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Louis Gardner
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2017……………. A modeling Year in Review.

December 25, 2017 · in Uncategorized · · 43 · 2.3K

This year was a great building year for me...better than most, and quite possibly the best ever...

This was thanks mostly to several Group Builds that were part of this year.

I want to take this time to thank everyone involved here. Starting with Martin and the staff at Imodeler, for providing us the wonderful place to display our work. Thanks also go out to all of my friends here, who have faithfully provided comments, suggestions (and occasionally missing parts 🙂 🙂 !), as well as providing emotional support once in a while for the other little hiccups, that we call life...

This year began for me with a growing collection of 1/48 planes and 1/35 scale Armor builds, and was followed by shrinking room inside the display cases...which is a good thing. Being retired, I have more time than most to dedicate to my building. But on occasion, life does get in the way. (It happens to all of us at one time or another).

My modelling year started with a completed Tamiya 1/48 F4U-1A Corsair, which just so happens to be my all time favorite plane...
The Corsair in the title picture is built as the plane in which Gregory "Pappy" Boyington was shot down in. "Pappy" spent the rest of the War as a Prisoner Of War , while his wingman on that mission, George Ashmun was killed.

Next up was the 1/48 Pro Modeler Curtiss Helldiver...

Followed by a tank model that had been relinquished to the shelf of doom for a long ... long time. This one is an Academy 1/35 M-60A1 tank that I built as a miniature replica of one of the actual tanks that I served in as a U.S. Army Armor Crewman (AKA "tanker" just like my buddy on here Jeff Bailey).

Here's a picture of me in the "real life" tank that I build the model of. My upper half is sticking out of the Commander's cupola, and this just happened to be the first time I took a tank down range on a live fire gunnery exercise. This also happened to be when I was a few pounds lighter, and my hair was darker... 🙂

This year we also had the Midway Group Build to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the event.

We had a spectacular response with our fellow Imodeler friends... I was very pleased with how it turned out. Chuck Villanueva made a really nice opening presentation for the Group Build reveal. Chuck also had some very nice builds posted in this GB... Thanks Chuck !

Here are my entries for the Group Build... which actually inspired me to build some kits that I normally would not have.

Starting with a 1/48 Revell PBY-5A Catalina...this thing is HUGE and takes up some real estate in the display cabinet. Thanks go out here to Tom Bebout, for providing me some up close and personal detail photos of the plane in Dayton at Wright Patterson. Tom also made some great models for the Midway GB too. Thanks again Tom !

Followed by an Accurate Miniatures Grumman TBF-1C Avenger , in 1/48 scale, that I back dated to a very early "dash-1" variant. The Battle of Midway is where the Avenger made it's combat debut.

As part of the Midway GB, I wanted to build a 1/48 Monogram TBD Devastator. I was lucky enough to find one from the original release back in 1974. I painted mine as a plane from the USS Enterprise back when the plane was still wearing "Yellow Wings" colors. The "Yellow Wings" era is my favorite time for planes, since they were so colorful ...

Next up was a Tamiya 1/48 scale A6M2 Zero. This one was also built for the Midway GB, as a plane that was flown by PO1C, Koga. This also just happened to be one of the first Zero planes that was found by the Allies, and repaired to flight worthy status. I'm fairly certain that another one (possibly two) was also recovered from a beach in China, and attention of this was forwarded up the Chain of Command by Claire Chennault. But that's another story...

This one is another Midway GB subject. It is another Accurate Miniatures SBD-3 Dauntless, in 1/48 scale. It happens to be built as the plane flown by Lt. Commander Dick Best. Without help from my friend Rick Wilkes, (who provided a spinner for me), this one would not have been completed as such. Rick also built some fine planes for the GB as well... Thanks again Rick !

I wanted to build a Wildcat for the Midway GB... So I chose the Tamiya 1/48 F4F-4 and built it as a freshly delivered plane from the USS Enterprise. Using a picture from Rob Pollock and his normal "Friday Briefing" as an inspiration for this one. Thanks Rob !

I built two 1/48 Tamiya Wildcats at the same time. The second one was painted / decals applied, to represent a plane as flown by Joe Foss from Guadalcanal as part of the "Cactus Air Force". This one still needs to be dirtied up a lot, and faded some... I'll get to it one of these days... This build started my so called "Gardner's Iron Works" assembly line style of building.

