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MSW Artist Profile~Wink Grise

  • ilikesubs
"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, who have greatly influenced our world in their own special way. As we honor these artists with this Q&A photo feature, they in turn honor us by sharing a piece of their personal world."

Q. Tell us about yourself, Wink,,, Your age, Where do you live, Married, Kids, Occupation, Other hobbies and interests?

A. "In my head I'm 28, possibly 32. But Biology, Physics, and History all say 42. I live in Australia, though I was born a “Yank” in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

I'm married to Julia, a modeller and Sci-Fi fan. We have no children (don't want to share toys!). I work in printing and graphics and have a small side business (copywriting/marketing).

Other interests are Reading, History, Film, Photography, Science, and anything cool.

Q. Ok, now tell us about both your first modeling experience, and your first ship modeling experience.

A. "My first model was at 6 yrs old, a Mac Truck 18-wheeler. I saw the pic on the box and begged for the model, because it looked just like a real truck, but miniature. Very cool concept, all that detail. Of course it was waaay beyond me, and even a bit beyond my older friend who built it for me, but it got me hooked.

After that it was some battleships from WWII, a Titanic, and then in high school, planes (B-17, tiny 1:72 Hellcat and 1:48 Corsair), a Lunar Lander and a couple Sherman tanks. The battleships really struck me, they were so detailed and different and even “modern” in their own way."

Q. Wink, when was the first time ship subjects as a preferred genre appealed to you?

A. "I was about 12 and my dad and I had the great fortune to be invited to a museum modelmaker’s home workshop. He built historic square riggers, all about 2.5 to 3 feet long, hand machined and all crafted from scratch. Amazing stuff!"

Q. Where do you draw your ship building inspirations, mate?

A. "History and the personality of the ship/boat. I read a great book on serving in a VIIC submarine, and then picked my u-boat based on it being an author's first boat. My Gato was chosen to honor a former co-worker who was like a 2nd father (he served aboard Grouper in 1952 as a young Lt.) Future planned projects will cover the Jack Aubrey novels.

I look for a “hook” - something that has passion. As amazing and interesting as the B-17 Memphis Belle was, I'm generally more interested in the mundane or “average” or typical boat."

Q. Next, Wink, tell us about what, in your opinion, is the very best thing about ship modeling, in general.

A. "The very best thing is respect and awe. No, the two, TWO best things are respect and awe, and an almost fanatical devotion to authenticity. No, no, the THREE best things...
OK, so I like Monty Python.
Plenty of modelers love history and detail and authenticity, but ship modellers seem to have a special quality, some of which says “I respect the power of the ocean and the bravery of those that sail and fight upon it.”

Maybe the short answer is that ship modelers seem to have an extra passion and respect for the work and their comrades. Ship models, like the sea, can be a cruel and harsh mistress."

Q. OK, mate, now tell us about what, in your opinion, is the worst thing about ship modeling.

A. "It’s very time consuming and long term. Some models can be put together fast, but most require more work I think than other genres. But so what if that’s the worst!"

Q. Now, tell us just what is your all time favorite modeling era/period, and why?

A. "WWII, because there is so much recent history full of passion and sacrifice, and even the pleasure craft of the ‘30s were very stylish. Wooden ships are a very close second because of all that detail and rigging."

Q. Of any and all of the modeling related awards that you have won or earned, which one of these is the most important to you?

A. "Being quite new to the hobby I haven't entered competitions. For me the biggest thrill is planning and executing something “crazy” - some amazing detail few would attempt, or putting in extra effort to achieve a realistic end, and then talking about it with other modelers. I don’t like to think of modeling as a competition, really. Sharing info and learning and improving are some of the best strengths of the community."

Q.Please take a bit of time now Wink, and tell us some of your favorite modeling "things"...tools, reference materials, or a particular ship or ship model kits...

A. "Model Shipwright's site of course...and other websites, amazing community and resource...
#11 and now #10 X-acto blades (curved - much more useful than I ever thought!) flexible ladies nail files - greatest tool ever! They are soft and wide and come in a variety of coarseness, next to the #11 blade and a regular mini file, they are the most useful tool I have ever used....and my nails have never looked better!

History books – the 1st hand or close-observer accounts and a new micro saw a forum mate gave me, because it is very useful, very well made, and a mate I’ve never met bought it for me!"

Q. What is your all time, number one, modeling acquisition, or your most favorite ship kit ever?

A. "Gato. Yes, always passionate about the VIIC, so much style and history. But when I think “ship” I think “submarine”, and when I think “submarine” the very definition to me is Gato.

