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)
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!
Here is a shot of Ian with some of his work!
And this is his favorite diorama he has built so far!