When I was a small boy I was fascinated by WW2 and all the stories told to me by my Dad, uncles and their friends and so when I was able to I started making models; this was about 1963. I gradually increased my interest and my models got more intricate, subject to pocket money, of course. When I left school and started my apprenticeship as a joiner I continued building kits, but wanted more. Then I found a collectables shop in south-east London where I lived and bought my first original item - a WW2 U.S. army helmet and that's when models took a back seat and collecting militaria started. My last kit, an Esci 1/9th BMW R75 Solo, was built and then stuck in a box (1978).
Jump to 2013 and having collected G.I uniforms, equipment, weapons and a vehicle, then selling the entire collection along with my 1942 Ford GPW Jeep, I felt I needed an interest to maintain my sanity and turned back to model making. It's been an uphill struggle with family, work and free-time commitments, but I think I'm on the right track. I produced my first-ever figure / bust in December 2015, which was something of a milestone for me.
I work in the film industry as a scenic construction carpenter, but have also work as a military costumer and my other role as a senior armoury technician working on movies and TV shows like Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers and Warhorse, to name but a few.
Hauptsturmfuhrer Michael Wittmann, MJ Miniatures, 1/9th scale.
This 1/9th scale bust is my first model in 38 years and my very first attempt at painting a face. I discovered a lot when painting the bust about the way paints now work compared to 38 years ago. The paints are a combination of Vallejo and Andrea acrylics and the building and use of a wet pallet enabled easy blending and layering of tones. The eyes are Archer fine eyeball decals from the United States.
Hauptsturmfuhrer Michael Wittmann
SS-Obersturmbannfurher Joachim Peiper, Austria, April 1945. Life Miniatures 1/10th bust.
The Bust of Joachim Pieper is OTB and a very clean cast with very little sanding or filing to do, although I did do some remedial work to the 'crusher cap' as the model comes with small button's either side of the peak in line with where the chin strap goes, but this style never had them. The figure is based on a picture of Peiper that has been coloured.
The figure is painted with a cross of Andrea and Vallejo acrylic's with a lot of emphasis on a combat worn look.
Lt. Col. John Frost, DSO, MC. Cmdr 2nd Battalion, 1st Parachute Brigade, 1st Airborne Division, Arnhem 1944. 1/9th V Bust, Mitches Military Models.
The battledress was converted from the kit version. Painted with a mixture of Vallejo and Andrea acrylic paints.
Lt. Col. John Frost
Major General Jim Gavin, Mitches Military Models, 1/9th V Bust.
Major General Jim Gavin was the Commander, US 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Market Garden, September 1944.
Some work was done to make the M36 webbing shoulder suspenders more realistic and the addition of the correct style chin strap to the side of the helmet.
Major General Jim Gavin
Bust is of a Captain in the 2nd Ranger Battalion, D-Day 1944. 1/9 Resin Bust (unknown maker possibly 1999 origin)
Loosely based on the movie Saving Private Ryan and hand painted with Vallejo & Lifecolour acrylic paints.