The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 23)

Welcome to this weeks Musings!

Hooray! TIM’s Going On Holiday

Yes it’s that time of the year when “She Who Must Be Obeyed” and I, along with “She Who Wants To Be Obeyed But Is Only 15 So Does As She Is Told, Not” are off on our holidays.  As a consequence this is my last post for a couple of weeks or so.  You all deserve a good rest from me, my models and my rantings so make the most of it as I plan to pick up with the blog with a vengeance upon my return.

There is a small chance I might be able to check up on what you guys are up to while I’m away but with internet access likely to be minimal most of the time I can’t bank on it.  Hopefully you will all have been very busy which will give me plenty to look forward to reading in a few weeks time.

I Have A Plan!

OK, so it’s not much of a plan but it struck me that it’s all well and good having lists but a plan to go with them would be no bad thing.  Arguably it is essential.  Now I will give the matter more thought while I’m away but tentatively the plan, in no particular order, is:

  • to complete all the Reaper miniatures that I currently have (an incentive before buying any more!)
  • get ready for the Cornwall show the weekend I’m back from holiday
  • decide what figures/models to take to Telford show (no rush as it isn’t until November)
  • decide what models I want to do for the 2019 Plymouth show (the theme is 75 years on from D-Day) and buy the relevant figures
  • decide what, if any, competitions and categories to enter and buy figures as applicable
  • aim to do a neglected model or two every month

Sounds reasonable and dare I say achievable.

I’m feeling more organised by the day!

The Secret To Greater Harmony And Understanding?

Now because this is essentially a modelling blog I always try to make a link, even a tentative one, to the subject in my Musings. I’m stretching it a bit with this article but I wanted to leave you with something deep and meaningful to contemplate while I’m away.

As I’m sure you are all aware, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.  In itself that is a good thing but not everyone sees eye to eye and when that happens problems occur.  No better example exists than in relationships.  Failure to see the other persons point of view is often a recipe for disaster.  The following is the best explanation I have ever heard for explaining the situation and what needs to be done to resolve it.  It was brought to my attention many years ago by a very old Wise Man (actually he was a Trainer at the Management Training college where I used to work).  It goes like this.

Draw the shape below and sit two people either side of it like this.

Person A


Person B

Ask Person A what they see and they will we see the number 9.  Ask Person B and they will say they see a 6.  From where they are both sitting they are both right, neither is wrong.  It’s all a matter or perspective.  The secret is this.  Until Person A or Person B gets of their arse, walks around to the other side and sees the situation from the other persons perspective they will always argue they are right and the other is wrong.  Only when one of them, preferably both, does this is there a chance for peace and harmony.

Easy really.

I should also point out that this Wise Man had a few radical ideas and approaches to training and education.  When he was in Hong Kong a course he was running had two delegates who simply just did not get on.  No matter what he tried they would not cooperate with each other.  He solved the situation by handcuffing them together for 18 hours.  Either they would find a way to get on or one of them would kill the other.  The story, a true one, ended with them becoming the best of friends!  Pity we don’t do this with some of our political leaders!


Until next time.



“The Dragon Slayer” – A 28mm Reaper Miniatures Diorama (The August Challenge)

I wasn’t sure if I’d manage to submit a model for the August challenge or not but a recent change in the weather provided some unexpected modelling time and in the end I managed to complete this one with a few days to spare before going on holiday.  The model features two Reaper figures, a Crusader Champion and a Red Dragon.

As with my recent “Fantasy Island” diorama I thought I would post the finished model first and follow it up with a “Making Of” article sometime afterwards.  However, as the August challenge was a technical one I think I ought to at least make a few comments now.

First up is the base work.  I’ve never done a base featuring what I hope looks like a lava flow and trying to get it to look something like the many pictures I looked at was harder than I thought.  I’m not unhappy with the end result but I’ll leave it for others to decide if it looks the part or not.  It’s certainly colourful!

The dragon also presented a challenge.  I’m not sure trying to hold it while attempting to paint it counts but it was certainly hard to do!  A big part from a painting perspective was the amount of blending, highlighting and shading.  Getting the wings to look right wasn’t easy either and in the end it was all about brush strokes.

The Crusader was relatively straight forward although it did have a fair amount of relief work to be picked out and painted.  I also came up with what I thought was a nice paint mix to produce a light metallic blue to provide a contrast in the overall colour scheme.  I’m not sure the free hand “S” for Slayer counts!

