– Hello, Alex! Thank you very much for agreeing to become a pioneer in our new head. Being first is always a bit difficult and responsible…
– Hi Denis. Hello to all the fans of our hobby. Being a pioneer is always difficult, but I’m ready to try…
– First of all I would like to congratulate you with your publication in the magazine Scale Military Modeler. If I’m not mistaken, it was a short tutorial on the “aggressive weathering” of the tractor truck M916. In my opinion, the publication in such an eminent edition is a recognition of your skill! Or is there still something to strive for?
– This year I was published six or seven times in various editions, all of them were in English, this is why the experience was even more interesting. I cannot say that all of work was done 100% by me, to tell you the truth it was rather difficult for me to photograph the process. I am not publishing anything at the moment. It’s hard to say regarding recognition. Yes, my publications are one of the manifestations of recognition, I suppose. I will not hide, it’s pleasant.
– From today to the past. Why did you start modeling? Personally, I started with paper models according to patterns from the magazine “Appendix to the Young Technician”. The process was akin to some dance with a tambourine: first transferring the drawings to the cardboard, then gluing and coloring with gouache. After that, there were aircraft models purchased in the “Children’s World”. Tell me, how did all of this happen to you?
– At the very beginning there were a couple of aircraft models, I assembled them even without glue because I was too small, so the planes were glued with the help of plasticine. However, it was a long time ago and it cannot be considered a proper beginning. It truly began when my father bought me BT-5 with the crew and then later there was T-60 from the “Zvezda”. I was very happy then. I assembled them quickly, did not paint, simply broke the parts off from the sprues, not process anything. But I was very pleased with the result. By the way, I also assembled paper models, but it was in the very distant childhood and there was no proper development.
– Were there times when the desire for modeling cooled down and its place was occupied by some other hobby?
– Oh yeah! This happened quite often. The last time is the end of 2016 – the beginning of 2017. More often I was simply bored. Sometimes I cease to like models at a certain stage and the work does not go well. Or I went into computer games, for example. Well, and work, of course. When there are a lot of business trips, there are long breaks in the model work, which is not good. Somehow it fades.
– Alex, do you have any other hobbies than modeling?
– There are no hobbies, which could be compared according to duration or regularity. One of my permanent hobbies is hockey from EA Sports. I play it regularly with NHL’96. First on the PC, now the console.
– Okay, let’s go back to modeling. How much time do you spend on average per day on assembling / painting models?
– It’s very unstable. I work on models at work and it all depends on the workload. Sometimes it happens that I manage to devote almost the whole day to my hobby and sometimes I do nothing for a month. If on average, an hour or two, I guess. When we talk about coloring and toning, then I’m in no hurry. I let it stand, dry out. So this process can take 15 minutes a day. And since I normally do only one model at a time, there is no coercion. Regarding the assembly – depends on what I do exactly. When the silhouette of the model becomes clear, the building process goes quickly. The engine part and chassis are not my favorite, so they take more time.
– As far as I know, your models are sold well to private collections. If this is not a commercial secret: are you looking for clients yourself or clients find you?
– They client’s do not have to look for me. I just put models on Ebay and they are either sold or not sold. If someone is interested, then we can work directly. When I decided to sell off all the accumulated models, it became my new hobby. It turns out you can sell almost everything. It’s interesting, but it is hard to sell really rare models for a decent price. At least on Ebay.
– In your work, one clearly can see a preference for engineering technology and to wheeled vehicles. Probably, this question has already filled you with a headache, but still why exactly “wheeled engineers”?
– The answer is quite simple – I hate to assemble tracked crawler equipment. Cutting and processing a couple of hundred tracks is just not for me. Wheels are a different story. They are usually no more than six. Well, 10 if paired. And why exactly engineers it’s hard to say. Of course, I used to do tanks, but the passion for engineers began with the resin from Accurate Armor. I was attracted to techs more than to other models, in the end the creative equipment became more interesting than the destructive equipment. I do not regret it at all. It is a kind of meditation for me to pull all these cables, to assemble a complex system of blocks. I find especially interesting the engineering machines of the Second World War. With the invention of hydraulics everything became much easier.
– Often the works “made by Pedan” are expensive resin model kits. Why are you inclined towards resin? Is it because of higher than in plastic quality; rare examples of equipment or the rarity of such assembled models?
