There are two things that are incredibly difficult to represent in scale -- water and flight -- but difficult doesn't mean impossible, and two modelers showed us this year what can be done if you have the imagination and talent. Their models appeared and re-appeared on the forums and social media, which showed me that they resonated with modelers around the world.
One of them, a Tamiya 1/350 King George by Chris Flodberg, is my pick as best build of the year. I have never seen the action of water captured as realistically as Chris has done on this model. You can practically hear the sound of the water rushing over the deck of the ship. You can see the ship being tossed from side to side over the waves. Just an amazing example of scale modeling. You can see more of it on Armorama.
Typically I would limit myself to the challenge of highlighting only one model, but another deserves to be called out as well. You've probably seen it, Rene Hieronymus's diorama showing an A-4 attack on a village, featured on ARC. I don't think we've ever seen an explosion represented so realistically. If you can hear the water on the King George, you can feel the heat of this fire ball!