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List of the Masters

Masters Class

The Staff of Modelers Alliance proudly presents the Masterclasses.
These are simple modeling classes conducted by a selection of true Masters of  the scale modeling world.

How to do an effective larger base with a building PART1 AND 2


Pick a building that you would like to place with your vehicle, keeping in mind that if it is to big it will overpower the scene and be unbalanced. If it is to small it will fall victim to the vehicle and you will have the same result in reverse. Sad
The building I chose for this particular scene was the old VP kit of the ruined church. SEE BOX PHOTO BELOW.


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BASE CREATION- creating an Old concrete look (usually for flooring in factories etc)

After I created th base for my 17cm, I thought it might be a useful step by step for anybody looking for a technique on creating a factory floor or old building floor. I applied it too my proto workshop floor for the Grille, emphasising the used and old look, as the experimental area I was depicting looked as though it was that typical WW2 era, grey brown and dusty indoor concrete. So I set about simulating that in the following way.........

Step 1-Surface creation
I was looking for an effect that wasn't too ordered and portrayed a visual look that suggested the area of interest was not confined to the squarish wooden base but more than that , you just couldn't see it from where you were looking. Having a square edge to the concrete would give the floor more attention and presence than I wanted to have, so I went for a uneven edge, where the finer details [of the scene] would spill on to the wood, as though they are at the edge of the scenes own reality. Sorry if this sounds deep and a bit stupid but I don't know any other wasy to describe what I wanted to create. Embarassed
I started by applying a relatively thin coat of multi-purpose filler (water based) and mixed it to a 'porridge like' consistency.
I spread this out flat in even strips with a wide flat putty applicator that you can get at any hardware. Once the area was covered evenly I applied more to certain ares and smoothed it off in different directions until I was happy with a pattern that suggeted squarish patterns like hand laid concrete. When its done manually, long poles (like brooms) are used with flat wide wooden ends to smooth out the bumps, and these leave tracks.
I also encouraged certain areas to have spots 'pull away' from the surface and this was accentuated when nearly dry with sand paper (explained further on). Please see detail thumbs for a closer look. Wink

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There is quite a bit of debate over this late war Green and the color would vary considerably between applications, at this stage of the war. I prefer the look to be lighter rather than darker and this seems to match the color photos of these vehicles that I have seen. However, I also like other more green applications as well. It just depends on what 'turns you on'.
So, next was the ghost coat with Testors Panzer Olive Green, to give it that worn and faided start to the detailing stage. This is an enamel based paint so make sure that you have sealed the acrylic first. This stage fades off the green, so if you want to acheive some variation, an application of maskol chipping works well before this coat is applied. Once again, do not make this a solid coat of paint. After this has dried, peel off the maskol from all areas of the model (tip - use masking tape joined in a ring around your hand - the wider the better). I did not apply the Green to all wheels as this seemed to be the trend at the end with late war stuff. Each wheel was painted independantly, utilised from an older vehicle or pre-existing stock at the factory.


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I thought it would be fun to explore the possibilities with a late war vehicle and it's paint scheme, so I have started a dio around this theme.
A final Tiger picked up by 510 direct from the Henschel factory - March 29 1945
that is a mix of parts and has been destoyed in battle . Late war experimental vehicles and 1945 production mix-ups and rush jobs interest me a great deal and I love to consider the options around manufacture and paint with these subjects. They keep my modelling intersting for me, as well as pushing my boundaries and helping me develop further as a modeller. In considering the approach to such subjects I came accross a method that I like for Red Primer. After the King Tiger subject that I will be refering to, I began my 17cm Grille and continued to develop the method. Both vehicles are Red Primer based but involve other colors with this base coat. I hope that I can interest readers and help with one way of doing a Red Primer scheme and touch on the ideas and techniques around painting late war vehicles......... this is only MY way of doing things and certainly not the only way to achieve a satisfying result.
In the final stages of the war in Europe, the German war machine's admin system was falling apart and orders were often put on hold or intergrated, as retro fitted parts were run out and new ones then used. We see this often in tank variants at a time of cross-over to the next model and it was certainly 'rife' amongst the Luftwaffe production chain. I felt a nice paint job, and one that would be a bit topical, would be a Tiger 2 produced during this period from a damged one . One of the KTigers picked up by 510 could well have been a fix up, with new paint etc. I also doubt whether all these tanks were painted the same with the circular marks and dark yellow - the paint job looks very rushed, almost like the unit had applied the lighter color. So I took this idea and ran with it as a lead in to my 17cm Grille and to experiment with the Red Primer look.
I have gone with this idea, creating a late model Tiger 2 with a new, as yet unpainted, Red Primer turret, fitted to a used chassis, that has been 'fixed -up' with a 'hastey' overspray of green over the new solid Red Primer base (applied earlier to the chassis), when it first came in for repair - this would have made it a Jan/Feb build chassis, which matches my 'mods' to the model. The turret has just been 'grabbed' off the line, outside the factory and put on the chassis to get it out the door [without applying the green basecoat].


