Sunday, February 16, 2014

Get Motivated With Martin!

Meet the man behind the models...

When I first started this monthly Scale Spotlight, I told myself that I would be remiss to not include Martin Philpott within my first several interviews. I first started following Martin's work back when Scale Plastic and Rail had an online forum that wasn't scale specific. He and I started our blogs at nearly the same time and we have virtually been running side-by-side, supporting each other's work from the beginning.
You will find his Facebook page, Martin's Scale Models, inspirational and informative. It is a fine supplement to his blog which bears the same name and same great content. He is a genuinely talented modeler, but you will find more than just his own work highlighted on his webpages. Martin has been more than happy to share the works of other modelers in his Friday Five feature which showcases the top five models he has seen around the internet that week. His passion for WWI era aircraft shows through as you can be sure there is at least one biplane or triplane in that selection of images. If that weren't enough, his collection of Monday Motivators makes the start of the work week well worth it.
Aside from managing his successful Facebook page, he writes nicely detailed reviews for Scale Plastic and Rail and is still very active on Large Scale Modeller.
Martin was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions, so please sit back, relax, and enjoy what he has to say about our beloved hobby...

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

What brought you back into the hobby after being away from it for nearly 30 years?

I was on holiday and happened to be in a department store. In the hobby section I spotted a Tamiya 1/12 scale Kawasaki and a Ducati. Unable to make my mind up which to buy I ended up buying both. Looking back they were an impulse buy and I never touched the kits for quite some time. Then, sat at home bored one day I started the Ducati and suddenly the good memories came flooding back. Before I knew it I was fully engaged in both kits and thoroughly enjoying the builds. That was it, I was now wanting to learn more about this hobby that had changed so much in the 30 years I had been away. I joined a local model club and became completely hooked and have not looked back since.

Do any of your children appreciate the hobby?

My two eldest sons have no interest what so ever. The younger who is presently 12 years old occasionally likes to build a kit. Trouble is he has zero patience and wants the entire kit built, painted and hanging from the ceiling or sat on his shelf within an hour of the build starting. He prefers visiting model shows with me and simply viewing the exhibits right now.

Clearly, you have a passion for aircraft of WWI. Why so much interest there?

Until a couple of years ago I showed little interest for this genre. However I read a couple of books about early aviation and became fascinated by the whole subject. Wingnut Wings were now on the scene with what can only be described as some truly exceptional and well-engineered kits, I became completely addicted. I thoroughly enjoy reading books and reference material about the aircraft and pilots from the Great War, having the opportunity to build the models of these is a real bonus.

The industry does not show much love for WWI subjects. Would you like to see more companies get on board with kits from that era or are you satisfied with Wing Nut Wings?

Where aircraft are concerned there is little doubt Wingnut Wings have set the standards for others to follow, in 1/32 scale they are simply untouchable right now. Other companies are starting to make inroads with the likes of GasPatch introducing a very nice Salmson in 1/48 scale and of course the likes of Eduard have in the past produced some exceptional kits in 1/48.

Armour suffers with a real lack of quality kits. Takom and Meng have recently produced some exquisite tanks but there is little else in plastic that shows real potential.

I would love to see other companies stepping up to the plate with quality kits in both aircraft and armour….I’m just not sure my wallet would agree.

To follow that up, why do you think there is a lack of interest in WWI subjects?

I honestly do not think there is a lack of interest. There are dedicated forums, groups, societies, and social media sites that all cover WW1 modelling and all of these are positively thriving. Of course this year marks the centenary for the outbreak of the Great War and so interest is at an all-time high. Regardless of that fact modelling of this genre is here to stay for some time yet.

Do you have any tips or advice to other modelers who may enjoy building WWI era aircraft?

Try not to be put off with the thought of rigging. This is the single biggest fear for most that are new to the genre. Start with something that has the minimal of rigging like a Fokker D.VII and progress from there. There are a multitude of new materials and accessories on the market that makes life so much easier now, bite the bullet and just go for it, nothing to lose and a whole new skill set to gain. I am a firm believer in leaving your comfort zone to obtain new skills.

You also enjoy modeling motorcycles. Do you ride or is your interest purely in miniature?

