“The Lamerton Posse” – 28mm Old West Figures – The June Challenge (Part 1)

For a variety of reasons, my dad going in to hospital with a suspected stroke being the big one, this has been a challenging week and time spent painting has been minimal.  As a consequence I didn’t think I would enter the June challenge.  War gaming looks great, I love what others are up to and I read their blogs and comment when I feel I have something to say.  I admire the gaming boards and the figure painting but I’m not into gaming myself and thus building armies etc is not my thing.  Accordingly I couldn’t see how to contribute to “June-it” against this background and the unforseen time constraints.  Then I went and had an idea – “The Lamerton Posse!”

A Posse is a unit of sorts, a gathering of men summoned by a sheriff to apprehend a wanted outlaw.  My historical genre of choice is the Old West and Lamerton is where I live in Devon so there you have it.

So far I’ve completed the first two figures (hence part 1!), albeit painted and based in to much of a rush.  I hope to hit a minimum target of five/six if I can.  The figures themselves come from Artizan and Dixon’s.  In the case of the two below both are from Artizan.  Very basic base work applied to both and painted using a combination of acrylics and oils.

Now to get my finger out and get the others done as the clock is ticking and the end of the month is nigh.  Hopefully this will prove to be a better week!

Images below.

TIM

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The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 16)

Welcome to this week’s Musings!

“Because we’re here, lad.  Nobody Else.  Just Us” (Zulu 1964).

With the Plymouth model show looming ever closer I’ve been looking at my models trying to see what I might take along in addition to my WW1 and RAF models which I produced for the club display.  One of the models I unearthed was this little number that I did some time ago, a 54mm vignette of Rourke’s Drift.

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Whenever I look at this model I’m not only remind of one of my favourite films but also of a true incident which took place at work.  I shall explain further as those of you who may occupy a staff management position during these busy times might find this useful!

At the time I was responsible for a reasonably large administration department when one of my junior managers asked if he could speak to me.  The conversation went something like this.

Me: – “So Mike, what do you want to speak to me about?”

Mike: – “Well I’m more than a little fed up that I’m out there working my bollocks off when we’re up to our eyes in it, the others aren’t doing anywhere enough and to top it all off I don’t get any thanks for it!”

Me: – “Tell me Mike have you ever seen the film Zulu?”

Mike: – “Yes” (looks mystified)

Me: – “Well you may recall that the brave Welsh soldiers were out numbered in the region of twenty to one.  Now if every soldier managed to kill his alloted twenty Zulus then there wouldn’t have been a problem.  Unfortunately some of the soldiers were killed, some weren’t able to reload and fire quickly under increasing pressure and some were just fucking useless at shooting accurately.  Now answer this question for me.  If you were one of those soldiers and you’d killed your twenty would you A) go and sit down and let everyone know that you had done your bit, or B) knowing the zulus are still intent on kicking the shit out of you that it might not be a bad idea to kill a few more before they kill you?”

Mike: – “Option B”

Me: – “That’s the right answer Mike and that’s the same situation we are facing out in the office at the moment.  The work is coming in at a rate that some people are struggling to deal with more than others so as a consequence it’s all hands to the pump.  When things settle down, just like it did at Rourke’s Drift, then it will be time for tea and medals.  So be a good lad and go back to your desk and we will pick up on this later”.

Mike: – “Thanks Boss, I get it now.”

Me: – “I never doubted it Mike, you’re a clever lad”.

Neglected Miniatures

Now if you had asked me a year ago to enter a challenge by completing a neglected model I would have turned it down for one simple reason, I wouldn’t really have had one to do.  I might have had a few bits here and there but I would have classified them as no longer needed and as things that would never be done.  Simple victim figures of a set purchase.  But that was a year ago when I bought one figure at a time and duly completed it.  That’s all changed.

Looking at my desk I can see that even at a glance I am working on seven completely different things.  None finished but in various stages of completion.  When I look about elsewhere I can also see an ever-increasing pile of figures I have recently bought.  This pile is growing at an alarming rate and does not include the items I am waiting for the postman to deliver in the next day or so either.  Worse than that I have a list of things that I have seen that I aim to buy which must run to at least another fifty to sixty items and to top it all the list is growing!

Is this just me or is this normal?

Fathers Day

On Sunday it was Father’s Day in the UK.

