Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Past

Well another successful Christmas. We managed to get my folks at my house here this year for Christmas eve gift exchange and perpetual Hors D'oeurves bar. Then today we went to my Father-in-Law's house for more of the same. We still have a New Years day event with the Mother-in-Law. This holiday season included dog sitting for my nieces Christmas present- an Chihuahua puppy! What a hoot. I'm off work through New Years day and have high hopes of getting some bench-time.

Workbench update; I'm nearing completion of the groundwork for the diorama. Just a few details to add and I can begin painting in earnest. I imagine it'll be painting from now until AMFS with a short diversion toward groundwork for the ECW cavalry guy. Speaking of the cavalryman, he is mostly assembled and almost ready to finish. Hopefully this week will see his completion.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Chrismas is right 'round the corner

I finally got busy at the bench. What you see is how far I've gotten on the groundwork project for Timelines. I have also gotten a bit further on detailing and painting the shed. I decided to redo that a bit.

Lots has happened since my last real update. We had a terrific snow here a while back and my son went on a Boy Scout camping trip. They stayed in a cabin and most of the kids brought sleds. I gather that they had a terrific time. I had a long week last week I outlined earlier. 48 hours OT in five days left me a little spent. Motivation and energy is returning slowly. There have been the usual round of holiday partys and other activities. I have a week off over the holidays and I'm looking forward to it. My brother and his family will back this way by then and I look forward to seeing them. My good friend Brian and I have vowed to hit the mountain biking trail if weather permits over the Christmas break. If I remember to, I'll get some photos of that. Until next time, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Well, life gets in the way sometimes, doesn't it? I have not been able to get much done the last week or so. I had a temporary change in duty at work this week that will extend through Monday. Working noon to midnight leaves very little private time. To add to the frustration, the furnace has been acting up and requires a certain amount of carressing to become operational. I may get in to the nuts and bolts of it after the whole thing is history. I missed our office Christmas party too. Hopefully things will be baack to normal by mid-week.

Workbench update; no pictures to share, but I did get a bit of work done on the ECW figure. I repainted the eyes. I felt like they need a different look. I also added a bit of blood seeping from the cut on the cheek and some also on the lace collar. I found it difficult to create a realistic look. I think I succeded in the end. It did take a couple of tries though. Pictures to follow soon. I made some minor adjustments to the 1st SSF diorama. The figures seemed too far forward and I moved them back slightly. I still intend to have all of this done for the AMFS show in February. I'll have to push some.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A new month

Well, we are under a blanket of snow and ice here in SW Missouri. It's been a good couple of days to hole up at home. A late night call took me back in to work last night and had me up way past my bed time. Luckily I was off today and able to sleep in and cathc an afternoon nap. I've learned to love all the seasons for what they are. Even the bitter cold of winter has its charm.

Bench update; More painting on the ECW Rounhead. I had a Bob Ross "happy accident" with this guy. I wanted to accentuate the highlights on the sash. I added some more white to my highlights and as I was hitting the tops of all the folds. I started in the middle, and in the progress noticed that was all that was needed. In fact it was a case where less is more. The extreme highlight in key places was just the thing to create some shine and dimension.

The diorama is progressing nicely. It is the subject of tutorial/group project on Timelines forum. Groundwork Tutorial I hope everyone gets a little something out of it.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Post Thanksgiving reflections

I've been bust at the bench actually. Painting on the Roundhead is going well. I have started the painting on the 1st SSF fellows. I will be leading a portion of a group project on Timelines. The subject is groundwork and I will be doing an urban scene. Inspired by the work of Greg Difranco, I am considering painting my 1st SSF diorama as if it were happening by moonlight. It's a bold move for me and I may abandon the idea if a step doesn't go well. We shall see. Expect a couple of figure reviews soon also for Timelines.

This is the first Thanksgiving in the last several years that my wife hasn't had to work. During this period, as a family, we would eat dinner at the hospital where she worked. She's in a new postion now and we were able to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family. It was a blessing. My cousins and I also divided my late Aunt's Christmas ornaments. That brought back many memories and several laughs.

Monday, November 13, 2006

November already!

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted.

Veteran's day has passed, happy Veteran's day to all the Vets out there.

Folks, I'm told our WWII Vets are leaving us at the rate of 1000/day. I went to the visitation of an old friend's Grandfather. This kind of drove the point home to me. He was a WWII veteran. The funeral was to include an Honor Guard. I was sorry that I couldn't attend.

