Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting a few items done before year's end. In the photo is a Metal Modeles French Dragoon from the Franco-Prussian War. It was sculpted by Raul Latorre and as such it's a little less stiff than Metal Modeles usually produces. I had initially bought this figure from a vendor at an AMFS show a couple of years ago. I was excited about painting it, but I lost it somewhere along the way. I bought another because I liked it so well. It was a very nice figure to paint. Painting my own sculptures seems a little tedious times. After you've spent so much time sculpting a thing, you kind of want to get away from it for a while. When I do a stock figure, I try to get the best figures I can afford. I have tried to stay away from WWII stuff too. Branching out of your comfort zone allows you to learn about other periods along the way. I also have a Union Infantryman on the bench. I'll post photos of the finished work when it's done.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Leraning the craft II

In a post a while back I talked about some of the revelations I've figured out about sculpting proper anatomy. I've started to get a handle on anatomy through some practice. One thing I've gotten over is the fear of starting over. I've started to try to apply those same lessons to proper drapery. When I first started sculpting I noticed the way clothing lay in certain poses. Now when I observe clothing folds and drapery, I envision which tool I would use and how I would approach a certain difficult piece of drapery. I'm struck by the drapery of Taesung Harms and Raul Latorre. There are others that I think have a good handle on it as well, but I think these two fellows excel at getting this part of sculpting right. Lately I've worked out a few techniques of my own that have opened some doors for me. No matter how long you've been at this business, there's always something you can learn to do better.

Project update; The FPW Dragoon is almost done. Basically, the sword straps are all that's left. It's turning out very well. It's one of four or so figures that I think represent personal bests for OOB figures. I have slowed down on the Alamo Scouts dio. Another sculpting project is getting top bill right now. I'm working on a Union Soldier master. I like the face I have going and the figure is sculpted up to the coat tails. I use a bottom up approach, so I'd say it's about halfway completed. I'll be posting some photos after I complete the Dragoon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Return to Standard time

Thinking about getting back after this guy. I have a couple of projects ahead of it though. I'm doing a three man vignette of an Alamo Scout recon group in the South Pacific. One using binoculars and some hand signals to communicate to another using a handy-talky, and a third pulling rear security. I intend to create a rocky outcropping with some dense foliage and perhaps some water. Also in the hopper and nearly complete is a Metal Modeles French Dragoon from the Franco Prussian war. It's a beautiful sculpt by Raoul Latorre. Nice detail. I started it when I got back from Chicago. It's going well and I managed to not butcher the white belts. The gold bullion has proven to be a challenge, but I think what I have so far is working. Next up is the face and then the details and groundwork. Not necessarily in that order. I resisted the temptation to place the dragoon in a cigar box. I see a lot of possibilities for this mini-box as I call it, but I don't want to over use the idea.

I keep forgetting to mention that I obtained a copy of Historical Miniature #1 from a very generous Bob Stein. I now have the entire print run of the main English speaking magazine devoted to historical miniature painting and sculpting.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicago 2k9 Post mortem

Just got in from my annual fall trek to Chicago for the MMSI show. The club puts on a very well done show and has since long before my time. This was my tenth, but the club's 35th. Hard to imagine really. It was a great time. Rusty Nail drove up from southern Arkansas on Thrusday and we took out the next day together. It's always good to have a travel companion. The trip across IL is one I really enjoy. The farmland in the fall is really beautiful. This year the trip up was kind of gloomy because of the constant rain. Seeing the sun, appropriately enough on Sunday was a welcome change of pace. It was terrific seeing old friends and meeting some new ones. The amount and quality of work in the exhibit hall was great as usual. I was honored to win a gold in the open and a silver in painters. It was difficult to hear the different awards from the hallway, so I missed hearing what some of my friends got for their displays. Above are the two most recent pieces I completed. They were part of my display at this year's show. I sold the pirate to a collector. I didn't really intend to sell it, I just wanted to show the collector what I had been working on and see if he was looking for anything of that sort. He was rather taken with it and after some reconsideration, he elected to go ahead and purchase it. I sometimes hate to part with my work. It does finance my hobby and besides, I've already had my fun during the creation.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting ready for MMSI

I'm starting to ramp up with getting some projects finished for the Chicago show. I plan to have three pieces ready for the show. The Gumshoe, Light Brigade Dragoon, and a pirate. In the photo is the groundwork for the pirate. I think it comes off pretty convincingly. I think I'll tinker with it some more as time allows. The gumshoe was finished long ago, and the Light Brigade should have been done long ago. I have some time off coming up that I'm hoping will push me over the top to get some of these things finished. I had planned to save the pirate for another show, but my good friend Anders shamed me into at least trying to get it done for Chicago.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm Cap'n, and I say you're Cap'n. Cap'n.........

