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Model Photo Galleries
Part 1: The Early Years

I started building plastic model kits when I was a kid in the 1960's: planes, tanks, ships, a few cars and spaceships and whatever else there was a kit for at the time. Assembling the model was always more fun for me than painting the thing, so I built a lot of them: over 1200 of them by my latest count.

Now that I'm an old codger and reflect back on my misspent youth, I've come to terms with the fact that I was never very good at modelling. I'm not super-careful about the fit, I rarely smooth out the seams completely, sometimes I super-detail a kit but usually not. I'm even less fussy about the paintjob; if it's about right, that's fine by me, and I never enjoyed weathering or shading so I usually don't.

But I'm okay with all that. Sure, I'll never win any IPMS competitions, but that's not why I build models anyway. I do it because I like to slap kits together. And because I've been addicted to glue fumes since I was eight.

This is the Renwal M-47 Patton II kit, in about 1/32 scale. I think this photo was taken when I was 14 or so. The model probably isn't painted, but I added all the cool accessories I could think of (notice the "canvas" wrapping around the gun barrel and the scratchbuilt spotlight on the mantlet) and of course cool decals everywhere. Tank crew and infantry dudes by Tamiya. Lord knows what colors I painted them, but I'm sure it was Pactra and Testors.
This is one of the few experiments I did with building dioramas in the 1970's. Remember those "How to Make Diorama" pamphlets by Shephard Paine that were included in all the Monogram tank kits? I used to love pouring over those pamphlets. This photo explains why I never did much with dioramas.

The same model, and the same diorama base, a couple of years later. The model is now painted, and has a different set of cool decals all over it. The 90mm gun has been replaced with a scratchbuilt 105mm made from various tube-shaped things, based on photos of Italian-modified M-47's with 105mm guns in the "Profile" booklet on the M-47. Any excuse to make the M-47 even more super-cool.

A couple of years later and I'm starting to get a little better at my modelling. I've gone through my first few beginner airbrushes, I've been studying techniques in "Scale Modeller" magazine, and I've been slowly honing my skills. This is the Airfix Sepecat Jaguar in 1/72 scale. It actually turned out pretty decent, I must say. I still have this kit on my shelves now in 2008, along with the A7V, Char B, and M-47 in the photos on this page. They are now all covered with much dust.

As mentioned above, I built a lot of models. From junior high school through the 1980's I had shelves and shelves of models. This photo and the next are from my room in the barracks in the Air Force in 1980. Top shelf are military vehicles in 1/72 and 1/76 scale, next shelf down are 1/35 and 1/32 scale. I commissioned a friend, Frank Clara, to draw the paintings on the wall. That's probably a map of London, where I was born, on the wall behind the shelf.

I still have some of these kits. Many of the others have long since been sold, given away, thrown out, or used as target practice. Some kits deserved their fates, many did not. The models I still have spent a couple of decades boxed up in the attic, and are now displayed in shelves in a closet.

I built all sorts of things, including a few of those sailing ship kits with the masts and threads and vacu-formed sails. The one in front is the Revell HMS Bounty, with the Flying Cloud behind it. That's Napoleon on his horse on the right, a 1/32 scale figure from Historex. A lot of my buying selection depended on what was on sale in the Squadron Ship catalog that month.

The Tauro A7V kit, shortly after it was first released in 1981 or so. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, my lack of modelling skills was matched by my lack of photography skills. To be fair, I never had a very good camera, but why I never broke down and bought a decent camera setup I don't know.

The Matchbox 1/76 scale Char B1 bis, taken shortly after it was released, sometime around 1981. It's hard to see in this photo, but I hand-painted the "flocage" camouflage (tree branches and leaves) to match the Char B1 bis on page 48 of Steven Zaloga's Blitzkrieg, and made the "Fantasque" decals myself. It looks pretty cool close-up, but none of my cameras can capture that.

A slightly better shot of Fantasque, along with a Matchbox FT-17 and a Revell US Paratrooper I'd painted up for the big Tankbase demo game in 1994.

Extreme close-up of the Monogram 1/48 scale Fokker DVII, built in 1980. I hand-painted the lozenge patterns.

Airfix 1/72 scale Hannover CL1, also with hand-painted lozenge patterns, probably from 1982. I think I painted the green arrow on the fuselage by hand too.

Irvania.com webmaster: Dave Ferris
The content on this page was written: January 13, 2011
Last updated: June 11, 2016