It’s now been almost one year since I started Model Kit World – sheesh, where does the time go? One year ago, COVID 19 lockdown at least had the virtue of novelty. Twelve months later, it’s still here and it just isn’t amusing any more. Lucky then that we have kit building to help us get through.
So, I thought this might be good time to reflect on the kit-building I have experienced in that time and in particular to decide which of the sixteen kits undertaken in that time was my favourite and which my least favourite? Not, you’ll notice, which was the best or worst kit – that’s a whole different bucket of enchiladas. What you have here is my own personal, subjective and not necessarily logical response to a plethora of kits built and painted in the last year.
Let’s start with those that, for one reason or another, didn’t quite hit the spot.
My least favourite kits of 2020/2021
The 1/72 Dragon Sd.Kfz.231 (8-Rad) was my first DML kit, and I didn’t particularly enjoy it. The main reasons were fiddly construction, lots of tiny pats, a couple of missing mounting holes and lots of detail underneath, where it won’t be seen unless you model it lying on its roof. I appreciated the clean moulding and good fit, and this isn’t by any resonable standards a bad kit, but I just don’t feel compelled to try another Dragon kit. I guess this one taught me that I really appreciate simplicity in my kits.
The 1/72 Trumpeter Russia KV-1 M1942 Lightweight Cast Tank could easily have been one of my favourites, except for those tracks… Good detail, clean moulding, accuracy, great! A lack of information about paint schemes and decals and, worst of all, too-tight rubber band style tracks that snapped off one of the idlers – not good at all!
And my least favourite? The 1/76 Airfix M4 Sherman Mk. I. Look, this kit is getting on for sixty years old, so it scored high for nostalgia, but not for anything else. I like old kits but poor moulding quality, indifferent fit and some doubt about what model of Sherman it is all contribute to a less than satisfying modelling experience and a kit that really has reached retirement age.
My favourite kit of 2020/2021.
There are several honourable mentions here before we get to my personal favourite.
I mentioned that I have discovered that I really like simple kits, and they don’t come much simpler than the tiny Minairons Miniatures IGC Sandurni, a 1/72 resin kit I tackled recently. It has very reasonable detail for a kit primarily intended for wargaming and I love learning something new – I had never even heard of this tank before I built this kit. Comprising just three parts plus a machine gun barrel, there really isn’t much construction involved but painting is fun and a challenge and I quite liked the finished kit.
The Zvesda SU-85, a 1/72 snap-together kit, was also a great. It’s accurate, detail is good, the semi-hard plastic tracks work well and this was one of the finished kits that I was most happy with.
The 1/72 Revell Pz.Kpfw.VI Ausf.H Tiger was also very satisfying to build and paint and the link and length tracks worked really well. It’s also a pretty decent model of a Tunisian Tiger and overall a great representation of this iconic tank in 1/72.
But the winner is (please add your own drum-roll and groans of eager anticipation):
The 1/35 Tamiya Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf. F/G. But, you might reasonably ask, what is it about a fifty-year-old kit that particularly appealed to me? Well, let’s start with price. I know, I know, the price of kits does not represent such a sizeable chunk of my disposable income now as it did when I was twelve. But still, who can argue with a decent 1/35 kit that includes five figures and costs under €12? Given how cheap it was, I rather expected this to be crap, but it isn’t. OK, it’s just not as detailed as many modern 1/35 kits, and it isn’t an Ausf. G, but what you get is superbly moulded, sharp, clean and fit is as good as it gets. There are no tiny parts in this kit, something that I really like. On the downside, it has rubber-band style tracks that lack internal detail and there are lots of holes in the lower hull that need filling, left-overs from when this was a motorised kit. The figures are sort of all-right, though not up to current standards. This was my first 1/35 kit for a very long time and I really think that you’d be hard-pressed to get more enjoyment out of so little money.
That’s why this one gets the MKW Award for my favourite kit of the last twelve, COVID 19 infested months.
These are some of the highlights and lowlights of my last year of kit-building. But although I enjoyed some more than others, my rediscovering of kit-building helped get me through some pretty dark times with COVID lockdowns, family members being stranded thousands of miles away and an inability to travel. And for that I’m grateful for all the kits I worked on in the last year and for the pleasure and relaxation they brought in difficult and stressful times.
How has the last twelve months of kit-building been for you? Highlights? Lowlights? Best and worst kits?