December 22, 2015 – In less than fourteen days, we will witness the end of 2015 and welcome 2016 with a fresh start and new hope. As modellers, we look at the upcoming year with a positive expectation that 2016 will be as great – or even greater for the hobby than the year it has left behind.
But before we go too far in what the future holds for us, lets look back to what we have achieved in the last twelve month since January 2015:
A Year in Transition
Moving between jobs, living in a different city, and moving back to my hometown meant a lot of productive hours and days were lost to traveling, transitioning, and adapting to the new workplace, workload, and schedule. Plus of course, juggling with family time with my wife and children. For all its worth, I lost at least three full months of quality time that would have been translated to approximately 270 hours of bench time and perhaps two models completed.
On a monthly basis, I flew 2800 KM back and forth between Jakarta and Surabaya every other week and spent a cumulative of 16 to 20 hours on taxis, waiting at airport lounges and the actual flight. Living alone in an apartment far from family did little help. I spent approximately 120 hours a month on daily choirs.
To sum it up: after a day at the office, working my way through the laundry, cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping, it’s just so easy to feel so tired! Getting the energy, motivation, and concentration to sit at the work bench and to actually do some quality modelling work sometimes was the hardest struggle of all.
Keeping up with Productivity
Even with only nine months to spare, I was able to keep up with the productivity to a healthy six models built. With my modelling time divided to build scale models, writing up articles, making videos, doing outreach work, I think completing three 1/48 scale models and three 1/32 scale models something to be proud of, though nothing spectacular. I have seen other modellers raking up their builds in the two digits easily. The build list includes (by order of completion):
- Revell F-105D Thunderchief in 1/48 scale
- Revell F-101B Voodoo in 1/48 scale
- Revell F-84F Thunderjet in 1/48 scale
- Academy F-16I Sufa in 1/32 scale
- Hasegawa F-104G Starfighter in 1/32 scale
- Revell MiG-29NUB Fulcrum in 1/32 scale
I was not in competition with anyone or have the intention to do so in the near future for the sake of just productivity. But still, I think I could have made one more kit to add into my portfolio for this year.
With nine months and six builds, basically I had a kit done every 45 days. Or around 120 hours of bench time per project. Knowing my average working hours to be around 80-100 hours per model for 1/48 scale aircraft, I could easily squeeze 20 hours from each of the builds, and thus creating an extra 100 hours – an additional opportunity for my seventh build.
This year has been a great success in the writing department. I had been actively writing up scale model articles for the “Angkasa” magazine – a popular nationally distributed aviation monthly in Bahasa Indonesia. Five of these articles were published. They are:
- Revell F-84F Thunderstreak in 1/48 scale
- Italeri C-130H Hercules in 1/72 scale
- Academy T-33A Silver Star in 1/48 scale
- Revell F-105D Thunderchief in 1/48 scale
- Academy Beechcraft Bonanza V35 in 1/48 scale
Aside from these article write ups, I have managed to:
- Start up a profile and model gallery at Scalemates
- Restart this blog which as been idle for a few years
- Took charge as the administrator/content contributor for SprueMobster modelling community FB page
- Develop and provide content for the SprueMobster website
New Knowledge and Techniques
This year, there has been some techniques that I have gained and also shared to other modelers. Some of these have small contribution but equally important to the work that we do. Such includes the use of:
- Nail polish remover acetone to clean up putty work;
- Lacquer thinners as a mix for Tamiya enamels and acrylics; and
- Aluminium foils for landing gear oleos.
The most ‘game-changing’ techniques that I learned this year were the ‘black basing’ and ‘three-layer blend’ approach that were introduced by Doogsmodel. The premis behind this approach, in my own words, is that paints are rarely seen as a flat, monotone layer. And that even in one-colored aircraft, there are subtle color variation. This approach also emphasis the idea that there are no two sides that are the same.
Technically speaking, modelers are no longer required to go through the rigorous “preshading” routine. But instead focus at giving an “all black base” (black basing) or go straight with the basic color (three layer blend).
Scale model photography also got a umph this year with the introduction of the ‘white background’ as opposed to the usual ‘scenic’ shots that I usually take. This was not my first time using whites as background. I had tried it many years ago but the results were very disappointing. Thanks to Jim’s Models for re-introducing the white background. It was kinda of a struggle adjusting to this new set, but at the end the results are equally amazing.
Outreach and Trainings
Thankfully my model community has been busy doing community outreach work, spreading the gospel of modeling to the public. Collaborating with Angkasa Magazine and PT Citra Toys (Revell and Academy importer), we did a series of coaching clinics to approximately 60 junior modelers – both young and old – at different location in Jakarta and Surabaya.
Another bold move this year was my decision to move focus from my regular 1/72s and 1/48 aircraft to larger scales of 1/32. And its not just scaling up piece meal, but in a more systematic way.
Thanks to some very convincing friends around the globe, I started to trod down the path into 1/32 scale with the F-16I Sufa. A local modeling challenge that my club hosted at the end of the year actually raked up more 1/32 builds with the F-104G and eventually the MiG-29UB.
Those that didn’t get through
Well there are a few kits that did not make it to completion this year. Some of them were leftovers from 2014, and even 2013. While others were newly opened boxes. They were left unfinished due to many reasons, including a lost in interest that is coupled with my shift towards bigger scale models. They are (in alphabetic order):
- Hasegawa PS-1 Shinmeiwa in 1/72 scale
- Hasegawa RF-4C Phantom II in 1/72 scale
- Hasegawa F-106 Delta Dart in 1/72 scale
- Italeri P-47D Thunderbolt in 1/48 scale
- Testor F8F Bearcat in 1/48 scale