Next up is a Hasegawa 1/48 Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat. This one is near and dear to my heart... for I built it as a tribute to a man I met who actually flew this exact plane at various times from the deck of the USS Lexington. His name was Arthur Payne Whiteway. Sadly he passed away several years ago. It would have been nice to present it to him. Blue Skies my friend. He also flew during the Marianna's "Turkey Shoot" with VF-16, and had two confirmed kills during his career.

Having built these planes, sometimes you just need to change it up a bit...

So I built a Tamiya 1/35 scale Russian KV-1 using Model Kasten individual track links. The tracks still need more dirt and dried grass clumps on them...

Then we started the "Year of the Cat" Group build. There's still time to join in on this Group Build. Anything "Cat" themed goes, and we have a bunch of fantastic builds going on over there. This GB has been very well received too.

Many thanks go out to all involved !

My first completion for the "Year of the Cat" GB, was this Tamiya 1/35 Panther "D". This is the new release kit, and it was an absolute joy to build. I opted for the Tamiya add on parts and used individual track links for this build too.

The First World War was raging on a hundred years ago... I wanted to build a Fokker Tri plane as flown by Werner Voss to honor the man who perished flying it. I was almost able to have this one completed in time for a reveal 100 years later to the exact date, but Mother Nature intervened... in the form of a hurricane... which put an end to that idea.

So here's my rendition of Werner Voss' Fokker Dr-1, with a Revell 1/28 scale model. Paul Nash offered me a lot of guidance with the little details on this one... Thanks Paul !

We currently have another Group Build going on...The Kasserine Pass. and I just couldn't resist... So as usual I jumped in with both feet. The reveals are not yet scheduled to take place, so here's a little teaser of an AMT 1/48 scale P-40F "short tailed" version I completed. There's a lot of nice builds going on over there, so when you can, check it out.

Here's the latest completions: A pair of Hasegawa 1/48 Ki-27 "Nates" I built these using my assembly line method. They actually stalled some on the work bench while I was building four Hasegawa 1/48 F6F Hellcats... which can be seen here...

These are getting very close to completion. With any luck, I may get one or two more done before the New Year starts...

Going back to the "Nates"... here they are.

Not quite finished yet, (but still not too far away from completion), are these builds:

First up still in progress from the Year of the Cat GB... my ambitious project to build four Hasegawa 1/48 scale F6F Hellcats... Here you can see the "Iron Works" assembly line in action.

Here's the Blue Angels plane as it looks at the moment.

Followed by the Daytona Beach NAS bird... This one might be done in a few days and make the cut off by the end of the year.

The Hellcat Drone just may squeeze in too...

Unfortunately I had a minor set back with the cowling on the Target Tow plane. It needs a little TLC and probably will not make the deadline by the end of the Year.

Then we have the Kasserine Pass projects.

First up is the Tamiya 1/35 Panzer III. I still have to add the OVM tools and individual track links on one side... It may just make it, but probably will not. Maybe... just maybe.

Followed by the Tamiya 1/35 M4 "early" Sherman... I still haven't decided what I'm going to do here. I may end up going back and swapping out the bogie assemblies since they are wrong. I can take a set from my M-3 Lee...

This one also needs the OVM tools painted and added. Then it should be ready for the reveal.

The last P-40 plane I have underway in the Kasserine Pass Gb is this Amtech 1/48 P-40 L. This one has the resin nose swapped out on it. A lot of work is left to be done on the conversion... This plane was part of the pair of AMT type P-40 kits I was building at the "Iron Works". The construction delay was caused by the major nose surgery.

The very latest addition was another ambitious building project using four Tamiya Fw-190 kits for the "Kasserine Pass" GB. Only one of these will be completed for the GB. The Kasserine Pass GB plane will be painted in an overall sand color on the top sides (light blue under surfaces), and will be slightly modified to represent an A4 version.

Two of the others will be painted as planes flown on the Western Front, with the last one from the "Ost Front" (possibly as a JG54 machine). Three are the A-3 while one is the later F-8 version. The F-8 can be seen on the upper right side of the photo. It has the antennae mast on the rudder / fin assembly.

These "Wurgers" have not had much work done to them lately, as I have been concentrating on finishing up the F6F Hellcats for the "Year of the Cat" GB.

There you have it... maybe next year I will change the name over to the "Wurger Werks".

My .

Take care everyone and I wish you all a Merry Christmas, followed by a Happy New Year. May we all stay healthy and get some time set aside for doing what we love... Gluing plastic bits together.


