zamarbide interview ak-interactive modeling aces high aircraft

Interview with: Dani Zamarbide, the aircraft architect

zamarbide interview ak-interactive modeling aces high aircraftAK-InteractiveTell us how you started in this hobby of scale modeling, and in particular aircraft modelling?
I began in the hobby mid-80s, when being just 12 to 13 years old, I saw on TV the lm “The Battle of Britain”, and the images and sequences of that movie instantly caught my attention. I remember that the next step was to read again and again my father ́s encyclopedia of aviation history, as well as all books he had home about planes; so, because of all the readings, I remain fully engaged with war aircrafts. Therefore, we can say that thanks to that movie and my father I started in the aircraft scale modelling world.

The next thing I remember is me buying my first kit in the bazaar in my neighborhood, owned by a cousin of my mother; the Supermarine Spitfire MachtboxMk.IX of 1/72. The assembling and painting of that aircraft model I saw in the film and then see it finished in my room was so special that even today I feel the same sensation when finish any of my models.

AK-InteractiveFor you, is modeling a hobby and you have a regular job, or have you become a professional of your hobby?
I started some years ago a degree in architecture, my other passion, but even when I was at classroom and working on projects I kept thinking about my scale models, new models in the market, latest techniques and advances in the hobby, and so. I worked in some architecture companies, but my pas- sion was still the aircraft scale modeling. Due to the crisis in the construction sector in Spain since 2008 and zero job prospects in the sector, two years after finishing my studies I bet all my cards to trying to sur- vive just working in scale modelling; which eventually and after much effort and hard- ship, at last I got.

AK-InteractiveAnd how is it making your hobby a job? Is it hard to be bounded to make models all time, every day?
Certainly modelling for me was a way out from everyday problems; being sit at the table and working with my models abstracted me from everything else in certain sense. Mixed up with a good background music and a friendly atmosphere, those hours became the best time of the day. After some years, what was a hobby became a job at last and for my personal satisfaction; and I have to say that I still keep intact the same illusion I had when I made, long time ago, that Matchbox 1/72 scale Spit re.

AK-InteractiveHow did you start to make the scale modelling a job? it was a quick process, or was a step by step result of several years? 
As I said earlier, after I abandoned my architecture career and focused myself on modelling, my first target was to self pro- mote my work in the industry publications, national and especially international. The process is slow and tedious and the earnings are low, but is very exciting to see your models represented in publications that are distributed almost throughout the whole world, after the effort and passion I place making them.

The relevance of competitions and similar events is equally important because it allows you to interact personally with publishers and industry professionals; this personal relationship, and that people could see your work live, gives you the chance to expand your work widely.

AK-InteractiveWhat are your favorite subjects within aircraft modelling? And the scale with which you are most comfortable? 
My favorite subjects go from just before World War II until today, although I can say that both, World War II and the Vietnam War, are my favorite periods of aviation. Certainly there are other interesting periods and I turn to them when I feel saturated from the two events I have mentioned, but mostly these are the ones that motivate me.

As I said earlier, I started with 1/72 and then jumped for many years to 1/48; but with the advancement of technology and the quality of the models in the last 10 years, 1/32 scale has become perfect for my claims, allowing me a much more thorough pleasure on model details. I must say that the scale is obviously related to the size of the plane you want to do; that ́s the reason most aircraft 1/32 I perform are fighters, while twin engined or similar air- craft are 1/48 scale. And of course, the 1/72 scale is chosen for larger four-engine aircraft. It’s mainly a matter of space and time.

AK-InteractiveHave you thought about making dioramas with aircrafts, in the style of other modellers like i.e. Aitor Azcue? …Sure that with your skills on large scales your dioramas would be spectacular … 
In my personal opinion my great friend Aitor is the best aircraft diorama maker currently exists and I ́m his first fan. That said, I have often thought about doing this type of work; in fact, in my old notebook I have targeted dozens of ideas for aviation dioramas but again the space (the dioramas need much more space) and time (the time for making a diorama is the same for two or three airplane models) make that projects impossible for me today, much to my regret.

AK-InteractiveNow let ́s talking about your relationship with Ak Interactive …How do you start to work with AK? 
My relationship with Ak Interactive begins with my participation in one of his books about wood painting techniques (I made for that book a wooden propeller) and the subsequent call by Fernando Vallejo, president, offering me a job in the company as editor in chief of our magazine ACES HIGH, job in which I continue today.

