Categories
Modelling

What am I suppose to do now…….

With the not so surprising news this week that Scale model world has been cancelled for this year and in all honesty it is the right decision under the current set of circumstances however it is a bit disappointing as our weekend in the midlands is the highlight of our modelling year and of course everybody else who make the journey every November. With SMW being cancelled it throws up a couple of modelling questions in my own mind, normally this time of year I am thinking ahead to the builds for the shows in the latter part of year, should I still build these for next years shows or should I do some other projects, the ones that have been hanging around in the back of the mind over the summer. Maybe I should just get all those models that I had been working on prior to the hotter weather coming along finished, some conundrums for me to ponder over the next few weeks before the cooler weather sets in and I find myself back at the workbench for the autumn and winter.

The loss of virtually all the modelling shows from this year and a few being cancelled from next years modelling calendar things are looking bleak on the social side of the hobby, now I am not really the sociable type however I do enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the show circuit and the company of fellow modellers especially the members of my modelling club who are a great bunch whose lack of physical presence this year Kerry and Me have missed very much, they are very much a huge part of our hobby and are very much an extended family. When I sat down today to jot down my thoughts about SMW being cancelled I did not think that it would make me think about what I will miss about the show, Scale model world for me and Kerry is unlike any other show that we go to, it is a chance to show off what we have been working on over the last year, or in my case the last couple of months, to pick up models and supplies for the coming year to relax away from the dramas of life and work admire everybody else’s hard work, to meet up with our friends on the modelling circuit and to hang out with our fellow club members, socialise, laugh and soak up the atmosphere.

With the shows cancelled it made me think about the modelling circuit as a whole and not just the bits that have an effect on me, the traders that normally attend will take a bit of a hit in the pocket without the shows so I have been supporting the traders where I can, we usually take a certain amount of money to every show we attend and support where we can with kits paints books/magazines and I have tried to spread what I am spending between my usually traders and some others too. I do not know about everyone else, I have found less surplus money around this year with bills going up and the price of the weekly shop being more than it was before the pandemic yet I have still tried to keep things ticking over. This year I have spent far more time at the workbench working on old projects from the pile of shame, I thought that in my overly exaggerated optimism that it would be possible to empty the shelf of shame which would enable me to move towards a couple of larger projects that I have in the guise of a couple of radio controlled kits, of course I overly guessed my motivational skills and I am only about half way though what I would like to have achieved however in doing half I have needed to purchase quite a lot of paint and stuff so with that in mind I have turned to my usual traders and supported them, something we could all keep in mind next time we run out of something.

I noticed over this weekend that the Bolton model show has joined the Cosford show as being cancelled for next year and I am sure more will join them as with the strict measures that need to be in place to allow people to get together no closer to being relaxed or us being anywhere near a vaccine our need to support our online model shops as well as our local models shops those of us lucky enough to still have one is more important that ever, sadly I am not one of the lucky ones to have a local model shop so I will carry on supporting those online until we can once again get together and enjoy each others company and spend to our hearts content in person at model shows. Now it is not all doom and gloom and there are positives that we can take from these uncertain times and the extra time that we are spending in our workrooms, man or woman caves kitchen tables sheds and the like and that is to get more models across the finish line, freshen up our modelling display areas and invigorate those stale club stands plus reduce our mountainous stashes, ok I am being a bit silly, who over the last 6 months or so have built one kit and replaced it with 2 others?, I have to admit the temptation to do this has been great especially when you see some of the new kits that have been released and some of the work that has popped up on social media and modelling forums.

So as we come to the end of the summer and with autumn just round the corner and no model shows to think about what is the average modeller going to be getting up to?, a very good question, I have not done much modelling this summer, maybe in the back of my mind I knew that SMW would join the rest of the autumnal shows and be cancelled so that there was no need to stress myself silly and panic build over the summer and I could just chill and enjoy my summer which is what I have been doing. I am now looking forward to getting things back to some kind of normality and getting back in to some kind of routine. With a bit of normality on the horizon it will be nice to find the opportunity to get my backside to the workbench and model away, whichever that may mean in terms of what kits and projects to work on. I will miss the usual Facebook banter with my fellow cohorts at my model club in the buildup to Telford however it will not be all bad as I am sure when the chance arises they will be there just waiting to pounce. There are one or two things I want to try to do over the next few months and without any deadlines I may be able to find the time to get some projects finished for any shows that go ahead in 2021.

The Average Modeller.

Categories
Modelling

Some thoughts and feelings from Average Modeller HQ.

Here at Average Modeller HQ life seems to be travelling along at the usual pace even though we seem to living in a surreal set of circumstances, a little bit of modelling here, some stuff around the house there and of course the need to go to work everyday, normally we would be looking forward and working towards all the model shows at the latter part of the year with trips to Folkestone Farnborough Telford and a December journey into London. Now with at least half of those cancelled and the expectation that the rest will probably follow suite my thoughts turn to what I should be doing at the bench over the months to come. Once the finer weather disappears over the coming weeks and it is too cold to potter around the garden I will gravitate towards the modelling room and look at where I was when the good weather hit back in July. I do not know about anyone else, I find modelling in a stifling hot workroom a bit too much to bear even with a fan blowing dust around the workbench, glue drying too fast, paint not acting the way it should, I find it far easier to step away from the bench until the cooler weather returns.