It doesn’t always pay to plan ahead.  My son is 21 and my daughter is 15.  Excluding the early years when She Who Must Be Obeyed would buy something herself and tell me it was from the kids, almost every year without fail I have been asked, directly or indirectly “what would you like for Father’s Day?

Anticipating a similar situation this year I planned ahead and ordered some modelling bits that I could give to SWMBO who could then give them to the kids who could give them back to me.  It’s a bazaar arrangement I agree but surely I can’t be the only one who does this can I?

Well, as you have probably already guessed, this year I was not asked the question.  For the first time in a long time the kids did their own thing.  As a consequence I got double presents, mine and theirs!  A win, win situation.  Now things like this don’t happen very often but a lesson learnt is a lesson learnt and I have learnt mine.

I’ve  learnt is it’s better to have two presents rather than one so for my birthday and for Christmas I intend to hedge my bets by buying stuff that I want just in case the kids ask SWMBO what they can get me or better still, in case they don’t!

—000—

Until next time.

TIM

 

This Is Me! – TIM’s Modelling Memoirs – Part 1

Not for the first time recently I have been feeling nostalgic.  Well, truth be told, I still am so I decided to do something about it, after all, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be!  That something turned out to be writing my Modelling Memoirs. 

Introduction

So firstly, why the title – “This is Me!”?  Well a very recent and popular film musical by the name of “The Greatest Showman” features a rather poignant song entitled “This Is Me” and by a remarkable coincidence the first letter of each of those three words spells TIM!  Clever huh, and to think some of you probably think this shit is just randomly thrown together!  Then I thought, why not also incorporate a couple of photos of yours truly through the ages to either cement or shatter IRO’S image (and anybody else’s for that matter) of what I look like with my pipe, bedroom slippers and beige cardigan, so I have!

Now without further ado let me explain why I decided to jot this stuff down.

When I essentially retired 11 years ago one of the projects I got involved in was doing my Family Tree.  A great thing to do and something I shall pick up on again when my eyesight and ability to hold a brush steady finally get the better of me.  The reason I make mention to my family tree project is that when I was doing it I kept asking one question more than any other – “why?”.

Why did they move? Why did they die? Why did they live there? Why did they do that job?  You get the idea I’m sure.  So many unanswerable questions but nobody asked, nobody was told and nobody wrote anything down (mainly because they couldn’t write of course!).  I guess it could also be argued that nobody cared either.  But when you do care it is frustrating to say the least.  So, in the unlikely event that my kids ever wonder why and how I ever got into modelling I thought I’d write this so that they would know.

So as Julie Andrews (who?) might sing – “Let’s start at the very beginning, that’s a very good place to start …”

The Foundation Years  – 1957 to 1969 

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Me in 1963 aged 6, butter wouldn’t melt …

As best I can recall toys of the late 50s and early 60s were for my older brother and I dominated by Matchbox (cars), Dinky (cars), Britain’s (figures), Airfix (figures and kits) and Hornby (trains).  We weren’t heavily into cars and trains so the Britains and Airfix catalogues were the main focus of our attention.  To be even more specific, we were into all things Wild West.

Star Wars which changed everything was light years away. The playground, TV listings and the cinema were dominated by Westerns and we loved them.  TV was black and white but you could always tell the bad guy because he wore a black hat while the good guy wore a white one.  Our heroes were John Wayne, Alan Ladd, Gary Cooper and Robert Mitchum along with countless others. We had cowboy hats to wear, guns that fired caps to shoot and could do what we liked all day as long as we were back by the time it got dark (usually earlier on the longer summer days because we were hungry and when a mans gotta eat a mans gotta eat!).  Everything we read was about the Wild West.  In short we were both fixated on the period and fell hook line and sinker for the legends and Hollywood myths.  Nothing has changed, we are still besotted but just show it in different ways.

Indoor play centred around our collection of figures. We had little in the way of lead soldiers but had loads of Airfix 1/72nd figures and Britain’s Swoppets.  The Airfix figures and the Swoppets were very different but little did I know at the time that  both would prove to be major influences in my years to come as a modeller.

