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Hello from New Mexico, USA

Discussion in 'Welcome aboard' started by Wardenstein, Nov 5, 2021.

  1. Wardenstein New Member

    Hi all. I'm a new person here. I'm not exactly sure what to say about myself, so forgive me if I ramble on, at random, for a while. I'm an older male -- (not quite age sixty, as of this writing) -- who is fan of a lot of different kinds of models: with "vehicles of all types" being one big long-time interest area of mine; and "figures" (to include the occasional monster or animal or cartoon character) being another.

    I have been a fan of scale models, in general, ever since my father first showed me some things he was working on, when I was very little. At age three I was completely convinced that the Korean war era jeep model he had assembled and painted, from a 1960s era kit, just HAD to have been the real thing. I can still clearly remember (gently) losing a "logical" argument to that effect, even though I had pointed to the treads on the rubber tires as "proof" that someone, somehow, through some magical process, had to have figured out how to shrink the real thing down to a size where even I could hold it in my hands, at that age. There was, as far as I was concerned, no other way that much detail could have happened.

    Around the early 1970s (at around age eight-ish) my father took me to a hobby shop called Jack's Hobby Castle (in Cleveland, Ohio, USA) and introduced me to the owner. My dad picked a kit that interested him, on that day, and that he hoped I would end up being interested in -- but it was way too difficult for someone of that age to put that many road wheels together, one after another, by himself, so I mostly watched as my dad assembled what I believe was probably another Korean war era kit: an open-topped, multi-gunned tank kit. I'm assuming now that it was probably an anti-aircraft "Duster" tank kit. That kit later led to others, with me doing more and more of the assembly work, by myself, over time. I had a slate-topped desk that used to be my grandfathers, to work on. I ended up making the hard top look like a butcher's block, over time, from cuts from X-acto knives. And of course ended up spilling paints on it, from time to time, too. That desk was probably my one most favorite spot in the house where I grew up: drawing there, reading books, and building kits. I was doing it on "begged" money, of course, for a long time -- given my age -- but at around age twelve I was told I would have to start cutting grass and shoveling snow (and dog poop, at times) for people in the neighborhood, to earn extra money, to support my kits-and-paints-buying habits. I never had the actual finished kits on display, in my room, for long: I was forced to "get rid of" old ones, to make room for new ones; as I am sure was likely the case for a lot of people from my generation. But as I was mainly interested in the process, more than the finished item, that didn't bother me too much.

    I was kind of shocked, in my Junior High School years, when kit-maker Revell announced their "Master Modeler's Club". They wanted lists, from kids like me, of any kit they had built. It was all on the honor system (probably a market research ploy, in a sense?) and they didn't care what company made the kit: they never asked "did you actually paint these, or just assemble them?) ... so my guess is that they apparently just wanted to know what kids my age found to be worth buying and working on, so they could best cater to that market. Anyway, the reason I was shocked was I had never sat down and counted how many kits I had worked on. My initial impression was that Revell must have been out of their minds, thinking any kid could have or would have built 75 kits (which was their upper category or ranking) but I kept remembering more and more kits. I had to do post-build-up hobby store research, to try to even figure out which company had made "Birds of the World" kits; which ones had done the animal kits I'd built a few of; which companies did the 1:1 scale handguns, and so on. (Jack was good at buying kits from his distributor, that others stores couldn't get kids to buy; or so he once broadly hinted. Something about "you younger kids that don't have much money" still wanted kits, and you're more open-minded than most, as to what types of kits are worth buying.) With two weeks of work on the list, I could look at how many kits I'd bought, and it made perfect sense why I had been forced to throw some finished ones out, to make room for new "done" ones. to my astonishment, I could see Revell's "75 kits built" wasn't as insane a goal as I had initial thought was the case. I wish I had a copy of that list now: it stated that I had built about 200 total kits, between ages 8 and about 14 or 15. (No, I didn't "go outside and play" as much as other children! I was too busy building, and eventually painting, with Square-Bottle Testors paints, the third or fourth version of Fokker triplanes and Albatros models, and Sopwith Camels, and the like -- mostly in 1:72 scale -- in paint jobs that I had seen in books and/or in hobby or history magazines, and etc.)

    At around age 15 or 16-ish various parts of my life changed. I was no longer around that cool desk, or that cool hobby shop. Money was even tighter than when I was younger. And I found other interests -- (cars, computers, video games, and so on) -- and I went on the customary "hiatus," away from the scale modeling hobby: the same common type of hiatus that a lot of other people seem to also engage in, at certain parts of their lives.

