an off the shelf product, even me with 25 plus years experience are guilty of the odd bout of laziness but at least I do all my own research and just for the record does anybody know if Tamiya do a Sherman in 1/35 and if they do what colour grey should I paint it ??…..

The Average Modeller

 

There is light at the end of the damn tunnel……

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As is the norm these days you start a project that seems quite straight forward at the beginning yet keeps you bogged down with problem after problem after problem and when all seems lost and you are on your knees ready to give up then bang it all goes together in the end like a dream and you sit wondering why you put yourself through all that angst and stress when you are sitting back marvelling at all your handy work, sound familiar?, it does for me and that is exactly what I found myself doing last Saturday night as I added the finishing touches to what I can only describe as a tour de force or better known to me as the refurbishment of my work room. I wish that I could find the exact words to describe how I felt halfway through the project as I removed box after box after box of unbuilt kits from shelves on the wall, some kits I had even forgotten I had bought they had been loitering on the shelf that long, stacking them up to one side so that I could make room for the racking ensemble that I had planned creating a mountainous range of boxes that made it hard to manoeuvre in my 9 meter by 2 meter box room come workroom to the point where I needed to spill out onto the landing and the bedroom next door.

Now I have made no secret of my inability to see a large percentage of my projects through to the end so much so that I have a rather large pile of kits that I have started and not yet got round to finishing, however having started this mammoth task I felt that a bucking of the trend was required and felt the need to ignore any feelings of giving up and see it through to the end. Now thankfully snow arrived in the nick of time which enabled my to spend 3 days putting up shelves tidying, putting stuff away and generally pottering about which gave me the impetus I needed to finally see how the plan in my head and the several hastily drawn sketches I had was going to come to fruition. When I turned out the light on that Saturday evening in early march the room was finally looking how it had looked in my minds eye at the beginning of the year, all I needed to do was order my piece of worktop some timber to support it and voila it was nearly job done, I saw myself in the coming weeks finally sitting at my new workbench and to kickstart my modelling year, however my local Wickes had other ideas as they were unable to deliver my order until last Friday…… but hey, what was another 3 weeks to wait as in all fairness I had been using my cobbled together workroom for the last 14 years so a little more time waiting would not do me any harm.

Well as the Friday arrived and I received the text to say my delivery was en-route I could not envisage the issues that were to befall me over the following few days. Firstly 3 meters of worktop are not light and they are not moved very easily on your own, secondly I am a bit rubbish with a tape measure and thirdly the walls in my house are not very straight. Having set aside my entire Saturday morning/afternoon to add the final piece of the puzzle I started by doing my best to cock things up and make life a bit harder for myself however slowly but surely things were strangely going to plan and before very long I was ready to add the final piece, the actual workbench. Now after all the planning, the heartache the pain the frustrations and all the hard work it was coming down to the last piece of the puzzle and after spending what seemed like forever measuring measuring and measuring again I was ready to make the final cut of the day. My day job as a school site manager sometimes is a right pain in the backside however it also has some perks one of these is that the school has 2 nice halls at my disposal and although I do not take advantage of this very much they came in very handy as where else could I store and then cut 3 meters of worktop. I am never confident when using a power saw and I am never ever over confident either since I had a little accident with an electric mitre saw about 10 years ago which resulted in me having a really deep cut to my left wrist and a rather unenviable trip to my local A&E as every cloud has a silver lining it was just half a dozen stitches and it could have been a whole lot worse and I could be sitting here now blogging as the one handed modeller. After what seemed like a lifetime measuring and marking the worktop I was ready to put power saw to wood and make that final cut and of course once it was cut there was no going back and being a cautious kind of guy I had to make sure everything was just right before I powered up the saw then voila a few seconds later the worktop was cut and I found myself tidying up. Now I was at the point to make the short trip from school to workroom and slide my workbench into place and my job would be finished……. however I had not taken into consideration the fact that the worktop was just over 2 meters long bloody heavy and my workroom is filled to the brim with shelves and racking full of models and books. I should have not feared however as the lovely and ever suffering Kerry came to the rescue right at the point when I was ready to call it a day suggesting that if we moved the racking that sits behind the bench on the right hand side we would have that little bit of extra room we need to manoeuvre the bench into place. Now I am not the type not to mention the impact someone has had on a project and I would like to take all the glory myself however once again that particular accolade must go to Kerry as she once more stepped up to the plate heroically and saved the day.

