Happy New Year!
For some of us modelling bloggers the start of the new year heralds a review of the year just gone. I’m one of those bloggers so here is my brief review of 2021. The year, like all those before it, comprised of some good things and some not so good things. Such is life.
By far the biggest life positive was the Covid vaccine which enabled life to return to some sort of normality here in the UK. Equally perhaps the biggest negative has been that Covid remains with us and a new variant is on the rise. The impact of Covid did of course affect us all in different ways with even our beloved hobby not going unscathed. As grateful as I was to have such a fantastic hobby to keep me occupied through the darker days of lockdown there were difficulties trying to replace consumables and for the majority of the year club meetings and shows we’re cancelled. Overall, however, from a modelling perspective it proved to be a good one. It might even be argued some of these positives were the direct result of the pandemic.
Although I didn’t, and never do, keep a tally of the number of figures and models I produce I can confidently say I got more painted in 2021 than any other year. As the year progressed and restrictions eased somewhat so a sense of normality slowly returned. The Plymouth Model Club once again opened its doors and saw its membership increase with 10 new members, all of whom had returned to the hobby as a result of lockdown. Shows also started a very slow return with IPMS Scale Model World taking place again in Telford after a years absence.
Returning to my personal perspective of the hobby year I thought I would, in keeping with my weekly Miniatures and Musings post, list in no particular order my top five highlights of the year.
1. Model exchange with Luke (IRO)
Towards the end of 2020 Luke, better known to most of us as IRO, had the idea that we should each do a surprise figure for each other and exchange them. I had no hesitation in buying into his idea and in early January 2021 we both posted simultaneously on our blogs the figures we had done for each other. Luke went for the Old West genre knowing it was a favourite era of mine and I painted for him a figure of Arnie in his role in the Predator movie.
It was agreat idea and one we both enjoyed. Something to do again at somepoint for sure.
2. Freehand Painting
Something I had wanted to do for some time was more freehand painting. A stretch goal if you like. As someone who doesn’t convert figures I find myself painting figures that are not unique. To overcome this it is nice where appropriate to add a freehand element in an effort to produce a figure which then becomes a one off. Over the course of the year I managed to do a lot of freehand across various figure genres and was pleased with the results and progress I made. The image below is one of the first figures I painted with additional freehand (Micky Mouse and combat trousers) and it remains one of my favourites.
3. The Wizard’s Tower
Unsurprisingly for those who regularly follow this blog it would be impossible for me to leave out my diorama project which I entitled The Wizard’s Tower. The diorama contained a lot of firsts for me in terms of new skills learnt and applied and the end result was very pleasing. Furthermore the model went on to be a competition success way beyond my expectations at IPMS Telford.
4. IPMS Scale Model World, Telford
Putting aside the competion and the success I enjoyed at Telford the main reason for mentioning it in my top five is because it signalled the return for many of us in the UK of modelling shows. After such a difficult year it was great to get back out and meet and speak with old friends. Although the show was slightly smaller with fewer than normal overseas visitors and clubs the event was still huge and the standard was as high as ever. Whatever was lost in terms of overseas participation was more than offset by the increase in UK participation. The direct result I suspect of having more people returning to the hobby and having even longer to produce modelling master pieces.
5. Zoom Calls
Mark Morin, another blogger buddy with whom most of you are familiar, came up with the idea that Luke (IRO) and I should link up with him on Zoom. The idea being to chat, share ideas and simply discuss the hobby in general along with anything else which took our fancy. A great idea but across the three time zones of the UK, USA and Australia not always so simple to arrange. Thanks to Mark we had a good number of chats throughout the year and will doubtless have more in 2022. They proved great fun and it’s always nice to put names to faces and compare life across the globe.
All in all 2021 was a good modelling year despite the difficulties brought about by Covid. Away from modelling my year was far more mixed with only a few highs and more lows than I would have liked. Hopefully 2022 will prove to be better for all of us but it is clear we will all face some initial difficulties as Covid refuses to go away. Fingers crossed it doesn’t last or prevent us from doing the things we love and enjoy.
Having reflected on 2021 it’s now time to think about the year ahead.