30 January 2011
Full Gallery at the end of the article
The word ‘Great’ is often overused in society today. Some average Joe picked up off the street and plonked in front of a celebrity panel suddenly becomes a great singer or dancer. However, there are those who through a combination of hard work and talent are true Greats.
In the world of figure modelling Adrian Hopwood is one of those Greats. As a figure painter and more recently sculptor, Adrian has talent, but there are many out there with talent, what makes him a Great in the hobby is the hard work he has put in promoting the art of figure modelling; through his article writing for the modelling press, by supporting shows, developing the art of competition judging and being one of the founders of The Basement forum.
Born in Bolton in 1965, Adrian took his first footsteps along the modelling road in the early 1970’s. Like many, the mighty Airfix was his first stopping point.
“I began with Airfix, mainly aircraft and tanks, although I had a good collection of the polythene 1/72nd scale figures. I will never get over the fact that my sister (older than me by 11 years ) tried to curb my warlike ways by buying me Robin Hood and his Merry Band – yes Airfix really did have them as a 1/72nd scale set – instead of the Africa Korps that I really, really wanted. O.K. so I was about 6, but it’s scarred me for life!”
The first kit the young Hopwood brought home was a Messerschmitt BF110; “…impatience has always been a problem for me and my Dad didn’t have the time to put it together. Needless to say, it probably wasn’t cleaned up properly, and there might have been the odd glue mark visible. I was 7 years old.”
Coming to figure modeling at the age of fifteen Adrian has worked in sizes from 5mm to 600mm and has no preference as to whether they are in white metal or resin. Over the years he has amassed a sizeable Grey Army of subjects waiting to receive the gentle ministrations of the Hopwood Series 7 brushes.
“Some might say my Grey Army is huge, others might say too big, I tend to go with not quite large enough – I’m a ‘cup nearly full’ type of guy.”
Adrian’s interests stretch over a wide area encompassing; military, fantasy and civilian pieces. Though he has some favourites that he has painted including; the female Samurai flat from Roy Hunt, the new Dwarf bust from Rob Lane and the 90mm Crusader Knight from Pegaso. He is also not afraid to convert or sculpt pieces from scratch as his Bash Models range bears testament.
Although he has written for several modeling publications Adrian is best known for his extensive catalogue of articles for Military Modelling. Here he has shared his knowledge and experience with modellers all over the world and done much to push forward the quality of the modelling art-form. Being an effective article writer is no easy task, as there are only so many easy of saying; ‘apply this paint here’. Adrian, through good research and his talent with words makes each article interesting, educational and motivating.
Being a well known and talented figure painter Adrian often gets asked if he does commission work his reply is;
“I’ve done a few, although I’ve got to be attracted to the subject to be painted, and I find it very difficult to paint the same model twice. My time is something that has a high price on it, so I guess that puts a lot of people off.”
From this wealth of experience his top tip is, “listen to people, read articles and be open to new ideas.” As far as he is concerned his most useful tool is a good paintbrush and his weirdest tip has to be the use of Marmite. As for books he says;
“It’s got to be the Osprey books. They give enough of a potted history with some great pictures and cover so many historical periods, that in fairness they can’t really be beaten. For fantasy art – Jim Burns, Luis Royo and Chris Achillos for women, Brom for weird stuff and Paul Bonner and Tim White for artistic flair. Most of the GW inspired stuff too, but that covers a lot of artists.”
As for the internet;
“The Basement and Coolmini have to be tops for inspiration for me, although Chest of Colours and Oz painters are there too. The best looking company Website – Pegaso and Romeo for style, but Steve Kirtley and El Greco for variety of content.”
Over many years in the hobby Adrian has many great memories but his most chershed so far are;
“Sitting in the Clifton Hotel at Folkestone with a few Basement guys and the chaps from Pegaso.
The whole Antwerp show experience – twice !
Meeting Robin Snelson – a longish story, but the punchline’s great.
Seeing Thomas go onto the Euro Stage to pick up a Gold Medal, and seeing him be accepted in his own rights as a Euro Judge at only 16 years old.
Getting a silver demon in 1989 at the Golden Demon Comp, and two Gold Medals in 2008 at Euro Militaire.”
Adrian currently lives in Lancaster with his wife Frances and son Thomas. Outside figure modelling he enjoys keeping tropical fish, reading fiction and autobiographies. As for work;
“I work as a warehouseman in a logistics company supporting the oil industry. I’ve been doing that for the last three years, previous to that I worked as a Quality Control Manager at a wallpaper factory. One of the interesting things I’ve done was working for several years in a shop selling tropical fish ( part time whilst at school, then full time for a couple of years after that ) – amazing how many lethal fish we keep in glass boxes…”
There are few people who can claim to have had as much influence for the good over the figure modeling hobby during the last couple of decades as Adrian Hopwood, for this the title ‘Great’ seems most fitting.