n the English-speaking modeling forums there are often found some interesting articles, and quite often we tempted to meet with their authors live, to friendly talk, to share modeling experiences.
Most recently, I was able to get to meet a remarkable man and modeler, whose name is not gone from the pages of scale modeling websites and magazines.
Colleagues, let me represent — Carmel Attard, who lives in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, on the island of Malta, has kindly agreed to answer a few questions and take photos of his collection.
— Carmel, thank you for the kind invitation to see your wonderful collection and to chat with a hobby colleague.
You are welcome! I am glad that you came to us — no Russians had contacted me before you.
— How long have you been in this hobby, and how it all began?
It is very simple — as an engineer-technologist by profession, I am interested in everything connected with the construction materials and especially with their application in aviation, and of course, scale models, copies of aviation subjects had always interested me. Malta — generally is a very popular aviation subject, and on a small patch of land (32 km in length) from 30-es to 50-es of the last century were located several airbases (Ta’Quali, Halfar, Luqa, Safi, Qrendi, Kalafrana), and another airfield on the neighboring island of Gozo (Xewkija). There were a lot of aircrafts in different time periods, mainly planes and helicopters of the Royal Air Force, but quite often there also were visitors from other countries. During the WWII there were based Spitfires and Hurricanes of air defense, also torpedo bombers, seaplanes, after the war Canberras flew from here to explore the borders of the USSR, ASW Shackletons patrolled the seas. Overall, there was always something to see.Therefore, probably, every Maltese more or less involved in aviation or somehow interested in it (aut. – I was witnessing that, when during week-ends people were coming to the airport, to stand with a bottle of beer and hamburger, outside the airfield perimeter, and to watch arriving and departing planes, making photos or just enjoy staying there), and any air shows and exhibitions are always attracting great attention.
I began to collect scale models since about 1964, and still continue to deal with them.
— What scales are preferable for you, and why?
Actually, I am most comfortable in traditional and universal 72-nd scale. There are some exceptions, but they are almost always associated with some gifts or with contests prizes or with sets sent for review for web-sites. There are several models in the 144 and 48 scale, and some 100nd made by VEB Plasticart — some of the latter are still waiting for their turn, for example two packs of the Tu-114, one of them is intend to be built as the Tu-126 Moss.
— And what direction is preferable?
I prefer military aircraft, initially I was collecting only U.S. Air Force, but then began to collect everything I like, including WWI and WWII periods, modern aircraft of various Air Forces and, of course, the Soviet / Russian aviation is not the least of my preference. With great pleasure I will make the giant An-22, which is also still waiting for his time.
— Where do you usually prefer to work?
Actually, my main workplace is in the basement garage, in my house. In near future I have plans to convert one of the upstairs rooms — my children have grown up, married, went away, and there are chances to make a more comfortable place to work.
On summer time we are often going to our cottage on seaside – so usually I take couple of scale models, box of tools, then everyone is going to swim and to bake in the sun, but me – I prefer modeling! Compressor with airbrush are in my garage, paint and tools are also not far, so I have to just put this staff into the car — and to go. The major problem for now is just the absence of time in desired quantities…
— What sets do you use, do you have any scratchbuilt examples, what paint preferred?
In fact, I collect everything — plastic and resin (which is nowadays produced in pleasant variety and quality), and vacuform kits as well. The latter often somehow frighten modelers by volumes of work needed, but I do not hesitate them at all, and if there is an interesting option, I do them no less readily than plastic ones. There are also some scratchbuilt items in the collection, a model from balsa, primed and painted as usual, but if you take it in hand, it feels that it is very light by weight. Another model, by contrast, unusually heavy — I had the entire cast from an alluminium alloy. I'm not afraid to experiment, and it was always nice to learn some interesting creative discoveries in scale modeling field, new approaches and techniques.
Painting is usually done with enamels, using a standard colors by number indications from paint charts, sometimes I make custom mixes, not far ago water-soluble acrylics came to my workbench, these are quite good to me.
— The collection is very impressive, how many assembled kits in it?
I cannot even tell you, I have to look directory in my book.
Yes! (Laughs) I have a catalog that describes all of the models I made, with glued piece of box-art, well, if it was on the kit, of course. Here – the latest record was 679, there is noted a designated start date, manufacturer, scale, building features in brief — almost a diary. Sometimes I write here some significant events that took place at the same time, during this built period, so that you can remember that period by some additional facts or emotions. Such events, of course, include the birth of children, relatives and friends from other countries visits, some of the major holidays and so on.
— Do you participate in local fairs and shows?
Of course! The local modeling community is quite active, and I am contributing to this modeling life as much as I can. Moreover, the membership in scale modeling club allows you to get some nice little bonuses — such as free passage to the air show and similar events which have keen interest of the modelers. After getting first places at the local level, you can be invited to the European competitions. However, nowadays I prefer to simply make kits for myself. Another question — do you have modeling clubs in Russia, and scale model shops?
— Of course! Many shops, and some modeling clubs. However, in recent times weekly club in Moscow, which was formerly very popular, long ago is not the popular place anymore, and mostly all communication is passed to the Internet (by the way, I invite you to visit our main portal for modelers www.scalemodels.ru ), but we love to meet time to time in a real environment, moreover, thanks to the Internet we have an opportunity to make new friends all around the globe, and have a pleasure of having meetings like this one.
Many thanks for an interesting meeting!
Can I ask you for permission to publish our conversation and photos on our site?
Yes, of course!
I'll be glad that our colleagues from Russia will be able to see my modest collection as well.
Good luck to you, friends!