The Revell 1:72 is one of the largest kits I’ve ever seen, and while not perfect, it is an excellent base and is sparking some great add-ons. Just a thing of beauty!"

Q. What's your best or most recent ship kit purchase?

A. "See above question!"

Q. Ok now, mate, time to get a little deep...What are your thoughts, opinions, and overall evaluation(s) of the ship kit/model industry?

A. "Great community (helpful and encouraging)...some danger of being staid (old),... so much potential with AM and resin available now."

Q. If you could model just one ship, any ship, what would it be (May or may not be available in kit form!) And why?...

A. " The HMS Royal Sovereign (1790s First Rate) – yeah, famous so that blows my line about “everyday” ships, but she was huuuge and very spiffy! Says it all for battleships in any time period, and for sailing ships. (How many of us say that about our favorite?)"

Q. Wink, what, in your opinions, would be the all-time modeling “no no(’s)" ?...

A. "No research, no reference's!... You don’t have to spend three years and count rivets, but the better you know the history and the actual vessel, the better the model will be, and the more fun you will have. Plus you might learn something!"

Q. OK, mate, now tell us one (or more!) of your own modeling secrets...

A. "If I told anyone I’d have to kill them. This stuff is classified, I’m telling you!

My secrets are to research, and go for a “feel” above all else, so that in the end the model reminds you of the actual vessel in some way. Experimenting and not being afraid to fail are way up there, and of course, asking others what they did/would do! There are a lot of talented modelers out there, I try to learn from them."

Check out Wink's website here with more details of his 1/72 scale U-boat build, as well as his other finished (and future!) model projects!

AND, click here to visit Winks newest endeavor with MSW crew-mate Dougie Martindale, "Accurate Model Parts" !

Edit. Note-Thanks Wink!
  • Wink's Revell 1/72 Type VIIC U-Boat
    Wink's Revell 1/72 Type VIIC U-Boat
  • base17
  • temp3
  • temp5
  • loading
  • fin_tower_rear
  • fin_torpload
  • cu_slotframes
  • fin_tower1
  • cdeck
  • outer_door_rough
  • attackscope
  • Accurate Model Parts (AMP) Fabric Flags
    Accurate Model Parts (AMP) Fabric Flags
  • Wink's Scale Model "Chip Log"
    Wink's Scale Model "Chip Log"

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...


OK, so I like Monty Python. Now that says a good deal about a person. Seriously, thank you for sharing your inner thoughts. Your submarines are fantastic. Maybe two sparrows could carry it!
MAY 14, 2008 - 01:17 AM
Anyone who builds submarines and likes Monty Python as well as Terry Prachett can`t be all bad can they. Good one Wink, I think you already know what I think about your models and how highly I rate both you and them, looking forward to your release date (private joke, I am sure Wink will understand). All the best PeteV
MAY 14, 2008 - 01:41 AM
Great submarines for a great guy apparently your VIIc is absoultely outstanding! thanks for sharing Mark, now this is one of my fav features here ! Jim, now those swallows should be African swallows who are huger! You need such big beasts to carry a VII C
MAY 14, 2008 - 03:27 AM
Awesome stuff Wink! Gator
MAY 14, 2008 - 04:21 AM
Hi Wink Thanks for sharing a little bit of your life and talent with us! Monty Python is a good resource for... laughs! They are next to submarine related DVD's Now, going back to modeling stuff, I really enjoyed your VII-C and I liked one thing is not seen very often: the convincing weathering bellow waterline! Congratulations, and again, Thanks Rui
MAY 14, 2008 - 07:07 AM
excellent profile, awesome sub builds, thanks for sharing!
MAY 14, 2008 - 09:30 AM
Wink: You're a complete psycho, which is why we all like you!! You also build great subs! Keep up the great work and your excellent attitude!
MAY 14, 2008 - 12:14 PM
Thanks for the kind words and the laughs, guys, you're Aces! (perhaps a whole flock of swallows...)
MAY 14, 2008 - 10:32 PM
WinK: I just read your profile and it gave me some insight into your way of thinking. I agree that model ship building is time consuming. It might not appeal to some builders since many projects can take months to years to build. Take care and God bless. Raul
MAY 28, 2008 - 12:00 AM
Raul, thank you - you are certainly one of the craftsmen I hope to study...I have met and studied 2 excellent museum-quality modelers, and yet your work is so far above them. It is your complete immersion in the project I think, you really understand the subject and have the skill to make it happen. I love all your work, it speaks and resonates for itself...always looking forward to your latest amazing project.
JUN 01, 2008 - 02:05 AM