Caught taking references aboard Admiral Levchenko, a Udaloy class anti-submarine destroyer.
"The Model Shipwrights (http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/) Artist Q&A is a monthly site feature. Basically, it’s an interview with artists and modelers of the ship modelling world.
Whoever they may be, the artists featured in Model Shipwrights Artist Q&A are all highly respected members of our worldwide community; people who have greatly influenced the hobby overall, all in their own unique way. As we spotlight these artists with this Q&A and photo feature, they return the favor to us by sharing a piece of their own private world."
Q. Tell us about yourself. Your age, Where do you live, Married, Kids, Occupation, Other hobbies and interests?
A. Well, I’m 29 years old (nearly 30 I know…so much for my youth) and I have been living in Lisbon for the last 10 years though I was born and lived before in a small town 50 miles up North of Lisbon called Caldas da Rainha until I was 19 years old. Not married yet, no kids, and I took a graduation in Modern and Contemporary History and shortly after a Masters in History of International Relations. Currently I’m working for a bank but I still do historical research when I get the chance and time to do it. Regarding other hobbies and interests I usually stick with other surrounding areas of Ship Modelling, namely drawing, cartography, History, strategy, reading, etc etc.
Q. Tell us about both your first modeling experience, and your first ship modeling experience.
A. My first model was a Grant/Lee Hasegawa 1/72 scale tank. I remember that the plastic was light brown and that I painted the tank with green dots over the plastic. First model, first camouflage as well!!!! Regarding ship modelling my first one was a 1/2400 scale Heller Tipitz for the fun of it and curiosity…she lived in the bottom of my aquarium for quite a few years actually. After a few years doing basically planes I turned entirely to ships only when I was 15-16 years old and went first with 1/600 Airfix models and then Matchbox 1/700 and finally the Japanese Waterline Series. That grabbed me for ship modelling for life.
Q. When was the first time ship subjects as a preferred genre appealed to you?
A. That goes long ago though I am not that old. Going to Britain with my parents when I was something around 11 years old that pretty much introduced me to the RAF and RN and to the fighting spirit of the British people. That had a kind of an impact on my brain and being an avid WWII reader since very young it was just a matter of time to be properly introduced to the naval area. The Bismarck Hunt is, as far as I can tell, the naval episode that marked me the longest and most likely what made me more and more curious about ships. It’s an epic after all. Since then I went mostly to Naval History and a few years after to ship modelling.
Q. Where do you draw your ship building inspirations?
A. Ship design has a bigger influence on me rather then the flag it flies. Also the History that the particular ship went through has a part of influence as well. Naval camouflage has a very big influence on my inspirations recently so basically I always try to go for ships with fancy camouflage schemes…just got a bit bored of all-grey ships I guess. After choosing the type of ship and the design, the flag and the camouflage scheme it is a matter of being the most original as possible (or simple but effective) when creating the diorama for the model. This last part is one of those that I consider the most challenging ones for our brains.
Q. Tell us about what, in your opinion, is the very best thing about ship modeling in general
A. Well, there are a lot of good things in ship modelling or in modelling in general. I guess that for me the challenge of building a model it is something most appealing to me. Just to think of all the processes to get the model finished it turns out to be a small but important endeavour for ones skills, pride and feelings. I tend to look to my models as single art pieces since I have built them and I know I will not build one exactly the same ever again. About ship modelling itself I guess it is a subject in Modelling in general that gathers a lot of things, depending of course of ones demands, and therefore the all process is very challenging for me…from looking into the instructions sheets and take the first notes to the final details.
Q. OK, now tell us about what, in your opinion, is the worst thing about ship modelling.
A. I hate the rigging!!! It’s the part I hate the most to do…even more because the model is nearly done and one has that feeling that it is all done and wants to start a fresh new model. Though I give a lot of value to the marvellous rigging works that some modellers out there and that I have met personally or saw their works live (they know who they are). Other then that I like everything else. Oh, sorry, I hate painting the small boats or planes (aircraft carriers are nightmares).
Q. Tell us about your all time favorite modeling era/period and why?
A. That would be either Inter-War or WWII though I have a keen taste for Cold War Russian submarines and surface warships as well. Why? About the Inter-War Period I think because of the treaties and because of the evolution of new types of warships like the submarine, the heavy cruiser, the aircraft-carrier, etc. Regarding WWII mostly because most of the world was involved and pretty much every single major navy had different designs and doctrines. On the Russian ships I can only say that they can be so weird looking that they similar to nearly nothing that is floating in other countries. All those radars and weaponry and strange looking designs just look menacing and challenging.
