Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I've been getting a few items worked on while I recover from surgery. I feel really good, which is a little deceiving. I have to remind myself that I had neck surgery two weeks ago and I'm still not fully healed.

This figure is the first one ready for paint that will go in my "Surrounded!" vignette. It's scratchbuilt except for the head and some web gear. I enjoy doing details like the cartridge belt even though it's totally frustrating sometime. I would probably choose to do the belt first next time I do one of these. Trying to fit it into the space I allowed was a little bit of a trick. I'm pleased enough with the result that I'm not going to redo it, but it's something to remember.

I took on a sizable commission last month as well. I'll be building the USS Constitution Fighting Top from Meteor Products as well as several figures that go with it. It has been challenging so far for a figure modeler. I read through the instructions and have to say that I find all the rigging a little daunting. I think the result will be pretty satisfying. The casting on the figures is a little hit-or-miss. Luckily, the package I got had an extra set of Marines included. I was able to mix and match some pieces to get the best components. The mold shift on a couple of the copies was so bad that a re-sculpt would have been warranted. Photos later when I get something substantial completed.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Testing the limits

Just finished this little guy. I think it turned out pretty good. It was an enjoyable project. There are a couple of things I wish I could have done better. The leggings could be a little cleaner in the sculpting department. I was very pleased with the pose. It's balanced a little precariously. I hope it will hold up to travel. I had to get a little creative to pin the foot to the base. My main goal was a dynamic, action pose. I hope a sense of motion exists.

I have been pretty busy in the studio lately. My shoulder is getting better every day. I go for an EMG soon to see what's up. The doc says my neck isn't bad enough to warrant injections. That works out pretty well, because I don't really want them if they're not going to fix my problem. It's funny, I got back in the studio because I wanted to see if I was going to be able to get some work done if I wind up being off for an extended period for surgery. I'd hate to be off work and not able to enjoy my hobby. Recently, my triathlon training had supplanted this hobby. Being thwarted on my 1/2 marathon training was upsetting to say the least. But, it did get me back to the bench and I think because of this injury, I'll be able to find a better balance between these two pastimes.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

WB report and shoulder update

Workbench report; In the photo is a forest setting that I finished the other day. It's intended to be the setting for the charging Indian that I sculpted a while back. That figure is currently on the workbench and about 75% complete. I think it's going to look pretty good when it's done. I've done this kind of setting before and there isn't anything really groundbreaking about the material I used. The trees are from Bayardi and have been embellished with dried roots and photo-etch items.

While my shoulder situation has improved, it still gives me some difficulty. Some things I used to do automatically take some re-engineering. I moved a small TV tray into my studio to use set my paint palette on. I also created a small lap-desk for my sculpting work. My workbench is rather high as these things go, which is how I like it. I have found that with my shoulder the way it is, I can't reach some things like I used to, so it necessitated these modifications. It has worked pretty well. I'll make improvements as time goes on I guess. I'm hopeful that I won't have to for long and I'll be healed up by December or so. I still don't know what I did. Waiting for results from the MRI.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chicago 2010 & shoulder injury

Well by all accounts the most recent Chicago show was a great success. I had a difficult time this year. I developed an injury on Friday morning that only seemed to get worse as the weekend wore on. As a result, I didn't get to enjoy the show as I normally would have. I seem to have all the symptoms of a torn rotator cuff, which means surgery. I'm hopeful that it's a pinched nerve and will heal with time. I'm not overly optimistic though.

I did get to visit with a few folks and had some nice meals with friends. A few highlights for me; My good friend Anders' display, Wendy Rafalski's work especially the ones displaying water effects, Fletcher Clement's display, Mike Blank's display, and the very large Arnhem diorama by Dan Capuano. There was an awful lot of very good work on display, but these are the ones that stood out in my mind.

I'm looking forward to getting back after some projects that are on the bench. Winter is near and it's the off season for triathlon training. I've been able to sculpt, but I haven't tried painting yet. I'm going to have to reconfigure my workspace a bit to accommodate this shoulder problem. I'm hoping that this injury doesn't set me back too much.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Small scale armory

I've been hacking at plastic these last few days. I'm making some 1/32 ACW muskets intended for Reaper Minis. One Springfield, and one Enfield. I think they're going pretty well. I really enjoy working with plastic stock. It's really a matter of figuring out how to use the medium. I has it's strengths and weaknesses, just as everything else. I have a formula I use to make make muskets that I'm refining. It seems to work pretty well. I plan to challenge myself at making some more modern weapons later on. I'll post some photos after they're completed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Clear workbench

I've wrapped up my work I planned to do over the summer. This is the last project I hoped to finish until August. I'll start painting the American Indian I sculpted a while back. I should have it all finished for Chicago. I'll be making some weapons from plastic in the meantime. Just a couple of small projects to fill in the gaps. I need to work out a new sculpting project. I have the beginnings of what I hope will be an ECW cavalryman on the charge. Ambitious for me because it will be mounted. More on that later.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some painting

