Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Year-end reflections

It’s been a while since I wrote anything new for the Soup, so I thought I’d just check in to say hello and share a few thoughts during these final days of the year.

It’s been a busy few months here in my neck of the woods. In early November I spent a week on vacation in Napa Valley indulging in my newest interest, wine, and soon after was consumed with planning a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 at my house. Then it was all about planning for Christmas and doing some spring cleaning around the house that didn’t get done back in the spring. My workshop is a mess at the moment, serving as a staging area for clutter that I’m moving from one room to another.

While these things have distracted me from working on a model, I’ve remained engaged in the hobby thanks to the interwebz. Every day I read my favorite forums, check the 65,451 model-related groups in my Facebook feed, and contribute a comment or two here and there when I have something substantive to say.

Beyond my home a lot has been going on these last couple of months.

Scale Model World has come and gone in Telford, and based on the photographs I saw of the competition and display tables (iModeler had particularly good coverage) it’s clear to me that I really need to prioritize a trip to England in the next year or two, even if it means skipping the IPMS Nats to do so. The vendors room looked amazing, and the quality of the models was exceptional. The models coming from the hands of our European friends are truly something special; I'll have more to say about that next year.

With Telford and the nearing of year-end, many of the manufacturers have announced their 2016 releases. The good times continue with a huge variety of models in the pipeline, so I recommend each of you ask your boss for a raise. Everyone is raving about AMK’s MiG-31, and I’m sure that if I were to nominate one model as the model of the year it would probably be that one. In addition, a friend tells me that Flyhawk’s new HMS Naiad is “amazing,” high praise for a tiny 1/700 kit; one reviewer on Model Warships says the light cruiser, "sets new standards for injection molded kits in terms of quality and value.” The most ironic announcement for me was Tamiya’s Su-76. Literally the day before I told a friend that it was about time we saw a new-tool kit of the SPG.

Some of you took advantage of Squadron’s Black Friday Sale, and many of you once again complained about their prices. If you made your selections carefully or collaborated with friends and shared an order it was easy to find value in the sale. Personally I saved $80 on my purchases, not to mention the shipping. No complaints here!

Out in the real world, beyond the comfort of our workshops, we've been intrigued by Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. Nobody in their right mind wants war, but it’s been interesting to see the Su-34 in particular used in conflict for the first time. And with the typical Russian star insignia painted over on most of the aircraft, that’s one less decal to apply to our model and one less opportunity to screw up the finish! The Aviationist has provided good coverage of the operations, particularly here and here.

Finally, and most recently, we all cringed at Steve Harvey’s mistake naming Ariadna Gutierrez as Miss Universe and her short, four-minute reign as the most beautiful woman in the galaxy (with the possible exception of Rey from The Force Awakens). To put a scale modeling spin on the event, we can learn something from Ariadna’s response to the mistake. She handled it with class and grace, posting a very kind statement to Facebook, which we should remember the next time we feel slighted at a model contest.

With that I shall sign off for the moment. For those who share my passion for music, I’m going to post my list of my favorite musical albums and songs of 2015 in the next few days. In the meantime, I wish you again a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

P.S. A sincere “welcome” to all of my new readers now following me on Facebook. I’m surprised at how many new Likes I’ve received despite not having posted much over the last two months. Thank you for your support!