Photos below.




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The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 22)

Welcome to this weeks Musings!

How To Deal With a Muddle?

For one reason or another this has been a difficult week.  Time spent modelling has been at a premium as has been the opportunity to type up any thoughts I’ve had, until now that is.  No single cause has been responsible for this, more a case of little things constantly coming along to disrupt any plans I might have had.  More like the drip, drip of water torture.  Uncertain as do the best way of dealing with things I decided to update my various lists in the hope some sense of perspective would lead to an orderly desk and an orderly mind.  Invariably I have tended to find that once I have gained some control things don’t look quite so bad.

The “To Do List”, if I ignore likely neglected models, isn’t looking to bad with 35 items on it.  An evenings work for Azazel but not for me.  More like several weeks, longer if things continue as they are for now (excluding going on holiday in just over a weeks time).  All in all not as onerous as I’d thought, particularly as my desk has been tidied too.

Then I got to thinking!

This is a hobby not a job and the time constraints are self-imposed.  I can always grant myself permission to be late if I need to so why on occasions do I feel a sense of pressure to complete something?  Is it the need to have something to blog about and have I become a slave to my own desire to publish twice a week on the same days and at the same times for fear of failing my own self imposed publication times?  Has my hobby become an obsession leading to an addiction where I cannot survive without it?  Above all how has tidying my bloody desk and updating my lists got me even thinking about such things in the first place?

It’s of concern but am I the only one who experiences such feelings and compulsions?  If I am then I’m beginning to think I might need psychiatric care!

“Wish Lists”, the Pros and Cons

The “To Do List” as previously mentioned isn’t looking to bad, the “Wish List” on the other hand is a concern.  Why, because unless I’m the only one that works and thinks this way, the wish list contains many of the things that I want to do now.  This in itself is a rather bazaar statement because the things on my “To Do List” were the things that were once on my “Wish List”.

Now as some of you are already aware that I am a list person, something I have mentioned on numerous occasions although I don’t have a list of the posts in which I have mentioned this (a list to do perhaps?).  Whilst I’m sure we are not all lists people I do feel certain that we all have a “Wish List”, one that’s either written down or in our heads.  The thing is I’m not sure now how good it is to have one.

Let’s deal with the positives first.

By maintaining a wish list I am ready and armed with ideas to give people for birthdays and Christmas presents (presumptuous I know).  I also eliminate the risk of forgetting something I have seen and would like to have if I write it down (I only need to remember where I put the list!).  It also serves as an ongoing ideas bank and prevents me from hitting the “what can I do now?” wall.  By having the list I can also think ahead as to how I might compose any given figure/model in a diorama or vignette by pre-planning and problem solving in advance.  Something I regularly do when walking Buddy the dog.

Now to the downside.

The idea of buying things when you see them, just in case they cease being available, has become my latest mantra.  The result of this approach is “Wish List” items get bought earlier than planned, arrive earlier than planned and invariably get done earlier than planned.  As a direct result, previous items which were once on the “Wish List” that had been purchased and were on the “To Do List” move lower down the “to do” pecking order.  The knock on effect of that is things that were once on the “Wish List” that were added to the “To Do List” only to later be relegated even further in the pecking order inevitably end up in the “Neglected and Forgotten Pile”.  Still with me?

I feel certain this is a dilemma we all share.  Why do I feel certain?  Well because if this wasn’t the case then none of us would be up for Azazel’s “Neglected Model” Monthly Challenges.

Is there a way around this?

Of course if I didn’t look in the first place then it wouldn’t be a problem at all.  The trouble is that right now I am on what for me is a creative role and it kind of makes sense to go with it in case it dries up.  Well that’s how I’ve convinced myself anyway.  Not buying the figures when you see them is also a risk I’m not willing to take, such indecision has cost me in the past.  Patience is a virtue but this is a hobby not a job  and therefore doing what you want to do next because it brings you pleasure overrides doing things in the order of purchase.  Not maintaining a “Wish List” risks  forgetting things I’ve seen and removes the fun of browsing and researching for ideas, a key component of the hobby as far as I am concerned.

So what is to be done?

In conclusion, I’ve decide to do nothing.  I shall just live with it and, whenever possible, seek to reduce the “Neglected and Forgotten” pile thanks to Azazel’s monthly challenges.


Until next time.