Q. Of any and all of the modelling related awards that you have won or earned, which one of these is the most important to you?
A. I guess it was the Gold Medal I won in one of the ship categories on the 2004 Scale ModelWorld IPMS/UK. I know that not many people were competing in that category (plastic ships at 1/700 or minor scale) but it was worth just if for the recognising of my work abroad and in the country were ship modelling is a very strong area. Also, as far as I can tell, it was the first time that a Portuguese modeller won an award with a ship in the IPMS/UK. That’s something I am proud of…not only for myself but having the chance of “putting a Portuguese flag” abroad.
Q. Please take a bit of time now and tell us some of your favorite modeling "things"...tools, reference materials, or a particular ship or ship model kits.
A. About tools there is nothing more valuable then a good pair of tweezers. Paper clips or random wire are most useful to apply small amounts of super-glue. Also, Mr. Tamiya should receive some sort of Modelling Nobel Award…their Tamiya Tape is something I worship the most among all my tools.
On references, well, there is too much ground to cover here but I gather the much as I can from copies of blueprints, profiles, technical data, academic studies, etc etc etc…the list is just too long. Sometimes I get more references then I wished for making my job in studying and working in a ship model much more intense and time taking.
Q. What is your all time, number one, modeling aquisition, or most favorite ship kit ever?
A. My number one modelling acquisition? I guess I have none for the simple fact that I am never happy with the detail level of the model regardless from which company it comes from. Though I am most impressed with the increasing detail level in the last decade in models (either resin or plastic ones) but since I am a great fan of the “destroy it first rebuild it better” doctrine I always find something I am not happy with the model and then I take action.
Q. What's your best or most recent ship kit purchase? Details please!
A. Models keep coming through the door but sadly not built as fast as I wished for but I guess the last ones I enjoyed the most were HMS Repulse from Tamiya and HMS Hood from Trumpeter.
Q. Time to get a little deep...What are your thoughts, opinions, and overall evaluation(s) of the ship kit industry?
A. It has grown too fast I think. The market is being literally flooded with all sorts of models and extras. It is a good thing actually given that we did not have one third of what we have today 10 or 15 years ago. There is plenty of things to choose and plenty of levels of accuracy to go for. I tend to go to the upper details levels (does not mean I am good at it at all) and therefore in the end the model itself was the cheapest thing of all things. Model, plus plenty of photo-etch sets, resin upgrades sometimes, plastic parts from extra sprues, metal gun barrels, references, etc. In the end the sum of the money we have spent on a model is a small fortune. Taking that together with the busy life I have, the lack of time or sometimes patience, the detail demand I have with myself and other usual matters my production slows down quite a bit and I am MOST happy with myself if I can even build 4 models per year.
Q. If you could model one ship, any ship, what would it be (May or may not be available in kit form!) And why?
A. Actually I have my dream model planned for ages. It will be entirely scratchbuild and it will probably take a decade to build it to say the least. It will be an HMS Hood at 1/72 scale (yes, I intend to have a bigger house in the future). After that model I will retire from Modelling in all…but I guess there is a lot of time to come before that.
Q. What, in your opinions, would be the all-time modelling “no no’s" ?...
A. Making the same mistake twice or more times. Modelling implies a progressive evolution of our techniques or skills and sometimes such do not happen very well resulting in damage or a disappointing result on the model. Yet, we learn with those mistakes and improve. However, not being perfect we tend to commit the same mistake again. That is something really annoying.
To leave a project unfinished when it was nearly complete or in advanced stages. That happens to me very often and I have at least half a dozen projects frozen for a couple of years already. It is going to be painful to pick up work with them again because my techniques improved and therefore new refits must be done or a new approach to the work progress must be undertaken. Try never to leave an unfinished project aside for too long.
Q. OK, mate, now tell us one (or more!) of your own modelling secrets...
A. Hmmmm, I fear for industrial espionage here!!! Ehehehehe!!! Kidding. I don’t think I have any particular modeling secrets. I consider myself a medium average modeler. I know I could do better and I know I’ve done worst. In any case I am always eager to show my works live when I can and participate in model shows, competitions, SIGs and help with workshops and demonstrations therefore I have little to hide. I try to follow my own established procedures when building a ship model. Basically; research as much as you can before start anything; study photos and plans; take notes; make your own drawings (that will help you a lot to know the ship that you are about to build); take notes one more time…actually, all the time so that you don’t forget something on the model that you might be sorry later. That’s basically how I start, the rest is pretty much common procedures and a lot of imagination and care for the model itself.