Hi Brad! Please tell our readers a little about yourself. What do you do besides modeling? :)
I am a currently serving Royal Australian Air Force engineering officer, which tends to keep me quite busy. In my spare time, other than spending it with my lovely girlfriend (who is very tolerant of my modeling), I have recently finished studying for a masters degree in project management, and I like to spend time modeling, reading, exercising, producing my own electronic music, and playing music.
How long have you been modeling?
Like most of us I started quite young “helping” my dad put together his models. I have been building by myself since I was 9 years old. I did stop for a few years whilst at university, but picked it back up shortly after. So all up, I have been modeling for around 14 years.
Do you remember your first model? What was it?
My first modeling experience was helping my dad out with building his models when I was a small child. Eventually he bought me my first model once he got sick of me playing with and breaking his very nicely done car models! I remember my first model quite well, as it was just after I had seen the movie “Top Gun” – it was a 1/144 scale F-14 tomcat. I think my parents still have it somewhere. It took me an hour to glue together (no paint) and slap the decals on. I remember playing with it for hours making lots of aeroplane noises….the bug well and truly hit and much saved pocket money went to my local hobby shop throughout the next few years!
What's your favourite part of the process? Weathering, rigging, painting, etc.
My favourite part is finishing a model and putting it into the display case, usually after weeks or months thinking about how I wanted it to look. My next favourite part of the process would have to be researching the subjects, reading through books and looking at photographs, and conversing with fellow amateur historians and modellers. I find that reading about the subjects and the people, and talking to others with similar interests to me, is most fascinating.
In terms of construction, it is hard to say – each step provides its own individual joys. I do love scratch building details and the simple joy of painting and construction, however I must confess a soft spot for applying paint and decals. It is here where you finally begin to have an appreciation for how the finished product is going to look, and can start envisioning how you really are going to weather the model to achieve the final desired finish.
What's the scale of choice and why? 1/72, 1/48..
Definitely 1/48 scale, though I do not mind building 1/72 or 1/32 occasionally. I find 1/48 is big enough to include lots of detail, and big enough to actually detail a subject well and with a certain level of ease, but small enough to fit into my small display cabinet (and small enough to omit some details without anyone really noticing!). I do have a soft spot for detailed 1/72 models as these just have a “wow” factor that always amazes me, but I am not quite good enough to master 1/72 just yet!
You're mostly famous for your WW1 aircraft models. Why do you prefer WW1 subjects?
Whilst I certainly do not think I am “famous” in any modeling sense, I suppose the subject of WW1 aircraft is my most recent love. I have always been interested in WW1 and WW2 subjects (less so with jets), simply because there is a certain simplicity associated with the exploits of the young men who flew these flimsy craft into battle many years ago. WW1 appeals to me more so because the aircraft were all so different, and the art of air warfare was literally being written day by day during this period of history. The subjects are also visually very intricate and interesting – the aircraft were not sleek or aerodynamic – they had square wings, wires, and protrusions everywhere. They were also very “natural”, often made of wood, some metal, and doped fabric, which produces unique textures and characteristics. They were also quite colourfully marked, notably French, Italian and of course German subjects – individuality was often encouraged in aircraft markings of this time (British aside!). I think it the combination of these factors that makes these aircraft so interesting for me and visually appealing for others. Many think that these models are so much more difficult than others – the fact is, they are just like any other model – all you need is patience!
That all said, I do occasionally model interesting and unusual WW2 subjects. For example, I have built a Japanese WW2 autogyro, and a German Messerschmitt Bf-109 V tail prototype, but to name a few. I have also now tried my hand at armour for the first time, having recently built a Tamiya 1/35 SdKfz 222. I would also love to get into some figure painting once my skills allow – so I am interested in trying something different every now and then!
Do you the particular built model that takes the special place in your heart? :)
There is no one model that really has a special place in my heart other than my very first, and my vague memories of the first models I used to help my father build. More recently, the models that take a place somewhere in my heart are the ones where I have tried something and learnt something new for the first time, that is, the models where at some point I have said “wow” at something that I have achieved. Some examples are my first panel line washed model, my first pre-shaded model, my first biplane, the first time I scratch built a whole cockpit and put an aftermarket detail set into a model, and the first time I experimented with wood grains and lozenge decals. I usually like to try something different with each model, so every one tends to hold a small place in my heart somewhere. This is probably why I haven’t sold any of my models despite a number of people asking.
How many models do you have in process? Do you also have a "shelf of doom"?
I like to try and restrict myself to one or two on the bench at one time; otherwise I would never get anything finished! That said I do have around 6 or 7 models started that I have not worked on for a while. I think the longest “started but not worked on for a while” model that I have has sat idle for around three years, but I will get back to it one day! Usually a build will bog down for me once I have achieved a milestone, like finishing the cockpit of an aircraft model, but I have a long way left to go – the end is no where in sight - and another project takes my interest. Either that or there is some critical part or detail that I need to scratch build or obtain a detail set or reference for, and the whole thing bogs down. I think we all suffer these sorts of things with our modeling. They key to get out of this rut is to tackle a quick and simple build, or just stay determined and focused on one or two models until they are done – most important is to relax and have some fun – it is a hobby after all!
I really would like to thank Brad personally for the interview and the photo of his model shelf. Thanks a lot, Brad! I really appreciate that.