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Soldering method-3 “Slight applied technique”

1. Assembling plural parts

When you assemble plural parts sequentially, you will face trouble very easy - the part which you assembled earlier comes off because of the heat.

If you are used to soldering, you will be able to assemble a part with shortest heating time and do most things without trouble.

But until you will be used to it you better take this measure.

To avoid overheating aluminum clips are sold but you do not need to spend extra money.

Just cut a thin stripe of tissue, dip it into the water and cover the part to intercept heat with it.


With this method you only have to be careful with the size of the tissue and the position to cover.

If you cover too close to the new to solder place the temperature of the place does not rise enough and it will be hard to assemble that part.

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  • Bob Letterman
    Bob Letterman

    I think as a modeler you would have to be living under a rock, not to know who Bob Letterman is. People will know him as the Businessman behind the giant VLS Empire, more people will know him for his amazing dioramas.

    We here on TnT know Bob for his easy going approachable manner, I know that there are people that are great modelers, well I can tell you that Bob is one of those modelers who are great people.

    Bob is legendary for his achievements as a modeler, a businessman, a highly decorated police officer, but for me the greatest thing for me is that both he & his wife Susan are my friends.

    To have Bob, demonstrating hints and techniques he uses, is going to be amazing, as masters go, they do not get much better than Bob.

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  • Joe Hudson
    I met Joe Hudson at a Mastercon way back when! Sorry Joe, I can't remember which one. Chalk it up to senility! Joe was an ex-policeman as I was and that meant we had several things in common. Joe, from the beginning, had an obsession with models. At the time, he was an armor guy. Later, he began experimenting with figures. He had a great mentor, Bill Chillstrom, who, in my opinion, is one of the very best sculptors in the business. After a time, he asked to sculpt for Warriors, Custom Dioramics or the new company just launched, The Streets of Laredo. As I remember, the first professional piece he did was an old west miner figure that was great! Thus began his professional career. Since then, his skills have continued to improve year after year. His current work needs no Kudos from me, it speaks for itself! BTW, Joe sculpted a figure for Susan's birthday, Elvis Presley. It is in a place of honor in Susan's office! Here is Joe, Susan and I am honored to call him a friend! Joe, show them how!!!!

    Bob Letterman

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  • Ian Hill
    I first met Ian Hill back in 1993, at the second Mastercon show. He was quite young as I remember him then, and I also immediately recognized a budding talent that was beyond the norm. Everybody was so busy back then, I didn't get the time I would have liked to talk to him. At the end of the show, he had to go home to Australia and didn't want to carry his gold medal winning diorama all that way back on the plane. To my surprise, he gave it to me! After that we lost contact but I recall hearing about him from others. I placed that diorama in the Miniature World Museum. Now that I have retired, it sets in my private museum and is one of my most prized possessions.

    Since Ian and I were reunited on T&T, he has told me he originally got into modelling because of WW II movies, and a great love of technical art and realistic miniatures. He had started drawing his own war comics and sci-fi spaceships when he discovered that he could buy models of them. This led to airbrushing, poster painting and then to landscapes. He did a stint at University in Industrial Design at the beginning of the 1980's, mainly because that's what all the ILM guys did (star wars effects section). He left before completing the course, but gained a lot of techniques that he applied to his 3D ART - Models. He had started building dioramas about 1978 but they where not that good, he loved them regardless. A couple of years later He saw Francois Verlinden's models and immediately discovered the possibilities. About that same time he came across Shepard Paine's work as well, and was blown away by the battle damage and weathering.

    From there he developed, practiced and by the late 1980's felt confident to go to the Australian Open Model Expo and entered competition for the first time in 1989. He surprised himself and won 4 trophies and his first People's Choice Award, (which, coincidentally was also the first time the award was given ). Between 1989 and 2008 he competed on a irregular basis in that event, and won in various categories. He has won a best of show award with his Dragon Wagon diorama, (see below) as well as the Peoples Choice award 8 times out of 8 entries.