Well, I've been doing a little painting lately. I bought this figure second hand. I really like the coats on these characters. I painted Elite's Royal Horse Artillery a while back and really wanted to try another one of the coats. The figure was a little pitted/pebbled. I didn't find this out until I started to paint it. I thought I could live with the texture, but elected to strip and fix it. I smoothed it all down with scotch-brite pads and steel wool. I gave it a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000, and reprimed. This seemed to do the trick. It's all painted with oils over acrylic and printer's ink. I found the red hair hard to duplicate. I also had some difficulty getting access to the right side of the figure's face. I generally prefer to have the head as a separate piece. This one is cast in place and practically up against the coat collar. I did my best, but close scrutiny reveals the problems I had. It's still a great character and fun to paint. I did it in just under a month, which is pretty fast for me.

Here's a very good link about the character's history;

Kabul to Gandamak

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A little sculpting

I seem to be getting a little bit of drive left now that I have the Alamo Scouts diorama out of the way. I started this a while back when I was experimenting with some action poses. The mannequin was posed up before it had any identity. I decided on a comfortable subject, a Woodland Indian. Not really identified with a particular tribe, so it's just a generic mid-18th century Eastern Woodland tribe. I've also been working on getting my folds to follow lines of tension. I think I'm making some progress. I'm hoping to get some paint on it soon and get on to the next one.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tulsa Show

Well another Tulsa show is in the record books. It was a great weekend. The new Tulsa Medalist was Jason Green. He was also the recipient of the Best of Show, and Outstanding Exhibitor awards. Jason has been turning out Gold Medal work as long as I've known him. Recently he made a flawless transition to acrylics and his output has probably increased by a factor of five. My good friend Rusty Nail was there and won Gold as well for his very well done Boris, the werewolf. Anders Heintz had very nice display of Gold medal work as well. Tulsa local, Bob Davis pulled off a Hat Trick winning Gold Medals in all of the main categories. I was happy to have received a Gold in Open and Painters. My Alamo Scouts diorama was well received it seemed. A good time was had by all, and I can hardly believe the weekend passed so quickly. My show weekend was capped with a visit to Kimmy's across from the hotel for breakfast with the locals and the TX crowd.

Here's a link to a site devoted to the Alamo Scouts for your edification.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Finally finished

I'm happy to have this one behind me. I painted all the flesh areas this weekend. I can now move on to some other projects. I'm going to avoid vignettes and dioramas for a while. I'm a little disappointed in the composition on this one. I added a third figure because I thought it would help the scene, but what happened is the interaction between the kneeling and seated figure got lost, and I elected to change the pose that suggested interaction. I took a few shortcuts on these guys I won't try again. Sometimes, the long way is best.

Next up; I have a figure posed up that will hopefully turn into an attacking Eastern Woodland Indian.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paintin' the Camo

Getting through this project is testing my patience. Here are the painted uniforms. I still have all the flesh areas to paint. I'm trying to decide whether or not to use my new method of face painting, or my old comfortable method. I've been trying to learn the method laid out in Cartacci's book. I like the results I'm getting, but I have to take a step-by-step approach with the book nearby. My old method was adequate, but I could mix up a fleshtone palette and finish a face pretty quickly. I'm leaning toward the new way. I think the best way to learn is through repetition. Since I want to use this method in the future, I'll probably stick with it for this project too.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pushing through to the finish line

Still struggling through the diorama/vignette pictured below. I took a few shortcuts during the sculpting phase and that is telling on me. Definitely learned a lesson there. The goal however was to take a different approach to drapery and wrinkles. That part was successful. I really want to get this thing finished so I can move on. It amazes me sometimes how a difficult project can be such a motivation sucker. As of last night all that remains is to paint the flesh areas and do a little outlining on the web gear. Then I can place the figures in situ and get on with some other projects. I may have done my last three plus project for a while. Painting the same uniform three times has turned out to be a little too monotonous. I should have this finished in time for the Tulsa show in June.

Next up on the painting bench is Elite's Capt. Souter. I'm looking forward to that one. Those fur coats are fun to paint. The flag around Souter's waist should prove challenging as well. I bought some neat and interesting bases at MFCA and I think I'll pick from one of them. After that, I plan to pick from the archives for a Chicago project. Some ideas in the pipeline; F&I vignette, mounted ECW Roundhead.