The 1/72nd Airfix figures probably require very little explanation, partly because you can still buy them to this day exactly as they were all those years ago except for the packaging (I suspect production techniques may have changed too).  The figures were wide-ranging but the various sets included cowboys, indians, pioneers and the American Civil War.  My brother and I called them “Little Men” and it was on these figures that I cut my teeth painting.  Armed with a poor quality brush and a small selection of Humbro enamel paints I would spend wet days painting away and then later sitting back and admiring how I’d managed to turn a brand new plastic figure into a muddy gloss coloured one!

Swoppets on the other hand probably do require further explanation and rightly so because I think but cannot be certain that they had a major influence on some aspects of future figure development, in particular multi-pose and the concept of conversions.  They are probably best explained with the use of a few pictures.

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The photo above is of four 54mm Swoppets as they would have been bought. They could be purchased individually or in sets.  There were only ever two series of figures for the cowboys and one series for the indians.  Each series consisted of six foot figures and six mounted figures.  The bodies for the foot and mounted figures were the same.  The first series cowboys hit the streets in the 1950’s so these little chaps are almost 70 years old.

The photo below shows how the Swoppets came apart.  You could even remove guns from holsters!

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The next photo shows how the figures can be rebuilt to creat a new one from swopping the parts (hence why they were called Swoppets).

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Now I’m no mathematician but I’m guessing that if you had all 24 cowboys and all twelve indians you could make up a fair few combinations.  My brother and I had them all.

Having introduced the world to Swoppets (they also did some WW2 soldiers too) Britains expanded the range to include buildings.  They brought out a jail, saloon, livery stable, ranch house and a bank which meant we could create even better setups.

So, between painting 1/72nd figures and creating setups using Swoppets the foundations were laid for my eventual passion to paint and create vignettes and dioramas as well as making my own buildings.  This unknown passion was to lay dormant for many years.

The non-modelling years – 1970 – 1984?

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Me in 1974, just left school to start work, age 17

As I entered my teens and young adult life so my childhood was consigned to the past.  Toys were packed away and put in the loft or even worse, as was the case with my Swoppets, they were given away! (Thanks to Ebay I’ve since bought them all again!).

To old to play life became dominated  by football (soccer), girls and drinking (to be honest it was a fun time!).  Work then followed along with meeting she who must be obeyed and in 1982 I got married.  Nothing was happening whatsoever on the modelling front until a fateful day in 1988 which was to change my world.

… (To be continued in Part 2).

TIM

Lights, Camera, Action! – 28mm Hammer Horror Diorama – Part 3 (Final)

Not too much to say on this one as it’s mainly about the pictures of the completed diorama.  The film crew, camera and lights needed to be based and have been and a few other final touches needed to be made.

I’m still not sure if the balance of the completed diorama is right.  I feel the set wall might have been better if it ran the full length of the base.  The downside of doing so would have meant not being able to properly see all the figures.  Buggered if you do, buggered if you don’t.  I think I’ll have to put this one down to experience and if I do something like it again try to come up with a better composition.

Once again  there are some interesting shadows appearing in the photographs, purely by accident I must admit.  As IRO pointed out in one of the photos in Part 2 of this model the idea of painting in the shadow would be pretty cool.  I’ve resisted this idea only because I have never done shadows before.  I will try it out on something else and if it works out OK then I may revisit this model.  Until then it is complete!

Photo’s below.

TIM

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The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 15)

Welcome to this week’s Musings!

Future Musings and the Revised Plan!

It seems last weeks idea of moving Mid Week Musings temporarily to once every two weeks for what I thought were good reasons was simply wrong.  Based on the feedback I received it was clear that I had overlooked some “creative” solutions and that I was simply being a “Whinging Pomme”.  Now that I am out of rehab for the temporarily insane I have been able to objectively review the situation and can now announce my revised plan.  This revised plan is of course a mix of the original plan and the initial revised plan but with a few revisions to make a new revised plan.  Hopefully thats cleared things up!

So, for as long as I can think of things to say the Mid Week Musings will continue.  In addition I plan to introduce a new article, the “Fortnightly Figure”, more on that in just a moment.  My Saturday post was never changing so it’s business as usual for that one.