I have a huge passion for motorcycles. I had my first at 16 and kept riding until I was in my 30s. Two life events changed things though, firstly having a family now dictated that four wheels was far more practical than two and secondly I Joined the Ambulance Service. I saw firsthand far too many serious accidents and fatalities involving bikers and decided to hang up my leathers!

I still love watching motorcycle racing, in particular British Superbike Racing which I get to see live on the odd occasion.

As an experienced kit reviewer, what are things you look for in a model?

Oh heck, I take into account a whole multitude of factors when accessing a kit. Just some of these would include the following and in no particular order here…….. Engineering (quality of the plastic, its fit, how it goes together, level of detail etc). Value for money, variety in terms of enclosed schemes, accuracy, and appeal of that subject, packaging, quality decals and instructions, customer service and so on. It’s important to be honest in ANY review regardless of your relationship with a manufacturer, modellers are not daft and will soon realize if they are being duped. Different kits will mean different things to different modellers, I always try to allow for this and encompass it in my reviews.

With the Winter Olympics under way, what manufacturers would you say win a gold medal?

Wingnut Wings (what’s not to love).  Eduard (reliable, consistent and bang up to date in subjects they produce, both kits and aftermarket).  MENG (newish to the hobby and making a huge impact with real quality offerings in a very short time with great subject choices too).  Tamiya (dependable, reliable quality across all scales)

Generally speaking, what aspect of the industry would you like to see manufacturers improve at?

Listening to the people. Modellers are a finicky bunch and notoriously difficult to please. Of course you are never going to please all of the people all of the time being a manufacturer but developing good solid customer relations is vital. For me top of the league for this is Eduard, they have a superb relationship with their customers and many others could learn from their approach.

What do you like best about this hobby?

The social interaction. I have made some amazing friends from all over the world through this hobby both online and in person.  I very much enjoy researching the subject I am building through reference books and online, I have learnt far more history since taking up the hobby than I ever did at school. Visiting shows is a real highlight, love seeing the awesome work of other modellers and again meeting those people.  Reviewing has become a huge part of the hobby for me and I get a great deal of satisfaction from this.

What about modeling gives you the most trouble?

My biggest problem is the fact I’m such a perfectionist. Until I have it in my mind that I have done the very best I can with my skills at that time I simply cannot move on to the next part of the build. I do actually suffer with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) which can become a hindrance at times slowing me right down in builds.

I know you are an avid football fan. What else do you enjoy besides modeling?

Ahhhh yes, me and my hobbies! Far too many and not enough time or money. I am an avid advocate for hobbies / pastimes believing that in today’s hectic and stressful world we all need quality leisure time.
I enjoy photography, reading, football, kayaking, motorcycle racing, cinema, music, miniature reef keeping and reptile keeping, in particular Royal Python snakes. I am also very active with my local Church.

What will see your workbench in 2014?

Presently on the bench are two 1/32 scale Wingnut Wings Fokker Eindeckers, a Wingnut Wings 1/32 Gotha an Eduard 1/48 Mk.IX Spitfire along with the Takom 1/35 St Chamond tank.
All of these are having a whole heap of ‘extras’ thrown at them, in particular the Gotha.

Finally, any nuggets of wisdom for new modelers?

Join a club is the single best piece of advice I can give. The knowledge and friendships you gain from other experienced members is just priceless. Visiting shows is also going to serve you well, chatting, looking, photographing and asking lots of questions will be sure to pay dividends. Lastly join a quality forum and become active there, again you will quickly become exposed to vital bits of information and reference material.

That's a Wrap!

For some one who had been out of the modeling scene for thirty years, it is as if he never missed a beat. Martin is a knowledgeable modeler, both in terms of technique and kit engineering thanks to his experience in reviews. I would highly recommend following his page, especially if you're looking for a weekly dose of inspiration!
I hope you will join me in extending a huge thank you to Martin for taking the time to answer some questions. If you enjoyed this read, be sure to return next month for another 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. great story, thank you for sharing it

  2. Very enjoyable read...nice and diverse modeller.
    I have to ask Jon what's happened to The Union?
    Cheers mate