What first attracted you to Scale Modelling?
Until recently, I was one of the Montreal Aviation Museum (MAM)’s researchers and model builders. I initiated a new program, “We Build Heritage (WBH) and its offshoot “Veterans Initiative”. My team and I built over 25 models in 2 years, raising a tidy sum of money for MAM. My web page on MAM’s web site not being updated (low priority from the MAM’s Board of directors’ perspective, as MAM is a museum, not a modeller’s club), I was seeking a more proactive forum with a much larger readership for my model reviews. Most of these reviews are far too long for Modeling Madness and Hyperscale (although I have two reviews on MM). In January, I was searching for a review of the Wingnut Wings R.E.8 and found the terrific Les Venus review on SMN, paid my ₤15, and was hooked. Precisely the quality online magazine to which I was hoping to submit my humble yet extensive reviews. And the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
How long have you been scale modelling for?
As an adult, nearly 20 years, 15 of them as an S Scale (1:64) railroad modeller, building over 500 freight cars, locomotives, … and a 26 feet x 14 feet layout. However, my disability (CFS) has now confined me to work sitting down. As an avid WWII (mostly ETO) air war student since my childhood, the decision to start building model aircraft was a perfect fit. An excellent summary article is in the following link.
Specialist area of Modelling?
Jack of all trades, master of none.
1:24, then 1:32, then 1:48, and last 1:72.
What is your favourite real subject of all time (aircraft, armour or maritime)?
DH Mosquito, no contest.
The best thing you’ve ever built?
1:24 Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib (late) SA-Q; please read the 86 paged review.
And finally: Most memorable Modelling disaster?
Same Typhoon, destroyed by the insipid person in charge of shipping it from Montreal (Canada) to the Musée de la bataille de Tilly-sur-Seulles, (Normandy, France). From IPMS Canada: pages 3, 5 and 6.
Scale Modelling Now
How long have you been a reviewer for?
3 years (as of June 2017)
What made you get involved with SMN?
I write very extensive (and quite verbose) reviews, and thus there is a natural fit (dare I say synergy?) between SMN and myself.
What’s your favourite thing(s) about SMN?
The reviews: they are an education in themselves; then techniques.
Favourite SMN review? The one I have yet to read. They are all good.
Sum yourself up in no more than five words.
Never did things by half-measures.
Biggest hobby/hobbies outside of Scale Modelling?
Writing historical tributes of participants in the dioramas I produce. My current project is a 1:24 Airfix Mosquito “F for Freddie”
Three famous people who you admire:
Too many to list.
And finally…tell us a (clean) joke…
Someone seriously asked me if the yacht club where I kept my sailboat in the summer was near the water !!! Mercifully, that person never ran for public office.
Update (August 2018):
Gilles has now become a modest philanthropist, building large-scale models and donating these to museums and friends. Two models of note: a 1:32 Trumpeter P-38L-5-LO and a 1:32 Hong Kong Models B-17G, both going to the US as gifts. As well, to different museums, a 1:24 Trumpeter George Beurling Spitfire Vb (tropical) “TL” and a 1:24 Trumpeter Gordon McGregor Hurricane Mk.I, along with three 1:32 Italeri CF-104s in different liveries. Take a look at the 1:24 Airfix Mosquito he built (complete with motorized propellers and a unique sound card); it is currently on display at the Montreal Aviation Museum:
His current production schedule takes him well into 2024.