Durning my weather driven hiatus from the bench I also tend to switch off a bit from modelling, keeping away from things like social media forums and my blog and just enjoy doing other things, work is usually quite intense over the summer although this year things have been a bit quieter which has enabled me to kick back a bit and enjoy the summer a bit more. This hiatus also keeps me away from my blog with my last post being just before we broke for the summer holidays, I find it refreshing to have a modelling holiday although I am sure my fellow model club members will raise an eyebrow to this as I always seem to be on a modelling holiday. I have not completely ignored this fantastic hobby, I still like to keep an eye on new and future releases and I check a couple of online retailers that keeps me in the loop, although there is always the risk that something will catch the eye and I will keep adding to a stash that only ever seems to grow.

As I have said in a previous blog post I love to buy magazines, however with this year being a lot different than the norm visits to the shops being less frequent and access to my usual reads very limited I have been forced to cut back on my magazine purchasing and to be honest for the most part I have not missed them, maybe that is a good thing, I like to think that every cloud has a silver lining although one magazine that I have made sure I still get is the fantastic Dioramag, I love a magazine that is full of inspirational work and that definitely ticks all the boxes. The time away from the hobby sometimes creates a need to return to the bench plus it can also a feeling of dread when the opportunity arises to return to whatever I was working on before. In the past I have cleared my bench before the summer so when it is time to get back to it I sit their nonplussed not knowing what to do, however this year things were left a bit differently, the kit that I had been working on has been boxed up and left on the cutting mat, see I am learning.

So with the summer slowly coming to an end and with the bench calling I decided that over this weekend I would do some work on how my blog looks by changing the way it is set out by updating the theme and getting myself a nice simple logo, I am not sure if I am wholly happy with it however it looks different and I quite like the theme. They say change is as good as a rest and changing my blog has made me think about what I should do with it over the coming months, It is not always easy to write weekly or fortnightly about the hobby without sounding repetitive, so I might do some reviews and the like. I have so many kits accessories tools and stuff littering up the workroom I should have enough possible articles to keep me going, of course I will still keep on with the things that wind me up and irritate me within the hobby although I may avoid writing about that one irritant within the hobby that annoys me like no other, those modellers that like to moan and judge manufacturers and fellow modellers from behind a keyboard. Until next time,

The Average Modeller.

Categories
Modelling

A timely return to the blog…..

DSC_0981 (5)After a bit of a hiatus from the keyboard I thought it may be the right time to return back to my blog seeing that the summer is upon us and it is usually a busy modelling time for me as I start many kits with the autumn model shows on the mind that usually end up with one maybe two if I am lucky completed before we travel up to the midlands in early November for scale model world. This year as everyone knows has been a strange one and with show after show after show cancelled or postponed and the likelihood that most if not all shows will go the same way I may not be starting my planned Telford 2020 builds yet carrying on working through my shelf of shame, those irritating and frustrating half builds that stall for many reasons and sit on the shelf and glare at you daring you to look at them. During lockdown I have spent many an hour doing my best to reduce that shelf contents hoping that perhaps one day it will be empty and I can go back to starting a kit and completing it before I move onto the next.

I think the lockdown that we have all endured has been a difficult one for most however apart from the fact that me and the partner in crime Kerry have continued going to work albeit with slightly less hours, it has allowed me many extra hours at the workbench which in turn has enabled me to fall back in love with this wonderful hobby and got me thinking about getting the shelf of shame empty and thinking about some future projects I would like to try. While I was thinking about future projects and looking around my workroom I also thought about moving on some of the projects that at the time were a good idea and feel that they are not so much now. It is odd how we as modellers amass these vast stashes of kits that we think we will get round to doing yet somehow never get the time or something better comes along so we buy another and another and hence the stash gets bigger and the time we have left on earth gets small. I was watching with interest the other day when a quite well known online retailer who deals in second hand kits received and popped on their website a couple of collections over a couple of days and they virtually all sold out within a few hours, are we just hoarders or are we buying up these kits for another reason, could it be greed, or are we subconsciously concerned on the effect that Brexit will have on our kit supply line?. To be honest I have been slightly concerned about what will happen in the coming months in regard to our hobby however what is done is done and unfortunately we will just have to see what occurs.

So with kits slowly but surely being removed from the shelf of shame and some sold and moved on I thought that it would create some extra space in the workroom which has not been the case, it just goes to show that I have far too many kits in my small and compact modelling room. I do not know about anyone else my inspiration to buy kits or plan projects usually come from seeing them in a magazine or on the various forums or social media platforms that I frequent, as an example I saw a lovely rendition of Eduard’s Sabre a few years ago and that I would love to replicate that so I bought one, it sat and sat on a shelf in the workroom until I decided that as an armour modeller I was never really going to build it so it was put on eBay and moved on, I wonder how many of us are inspired by seeing a great model only to buy it then sell it on several years down the line as we feel that we can never do it justice. I know from my own experience that my buying habits have changed since I first started modelling back in the early 90’s when I would nip off to the local model shop buy a couple of kits go home build and paint them then return to the model shop and do it all over again. Now it is a case of seeing a kit on the internet or at a show buy it, let it sit fermenting in the workroom waiting its turn which may or not occur as within a week or so, maybe a month it has been put down the pecking order by other purchases and with my kit finishing rate being what it is that kit I purchased at a model show back in the late 1990’s may get built some time in the 2090’s.