I do like a moral to a story and of course this story will be no different, the moral to this particular story has to be never be afraid to ask for help as you never know that one piece of advice could be the one thing that you just cannot see yourself as you are too closely involved to see the wood for the trees and brings the project to a close. An hour or so later I had screwed the workbench into place and rearranged everything that had been moved about during the day, popped the moved racking and its contents into place and I could close the door satisfied that it was a good days work well done. Since then I have spent a few hours here and there pottering around trying to clear a few storage boxes of stuff from the floor and just generally getting stuff ready to make a start on my first modelling project of the year and that’s another problem for me to solve, should I complete a shelf queen, build the radio control car Kerry bought me for my birthday or should I make a start on one of my planned projects for this years scale model world who knows anyway if I let on I would have nothing to blog about in the weeks to come for now I am happy to apply the final touches to what is now a 95% finished work space that I am happy and proud of and I can’t wait to get in there and start modelling again.

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The Average Modeller

Here we go again, frustration after frustration after frustration……

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Well it has been a whole year since I started this blog and I have to admit it is not always easy to find things to write about and sometimes you have to wait for the right subject matter to rear it’s head and then BANG!!!! you have it. Over the last month and a half there have been quite a few opportunities to write about one particular subject however there are only a set number of times you can write about the moaning and complaining modellers within our hobby and boy do they like to moan, it gets to a point sometimes when you just have to stay away from the various forums and social media platforms just to keep sane because sometimes enough is just enough, and to be honest I’d had enough.

On to more positive thoughts, at the start of the new year I decided that my workroom was no longer working in it’s current state, the desk was oversized, I wasn’t using the rooms natural light as I had moved the desk away from the window (don’t ask), it was overcrowded with boxes of non modelling related stuff spare doors for my kitchen cupboards and nearly 20 years of buying models and not really building, well finishing them is more to the point so in a bout of new year enthusiasm I decided the time had come to sort it all out, so with pad pencil and tape measure in hand I ventured into the workroom to devise my plan. The room itself is a not very big and is what is commonly known as the box room so when you fill it to almost bursting point with stuff it is hard to work out where to start however with my enthusiasm unabated I started measuring and fermenting my plans.

I thought I would start by dismantling the desk a big old Ikea number which would then free up some space to move stuff around which in theory sounded like a great plan however the reality was not how I had envisaged it, when I moved the desk from it’s original place in the house my workroom was relatively empty now it was chock full to the rafters and manoeuvring stuff about so I could undo the bolts that held the higher level shelving ensemble together was no mean feat, neither was doing the same to get to the 4 or so bolts that held the 2 ‘legs’ on, once I had managed this and removed the offending remnants of the desk I thought I would have a lovely big space to work in, sadly I had not taken into account  what I was going to do with the stuff that had lived on, underneath or on the high shelving that made up the Ikea desk. This is where the frustrations started to creep in, I had envisaged a reasonably complex project yet short in terms of time yet every time I entered the room more and more issues were screaming out for my attention, however now that I had started I needed to persevere and see it through to the end otherwise my once lovely workroom would just become a glorified cupboard.

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Once the desk was gone I needed to think about what to do with my endless, (well it seems endless and you stand and look at it) selection of unbuilt, and part built kits that sit quietly on a selection of Ikea shelving of varying lengths and widths adorning the rooms 4 walls,  you could say my workroom had become more of a bad advert for Ikea than a modelling room however I needed a solution to what to do with this large dare I say it ‘collection’ of kits something with a bit more flexibility than wall mounted shelves.  After I had spent 5 or so minutes searching the internet and Amazon in particular looking at the possible solutions to my conundrum I settled on some nice easy to assemble (and the first 2 were, more on that later) 5 tier racking, I thought I would be able to get the stash on these no problem, oh! how wrong was I. The racking arrived a few days later and I felt a little bit closer to reaching my goal. Another frustration in this self inflicted headache I mean project of mine was the factor of time, it was taking so long just to achieve the smallest amount of gain, firstly the problem of working in a room that still has it’s entire contents still in residence is a major stumbling block and as you need to virtually empty the room before you do any work  and as this takes a good hour or so, you can only really do this at weekends, which also creates its own set of frustrations because you spend a great deal of time doing the workroom and very little time doing very little else, which I am sure pleases the ever suffering and very understanding Kerry because I guess while I am doing this I am not bothering her or breaking airbrushes and swearing about it.

