Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Get the Dirt on Jamie!

Meet the man behind the models...

Model and photograph by Jamie Haggo
Although Jamie Haggo has been showcasing his skills online for several years now, I have only recently had the pleasure of following his work. He runs a well written and descriptive blog that is aptly named Haggis Models and if you are one to use Facebook, his work can be seen on his Scale Aircraft Weathering page. What you'll find there are some rather captivating works in progress, and completed projects that are underlined by Jamie's attention to detail and passion for the hobby, especially in regards to weathering. His techniques are incredible and combine to produce as realistic a finish as one might expect to see on the real thing. As soon as I had the notion to start this feature on my blog, I knew I had to have Jamie as one of my first guests. Fortunately, I didn't have to twist his arm too hard to agree...
So, please sit back and enjoy as I briefly pick the brain of one Jamie Haggo!

The questions I asked Jamie are in bold. These responses are his words and have not been edited in any way.

You say you have been modeling since you can remember and your first kit was an Airfix Harrier Gr.3. Do you still have your first model on a shelf somewhere?

No chance, it was over 30 years ago!  It would be fun if I still had it though but I am not a horder.  In fact, I don’t have a model that’s more than about 5 years old, most get sold on eventually.

You’re a family man. How do your wife and kids react to your hobby?

The kids ignore it and aren’t interested, they think its lame but then that’s teenagers for you!  The wife encourages it as I do get a little pocket money from the articles.

When I think of extreme weathering, armor is usually first in my mind. What made you choose to weather aircraft?

I’ve always been an aircraft modeler ever since I started.  I did the usual thing when I first started learning about weathering and that was to copy other modellers’ ideas.  That was fine, as I was learning and needed to try out the techniques for myself but it wasn’t until  started armour modeling a couple of years ago that I really started to study weathering as a process.  As I got more experienced at it I started to think how I could adapt the techniques and products to aircraft.

The Hetzer you did most recently was terrific. Will there be more armor in your future?

Model and photograph by Jamie Haggo
Absolutely, I love doing armour and it has really helped bring on my aircraft weathering no end so most definetly.  In fact I have a Tasca 1:24 Panzer II all built and ready for paint but I have a load of aircraft to get done first.

Where do you look for inspiration?

That’s easy, references!  Now we have the internet there is an almost limitless supply of aircraft out there just begging to be modeled!  It’s partly why I set up my Scale Aircraft Weathering page on Facebook, as a place to share ideas and references.

At what point do you decide that is the one? That this is the look you want to recreate?

Model and photograph by Jamie Haggo
That’s actually quite a hard question.  For example, one of my upcoming projects is going to be a MiG-23 but there are so many amazing examples of weathered aircraft that it’s so hard to decide.  I’ll probably build it first and then make a decision as I’m about to start painting it.
Occasionally though a subject just jumps straight out at you so it’s easy.  I recently did a MiG-21F-13 from the Trumpeter kit which will appear in AIR Modeller sometime in 2014, the real thing resides in a Polish museum and as soon as I saw the photo I ordered the kit!

Weathering can be a difficult task for modelers. How long did it take you to become satisfied with your weathering techniques?

Well, simple answer is I am NOT satisfied overall!  I think it’s very important to keep developing techniques, every time I finish a model I look back and take stock.  Every completed model means I have learnt something which I can take forward into the next model.  I am nearly always very pleased with how a model has turned out but I always know there are aspects which can be improved upon and lessons identified which means the next one has the potential to be better.

What is the most common mistake or misconception you think most modelers make when it comes to weathering?

Ah, this is an easy one, its pre-shading!  Spraying black (or any dark colour for that matter) over the panel lines then spraying the top coat over the top!  Firstly, no aircraft ever weathers like this; the photons do not know the proximity to panel lines!  Yes, it breaks up the monochrome look of a model but it makes it look like a cartoon, it’s just so unrealistic and ruins the model for me.  There are so many other ways to break up a monochrome finish which are much more realistic.  It’s also very hard to do, one pass too many with the airbrush and you’ve wasted your time.  Also, when doing a multi colour camouflage people often forget to go over the first colour near the border!  So, if you really must have darker areas along the panel lines, why not just put a little bit of black when you’re done and go over them when the colour is down, surely that’s easier?  But, as I just said, why bother because it’s just not realistic, you may as well paint it in Barbie pink!  Can you tell pre-shading annoys me?  :-D

Clearly you know your way around a model, but what gives you the most trouble?

