"Join me in a one-on-one conversation with ship modeler/ MSW member Konstantinos (Kostas) Katseas in this installment of our "Artist Profile" series."
The Model Shipwrights (http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/) Artist Q&A is a monthly feature. Itís an interview with various artists of the ship modeling world. These artists may include sculptors and painters; commercial and private modelers; well-known and lesser-known artists.
Whomever 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 Kostas, please if you would, tell us a bit about yourself...Your age, where do you live, married, kids, occupation, and any other hobbies and interests?
A. "I am 35 years old, born in Greece. Moving back to Greece after 15 years of living in London UK . Single (how else you could afford to spend 100 pounds for one 1/700 kit?)Moved to London England about 15 years ago initially to study Computer Systems Engineering....Never got to finish the degree but I am still interested in computing and namely Web Design , and my big project will be to develop my own personal web page showing mine and other peoples work.
I was working in a reprographics center in central London as a courier up to June of 2009. My next 2 big hobbies are cycling, and basketball but I am definitely in the wrong country as far as the last one goes. I do also some drawing...mostly face portraits in black and white, as I do have a knack for painting in general."
Q. Please, tell us about both your first modeling experience, and your first ship modeling experience.
A. "I think my very first model was made out of paper as I didnít have the money to buy the "way too expensive for my pocket back then" Matchbox 1/72 planes that my local shop was stocking.
I used to build planes out of paper using drawings from magazines or pictures for reference, if I could roughly make out the dimensions, and general shape from them.
I did an F-16 in roughly 1/72 scale, and when Greece acquired their first ever F-16ís back in '86, built with complete interior structure, that I took from a foldĖup drawing in the middle of a magazine editorial about the plane. I just had to built it! I realized the easiest way to create the complicated curves of the plane was to build the frames of the body first, and cover them up afterwards with the panels. Couldnít do the canopy though....First ship was the Matchbox Bismarck 1/700 scale."
Q. Kostas, when was the first time that ship subjects, as a preferred genre, appealed to you above all others?
A. "I started building ships as soon as I saw the box art for the Matchbox Bismarck, back in the early 80ís at my local shop display. I remember this being my first plastic ship. Followed by the Matchbox San Diego. Having said that I continued building planes and armour up to about 5 years ago, when I completely devoted myself to ship modeling, mostly 1/700 scale."
Q. Where do you draw your ship building inspirations from, Kostas?
A. "I look for a picture that tells a story, has a good composition/detail, and has some historical significance... or is just a damn good shot!"
Q. Ok Kostas, in your opinion, what's the best thing about ship modeling in general?
A. "The fact that you can depict so much detail, in such a tiny space, and still have a rather large scene with a lot going on.... Also, elegance and grace, as they are inherited in the shape of the ship to a larger degree, than planes or armor in my opinion."
Q. Well put, mate! OK, now tell us about what, in your opinion, is the worst thing about ship modeling for you?
Q. What is your time favorite modeling era/period, and why, Kostas?
A. "For me, IJN WWII, as this period provides very intriguing subjects in terms of construction and painting, as well as RN WWI and WWII subjects as they are full of history, beautiful ships, and lots of different concepts. Having said that I prefer WWI and WWII in general, as it gives me bigger opportunities to paint and weather than with the modern era ships."
Q. Of any and all of the modeling related awards that you have won or earned, which of these is the most important to you, Kostas?
A. "I have only won 3 or 4 prizes, in a couple of small competitions, which I participated just for the laughs (never thought I could really win first prize) as I donít take it as seriously as I should, I guess.
My first prize has to be a bit more special so far, as I felt really chaffed about it (a Revell 1/72 Panther 2nd place in a small club competition ). Nothing in major competitions as I havenít found any extra time to travel just for that yet....If I ever get a Best of Show then you will know my answer on that one!"
Q.Kostas, let's spend bit of time now discussing some of your favorite modeling "things"...tools, reference materials, etc.?
A. "As I paint, a good brush is as essential to me as a good paint....I am using Tamiya acrylics which I found easy to use, reliable in quality and widely available. I recently got a nice digital SLR camera, and I do admit I'm getting into photography a bit more now, as a good picture is essential to show off your work."
Q. What is your all time, number one, modeling acquisition, or most favorite ship kit ever?
A. "I have about 30+resin and about 40+plastic kits in my stash at the moment. However, nothing will ever beat the thrill I felt when I opened up the box of my first ship kit....The Matchbox Bismarck. Didn't paint it ,didnít put any rigging on, no base, and a finished assembly in about 30 minutes, but I kept staring at it for days."
edit note-and another fine ship modeler hath been hooked! :)
Q. What's most recent ship kit purchase?
A. "Last one is USS California 1/700 full hull from HP, but I am very impressed by the Admiralty Models HMS Glorious, which I bought this Christmas."
Q. OK, time to get a little deep...What are your thoughts, opinions, and overall evaluation(s) of the ship kit industry?
A. It's getting out of the dark ages a long time after the plane and armor kit industry did, about 10 years ago, but it's coming out big time now!"
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. That would have to be a Fuso full hull, last configuration or early 30ís in 1/350 scale...I just love the overall shape, the unique superstructure features, the unnecessary complexity, that make it more like an architectural statement instead of simply just another ship."
Q. GREAT answer! Now what, in your opinion, would be an all-time modeling ďno noí(s)" ?
A. "No weathering!!!"
Q. OK, mate, final question...please tell us one (or more!) of your own modeling secrets?
A. "A good ship model, is twice as good, if presented in the appropriate way."
edit note-Well said, my friend, thanks for your insights!