Sunday, 29 July 2012

Finally, a little progress.

Today I have been into town and had a good old potter around. I went into Model Zone and could have easily spent a LOT of money - there are some excellent offers in their summer sale.

Speaking of offers, Hasslefree Miniatures are having a summer bonus as well... see this LINK for what's on offer and this LINK for the details. It is definitely worth a look.

As you will have read yesterday, the leaving do that I went to went very well and my gizzit was well accepted so I was very happy about that... (this one):

Click the Pic!

It ended up with a laminated, tiny newspaper on the base with his name and the dates he was at his post. Now it is just a case of bringing the next one upto a similar standard by September the 3rd. Here is what it looks like at the moment:

Click the Pic!

Awesome isn't it (he said sarcastically)?

The Space Cowboy has been getting a little bit of work as well... but I can't show you that... so how about my little Space Dwarf project? Here's where I am at with that now:

Click the Pic!

I have finished the female dolly and have started to bulk out the next two. The new ones only look larger because they are closer than the finished ones... they are all around the same height. These two are both going to be male with two females following on from them. I think both of the sexes will have a standing, jogging, running, kneeling and prone dolly (to start with) so I should end up with ten dollies to get cast ready for detailing up. You know what they say, slow and steady wins the race.

My Grekwood sculpt is coming along too. I just need to tidy the coat up and add a base tag and he will be finished:

Click the Pic!

His head is a little larger than I would have liked but he is a caricature so I am not overly concerned. A bit of paint and it will look pretty close to the intended mug-shot.

Add to this little lot, two based RAFM spider mechs for my Clanker units and I don't think I've done too bad. Hopefully, I'll sleep better this week and then I'll be able to keep my mind on things a bit better.

Who knows?

See you from the table! 

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Bed too late, up to early...

This week has been a strange one.

I have been pottering along as always but I have been just the right side of shattered to reminisce about things.

There has been a lot of stuff in the news about servicemen having to take on extra duties for the Olympic games but there has been a lot of misreporting and always remember that not everything you read is true... but I thought to myself... this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened and it certainly won't be the last. From ambulance driver strikes, to firemen strikes. From foot and mouth exterminations to the BSE crisis, British service personnel have stepped into the breach to 'save the day'.

I remember a long time ago, we packed up some helicopters to fly to Mozambique to help out during the terrible floods. Rescue operations, peace time charitable actions, peace-keeping operations, showing the corporate face of the armed forces... a serviceman earns his pay.

The redundancies that have been going on, the reduction in aircraft and regiments...and ships that have been retired.

It would be very easy to say that we were not appreciated and expected to drop everything to help one minute before being shown the door the next.

One event this week proved to me that we are lucky and privileged to be in the armed forces. It wasn't the Olympics. It wasn't the leaving do I went to for a long standing friend who has been posted. It was a wake for a departed colleague.

To cut a long story short, a colleague of ours died. He was 39. He'd been about, visited some not so nice places and done jobs that not everyone enjoyed. Throughout his career he had shown an awful lot of people his 'inner light' and people loved him for it. I'm not suggesting the kiss on the lips sort of love, I mean the love that is shared when you are apart for ten years and when you meet again, it was like you had never been separated. Shared comradeship. The kind of love that you get from being to hell and back whilst still being able to share a smile.

He was as fit as a fiddle... fitter than I would ever hope to be, even ten or 15 years ago. He just stopped living abruptly and passed on.

My saddest feeling is that I didn't know this giant amongst men. I didn't attend the wake because I didn't feel it was appropriate but he got a good send off. From the tip of Scotland, to the depths of Somerset... people came. Even some from overseas. Service, ex-service and civilian. The bar was packed, stories were shared, tears were shed... and a few stomachs were emptied... Many a toast was drank and if he needed a light to guide him on his way, this send off was a roaring beacon.

We are a proud bunch. We go where we are sent, we do what we are required to do, we sleep in whatever we are provided with and we work beside whoever we have to. Through it all, we have the strength that only friends and colleagues and training and a big dose of 'stiff upper lip' can give us.

Yes, we'd love more money! Yes, we'd love our old pensions back! Yes we'd love to think that we were protected from redundancy like we always used to be when there were many more of us in an uncertain, nuclear age. Times have changed. Money is tight and it was only a matter of time before we were going to have to compromise. Civvies have had to do it for years!

If I was told I was being made redundant tomorrow, I would be heartbroken. Why? It must be that I would lose the home I am renting or the decent wage or the opportunities that I am offered... maybe even the variety of jobs that I have to do when other agencies fall down?

No. None of that (although it would be VERY easy to miss all that).