28mm Reaper Dark Heaven Legends Mini – Graveflesh Servant

Those of you who follow my blog will know that the fantasy genre is a departure from my usual fare of mainly Old West, WW1 and a little bit of WW2, Dark Ages and other periods thrown in when I get bored and need to do something different.  I mention this only because I don’t really know what a Grave flesh Servant is.  I’m guessing he is something akin to a grave robber come zombie(ish) charachter?  In any event it doesn’t much matter.  The thing is the figure simply took my fancy when I was browsing the Reaper site.

At the risk of repeating myself and becoming even more boring I just love the detail to be found in the Reaper white metal figures, they are a joy to paint.  More Reaper figures will follow.  Several sit primed on my desk and the list of future purchases grows ever longer.  For all that though I have an urge for putting together a small Old West diorama which will require some minor figure conversions.  With so much to do I’d better get on with it!

Dark, hopefully atmospheric, photos below of the completed figure set on a small desolate base with a no thrills wire tree and a few rocks added.  Painted in acrylics and oils.



The News at TIM – A Mid Week Musings Special – HMS Illustrious

Welcome to this week’s Musings, a special supplement!

I had considered putting this article in my Modelling Memoirs series but because it didn’t really feature as part of my modelling journey I decided to leave it out.  There is, however, a military theme which I thought might be of interest to some of you.  So, at this point, if you are only interested in modelling articles, feel free to bail out, continue reading or just look at some interesting photo’s as you see fit!


For those of you who may not be aware HMS Illustrious was until relatively recently the Royal Navy’s flag-ship aircraft carrier.  My son Tom and I were lucky enough to sail on this iconic vessel in April 2012 when it was on maneuvers between Portsmouth and Glasgow.  This is my story.


In 2012 a neighbour of mine by the name of Steve McCarthy was the Chief Engineer on HMS Illustrious.  Steve’s twin sons, along with my son Tom, all attended Lamerton Primary School together with 42 other children (Lamerton primary is one of the smallest schools in England).  Being part of a small village the dad’s all got to know one another and periodically we would meet for drinks at the local pub, The Blacksmith’s Arms.  It was on one such occasion that Steve mentioned that HMS Illustrious was hosting a public relations event on board for families and friends.  More than that it was a long weekend trip from Portsmouth to Glasgow starting on a Thursday and ending on a Sunday.  If any of us were interested Steve said he would get more details.  I was up for it as was Andy the local Police Sargent and one of the other dads.

The next thing we heard from Steve was that the trip might now be in doubt.  Unbeknown to us HMS Illustrious , Lusty to the crew, was to be positioned outside London during the Olympics as part of the security arrangements.  The trip had now been designed as a full-blown naval and Royal Marines exercise.  The question of safety for members of the public had now arisen along with the administrative issue of public liability insurance.  It was looking like we would have to get our own insurance cover or we wouldn’t be able to go.  Despite our best efforts to get personal insurance cover nobody had ever heard the like before and we hit a dead-end!

As luck would have it a few days later Steve got back to Andy and I to inform us that the navy’s insurance would cover us and the trip was definitely on.  It would be taking place on Thursday 12th April through to Sunday 15th April.  As the ship was due to set sail early on the Thursday we would need to be in Portsmouth on Wednesday 11th April.  He was also able to confirm that my son Tom could go too.  Now the only problem I had with this was that the 12th April was my 30th Wedding Anniversary!  Some how I had to break this news to She Who Must Be Obeyed!

The good news was the trip was a couple of months off so I had plenty of time to prepare a feasible explanation.  I went through the whole gambit – “But we can’t disappoint Tom can we?”; “We’ll do something even better when I get home”; “I’m the man of the house I’ll do as I damn well please!” (not the best idea I ever had it must be said).  Fortunately Steve came up with the suggestion that if SWMBO drove Tom, Andy and me down to Portsmouth then he would arrange to take all of us including SWMBO and Jenny my daughter on a tour of the ship on the Wednesday before setting off on the Thursday.  A master stroke!  Well almost.  I was left in no doubt that I was in her debt, roughly to the tune of several hundreds of pounds being the cost of a necklace and earing set she had seen.

The trip was on!

Wednesday 11th April 2012

On the morning of Wednesday 11th April we drove down to Portsmouth and as pre-arranged met up with Steve at the relevant naval dock yard gate.  Greetings and pleasantries exchanged we unloaded our baggage and Steve showed us to our quarters.  Steve being a senior officer meant Tom, Andy and I benefitted from officer accommodation and dining too.  Brilliant!  We were then off for a quick tour.


