Steve Durling Bio

Name: Steven Durling

City: Redlands

Year joined LAMS: 2008

Favorite subjects: My passion is building and painting model figures. I love historical movies and reading history. With miniature figures you can recreate the drama and glory from just about any time in history. The best thing is they don’t require a lot of display space. But I do, once in a while, submit to the urge and build a tank or boat kit.

How I got interested in building models: At a very young age I was envious of my two brothers who were always building car and aircraft models. Heck, even my grandmother was making models. Before I could be trusted with a tube of glue my father built some model ships for me while I watched and learned. Ever since I can remember, as a child, I played with toy soldiers. After receiving a Marx Ben Hur playset for Christmas I decided to paint all of the Roman soldiers with Testors enamel paint and cut and glued pieces of red cloth to their shoulders. When Aurora released the Frankenstein monster kit my best friend and I went nuts. From then on it was always a race to see who would be the first to buy and finish the next monster kit that arrived in the store. I still have all of those kits in my attic and I hope to repaint some of them in the future.

First model I ever built: The first model that I can recall building on my own was a Monogram(?) 1/35 scale kit of a M29 Weasel (with army figures!). I was in the 6th grade and we were given a free day to do any hobby or craft project that we wanted to do in the classroom. Man, were the other guys envious of me that day!

Method of painting I prefer: I paint in oils over an undercoating of acrylic paint. When I saw the fantastic effects that people were getting with acrylics I decided to switch over. After many failed attempts at blending with Vallejo paints, I gave up and went back to oils. I think that no matter what medium you use, if you stick with it long enough, you can reach your skill level goal.

Most challenging model kit I ever built: It’s hard to choose from my figures. Every figure has its own challenge. One kit that comes to mind that I built as a teenager was a big scale Revell kit of the USS Constitution. I added full sail and rigging to it. I still have the ship and whenever I look at it I think, did I really put all that stuff on without loosing my sanity? I had the advantage of being a socially challenged nerd in school so I was home a lot.

The finished model kit that I am most proud of: I am very proud of my large scale model of the Disney Nautilus submarine. It is a focal point in my family room sitting on the fireplace mantel. Up until a few years ago when I acquired it, this model was the kit that I always dreamed of getting after I first saw the movie “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” in the late 50’s or early 60’s

The worst project that I ever did: This ties in with the last question. I was probably about 10 or 11 years old when I built a scratch build model of a Jules Verne-like submarine. I connected two plastic Clorox bleach bottles end to end, added some other improvised articles, and sprayed it all with dark grey primer. It seemed cool to me but I think it may have caused some concern for my parents.

Since joining LAMS I have learned “how to” or “improved”: After I joined LAMS I caved in to the urge to build some plastic kits again. Well, now I have since built a tank, bought several more armor kits, now I’m in the process of assembling a 1/72 scale U-Boat kit. I must have caught this contagious disease near the LAMS show-and-tell table.

Name something that you would like to build of model that you’ve never attempted: I admire both small and large dioramas that have been on display at shows and I think, wow, wouldn’t it be fun to make one. But then I get a reallity check and remember that these things take up a lot of real estate. My display cases are so crammed with figures now that I realize I’ll have to sell some of them. Then there is the fear of losing interests in a large project before it is finished.

Did you ever destroy a model? If so, how did you do it? Who Hasn’t! When I was a kid I used to blow up boats with firecrackers and set fire to airplanes. I even took photos of the destruction. The down side with black and white pictures is you can’t see the flames. Oh, what I could have done with a video cam!

Have you entered any competitions? If yes which ones. I have entered my figures in many shows over the last several years. Besides the SCAHMS (member since1995) California show, I have attended figure shows in Chicago, Atlanta, Delaware, and the World Expo in Boston. More recently I have entered models in the Orangecon and Minicon in Ontario, California.

Received any awards or recognition? I have received several gold, silver, bronze, and special awards for figure painting over the past years. I am especially proud for having received the SCAHMS Masters award at the 2010 California show. I was also pretty excited when I won a bronze medal in the armor category at the Ontario Minicon for a model of the M18 Hellcat. The last time I ever attempted to build an armor kit was when I was in High School.

Every modeler purchases more kits than they can build. How many kits are in the garage, closet, or storage waiting to be built? I currently have about 50 figure kits and about 10 assorted plastic kits. That number will rise. But who cares, I’m retired, and my wife doesn’t care what I am doing as long as I leave her alone.

What is the one kit that you’ve searched for but still can’t find? Since I don’t have the skill to sculpt a figure, I am waiting for someone to come out with a large scale bust or figure of Errol Flynn as Captain Peter Blood or Gregory Peck as Captain Horatio Hornblower (okay that’s two models).

What is the best part of the club for you? The best part is making new friends and being amongst people who share an interest in models. I like that everyone in the club has a good sense of humor and, like myself, is in this hobby for the fun of it. Everyone in the club has developed their own expertise in different types of modeling so we can all draw on each other to gain new knowledge and skill. My experience has always been that, no matter how much you think you know about the hobby you can always learn something new by talking to other people