You might have encountered him online or in a book. Perhaps you’ve read a report on a new kit, or watched a video on how to use that new airbrush. Whatever the case, you can’t have been a modeler for long and not in some way encountered Brett Green.
Best known as the editor of Hyperscale, arguably the most well-known online resource for modelers worldwide, Brett Green wears many hats. Whether it’s updating his popular website, writing books, or producing helpful videos, he always has something of interest cooking up in his workshop.
On a personal note, Brett has also been a big inspiration for me in producing Agapemodels.com. So I thought it would be interesting to find out a little more about the man behind such a rich blessing of modeling experience.
Most adult modelers seem to fall into two categories- those who have always built models, and those who return to the hobby. Which category do you fall in? What does your modeling history look like?
I fall into the latter category. I built models from around 8 years old until I was 16 or so, then I discovered cars and girls. After I was married, I made a return to the hobby – around 1988 – and was amazed at the advances that had taken place in the intervening 12 years. Although I built mostly 1/72 scale when I was a kid (due in equal parts to availability and price) I settled on 1/48 as my preferred scale upon my return.
You started Hyperscale in 1998, when the web was still in it’s formative years. Were you already familiar with web development, or did you learn it as you grew and developed Hyperscale?
I was working as a Systems Engineer with an Australia telecommunications company at the time I started HyperScale. I worked on the Wide Area Network side, so I had never had any exposure to the Internet. Fortunately, I shared an office with a colleague who dabbled in the mysterious arts of configuring Trumpet Winsock, TCP/IP, hard-setting modems and other hurdles associated with accessing the Internet in those early days. He passed on his knowledge, and I bought a copy of FrontPage 97 to teach myself web publishing.
I looked at your site using the Internet Archive “Wayback Machine”, which has snapshots of Hyperscale going back to 1998. Two things really stood out. One, the concept and design is basically the same, and has stood the test of time. And second- you had to be one of the first “bloggers” in a sense. At the time you started, did you have any idea that 10 years later you’d be a pioneer of web publishing, and have the success you’ve had?
I put in quite a bit of thought and planning before I started actually designing the website. Some of the important aspects that I wanted were an easy to read format, simple navigation, regular updates and interaction between visitors. These basic objectives have not changed, so I have not seen the need to make any radical changes to the layout or structure of the site.
I had no idea how big or how popular HyperScale would eventually become. It still amazes me today.
What have been some of the high and low moments looking back over the years? Any points that you either stopped and wonder “Why am I doing this?” or “Man- I love this!”
I say to myself “man I love this” all the time. I am in a very fortunate position, and I am grateful that HyperScale’s visitors keep coming back, which allows me to continue to do what I love – the writing, the photography, the modelling.
For me, the opportunity to actually meet and interact with HyperScale’s contributors and visitors is always a particular highlight. The IPMS USA Nationals and Telford are always great fun, and an energizing source of inspiration.
On the flip side, to quote Frank Sinatra, “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention”!
Is Hyperscale your full-time job, or do you have a “day job”?
I moved to a part-time Corporate job in 2002, and left Corporate life altogether at the end of 2003. My work time is now fully committed to HyperScale, Missing-Lynx (the armour modeling website that I acquired on 1 January 2006), some web development and writing books.
Take us through a typical Hyperscale update. How long does it take? Do you do a lot pf pre-planning?
A typical update with six items might take around 3-4 hours, but of course this is only a small proportion of all the activities required to run HyperScale. This time does not include any time that I spend writing reviews or articles, taking photos, mailing out samples etc., all of which are also directly part of daily updates. On top of the updates is email correspondence (another big task), technical administration, tax and other accounting tasks (my wife actually takes care of that side of things) and a hundred other little jobs that need to happen to keep the wheels of HyperScale oiled. And then of course there is moderating the Forums, which takes place every waking hour of the day.
You’ve also published several books. Do those start as your own idea, or do publishers ask you to tackle various subjects? How long does it take to bring a book to printing? Any new ones on the horizon?
Most of my books have been the result of ideas or subjects that I have suggested to the publishers, but I am always happy to take on interesting projects that are relevant to my areas of interest. For example, Ian Allan Publishing approached me about the recent Gotterdammerung book series.
The amount of time required to finish a book varies depending on the subject but, for example, I can comfortably finish two Osprey Modelling books a year (each around 20,000 words and 220 photos) on top of my other duties.
