2015 is the last 6 Month Challenge to be set by Tony now he has gone to the Wild West and will be an occasional attendee at club nights and model shows. As usual, he likes to mix it up and as he said "get us out of our comfort zone" and we were selectively given a kit this year to make sure that happened. Chairman Dave had already organised a selection of kits for Tony to use, which when combined with Tony's, gave plenty of options for Tony, though the 1/144 Vickers Viscount fleet owned by Tony may have been bigger than those flown by BEA in real life.

Tony's April Fool's Joke comes a bit later in the month when he hands out the kits. There were the usual moans and groans and some steam generation as the chaps wondered what they could do - not with the kit for some chaps, but which excuse they could come up with for not participating and being a boring old proverbial.

Roll on 6 months and it's judgement day. Tony arrived with hope and expectation - always the best way to travel - and a couple of prizes. Fortunately, he was not disappointed. Despite all the moaning, we ended up with a dozen models on the night, with the usual variation and effort. Those presenting a model on the night were (in no particular order): Allan, Chris K, Dave T, Ed R, Graham J, Ian, John T, John S, Les, Mark, Martin and Matthew. It just goes to show what men can do on their own in the sanctity of their den / study / shed if given enough tea, biscuits, beer and time. [Ed. Steady on]

Some were a little spartan and not quite finished, one still had wet paint (not difficult to guess who's that was as a similar thing happened last year) and others came complete with stands and descriptions. In the end, Tony put on his IPMS Competition Manager hat and awarded the prize to two modellers. And who were they and what for? Well you'll now have to look at the photos to find out.

Congratulations to the winners who received a double-action Airbrush! [Whatever one of those is - says brush painting webmaster]. Well done to all those who took part and entered into the spirit of the competition.

2016 sees a return of the competition but with some new features. Stay tuned for details - better still, sign up and give it a go.
These are the competition entries that made it to the October club night for the 6 Month Challenge 2015, ready assembled for the judge to judge. Some models did not come under starters orders and will be added to the gallery once we have some photos.

And in the blue corner ...
Entry #1 - Dave Turner with his Willys Jeep and gun, an OOB build with some additional parts from Little Cars and replacement decals missing from the kit ...
Entry #2 - Allan Simpson with his "What if" ... what if you start with a Messerschmitt Bf-109 ...

The caption reads ... "You mate a Borg Warner torque converter and a Weddle Industries transaxle to a Daimler Benz DB605AM 36ltr Supercharged aero engine? Over 200mph I hope"
Entry #3 - Les with and OOB build of a RWD 5R in 1/72nd scale. This aircraft was used by LOT Polish Airlines in 1933–1936 for taxi flights (registration SP-LOT) ...
Entry #4 - Mark with his interpretation of the Vickers Viscount 800 in its original BEA livery using new decals, blurred props and period photograph ...
Entry #5 - Martin with his version of the Vickers Viscount 800 ...

[More details to be added in due course]
Entry #6 - John T with his "Ghost of the Imperial Japanese Navy" - so life-like, she was still drying out whilst sat on the table - not from sea water, but paint! ...

[More details to be added in due course]
Entry #7 - Matthew with "Eagle" ... this entry was built from a 1/144 scale S&M Models Vickers Viscount 800 kit (sound familiar?).
Matthew decided from the off that he wanted to kit-bash it into a "rocket sled", despite no help at all and much discouragement from his rather skeptical father, Ed. The label says:

"In the early 1950s, a British space program was launched. A rocket sled was built to test different fuel combinations and was tested in the Egyptian desert. The sled was named 'Eagle' after Eagle Airways, the main sponsor. Vickers also sponsored
the program and had a significant impact on the design. The space program was however scrapped after it was realised that the Americans had pinched all the Nazi rocket technology needed to make rapid progress. All the sponsors eventually pulled out due to lack of progress."

The desert is made from builders sharp sand. The sled body is sprayed with Humbrol polished steel (aluminium being out of stock everywhere) ...
Entry #8 - Ian with another (yes Tony had quite a few as mentioned) interpretation of the Vickers viscount 800 - ...

[More details to be added in due course]
Entry #9 - Chris K with his version of the Vickers Viscount 800 with Seawolf Airways.

Is it a plane, is it a submarine or both? You decide. "It was great fun making it" says Chris K [Ed. Which is the whole point of the exercise, to have fun] ...
Entry #10 - Graham J with an interpretation of the Willys Jeep and 37mm Gun ... it's mandatory to start singing from the song sheet whilst viewing the model. All together now ...

"It's categorical
You're fantasmagorical
And on Willys Willys Bang Bang
You can defend
For Willys Willys Bang Bang
Is our Quarter Pounder friend ..."

Enough, enough. Moving on ...
Entry #11 - John S with his Vickers Viscount 800. John says "My white (virgin) entry was put together in around two hours the day before the meeting, as I did not wish to suffer a smack! [Ed. As if we would do that John!] This was the first plastic model I've done since Nelson's time. I doubt if it will fly, as all the weight is in the tail!" ...
Entry #12 - Ed R's motorised Focke-Wulf Fw190 [This is what happens when you spend too much time talking to Brian!].

Ed says ... "My challenge entry is a Hasegawa Focke-Wulf FW190A 1/72 scale. (It was actually built by Matthew though, straight out of the box) the object being to demonstrate a prototype "realistic starting" propeller action that I've been working on for Brian. A small 3v motor from a broken remote control helicopter is wired to one of the motor drive outputs of an Arduino motor drive "shield" (a board that fits on top of an Arduino micro-controller).

There was much drama during construction as disaster struck when one of the wires broke inside the model, right close to where it goes into the motor. Matthew rather skilfully cut the wings off so we could repair it, re-solder and secure with hot-melt glue. Note to self - always try to make your motors accessible!

The output switches between ON and OFF at a selectable frequency (we use 8khz), with the ratio of ON:OFF adjustable in steps between 0 and 255 - so 0 is off (motor stop) and 255 is on all the time (the motor would run flat out). We start off very slowly, actually alternating between 0 and some low number, with short delays in between, to simulate cranking. The engine "catches" by removing the short "off" delays altogether, now it's at idle. It then slowly increases speed up to "200" which is our maximum power, 255 is sufficient to pull the model along the table and in any case we don't want the motor to burn out - the Arduino is driving it with 5v, the original helicopter had a 3.7v lithium battery. After a few seconds the sequence "throttles back" to idle then stops for a while, before repeating. The program for this is written in "C" and will be made available free in due course.

Fellow members comments about the cranking simulation were generally favourable with some good ideas for further improvement which we will try to get ready for next time. The driver can support up to 4 motors so watch out for a Lancaster with sequenced engine starts in the future ...
The judge, Tony, wonders why I'm taking his photo as he explains how impressed he was with this year's entries.
Tony had two airbrush kits to give away .... drum roll ... and they went to ...
Mark for his Viscount (best model from the box) and Matthew (best invention from the box). Well done chaps, you've entered the hall of fame. Commiserations to the others - better luck next year.