Thursday, December 29, 2016

My disappointing year

Every December Hyperscale readers post photos of the models they built throughout the year, but while many modelers are enjoying the fruits of their 2016 efforts, my look back is leaving me dejected. I had a terrible year. Not only was my output low, but the quality of what I finished was below my expectations.

I like to think that my skills are growing from year to year, but if 2016 is any indication, my skills are declining. It began with my build of the Airfix 1/72 P-40, a project that was originally conceived as being a super-detailed build, complete with cockpit, engine, and open ammunition bays. The model quickly went south when I struggled to find a way to properly mount CMK’s resin engine to the fuselage, and I had to scrap the kit and buy a new one. And I struggled through it as well.

I also fought Hobby Boss’s 1/72 Rafale M to its mediocre end. Like the P-40, I had to buy a second kit after I screwed the pooch on the first one, and the final result does not reflect my best work.

(You can read more about both models here.)

I’ve had issues with my most recent build as well, Academy’s 1/72 F-16C. I didn't properly address a seam in the intake, which now looks horrible, and I failed to anticipate the consequences of attaching the ventral strakes prior to applying the complex Thunderbirds decals to the lower fuselage. When I tried to apply the aft-most decal, it wouldn’t fit around the strakes and  after trying to cut it and slice it to make it fit  I had to discard it.

Last but not least was another ill-fated attempt at armor. I started Trumpeter’s Pz.Kpfw 38(t) with optimism, but as you can see in the picture below the final application of pigments resulted in a total mess. My hat's off to those of you who’ve mastered the use of these media, but I’ve decided to go back to techniques that I’m comfortable with and refine my own style rather than copy the style of others.

As I look at what went wrong with these models I think it all comes back to planning. I need to better visualize every model’s assembly and the consequences to its painting and weathering. 2017 has to be better.

Friday, December 16, 2016

How to promote your contest

I often see folks post to the forums advertising upcoming model contests, but their promos often fall short of being completely effective. If you're talking about an upcoming contest, your goal is to entice people to attend, so you need to make it as easy as possible for prospective attendees to:

1. See that you’re promoting a contest.
2. Quickly determine if the contest is close to them.
3. Learn where specifically the contest will be held.
4. Learn more about the contest, vendors, and related events.

Here are a few suggestions.

First, always include the following items in the subject line of the discussion thread:

  • The name of the contest
  • The contest date
  • The contest state *

* This is a US-centric suggestion, so those of you in another country should find a suitable reference point.

In the body of the message repeat the above items and include the following:

  • The complete address of the contest
  • Directions (not everyone uses GPS)
  • A link to the contest web site
  • Contact person and his phone/email

You should also use the opportunity to mention anything that might further entice modelers to attend. For example:

This year’s theme is Eggplanes Weathered in the Spanish Style!

25 vendors will be attending, and they’ve all promised not to sell mold-covered models.

Master modeler John Smith will give a demonstration on how to paint your armor so that is looks like everyone else's.

Last year’s contest included more than 300 models (although 15 were dusty as hell).

Registration is only $5 for 5 models.

My long-time readers know I’m a big proponent of contests. Contests should be the heart of the hobby, so don’t neglect the importance of fully promoting yours.