Interview with Larry Hawkins

By Larry Hawkins

LSP: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

LH: I was born on the 28 of July in '47 and everything from there is where I'm at now. Married with one daughter, she's my web master and runs my site. Still can't do it right, so I let her do her thing. I've been out of work for four years, but even with the time I have, it's hard to get anything done unless my daughter always asks, why and etc, I think you know what I mean.

LSP: What was your first model?

LH: My first model was a solid wood 1/72nd scale B-17 made Strombecker and at the time I was beginning the hobby. These type of models was the only thing, other than balsa wood kits and U/C and R/C at the time.

LSP: How long have you been building the large scales and what attracted you to them?

LH: Building 1/32nd has been a thing that I have been chewing at the bit since the first 1/32nd came out in '69. I built 1/72nd and worked up to 1/48th when Monogram put them out back in the mid to late '50s. Back then, it was still in it's infancy for plastic kits, especially for the early Monogram kits in 1/48th.

And why do I like, build and do the 1/32nd thing? It's like this, they're BIG, they turn heads at contests, they look good after their built and they just look Damn good, Period.

LSP: Our regular readers know you mostly build vacs. Do you build much in other mediums, injected, resin, etc.?

LH: I do build plastic kits at times and I have quite a few that are waiting for the knife and glue. I have built one resin kit, the Me 410 from Scratchbuilders. I would like to build the rest, but Scratchbuilders as you know went out of business. Resin stuff has been for me a rescue for certain projects and a live saver and I think the guys from the site will agree.

LSP: Do you build other models besides planes, cars, tanks, etc.?

LH: Other stuff, say tanks, etc., I have a little itching for tanks, but at the present time, I just can't break away from the 1/32nd stuff. It's a need that I need.

LSP: How many models do you think you've built over the years? Where on earth do you store them all?

LH: The number of models that I have built over the years at a count would be a guess or to say, around over 1500. Where do I store them? Well, some I sold along time ago and the ones today are in my basement where I build them and shelf them for display.

LSP: Do you have any favorite tips you'd like to share with us?

LH: For tips in painting, weathering, and just general building, I follow the pack as in Fine Scale Modelers mag, Scale Modeler when it was out, it's now out of production. Anyone who shares his or her work at contests, club meetings, and the general, of guys talking models.

And for anything from my own knowledge, that's from the years of building and then from looking back from now to then, when I started building models. At my age, I'm still learning how, what, when, etc. Every time we pick up a model, we start the learning process all over again. It's one hand washes the other.

LSP: Do you have a preference for enamels or acrylics for the main painting job, for weathering, NMF, clear coat? Any special techniques you use?

LH: For my weathering stuff and paints I use. I always use Model Master paints and sometimes the Aeromaster paints when they're available to me. One thing I do as I did on my P-38H is to lighten the O.D. paint with white, either one, gloss or flat, white is white and it helps in a big way to weather that project one is working on. Same goes for the other colors for darkening or lightening.

LSP: Which air brush and compressor settings do you use? Do you ever brush paint?

LH: The airbrushes that I use have been a big help for the type of paint jobs one would need to get that certain look and to make one's project stand out. I use the Badger 150 and the Paasche VL type brushes and the compressor is a Paasche type as well.

LSP: Any preferences for filler?

LH: The filler I use are red auto spot putty and the good old bondo (Ed: car body filler). This is what I use for the vacs I build.

LSP: Any preferences towards a particular manufacturer?

LH: The kit maker I prefer as of todays standards is Trumpeter and Hasegawa, and let's don't forget Tamiya. These companies have done their best to put out kits that have been on everyone's wish lists. Revell-Monogram will never get back into the race in making 1/32nd scale kits again. One can not run a company with money hungry guys wanting to make money, not model kits that we all need. That's my opinion.

LSP: How do you decide on a subject to do?

LH: How I decide what to build after I get a kit done is left up to another, but that person will remain nameless. At the time from now, my build list is long and time is a wastin' for those kits to get built.

LSP: Do you (like a lot of us) have a stash of unassembled models? If so, how many?

LH: The ones I have in my stash count out to be about 60 or so.