Having bought, built, and put the racking in place, filled them up with some boxes full of magazines on the bottom to add some weight, two things were becoming quite clear, 1 I had far too many models, and 2 with the racks in place I was short of space for my planned workbench so it was back to the drawing board, and yet another solution was required. On the other side of the room I have a bookcase, now as I have come to work out this is no ordinary bookcase, it is a bookcase on a par with the Tardis or Mary Poppins’ handbag. When I first moved into my workroom back in 2003 I removed the horrible and ugly set of spotlights with the plan of putting a strip light in and things being what they are I never got round to it and as the light switch is virtually flush I covered it over with said bookcase, now with the light back on the agenda I felt I needed to move the bookcase over and free up the light switch, to do this I needed to empty it, once emptied I needed to move and refill it, and yes you guessed it I ended up with at least a shelf full of books with no home, I really do love how things evolve over time and once you alter them it all goes a bit awry and are altered forever. So now the book case had moved I realised that I needed another bookcase to pick up the slack so once again the tape measure came out and it dawned upon me that I needed either a very thin bookcase, or a new one to fill the space entirely and then it came to me in a flash of light, well maybe not as spectacular, if I bought another set or two of racking I could turn one into a bookcase, and being bigger than the old bookcase would take my books, some magazines and I would still have space for some more, the other racking could pick up the rest of the stash, and although now they have been ordered, delivered, built (yet not as easy as the first 2, I think these ones had either been danced upon by Elephants or somebody somewhere hates me because they fought me and Kerry all the way and took to being built very very reluctantly). With the room rejigged and filled with books on one wall  the surplus stash on the other and although the bookcase needs some reorganising it looks ok and will take a bit of getting used too, the surplus stash is still looking rather surplus albeit a bit less in number and I still have a few more hurdles to overcome until the room looks a bit more how I envisage it.

It has been over a week since I last did anything with my work in progress and I have had time to think about a few of the issues facing me in the cold light of day, these are quite simple 1, I have far too many kits that I have completed that have got broken over time and they need to go, 2, I have far too many kits that I have part built and lost interest in or have parts that have either got broken or lost, and 3, I have far too many kits, far too many for me to build especially at my current build rate and far too many I will never build so I need to go through them and sell them on, the cull is underway my friends.  As for the room itself, I have a list of things that I still need to do before I can think of installing my workbench, I need to clear the floor of kits for starters so I need to put back up a couple of shelves to take the slack, rearrange the racking to maximise the space, purchase a spray booth (I have my eye on what I need) and that will enable me to paint in doors once again so no more freezing my legs off in the build up to Telford, and I can get back to modelling again in a room that is more user friendly and exactly how I want it. Will it have been worth it? I think so, the room has evolved over the last 15 years into in unusable mish mash which has made it difficult  to model in so at least once it is done I can get back to enjoying the hobby once more because to be honest I haven’t been recently and I have begun to miss how much enjoyment I used to get out of it, it’s a glorious hobby and it is there to be enjoyed.

The Average Modeller

As one year ends and another begins you realise some things just remain the same…….

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As I sit here 3 weeks or so into the new year and having had the time to reflect upon the past year which was a relative success for me albeit a bit up and down,  I have to admit it did have its positives as it saw me grab the bull by the horns and start this blog it also gave me the chance to finish off 5 models over the course of the year (well the last 4  months at least), a definite year to remember and my best in living memory the trick now I suppose is try and emulate last years offering by getting back to the bench and do some modelling, however that will have to wait for now for 2 reasons, one I have decided to refurbish my mish mash of a workroom and secondly I need to finish this blog post, the workroom refurb is for anther time although I have started it and if you are interested on how I am getting on you can follow it on my Average Modeller Facebook page (Jason theaveragemodeller) just look me up.