It is a bit of an exaggeration of course however I do still have an old Esci horse drawn convoy that I bought back in 1993/4 that is untouched and has been slowly sliding down the pecking order for many reasons and not just that it is full of flash and the moulds are possibly older than the world itself. So as we get older our stashes get bigger and when our time on earth is up it will be somebody else’s problem to make sense of why we needed to buy 9 Dragon half tracks and 6 Tamiya field kitchens, after all an army needs feeding even if it is a plastic army. You know I envy those modellers who have the discipline to buy one project at a time, finish it and then purchase the next one and so on, I can remember sitting having a cup of tea at the Leas Cliff halls in Folkestone when a guy came in paid his entrance fee and reappeared 15 minutes later with an armful of kits and when somebody questioned what he was doing he said he had bought his years projects and it was something that had been doing for the last couple of years, this was before the internet really got going, I was impressed with that, I hence took a leaf out of his book and went in and bought several kits, a years worth of modelling, not quite sure what year it was going to be and I think I still have 2 of them sitting untouched just waiting patiently for it to be there turn. 2020 has been an odd year, 1 model show attended and possibly none until next year which in turn has had an affect on my buying habits, I just seem to have bought what I have needed, some tools here, a book or two there, a couple of sets of tracks and King Tiger interior and maybe that is the way forward for me, modelling tokens have been at a premium for whatever reason and maybe just maybe the lockdown has changed my purchasing habits, only time will tell.

The Average Modeller

Categories
Modelling

Lockdown news from Average Modeller HQ

DSCF4972

Well it has been an absolute age since I put fingers to the keyboard and added to the blog so here I am on the eve of returning back to work, well I say returning to work, work has continued during this unprecedented time and although the working days have been shorter the need for allowing essential workers children to attend school has been important and has enabled me to concentrate on other projects which has included many, many hours spent at the workbench. For a lot of us this lockdown has been a modellers dream and has given us lots of time to clear the bench and maybe concentrate on getting some of those half builds, shelf queens and the like completed or maybe that kit you have been putting off starting because you felt that you never have the time to give it your full attention, now that was something that I was planning on doing, the Tamiya Famo and trailer has been sitting in the stash since a birthday long ago, in fact it is that long ago I cannot remember when it was. So with that in my mind as the lockdown started back in the middle of March the Famo stayed on the shelf as I thought the time could be spent in a more productive way by reducing the shelf that is stacked to the ceiling with what I call the pile of shame and embarrassment, the half builds.

As  we entered the lockdown and slowly started the 2 week Easter break I found myself sitting at the bench ready to start going through the shelf of shame, now I don’t know about anybody else, the models on this shelf fall into one of several categories, there are those models that stalled because they were ready for paint and I was not ready to paint them, there are those that stalled because I just got bored of them and there are those where I hit a snag and thought that a short break away from them would clear the mind only for that short break to end up as a break of many, many years. Now before I started on one of these shelf queens I decided to have a sort out and a clean of the workbench and I had a to deal with a calling, now I am sure that calling came from downstairs and was from the ever smiling and patient Kerry asking me when I was going to get my head out of the clouds (I am sure that is what she said) and get her many resin kits prepped primed and ready for her to get on with some painting, she can be so persuasive when she wants to be. So after tidying cleaning and doing Kerry’s bidding I was ready to face that shelf, now deciding where I was going to start was another conundrum, did I want to complete a part build, something that needed just paint or something complex like the Tamiya Sd.kfz 7/1 with it’s full etch set, metal barrels aftermarket tracks and the like.

I made my decision after looking through several boxes of half built kits and after a lot of head scratching and thinking that it would be simpler to dip my toe in with a kit I had barely started, the Trumpeter Russian ChTZ S-65 tractor, this was chosen for 2 reasons, I had hardly started it and while looking on Pinterest one had caught my eye. I always find it tricky picking up a part built model and having to remember where and why it had stalled, the reason this kit stalled was simple I had put a return roller on backwards and after doing a bit of research it did not really matter as it would not be seen once the kit was finished. I quite enjoyed my return to the bench and being able to model without the pressure of building for anything other than myself and not have a model show or any other deadline breathing down my neck. I am a constant headache to myself as I tend to ignore the instructions or try to be clever which in the end causes me more problems than are needed, as the build progressed my first real problem appeared. The kit comes with a small etch fret of what I would call brittle-ish metal and while I broke out my hold and fold that had never been used the etch broke as I bent it. Now I am a huge fan of those modellers that can just form a kit part out of a sheet of plastic without breaking sweat, it is not something I had ever attempted.