I've been working on a handful of muskets for various manufacturers and not getting to sculpt lately. So as I was winding up those projects, I posed up several mannequins for future projects. Hoping that the lightning of inspiration to strike, I hammered out a project that I've been wanting to do for a while. It's a pirate inspired by NC Wyeth's illustration of Captain Billy Bones. I didn't want to do an exact copy, but much is borrowed from Wyeth. My character is fatter than Wyeth's and I did the hat differently. If an experiment I have planned goes well, I should have a pretty dynamic setting for this fellow.

We had a great chicken BBQ for family and a few friends from work. It was a great time. BBQing twenty chickens is not for the faint of heart though. I think everyone had a good time. It was unfortunately marred by an accident that required a trip to the ER for my three year old niece. She had to get a stitch in her lip. I'm really hoping that she doesn't get a scar. I bear much of the responsibility for it, I have to admit.

School is in full swing now and I'm bearing the fruit of a driving teenager. I have a bit more free time now that I don't have to get JB after school.

On the Tri front, I bought a new bike from my friend Don and rode it a good twelve miles. I'm looking forward to riding more. Swimming is not really an issue now, but I plan to join a center that has a pool so I can get on that aspect of it. I've increased my runnig distance lately and some success on this front will be great, as I am not fond of running.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Can a man serve two masters?

I've been bitten by the triathlon bug. Some friends are into this and my curiosity is piqued. I am a regular runner, but far from a fanatic. Swim training for the Bahamas trip I went on with my son added another element to the challenge. A bit of limited success in the pool has led to me questioning if I have a tri in me. I think I can get the biking down eventually. So if I can get over a few hurdles and stay injury free, I intend to begin training for sprint distance triathlons next year. I wonder if I'll be able to balance a busy training schedule with my main hobby. I have always been involved with sports, but nothing that required a regular commitment that I gather triathlons do. So we'll see how it goes. I think it's something I need to do. Hopefully, I'll be able to do the smart thing and take the training time from something other than the studio.

I just got back from Kansas City after a conference at the BOP Regional office. We worked out some issues toward standardizing Crisis Management Training throughout the bureau. It was kind of nice to be in the middle of this type of thing, instead of on the sidelines waiting for these things to be handed down. It was hard work, spent mostly behind a computer screen hashing out details of lesson plans and training courses.

I've been experimenting with plastic as a sculpting medium lately. I've knocked out a handful of scale weapons using mostly, or all plastic. I just finished a 1/24 scale thompson. Add that to the 1/24 garand an the 18th and 19th century muskets I've done. I think I'll be doing this more in the future. I'll be starting a plastic figure out of the box in a day or two. I think it may turn into a two figure vignette actually. We'll see.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's day weekend

The photo is a Confederate Guerrilla intended as a Thunderbird Miniatures future release. I've been wanting to do one of these, and Mark and I had a chance conversation over an Osprey print almost a year ago and I told him I'd see what I could come up with. I hope it's a winner. I like it so far. Just gotta get over the hump and solve a couple of design problems.

I went to the folk's today and helped Dad put up hay. You can't farm without tearing up some gear, and today we broke a tractor and a baler. The baler was repaired, but the tractor was swapped out. I wound up running a tractor that I had only drive once or twice. It was a little intimidating, moving up to twice the tractor as the one I grew up on. It had a cab and a fan though, so I figure it's a trade up. Of course Pops had the one with AC in the cab. Happy Father's Day Dad.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tulsa anyone?

