Interview with Clay Kemp

SW: Tell us your full name and state that you hail from?
Clay: Clay Kemp….Avon, Indiana

SW: When did you start building models?
Clay: From the best I can remember, I think I was around 8 years old. I’m not even sure why I got started. I can just remember buying a kit (well more likely my mom and dad bought it) and I put it together and was probably hooked from then on.

SW: How long have you been in the hobby?
Clay: Well I’m 45 now, and I started like I said when I was around 8 or 9. So I guess 35+ years. A long time! Unlike a lot of guys who took a break and get back into it later after college or so on, I’ve never really stopped. I’ve been modeling almost my whole life.

SW: Who was your mentor or the person you looked up to?
Clay: As a kid I read Scale Auto Enthusiast any time I could get my hands on a copy. I can remember looking up to guys like Augie Hiscano, Roy Sorenson, Bill Coulter, Tom Anderson for his Nascar builds, Pat Covert, Mike Flynn, Russ Schwenkler….I was always attracted to guys that were pushing limits, doing lots of scratch building or detailing. Those were my favorite kinds of builders.

SW: What category do you like to build the most?
Clay: I’ll try almost any kind of kit. But the majority of my projects are racing related. NASCAR, NHRA, short track cars, F1…..I grew up in racing so that’s what I’ve always wanted to build.

SW: What has been your favorite build?
Clay: That’s a tough one. As far as NASCAR builds go, probably my Jeff Gordon Superman Returns Monte Carlo. If I had to pick a drag car, it would be the Blackbeard’s Revenge Camaro Pro Mod.

SW: What has been your favorite moment in the hobby. Trophies, notoriety etc?
Clay: Probably seeing my first Scale Auto article published. Or winning my first NNL Best of Show at Atlanta in ’04. I was blown away when they called my name.

SW: What is your favorite part of building., opening, painting, detailing?
Clay: I would have to say scratch building for sure. Especially chassis. I love building chassis no matter what kind of car it is. Taking a pile of plastic or brass tubing and turning into “something” is very rewarding. Followed by detailing….oil lines, fuel lines, that sort of stuff.

SW: Whats your favorite model show you attended?
Clay: Southern Nationals NNL in Smyrna GA.

SW: What model show would you like to attend that is on your bucket list?
Clay: No one show in particular I’d say…..I like to use contests or shows as a way of getting out and traveling. Seeing the country. My family and I have been all over the US going to different contests and getting to experience some great places. We’ve been from New Jersey, to Milwaukee, Kansas City, all the way to Arizona. and met great people all along the way and seen some incredible things all because of models. If there was somewhere we could go next, I would have to say Texas or California.

SW: Most memorable awards?
Clay: Probably my first Atlanta NNL BIS award, or winning BIS at the Toledo NNL. And also the Augie Hiscano scratch building award ACME awarded me with in ’05.

SW: Were do you see the hobby going in the next 10 years?
Clay: Hopefully to the kids. I’m trying to get my son into building. But it is tough. Things are so much more expensive now then when I first started. Kits are expensive….supplies are expensive……and they have so many other distractions that they can spend their time on instead. Looking around at contests, it is hard to see any younger kids getting involved. Its all us older guys. But I think they are out there. Hopefully they can keep things going once we all slow down.

SW: Who do you look up to in the hobby?
Clay: I get inspiration from all sorts of builders. Guys that do armor weathering or aircraft really fascinate me. I love seeing some of the Japanese builders doing super detailed 1/43rd kits. I try to learn from all sorts of builders.

SW: How did you hear about and what do you think of their site?
Clay: I’ll be totally honest. I don’t know a lot about it. But from what I have seen there is a bunch of information all in one spot, and some great looking builds.

Thank you Clay Kemp & John M. Stancliff