Left to Right – On Deck – Steve (who is very tall at six-foot six), Andy, SWMBO (also known as Margaret), Jenny and Tom


Yours truly!


Up in the Bridge

The brief tour laid on specifically for the wife and daughter came to an end and we said our goodbye’s.  Next stop was Portsmouth city centre and a bite to eat and one or two drinks.  As much as I would have liked to have stayed on board the navy were in town and it was time to be ashore.

I have no idea what time we got back but I seem to recall seeing a pizza at some point during the evening and then again the next day.  Top tip – try to avoid drinking with sailors at all costs, especially if you are setting sail the next day in less than ideal sea conditions!

Thursday 12th April 2012 to Sunday 15th April 2012

Happy 30th Wedding Anniversary dearest!

Fortunately my stomach settled down quickly, aided no doubt by a full English breakfast and a huge infusion of black coffee.  First up on Thursday morning was setting sail.


HMS Victory

All hands on deck to say goodbye to Portsmouth and hello to Mike Bannister.  Never heard of him?  Neither had I so I asked him what he did for a living thinking he was a guest of his son or someone  Turns out he was a guest of the ship’s captain and the Chief Pilot of British Airways’ Concorde fleet (retired)!

P1050070Mike Bannister is on the far right.


The next couple of days on board were all planned out.  Split into smaller groups we were taken round the ship and introduced to some amazing people. We also had plenty of free time and were able to wander around pretty much as we pleased but with helicopters buzzing about all over the place outside our time was spent there.

We checked out weapons …


We met some Marines …


Played with water …


But most of all we had fun with helicopters, lots of helicopters!


Going Up!


Tom Top Gun!


Now for Steve this was work but there were periods outside of meal times when he was free to join Tom, Andy and me and on these occasions we were given exclusive tours of areas others hadn’t got to see, namely the engine rooms.  We also got to hear some fascinating facts (the ship is very economical and can achieve a travelling distance of one foot to the gallon!) and climb up some ladders, lots of ladders to the tallest part of the ship from the inside.  It was on one of these occasions that I had an accident involving my wrist watch.

For my 40th birthday SWMBO bought me a Rotary gold watch.  An expensive item but priceless in its sentimental value.  It was when I was climbing up a ladder and a  good hundred feet or more up that I caught and broke the watch strap.  The watch came off and dropped like a stone to the floor way below.  I was seriously heart-broken.  Without further ado we started back down.  The outside casing was found part way down but only at the bottom did we find the internal mechanism.  To find it was incredible and had it not been for the amazing cleanliness of the ship we wouldn’t have done so.

I couldn’t be sure that we had found everything but back in the cabin I started to look at the various pieces.  On the face of it all the pieces had been found.  More than that the watch itself was still working!  A broken strap, a broken glass and a few dents but still working!  Unable to put it together myself I felt encouraged that all was not lost and a jeweller could put it right.

When we got home I took it to a local jeweller who managed incredibly to put it all back together save for a few “character” enhancing dents.  I then wrote to Rotary and told them the story for no other reason than I thought they would be interested, after all there can’t be too many stories like this one can there?  Well I can only assume my tale was common place as to this day I’ve never heard back from them!


Our tour with Steve down to the engine rooms


One of the propeller shafts well below sea level and with the sea just the other side!


Climbing up ladder after ladder.  It was here I broke my watch!

We finally arrived in Scotland on the Sunday.  A stunning day with a wonderful scenery backdrop.  Time to say our farewells, take the navy bus into Glasgow and collect our hire car to begin the 8 hour drive home.


With thanks to Steve!

The adventure of a life time and a truly unique experience.


Until next time.


28mm Reaper Dark Heaven Legends Mini – Jack Harrison (The July Challenge)

Just managed to squeeze in a third entry for the July Challenge.  Not sure I’ll be able to do that for future challenges but on this occasion I was on a bit of a role.

This figure by Reaper  was clearly modelled on Harrison Ford in his role as Indiana Jones.  Presumably copyright was responsible for the name Jack Harrison being given to the figure by Reaper but I’ve imposed no such legal constraints on this little model of mine.

