Back in the olden days, before I was a youtube celebrity, I used to build kits and not film them. I know, it’s almost unbelievable now. ?
The thing that got me back into modelmaking (I keep wanting to call it ‘modelling’ but I’m pretty sure that gives the wrong impression) was when DeAgostini started to do the 1:43 Millennium Falcon partwork. I wanted it. I wanted it to look good. I didn’t want to mess it up slapping paint all over it.
So, I went to a model shop and looked on the shelves for something to jump out at me.
I found the Revell Viper from Battlestar Galactica. And I picked up several pots of Tamiya paint, as that was what I’d been using many years before when I did some models and played around with Tamiya R/C cars for a while.
Getting home and opening the kit it was a little daunting. It’s not a big or complex kit, but I wasn’t sure how to make it look anything like I had in my mind. Previous models I’d built as a child were simply “glue the bits together and paint like it is on the box” but I’d heard of this new thing – Weathering. So I went to the source of all knowledge: the internet. More specifically, youtube.
One of the first videos I found for the kit was by a bloke calling himself “Modelmaking Guru”. How can a Guru not be the best person to learn from? I watched as he built the kit, using things I had never considered (bowls of hot water to reshape parts!) and making it sound really easy.
I progressed through the build, painting the interior, then the outside of the finished kit.
Because I was ‘new’ to this far-term a long time away, and there were many extra stages to making it look good (smoke wash! It all seemed amazing!) I was still brush painting with my trusty Tamiya paints. I knew there were other paints on the shelves, but had no idea about different types. As far as I knew paint was paint. I picked a colour I liked and painted.
All in all it actually came out quite well. (For a first attempt. If you don’t look too closely. In the dark. )
If you don’t know, Tamiya paints are alright. But I, like many do struggle brush painting them on. Some colours are worse than others. Yellow and red for example just seem to be hard to get right. And white. Of course. The viper was white.
If you look closely (or not that closely) you can see many brush marks on my model. I have got better after time and practice though!
Anyway. After making the Viper look ‘alright’ I started on the big project. The Falcon.
I wasn’t confident enough to completely repaint it, but I was happy to do some small improvements. I did some touch ups and modifications to the interior, and weathered the exterior. It’s almost impossible to make the Falcon too dirty. I am happy with how it ended up.
I continued making small kits during the 2 years of the Falcon build. When Foxx started the Modelmakers Boomhut I joined and found a mass of fellow builders of all levels and abilities ready to share tips and advice.
I was eventually talked into filming a build (the Hawker hurricane) and I needed a place to put the video.
After several ideas I came up with Gross Models. I had already decided to concentrate mostly on 1:144 scale kits as I don’t have loads of room for storage and display, and I thought it would be interesting to compare different genres and types of kit in the same scale. As 144 is a Gross, it seemed to be as good a name as any. (With the help of my friends at BalconyShirts.co.uk we eventually came up with my logo, cleverly incorporating the 1:144 in the name)
Over the last few years I’ve become friends with Foxx and many other like minded modellers, and last year I was even invited to build for eModels.co.uk and have joined Foxx and Ted on the Monday night livestream. I have increased my portfolio from Modelmaking “how-to” guides to hosting live chat sessions with my new friends every week.
The rest, as they say, is history.