Some of the models I bought along for my showcase go back as far as 1976. It was really enjoyable to put out the vast majority of them, but there’s still more for another time.
I started making models when I was around 8, with an Airfix biplane set due to being stuck inside a caravan during a very wet Welsh holiday, then an Airfix Walrus that usually floated in the bath. From there, I’ve never stopped, going onto Airfix and Fujimi 1/76 military vehicles, mostly for wargaming.
I still have them on display, along with the 1/48 Aurora and Bandai that I progressed onto. I was later recommended to move up to 1/35 scale, which I find the easiest to work with, and with the most potential and easiest on the eyes. Whilst living near Coventry, we frequently saw the sand-painted Saladins and Saracens etc., outside the Alvis factory, so that furthered my interest in military vehicles. Due to the exciting dioramas in the early Scale Models and later Military Modelling magazines, I was determined to do my own.
A polystyrene tile wasn’t the best start (it warped), but I upped the stakes and ploughed on. In my teens, I was inspired too by the amazing collection of 1/76 vehicles by Mil. Mod contributor John Pell in the Melton Mowbray library, and a Spitfire competition judged by Johnie Johnson, the ace pilot.
We moved to Horncastle, Lincs, in 1972, so visits to nearby air shows at Coningsby and Waddington were enjoyed; also, as a member of MAFVA, I had the privilege of visiting the pro model maker Gerald Scarborough, who was a real inspiration. I joined the Lincs. Aviation Society, where we once visited and climbed inside the Vulcan and Lancaster at RAF Scampton (wow), later moved to East Kirkby.
We also flew in an open-cockpit glider on a rainy evening, a bit hairy! There I started to enter competitions and found a lot more interest in dioramas. Combining both vehicles and figures within a historical setting, creating a story makes for interest and more enjoyment. Even a simple scene with just the basics creates a safer base to move models around on. It really isn’t too difficult to do, especially with some great accessories and figures that hardly need converting as we used to have to.
I love making non-standard types or oddities, unusual modifications, and camouflage schemes. I used to hand-paint but mostly spray the overall finish with Tamiya, then detail hand-paint with Vallejo, Model Master or Lifecolour acrylics.
I moved to London in 1979 to work in the Civil Service at RHQ Welsh Guards, in Dean Stanley Street and the newly re-built Wellington Barracks. On marriage we moved to Walthamstow, so I joined the North London Model Club. Later I helped to set up Leicester Modellers on transfer to REME / RAOC Records in South Wigston, Leics.
On promotion to Executive Officer at MOD (Provision) Chilwell in 1987, we moved to my wife’s hometown of Ripley. There were a lot of interesting vehicles around there then, including American trucks stored and tested, plus 38 Central Workshop, with a history of working in the old WW1 bomb factory. A highlight was driving a water-proofed Landrover in a wetsuit through the RM Instow, Devon dip-tank, then driving out to sea on a DUKW – amazing! Overnight, tanks on Scammells Commanders and new prototypes, e.g. Challenger AA, Gepard, AS90, were often seen.
On Chilwell’s closure and transfer to ESPPA Telford in 1996, I joined our model Club and have found great friendship, support and encouragement. I’ve broadened my interests to include Sci-Fi and some civilian cars, especially with unique finishes. It helps to further my creativity, even if I do get distracted sometimes. Motto: Focus to Finish more!
So thanks for looking, and if you need to see my display again, please feel free to visit me in Newport. You’d be most welcome.
“Having a great fascination with the Vietnam War period, I decided to see if I could put together a collection of 1/100th-scale aircraft representing all sides in the conflict.
This scale was chosen as it would make the collection smaller and allowed some of the models to be used in 15mm wargaming – hence the collection is all in flying mode rather than wheels down. The models were a variety of plastic kits, resin kits, 3D printed, conversions, and even one scratch build!”