– Yes, you are right. I attracted attention to myself thanks to them. It used to be something that almost no one has ever seen. In general, I published everything on the DISH. Rare, not promoted American trucks or strange ugly English often led to comments such as “I’ve never seen anything like this.” Initially, I was very afraid of resin but then I learned how to work with it. Exclusivity was worth it. It is extremely pleasant that if one would search for such rare resin kit models, the search engines will give out photos of my models in the top ten.
– Let’s talk about the manufacturers of models. Which two or three companies, in your opinion, are the absolute leaders in the category of “price-quality”? I mean both plastic and resin models.
– In the resin my unconditional favorite is Accurate Armor. I really did not try anything more. They are being criticized, however, I managed to cope with them. Yes, they require debugging, but it suits me just fine. I made a lot of plastic sheets by Foden but I cannot say not a single bad word neither about the company nor Derek Hansen personally. For 20 years they were the only ones who produced Scammel, Diamond and a big line of Bedford. Of course, the plastic caught up with them, but they were the first. Recently I went into Mirror Models, but mostly because they do what I need. Quality does not scare me, if it is not a complete thrash. Of course, everything can be done or corrected. So on plastic there are no special preferences.
– Alex, professional modeler is obliged to “decorate” his model with an aftermarket (Photo Etch, a resin molding and etc.) or is it just a fashionable excess?
– Well, it’s entirely up to modelers to decide. Sometimes I want to make a model according “to the maximum” and it consists of 50% of the etching, and sometimes you can assemble plastic “from the box” and it will look OK. The resin moldings are decorative, of course. I like to play on the contrasts, it is the real decoration of the finished model. A green tank with one red canister looks more interesting than a green tank without a red canister. I apply similar logics from model to model. I store all these canisters, barrels in one box and use them for a photo shoot.
– A few words about model chemistry. Now Ammo of MIG Jimenez and AK Interactive hold the first place in this direction. In your opinion, is it really impossible to paint the model qualitatively and realistically without them or is it possible to manage using cheaper improvised means?
– My choice is oil and white spirit. It is simpler and I am more familiar with them. They also allow to achieve a good decent result. There is a lot of chemistry in the market, it simplifies the work, allows the beginner to make a good model, but personally I did not appreciate it. Pigments – yes, of course, I cannot do without them. With chemistry, many models now look very similar, same-type.
– Painting the model… First coat of primer, varnish before applying decals and finishing varnish. Are these mandatory steps or can they be neglected?
– I often have an etch or resin, so can’t do without primer. Gloss before the decals – yes, but I finish with lacquer at matting after decals. I do not use lacquer after that. Maybe I’m wrong, but this is how I do it.
– Coming back to the genre theme. So, your business card is wheeled armored vehicles in the 35th scale. Have you ever had a desire to do something else? Let’s say, figures or vignettes? Or maybe vehicles in 72nd scale?
– No, only not the 72nd. Too small for me. I do not understand how it is made to look on the same level as the 35th, or even better. But I am ready for the 24th scale. I already have something to work at, but I do not know when. In general, I consider the 35th scale the ideal one.
– And in conclusion of our conversation. Personally, a couple of years ago I had a feeling that modeling is slowly dying out. But now based on my Facebook news feed, I can conclude that the modeling has not lost its relevance. What’s more, over the past year there has been a tangible leap forward. This applies to the general professional level of the modelers who have grown up and the expansion of topics in our hobby. For example, the genre of fantasy, modernity became very popular… The 2-nd World War, in my opinion, surrenders its position. What is your opinion?
– No I do not think in the same way. They are merely fashion trends. Post-apocalypse, zombies… I think, it is an attempt to distract, no more. Now the manufacturers have released many interesting models, new manufacturers are emerging, which release new long-awaited models and thereby conquer their consumers. About the 2nd World War I also disagree. The same Shermans are made the most eminent and recognized modelers several times a year.
– Does this mean that most of the modelers left themed sites for Facebook and the popularity of model-historical sites tends to zero?
– Definitely. I am sure that many modelers, especially those who have won fame, are published on special resources simply by habit. When you publish on FB, you have evaluations and comments immediately. On special site you have to wait for publication, there are either no comments at all or just a few. It is much easier to redirect people to a profile group in Facebook than to the third-party web-site.
– Thank you for such an interesting conversation. I would like to wish you health, prosperity in the family, inspiration, new interesting works and, of course, to have enough time for fresh model “yummies” with the label “made by Pedan”.
– Thank you, Denis! It’s always a pleasure to talk to you, I wish your web-site prosperity and growth of attendance! Good luck!
Interviewed by: Denis Ignatiev
Photo: Alexander Pedan (personal archive)