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MSW Artist Profile~Martin J. Quinn

The Model Shipwrights (http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/) Artist Profile is an interview with artists of the ship modelling world. These artists may include sculptors and painters; commercial and private modellers; well-known and lesser-known artists. Whoever they may be, the artists featured in Model Shipwrights Artist Profile are highly respected members of our global community; people who have greatly influenced our world in their own way. As we honour these artists with this humble Q&A and photo feature, they honour us by sharing a piece of their world.

About me…

Q.[Tell us a bit about yourself. Your age? Where do you live? Married? Kids? Your job? Your other hobbies and interests?]

A. "I’ve been married for almost 8 years, with two children – a 6 year old boy and 1 year old girl. We live in the house my wife Lisa grew up in, which is in Northern New Jersey, about 20 miles west of New York City (which I can see from my backyard). Currently I manage the Customer Service Department for a Pharmaceutical Marketing Company in Central NJ."

"Besides ships, I also build some aircraft (mostly NavAir) and armor. Other hobbies, besides spending time with my kids, include reading (history and fiction), creative writing and following local professional sports, especially the New York Rangers (ice hockey), New York Mets (baseball) and New York Giants (US football)."

More Q&A

Earliest modelling moment
Q. [Tell us about both your earliest modelling moment, and your earliest ship modelling moment.]

A. "My Dad and I built my first model together. I don’t recall what it was, other than it was something related to Naval Aviation, with yellow wings and a blue fuselage! After a few models, Dad had had enough. While my interest in modelling waned a bit when I discovered girls, I never completely stopped building models .I started building ships as a natural progression of working my way through the models at the local drug store!! I think my first ship kit was a 1/720 Revell Arizona.

Do you remember the first time ship subjects appealed to you?
Q. [Tell us about when ship modelling in general, starting appealing to you above other modelling genres.]

A. "Spending a lot of time at the local library reading books like “Queen of the Flat Tops” and “The Big E” cemented my love of ships and ship models. In the 1970’s, I remember building Revell’s Scharnhorst and Prince of Wales, then discovering Airfix and being hooked on ship models."

Who or what inspires your ship modelling?
Q. [Tell us who, what or where do you draw your ship modelling inspiration from? This may include reference books, other artists, etc.]

A. "A variety of subjects. Maybe I’ve read of ships exploits that makes me want to build her. Or, it could be a photograph, a line drawing, or a painting like Robert Taylor’s “Knights Move” that moves me to want to build a particular ship.
I’m also inspired by the high quality work that shows up at modelling competitions or on the internet. When you see what some people are able to accomplish, it makes me want to do better on my next build. There are also several gifted ship modellers in my local IPMS chapter, who continue to inspire me with their work."

The best thing about ship modelling
Q. [Tell us about what, in your opinion, is the best thing about ship modelling.]

A. "First and foremost, the ships! These lovely ladies are the reason we are attracted to this hobby! Secondly, the people who build them. While you’ll find disagreeable people everywhere, the ship modelling fraternity seems to be more congenial and much more willing to help out fellow ship modellers. Participating in on line communities such as this one have only added to my enjoyment of the hobby. Finally, I find the hobby a great way to relax."

The worst thing about ship modelling
Q. [Tell us about what, in your opinion, is the worst thing about ship modelling.]

A. "I’m sorry, that question does not compute!! The only negative would be this: Since ships are generally more complex than aircraft and armor, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to build all the ships I’d like to build!"

Favourite modelling era/period
Q. [Tell us about your all time favourite modelling era/period. Why do you prefer this period above others?]

A. "Since history and modelling go hand in hand for me, my favourite era has to be World War II, where great ships clashed in epic battles in every corner of the globe. A close second would be World War I, as I am a big fan of battleships and battlecruisers."

Favourite modelling competition to enter
Q. [Over the years, which has been your favourite competition to have entered? And why?]

A. "My local IPMS chapters own contest – MosquitoCon. For a local, one day show, it draws a good crowd, and some outstanding ship modellers. It’s always fun to meet and chat with the other ship modellers who attend this show."

Most prized award ever won
Q. [Which has been the most prized, or precious, award you have won? Note that this need not be the most prestigious award you have won.]

A. "The Best Ship Award, given to my 1/700 Japanese cruiser Oyodo at the 2007 RepliCon show in Freeport, New York. While I build for fun, it is nice to cop the odd award and to be recognized by fellow modellers for your work."

Favourite modelling things
Q. [Tell us about your all time favourite modelling things. Examples of these may include tools, reference materials, or particular ship or ship model kits. Basically anything related to ship modelling.]

A. "My reference library, which I’m always looking to grow. I enjoy flipping through the pages of different books, looking for some bit of extra information or detail, some new camouflage pattern or some new inspiration."

Favourite modelling purchase/ship kit
Q. [Tell us about your all-time favourite modelling purchase or ship model.]

A. "The Blue Water Navy (now Yankee ModelWorks) 1/350 USS Yorktown (CV-5) I bought at the 2002 IPMS/USA National Convention in Virginia Beach, VA. Yorktown is my all-time favourite ship, and being able to get this always coveted resin model - for almost 50% off retail! – is my favourite purchase of all time."

