Sunday, 26 June 2016

Well that hasn't gone well.

Hello again and welcome to Inso's World.

I must admit to feeling completely hollow at the moment so if this is a bit of a dour post, I apologise.

This week has been a historic one for Great Britain and it has massive implications to my plans over the coming months... namely the mechanism for getting hold of the capital required to buy a house and move into it... not to mention getting a job when I have moved.

I have sat back and digested the result of the EU referendum and am horrified that we as a nation have chosen this route. That said, the decision has been made so I am of the opinion that we need to all work together to make the best of this. The time for questioning, recriminations and divisions has to be over or we will fail in this endeavour we have democratically chosen, as a nation.

It is an endeavour. We will all have to work very hard to get Great Britain back on its feet again.



So... hobby wise, you can imagine that things have been quiet and you would be correct. The third of the commission bodies has been destroyed because it just wasn't going right. I have started a replacement but am at a very early stage with it.

After getting the Veteran ladies all to the same standard, I have put them away while I work on the Veteran Tyranid Hunters (VTHs). The VTHs are a mix of Skitari plastics with press-moulded helmets and lots of green stuff. The helmets have been pressmoulded from a sculpted original and I have the very last one of ten in the mould as I type. They are a complete departure from the rest of the army and I am still unsure of how they actually fit... if I end up deciding that they don't fit in, I will most probably sell them... hopefully that won't be necessary.

And that is that. I'm still shellshocked from the vote.

See you from behind the barricades!


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Another mixed bag.

Hello again and welcome to Inso's World. This week has been filled with highs and lows so batten down the hatches!

First up, on Monday, we had a works outing on the river again. This time, in amongst the socialising, was a trip along the Thames looking at the pill-boxes that were put there for the home guard to use during the war. The weather was a bit naff to start but once the sun came out, it was another nice trip with a bit of education thrown in.

In sadder news, on Wednesday, our cat Moggy fell poorly and we had to rush her to the vets. Unfortunately, there was no alternative than to have her put to sleep so that is what happened. She has been with us for 18 years so she had a good run... but will be missed:


Click the Pic!

In other news, my son has finally got his room sorted at his base so today, we have taken all of his 'stuff' over and can now get to work, sorting out his old room in our house. Just another little tick in the box. He is also really enjoying service life and has settled in really well... which is a very positive thing.

So... what hobby stuff have I been dealing with this week? To start with, I had to rip some bits off the commission sculpt because the shoulders were too far forward and needed to be repositioned. Annoying... but now the shoulders are in the right place, I have started to add the quilted armour so things are ticking along nicely.

I have also been ticking along with the Ministorum Priests / Berserkers for my Squat army and can now say that they are all finished. Here they are:





Click the Pix!

With these now finished, I have had to think about what to do next. In order to get another unit finished, I have decided to work on the already started veterans and have now got all of them to the same standard:


Click the Pic!

I decided to make a new Sgt for the unit because I wanted them all to have berets. They are all ladies and they just need their arms sculpting for them all to be finished. Speaking of veterans, I have also unearthed my Tyranid Hunters and have started work on them... although I am unsure how to sort out their heads at the moment... but the rest can be worked on.

So... a bit of a mixed bag this week but still some progress and all progress is good progress!

See you from the edge of the tea cup!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

I'm going berserk!

hello again and welcome to Inso's World.

This week you've already seen the five converted Mantic Steel Warriors (HERE) so I won't mention much about them apart from the fact that they are now primed grey, ready for paint.

With the converted Steel Warriors in mind, I have not got anywhere at all with sculpting the next set of replacement legs because I have been busy with my Squat Ministorum Priests / Berserkers. As is usually the case, I started one, got distracted and started the second one, then got further distracted by the third one... which I nearly finished... then I nearly finished the second one , only to return to where I started and began working on the first one again.

To cut a long story short, two are very nearly finished and the third needs his arms doing:


Click the Pic!

The dog handler needs a few bracelets and a bit of work on one shoulder and he will be finished. The one with a 'pistol-hammer' is done apart from some bracelets. Then the final one has had his hammer arm posed and is awaiting lots of work on his arms.

These have been fun to sculpt as they have given me the opportunity to go a bit wild with some characterisation. I learned that I need to practice eyes more. On the plus side, I am not very far away from completing another little unit so I am quite pleased.

In other news, I have also finished the running body for my little Squat commission:


Click the Pic!

With those finished, I have started on the third body (once this one is finished, I only have two more to go):


Click the Pic!

So things are still progressing nicely on the sculpting front. By the next post, I hope to have all of the Berserkers finished and possibly, the third commission body as well... but no plan survives contact with the enemy so we'll just have to wait and see.