Oh, lots of things.  Trying to shoe horn Aires resin cockpits into fuselages has to be near the top.  Masking canopies is also up there, I still have nightmares over the 1:32 Revell Ju-88 test shot I did for MAI, the Eduard set was still months away!  Small bits pinging off tweezers sometimes can reduce me to almost tears at times!  In fact, building the things!  I can’t stand it, I see it that the construction is getting in the way of the painting.  Its why I stay away from limited run stuff mainly, I just can’t stand filling, sanding, polishing, scribing, priming, filling, sanding……………

What techniques would you like to try that you haven't attempted yet?

I think I’ve tried pretty much everything out there I think, at least once (yes, even pre-shading) so nothing weathering wise immediately springs to mind but one thing I would like to get the hang of is soldering photo etch.  I have tried it but gave up, I bought a cheap soldering iron but couldn’t get the solder to stay on the tip, I think it’s either the temperature of the iron (which is non adjustable) or the solder itself.  I will have another go though at some stage.
I’d also love to be able to paint little blokes but to be honest, I’d rather paint the aeroplanes than waste time practicing with those!  I guess I am not patient enough to learn!  :-D

Model and photograph by Jamie Haggo
Do you have a favorite model on your shelf?

Yes, it’s my Rukuhia P-40M, the derelict one I made for Art of Modelling magazine.  I saw a few pictures of the Rukuhia scrap yard in New Zealand which was crammed full of P-40s, Corsairs, Avengers, Hudsons and  the like and just had to do it!

What are your modeling goals for 2014?

To continue practicing weathering with the aim of making models as realistic as I can get.  If I could I would ban pre-shading I would but that’s never going to happen!  :-D

What do you do for fun when you are not at the workbench?

That’s easy, my day job!  I am extremely lucky as I am a pilot in the Royal Navy, currently instructing baby navy fighter pilots to fly the Tucano.  However, I do love football, I regularly play 5-a side in work and never miss Match of the Day on telly!
Where can everyone follow your work? What forums are you active on?

Standby for a gratuitous plug:  My blog!  http://haggismodels.blogspot.co.uk/  I regularly put a picture on Hyperscale but normally as a plug for the blog!  I also like Facebook as people seem to be a bit more open and honest on there, maybe it’s because their family can see how they interact with other people?  It doesn’t stop juvenile behavior, just makes it much rarer.
I find forums a bit tedious to be honest, there are so many self appointed experts on there all vying to be the first to point out the flaws in new releases and generally droning on spouting douchebaggery (I made that word up but it sums it up quite well) it does get a bit tiresome.  Too often people take themselves far too seriously in these places and the egos on show need to be seen to be believed at times.  This is why I like to be a bit mischievous and poke them with a stick, they always bite, its good sport!  I’m not against forums though as they can be valuable resources, it’s just too often things get spoiled by blokes hiding behind a keyboard getting all shouty yelling OOLAM (a navy term standing for OOh Look At Me).  In fact there is one forum in particular where the “owner” and moderator run around wielding their big stick dishing out bans left, right and centre all because they are paranoid and to satisfy their own ego.  It’s pretty sad actually.

Finally, do you have any nuggets of wisdom for the new modelers out there?

Study the real thing; in detail.  Look closely at the features and effects you can see and think, with your array of techniques, experience and stuff in the paint rack, how you can recreate what you can see in the pictures.  Learn from your experiences, look at your finished model and be proud but always compare it to the real thing and think how you can make the next one even better.  Don’t follow the crowd; too often we see well made models ruined by the dreaded pre shading or overly dark panel line wash just because it’s become the accepted normal.
But most of all, have fun; enjoy the hobby and don't let the armchair experts who take themselves far too seriously spoil it for you. Modelling is an individual pursuit we can share with others if we choose to, but we all just make models for ourselves so just do what makes you happy.

That's a Wrap!

I told you he was passionate about weathering. As a matter of fact, he almost convinced me to abandon my use of pre-shading all together...almost. But in all seriousness, if you desire to expand upon your skills at weathering, I highly suggest following Jamie's endeavors - there is much to learn!
I hope you all enjoyed the read, and join me in thanking Mr. Haggo for participating! Be sure to come back next month for the next installment of Scale Spotlight.

Would you like to be featured here? Have a modeler in mind for an interview? Please feel free to let me know! 


  1. I can think of few modellers in my vicinity that do not use pre shading for their aircraft models. Very interesting approach and a good read!

    1. Yeah, I will use it, among other methods. I don't use it exclusively but I do not rule it out. I tend to avoid it when building a kit with raised panel lines, or at least supplement it more with post-shading.

  2. Nice to read about Jamie and to learn some new ideas i may try on my future work.