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Pietro Balloni - Profile of a Master Painter

Earliest modelling moment

I started with plastic airplane kits (another great passion!) when I was 10 years old. It was a couple of WWII fighters: a BF109; and a Spitfire. My first figure was an old (even at that time) kit of a Muslim warrior from the Italian producer Amati. I was 17. The figure was painted in oils but without any undercoat! I mean directly on metal! You can imagine what a disaster that was! The base was made using unpainted beach sand and a lot of glue – which was everywhere!

Do you remember the first time miniatures appealed to you?

Two times really stand out. The first was in 1990 when I was to my first model show, a very small one in my country Grosseto. At that time I was a rally cars modeller and I was crazy in front of a group of figures well painted and with nice bases. The second time was when I was in Siena to study. The place where I was following lessons was in front of the model shop. Every free moment was spent inside the shop. One day while there I met Luca Marchetti, who was putting into the showcases what was really the first figures from an unknown producer - Pegaso Models. I was astonished by the high skill level of painting and that day I discovered that was possible to paint a figure using acrylic colours!

Who or what inspires your figure modelling

Naturally the first and big inspiration source was Luca Marchetti. After our first meeting, luckily, this started to be more than just an inspiration. It became teaching and learning! Since then I’m inspired by every good figure I see. Some made by big artists but sometimes also made by talented unknown artists! Never stop to open your mind and never think you have arrived at the top. There is always something new to learn. This is very important!

The best thing about figure modelling

May I say more than one? Meeting friends, travelling, competing, discussing feelings and techniques, improve your skill making step-by-step and, last but not least, have the pride to create something by your hands to show to the others. Looking at their eyes and growing up accepting constructive criticism. Is that enough?

The worst thing about figure modelling

The negative side of competition. At the moment figures are different from the rest of modelling. There is money inside and most of the times this can complicate relationships and sometimes friendships. Fortunately this is only the point of the iceberg. I will always suggest strongly to everyone that wants to make steps in the hobby to go and see with his eyes what is possible to see in this moment on a table of a figure competition of high level! And never forget, before passing judgement if a guy is nice or not... get to know him!

Favourite modelling era/period

I prefer ancients, middle age, Romans, barbarians and every historical period that gives you the possibility to paint using free mind and fantasy. Napoleonic figures are amazing with their wonderfully rich uniforms, but a French cuirassier can only be painted in one way!
I like also subjects that can be painted reproducing different materials. For example a barbarian that has flesh, leather, metals, decorations, dresses, and animal skins. Now that is a nice challenge!

Pegaso Models 75-026 “Officer of the Equites, End of III Century A.D.”

About the Author

About Rudi Richardson (Tarok)

I'm a former Managing Editor of the Historicus Forma historical figure modelling website. While my modelling and history interests are diverse, my main figure modelling focus lies in Sci-Fi, Pop-Culture, Fantasy, Roman and WW2 German subjects. I'm a firm believer that armour and vehicles accessorise...


Thankyou Mr. Balloni. Very nice article.
OCT 06, 2006 - 04:14 AM
Very nice, and he certainly does excellent work.
OCT 06, 2006 - 08:36 PM
Talking with Pietro balloni is even better than reading his interview. A great painter but above all a great character . Thanks for the interview Pietro
OCT 08, 2006 - 09:00 PM
An interesting insight into your work Pietro Thank you
OCT 09, 2006 - 02:12 AM
Just got back home from a wonderful week in Italy with Pietro Balloni and it was so good to see this article. I can say he is a very very very good friend that can be described in words besides being an incredible painter...Thanks for the article Fratello mio
OCT 12, 2006 - 04:06 PM