I think I'm rounding a corner with regard to my feelings about this hobby. Recently, I've been concentrating on triathlon training and those thoughts are what have occupied my idle mind. Now I find that since returning from MFCA, I'm somewhat back to normal and my idle thoughts return to this hobby. Maybe the Tulsa show will kick in some additional inspiration.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

MFCA Post Mortem

I attended my first MFCA show in Valley Forge last weekend. I've heard a lot about this show over the years and I think that it vies with the MMSI show for "The US Show" to visit. The vendor's area is huge and well stocked. Many of the vendors are toy soldier dealers, but many were book, tool and figure kit dealers. I did find it a bit ironic that at a show focused on the figure painter, there wasn't one vendor that was selling paint in any appreciable quantity. Most of the shows I've attended have had at least one vendor with a rack of Vallejo paints. The awards ceremony was a little bit of a bugaboo. It started about 45 minutes late for one. They were ambitious about getting photos of the Gold medal winners, and it caused a little confusion. I was pleased to see so many Europeans in attendance. I haven't seen so many since Expo in Boston in 2005. BOS was a beautiful mounted knight by Phillipe Gengembre. I was pleased to see Jason Whitman share the MFCA Grand Master award with Jean Pierre Duthielle. One last word on the most imaginative piece at the show; Marijn Van Gils had a mini- shadow box in progress that was absolute genius. It was as if the viewer was looking from a closet into the face of a woman's paramour as her husband is bursting into the room on his surprised wife. The paramour is hold a finger to his mouth in a "ssshhh" gesture. Not many folks could carry out such an ambitious idea so successfully. All in all a great show. I may have visit this one again.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Trying to gain back my enthusiasm. I just finished this dude. I say finished, but it really needs a little more work. I seem to do this a lot. I get a figure about 98% finished and that's when I feel like it's finished enough to share it. I'll still add some pastel weathering and touch up a few details and hit the visible glue spots with some dull coat.

My pace lately has been slow but steady. I'm going to go back through some of my backlog of original projects next and see about getting back into some of those. There's some good stuff in there, but I lost interest for one reason or another. I'm to a point on a couple of those that I just need to hit that tipping point that means completion is inevitable. After I get my first Tri-athlon behind me I expect to gain back the drive for my favorite hobby again.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Balance and beating the winter Blah's

Getting my scene set. I have the figures for this scene sculpted and I'm getting ready to paint. Looking back, I wish i had composed this scene to have more interaction between the figures. I believe the scene is realistic, I just think it could be more interesting. I'm pretty happy with the scenery itself. I'm ready to move on to something new. I do have at least one figure ahead of these. I got a copy of the Union soldier that I designed for the APG on the paint bench next. Mike did a great job of casting. There are only very slight mold lines to clean up. I expect it to paint up pretty quickly. It's a pretty simple uniform. I think it's going to provide a much needed change of pace before I get into the monotony of olive drab.

I'm missing Atlanta for the first time since I started going. I plan to do MFCA this year instead. The timing for Atlanta was not too good this year. As I blogged earlier, I'm training to do a Tri-athlon or three this year and going to a show at this point was going to cause me to miss three to four days of training. MFCA's timing is better and besides I've never been.

My fears of training have come true. I find that with a lot of my free time used up with working out, I either a) don't have time or b) don't feel like modeling when I do have time. I try to do a little something every day though. That has helped me move ahead in lurches. I'm hoping that the winter gloom over the mid-west will lift in the coming weeks and my energy level will lift along with it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

In the photo is the completed groundwork for my Alamo Scouts recon vignette. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Most of all I'm pleased that it has helped me to regain my enthusiasm for this project. I had stalled out on the figures. Getting the groundwork finished has helped me to see and end to the project and I'm looking forward to having this scene populated. I did a bit of sculpting on the figures last night. I hope to do some more over the weekend.

The groundwork itself is a multi-media product. The vegetation is made up of paper products, dried flower items, photo-etch leaves, ground foam, and roots. I used epoxy putty for the rocky outcroppings and sculptamold for the earth.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

In the photo is a master that I donated to the APG for their fund raising efforts. I understand it should be on sale at the Atlanta show. Speaking of the Atlanta show. It looks like I'll be missing my first one in about six years (I think). I'm going to try to get to MFCA though. I've never been and I hear it's very good.

I finally had to have a "Come to Jesus" meeting with my studio. It was a sty. I threw out a lot of junk and reorganized some others. I finally got back after my Alamo Scouts vignette. Getting over the hump on a project sometimes means you need to shift gears a little. Normally I finish the sculpting before I move on to the groundwork. But I've gotten a little burnt out on the figures, so decided to start the groundwork at this point. Getting the scene set will hopefully get me re-energized to get back after the figures.

Getting things done during the winter evenings is more difficult than you might think. There are no lawn chores and no lake trips, so you'd think getting in the studio would be easier. I find that in the winter I don't have as much energy and feel less like getting up out of my chair. Training for Tri-Athlons is taking some of my energy but not a lot more of my time, so that's going well enough.