Workbench update. I have finished the sculpting on the victim of a knife attack for my diorama of the Devil's Brigade. I have resculpted an ECW Roundhead. Painting has begun on the ECW and the 1st SSF figures. My friend Paul Kernan sent me a link the other day regarding a reality show they're broadcasting in Cananda. It's about the 1st SSF. I gather it's a lot like our PBS reality shows. Modern folks are plugged into situations of the past. What a great show that'll be. Maybe we'll get some version of it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Back to the bench

Usually I return from a show ready to crank out many inspired pieces. While I have plans, life gets in the way. A very busy week and fatigue have precluded any model building. I've packed away most of the stuff I bought at the MMSI show.

The Cards won the World Series this week and I could have peed my pants. I watched the last 1 1/2 innings standing up. The first world Championship since I was a Junior in high school. Awesome! I know noone outside of middle America cared, but here it was incredible.

The other day I was walking down the hall at work and had one of those episodes when certain smells trigger memories. I don't know what the aroma was, but it was distinctly like the one I used to smell at my Grampa Long's when he lived near our house. I used to get off the bus at there and stay there until my folks got home. The aroma was a potpouri of supper cooking, oak smoldering in the wood stove and plug tobacco. If I could I'd bottle the stuff and then I'd self medicate with this nostalgic elixir. Because for an all too brief instant I was seven years old again and sitting in his living room with a tv tray of after-school snacks in front of me and a quiet old man behind me. How could a boy feel more secure?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Back fom Chicago

My good friend Anders and I returned from the MMSI show late last night. The trip home seemed a long one this time. The show was an excellent experience again. I'm truly amazed at the openness of figure modellers to help one another attain another level of achievement. It was great to see old friends and meet some new ones this year. I was able to make face-to-face contact with a very nice gentleman for whom I had sculpted a couple of masters. Michael Von Kolpinski, the owner of Der Bunte Rocke had travelled from Germany to Chicago for the first time and I believe had a terrific time. It was very enjoyable to discuss past and future projects with him. I was also fortunate enough to get some very helpful advice from one of America's most talented painters. Greg Difranco was very complimentary of my work in general while at the same time providing some excellent advice on what to do to improve my work. There was some truly inspirational work on display. I used to read the show coverage in the magazines with slight disbelief when I read that the shows were about meeting old and new friends. I always thought they were about seeing the excellent work of other artists. After I had the opportunity to visit a few shows, I found that what the reporter said in their articles was true. The work becomes a medium for coming together. These are truly social events, where much fun is had.

I do have a few minor negatives. The hotel, while very nice and accomodating was like all hotels geared toward the business traveller. Extra charges for local calls and internet access was unfortunate in my opinion. This is obviously geared toward the business person on expense account, and not the casual weekender on a budget. The hospitaliuty suite would have been better if it could have been housed in one room instead of spread between two or three. The room where the awards were given out was a bit too small and it was difficult for the crowd in the hall to hear. A page of the awards was left out for about the third time that I know of. This seems to be a recurring event at the Chicago show. Not major things, but I felt they were worth mentioning.

Overall this was one of the best figure events I have attended. The new hotel was nice, the club was accomodating, the attendees were friendly and open, I sold a piece and obtained a couple of future deals, and bought a handful of useful items. What more could a person ask for. Advice for other figure modellers...Get thee to a Show!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Finished Australian

Here is the last piece that I wanted to finish for Chicago. It included many experiments not the least of which was making the figure submersed in water. I used a new product for the water. Vallejo has released several new products for simulating water. The one I used is "Still Water". It is a crystal clear, medium viscosity fluid. You basically squeeze it from the bottle and usher it into place with brush. I am very pleased with the final piece.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Here's the completed Chasseur. I'm pleased with the finished work, but not so much with the photography. I guess I need better lighting. I am nearly finished with my last piece for Chicago. If all goes well, I should have two (maybe three) painters pieces, and two open pieces.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Here's the groundwork for the Chasseur in the last upate. I used a kit piece for the post and created a wrought iron fence from brass rod and tube. I topped it with some beads from the bead section at Hobby Lobby. I like this part of figure modelling as much as anything. I also have gotten quite a bit done on my Aussie in the swamp. Lots to do in the coming days before Chicago.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I'm well in to the process of finishing this figure to the left. It's actually further along than the photo shows. I'll post some new ones soon. I have the basework completed. The base was damaged by the tap I used and had to be refinished. I decided to have our Chasseur here standing on a sidewalk near the corner of an iron fence. I have to admit to knowing little about the subject. It is one of the Napoleonic uniforms I thought might be interesting to paint. I'm looking forward to getting this one done. I have another project in the works that needs to be finished before the 2006 Chicago Show October 20th.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Day One: Following another's lead.