Wednesday, 9 January 2008

In the Beginning..........

When I first started buying miniatures in the 80's the "big" Sculpters were the likes of Peter Gilder and the figures were of the slim realistic style. Over the years I dipped in and out of the hobby and the increasing emphasis on more cast detail and the resultant "Chunkier" figures gradually crept up on me without much notice. I bought and enjoyed them the same as everyone else.

A couple of years ago a long term gameing pal of mine and I decided to revist the AWI in 25mm, a period we enjoyably played as lads during the 1980's. On a nostalgia trip we flicked through some of our old books, particularly the inspirational Curt Johnson book "Battles of the American revolution" which contains some lovely set piece images using Gilder Hinchliffe figures.

Suitably enthused we embarked on recruiting troops, using this range and also the lovely RSM figures available from DPC in the states.

At this point we had a bit of a "road to Damascus" moment realising how horribly stylised modern miniatures had become, less a human form, more a "paint by numbers" structure to enable people to recreate the style of dare I say it more able painters. Don't get me wrong this form of miniature has allowed the bulk of those involved in the hobby to create miniatures which are more than presentable and give a very pleasing effect, using a fairly formulaic approach that's relatively easy to master (Black undercoat, layers of progressively lighter shades). In comparison older miniatures without the cast on detail are much harder to paint well and as such its easy to see how the paint by numbers boys have triumphed in the mass market.

Anyway enough of this as background, I'm sure what I said may have offended some, for which, my apologies, its not my intention to do so, more to set the scene for the blog.

One of the things you will find if you do decide to re-explore some of these older ranges is that some of the sculpting quality is variable (RSM are a good example as I'm pretty sure not all figures were done by Steve) and that many figures you might want are "missing". So whats the solution...........

Make your own!

No, its not as hard as you might first think, and I intend in this Blog to show you my limited attempts to do so to date. We'll start with sculpting and then move on to making moulds and casting in due course.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Would you mind if I added a link to your blog on the "Emperor vs Elector" group blog?

Please let me know . . .

-- Jeff

Stokes Schwartz said...

This is terribly interesting stuff. Do you know the articles on designing and casting one's own figures that appeared in a few issues of Miniature Wargames during the early 80s? The master you are creating is much less crude and more nicely proportioned than those featured there. Well done! I'm looking forward to seeing more here.

Best Regards,

Stokes Schwartz

John D said...


Happy for you to add a link for anyone that might be interested.


No, I must have missed those articles, I started buying MW about issue 12 or thereabouts, I think.

Der Alte Fritz said...

Fascinating stuff here John. I just found your blog via a link to the Duchy of Alzheim blog.

It hadn't occured to me, but I think that you are right about the evolution of figure styles to the chunkier, more detailed sculpts that the "paint by the numbers" crowd likes. I also hadn't considered that whoever started this trend was something short of brilliant. The Foundry/Dallimore system really does work, but I have become disenchanted by it and have set my sights on realistic looking figures such as RSM and the Richard Ansell figures done for TAG and Minden Miniatures. Foundry painting style has crept into my own toolkit and i now consciously try to get away from it.

Again, interesting stuff and thought provoking. I will keep visiting this interesting site.

Der Alte Fritz