Shared experiences build the best of friendships. Working as a team strengthens those friendships. Sharing troubles and triumphs alike makes those friendships last for ever. But what makes service life different is the continuous posting of personnel. Old friends leave and new ones arrive. You don't know how long you'll be with them so you have to get in quick and find out about them... you never know when you or they may be moved on.

When I retire from the forces, I will be leaving all that behind. All those people who have touched my soul, who have shared the best and worst of times with me. Those who know me by many nicknames (normally along the lines of 'crazy' or 'silver'... or worse)... that is why I would be heartbroken.

I know I have rambled a bit but I felt I wanted to just say a farewell to a fallen colleague.

Safe travels to a wonderful colleague who I sadly never got to meet.

See you from the garden of remembrance.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

So it's Sunday again...

It is Sunday and the sun has come out! What a lovely day and I have made the best of it by... doing chores in the garden. I've got rid of the bags of garden waste at the recycling centre and have dug a flower bed and edged it. Yesterday we had a pleasant day in Oxford and I now have a lovely Tweed jacket.

But... that's all normal stuff and we don't want to talk about that so I'll talk about hobby stuff instead.

I have been pretty side-tracked with my gizzit lately but I have now handed that over to the committee ready for it to be presented so I can forget about it now and continue with other things.

Sculpting has been pretty sparse so I haven't got anything that has progressed far enough for pix but I have assembled a few things, namely two comms robots for my Clanker units:

Click the Pic!

I have not bothered fitting any weapons and have added a decent sized antenna to the tops of each of them. They will be perfect for the job of joining the Clanker units. I have another one that is yet to be assembled but I haven't built and converted the squad for it yet so there is no rush. 

I have had to order some 60mm bases from GW so I have also ordered a Jokaero 'fine-cast' miniature just to see what the material is like... and I get a robotised Orang-utan into the bargain. 

In other news, my Kickstarter miniatures have arrived from Crossover Miniatures and I have assembled, based and started painting them... so here they are:

Click the Pic!

As you can see, they are five superheroes and their names are written on their bases so that I can remember them. They are in the process of being base coated but I wanted to get the basic colours down to put a finished picture in my mind. I will do a bit of a review once I finish painting them.

So... not a lot of anything again but a little bit at least.

See you from the barrel of the gun!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A double edged sword.

I was pleased to get a little grey card through the letterbox yesterday. It said that I had a parcel to pick up from the Royal Mail depot.

Yay! My Comms robots for my Tunnel Fighter Clanker units had arrived from Canada (I have opened the middle one):

Click the Pic!

Now, I knew I was going to have to pay VAT (£5-19) on the parcel but what surprised me was the £8-00 'handling charge' that the Royal Mail charged... making my order cost stack up to WAY more than the miniatures are worth.

This is a real shame because the miniatures are very nice.

I noticed another thing when I picked the parcel up... it rattled a lot. When I opened it, there was a nice lot of polystyrene in the box but there was no foam in the blisters so all the bits and bobs were rattling together like runes in a bag. I must admit to feeling a little bit disappointed about it but I guess that is the way some companies play it.

In other news... I have bent the next armature into shape. It is a coat hanger so it was tough going but I have to get my other commission out of the way so starting it is a good thing to do. It will be a very skinny cyclist, wearing Lycra and a cycle helmet. I expect to put the first blobs of putty on the frame tonight but I am too tired to do much more. Still... I have the house to myself at the moment so I can enjoy the peace before the noise arrives.

See you from the devil's shadow!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Disaster averted

I have spent a month putting together a gift for a friend at work. I have sculpted it from scratch, have painted it and was in the process of varnishing it when I realised I had made a terrible mistake.

I have been using the caps of my various spray cans as holding devises for my work by sticking things to them with blu-tack. The cans all look pretty much the same so I picked up a can of varnish and started to spray my finish sculpt... but it was grey paint instead.

Fortunately, I noticed on the first pass so I stopped before I went and completely ruined things. I was rather annoyed but have managed to repair the damage. Here is the latest pic of the gizzit:

Click the Pic!

All I need to do is paint the screws and add the plaque and he is finished. I want to make the plaque a newspaper that will be glued to the base between his legs. I just hope he likes it after all the effort.

As you will probably realise, this has pretty much used up all of my hobby time this week so I don't have anything else to show off.

...but in other news, I went to see a brood of kittens the other day and have reserved one for my daughter. I have also made a deal with my better half that if there is another one still needing a home when we pick the kitten up, I can have that one as well. If I manage to bag a second one, I will call it Boris... my daughter has called hers Henry. 

Maybe kittens can cheer me up.

See you from the garden!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Life is funny like that.

On Friday morning, I got up (as usual) and prepared to go to work in the usual way and that usually means that I have fifteen minutes in front of the computer to catch up with Facebook and e-mails before I plunge into the depths of my aircraft investigations at work. 