Having got myself a little bit more involved in the hobby last year away from the workbench and the building of models for fun and myself it has enlightened me as to how we have changed as modellers and although that is not a bad thing yet it is not all positive. We see new kits books and painting/finishing products being released on almost a weekly basis, we see the model manufacturers sharing pre release CAD and sprue shots, and for the most part all I read are moans and complaints, why I do not know we have never had it so  good. I watched with interest a week or so ago as Airfix, that great British modelling institution announce their new releases for the coming year, to be honest I do not know why they bothered with the amount of moaning that I read on social media, it was off the scale, all I was reading was why they releasing that, I’m not going to buy it, it’s in the wrong scale, why are they giving us those decal options, who wants it in that scale, where are all the this, where are all the that, to be honest some of the remarks were just embarrassing to read, sometimes I think we need to take a good long, hard look at ourselves, this is a golden age of modelling and although I am not against the voicing of opinions some of it was just moaning for the sake of moaning  and was a tad embarrassing.

I will be honest what Airfix release each year does  not have a great bearing on what I choose to buy and build as they are mainly an aircraft manufacturer and I build armour (although I do have some aircraft kits in the stash) however since Hornby took over and they started releasing new tooled kits I have watched with interest what they have been coming out with ever since plus as most modellers from my generation started off building Airfix kits there is a bit of nostalgia added too, throw in the fact they are British and have a bit of the underdog attached to their chequered history and my interest is most definitely piqued. At Scale model world 2015 they had a 1/72 Phantom FG1 displayed on their stand which caught my attention and although I may not part with my hard earned cash for one I do look forward to seeing them on club stands and on the competition tables during the coming year. Fast forward to this year and the announcement of a Hawker Hunter in 1/48 and my interest has been grabbed firmly with both hands, I love the Hunter it is such a great looking aircraft and I will be adding one to my build list when it is released later in the year.

Once Christmas is over and we are rooted firmly in the new year I view with interest the lists of kits many of us modellers pray and dream are released that year, the plethora of different vehicles and aircraft that grace social media blog and forum posts is great to see and although many will not see the light of day this year a great many will and I look forward to these being announced, I also look forward to the Nuremberg toy fair at the end of this month and the shows that follow throughout the year and I still find  myself getting excited as these new kits are announced and I feel that is how it should be. Myself, I do not have long wish lists and I suppose that is why I do not feel the disappointment that others feel when my particular holy grail kit is not released I am just satisfied with what the manufacturers choose to send our way and after all if I do not want to buy or build what they choose to release I will not be disappointed as there is more enough kits out in the  market place and in my stash to keep me busy this year and beyond. What would I like to see this year? I would like to see a little less moaning about what the manufacturers decide to release for us in the coming year and the RAF museum London to turn their Buccaneer around so I can get a decent snap of it, however I guess some things are out of my control and human nature being what it is, it is our prerogative to vent our frustrations and in the modern age of the internet it gives everyone a voice even if it is just for the sake of it so I guess some things will always remain the same.

The Average Modeller.

 

 

 

Autumnal Telford, a wonderful weekend and here’s to the future……

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As I sit here a fortnight after the main event reflecting on all the fun the jokes the laughs the purchasing the walking the chatting the standing the eating the drinking and the wonderful models on show and on top of that it was all done in great company I can positively say it was a great scale model world 2017, I know there have been some negative comments concerning some peoples behaviour in the competition and the awful news that a model belonging to Chris Meddings had gone missing from the competition area which is something  I think virtually everyone finds unacceptable and something that definitely leaves a bad taste in the mouth however the show from  a personal point of view was great. The couple of weeks leading up to the show not so as it was full of the usual angst and stress as I did my best to cock up the 4 models that gradually became 2 that I wanted to finish for my club stand, my gloriously planned and badly executed Tamiya mid production Tiger 1 sadly got left behind partially painted in it’s box with it’s set of Friul metal tracks that I ran out of time to finish and maybe it was a project too far but hey you live and learn and the last few months have definitely been a learning curve for myself.  Shooting back a couple of months as the summer ended and my thoughts turned to the autumn model shows culminating in scale model world a fortnight ago I somehow managed to drag myself kicking and screaming back to the workbench and completed no less than 5 models a definite upturn in my modelling fortunes and this year has definitely turned out to be my most productive in living memory harking back those early days of build/paint/decal/finish within a couple of days of buying the kit.