So with this in mind I reached for the plasticard and after a couple of attempts and several days had something that resembled that broken etch and to be honest they do not look too bad. Once the main body of the kit had been finished it was the turn of the tracks, they look good now they are together however they fought me all the way, so much so that I built them over a 2 week period doing just 6 links a day to help preserve my sanity. I may be the only one that this problem affects however as I am mid build, the mind wanders onto what other kits I can make a mess of which probably does not help my concentration and perhaps why so many builds of mine stall, when I was at school I would quite often let my mind wander onto whatever was going on outside the window until I was brought back to the present by the teacher asking me a question, maybe that is why I spent a large part of my time in detention during high school. You see I have digressed and let the mind wander, I never learn. With the kit completed and washed, I know not everybody washes their kits before they paint them however mine was quite dusty and I felt it needed it so it was off to the spray booth for primer, I like to prime several kits at a time so all those that were ready for paint were strapped in and I spent a few days spraying primer onto several Russian vehicles, and then as many days spraying them green. This lockdown has really invigorated my love for this great hobby and I have slowly reduced the pile of shame to boot and although I have yet to fully complete a model there are many just standing there waiting in the wings for those finishing touches. Until next time.

The Average Modeller

Categories
Modelling

Stepping out of the comfort zone…….

low angle photo grayscale of person tightrope walking
Photo by Marcelo Moreira on Pexels.com

It is very easy to continue modelling the same type of models or even the same model year in year out and not actually make any real progress so much so that it all becomes rather boring and a bit stale. I for one have done that over the last 3 or 4 years and although they have bought me some enjoyment after all it is nice to get some thing finished however there has been nothing to test my skills as a modeller, I guess for me it has made it easier to get things completed and onto the table at Telford every year by removing the fear factor which is something that has been prevalent in my modelling for quite a long time, maybe even  back to the mid 90’s. In all honesty I do not really know where or when the fear factor crept in and it is not something worth pondering I just need to give it the old heave ho and get back to completing models on a regular basis and not using every excuse under the sun as a reason not to be at the bench and hardly finishing anything that I start. I look back at the last 20 or so years quite embarrassed at my modelling output having started more models than those that have been completed some of which collect dust on the shelf of shame and some that have got broken during years of being moved around and have found themselves in the bin, sad but true.

As I sit here thinking about all that wasted modelling time and feeling ashamed about all the missed opportunities and all the money I have spent creating a stash that would not look out of place as stock in a model shop, and I ask what is it all for, I could say that it is for my retirement however what would happen if say I got arthritis or lost my hand in an accident, you could say what is the likelihood?, what are the chances of that happening, well sadly I had a power saw accident some years ago and it only takes one lapse in concentration and bang, or chop and you are waving your hand and any chances of finishing off any of the models in the stash goodbye. Some might say that it is essential  to have some models sitting doing nothing, you know just in case you may need them, for me they have become a bit of white elephant, maybe in some way a psychological barrier to becoming a more prolific modeller, I have so much choice that it becomes almost impossible for me to choose what to build next and what does not help is the rate at which new models are released. I always start every January by saying that no models will be added to the stash this year and that usually lasts until the first shows are visited and I come back with at least one every time and try as I may my resolve just melts away.

So with an intimidating stash, too much choice and time in short supply I have a bit of a conundrum, how can these issues be dealt with and how can I get back to doing more than 2 or 3 models a year and halt this only building for Telford cycle and get some models finished and ready for the upcoming shows that I display at, well I am trying to thin the stash by moving on those projects that I am just never going to get round to doing, it is no easy task yet something that needs to be done, I am also going through the shelf of shame and getting shot of anything that is broken and is not worth persevering with and concentrate on getting all those ready for paint, painted, finished and ready to be displayed. That hopefully will remove the psychological block that I seem to have and bring me back to a more prolific phase and help remind me that my hobby is to be enjoyed and not something to struggle with, a way to relax away from the daily pressures of life. On reflection there is so much I could have achieved since I started modelling back in the early 90’s that has not been achieved and it makes me feel disappointed in myself  about that fact and it is only me that can do anything about it. With all this in mind the other evening while trying my best to avoid the workbench I wrote myself a little list of some of the things that I have not achieved yet would like to, I have never successfully painted a figure, painted a bust, built a diorama, a vignette or an aeroplane, or painted camouflage on a vehicle, I could go on, it’s a damning list of personal disappointments that truly represents my meagre lack of modelling output over the last 30 years.

So here I am contemplating that first step out of my safe modelling place and out into the wider world and away from the comfort zone, writing about all my short comings will hopefully help to focus the mind and get me started on the right track. When at Telford late last year 2 of my fellow club members that should remain anonymous but then why should they, Keith and Andy convinced me that we should all build a Gaspatch models Henschel Hs 123 in Condor Legion colours and I was not even drunk as I do not partake it such things so after parting with 40 of my hard earned pounds on said kit and I have to say it does looks like a lovely kit, yet I view it with a certain suspicion as it will be a huge step outside the comfort zone and of course it scares me somewhat yet on the other hand I am kind of looking forward to it as I do have other aircraft models in my stash and you never know it may just be the catalyst to propel me and my modelling in a new direction. There is maybe one stumbling block to success, I have not built an aircraft since before I was a teenager but hey what could possibly go wrong???. Watch this space…

The Average Modeller

Categories
Modelling

Where has my modelling time gone???