    In 1993 he travelled to the USA and competed in Mastercon II, where he was awarded a Gold Medal for his diorama, (the one he gave me). He remembers that trip as being quite special because he met all of his diorama Gurus, Francois Verlinden, Lewis Pruneau and me. (His words, not mine) Embarassed Embarassed

    Over the years he has managed to have articles and pictures published in the Verlinden Productions Magazine, Fine scale modeller, Australian Plastics Modeller, Models and Hobbies as well as a win in the Fine scale gallery photo of the year (1996). He landed a place in the AFV modeller Digital Imagination Competition in 2006 . He has been selling his work to private collectors since 1989 and has also completed displays for Hobby companies as well.

    He was invited to be among the first to post his work on Missing Lynx website in 2000. He also did some work for the Custom Dioramics Catalog, but this never went to press as they sold their company to me/VLS shortly afterwards. (BTW, If I had been aware of that, I would have contacted him and went ahead with it!) The same year he attended Mastercon, he was selected by Dragon Models to create diorama commissions for their 1994 catalog however, fate stepped in and he did not have the spare time to complete what they required, (Two new children, one a baby - with a short deadline), and he had to decline. He also organized some portfolio design and sketchings for Universal studios in Florida on his 1993 Mastercon trip. That was for Universal's "Star Wars Exhibition", resulting in his Avatar on T&T. Recently, he has been selling his work on EBAY as a Hobby business. In conclusion, Ian says it has been quite a ride and he has enjoyed every minute of it! He loves modeling and the Internet has only enhanced his experiences. I think we can all learn from Ian and I am proud to introduce him to the Masterclass!

    Bob Letterman

    Here is a shot of Ian with some of his work!

    And this is his favorite diorama he has built so far!

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  • Yasuyuki Watanabe
    Yasuyuki Watanabe

    some say he is a ghost, some say he is a wizard, some say he comes from outer space but in reality Yasuyuki Watanabe comes from Amagasaki City in Hyogo prefecture, Japan!

    48 year old Yasuyuki Watanabe married and having two adult children - a daughter and a son - started modelling when he was at the age of 30 and specialized on WW1 and WW2 armor. With this hobby increasingly fascinating him it became his main hobby and since about 5 years Watanabe-San focuses on brass and copper scratchbuilding his vehicles!

    watanabeWatanabe-San has his own blogpage that can be visited here:

    On his page you find some older works of him where he actually used plastic kits and enhanced them in his unique style. Also you find his fascinating Panzerwerfer42 completely build from scratch in brass and copper Check out his page - you won't regret it!

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  • Anthony Reeves

    Anthony had stopped smoking and while trying to relieve his urge to smoke at work one night he took some wire and started to twist it into a tree like shape.

    Night after night he would cut himself a few lenghts of wire to try to improve on the "tree" he had made the night before. He had previously grown Bonsai trees for many years so had studied tree growth patterns and habits so had a pretty sound knowledge of how individual species would grow depending on the enviroment they were growing in. Over a period of weeks he played around with various materials to find a medium which would result in a realistic and durable bark to cover the bare wires.

    After a chance meeting with a member of the Manchester Model Railway Society, he was given the opportunity to visit Pete Watermans massive 7mm (o gauge) where he worked on the trees and scenics for a couple of years. It was around this time Anthony also started attending various trade shows as a trader. It soon became apparent that not all modellers wished to pay the premium of buying ready made trees. It seemed to him that most modellers wanted to make their own trees . This is where he got the idea for a Tree Kit. All the materials required to make truely realistic trees in a bag with full instructions. This original approach has now seen a large range of scenic modelling materials being produced by TREEMENDUS and also includes Scenic Kits, Scatters, Earth powders and Scenic Glue etc.

    TREEMENDUS is growing from strength to strength. New products are being introduced at affordable prices and he hopes he can continue to supply modellers all over the world with the materials they need to produce wonderfully realistic models.

    Hopefully this will be the first of many SBS's as we all would like to see the whole range of TREEMENDUS products and show us some of their uses and the effects that can be achieved using them.


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  • Per Olav Lund

    I would like to introduce Per Olav Lund to the Tanks and Things members. I have only recently met Per Olav, but have been an admirer of his incredible works of art for years.

    Actually, he is one of those modelers who doesn't need an intro from anybody, so this is more or less a formality.

    Per Olav has agreed to enter into our Masterclass and give us some step by steps on how he does some of his unbelievable dioramas!

    Bob Letterman

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  • John Steinman
    John Steinman

    It was many years ago when I met John Steinman on the Internet. At first I confused him with his brother who has been published in MMiR but it became obvious the incredible talent he had. Over the years, he has published many articles in MMiR as well as posting gallery entries on various web sites. Recently, he completed an online build log on Track-Link and before that he showed his diverse skills by tackling a modern subject, an AFV Club YPR-765.