See you from the forges of the home-world!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The first scouts.

After a few tweaks and repairs, I have managed to finish the first five Scouts for my Squat army:


Click the Pic!

Although these are arranged as a squad, they will be mixed between squads once I have sculpted another couple of different leg poses and copied five of each.

The legs are not as detailed as they could be but I think they serve a purpose and look OK. they also allow me to use the Mantic miniatures for my army... and I really like that.

The weapons represent boltguns, bolt pistols, a missile launcher and a close combat weapon (hammer).

This is the first unit of 'counts as' Space Marine scouts.

I have another 15 to go and will most probably buy more in the future because I really like them and as long as I keep the leg sculpts safe, I can just press mould as many as I need at a later date.

See you from the trees!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Press Moulding Fun.

Hello again and welcome to Inso's World.

This week's hobby time has been all about Space Dwarfs / Squats.

As I mentioned last week, I have finished off the latest unit for my army (Jedi Beastmen / Primaris Psykers) so needed to start on the next unit. Well, I started my Ministorum Priest / Berserker unit this week and so far, I have got this far with the first one:


Click the Pic!

I have also been working on the second one. This one called for sacrifice so I removed the throwing Mastiff from a previous sculpt and added it to this new one:


Click the Pic!

Obviously, they both have a fair way to go but they are certainly getting there. Speaking of getting there, I have been experimenting with press moulding this week and have had quite a surprise... it actually works well enough for me to be happy with it. So... I started by sculpting the first pair of legs the other week. Then I got some Blue Stuff from Green Stuff World. Then I tried a couple of test casts and decided that I would use normal Milliput for my casts and I would also try to put a wire core in the putty to aid attaching the finished item to the base... Then I got press moulding:


A two part press mould in clamps (Click the Pic!)


The mould cracked open (Click the Pic!)

The pre-cleaned legs (Click the Pic!)


The first assembled trooper (Click the Pic!)


Five sets of legs (Click the Pic!)

So... I have cast up 5 pairs of legs and will now be re-using the Blue Stuff when I have finished sculpting the next pair of legs. I will only be casting up 5 pairs of each and will mix them between units. Depending on how many units I go for, I may end up sculpting more than the four poses I am planning but we will have to see. The beauty of this process is that the Blue Stuff is reuseable and the master sculpts are completely undamaged so I can cast up copies as often as I like.

One thing I can definitely say is that it is really cool to be able to make components so quickly. Not counting sculpting or waiting time, I spend about half an hour filling the mould, cleaning the finished legs and repairing the details. This is far less time than the four or five hours it takes to sculpt each pair of legs (not including the waiting times). This little experiment has really opened up the door to a better life for me... the options it provides are awesome so I am sure that I will be using this process a lot from now on.

In other news, I have been progressing the running Squat body and he is nearly finished.

Yes... it has been a good week!

See you from the podium!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

What the heck am I doing?

Before I start this out of sequence post, I'd like to welcome Kritical Hitz to Inso's World. Have a happy time here and feel free to borrow ideas.

I often receive questions about various aspects of my hobby and I thought it was time I put down on paper, my thoughts on what my hobby means to me.

Once upon a time…

When I was growing up, I used to love Plasticine and Lego. These two products were able to keep the artistic and practical traits of my character entertained. As I moved through school, I was introduced to Meccano, various other building materials and eventually metal/wood working; all of which developed my technical/practical abilities. While this was going on, art classes introduced me to various media but my favourite was clay and I ended up doing a course in ceramics.

When I was 15, I was introduced to wargaming miniatures and played various wargames (Golden Heroes, MERP, Judge Dredd, D & D, Warhammer, WH40k etc…) but my main interest was directed towards the miniatures… so I managed to find Milliput and started sculpting. At the time, there were no real tutorials around so I learned by trial and error (the best way).

Then I moved away from home and became an aircraft technician.

Time, like a river, flows and over the next 30 years, I learned how to fix aircraft (which kept my technical side occupied) and steadily learned the art of putty pushing (which kept my arty side occupied)… and that is where I am at now.

What does my hobby mean to me?

I have an obsessive character. I need to have busy fingers and an active mind. My work deals with my technical side and my hobby deals with my need to express myself and be artistic. I have a rather annoying mix of a logical mind with artistic tendencies.

There are times when I look at my mountain of hobby stuff and question how I could have let things get into such a situation but I am wholeheartedly aware that, if I didn’t have this particular hobby, I would have another one that would be dealt with in exactly the same, obsessive way. I also understand that I stick with my hobby due to habit. It is familiar. There are also certain aspects that I really enjoy.

