It's 2014 and Tony has once again summoned us from the depths of lethargy to participate in the 6 Month Challenge competition. It's hard enough for Tony to get us motivated, let alone find kits that are so completely awful that no-one wants to touch them, particularly us lot. However, thanks to Keith (no really, thanks Keith) he has managed to beat last year's efforts with the challenge for this year - a ZIS-5 truck. Made in Moldova - Tony likes foreign travel - the kit came complete without instructions and box. In fact, two sprues in a Tesco fruit and veg bag. We managed to find an instruction sheet from the web, though I'm uncertain as to whether it was a help or a hindrance. Some of us even had the option of the "tanker" version and in fact took two kits - there's nowt queer as folk, is there?

In April, Tony handed out these little bundles of joy. Reception was mixed - the armour boys were grateful it wasn't a plane and the plane boys just thought it would make a good target. Les even smiled, but I didn't have the camera ready, and began planning his builds before we'd left for the evening. Some of us of course rarely come to the April meeting so that we don't have to graciously accept the kit. For those who chose punishment, the brain cells fired up looking for inspiration. John was not there to tell us how difficult it will be to make a kit of 30 parts in a 6 month period.

It's October - so it's judging night. Who would turn up with a model, finished, and ready for presentation? Who would turn up with an excuse (a few as it happens)? Who would pull a "sickie" to avoid embarrassment and mickey-taking (surely that doesn't happen?). Who came along with models: Allan, Dave T, Graham J, John T, Martin and Peter. Les was not able to make the meeting, but he did get his entry in via Tony. Yes, you did read that correct, Les submitted an entry even though he was not present and even more amazingly John brought a completed model. Not only that, John pointed out that he only had 5 months to make it, unlike the rest of us who had 6. Our sympathy increased further (no, really) when we heard that he'd sprayed too much lacquer on his model (Pete's instant retort was "It's your lacquer practise in building models, John") and it was still tacky. A reference to the paint or the modelling, we wondered. Chris R and Mark came with excuses (#32 and #65 from the pantheon of standard excuses). Tony of course abstains on the basis of having to judge the competition. Somehow, I think this is a perk of being the chairman rather than a valid excuse. To assist him in judging, he persuaded Debbie (working the bar) and her partner, Kevin. Thank you very much to them for volunteering. Good job they had no idea how upset some modellers can be when their cherished model does not win and loses to something that has so many obvious faults it should have been chucked out. Not that any of us are like that in this club. All entries were described as "commendable" by Tony - a career in the diplomatic service awaits - and possibly a drink at the bar for his charity.

I expect by now you've stopped reading all this gibberish and moved on to looking at what we did - good idea, as I've exhausted the already limited comedy repertoire - again. Congratulations to the winner - who received a double-action Airbrush! [Which is a remarkable step-up from last year's prize - grumble, grumble]. Second prize is a set of airbrush cleaning tools.

Well done to all those who took part and entered into the spirit of the competition! 2015 here we come.
The runners and riders for the 2014 6 Month Challenge. Place your bets.
The ZIS-5 Instructions - for those lucky or unlucky enough to receive them
John's entry, of which he says "It's an Autocar Dispatch Model SA Pantechnicon, Circa 1947. OK so it started out as ZIS-5 truck which were licence built from Autocar. But, adding on the rear chassis, axles and wheels from the the Airfix airfield fire engine using the original kit's rear body for support and building the box section from plastic card, voila, one pantechnicon. Decals by Langley Miniature Models found at a railway model show. ( Its all real in my own special world)."
Martin's entry - 1930's Southern Railway Model A Ford - the original vehicle on which the Russians based the ZIS-5
Allan's entry - Trotski's Independent Trading Company - Dimitri and Rudolf's much used truck
Dave T's entry - ZIS-5V with 37mm AA gun
Les's entry - pukka Zis-5 appearance truck and tanker!
Graham J's entry - Keep it Silly Stunts - Brendan O'Reilly's Flying Circus, Russian style
Pete's entry - Lt Bogdanov's Dilemma
Ready for judging ...
And the results of the 2014 6 Month Challenge: Allan in 2nd and Les wins with his double truck entry. Congratulations lads, job well done.