Monday, October 15, 2012

Last show of the year, or first?

Well, just back and decompressed from this year's MMSI Chicago show. This one was a bit of a family trip for us. My wife, son and his girlfriend came along. They visited the show briefly Friday night, and while I attended Saturday, they went into the city to visit museums. Science and Industry, and the Art Institute were on the agenda. It seems that one museum is enough for one day and two proved to be over ambitious. A few words about the show; I thought the tables in the display are seemed a little sparse. I know several regulars weren't there. I don't know the reasons, but I can think of several that didn't make it this year. There was no shortage of quality this year. I'm always amazed at how some of these folks can paint and sculpt such beautiful pieces. This year seems to have heralded the return of the shadow box diorama. There were several on the tables this time around. These are always a sight to behold. I've toyed around with it in the past and hope to involve myself in a more ambitious project soon. More on that later. I sat in on both seminars this year, which I seldom do. Doug Cohen gave a talk on creating vignettes. He reinforced many things I already thought about the subject. It's still a treat to see how someone puts together a piece. I also sat in on the Sunday seminar, "Fostering Creativity in the Hobby". It was moderated by Jim Derogatis, and paneled by Fletcher Clement, Joe Berton, and Shep Paine. These fellows are some of the most creative guys to wield a brush. It was very interesting and I'm glad my wife talked me into staying later than planned to attend. I had a great time visiting with old friends and meeting some new. Sharing and talking shop is the best thing you can do at the shows. The photos this time are of my medal winning pieces from the show. I decided to enter competition this time around. I skipped competing last year, and again at Tulsa. I didn't feel like my work was Gold quality at these shows and with a wash-tub full of lesser medals, decided that if I didn't think I was doing gold work, I'd skip competing for a bit until I could get back to that quality. So 1/2 isn't bad. For the last few years I've been on g/s cusp, getting gold about half the time. But the rest of the modelers seem to be making advances at a pace that I'm finding it difficult to match. Some of this is due to the training I put myself through the last couple of years. More on that here Tri-Blog if you want the boring details. So all that to say, I was very happy to achieve a Gold medal for the paratrooper diorama. I think I was close on the trench raider, but haven't seen the score card. My good friend Kreston Peckham has started a modelling blog and here's the link; Kreston's Blog. I'll try to be more diligent about posting on my own blog, and when I can remember how I'll add some links. Now that summer's over and indoor activities are taking over, it should be a little easier to let you into my world of model building.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lots to report

Well, a lot has happened since my last entry. We had the Atlanta show and the 1st inaugural TX show. I attended both and had a great time. Got a couple of silvers in Atlanta, and a couple in TX as well as an Open gold. Very pleased to be in the gold medals at the TX show. It was a very high quality room. Workbench report; I finished the Hogan's Heroes vignette I started a while back. It was well received by those who saw it at the TX show. I enjoyed doing it. It was a fun off beat, but familiar project. I've gotten back to a personal project; my diorama of a group of surrounded paratroopers during the invasion of France. The Tulsa show will be here before you know it. I was invited to present a seminar on groundwork this year. I'm going to present the same material I did in Chicago last year, with a few refinements. Looking forward to it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rebel Sharpshooter finished

This is the finished Confederate sharpshooter I've been working on. I'm glad to finally have it on the base. I'm pretty happy with the result. I wanted a very weathered character for this piece. I experimented with impasto for the mud and dirt. I think the result looks okay, but could use some refinement. Next up is the Muleskinner I sculpted a while back. I'm hoping to have it for Atlanta, but I may have to cull it from my display of I start pushing it too close to show time.

After I get these projects are done, I have one commission to finish and it's back to my paratrooper diorama.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pretty Boy Floyd gets away

Just finishing this project. Pretty Boy Floyd makes a getaway after knocking off a small town bank. The figure is a radical conversion from some old Warriors bits I bought. I used a Hornet head and DML Thompson. I've always wanted to do a gangster using one of the Thompsons with a drum magazine. I like the way this one turned out, especially the blue suit. I struggled with the sign for the bank. I went back and forth on a couple of different design options. I found a source for some plastic letters and this solved the problem for me. I had initially intended to have the sign lay flat against the building, but I could tell that the scene needed some element up high to help frame the figure. I didn't want to create a diorama, so creating the illusion of a downtown bank without modelling the entire building or block was a bit of a challenge. These kinds of things are intended to appear as snap shots in my opinion. I've become interested in depression era history lately, and this little project allowed me explore the clothing style of that time.