You’ll be seeing a couple of new Osprey books in the next year or so – “Building Scale Aircraft Models” due for publication early next year, and “Airbrushing Master Class” which I am due to deliver in March 2008, and therefore probably published around September 2008.
You just recently released your first Resource Guide, Building the Messerschmitt Bf 110 E in 1/48 scale, as a downloadable PDF. It’s a fabulous resource for modelers, and the format is excellent. Did that idea hit you recently? Any chance of a sneak peek as to what the next one might be?
I came up with the concept of the HyperScale Resource Guide way back in 1998. If you check HyperScale’s Reference Library Index, you will see that Guides No. 1 and 2 are on the Schwimmwagen and the Challenger tank. The basic idea was the same – reference and modeling information in a single place as a one-stop guide – but the technology is much better for delivering the end product today.
There are a couple of candidates for the next topic, but all I will say right now is that neither is German!
Do you have plans to eventually compile them into a printed book?
I am not really considering a compilation book at this point, The purely practical commercial reality is that people probably will not pay for a book that they can (or already have) download from the Internet for free.
With all that going on, you have to take time build kits. How much time do you devote to that?
My modeling projects are usually either associated with a book or a specific feature for HyperScale. I manage to squeeze them in!
What’s on your workbench right now?
Monogram 1/48 scale B-25J Mitchell being backdated to an Aussie B-25D hybrid as part of the Monogram Classic Bombers Group Build on HyperScale’s Forums.
I recall one of your articles was on building one of the Accurate Miniatures Fighter Legends kits with your son. Has the modeling bug bit him? Any chance he’ll carry on Hyperscale tradition?
Not if my wife has anything to do with it – she thinks that one modeler in the house is quite enough! Actually, I can see him building the occasional model in the future.
Young people aren’t getting into the modeling hobby as they did in the past, with the lure of gaming and other hobbies so strong. Any thoughts on attracting a new generation of modelers?
I think that there is a strong potential for crossover between Warhammer-style fantasy wargames and our hobby. I also believe that the inexpensive large scale kits from 21st Century Toys, and the smaller models from companies like Hobby Boss, have a chance to whet the appetites of younger modelers. I still think that we will see new modelers enter out hobby in their late 20s and early 30s too, as many of us did.
With all you have going on, how in the world do you find time to eat and sleep and for the family? Or have you secretly cloned yourself?
I am fortunate in that I can work any time of the day. I structure my day so that I can work from early morning to mid-afternoon, then pick up the kids from school, take them to sports and other activities, cook dinner, then return to my basement office for another three hours or so preparation of the next day’s update. I used to regularly work until 2am or 3am, but I normally try to finish by midnight these days.
Testors is a big supporter of Hyperscale. Have you always used their products? Do you provide input for new products and ideas to them?
Yes, I used Testor’s products long before they ever sponsored HyperScale, particularly the Aztek airbrush. I have sometimes had the opportunity to provide input to Testor and other sponsors.
Speaking of Testors, one of the first videos I watched that you had posted on the web was on using the Aztek 470 airbrush. How in the world did you develop your technique for holding the airbrush?
When I started back in the hobby, I did not know anybody else that owned an airbrush. I just held the airbrush in a way that felt natural and that worked. It might also have something to do with the way I hold a pen, which is also unconventional.
What do you see in modelings future that excites you? Worries you?
I am very excited by the increasing quality and level of detail in model kits, and by the opportunities to reach other modelers using multi-media technology.
Certainly, the decline in younger people joining our hobby is worrying.
What has been your favorite kit over the last few years, just from the standpoint of enjoying the build personally?
My favourite kit is Hasegawa’s 1/32 scale Bf 109 G-6. It is not a perfect kit by any means, but it is quite accurate, well detailed, relatively simple to build, offers hundreds of painting/marking options and seems to invite the modeler to actually finish it. It also represents the rebirth of 1/32 scale. Tamiya’s 1/48 scale P-47D Thunderbolt is a close second, as one of the most precise kits that I have ever built. Most recently, I was very impressed with Eduard’s 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Bf 110 E.
Finally, just for fun- what’s something about you that might surprise modelers?
Well, I coach my son’s cricket team…
Well, there you have it- Brett Green, the man behind Hyperscale!