New Directions in Modelling

An investigation of personalities, opinion, and technology in the modelling world as we know it, and as it may become.

Bob Aikens

Visitors to Bob Aiken's pages on IPMS Canada's Member's Models cannot but be impressed by the quality of the models displayed there. What is not frequently seen is the integration of the models into photo-realistic compositions that take the viewer further into the re-creation of aeronautical events. Working with Photoshop, Bob adds background detail to create an environmentally convincing tableau that elevates aircraft modelling to new heights. On this page, we present examples of both his photo-montages and illustration work, under the name of Time Warp Images.

In his own words, Bob describes his influences and background . A self-described 'auto-didact', this resident of St. John's, Newfoundland exhibits a modesty that belies the skill evident in his work. K.E. 2012

1943 was a good time for a potential modeller to be born - with aircraft carrier(s) and two air bases nearby, the skys of post-WW II Halifax always had aircraft for young spotters to ID: early on there were Avengers and Sea Furys and Maritime Command Lancs; then came carrier Banshees and the huge Argus; later on came Neptunes, Trackers, T-33s and the elegant Auroras.

The late post-war years and the early 1950s introduced many imaginative influences for attentive acolytes, several of which seem hugely seminal for me: the many war movies made during and immediately after WW II; Radio and early TV - radio's influence on boys such as me can hardly be overstated; the 'cold' medium required an active visual imagination to fill in the detail of the Havana waterfront in Bogart & Bacall's 'Bold Venture' - ditto for 'The Shadow' and Orsen Welles' "Black Museum', and many others. And, of course the many excerptions from BBC radio programming: zany comedy and the witty and informative word-quiz programs. Not least were comic books; in our context 'war' comics. But I liked all comics - the context seemed to be irrelevant because it was the wonderfully talented artists and illustrators who drew them that most influenced me; I especially admired the work of Russ Heath and John Severin for both accuracy and artistry.

Actual modelling began with Strombecker (mostly solid wood) stuff; Gullow's small balsa-and-paper constructs, and on to Gullow's die-cut tissue-covered balsa kits. But the finnicky frailness of all this was solved when I got my first plastic kit from a school chum - an Aurora F-94. I glued it together with balsa glue and cut open the canopy with a pen knife: so it starts.

In modelling as in politics, ignorance is not a great disadvantage. I just kept plugging along in my own little happy world doing the then state-of-the-art Aurora kits and browsing copies of 'Air Progress'. I got my first airbrush in 1970 - a Badger 200; I still use it today. It's like an old Cuban car..

It would be really difficult to state any better than Kevin Taylor the benefits of modelling for youngsters. And for me, it's been a kind of thereputic continuity - a bizarre, almost whacky seriousness that runs through from my childhood to my still growing adulthood. It's real value seems to be that it's been something done for it's own sake, for the problems that it entails and for the learning and fun that it encourages. It's a love - and it's hard to let go of a love. I'll leave the 'hobby' joke about the two old friends who meet in the park for another time !

The digital imaging ventures emerged from a growing interest in digital photography, and an introduction to PhotoShop back around the turn of the milleninum. It's been a interesting learning process, but has required some perspective. Basically, it is the manipulation of images, sections of images, and even pixels. For amateurs like me, it can only amount to little more than mere illustration. I am aware of the world of real aviation art, digital and otherwise- these artists continue to amaze and instruct me. The non-aviation graphic imaging that I also do is a separate portfolio and allows for a more imaginative and creative input.

For me, without doubt the best thing about modelling is all the great people I've met over the years at club and model meets back in Halifax, and here in St. John's - people fom all walks of life: the world of modelling is democratic in the best sense of the word. For what it's worth my educational background is almost entirely academic: undergrad studies in Philosophy, Language and Literature and post-grad studies in English Literature and Education. But congruous with my eclectic nature, I ended up making my living in the brewing industry. So it goes...

Cheers, Bob

Bob's Wildcat Collection

Bob's Spitfire Collection

Bob's Mirage Collection

Bob's Other Aircraft Profiles

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