clearing desolation destruction fallen tree
Photo by Picography on Pexels.com

It has been nearly 3 months since my last blog post and almost 3 years since I started this blog and although much has changed in my modelling life there is one thing that never seems to, the time I get to spend at the workbench. The annual trip to Telford has come and gone with great fanfare, some rare bench time followed and we ended the modelling year with a trip to the London plastic model show where we spent money we did not really have however it is rude not too, the sellers are there to sell their goods and we are there to enjoy the models and spend our hard earned cash. The London plastic model show is a lovely end to the modelling year, a nice journey on the train into the city, some nice models to feast the eye on a walk around our capital city, taking in the festive lights a bit of shopping  a bite to eat then home and then our attention can turn to the forthcoming Christmas preparations and the hope that during the holidays you can fit some modelling time in. Which is what I managed to do, back when I first started modelling the Christmas break was always a great opportunity to get some modelling done especially if you happened to get a new kit or two and long sessions at the coffee table building ancient Tamiya  kits was the order of the day, painting the finished article by hand and proudly displaying them for all to see in the display cabinet, halcyon days for sure, it just amazes me that I seemed to have all the time in the world for modelling then compared to the virtual non existent time now.

In the days of modelling at the coffee table, painting by hand and frequent trips to the local model shops, to peruse the Tamiya, Italeri, Revell and early Dragon kits note the plural in comparison to todays lack of model shops yet we have never had it so good with access to vast amounts of kits, paints, finishing products and the like, access via the internet to any number of forums social media platforms and any amount of information that our poor little brains can cope with yet in a way I miss those simple days where you built as you bought and having a stash never ever entered the mind. Now in 2020, I have my own dedicated workroom filled with enough models to see me through until the end of time yet the one thing I would like more than anything else is the one thing that money just cannot buy, time. Life seems to get ever increasingly busy the older I seem to get,  work seems to take up more time than it should then there are all the chores that need attention and as we start to say goodbye to winter and spring arrives then there is the gardening and although I love pottering around in the garden it does seem to take up a lot of spare time that for some reason is in very short supply.

During the yearly trip to Telford my partner in crime Kerry and I discussed my need to spend more time at the workbench finishing off the many projects that are on the go spread out over the year so I do not spend the 6 or so weeks in the build up to said trip in a frenzy and suffering from blind panic trying to get anything finished to take with us. Although I spent some time at the bench directly on our return that has unfortunately tailed of dramatically and I can sadly say that I have done no modelling at all since the start of the new year, and why is this?, to be honest I just do not know. Yes I have suffered the usual modelling malaise that I usually suffer this time every year and my attentions have been taken away from modelling with others things going on however is this just a way of my brain justifying the fact that my modelling output has been zero, also is it not helped by the fact that it is only February and Telford is still at least 9 months away, these are questions it seems that only I can answer yet however much I think about it, come up empty.

So as I sit here on a cold Saturday lunchtime in early February pondering my modelling output or lack of it, this is usually the month that starts the modelling year off with a trip to the first model show of the year which we did last Saturday with a trip our local show yet as is normal it did not propel me back to the workroom which in an ideal world it would of. On a more positive note I have had a bit of a hankering for a few hours of modelling however as yet that has not happened and with this in mind I thought a blogpost would be a good start with the hope that it will kickstart a more productive phase of the year and get me back to the workbench and maybe get something back on the bench and change the way the modelling year has started. I feel that a new more consistent approach is what is required for my modelling which should help my lack of normal early year output and put some models on the table for the forthcoming model shows where we display. Inspiration is a key element to get those creative juices flowing and that can come in various guises, a model in a magazine, on social media or something completely unconnected to modelling, in the past it has been a model at a show or a new release announced at the Nuremberg toy fair or similar, now we were at the youngest’s parents evening last week and one of her teachers said something quite curious, he said while revising for her forthcoming GCSE’s the youngling should use her art to relax away from the more heavier subjects, he also added that art is a good way of relaxing which I thought quite strange and was not something that I could relate to, maybe that is where I am going wrong, modelling is a hobby, something to enjoy, not a chore.

The Average Modeller.

Categories
Modelling

Well that is that then…..

 

KV

Well after all the build up the stress the panicking and the “I am never going to get anything finished in time” Scale model world is over for another year and here I am a week on wondering where the weekend and the week after has gone. For reasons only known to me I sit procrastinating and cleaning and tidying my workroom for most of the year and then go in to blind panic 6 weeks before we leave for Telford stressing that I am never going to get anything finished and get the feeling that the clock is ticking and running down against me which in turn makes me stressed and I get the feeling that I am letting my fellow club members down, which also in turn makes me short tempered in my panic to get my projects finished and it is not helped by my partner in crime and better half Kerry bragging that she has had hers finished for weeks and is sitting back relaxing. Maybe I enjoy the adrenaline pumping through my body as I panic and panic some more spending hour upon hour glued to the workbench struggling to finish off my little projects which usually change from the planned  models I wanted to get finished to ones that I am  more likely to get finished simply because they are built and ready to be painted.