It's always exciting when it's time for another exhibit. The Tulsa show is this weekend. I always enjoy seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Viewing what everyone has been working on all year is what brings us together though. Over the fourteen years I've been active in miniature figure artistry I've managed to make quite a few friends and see some incredible work. The shows always come around too slowly and a show weekend is always over too quickly. The photo is my latest. This project was done on commission and still has a couple of small details that the patron has requested. The photo shows how it will look at the upcoming show. I'll have to add those details later. If you're coming to Tulsa, be sure to say hi, if you're not, you're missing out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spring has Sprung

Had a very busy Spring. Now summer is near and marked with the launching of the "Nony", our classic boat. It was a rainy day and we didn't do much more than take it out for a quick ride. The water would have been great to ski on though. The Tulsa show is coming up soon. I should have three pieces to display. The most current piece is a stock figure of Wyatt Earp on the porch of "The Oriental" shooting it out. If I can just manage to get the faces and hands painted, I'll be finished. It would probably take about an hour and a half to finish.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Steady as she goes

I haven't photographed anything to share lately. I'm working on a few things now though. A Wyatt Earp commission, a Crimean War Dragoon are on the painting bench. The only thing on the sculpting bench right now is the Bushwhacker I'm doing for Thunderbird. The painting isn't particularly challenging at this point. The sculpting is presenting a few problems to solve though. For one, it's my first mounted figure. For another, boots are very difficult for me for some dumb reason. Regardless, I'm excited about the project. I've wanted to do a Bushwhacker/Border Ruffian for a while, so when Mark said he was interested in the same thing, I jumped at the chance to do a master. I got copies of the pistols I made for him last week. The copies turned out great.

On the work front, I have to go to Crisis Management training next week. A few of us are heading out early to do a little training, and site prep. CMT this time around is in Ft. Carson CO. I think the facilities will be impressive, but the distance to travel is a little daunting. Being gone for nearly two weeks is not foremost among the things I'd like to do right now, but it will be a good session I'm sure.

On a personal/ family front, we all went to Tulsa to see Bruce Springsteen. It fulfilled a lifelong dream for me. I've been a fan of "The Boss" for over 25 years. I didn't think I'd ever get a viable, affordable chance to do it. It was a terrific show. There were a few songs that I was disappointed didn't make the set list. I heard plenty of favorites though. I'll be looking for him on the next tour. The day after the concert, we headed over to the Philbrook Museum. What a gem. There was too much to see in one day, so we'll be back one day. Art ran from ornamental garden sculpture to classical sculpture and painting to bizarre modern pieces. All of it was very inspirational.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Here's my latest. I could fiddle with this scene 'til I'm blue. This was one of the most fun projects I've ever done. It will be staying in my own collection.

This past weekend I attended a small charity model building contest in nearby Joplin. There is a terrific little shop down there that has a decent amount of items that would interest me. I stocked up on some Plastruct while I was there. The contest itself was much more diverse than anything I am used to. It was also a 1st, 2nd, 3rd type of affair. I don't really care for that format, but for such a diverse exhibit it makes a certain amount of sense. I enjoyed seeing some of the car and truck models that I don't normally get to see. These guys are very good at painting. The diorama section was pretty well populated. The group I've started visiting in Branson was well represented. I especially liked Nate's "Willy and Joe" inspired vignettes.

When I got back from Atlanta I was turned on to Facebook by some friends at church. I went ahead and registered and immediately was contacted by some folks I hadn't talked to in years. It has turned into one of my favorite places on the web. Social Networking indeed.

I've been on building stuff from plastic stock nearly to the point of obsession. I bought about fifty dollars worth over the last month. I knocked out a couple of muskets for my good friend Anders Heintz at HeLo. I'll be doing some more in the near future, including a shotgun for the Confederate Guerilla I'm doing for Thunderbird.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Post Atlanta Decompression

