This was an itch to scratch, a dream caught, a distant echo that I was suddenly aware of and wanted to keep hearing, if only for a short while.
It’s hard to believe that we are now the other side of Easter 2022, but we are, so my attention will soon be turning way from a project that I’ve been working on for two years, to subjects that will hopefully take me through in the next chapter in the story of my model making career.
Today marks the end of the Legacy Collection as an ongoing project and the books that I have written to accompany models built as the world was in the grip of the COVID Epidemic. As the spring of 2020 broke and we all found ourselves in lockdown, I, accompanied by many close friends took the time to return to our roots, to build cheap, easily accessible kits that we felt would take up little time, cost precious few pence, but still offer enthusiasts that followed us along our paths to completion, plenty to enjoy and perhaps enough inspiration to take a similar step back in time to complete some for their own collections. We had no idea what we were doing, just that perhaps we should at least doing something. And though we had plans for models, I had no inkling – at least at first – that this series would also spawn three books that I would create and modellers around the world would keep…
Though I didn’t really know it at the time (frankly, who knew anything back in the spring/summer of 2020?!) the little Hanomag that I tackled first, would be just one of a whole collection of models that would be built as standalone pieces, as well as centrepieces of progressively more involved dioramas. From a conscious decision to ape the work of François Verlinden, through to dioramas that looked back in his direction whilst at the same time very much planting a foot in the present day, the models allowed me the chance to reminisce, whilst at the same time, learn much about my work and how it has developed to become what it is today. Much like deconstructing your playing as a musician, looking at simplifications that work in favour of the music rather than your own personal ego, I stripped back my models back to allow a rebuild of techniques to a point where I now feel my work has now developed past where it was before the process began. It all sounds a little high and mighty I appreciate, but I’m convinced that by taking those steps backwards, I’ve been able to take many more forwards in the direction I want to go.
So today, as I package up the new book that I have created to round off this project, I am struck by a mixture of sadness and pride; sadness that such an all-encompassing project has by necessity come to an end and pride, that a series I had wanted to do for a long time, has been completed as I’d hoped it would be, in a manner that’s allowed me to share it with many other modellers around the world.
Of course I am aware that not everyone will have either understood this series of builds and perhaps questioned why I chose to build the models in the first place.
The answer to that is simple: because I wanted to and frankly, because I could.
I did it because I had the chance and the desire to deviate from my normal path, that of building brand-new über kits, miniature engineering studies, binge-built over days as deadlines replaced pastimes. A lifetime of working with such kits has undoubtedly forged a career, but not always one filled with pleasure. Often, the models that I’ve built within this working environment — that I still fundamentally enjoy — are ones that are simply there, packages gorged on for the other enjoyment of others; three dimensional replicas rendered down into two dimensional images to tell a story; first-person experiences, inspiring third-person aspirations. When the choices are more personal, driven by reminiscences of a simpler time, they become an altogether more pleasurable experience. This was an itch to scratch, a dream caught, a distant echo that I was suddenly aware of and wanted to keep hearing, if only for a short while.
They also allowed me to let go of my desire to please, to impress, to compete. No-one builds 50-year-old kits in the hope that they are going to create miniatures that will stand side-by-side with next-gen offerings, unthinkable in days gone by. You build them because you have an intrinsic love of these old products and feel that they deserve to be built every bit as much as the newer kits. Like an old car that cannot keep up with technology-laden, engineering marvels of today, you still want to drive it, to feel history under your feet. It’s the same with old kits. I wanted to remember when I first built them, the pleasure of a rainy Saturday afternoon, head down over a kitchen table, as stringy tube glue fused parts to fingers as well as adjoining structures, gloss green replacing Olive Drab when funds and shopping chances were found wanting. Of course now, the skills are different; a fully-formed studio has replaced the gloss blue kitchen table that was home for years to my small box of paints, jar of thinners and brushes that had most certainly seen better days, but the pleasure is the same, at least for me, as I begin one of these long-forgotten kits.
So here we are, all done, with aircraft set to replace armour, cutting edge ideas, those with more of a vintage vibe! Before signing off — and pointing out that there are still copies of the Legacy Collection left to buy, should the desire take you (and frankly, why wouldn’t it?!) – I would like to thank everyone that has been involved in this project, all of you that have bought books and to those modellers who just dropped in, left a comment and made me feel as though it was on that was worth persevering with. Had I felt at any point that I was wasting my time and that the modelling world was not enjoying the ride with me, I may have thought better of it, but at no point was that the case. Finally, I’d like to thank friends who supported me with kits that I couldn’t find, accessories that I needed and in some cases, paints that I never thought I would be able to use. You all made it possible to create dioramas that looked to have been built 40 years ago, rather than over the last two. To you all, my heartfelt gratitude!
BOOKS: ORDERED AND STILL TO BUY, SHOULD YOU WANT A COPY…
The books that have been ordered and paid for, are now ready to be sent out. If you have not ordered a copy yet of either Part One, or the brand-new Part Two, you still have a chance to do so, there being a number of each left to buy. Please though, be quick! I mentioned this in an earlier update, but perhaps it bears repeating: I won’t be returning to these books once they are sold out – at least, not in printed form. So, if you would like a copy of either, or indeed, both(!), please check out the following links where you will find everything that you need to know about each one.
Link for ‘THE LEGACY PART ONE’
Link for ‘THE LEGACY PART TWO’
Thanks once again to everyone that has followed along. Here’s ton the next few years and the models that I will hopefully complete!
See you soon.