Monday, March 29, 2010

How I Spent My Winter

First off, I must address the very long absence from the blog. December 1st until the end of March... where the heck did the time go?

Life has been very interesting and extremely busy for me over the last few months. A number of things transpired to keep me away from the blog. I trust that you all found other things to do in the meantime, but I do miss posting, and am glad to be back to it.

Late November of 2009, Brett Green, creator of Hyperscale, and prolific author of modelling books called me up and asked me if I would be interested in contributing to his new book on building the new Tamiya 1/32nd scale Spitfire Mk. IX kit. It had not even been released yet. Being a rabid Spitfire fan, I could not turn down this opportunity. He sent me a pre-release Tamiya Spit IX sans box and finished instructions, and I was off.

I built the model at night and on the weekends. As the deadline approached, I worked on it with every spare second. The complexity of the model really surprised me. It is quite a labor intensive build. Not to say that it is poorly designed. It just takes many hours to do it justice.

The book, How To Build Tamiya's 1:32 Spitfire Mk. IXc, by Brett Green was released in February by ADH publishing. From all accounts it is selling very well. My contribution to this book is the final chapter, which details the work I did to transform the Mk IX kit into a Spitfire HF Mk. VII. Master modeller Marcus Nichols also contributed a chapter on his desert Spit IXc . I received a copy of the book a few weeks ago, and it is a worthwhile reference book, IMHO.

I followed that up with another model and chapter for another book to be released later this year. Its surprisingly time consuming to write a chapter for a book. There are also photos to be taken, image processing to be done, and captions to be written.

On top of those assignments, I was called back a number of times to work on a movie in development for Image Movers Digital, based at the Old Hamilton Field AFB hanger number 7 in Novato, California. This is a famous Northern California air base that was operational from 1933 through 1973. The navy finally vacated the last of buildings on the base in 1996. The empty Hangar 7 building was used for filming of a number of Mythbusters episodes. It was then extensively renovated, along with the other 8 hangars, and became office buildings and shops. The Hamilton runways have now been reclaimed as marshlands.

Sadly, the Disney Corporation, who owns Image Movers Digital, decided to shut down IMD after the completion of the current movie project "Mars Needs Moms". A lot of very talented people will be out of work in the next year. IMD was one of those amazing companies that had a real sense of camaraderie and esprit de corps. The workload was intensive at times, as is almost always the case in the movie industry, but always interesting and challenging, and never overly stressful. My thanks to Bob Zemeckis and Doug Chiang for creating such an amazing work environment, and to Fon Davis and John Duncan for running a great model shop. I consider myself very lucky to have worked there.

A number of other contract jobs have kept me busy and kept the lights on during a slow time in the hobby business. I am back now and focused on getting the new resin line launched, as well as releasing a new batch of decals. I thank you for your patience over the last few months.

The next post will be the long promised installment on the 1/72nd scale Spitfire HF VII build article. The model is now finished, and photos have been taken, so it will not be long now.

Happy modelling! Roy