Once we packed the car and  made the early morning journey up the M6 via the M25 and M40 arriving in a chilly Telford in early afternoon, after a quick sortie around the shops we carefully carried our box of models from the hotel and negotiated the short but sweaty 20 minute walk up to the International Centre, it was maybe not our best decision to carry the box that distance however it was the subject of several jokes and a lot of laughs across the weekend so all was not lost and once we had passed our box of models over to fellow Bulldog and amazing modeller Keith Forsyth grabbed our wrist bands for the weekend  it was once again back off for a bit of shopping before it was a swift return to the hotel for dinner and some rest and recuperation. Now Scale model world for me starts with a brisk early morning walk from the Telford central Premier Inn via McDonalds the cash machine and then joining the longish queue which was outside in the cold this year which makes a change then just waiting to get through the door and into the warm and great atmosphere that always welcomes us every November. Queuing outside this year wasn’t too much hardship as it wasn’t raining, it wasn’t too cold and we had a chat with Simon from IPMS Stafford which helped speed up the wait and once the doors opened it did not take us too long to get in find our club set up our models and our SMW was under way.

Some modellers go to scale model world to sit on a stand display their models and chat to people as they happen past, others go to socialise and others go to pick up modelling projects for the forthcoming year, for me and the ever suffering partner in crime Kerry it is a a balance of many things that come together to make a wonderful weekend. This includes some down time for the 2 of us away from work and normal life, time spent in great company loads of laughs and jokes and of course the opportunity to look at some great models display some of our own and the chance to pick up some projects for the forthcoming winter months to boot, not that I need any new projects however the chance to grab a few new kits is always an opportunity not to be missed and after all the traders are there to sell we are there to buy and of course it would be rude not too. The weekend sadly seems to just fly past, we often over the two day just go and sit in the catering area next to the kit swap and recharge our batteries having a drink and a bite to eat soaking up the atmosphere and trying not to check the time, which is hard not to do especially on the Sunday.  I read somewhere since our return that scale model world is the modellers Christmas and that is a sentiment I can relate too, the big build up the excitement the night before and all the lovely gifts you have at the end of it. As all good things must come to an end the weekend is over in what seems to be a blink of an eye one minute you are setting up your models for the weekend and before you know it you are packing them away then it’s back to the car and the long drive home.

After a quick toilet and food stop lots of driving we once again found ourselves back home and some time to reflect on what was a great weekend a decent cuppa and the opportunity to collate the purchases and the obligatory photo to see how much we actually bought. For me this year was not just about how much I had bought more of a case of buying what I went for and for the first time in the 9 years I have been attending I did exactly that, a few small projects and some bits for one I have had in my mind for quite a while. In the 10 or so days since we returned home my modelling time has been short and that has been ok, in the few weeks leading up to SMW it was a frantic oh! my god I have so much to do and so little time to do it in and I had been spending every spare minute finishing stuff off in blind panic and frantic hope, so a return to a more relaxed mode of modelling has been good.

Now the dust has settled on SMW and life has returned to some sort of normality I can reflect on the weekend with a fair bit of satisfaction with great memories and a return to my normal modelling habits and with just one model show left this year I can also reflect upon a good modelling year for me, the start of my blog and the fact that I have actually finished 5 models, 5 can you believe it. On my return from Telford last year I was suffering from a bit of burnout yet was satisfied that I had actually finished a model and it was sitting pride of place in the display cabinet, this year I have returned without any burnout and am now looking forward to getting back to the bench on a more regular basis, I have already built one kit since my return albeit a snap fix tank from the Meng world wartoons range never the less it is built and waiting paint which is not something that has been the norm down the years however it has been a welcome change to that norm. The first part of the year was a real toil for me whilst I struggled with lack of motivation and a really difficult time trying to regain that modelling mojo that had for some reason buggered off and left me. The one positive light was this blog which kept me sane and involved in the hobby whilst I waited for my missing mojo to finish it’s holiday, it returned in earnest over the summer and propelled me to get some projects over that much vaunted and sort after finish line. The future?, well I have some projects I want to finish, some I want to start and of course in the back of the mind are the builds for my club stand for next years scale model world, how many days is it?, that’s ok I have over 300 and that should be enough, and as for now?, I am happy modelling at a relaxed speed and not under any pressure to get things finished and I am once again happy to be blogging away.

The Average Modeller.