Workbench Report;

I've been working on my other two projects that I set out to finish before Atlanta; a mule skinner, and a Confederate sharpshooter. I think both are going to look pretty good when they're finished. After they're done, I've got to get back after a commission that I agreed to do. My next goal will be to finish the paratrooper vignette I started last year. I intend to do an article about the construction of it as well. I've tried to photograph as many steps and as I can break stride to take.


I've written about this before I believe. I've heard it said, "There is nothing more boring than someone else's hobby." I don't give two shits about fishing or hunting, but I find myself listening to lots of stories about both because that's what most of the folks I work with like to do with their spare time. I listen politely and sometimes I'm genuinely interested depending on the story, or storyteller. Just because I don't share their interest doesn't mean that they don't have something interesting to say. To think that what someone else likes to do to relax is a waste of time is pretty judgmental in my opinion. That's why going to shows and participating on discussion boards is so popular. They are places where like minded individuals can meet and discuss their common interest without worrying about whether or not the person you're talking to thinks it's weird that you like to paint miniature figures ("play with toys"). I find this is true regardless of the hobby. Whether it's motorcycles, hunting, fishing, or mumbly pegs, there is an interest group (real, or virtual) somewhere. All that said, don't hate on someone else's game, get one of your own.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

On the bench

The photos are of a couple of projects that are currently on the bench. One is a Confederate sharpshooter, and the other is the bank being robbed by my Pretty Boy Floyd figure. The building is pretty much finished. I need letters for the sign and I'm thinking PE or something raised. I also need to add door hardware, but I'm on the bubble about which way I want Floyd to be running. The door swing will be key in getting it to look right.

Today and last night were spent getting the flesh areas painted on the three pieces I plan to have at Atlanta; A Muleskinner, the Reb Sharpshooter, and Floyd. I had to relearn my technique a bit and even had to strip the face after one failed attempt on the Reb. I think I've got it figured out now. I had to get my Danni Cartacci book out again to get my head around the process.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Scenic Backdrops

Here are a couple of buildings that will be included in some projects I have coming up. One is the scene of a bank robbery that will include a figure of a fleeing Pretty Boy Floyd. The other is a project to be named later. I need to get the figures worked out and finalize the setting before I commit to more than that. Both buildings are made with a substantial amount of plastic. In the case of the barracks, it's all plastic stock. The bank uses some donor parts from a Min-Art kit. The brick to be specific. I'm really amazed at the flexibility of plastic stock for creating these items. I came across this site a while back; . It's Ben Jakobsen's Fotki account with a wealth of information about detailing and scratch-building. I learned a lot about working with plastic.

I'll post soon with some sculpting work. I've been busy at the bench, but haven't been very good about taking IP photos.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fighting Top done, MMSI &Creating a Neatness

I saved the photos of the finished USS Constitution Fighting Top until after the MMSI show, because I wanted the collector to be the first to see the completed work. It turned into quite an impressive model. The buyer was sure to suggest that I show it as there aren't likely to be many of these on display. I was happy to show the fruits of nine months of work. Happier still to have won a silver medal for the piece (so I'm told, I sat out the awards ceremony because I thought I had entered "Exhibit Only"). I got lots of positive comments on my work, but none more than the Top. I showed more than one person the instruction booklet. It was a difficult build, but nothing any builder with a few skills, time and patience can't handle.

I did the Saturday seminar for the club this year. I'm always happy to share techniques and I was flattered when the club invited me to do so. The subject was doing groundwork with an emphasis on outdoor scenery. I discussed some of my techniques with a slideshow SBS. It seemed to be very well received. At least no one fell asleep long enough to fall out of their chair.

There was a lot of nice work on the tables. I'm not going to name names, afraid I'll leave someone out. Suffice to say, the standard was very high and the most of the tables were full. I know I walked away inspired. As always, food and drink were taken in abundance. Over time it really does come around to meeting up with old friends, meeting new ones and sharing stories.

I'm amazed at how empty my studio seems with the Top out of the way. The model itself was big, as was the box it came in. The instruction manual was impressive in its own right, and was always open on my bench. Now I need to give all my brushes a thorough cleaning, change out my thinner, and straighten up. I'm going to need a new light sometime soon too, as I burned one out last week. There's still a lot of junk to clean up and then a good wipe down. I'll probably do some general re-arranging and then think about getting on the next project.