I checked through the e-mails and discovered that I had a private message on one of the forums that I visit and when I read it, I was pretty pleased. It was a simple statement...

..."Hi there!

We're putting "Splat" into the 1/48 Airfix Merlin, do you have any more pics of the nose art?


To cut a long story short...I painted some nose art on a merlin and now Airfix are putting decals of it into one of their kits. Here's a link to the NOSE-ART and here is a link to some DECALS that were made of  it. 

I thought... I'll get an e-mail address from him so that I can send some pix and it was none other than Jonathan Mock. Who? That's what I thought until I did a little bit of digging and found this:

So it definitely seems genuine to me. It looks like I will be getting my nose art in an Airfix kit! A child of the 70's greatest wish.

It would be too awesome to hope that it makes it onto the front of the box... but we live in hope.

In other news, Niamh and her family went to the USA on Friday to start her therapy journey. Enough money was donated for the whole family to go and still have enough left over for charitable donations. Here's a link to her story and donations page:

I hope everything works out well for her and her family. My thoughts go with them on their tough journey.

As I sit here typing and looking out of the window at the rain, I think of how we are all guilty of moaning about our lot. Oh look... MORE RAIN... The MOT bill was far too much... I have to get up for work...

... but the more I think of it, the more I see just how selfish that is.

I spent a bit of time in Iraq and Kuwait. While I was out there, the temperature was anything up to 60 degrees Celsius. When you breathed, every breath dragged in dust that, after a while, tasted metallic and it clogged up your nose and coated your teeth. There was a thing we called 'desert bogeys' and it was where the sand and dust mixed with whatever was in your nose and set hard so you ended up picking your nose all the time to get rid of it... which meant you got a lot of nose-bleeds... so you'd try to let it all build up so that you didn't have to pick so often.

When the plane set down at RAF Brize Norton and the doors opened, the sweet, moist air of a drizzly British day swept into the cabin and I smelt home. 

Now when I see rain, it just takes me back to that moment and I can't possibly be upset by is just part of life, here in Britain.

And how can we get upset about work, bills, those little bumps along the road of life?  

Last year my son got sick. He got REALLY sick, REALLY fast and lost a lot of weight in the space of a week. I thought I was going to lose him... I genuinely thought he was going to die. He didn't and he is now as fit as he was before he got sick but the thing about what happened was... it was a reality check.

I have had a few of those... Rockets in Iraq, conception woes, the threat of losing my son (amongst others) and do you know what? It puts things into perspective.

Where there is life, there is hope. We are the top of the food chain and we didn't get there by sitting by the camp fire hoping for the next Mammoth to walk by and die in front of us. We got there by evolution, adaptation and flexibility. We came up against a problem (as a species) and we fought against it until it was conquered and then we moved on to the next one... the problems are still there but we view them differently. Society has made us that way... how the heck can we justify being angry that our car costs lots of money to keep on the road? It isn't doing us any harm by not having a car. There are other ways to get around. We can do without it... and nobody died because of not having a car. It is a luxury, the icing on the cake, the little bit of extra that says 'I have treated myself because I think I work hard and have earned it'.

If you lose a house... it can be replaced. If you can't afford a car... you use the bus. If things are too expensive... you adapt to your means. If you lose a child... a friend... a close family member (and yes, I include beloved pets there)... these things you can't replace. These things are important. These things stay with you until you die. 

It is all about perspective.

The rain doesn't seem so bad, after all.

See you from the restaurant at the end of the universe.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

80,000? Surely not.

I've only gone and broken the 80,000 views total. Thanks to everyone who has visited and I hope that I can keep this little world going for another 80,000 views.

To celebrate, the sculpting on the gizzit is done:

Click the Pic!

The next job will be to paint him and base him on his nice wooden plinth... then put the plaque on and he's ready to be given as a gift. I am very happy to have him finished because he has taken an awful long time to sculpt (big stuff takes longer... I have learnt that now).

I have also started to add bits to my Grekwood sculpt. I thought I'd give him a pistol... so I did. He is a leftie now...

Click the Pic!

The pistol is a Hasslefree Miniatures one and I think it suits the sculpt.

Finally, the Hasslefree Competition sculpt is progressing:

Click the Pic!

Just the arms to finish now. Not bad seeing as I started sculpting this on Sunday... I have deliberately made her a bit chunky because she will be equipped for close combat. I hope to have her finished for Sunday's post but I have some commitments in between now and then so we'll have to see if I can manage it.

That is about it for now.

See you from the bridge of The Obituary!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Monday... a sculpting day.

I got up this morning after a near sleepless night thinking about the sculpting I have to get done and decided to put a day's leave in and stay at home.

Once that plan had been completed, I started on some sculpting and managed to get the head finished on my main sculpt:

Click the Pic!

