On Focus: Andy Renshaw of History in Scale!
2009 Jul 20
AFV News is proud to present the first in a long series of interviews.
Today we are pleased to have an exclusive interview with :
Andy Renshaw of “History in Scale“!
1) Hi Andy, would you like to introduce yourself to AFV NEWS ?
Hi, I’m Andy Renshaw. I’ve been building scale models since I was 8 years old when my dad introduced me to the hobby with 2 kits. One was a Monogram A-7B, the other a Revel HH-3 “Jolly Green Giant. Dad and I built the A-7B (still on display at a local high school), and then he turned me loose. I’ve been building ever since then for the last 25 years. Currently I am very active with IPMS USA being both on the Reviewers Corps and President of our local chapter. Plus I am also a regular contributor to Armorama.com and have started authoring articles and reviews for other printed publications. My personal interests lie mostly in military subjects, but I also build model railroad subjects and occasional autos. I currently live in Florida, USA with my wife, two dogs, two cats, and several horses. My current full time employment is in engineering and GIS, plus my wife and I are independent customer managers of a very successful internet and product brokerage company. I also own and operate a third company, History In Scale.
2) What is ‘History in Scale’ about ?
History in Scale provides a wide variety of custom built scale miniatures to collectors, hobbyist, and individuals seeking a high quality scale model. I also have a very high interest in capturing and preserving the historical significance of the machines and scenes modeled. When I can, I try to obtain original stories and recollections to tie into the scale model. For instance, with the F4F-4 wildcat model done in the markings of Joe Foss, the highest scoring USMC ace, I have a signed “Ace” card with his signature and will eventually put combat excerpts and historical background about Joe Foss on the website. I have several other projects in the works that will also be the linking of real pilots, crewman, soldiers, and personnel to models of the vehicles, aircraft, or dioramas that I build. I feel this not only gives the model more life, but also preserves our history in the scale model form. We are also working with a local upcoming aviation museum and restoration center during their events to promote the hobby and history, plus design some of their future displays.
3) When did you think you turned your hobby into an profession ?
This happened almost by accident. Back when I was 19, I had some stuff on display at a local hobby shop and a customer noticed my items and asked the shop owner if he thought I would be willing to build some items for him. I built a number of projects for him, and I have been building on commission on the side ever since. I’ve done many items from full kits of aircraft, ships, submarines, and figures, to just doing a cockpit or assembling photo etched parts for another modeler.
4) Can you tell us something about your latest commissioned projects ?
The latest projects I just finished include a monogram 1/48 B-24D and a scratch built 1/16th scale Ornithopter. the B-24D was actually sent to me from another modeler who was commisioned to build it, yet wasn’t very interested in dealing with all the clear parts. He sent me the mostly built model, and I finished off the assembly, attached and masked the canopies, then finished up the paint/decals/ weathering. I actually took it to a regional show where it placed 3rd in its category. The ornithopter was built for a client who collects fishing lures and one of the main types he collects was made from the skin of the actual aircraft. He wanted a model of it as a focal point of his lure collection. The whole thing was scratch built from brass and covered with silkscreen that was then coated with clear varnish. The end result gave the model the look of being covered by the plastic type material the original aircraft was. The wings on the model also flap just like the real Ornithopter. That project took over two years to complete! I am also currently working on a HobbyBoss LVTP7 for a upcoming article in a modeling magazine.
5) Of course every new work is different, but what about pricing ? Usually the job to finalize a scale model takes many hours if not many days. Can you give us some examples?
As you said, every project is different so pricing is totally dependant on what the client wants. How much detail? Added accessories? What kind of paint scheme? Scratch built items? Projects can be less than $100 USD up to $3000 depending on what they want. Time is the main factor, and of course the projects that require the most time have the highest value. Also larger projects tend to be spread out over a long period of time, so clients usually pay during the completion of various stages over a long period of time. For a very general idea, a single 54mm figure might be about $100 to do, while a 1/48 jet could be as much as $700. Again, every project is different and I always encourage potential clients to set up a consultation so we can discuss the specifics of the project. Plus, one gets what they pay for, as the result is a contest quality model that is more of a work of art than just bunch of assembled plastic parts.
6) How much time do you spend on research?
That depends on the project and the expectations of the client. I always at minimum become acquainted with the subject, find pictures, and make sure that basic accuracy in both the kit and markings/paint are correct. More in depth projects, including my own, I spend countless hours researching every detail, history, and key notes on operation. I have a vast library of my own, plus I also utilize the internet and fellow club members’ libraries.
7) And about your research sources ? I use the internet, books and magazines. There are many talented and knowledgeable sources online within the modeling community and much of my knowledge is learned from them by posting questions and following threads on various forums. The internet has become one of the most invaluable tools within my modeling.
8 ) It ever happen to receive complaints about your work ?
Not too often. I have only had two clients that were truly disappointed, one just did not like how a particular model turned out (yet he was very pleased with others I did), and the other was just a simple miscommunication which I quickly fixed and now he is very pleased. I do occasionally get constructive criticism at contests and such, but that is well received as it helps me grow my skills, encourage me to try new techniques, and become a better modeler.
9) Any strange requests ?
The ornithopter was probably the strangest project I’ve had to do so far. It made an interesting conversation piece for sure!
10) At the end, is it easy to give back, and say goodbye forever to the model you have been working on?
I have personally never had any trouble giving the client their model. I think because i am excited for them to have it and I always enjoy their reaction when they first see it. Its always a good time, and both the client and I walk away feeling pretty good! I do take lots of pictures though for my portfolio, so the model is always with me at least in photos.