Why the “Fortnightly Figure”?  Well a great many years ago I started out as a figure painter.  These days I’ve been much more into vignettes and dioramas and of course my blog too.  The initial aim of my blog was to simply keep a record of my work and post progress reports on the latest diroama I am working on.  That’s not something I’m aiming to change but just lately I’ve started to enjoy painting just figures once again.  This has been further fuelled by the June challenge.  The thing is there is not much to say about these figures.  There is no real progress images or associated text, they are just painted and very simply based and that’s it.  It doesn’t feel right not giving them some air time just because they will never feature in a vignette, diorama or as a single figure with a bit more oomph.  So, as they don’t really relate to what I have been doing on my blog I thought I’d go with the new post idea of the “Fortnightly Figure”.

Hopefully I can produce a new figure every couple of weeks or so in addition to everything else that is going on but if that fails then I can bring out and dust off something from years ago and give it a moment in the spotlight.  As my first figures will be for the June challenge I will begin this new post in July, probably on  Monday to spread things out a bit.

In the meanwhile I will post the first of what I think will be a three part article starting next Monday to fill the gap entitled “This Is Me! – TIM’s Modelling Memoirs. 

“We would advise all our readers to read Tim’s Modelling Memoirs!”  – The Editor of Insomnia Weekly 

Bet you can’t wait … yawn!

My Top 10 Modelling Tools

As some of you are already aware I am a lists person.  I thought I would put a slightly different spin on the subject by listing the top 10 modelling tools I would not want to be without.  Obviously it’s a personal list but I thought it might be fun to share it and perhaps learn what other modellers might list as their “couldn’t live without” items too.

The list is in no particular order and I have excluded paint brushes as these are a given.

  1. Green Stuff Leaf and Tile cutters – great little additions for added base realism and diorama building;
  2. Green Stuff Rolling Pins  – these are very neat and great for ground work, walls and buildings;
  3. Hand drill/clamp – a must have especially for mounted figure painting;
  4. Hand vice – holding things in my fingers tightly has literally become a pain, this tool seriously keeps me able to paint;
  5. Little Files – another essential for figure clean up amongst other things;
  6. Swiss Army Card (not knife) Saw – the teeth on this saw are very, very fine which makes life easier for removing figures from their bases without taking off their feet!;
  7. Steel Ruler with finger guard – the recess for protecting my fingers when cutting makes this brilliant;
  8. Samsung Tablet – not really a modelling tool as such but being able to research at the touch of a button is fantastic;
  9. Fine tweezers – an essential;
  10. Model knife – a no brainer.

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From top to bottom – hand vice, Swiss card and saw, Green Stuff punches and hand drill/vice

Why so many Modellers in Australia?

I was looking at the list of followers that I have.  It’s not an exhaustive list, 50 in total if you include my email followers in the stats number that wordpress throws out.  Personally I’m more than pleased with that not least of all because it’s 49 more than I expected and also because I don’t participate in any other social media sites.  I knew my brother would be up for keeping an eye on what I do but other wise you can mark me down as Billy No Mates.

The thing that got me though was the high percentage of modellers/gamers based in Australia.  I sort of new the modelling scene was big in the UK (we need to do something when it’s constantly raining) and the USA but Australia surprised me.  Steriotypical it might be but my image was one of young and old constantly down at the beach and living an outdoor existence that the rest of us can only envy.  Clearly there is more to it and I’m curious to know what it is.

Was there a big drive on wargaming and model making at some point?  Is there a large number of manufactures based in Australia unknown to me because the figures are purchased through UK outlets?  Is the weather far more seasonal than I am aware of in my ignorance and thus indoor pursuits are needed just as much as they are in the UK/USA?  Or, and this is my wild card, is it that 99% of the world’s most dangerous creatures live in Australia making it far to f**cking dangerous to venture outside?

Answers on a post card to … TIM.

—000—

Until next time.

TIM

 

 

 

 

Lights, Camera, Action! – 28mm Hammer Horror Diorama – Part 2

My brother and his wife along with his son and his daughter visited us for a few days last week so little was done on the modelling front.  It was great to see them all but I’d forgotten how exausting a 4 year old can be.  It was as much as I could do to lift a brush after they left!  I did manage to get some further work on the base completed and the other three figures have now been painted.  I ran out of time to complete the whole thing for this post so a final part will have to follow in due course.

I’m still having my doubts on this one.  Since I started it I’ve had lots more ideas on other ways I could have put this together.  Not so much that what I’m doing is wrong  it’s just that the scope for using either horror figures and/or a film crew offers so many alternative possibilities.  Still, at least it means I’ve got plenty of future ideas to keep me occupied!