Reader reactions:
13  Awesome

43 responses

  1. Nice consistent quality level.

  2. You obviously had a great modelling year, Louis, and you had lots of fun, too, all the best for 2018.

    • Yes George, it was a very good year for me. I had a blast building kits this year, especially with the Group Builds we had. I'm looking forward to next year, with the 100 Years of the RAF, as well as the Kasserine Pass GB.
      Cheers my friend ! Best wishes to you too.

  3. Great work Louis quality and quantity

    • Thanks Rick for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate your help with the SBD spinner. You saved the day...and allowed me to finish the plane as Dick Best's plane like I wanted to.
      Take care my friend and I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  4. You had a good year, Louis. Want to build a few dozen for me? 🙂

    • Thanks buddy ! It was a great year for me. Sometimes the stars seem to align. Other times, watch out for the meteors... Merry Christmas my friend and may you and your family have a Happy New Year.

  5. Winners, one and all, my friend...hope you had a Merry Christmas as well.

    • Thanks Craig ! It's good to hear from you buddy. Our Christmas was OK. Spent some quality time today with my stepson in the hospital. Hopefully next year will be better. Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year back at ya !

  6. As usual great job Louis. Have a Happy New Year my friend.

    • Thanks Tom for the kind words. You have a Happy New Year too my friend... I'm looking forward to seeing more of your outstanding builds in the Kasserine Pass GB... Looks like we have a great start for Group Build ideas next year with the 100 Year Anniversary of the RAF Gb coming up too... The Year of the Cat has been well received also, and should be wrapping up in mid February.

      Take care buddy.

  7. Awesome work Louis. I hope you've had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year.

  8. Thanks for the compliments and the Christmas wishes Robert. Welcome aboard here at Imodeler, and we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too.

  9. Great builds my friend, I love your work. Keep them coming.

    • Thanks Marc. I really enjoy watching your scratch builds come to life. Anyone can build a kit. It takes a true artist to build a complete plane from scratch... I hope to keep the Iron Works (possibly now called the Wurger Werks) cranking them out next year... Thanks again for the kind words.

  10. Some awesome models on display! Can't wait to see what you are going to offer us in 2018!

  11. Beautiful builds, mate! Happy holidays!

  12. Fantastic stuff all round Louis. I can't imagine how you manage to fit all this into the time available when we all have a lot of "other stuff" playing in the background. My total for the year is a fraction of your output. The works assembly line you've been working on with the Hellcats and the Wurgers particularly blows my mind. Have a great and productiive 2018.

    • Thanks Paul for the advice and detail photos of "Ruth-Less", (as well as the Voss Dr-1). The assembly line process is great for the initial building, but things slow down a bit if you have subjects with much different color schemes. I hope this next year is a great one for all of us, and we get to enjoy our hobby as often as we would like to. Take care my friend... Happy New Year.

  13. Louis we all have fun listening to tales of the 'Iron works' production line - and it is undoubtedly prolific. What comes through here though is the quality of the builds - all wonderfully well done.

    • I sincerely appreciate the compliments Paul. I hope the assembly line tradition carries through to the "100 Years of the RAF" Gb too... I'm really looking forward to that one. Combine it with the Kasserine Pass GB and we have a great year planned ahead.
      Take care my friend and Happy New Year.

  14. Wow, Louis - what a year you had! Not only did you complete a LOT of builds, they are all impeccably finished. I couldn't hope to match your output and also maintain the level of quality you achieve on each build. Well done, sir!

    • Thanks Drew !

      Your comparison of the 1/48 scale Hasegawa vs. Eduard F6F kits are what inspired me to pull out some Hasegawa Hellcats from the stash and start building them. For that I'm thankful and appreciate the article.

      If I wasn't retired, I wouldn't have the extra time for my builds, which also helped with the quantity I was able to complete this year. As far as quality goes, there are plenty of other builders on here that put my work to shame. I just try my best, and I learn something new with each build.

      Thanks again for the compliments my friend.

  15. All I can say, is it must be nice to be retired and have all that time for building! Great looking models all! You've inspired me to attempt an "iron works" build of my own, using some Phantoms (I'd like to do the British for the RAF group build, along with a Greek in Aegean Ghost scheme, and an Israeli).

    • Thanks Greg for the compliments... Retirement has it's ups and downs. Up side, you have more time to build stuff. Down side, you don't have the same cash flow to purchase new stuff when it hits the market (at least we don't).