Difference is the whole point to me. I enjoy creating something different; sometimes by making from scratch and other times by taking something that can be bought ‘off the shelf’ and changing it so that it looks unique. Sometimes I will choose a paint scheme that is unusual but normally I will convert the ‘off the shelf’ miniature. It is at this point where people get confused about my motivation. As people will be aware, I am an army builder. I enjoy amassing troops and creating order from chaos. This does not mean that I am building them to play a wargame with because I don’t play wargames. I build armies for the sake of satisfying my artistic and logical nature and what better way to do that, than to convert as many parts of the army as possible but still keep a uniform theme? The beauty of doing this is that because I don’t wargame, I don’t need to set timescales and deadlines and I can create something unique. Why reproduce something over and over again when you can make each one completely individual?

Seeing unconverted Ultra Marine armies just fills me with emptiness, no matter how well they are painted, because there are just so many out there and they all look the same.

Casting

There are times when I wish that I had the ability to cast my work. I would love to be able to reproduce identical items that I can use because of their uniformity. This does not mean that I want countless copies of completed miniatures that I have sculpted; it would simply mean that I would have the ability to cast components that need to be identical (weapons, armoured plates, helmets etc) for use in sculpts and conversions. It would also give me the option of sculpting body blanks and casting them up to have different equipment and character added to them. Casting components would simply be a means to an end… a unique miniature.


Why don’t I have my own range of miniatures?

Occasionally, I create a miniature that I am really proud of; a miniature that has all of the style I wanted to achieve with a level of craftsmanship that I am happy with. It doesn’t happen very often but usually, it will be when I have decided that it will be for a charitable concern. It makes me happy to see that the miniature is out there, knowing that it is of a standard I am happy with. In order for me to repeat this process on a regular basis, I would need to spend more time on each miniature in order for me to be happy that a good standard was achieved and, at the moment, I cannot justify the time. I am also a very fickle person who relies heavily on various muses. When I have a sculpting muse with me, I cannot stop sculpting but when it moves on, I hate sculpting with a passion and am completely unable to do it. That means that I could commit to sculpting something, only to be completely unable to do it; which would not be the best thing to happen when you want to sculpt a range of miniatures. I also see ranges of miniatures out there that look ‘rushed’ and of a standard that I wouldn’t be happy with. When I am ready to create a range, it will not be put up for sale unless I am completely happy with the standard. I do not want to be selling stuff that I 'm not happy with… my conscience won’t allow it (even if that standard is better than some other ranges out there already).

Add to that the fact that my hobby is supposed to distract me from real life and turning it into a job would defeat the purpose.

Commissions

Very rarely, I am commissioned to sculpt or convert something and I thoroughly enjoy doing it. If I enjoy the commission, I am able to complete it; sometimes quite quickly too. More commonly, I am asked to sculpt or convert something that doesn’t sit within my comfort zone and I don’t enjoy it. This often leads to me being unable to complete and having to make excuses. I really dislike having to tell people that I am unable to finish their commission.

Unfortunately, I am a nice person and I allow myself to be badgered into doing things with the best intentions but quickly realise I should have just turned down the request. It doesn’t do my ‘reputation’ any good but that is just the way it is. That is one of the reasons I will offer to ‘give it a go’ and then worry about payment later. Fortunately, I have never had to return payments (because I have taken the risk of being paid when the commission is finished).

Timescales for commissions vary wildly… after all, you can’t fence creativity in. If I enjoy something, it will take less time. If I don’t, it will drag on and on and on.

I have a number of commissions that are currently on-going. There are some that I am enjoying and some that I am not. I am not in a position to accept any more at the moment.

The future

I am going through a period of change at the moment. I have no idea how long it will take but it means that I will be buying a house, moving to a new part of the country, will be leaving the military and getting to grips with being a civilian again. I will also have to find a new job. It will take time to achieve but once I have settled, I will be able to get back to my hobby.

In the short term, I will continue to tick along with the general stuff whenever the opportunity arises; whether it is random stuff when time is short or army related stuff when there is more time.

In the longer term, I have a number of projects that will be incredibly time consuming and these include personal projects (one of which is an army of custom cast and built VOTOMs that will be styled with Grymn / Dwarf proportions) and projects which may have a more retail vent (I will be putting together a range of Space Dwarfs amongst other things).

That means that I will need to build up information and supplies for casting, looking into sales/avenues for sales (maybe getting an existing company in on the action) and deciding how far I want to reduce the hobby aspect and increase the work aspect.

I have many things to think about.

Other aspects of the hobby

I have pretty much stuck to writing about sculpting and converting but there are other aspects of the hobby that I enjoy and, like sculpting, they rely on the related muse being nearby in order for them to be worked on.