It isn't a perfect likeness by a long chalk... but it will serve its purpose. I just need to finish the easy bits now so I am really happy that it has got as far as it has.

Seeing as today was a sculpting day, I also threw some putty on the Grekwood sculpt and the Space Dwarf sculpt... but not enough to warrant a picture. This cannot be said of my Hasslefree Miniatures competition sculpt... she has progressed quite a lot:

Click the Pic!

The picture sort of gives the game away... yes, she is a female Sleiti. I still have to add some bits to her waist and then finish her hair and arms. I am thinking that she will have a shield and a ranged weapon... obviously bio-weapons of some kind. She'll have a ponytail and pointy ears too. I was originally going to call her Joo'an (can anyone guess why?) but I am not so sure...

See you from the farm!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Another Sunday.

Before I start today's post, I'd like to welcome Maj. Diz Aster to Inso's World. I hope that you find something of interest as you stroll around the paths and feel free to comment on posts.

This has been another slow week, I'm afraid. Visits to college, family fun (and family trials), a dead gold fish (that we had taken to Cornwall, Northern Ireland and Oxford on our travels), shopping in torrential rain to get more goldfish... of which one didn't make the transfer from shop to our tank...

On the plus side, I received my little parcel from Hasslefree miniatures and have now started my competition conversion:

Actual pic Size!

As you can see, I have only just started the conversion work but I thought I'd get a pic to prove that I started out with the base model because she will be completely covered when I am finished. I am saying no more about her other than she will be sci-fi.

Next we have a small amount of progress on the second Space Dwarf:

Click the Pic!

Again, not a lot of progress but I have added boobs (which will be completely covered) so that I can gauge proportions, some knee pads and have started detailing the boots. 

I have been adding a bit of putty to my GW (Grekwood) sculpt and he is starting to take shape:

Click the Pic!

I have also been making good progress on the gizzit I am making for a friend at work:

Click the Pic!

I have been focusing on his face with a view to getting it finished before finishing the boring stuff. It is very hard to get just right but I am close. I need to add bulk to the top of his head, then add ears and then I'll be happy that I can continue. I have until 26th July to finish this (including paint, wooden base and etched plaque...) so it is my main focus at the moment. I am relying on my painting skills to cover up the abnormalities!!!

Finally, I have been adding to the other commission (no pix... it is secret) and that is progressing as well. Most of the work on all of the sculpting has been done today so I am quite pleased with the results so far. I still have a few hours yet!

Well... that is about it. I have places to go and things to do.

See you from the dog-leg trench!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

I nearly forgot...

I've just got back from doing family stuff (more computer maintenance and shopping) and I suddenly remembered that I hadn't shown off a parcel I had from Old Crow. Well... here's something:

Click the Pic!

I reckon that an eight wheeled command vehicle for my Tunnel Fighters and a six wheeled command vehicle for my Urban Army can be made from this little lot. The vehicles aren't on the Old Crow site... so you have to contact Jez directly to get them.

More soon.

See you from the chair!

Busy days

Before I start the post proper today, I'd like to welcome Howard to Inso's world. He's the latest follower to see the beacon and has arrived to wander the paths in safety. Welcome Howard... I hope you enjoy your explorations here and feel free to comment an what you find.

There are definitely times in life where everything catches up with you and I think that this week has been one of those times. As everyone is aware, the armed forces has been undergoing a bit of a restructure recently and I went to a leaving do for some of those who were leaving the RAF for one reason or another (including compulsory redundancy). As a result, my week has been a little melancholy because there were some good mates taking the step back to civvy-hood.

The trouble is, I'd normally buy something to cheer myself up but due to my son's phone-bill bomb-shell has put paid to that... so I decided to continue with my writing and have finished this story:

...and have started this one:

Take a look, see what you think and let me know.

On top of that, I have mostly NOT been doing any sculpting because I have certainly not been in the right frame of mind for it. What I have been doing instead is to assemble a few of these:

Click the Pic!

That is two squads of nine Clankers waiting for their comms robots to join their squads (don't tell anyone but they are on their way from the USA as we speak... I couldn't help it).

In other news, I am now OFFICIALLY an awesome dad. Why? Because when I am asked to do stuff I am fairly broad minded... so out came the clippers and scissors... and this is what my daughter ended up like:

Click the Pic!

... and that was AFTER she got some interesting eye-wear for her birthday:

Click the Pic!

Today she is going to be tearing up the town whilst meeting a friend... all I can say there is heaven help him.

All that STUFF and I didn't even mention that my son went to his end of year prom-night on Friday...

...You can see that this has been a week of all sorts other than hobby-stuff... which is good sometimes.

I'm sure you agree.

See you from the spire!