LSP: Do you work on more than one model at one time?

LH: At the present time, I'm working on three, but have cut it down to two.

LSP: How long do you spend on a model? Is there a big time difference between vacs and other type of kits?

LH: Time frame for building a plastic kit, they can be done within a week to two weeks and that's depending on resin add ons, PE sets, scratchbuilding an odd part(s) and the general run of the mill problems that we all run into.

The time for building a vac kit, that can be a hard one, but that depends on the kit and all the odd ball stuff one has to scratchbuild that has to be added to the kit. I'll say that the B-24D that I'm working on has to be the longest project I've worked on since December of last year. Waiting on my clear nose for the D model 24. One kit I did took about 10 days and there are some that have taken over three months or so.

LSP: What's on your bench now? What future projects are you planning?

LH: At the present time, I'm working on the ID models vac kit of the T-2C Buckeye and the EA-6B"PROWLER".

For future projects, I guess you could say I'm a glutton for punishment with the following, British Lancaster, finishing my B-24D, and the challenge of all…Guillow's 1/32nd scale B-29…or I might do one of two P-82 Twin Mustangs, I just can't make up my mind.

LSP: Are you a IPMS member? Do you regularly attend modeling contests? If so, what do you think of the future of contests?

LH: I'm not an IPMS member. I have been going to all contests that I can go to if my money doesn't run short. Future contests would be up to those who are clubs and etc. There are a lot of places lately that have been putting on contests and one can not attend all of them.

LSP: Do you have a favorite aircraft? Anything you care to model a number of times?

LH: My favorite plane, and I have others, is the P-38 has been my heart throb for over a 30 plus year fixation with it and Dick Bong, our top USAAF fighter pilot in WWII. I have built 14 of these puppies and they just have that THING. You know what I mean. The ones I have built are various from the ETO to the South pacific and etc, even a P-38M.

LSP: It doesn't seem like kids are involved in modeling like when we were kids, what do you think of the future of the hobby? What do you think of the future of our scale in the hobby for all types of kits (injected, resin, etc.) and aftermarket items?

LH: The future of the hobby at the present time is for me up in the air. I have to say that kids are not as interested in building than chasing girls, video games, and just bitching for being bored. It could change as long as all of us keep putting on contests, have clubs for meetings and etc.

For the future of 1/32nd and let's not forget 1/24th. It's better than ever. Even over the years and that's in the last 10 years, that out scale has taken a renaissance or rebirth for all and everyone who builds the big stuff. There are at times that the scale has taken a pop in the mouth, but that's to be expected for any and all who build whatever. If we are to keep the 1/32nd and 1/24th scale alive and well, we all must work together to uphold that standard, and that goes for the site and all that hit the site day after day.

LSP: You started the 1/32nd and 1/24th parts yards and have helped quite a few of us out, how did that come about? How is it going? Are you going to continue it?

LH: For the parts yard I run to help others. This might sound dumb, but the companies are getting less and less understanding in sending replacement parts. It's a hit and miss for that situation. As for me and starting the parts yard and helping those who need it, I figured, why not help others who need a part. It was the parts yard out of Canada that got me on the kick. J-M who runs that parts yard helped me out and I thought, why not help those who build the 1/32nd stuff. I'm trying to start a 1/24th parts yard, but it's not working out, I guess everyone is keeping their spare leftovers.

For the time being, the depot is still here, and for the future, that's going to be up to those who want to send their spares to me. Or if you have parts that I have, then how about stuff you want to send me in trade. One hand washes the other.

LSP: Thank you giving us your time!! Anything else you'd like to say to the readers of LSP?

LH: You ask, what would I say to the rest of the guys who come to this site and to see what's going on and etc. I say it's up to all that view this site to spread the word and to keep up the pressure on the companies with not going crazy if something doesn't work out right (Wildcat) that is. We all have one common goal and that's to build and build and build, 1/32nd and 1/24th.

So, to all…Good Modeling!!

© Large Scale Planes and Larry Hawkins 2003

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This article was published on Wednesday, July 20 2011; Last modified on Saturday, May 14 2016