fltr: Guido Hopp, aka "Tailor", Torben Keitel aka "Young Gun", Dirk Mennigke aka "Nano", Frank Ilse aka "Grandpa" and Christian Bruer aka "Painter"
Join us in a "one-on-one" conversation with MSW crewmate Guido Hopp (Tailor) in this installment of our "MSW Artist Profile" series!
"The Model Shipwrights (http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/) Artist Q&A is a monthly feature. It’s an interview with various artists of the ship modelling world. These artists may include sculptors and painters; commercial and private modellers; well-known and lesser-known artists. Whoever they may be, the artists featured in Model Shipwrights Artist Q&A are highly respected members of our global community; people who have greatly influenced our world in their own way. As we honor these artists with this Q&A and photo feature, they in turn, honor us by sharing a piece of their own world."
Q. Hi Guido, please do tell us a bit about yourself... Your age? Where do you live? Married? Kids? Your job? Your other hobbies and interests?
A. "I was born on 22nd December 1968, but I am kind of having a problem determining my age sometimes, though. In 2002 I was married to the girl I met first 15 years ago. She gave me a son in late 2003. Susanne und Aaron Jonathan are my life’s light and harbour. As long as I was young enough, I spent my free time playing American Football and large variety of other sports."
Today, I am a self employed merchant for ready-to-wear textiles. Since we moved into a small house near Dusseldorf in the deep West of Germany, I picked up spare-time gardening and keeping “our float” shipshape. Between the obligations, I count myself happy to find time, and energy, and the wife’s tolerance to have gotten back into my hobby. Of cause, reading history is a big part of that hobby, but I am more after the human stories, not dates.
Q. Very interesting, Guido, now please, tell us about both your earliest modeling moment, and your earliest ship modeling moment....
A "My dad made wooden tall ships as long as I can remember. My elder brother started modelling ships (Airfix) when I was on my best way to become 7 years old and I tagged along by building a 72nd RAF air fleet - mostly Matchbox kits. As far as I can remember the first ship was the Monogram USS Chicago. That must have been in 1979. I still can recall the scent of my mother’s nail polish remover I used to clean my paintbrushes with."
Q. Ok, mate, what about ship modeling in general...When did it start to appeal to you over other modeling genres?
A "That was when I picked up the hobby again seven years ago after an 18 year break. I wanted to build a ship model to sit in my living room for decoration: It was the god old Revell Flower Class kit, which I royally messed up."
"So I started to check the internet for tips and tricks. Only at this time I discovered the change on the hobby with the extended aftermarket and big international communities meeting in specialized sites. I was hooked right there and then. There is nothing like ship models, but I have all the respect for all them other types from tanks to planes to figures. I admit that I still like to build a naval aircraft and artillery once in a while for a change."
Q. Guido, who or what inspires your ship modeling in general?
A. "There are three things: The market itself supplies us with a plethora of choices these days, which all in itself is very inspiring. The second is the media: The history books I am reading and the history documentaries on TV. However the biggest inspiration comes from you guys. My first coffee of the day I spend checking the internet for modelling-news on the internet."
Q. Ok, now what, in your opinion, is the best thing about ship modeling?
A. "Next to being the single best method to get my mind off the job, it is quite clearly the community.... Our international community is actually so small that you can keep track of it. It is great to see new people coming in and following their development of skill over time. You get to make friends. Sometimes even for life."
Q.Tell us about what, in your opinion, is the worst thing about ship modelling? (if there is one!)
A "Ship modelling has got to be the worst of all modelling subjects, anyway. I can build a tank, an artillery piece, or a plane in 2 weeks, but I never managed to finish a ship project in less than 6 - no matter how small it was."
"However, I would never display one of my tanks or planes publicly, because of the mediocre outcome. I would never be satisfied with a ship model not up to my minial standards. …maybe that is my problem. Another bad bad thing is that I can’t resist buying ship related stuff."
Q. OK, mate, please tell us about your all time favourite modeling era/period, and why?
A. "Anything goes for me: There is a Kang Ding Frigate 1/350 sitting in my stash right next to a classic 1/225 Revel USS Olympia. I do have a soft spot for pre-dreadnought battleships and for battle cruisers and the armed Merchant Navy. Funnily, I have finished only one pre-dreadnought, yet (which fell off the workbench 5 minutes after completion and went to the trash as a total loss!)"
