Eight of our BA (Hons) Modelmaking alumni are working with Amalgam Models. We spoke to them about their journeys since graduating.

Robert Bakewell. Graduated in 2006:

“When I graduated I worked for a bit in London and then with Paragon for a while. I’ve been at Amalgam for 9 years. Its great here, like a family. I have a wide range of skills, so initially I was helping out in all departments.  For the first 3 years I was freelancing mainly in casting then, when the boss left the casting dept, I took on his job and moved to PAYE. Now I am a project manager, I am mainly dealing with clients and overseeing the projects.

On a recent project we have been making game controllers for Holovis, they are really nice clients. We get the electronic and we have to design and fit the casing and make sure all the controls work.  We did two versions in 2 months and finally made 20 units for use in a show.  We normally do batches of 25-50 sometimes, to prove a concept is working. Early in my career I developed an ice cube tray for Joseph and Joseph, I still feel a wave of pride when I see it in the shops. The best thing about Modelmaking is making real things that you get to see out there in the world.”

 

Glen Mcdouall. Graduated in 2010:

“Even though I got a lot of job opportunities in London, I came straight to Amalgam after uni. I did casting with Rob for a few months, then prototyping. It’s quite organic here so I moved around a lot. Now I am Dept Head for prototyping. It’s really rewarding. I am mainly advising clients and costing, but I still like to get hands on. We once did a massive job for Zodiac Aerospace who work with the fuselage of aeroplanes. I was part of a project that was making prototypes and exhibition models for seats. There were 4 pairs of full size seats that had to be durable to be used by visitors to the exhibition. There were a lot of options and I worked with a huge range of materials. We got it done on time and within budget; that’s the important bit. The best thing about Modelmaking is you can make anything; it’s always exciting and different every time.”

 

Andy Wright. Graduated in 2006:

“At the end of year show I was approached by Berry Place Models in London and I worked for them for 18 months.  I was working solely with architectural models and I like it but then my girlfriend moved to Bristol so I wanted to move too.  I did a lot of freelance work before Amalgam.  My speciality is prototyping and fine finishing.  I spend two years in the casting here, in Modelmaking you have a range of skills so you work in different areas.  My favourite job was working on the Goo Olympics for Crème Egg.  Most of the time you can’t tell people what you are working on but this was different – I was on TV and I my friends and family could see what I do.  I spent ages doing the colour matching which was really hard because we were using different resins that have different base colours.  Recently I have been working on a ‘tube anchor’ through a guy at Bristol hospital.  It’s an idea that you can really get behind because it will make a really difference to patients experience.  My advice to Modelmakers is to make the most of the New Blades show; it’s you r opportunity to sell yourself, oh and be nice!”

 

Paul Pritchard. Graduated in 2004:

“I was at Fosters in London for 4 years after the New Blades show. There are an architectural firm so your clients are the architects. I’ve been at Amalgam for 7 years.  Here I am developing work in electronics, lighting and interactive models.  Before my degree I did mechanical engineering, and I really wanted to develop this. I started doing lighting for architectural models. I did a piece for EDF visitors centre to show how electricity is generated. Kids have to pump a generator to make a turbine spin which then lights up a map of Britain. At Amalgam people come to me when they want something to move or light up so I work on lots of projects. You’re never doing the same thing from day to day.”

 

Joe Preston. Graduated in 2002:

“I graduated from the first year of the Modelmaking degree when it was AIB.  It was Ben Moss who initiated the New Blades show and that’s what got us out there.  I worked for Fosters for 9 years.  Two of us went there from the course so it was really good to have someone you knew in London.  Then I moved to Bristol and freelanced from my own workshop.  I used to use the facilities at Amalgam.  When they got the contract to populate the EDF Visitor Centres they needed extra staff so that’s when I started with them.  I am mainly working in architectural models but there’s a lot of cross over.  We all learn from each other here.  At Fosters I worked on Wembley Arena, as a football fan this was really cool.  We also travelled a lot; I was in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Far East.  Every year we went to Nice to install work for Mipim a big construction seminar.  In Modelmaking you have to enjoy it, you have to put the hours in even when it’s frustrating.  It’s worth it.”

 

Anthony Newbury. Graduated 2010:

“When I was still at uni I did some work experience in Bath for 3D Create.  I was working with Yohan Engles; he was a great guy.  He just passed away recently, but he really lived life to the full.  So I was working before I graduated.  With Yohan I was doing architectural and theatre design.  I worked there for 3 months and when that started to come to an end I got in touch with Amalgam because I had always wanted to work for them.  I started doing freelance work- product design, casting, small scale stuff; mostly architecture.  I took a year out to go to Japan.  I spent 7 months as a ski instructor and then I went to Malaysia for a while.  When I came back Amalgam had me down for a job.  My favourite work was when I did a theatre design for a production of Faust for a major Parisian theatre.  When we saw the photos they were exactly replicated to our models.  I think Modelmaking is about the people rather than the models.  Sometimes you have to do some boring things but stick with it.”

 

Ben Rogers. Graduated in 2003:

“I have always been freelance – it suits me.  I worked for Jeff Cliff Models, MGS Modelmaking, and Codsteaks.  I worked on animation, media, architectural, products.  At the moment I am freelance for John Wright and Amalgam, swapping between the two depending on projects. I’m really proud of the work I did on Fantastic Mr Fox; I made the motorbikes and lots of armatures. My first job was The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.  I have also worked on Frankenweenie.  There is so much variety to Modelmaking.  Do it for the love not for the money.”

 

Tom Bench. Graduated in 2011:

“After uni I took a year out to be a cycle technician at Halfords.  I went to work for BMT Fluid Mechanics in London on wind tunnel engineering.  It was really unsociable hours; we’d start at 5pm and work til 8am because we were working with the other site in Kuala Lumpur.  The pay was good but after 2 years I kinda had enough and they were cutting our pay too.  Whilst on holiday from BMT I did a trial week at Amalgam, three days later I started here.  I am mainly working on the construction of bigger pieces, exhibition works and large film props.  In my spare time I also work on making film props.  I’ve worked on models for the London skyline, buildings like the ‘Walkie Talkie’. It’s cool to see stuff before anyone else has seen it.  My advice to someone wanting to work in this industry would be to do it. I hadn’t realised you could do Modelmaking but when I found that I could my mind was made up.”