Phil May

So where did it all start? Well, I suppose I have my uncle to blame for infecting me with the modelling bug. Way back in the late1950s he was a bit of a mentor to me, being not that much older, and he was always up to something interesting. I remember watching him buildinga 1/50th scale Lindbergh Mitsubishi Zero which really inspired me. For my birthday (9th I think) he bought me an Airfix Hurricane and the seed was sown.

Thus hooked I would stake out Woolworths every Saturday with my two bob pocket money (10p) to see what the latest Airfix offering was, invariably buying something winged, although the odd ship, car or tank sometimes slipped through too. At that time I would have a go at anything.

In 1964 I joined Oxford Model Club, a spin-off from a local model shop, and which met fortnightly. Before long I discovered the newly formed IPMS, joining it and the British Model Soldier Society in 1965 –yes, by now I had also discovered figures, and this genre formed my main interest for many subsequent years.

Although concentrating on figures, I also developed an interestin AFVs, working through the whole gamut of WW2 types in various scales. This coincided with the early days of Francois Verlinden, whose “chocolate-box”, sanitised style of AFV modelling set a trend that is still apparent today. At that time I was mixing with some of the top modellers in the UK, and some of the best figure modellers of the time, sadly mostly now gone. I learned a great deal in that buoyant period of UK modelmaking.

During 1975 I gave it all up. I had been introduced to competitive shooting in 1969 and this took over,and remains my main interest to date. I did put shooting towards the backburner a bit in1992, returning to figure modelling and the BMSS, and doing this competitively right through to 2006, at which time for various reasons I simply lost the drive to model.

By 2015 I had (in the words of Steve Abbey) “got my modelling mojo working again” and I eventually renewed my IPMS membership and more recently my association with the Earley Risers.

I am now mainly “doing” AFVs – not your usual TigerpantherStuGsherman stuff, more the oddities, converting and/or scratchbuilding, with the odd kit thrown in. I like aircraft too, but find I can get away withthings with an AFV that would be vastly detrimental in an aeroplane model. I have a very modest stash, maybe 40 kits including a few aircraft, and also some figures. Still no inspiration there…..

My advice to newbies – don’t be overawed by what you see in the glossy model mags. Don’t get embarrassed asking for adviceorturnedoffbycriticism. Enjoy what you do - do whatever takes your fancy and remember that if you’re happy with the result - that’s all that counts really.

Click here to see some of my latest models