Best recent modelling/ship kit purchase
Q. [Tell us about the best modelling or ship kit purchase you have made recently.]

A. "Combrig’s 1/700 German WW1 cruiser Scharnhorst – a jewel of a kit!! Can’t wait to find the time to build her."

How do you evaluate the present situation of the ship kit and its future?
Q. [What is your assessment of the current state of the ship kit industry and its future?]

A. "A friend and I were just talking about how, when we were younger, we used to dream about some of the models that are now being released. Who’d ever think you’d see an injection moulded Nagato in 1/350?!? In my opinion, we are in the golden age of ship modelling."

"My only concern is that with so many distractions, not enough kids are being introduced to this great hobby. Fortunately, my son likes to build models, so hopefully he’ll build all the kits I’ll never get to."

If you could paint or build a ship subject, what would it would be?
Q. [If you were allowed to paint or build a ship kit of any naval vessel, any time frame, nationality, etc., what would it would be? And why?]

A. "USS Yorktown as she was on the morning of May 8, 1942 at the Battle of the Coral Sea, with a full strike spotted on her deck. While she may have achieved ever-lasting glory at the Battle of Midway, I like the more colourful way the aircraft were painted at the time of the Coral Sea."

Q. [If you were allowed to build and paint only one ship for the next year; which one it would be? And why?]

A. "Once again, it’s my Blue Water Navy 1/350 USS Yorktown. Of all the USN carriers that fought in the first six months of the Pacific War, “Old Yorky” was the best the Navy had to offer during those dark days of 1942, with a superb crew and a highly trained and experienced air group. If she had survived Midway, I believe she – not Enterprise – would have been the United States Navy’s most famous ship of World War II."

Ship modelling “no no’s”
Q. [Tell us about what you consider being the all-time modelling “no no’s”. In other words what no respectable ship modeller should ever do.]

A. "Don’t ever stop having fun!! Also, don’t ever be afraid to try your hand at something new."

Ship Modelling secret
Q. [Go on, tell us one (or two) of your modelling secrets.]

A. "I have no secrets, everything I’ve learned I’ve pirated from someone else! My advice would be this: This is a hobby. Have fun. It’s your model, build it however you please. Try to make time everyday to work on your hobby – even if it’s just for a few minutes. Those few minutes here and there add up, and soon you’ll have another ship completed!
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About the Author

About Mark R. Smith (Gunny)

I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...


Very nice interview. I can honestly say that Martin is one of the nicest people I know in this hobby. Now "when I was president-"...... Which is a private joke to give Martin a laugh for the day.
SEP 26, 2007 - 11:00 PM
very nice models and good interview! thanks for sharing Mark JB
SEP 26, 2007 - 11:21 PM
The preceding was a paid announcement... Thanks Dave, I needed that laugh. And thanks for the comments guys, appreciate the kind words!
SEP 27, 2007 - 02:55 AM
I enjoyed that and have to heartily agree with all his statememtns. Though I'm a Yamato man myself (LOL). The thing I too am concerned with is the lessening interest in the hobby from young people. Injection kits hitting $40 for a tank and $100 for a large shp will certainly not attract the kids. We here in Dallas set up 2 programs. We did a make and take at some of the local libraries and of course at the model show we host. This summer we ran a model building camp that had a good turnout. I am a Boy Scout leader and frequently bring my stuff in for show and tell and when we do a recruiting drive am asked to bring a qantitiy in and discuss it with the young boys. I know for myself mainly modelling armor and large scale ships how excited I am at each and every new release, but the manufacturers should start concentrating on cheaper and easier kits to draw in the kids who will take this hobby into their adulthood. I cut my teeth on the Aurora and Monogram airplanes and Revell ships in the 60's and then the Tamiya and Bandai tanks in the late 70's.
SEP 27, 2007 - 08:20 AM
Thanks Gunny and Martin for your interview. Martin some very nice work you have there. Ciao Luciano
SEP 28, 2007 - 07:05 AM
Interesting article, funny how we have obviously all done these without reference to anyone else but have all said so far that when it comes to secrets, we don't have any! Mike
SEP 29, 2007 - 01:49 AM
It wouldn't be a secret if you said you had one Mike. Very enjoyable lunchtime read thank you guys. Peter F
OCT 03, 2007 - 12:29 AM
"Don’t ever stop having fun!! Also, don’t ever be afraid to try your hand at something new." "This is a hobby. Have fun. It’s your model, build it however you please" Hurray! I am glad someone of your tallent said this. Nothig is ever perfect, certainly not at the first go- I may not even like the end result but I allways enjoy the experience and am better prepared for the next. If kit prices came down I would buy more and several of the same type, and like Blaster pointed out it would go a long way to introducing the hobby to the next generation. Thanks for the interview and for being interviewed.
OCT 03, 2007 - 01:55 AM
Martin - nice to see you go through the grilling as well. Something that I think is interesting is that so far we have all been fairly consistent in our philosophies of having no big secrets and enjoying the hobby. Cheers, Rob
OCT 03, 2007 - 03:42 AM
To be pedantic, it would be a secret if you said you had one, but not if you told it to anyone, so there. Mike
OCT 03, 2007 - 10:16 AM