Q. Guido, through the years of your modeling career, which has been your favorite competition that you have entered, and why?
A. "Award-wise that is easy to answer, since I won only two. The first and more important award was winning the “Best foreign display” at the 2006 ScaleModelWorld in Telford , UK, with my club “VMF’06 – The German Gamblers”. The second one was a Gold Medal for my WMM 350th SMS Dukla of the Austrian KuK Navy at the ScaleModelWorld ‘07 in Telford."
"However the biggest reward in this hobby is actually, that people seem to know me and my models, which is quite striking. Every since picking up the hobby in 2001, I managed to finish only 9 models, taking a 3 year baby-break from late 2003 to mid 2006. Yet, I find that upon contacting modellers around the world for the first time, they reply to me “yeah, I know your Sovremenny, … I liked your U-boat,… I read your build-up-review on the S-100” and the likes… That is what counts for me most."
Q. OK, mate, time to get a little deeper...Tell us about your all time favourite modeling things...tools, reference materials, or particular ship or ship model kits...
A. "I echo what others have to say on the hobby: The community is the tool No.1. Exchange of information and technique and getting to know people from Auckland to Zurich is something that I like best about it. Otherwise I use the same stuff most of you do: Knives, side cutter, a variety of glues, sanding sticks and paper, paint- and airbrushes, and patience. Sometimes sweat, swear and a proverbial tear. No magic applied here …"
Q. What has been, or is, your all-time favourite modeling purchase, or ship model?
A. "I will be able to answer this definitely as soon as the 150 kits in stash are finished. I will let you know, but I advise you to not hold your breath ‘til then!"
Q. Guido, recently, what is the best modeling or ship kit purchase you have made?
A. "Most recently I bought Hasegawa’s 350th Nagato after being presented with a Lion Roar Super Detail Set. It’s a monster of a kit. Unfortunately it arrived too late for the MSW Community Building Contest 08/09. However, I hope that this kind of contest will be repeated: I like the long-term approach!
The best purchase? That’s difficult! (… I would call the WEM’s 350th HMS Norfolk a real gem, but so are most of Peter Hall’s developments. Then there is the nice Armada Tribal class in 1/350,… and the superb 700th HMS Biter from L’Arsenal and of cause their underestimated Bearn in 400th scale… and … ) No! Sorry, I can’t tell!"
Q. Guido,in your opinion, what do you think about the present situation of the ship kit industry, and its future down the road?
A. "Industry? Which one? Big bad plastic industry or cottage industry? I’ll leave the cottage industry alone! I just love the guys ’n gals ruining their lives to satisfy our whims!"
"Within the 7 years since my restart, the modelling world has changed a lot. Today the community has a real influence on the plastic industries: They seem to hear and sometimes even to care for what we have to say. However, I feel that the speed of the market has gotten too high. Can you remember how many ship kits have been released within the last 12 months? I think nobody can. I can recall the time when virtually every new kit made front page news in monthly or weekly news-pages of our favourite internet sites. Today even the best run pages can’t follow the pace of the market releases."
"In certain cases the release speed seems to have taken precedence over the research quality or even sound engineering, which stands in sharp contrast to the price development. Sometimes the industry seems to care more about taking the market quickly, to fend off the competition while the quality is left behind. This can be quite annoying, if that happens to a kit you have been awaiting for long. … on the other hand, we are modellers! We are supposed to take their crap and make it right, aren’t we?"
Q. If you could build a ship subject that you haven't tackled yet, what would it would be?
A. "I am one of those, who are content with what’s available, usually. …, but given a choice I’d start a Splendid Cat or a WWII Scharnhorst in 1/350 today. These are among the most stylish designs ever launched, IMHO. Well, that’s off the top of my head. If I spend a couple of minutes, I’ll probably come up with something else."
Q. Guido,in your opinion, what do you consider to be the all time "modeling don'ts"?.... In other words what no respectable ship modeller should ever do.
A. "Color shade discussions!"
Q. OK, mate, the million dollar question...tell us about one (or two) of your modeling secrets!
A. "Treat each part of the kit as a model in itself and you’ll always produce a satisfactory overall outcome!
Use less glue, but use the right type for the job!
Try to learn and apply one new technique in every model.
…and don’t take everything so seriously! Take a breather! This is supposed to be fun!"
Edit note-Thanks Guido, great interview!