When I started the mad rush to get ready this year there was a choice of models for me to finish most of which were in the smallish scale of 1/48 which I kind of enjoy, the Tamiya kits are a joy to put together do not take long to paint, just what you need to get finished for a self imposed deadline. My original plan was to finish one 1/35 tank and 3 1/48 however as time started to run down that soon became 5 48’s then 4, which in the end were the 4 that I completed and took with me. To be honest having quite a lot of built and half built kits does have its advantages from time to time, they might take up far too much room in a workroom that is short on available space yet having them sitting there waiting for the moment that I reach for the box and rescue them from a life of incompletion and finish them off. There is this tendency for me to make a start on a kit, and I am sure I am not alone in this where I start a kit because one catches my eye on Facebook  in a book or in a magazine and over time for whatever reason it gets put onto the back burner and slowly but surely finds its way back into the box and gets popped onto the stash of shame. These are the kits that came to my rescue this year and enabled me to complete 4 kits for our annual trip up to the Midlands for scale model world, in all fairness for someone that has been modelling for more years than he cares to remember I should not be relying on kits I built 5/10 years ago to make my 12 months worth of work look like I have actually achieved something.

On my return this week once the assembled weekend purchases have had the obligatory photograph taken, the purchases then put away, the models we took with us put back on the shelf I felt ready for a strange and unlikely return to the workbench however work had a different plan for me and after a very tiring yet wonderful weekend in Telford it was work work work with 2 late nights at work thrown in plus housework and shopping the workbench opportunities where at a zero. Normally the build up to Telford is set at a frantic pace and by the time we return home I am happy to put everything into the workroom and close the door not wanting to look at anything model related for at least a month as I get over the burn out that usually follows the return from the Midlands yet this year feels a bit different, maybe it is because after the mad rush and stress of the last 5/6 weeks I have come to realise that it is not really sustainable to do it year on year out and if I set myself a good pace throughout the year come November next year I should have enough finished that I can enjoy the build up and not stress about getting things finished with the help of a late night and the trusty hairdryer.

So here I am a week after our return from Telford and it was yet another great weekend for me and Kerry my ever smiling partner in crime, we spent the weekend with an ever expanding group of amazing people laughing eating drinking talking and spending the hard earned whiling the time away at what I think is a really great model show full of really great models in a really great atmosphere. From the moment you walk through the doors of the International centre and hear the low rumble of conversation to the moment you find yourself breaking down the club stand putting your models away and the realisation hits that you may have spent next weeks shopping money on models you may not build for a year or two. With the show being over it kind of leaves a small void in your life until life gets a grip then you start to think about next year and all those models you would love to build and get finished when in reality the chances of all these planned projects actually coming to fruition is very low. As you try to meticulously pack the car with more haste than you packed it with and with a lot more stuff than you bought with you or had planned on buying, with fond memories and a reluctance you pull out of the car park and start that very long journey home. So with it all over and with just one model show left to go for us this year I am looking forward to getting back to the workbench and hopefully get one or 2 things finished before the year ends when I will start thinking and planning about next years model shows which for us kicks off in Banstead in very early February, getting all my Telford builds well on the way (I hope) before the spring and summer arrive and it gets too warm to model.

The Average Modeller

 

Categories
Modelling

Sometimes I feel that there are those that are just plain sadists…..

Elefant

It has been quite a while since I last put my fingers to the keyboard and drummed up some words of wisdom regarding this fantastic hobby of mine and this has been for numerous reasons, life of course gets in the way and keeps me away from the workbench and my keyboard whether that is work, the need to get stuff done around the house and garden, the weather,  I don’t know about anybody else modelling in a boiling hot workroom with a fan moving around the already hot air blowing cat fur and dust about and ever so often turning the instruction sheet page is not something I get particular joy from. So I took a bit of a modelling hiatus over the summer and concentrated on the ever increasing list of jobs that need doing around the house and the garden, work and doing some reading to while away the summer holidays. Once we saw the back of August and with the approaching Autumn/Winter model shows it was time to once again return to the bench and especially with one eye on Telford get my finger out get some models finished and once more break out the airbrush and see if for the second year running avoid breaking one. With our yearly trip to Shropshire on the horizon and as mid September approached we packed up our models and headed for the IPMS Farnborough model show which is a huge favourite of mine for several reasons, it was the first show I met some of my fellow club members at, the first show I ever displayed at plus it has a great atmosphere and the host club always make you fell welcome and this year was no exception, when we arrived we had not been allocated a space however they rallied around found us a lovely spot and although it was in  a corridor we had a steady flow of visitors to the stand who stopped by for a look a photo opportunity and lots of chats.

With Farnborough sadly over it was once again time to get some serious modelling done and decide on what I wanted to get finished in time for Telford. After great deliberation, well it took me all of about 20 minutes of sorting through various boxes to decide what part built half painted and unbuilt models I was going to get ready, now one of the part built kits that I had started earlier in the year with an eye on Scale Model World is the very lovely Tamiya 1/48 Elefant, I have debated about building this a couple of times since the better half and ever smiling Kerry bought it for me, the build went fine, after all it is a Tamiya kit and in all honesty where they may make shortcuts in finer details they soon make up for in ease of build. Now I am not one that goes in for huge amounts of research and feels the need to be 100 percent accurate although having said that if a Tank requires camouflage or in the case of German mid/late war tanks, Zimmerit I have tended to give them a huge wide birth. However after flicking through a couple of books magazine articles and the internet I noticed that the Elefant all had Zimmerit so after looking through a drawer or 2 I found the Tamiya adhesive Zim sheet that I had bought after I got the Elefant and set about adding it, simple eh?.