Obviously, the next step from sculpting miniatures is painting them. I do not enjoy painting nearly as much as sculpting and treat it as a necessity, rather than feeling the need to spend ages getting the paint perfect. I rely on neatness and simple techniques to get a reasonable table-top standard on my miniatures. I view basing in exactly the same way so I will spend as little time as possible gluing sand on a base and then painting/dry-brushing it. That may sound a bit lazy but that is just the way it is. I am in the business of building armies and that means an overall look rather than an individual one.

In addition to sculpting miniatures, I often embark on scratch-building projects where I use plasticard and model kit components to build vehicles. Scratch-building is something that I start often but finish rarely. There are times where I despair at the sight of plasticard because I always worry that the time I put into a project will be wasted… yet another failed project. However, it is still something I enjoy and occasionally, I manage to finish something that looks suitable.

Sometimes, something I have read or thought about forms the basis for a sculpture or project. Sometimes a simple idea can manifest itself in such a way that I am inspired to write a story or some background information. I have written many short stories and even three little novels that have been inspired by some of the hobby stuff that I have been working on or that is available out there. Sometimes the story leads on to hobby projects and this just amplifies the fact that the best projects are those that have a reason to exist and have a colourful background that can be called upon to inspire creation. Writing is something that I really enjoy and it is a very important part of the hobby for me. It may also manifest itself in the future as published work but I am not going to be driven by such thoughts.

Being an army builder is something that my logic loves. Part of army building is list building and in order to do that, it is often easier to use an existing rule-set than to come up with your own organisation. Another option is to crib from real life and use existing organisations to build an army. I tend to use a variety of ideas from using GW WH40k codices, to British Army organisation in order to build an army but occasionally, I just go with the flow and make things up as I go along. As long as there is a leadership structure, designated unit sizes and uniformity, then I am happy. Because I don’t actually wargame with my armies, I am free to stick to what I like the look of, rather than what is more effective on the table-top. Having a detailed army structure means that it is easier to come up with insignia and unit designations and it also enables you to personalise certain units which can lead to flavourful, written backgrounds and even stories to back them up.

… and that, as they say, is that.

To cut a long story short, I am involved with this hobby partly out of habit, partly out of enjoyment and partly because I need something to obsess about. As long as it remains my hobby, I will be able to enjoy it but I must be careful not to turn it into a job because that would scare off my muses and it would stop being an escape from the real world… and that means that I would need another hobby. I enjoy this hobby because there are many aspects that appeal to my various mind-sets and there is enough variety to keep me entertained. It also means that when I am unable to do one aspect, I can switch to another.

Hopefully, this explains what it’s like in Inso’s World and why I make some of the decisions I do.


I often wonder what I might have achieved if I hadn’t poured so many thousands of man-hours into my hobby but I guess that is something to explore in another rambling post.

See you from the print room!

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Lots of stuff.

Before I start, I'd like to welcome Katsuhiko JiNNai to Inso's World. I hope yo enjoy your stay and take away something positive from your experience here.

So this week I have been mostly not very well. Full of cold and have had a woolly head. You'd think that I have been unable to acheive anything... but there has actually been quite a lot going on.

First of all, I have progressed one of the pairs of legs that I plan to cast up for my Mantic Steel Warriors and here it is:


Click the Pic!

I have added a belt buckle to it but apart from that, it is finished in the picture. I will tick along with these slowly because I have other fish to fry at the moment, namely my Primaris Psykers... my Jedi Beastmen. Well... apart from tilting the base to reset his C of G, the last one is now finished. Here he is with his mates:


Click the Pic!

Now that I have finished the Primaris Psykers, the next unit will be some Ministorum Priests which will be represented by Squat Berserkers. I haven't started them yet but I will do at some point this week.

Well it certainly seems like my sculpting muse is hanging around because the second Squat body is really progressing nicely again. I had a major stall with the feet but once they were done, the legs and jacket were pretty straight forward. Just the straps to go now:


Click the Pic!

Once this one is done, just three more to go!

To change the pace a bit, the weather has been nice enough to get the spray primer out so Death saw primer:


Click the Pic!

I also put some black on but obviously have a very long way to go yet... but a start is a start!

You'd think that's about it but no... I have more. I have been buying a few bits and bobs on EBay and now have plenty of 30mm bases for my next unit of Exo Armour, some Blue-Stuff for moulding and am waiting for some more paint to arrive.

I have tried using the Blue-Stuff to mould something (I just used a Plastic Squat body for trials and destroyed the cast) and reckon that I need to try a few different mixes of putty to see what works best. Then I will be able to start reproduction of my Steel Warrior legs.

It's all going on at the moment.

See you from the board room!