AK-InteractiveWe assume it will be a big change go- ing from being a modeler that makes articles and books to be the editor of a magazine like Aces High… How is the experience so far?
Honestly, I never even thought I could hold the position of editor in chief as job and when I was offered this job certainly accept it because it is another aspect of my hobby that interested me to develop. Being editor carries a huge responsibility as in each issue we work hard to overcome the previous. I see the making of each issue of the magazine as a scale model, in which I coordinate each one of the phases with the modellers who work with us to finally bring together all the material to create the most interesting content to finally be published. Without any doubt, my experience publishing in several magazines around the world has made my vision as editor very clear from the beginning but I must also say that the AK Interactive team makes my job easier and motivating and much of the final outcome of Aces High is due to them and the modellers who work with us in every issue.

AK-InteractiveAs many modellers well know, Ak Interactive has just released your book “Aircraft Scale Modelling F.A.Q.”, an impressive guide with a huge content on all aircraft modelling techniques. How did the original idea came out ? 
It was certainly idea of Fernando Vallejo, owner of Ak Interactive, who in the their Headquarters after seeing my work for hours saw the possibility of making the book. Honestly, do a type book F.A.Q. It had never crossed my mind; however Fernando had it clear from the beginning and after working in some early drafts and general indexes according to the material that I have accumulated over the years, he finally managed to kick off in the realization of this book.

AK-InteractiveSuch a complex book, for sure, had a complicated and lengthy process … Tell us a little of the making of. 
Without doubt, resume over 20 years of modelling was not an easy task and we had to start from a clear, basic structure from which to go breaking down a series of chapters and phases in the construction of a model, having an instructive and clear for the readers. Once we had the basis of the project clear, the following steps were easier, though more tedious, because of the amount of information we wanted to include; however thanks to the previous planning of the work patterns between different departments of the company and, above all, thanks to the good understanding be- tween all partners who work on this project, the making of the book was an unforgettable experience.

AK-InteractiveAre all airplanes showed in the book are yours, or other modelers have collaborated in its development as “guest stars”? 
You can say that 85% of jobs that can be seen in the book are mine, but I had the help of friends like Aitor Azkue, Juan Villegas and José María Martínez, among other modelers, who have contributed with their techniques and models to make this book the complete guide for the modeler and therefore, from these lines, I want to thank them and all other partners for their contribution to the content of the F.A.Q.

AK-InteractiveThe cover of the book is impressive and stylish… Have you participated in its design? 
Certainly if there is a responsibility on the cover that’s Enrique Royo, chief designer of Ak Interactive, and one of the best I know, who made a spectacular cover. Obviously, we talked about the general idea and the concept of it, but both Enrique and his partner Perico (another designer from the company) carried out an excellent job, both on the cover and inside the book, and I cannot be more than grateful for their ideas, work, advice and support.

AK-InteractiveTo which modelling sector is the F.A.Q. targeted?, is it a book for beginners or for more expertise modellers? 
The question is very interesting because, honestly, the F.A.Q. is a reference book. It is true that from the beginning I approached it to the average modeller, the modeller who enjoys making models and feel the same passion that I feel when I make my models. The aim is to clarify that little hesitation to perform some of the stages of construction and painting in a scale model. It is intended to be the starting point from which to develop new skills as a modeler and, if possible, improve the ones the modeller already has, being the book the necessary tool to make this happen. For the experienced modeler can be useful in the sense of trying other techniques or procedures, tools or materials that has never used. It is intended as a reference guide and to motivate the modeller to live our hobby with passion.

AK-InteractiveIt is well known that previously have been published other air modeling guides over time … Tell us what makes this F.A.Q. special and what distinguishes it from other books which have appeared on the market until now? 
All books are necessary but it is also true that we did not want to repeat the pattern of other publications published previously, although maintaining the basic idea of the concept, which was none other than making a reference book or guide. What makes it different from other similar books is that it is intended as a visual book with a detailed step by step in each of its procedures and the reader does not have the feeling that something has been left in the middle steps. All this supplement- ed with brief texts that explain and clarify the picture and make the modeler easy to apply what he sees in the book to his scale model, in real time, without problems or doubts.

AK-InteractiveFinally, have you planned a presentation of the book and if so, signing copies for fans? …We assume that more than one per- son would love to have the F.A.Q. with the autograph of the author… 
Of course it is essential to have contact with the customer, readers, and modelers as I always learn a lot from everybody and it helps to know a firsthand impression of the person who invests his money in the book. It will be my pleasure to talk, sign and have a good time with all those who want it.

AK-InteractiveFinally, we can only congratulate you for the excellent work done on your “Aircraft Scale Modelling FAQ” hoping your effort and Ak Interactive could help to improve their models to all that legion of modelers that throughout the world seek references for more attractive and realistic models.
Thank you very much to all the team of Ak Interactive and the other partners that made possible what is the work of my life and I thank them for their support, work, companionship and friendship.





Finally, remember that the book “Aircraft Scale Modelling F.A.Q.” from Daniel Zamarbide is available on the website of the company in Spanish and English versions, and at all points of sale of Ak Interactive products throughout the world.