      I say go for it and start up your own "Iron Works". The RAF Group Build will be the perfect place for your Phantom project. As always I'll be looking forward to seeing your work progress in the Group Builds. Your one of a kind display stands are very cool too... 🙂 Happy New Year buddy.

  16. What a fantastic collection and great work. I like to thank you Louis for sharing so many interesting stories and also some great building tips and hints as well. I allways enjoy reading your work in progress. The GB's are fantastic as well, really nice to be part of this all. I'm looking forward to your progress and gear up for the new year.
    All my best wishes for 2018, Happy New Year!

    • Ferry my friend, its good to hear from you. Thank you for the kind words.

      It pleases me to know that you enjoy reading my articles. I try to add a little history lesson with each one. The how too articles I post as an effort to help out our fellow friends who build models. I have learned a lot from reading on various ways of doing things, so I see this as sort of paying it back to the modeling community.

      I'm also happy to hear that you have enjoyed the GB's we have had this year. The Group Builds have been such a success because of fellow builders like you that have contributed so much. For that I'm thankful. The GB's wouldn't have been such a hit if not for friends like you.

      I'm looking forward to watching you progress with your projects in our Group Builds, especially the Stuka (one of my favorites) and the MC 202.

      Happy New Year my friend, and may 2018 be even better than 2017 was...

  17. Thanks Louis for your wishes, same to you. I m a big fan of your entries here. Keep up the excellent work in size mate, 2017 was an impressively productive year!

    • Michel, I'm a big fan of your builds too ! I'm especially interested in the Tiger build you will be doing for the Kasserine Pass GB... If it ends up looking like your Opel Blitz, it will be a show stopper for sure... Let's hope that 2018 will be a very productive year for all of us...

  18. Lots and lots of terrific builds over the past year, Louis! I'm impressed by the volume of work you have knocked out this past year.

    Terrific stuff my friend, and I look forward to seeing what you share with us next year!

    I hope you had a great Christmas, and that you have a Happy, Healthy New Year!

    • Thanks Freddie.

      Most of these builds I posted here were related to a Group Build that we had during the year. The Midway GB prompted me to build quite a few planes of subjects that I normally would not have. Then the Year of the Cat did the same thing. Now I'm working on some stuff for the Kasserine Pass...

      Man I love these Group Builds as they really encourage you to build more than you normally would have. Good stuff. 🙂

      Next Year we will have two great ones with the Kasserine Pass and the 100 Years of the RAF. Plus the "Year of the Cat" will be wrapping up... So who knows what kind of future projects will come out of the woodworks ?

      I'm appreciative of the compliments, and want to thank you for your participation in the Group Builds we hosted this year.

      Christmas was OK. Not bad, not too good, just sort of in the middle I guess. It's that "life" thing interfering again. But at least the misses and I are doing fine...

      Thanks for the Holiday wishes. Here's to hoping that we all have a healthy and prosperous New Year.

      I will be eagerly awaiting your future builds as well...

      Take care my friend.

  19. Loved that cold warrior M60! Happy New year my friend!

  20. Beautiful set of vehicles! Your picture from gunnery plus the excellent M60 "Cold War Warrior" really took me back to our younger days! I still have my hair but it's turned gray/white, so the "Life" comments really hit home.


    • Thanks my fellow tanker buddy... Every time I look at that one sitting in the display case it takes me back there too... I still have my hair too. But it's more gray than dark... I'm guessing wearing those CVC helmets did that to us ! 🙂 🙂 No just kidding. The gray just shows us as being a little more "matured" now...

      Take care my friend and Happy New Year. Thanks again bud...

      • And Happy New Year to YOU, my friend & fellow DAT! I still have a CVC I used for about 10 years somewhere in my "Storage Room of Doom" if I can find it. It was to be replaced, so I DX'ed it myself. I really have little desire to put one on again ... but I'd get back on a tank in a heartbeat if I could! I just don't want to muss up my hair these days! Ha!

        I really like those Hellcats, Louis! Especially the Drone. That all-red with white tail (or other colors) looks almost sexy. Well, mayhaps not SEXY, but nice! It's a real shame to think of such airplanes being used as targets, but those planes were essentially made for use a little while, then to be thrown away. They weren't built to be "classics" 50 years later! That's why the one still flying are awesome ... and so VERY expensive!

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