Tamiya must have released the Zimmerit sheet after the kit had been released and the instructions printed as there is no reference to it at all, so I set about adding it once the kit was three quarters built, not a great start…..  the Zim sheet is one big sticky sheet and the Elefant has all these lovely bolt heads sticking up all over the place which means you need to cut holes in it, I tried drilling them out however this just caused the holes to look jagged so after cocking up the very first piece it was back to the drawing board and time to order a new sheet. Now I am not someone who moans and berates model companies about choice of kits they release or how bad the instructions are where they decide to put injector pin marks and I am not about to start that negative trip now or ever to think of it, I just think that somebody at Tamiya is most definitely a sadist. Adding Zimmerit to a tank that requires it is a task in itself, you can use putty to replicate it however I have tried that and it was a bit of a nightmare to be honest and ended up a right mess, there are etched brass sets, resin sheets and even embossed paper to replicate it or you can even use a heated needle (a pyrogravure) and etch the plastic yourself, and now Tamiya have bought out this self adhesive sheet that you need to cut out and punch/cut yourself, sadism at it’s finest.

So last week, starting Sunday whilst I waited for the second sheet to arrive I slowly and meticulously went about adding this sticky sheet to my Elefant, I cannot say that it was an easy task, you need to be able to cut out just about every shape known to man out of the sheet and then get it into the smallest areas that even a contortionist would struggle to get into, couple this with the need in some areas to fold the stickiness around corners it just does not want to go round let alone stick  to you have a battle well and truly on your hands. I am a patient kind of guy and I do like a bit of a challenge and getting this stuff to stick to the plastic to look how it should was most definitely a challenge, also what would have been helpful is the fact that you need to read the Zimmerit instructions before you commence your build threw another spanner in the works so the need for some initiative came into play as I had already assembled nearly all of the kit and had Zimmerit to stick to areas that were already occupied by bits of plastic. So after spending a couple of hours a day cutting fitting cutting some more to get this stuff in the right place I finally had it all completed and all I needed was to add the final pieces of the kit and then sit back and admire the fruits of my labour, well of course that’s how it all ends in modelling fairytale land, not in my world, having completed adding the Zimmerit and the final pieces of the puzzle I decided to clear the bench of all the tools I had used, then as my celebrated triumph was close I picked the glue pot up to pop it back to its home at the back of the bench and……. yep you guessed it the lid was not on properly and it decided to fall the small distance to the workbench and deposited its contents all over the cutting mat. Luckily it only ran onto the running gear of the Elefant and complete disaster was averted and it lives to fight another day, the moral to this story could be always do the lid up on your glue pot, for now maybe it should be do not bask in the glory before your work is done.

The Average Modeller.

 

Categories
Modelling

There are times when some of my fellow modellers make me mad…..

2005_0722warandpeace20050040

Please excuse the title, I was not too sure how to express how certain members of the modelling fraternity make me feel. There is a lot off laziness in the hobby and one of the things that boils my piss more than those that post on forums and social media about what colour they should paint their panzer grey Tiger is those people who post other peoples work on Facebook pages without crediting the modeller who has spent hours day weeks even months on it or even worse they post pictures of others work passing it off as their own. Now I will probably never have my work treated in this abominable way however come on people credit where credit is due, if I had worked my butt off creating an inspiring diorama and somebody else passed it off as work they had done I would be less than impressed. What makes me laugh is when you see work by a well known modeller, a piece of work that has been seen around the show circuit on the internet and in magazines and somebody is passing it off as their own it’s a bit like me going to the Louvre in Paris and saying that there Mona Lisa, I painted that, or the Venus de Milo, I sculpted that.

Another thing while I’m at it is plagiarism, not only are people passing others work off as their own they are blatantly copying other peoples work and saying that the original idea was theirs. Now I am sure the great modellers among us would be flattered if work they have done inspires others to have a go at emulating that work, blatantly copying is just plain wrong. I know it is tough coming up with an original idea for say a diorama, and it is something I have struggled with over the years copying is not the answer, being inspired by someone’s work or by a picture in a book now that is what should be happening not directly mimicking the work of somebody else. The advent of the internet over the last 20 years has not really helped with this at all, please don’t get me wrong the internet has added an extra dimension to the hobby as far as I am concerned, for example you can obtain anything you need for the hobby 24 hours a day 7 days a week and from all 4 corners of the world, it has given me the platform to share my thought frustrations and annoyances about the hobby with those who choose to read my rantings.

Plagiarism is not just blighting those whose work is at the very top of the hobby, it also effects those who have the talent to sculpt and try and make a living selling those wonderful figures and busts to us the modeller,  bad copies of these works crop up on a certain auction site on a worrying scale, it is piracy and those in power to restrict the sale of these pirated items do not seem to act quick enough and it puts these small cottage industry businesses at jeopardy. When I write the blog posts I try to use pictures of my own work or photos I have taken at military vehicle shows, air shows or at museums. I think I have only used a picture I found on google once, and that was of Geoffrey Wellums Spitfire, it isn’t hard to be original, if you cannot sculpt, leave it to those that have the talent to do so, and the pirating and illegal distribution of other peoples work is not unique to figures and busts, it can be found in other areas too, such as books and magazines.