Latest progress figures below.

TIM

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The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 14)

Welcome to this week’s Musings!

Decisions, Decisions

Things are happening to me which I cannot explain.  The best I can offer is that it’s an age thing and to be fair it could be.

Throughout my life to date I’ve been a decision maker.  In fact I’ll go as far as to say that some of the biggest decisions in my life have been the easiest to make.  I didn’t hesitate to marry my wife (even though I probably ought to have done with the benefit of hindsight), to move house on numerous occasions, to change jobs (albeit within the same company), to leave work after 32 years or to have children and relocate to the south-west of the country.  Smaller decisions were just that, easily made without a moment’s hesitation.

So why do I now find myself pontificating over whether or not I should buy a certain modelling item, be it a figure, brush, pot of paint or whatever?  Only the other day it took me an age to decide which of two figures to buy only to decide not to by either before changing my mind and buying both!

All very odd.

Hiding Bases

It might only be applicable to me but when I’m considering how to base my figure, vignette or diorama one of my greatest challenges is how best to incorporate or disguise the base that the figure is actually on.  For example, figures on a textured base don’t look good just stuck on top of, say, a wooden floor.  The figure is also elevated too which is fine for gaming as the piece is intended to move but looks dreadful in a diorama. One alternative is to counter sink the base in oder to put the figure on the right level but you are, in the case of a wooden floor still, left with the wrong texture and appearance.

Occasionally some figures don’t have a base at all which can be a bonus.  The slot style base can sometimes be easier to work with too.  One alternative of course is to cut the figure off of the base for which there are pros and cons.  On the pro side it provides much greater flexibility for basing the figure which is the whole point of removing the figure from its base in the first place.  On the cons side it’s easy to remove the feet if you are not careful and the figure can  potentially lose its strength and balance making it harder to stick it down onto its new base.

The scale of the problem much depends on the ground work you are aiming to use.  If the base is largely earth, mud, grass or whatever then the problem is generally minor.  Wooden floors, cobblestones, brick paving, flagstones require more thought and typically require some disguising and blending.  Disguise can be fine for a single figure, even two perhaps but can start to look false if several figures are involved so a combination of techniques can be required.

Not the hardest modelling problem to overcome to be fair but one which does require more consideration than some might think, for me at least at any rate!

If you have any tips on this subject I’d love to hear them.

The Case of the Mysterious Yellow Orb

Something very strange is happening in our part of Devon and it is having a dramatic effect on my modelling time.  The sun is shining!  More than that it has been shining on and off for a few weeks now.  We are in danger of having an English summer if this weather keeps up (was it Mark Twain who said the best winter he ever had was a summer in England?).  If it does then I’m not sure if I should be pleased about it or not as it is playing havoc with my modelling schedule.

One issue I have is that the grass is growing.  This in itself is not a major problem but I have a large garden and it takes several hours to do and is currently in need of doing twice a week.  On top of that I have plants that need watering which is another time-consuming chore and one I don’t particularly enjoy.  If that wasn’t enough I’m now required to cook the evening meal.  She who must be obeyed thinks we ought to take advantage of the weather so I’m required to grill burgers, sausages and any dead creature that comes out of the freezer or from the butcher on the f***ing BBQ.

Just when I didn’t think things could get worse she who must be obeyed has started to join me on my walks with Buddy.  No sign of her when it’s pissing down but now that the sun is shining I’m saddled with her company and am unable to walk and “muse” without her twittering in my ear all the time!

All of this has led to some serious thoughts on the modelling front.  Excluding the half a dozen or so that I’m working on, new dioramas are temporarily off my schedule and Mid Week Musings will continue but probably on a fortnightly basis for the time being.  Instead I’m going to simply finish the dioramas I’ve started and paint some individual figures, details of which I will post on a fortnightly basis (The Mid Week Fortnightly Figure) alternating with Mid Week Musings.  I need to do some figures for the June challenge anyway so this fits nicely but if I fail at that too then I’ll go and get out an old figure which hasn’t seen the light of day for a long time instead.

This is of course is all well and good but as they say “If you want to make God laugh, tell him you have a plan!”  By tomorrow it will doubtless start raining and continue unabated for several months in which case normal service will be resumed.

—000—

Until next time.

TIM