On close inspection it is obvious that the painted face is anything but a dead ringer for Harrison Ford, however, I can assure you that the paint job is the spitting image of Jack Harrison!  A fun model to put together.

Oh, and what has this got to do with July?  Well he’s searching for the Jewel of course!

Photos of the completed model below.


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The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 21)

Welcome to this week’s Musings!

The Weather – for better or worse?

Now before I get accused of  being a “whinging pom” and those in Australia start performing their rendition of Monty Pythons Four Yorkshire Men sketch by trying to out do me with their weather related tails let me point out that I am not complaining about the weather.  Personally I am enjoying it and my comments which follow are simply observational.  The simple fact is that this almost unprecedented period of glorious weather brings change with it and I thought I would highlight those which I have noticed.  For the most part, as with many things in life, there are pros and there are cons.

My fears of a few weeks ago that I would be spending much time cutting the grass have proven unfounded, the lawn hasn’t been cut now for three weeks.  With no rain it simply isn’t growing.  This time-saving has however been off set by cooking on the BBQ instead together with the constant need to water the pot plants and keep the weeds down.  Why do the weeds continue to grow when everything else appears to be at a stand still?  You don’t need to answer that.

Another positive has been being able drive with the top down on my car for the last two months, most enjoyable.  The down side is I’m ginger and the constant need to apply sunblock gives me the appearance of someone about to swim the English Channel rather someone driving into town.

Modelling too of course is not without impact.  It hasn’t been ideal having to adjust to painting early in the morning and late in the evening but then again my base work drying quicker has been an added bonus.  Overall the impact on modelling has been minimal but the same cannot be said for our garden wild life.

Fredie the fox who we saw throughout the winter has yet to be spotted this hot summer but more worryingly neither has Philip the Pheasant.  Shotguns have been heard ringing out so I fear the worst for both.  The heat is drying out the garden pond resulting in Drake and Jemima who are but occasional visitors seeking pastures new and although it’s normally a pleasure to see Kevin the Kingfisher the little bastard has taken to eating our goldfish as the poor little sods have less water to hide in.

Still on a final positive note I’m burning more calories walking the dog which is enabling me to consume more ice cream without feeling guilty.  Every cloud …

Fredie the Fox, Philip the Pleasant, Drake and Jemima and Kevin the bastard with one of my goldfish!

Thank Goodness For The Weird People

Have you ever wondered how you make bread?  No neither have I, well not until the other day but bear with me.

Now I don’t claim to be an expert but (thank you Google) apparently you mix flour, salt and yeast in a bowl then make a well in the centre, add oil and water to make a smooth dough and then bake in the oven.  OK, so that’s it simplified but the thing is we except that as perfectly normal.  Why wouldn’t you make it that way?  My point however is this.

If it wasn’t for a complete nutter, a weirdo who was capable of looking at things in ways others don’t and who wasn’t afraid to experiment with a mixture of unrelated objects we wouldn’t be eating bread.  What normal person would have looked at wheat or corn, thought to grind it down, add numerous other unrelated ingredients and then heat it all up?  You need to have people who can look at things in a different way and who are prepared to play around and experiment with things.  Who looked at iron ore and said I wonder if that melts, goes hard again and can be used to make weapons that I can kill people with?  The fact is we owe a great deal to people who in the eyes of many are odd or weird and so it is with modelling.

The modelling community, like many others I suspect, thrives off of people who can look at materials developed initially for another purpose (e.g. Milliput I believe was originally used by plumbers to plug leaking pipes) but useful in our hobby.  Then there are the various things made specifically for the hobby but like bread consist of unrelated items (e.g. brushes – sable/wood/metal).  Then we come to my current favourite.

At the Plymouth Model Show I got talking to Colin, the owner of a company called Charlie Foxtrot Models (worth checking out by the way, he does some great stuff) who it turns out only lives a few miles from me.  Colin and I got chatting about the MDF buildings he makes.  The ones he had on display didn’t appear to be made of MDF on close inspection mainly because they had been given a render to make them more authentic.  I asked him what he rendered his models with expecting to be told something like sieved grit or similar.  No, turns out he uses Chinchilla Dust bought from the pet shop!

So, curiosity has got the better of me which leads me to ask the following question.  What is the weirdest thing you have used, or heard used by others, for modelling? 

Meanwhile try to remember that the Weirdos help make the world go around so never knock a weirdo.

Be careful though, some are completely off their trolley!


Until next time.