I just got in today from Atlanta. What a great job this club does running a show. I had a great time as usual. I hooked up with old friends, checked out some amazing miniature art, and generally had a good time. It was great to see Marion and Alan again. Mike Blank made it over again as well. It's always a treat to see work from across the Atlantic. Everything went great this year even as the club had to recover from an error in the room setup. It seems the wrong risers were delivered for the tables. This caused a two hour delay in setup for the display area. The folks in the club pulled together and rolled with the punches with usual aplomb. There were plenty of excellent displays at this year's show. I was struck by Joe Hudson's work. My good friend Anders Heintz had some excellent scratch-built figures on display. I wish I was as accomplished at such an early age. Rod Curtis had some excellent work as well. Several of the Grand Masters of the Atlanta show were present and displayed some of the best work present I have to say. Jason Greene won this year's Best of Show with his rendition of Elite's Crusader Knight. Jason's display was very impressive, and all of his work was of the highest quality. It's a rare event when a stock painted piece wins BoS. When that happens, it speaks to the quality of the piece. The Atlanta show is also and chance for me to visit with family. My brother and his family live in nearby Woodstock. For the last two years my Mother has made the trek with me and taken the opportunity to see her Granddaughters. All of us went out to dinner on Sunday afternoon to The Gondolier, my local favorite. I only get to see my brother and his family a couple of times a year. We had a terrific time together. The ride home is always about an hour too long, but the trip is worth it. A great weekend. Photos later.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I went to a HMSNEO meeting the other night. It's always nice to see the gang. It surprises me sometimes that I used to visit about 2/3 of the time. Now it's about once a quarter. Gas has gotten a little more affordable, so the trek isn't such a financial burden lately. It was the annual swap-meet, but I didn't sell anything. I did get to show off some of my work, and look at some of the work brought by other members. We have a talented bunch. Me and another new acquaintance visited the modeling club that meets at Hobbytown in Branson one Sunday a month. This is a promising group. Interests are diverse, and everyone there is enthusiastic. There was a brief show and tell period, and then general discussion. Our hosts are very accommodating and friendly. I'm looking forward to Atlanta in a few days. It will be a good show, and it'll be great to see old friends as well as my brother and his family.

I'm working on some neat stuff right now. I have been building some ACW revolvers to use in an upcoming project for Thunderbird Miniatures. Photos will come along later. They're as accurate as I can get them. And to my knowledge, they are not available from another manufacturer. I'll also be modeling a saddle for the first time in my life. That's a little intimidating I have to admit. I got some great reference material at the meeting last Friday though, thanks Kim. That's it for now.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Gearing up for Atlanta

The AMFS Atlanta show is coming up soon and I'm looking forward to attending again. They always run a first class show. I should have everything on the bench completed by then. I expect to get the samurai back from my friend, this along with Billy the Kid, the Eldar Ranger, should round out my Painters display. I'll have the detective and my "Recruiting for Dog Co." piece in Open. It's more work than I've had at one show in a while. I just finished off my Frontier/Colonial rifleman. It'll be shipped off to Scott at The Lost Battalion soon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quick update

Just a quick update on the Billy the Kid project. It's done and I wanted to post the final photo.

Another thought; They're building a new housing development nearby my house. I thought it was ironic that they chose to name this new development "The Woods" as the first thing they did was clear the area of all trees. Odd.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Off to a good '09

I've been able to get in the studio with some regularity these days. Yesterday evening was a good housecleaning session. Things had gotten out of hand lately as I began to wind up my Billy the Kid commission. I had plastic, paint palettes, and groundwork material all over the place. I spent about half an hour just managing the trash and sweeping off the bench.

We got HD programming last week on DISH network. It is excellent. I watched a basketball game on ESPN, it was like there was a game being played on my patio and I was watching it through a window. I find myself watching stuff I wouldn't normally watch in standard definition. My programming is a little jacked up and they're straightening it out as I type.

Most of the folks I know in this hobby have come to it through plastic modeling. With that in mind I find it a little odd that I don't often work with plastic. Lately, I've been rediscovering this extremely versatile medium. I have gathered quite a collection of strip, rod and sheet. It would be nice to own an entire display rack of Evergreen plastic. It has become my medium of choice for many figure and vignette accessories. With rulers, knives, gauges and some imagination, the possibilities are endless.

I'm hoping to be pushing some putty soon, but I have a couple of things to finish up before I can. One thing I'm excited to be getting back to is a Bushwhacker from the American Civil War. It's my first mounted piece. I am enthusiastic about it though. I'll be doing some reviews on TimeLines in the next few days. I got a couple of samples from Military Miniature Warehouse that included some printed matter from Reality in Scale, and a set of laser cut leaves from Kamizukuri. There are many very nice scenic items for the modeler these days. Some of this stuff is truly incredible.