WWScenics have revolutionised the model making scene with the introduction of their unique système de superposition de gazon statique. What began as a hobby between two friends has turned into a thriving company; one that is fuelled by passion and a love for all things modelling.
Martyn Rees, co-founder of WWScenics breaks down the history of the company, as well as some of his personal insights into modelling.
How did you get into model making? Could you explain the history of your business a bit more?
I started modelling when I was around 13 years old. My first model was an Air fix spitfire, which had the glue and paints that came with it. The model glue ended up all over the glass canopy and my paint job was terrible.
It was not until I was in my 30s that I discovered I could model as I do now. I had a phone call off Mark (my business partner), who at the time was recovering from a serious illness. He rang me to ask if I heard of Warhammer. I only knew of a small shop in the city. We decided to visit the shop and £60 later we had bought some goblins and started to paint. We listed them on eBay, as we were not interested in playing the game. We made a fair bit of money from them too! This money then funded the next set of models and so it began! It was then I realised there was not a great deal of basing materials for the model bases. Mark and I then started to look around for basing products, and War World Ltd was born.
Few people know this, but the meaning behind the word War is that it stands for Wargames and Railways. But like I stated few got the meaning, so WWScenics was born. Mark and I have been supplying top quality modelling products ever since.
What made you realise that static grass was a necessary addition to model making?
Before static grass, modellers used a dyed sawdust product which at the time, did a good enough job. However, it was very flat and only one solid colour. The introduction of gazon statique has transformed landscaping on all types of modelling. The fact that you can layer static grass to give a 3D effect, plus, multiple colours of greens and browns helps the modeller capture nature at its best and most realistic.
How long did it take you to fine tune your static grass system?
I am not sure I have. I am always learning different techniques. I do lots of demonstrations at Model Railway exhibitions during which I always find another way to improve the results from static grass. What I have fine-tuned is explaining how to use the système de superposition de gazon statique, which has taken me over 13 years to perfect. We also now have our own range of applicateurs d'herbe statique to help make it easy for people to achieve the same realism that we do.
What is your favourite model/ scene/ diorama to make?
There are a few that catch my eye. I like to call myself a landscape diorama modeller. I love nature, the way it has no rules and like I always say, “if you make a mistake, it turns into a good idea”. I like the fact that you can try out different techniques and be amazed by the results. My favourite has to be a water diorama, with multiple waterfalls, a stream or river. Adding detail like resin fish or a swooping eagle. I would say it is the most challenging, but the most rewarding.
What is a diorama you have made that you are particularly proud of?
Ah that one is easy, I was approached by Wales’s largest Zoo to create some models, showing distinct types of habitats for creepy crawlies – desert, Jungle, Rain Forest, and an Alpine range. They then asked me to create a large model of the savannah which is the biggest I have created. It was to raise awareness of poaching, so no animals are on it. There is a jeep, some few hidden surprises, as well as a large watering hole and handmade twisted wire trees. It made me proud, watching people look at it and comment on it.
What do you love most about your job?
Since WWScenics has started, I no longer feel like I have a job. Don’t get me wrong, there are some tough times, but for the most part it’s great. I love making new products, going to exhibitions, meeting fellow modellers, and showing them what our products can do. I also started Modelling with Martyn through lockdown, talking to people and modelling at the same time – having great fun!
Which of your products could you now no longer live without?
Now this one is tricky, but if I must pick just one, it has to be the Spray de superposition de gazon statique. It is one of our unique products because it can be used for multiple things. The things you can do with static grass and the spray, is just mind boggling. I just love it.
What is your number one top tip for someone looking to get into model making?
The modelling hobby has so many different types, take me, I started painting then ending up as a diorama modeller. I would say to try different things and learn new skills, I never knew I could paint a figure until late into my life. But the most important tip that I would ever give, is to enjoy it. It is such a relaxing and interesting hobby to have.
To learn more about Martyn’s favourite techniques and get a hands-on feel for the static grass layering system, as well as any of our model scenery products, feel free to check out our Modelling with Martyn YouTube channel.