    It has been my pleasure in providing what little reference support I could. His efforts have garnished him numerous awards and he competes at the National Advanced level in AMPS. Yet, he remains humble and willing to share his techniques. On that note, I introduce to you; John F. Steinman.

    Saúl García

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  • Giovanni Azzara


    Please Welcome Giovanni Azzara as a "Modelers' Alliance Master"


    I only recently met Giovanni Azzara’


    I was looking through the figure forum and saw this incredibly well done. I began looking at all this figure painter’s work and was very impressed. I should have been. I contacted him and invited him to become a member of the masterclass.

    Here is his modeling biography!


    Born in Potenza, in southern Italy in 1975, his beginnings in modeling began with his set of “Legos”. He soon discovered modelling thanks to his dad who brought him a set of German figures from Italeri, which he soon transformed into an African-American basketball team, playing on a side street basketball court. Basketball was and still is one of his passions. Since then he has built planes, helicopters, cars and motorbikes (another of his great passions).

    In the early nineties, Giovanni attended university in Pavia, and it was there he learned about Milliput, He bought some and made his first scratch built model, "The Crow" from the famous comics and movie, and he still has it in his home collection. Later, he met many talented people who introduced me to the military figure world, and he started to enter competitions, winning a few prizes here and there.

    Then, Giovanni met his, at the time, partner in crime and still very good friend, Danilo Cartacci, with whom he started a collaboration that led him to win gold medals at some of the most important shows around the world. From the World Expo to the Euro Militaire, to SCHAMS, Chicago MMSI, Seillans ,and even a best of show in St.Vincent, to name a few.

    He was doing the sculpting while Danilo was doing the painting. All this lead him to meet some of the most amazing painters and sculptors around, and with some of them, he created various pieces that are now the hands of collectors all around the world.

    Then he took a break and decided to finish his university studies. He wanted to acquire an education that would enable him to earn a living at something maybe not as amusing as military miniatures , but necessary for survival! That also meant a moratorium in my modeling for about 5 years.

    Giovanni moved to London and then in July 2008 moved back to Milan, Italy.

    Last year he finally decided to get back to modelling and here he is again, painting figures mostly, also learning how to build AVF's and soon he'll begin getting into those! I have been communicating with him frequently. He is very modest and humble for someone with so large a talent.

    It is my pleasure to introduce Giovanni Azzara’ to the Master class forum!

    Bob Letterman

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  • Terry Barrow

    Terry Barrow Modelers' Alliance Master


    I first met Terry Barrow at Mastercon 6 in 1997. Then later in Moscow Mills, Missouri in the VLS conference room. He had came from his home town of Clinton, Missouri with his wife Mary for a meeting with the late David Harper who worked for me at the time. He returned several times and we had some joint ventures going. I have visited Terry and Mary in both Clinton as well as in Kansas City where we share the love of a restaurant called Jack’s Stax and their unbelievable Barbecued Burnt Ends.

    Terry was born on January 17, 1963. He built his first model at age seven. It was a P-36A by Monogram and Terry says it cost seventy five cents, that was three weeks allowance in those days, and he still has it. He has built models on and off ever since. He doesn’t really have a favorite kind of model, if it looks neat he may build it.

    He lean toward armor, but has done just about every type of model. He became serious about modeling in the 1990’s when he entered his first model contest at the local hobby shop (90 miles away in Kansas City, Missouri). He received a second place and has been addicted ever since. He is never really satisfied with his work, always thinking he could have been done better. (He has a lot of company there). He always seems to be amazed by the work of others I guess that’s what keeps pushing him to improve.

    Terry believes that if you stop trying to learn new modeling techniques you might as well stop modeling. He have learned a lot from the modelers he has been around and owe them a lot. To pay them forward he is always ready to help other modelers even though he’s always a little embarrassed when someone asks. He tells them “Oh it’s really not that hard or I couldn’t do it”. He has received quite a few awards, but he still has goals. He modestly says he is just a regular modeler that’s been lucky a few times.

    Some of his awards are as follows:
    Best figure Mastercon 11
    Best ship IPMS Region 5 (twice)
    Best ship Mastercon/Eaglequest
    Theme Award Eaglequest
    Best Military Vehicle Eaglequest (twice)
    Best Science Fiction Eaglequest
    Best Science Fiction IPMS Region 5
    Best Automotive IPMS Region 5

    He was elected Eaglequest Grand Marshal in 2013

    I am honored and pleased to introduce Terry Barrow into the Master’s Forum

    Bob Letterman

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  • Chuck Wojtkiewicz
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  • Andy Fettes
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  • Tony Lee
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  • Luiz Barroso
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  • Randy Ditton
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  • Luc Klinkers
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  • Eddy Janssens
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