A few years back I was looking for a book that had been out for a couple of months and the only copy I could find was going for a kings ransom on the auction site I mentioned earlier, so every Friday an internet search would take place and on one of these searches I found one going free, yep free and to my utter shock it was a PDF copy, now the guys that write these special interest books are not multi millionaires with a sports car in the drive, theses are guys like me and you just trying to share with the modelling world how they achieve the level of work that they do. Next time you are after a book a bust or a set of figures and you see them really cheap on the internet take a minute and think about the person who has sweat blood and tears and put their heart and soul into the original work and treat them with the respect they deserve. The same can be said about the modellers whose work gets posted on certain Facebook pages and does not get the credit, I always credit the modeller when I see this, and I am sure sooner or later I will get removed from these groups however I don’t really care, these people deserve the credit their talent and dedication deserves.

The Average Modeller.

 

Categories
Modelling

Stepping out of……THE COMFORT ZONE!!

workbench picture

I was out in the garden yesterday afternoon cutting up some old bed frames using the angle grinder and as is the norm whilst doing a mundane job my mind wanders and it got me thinking about how often I feel the need to step away from what is safe and normal and try or use something different. I uses power tools on and off in my day job so using a drill or an electric screwdriver is a common occurrence however a power saw or angle grinder for instance now that is out of the comfort zone. To be honest with you I am a play it safe kind of modeller, my models are usually Tamiya, painted in a one colour scheme lightly weathered placed on a simple wooden base with no scenics and definitely no figures. It ‘s a bit like when I started this blog, it was a real head above the parapet moment from me which was bought on by another such event, a build review for modelling website Armorama.

I don’t know about everyone else but I love browsing the internet looking at all the fantastic work of my fellow modellers, the fantastic figures the great aircraft and armour models plus my favourite area of modelling, dioramas and the amazing diorama works that I spend hours drooling over, at the moment I am enjoying the work of Roger Hurkmans whose work I admire greatly with his use of vehicles and figures that just compliment each other and looking at these amazing works really does inspire me to do something a bit different from what I do normally.

Speaking of this whilst at Telford last year for Scale Model World my long suffering partner in crime Kerry and I decided that it would be a great idea for us to purchase 2 of the same subjects and build/paint them separately just to see how we would approach and paint them as we model differently, simply just to do something a bit different from the norm and challenge each other, a kind of great British paint off. We decided that we would purchase 2 Nosferatu busts from the stand of Andy Cope, who’s work I have to say is fantastic and inspiring even though it is not my genre at all. So we have these 2 busts waiting for paint and although this is very much Kerry’s area of expertise it most definitely is not mine. To paint this ‘thing’ I will most certainly need to step outside my cosy comfort zone and try something completely different to the norm and it is something that troubles me, yes I could paint it and leave it hidden however Kerry will most probably paint hers to her usual high standard and display hers around the show circuit and it would be a huge shame if once we have finished them we did not share the finished articles with the modelling world at the same time. Now as I have said previously I am a creature of habit who likes nothing more than to live quite happily in my very cosy comfort zone and only venture out of it when I have to and then scurry back as quickly as I can and that cosy comfort place maybe under threat by a certain wind of change.

So as we approach 6 months since we purchased said busts discussions have arisen of late about the fact that we should actually get our fingers out and start them and I have started to feel a bit of apprehension regarding this and although to take my modelling forward I need to step out of these shackles that hold me back and embrace this new challenge and see it as that, a new challenge and not something to be worried or scared about. With this in mind and feeling the need for some kind of pre-emptive strike so while we were at last weekends Milton Keynes Model Show which I have to say was great in it’s new venue plus it is always a show we enjoy and have not missed since we first visited in 2013, I digress of course, while walking round last Sunday looking for something to spend the hard earned cash on, I decided to not spend it on a new kit, yes I could of picked up another tank or vehicle, the new Tamiya Spitfire or the recent Airfix Hawker Hunter which of course would be a step away from the norm and out of my comfort zone completely however as much as I would love to build an aircraft I feel I’m not quite ready for a leap out of the comfort zone, a small step I can probably deal with, a leap no. Anyway, I decided on a caricature of Sir Winston Churchill by Cartoon Miniatures to help me dip my toe in the water of something different and help me out of my comfort zone and help me into the art of figure painting.

So here I am a week later and although I have yet to make a start on little Winston a start has been made on the little cobbled base he stands on and I thought that a start there would start pushing my head bit by bit above that parapet I seem to worry about a bit more that I should. I’m not saying that I have never ventured out of the modelling comfort zone, I painted a couple of android busts from the MDC range that were available a few years back however they were very one colour and I chose a simple approach to painting these and they didn’t really stretch my modelling or painting skills at all although on the plus side they were the first resin kits I ever worked on, you see every cloud has a silver lining. I have tried other things to drag me away from my comfort zone however theses have been unsuccessful and had me scuttling back with my tail between my legs licking my wounds and diving head first into that safest of places, the comfort zone. So now that the die has been cast I have no choice than to take myself forward and leap two footed into a world unknown and I might find that being out of my comfort zone may not be the unwelcoming wilderness I think it is but the door to a bigger challenging and a more fulfilling phase of modelling for me.

The Average Modeller