    That lasted until roughly the mid-to-late 1990s, when someone I knew (Brian Criner) showed me one of Tamiya's latest offerings, still in the box (a WWII Corsair aircraft model) and some of his built-up (and painted, of couse) aircraft kits. Some of the "real world" detailing of such models blew me away: molded-in ejection ports for each of the guns in the wings, as just one example. No kit of my youth had ever had that much detail included -- but then again, the kits I bought in the 60s / 70s were two dollars or sometimes even lower. The hobby had changed: both in quality, and also in raw costs.

    I started attending meetings of the IPMS chapter that Brian Criner belonged to (The "Planes of Fame" group, out of Chino, California) in the late 1990's -- but I wasn't yet back into building anything. I mainly just went to monthly meetings, and to contests held in the Southern California area (including SCAHMS shows, when I could make it there) but I mostly "just looked". I eventually picked up some kits -- ("forgive me, for I have sinned," I'll say to the historical modelers out there, who might be reading this: because my kit-buying-and-building interests at that time were generally sci-fi subjects) -- but I always kept an eye on what the historical modelers (vehicular and/or figure) were doing. I'd buy lots of books, and magazines, and the like, on the historical side; but I mostly built fantasy subjects, in that late 1990's to early 2000's period. I met a lot of super-talented modelers, at various contests, and I really enjoyed seeing what they had worked on. I loved being able to pick their brains, about how-to info, too!

    Eventually, I got good enough to win a few contest prizes at local contests; and occasionally I'd win something at the regional contests in that state -- but I was mostly interested in the constant learning, and seeing what was happening. I was always (arguably) more interested in the processes involved, than the "ranking" of contests. I loved to see the skill of others on display! I think my most fun, at things like TamiyaCon events, was taking notes when the big-shot builders were giving small seminars, in the parking lots, to "keep the troops entertained" while the judging was going on, inside the buildings. To me, the "prizes" were the knowledge that certain things could be done; and that the knowledge about "how" was obtainable.

    Around 2003 I moved out of that state, and into one (New Mexico, USA) where IPMS contests and clubs didn't exist (local to me, at any rate: the nearest ones I knew about, back then, were maybe 230 miles away, give or take; and that was one-way, not the round trip travel distance) so my interests sort of shifted. I wanted to know more about how people scratch-built. I was always fascinated with reading about it, or picking people's brains, when they knew how it was done, but I hadn't really done much beyond kit-bashing, to that point. I began adding internet personalities to my list of "favorite authors" that I was studying the craft from or with, "from afar". I wanted to know a lot more! At the tail end of my learning period, I wrote a few things for "Internet Modeler" but a lot of that has gone off of the internet, over time. I had a "tip" or two published in places like "Scale Auto" or "Fine Scale Modeler" magazines, in this period, but I hadn't yet written anything "article length," for an actual printed publication, then. But I was getting closer and closer, over time, to where I could do that.

    Around 2009-ish I had learned enough, through a LOT of what I think of as "deliberate study; and deliberate reflection; and deliberate practice" that I wrote my first full-length, paid, hobby article. It was in issue #13 of "Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller" -- which is a publication out of England. (I still lived in America, but email and the Internet let me write for that "overseas" publication.) Over time, I ended up writing I think it was fifteen articles for them. (It sucked, when they closed their doors, a few years ago -- or I would most likely still happily be writing for them!) At about the time SF&FM was closing down, I also wrote three articles (all on the same topic) for a historical scale modeling publication, called "Seaway's Ships In Scale". My plan back then was to get my obligations to finish off a five-part series, with Ships In Scale, first; and then get back to writing for SF&FM, but as it turned out, Ships In Scale quit publishing at about the same time (give or take) that SF&FM made that decision. It's tough out there, for magazines to survive, these days! Anyway, those few articles about the CSS Manassas (an early American Civil War ironclad), I believe I had sold all the rights to, not just the ones related to the "first publication" -- so I can't share copies of those three historical articles. (If anyone wants issue numbers, I can look that info up.) I did recently get permission from the publisher of SF&FM, to share whatever articles I wanted to, that I'd written, online -- so I did post four links to a sampling of the lengthy and detailed SF&FM articles I wrote, on the "Post your Articles or Step-by-Step tutorials" section of this fine web forums. If anyone wants to see examples of that kind of published articles, be advised that the links to those fantasy articles should be over here:


    I'm still learning -- and happily so! If I tried to sum up what I'm doing now, it's sort of like when I was picking the brains of talented modelers like David Merriman (an ex-navy diver and professional scale modeler, who mainly works with radio controlled submarine models, and sometimes sci-fi subjects) so that I could continue my learning processes. I very much enjoy the constant "problem solving" and "lateral thinking" aspects of this hobby. There is always one more challenge, just around a corner! And one more. And one more, after that. I never really gave figure modeling a huge learning period, and my painting skills, while improved since childhood, could definitely use an upgrade. So I'll be learning from folks here, and elsewhere, as I do whatever is next, on my scale modeling journey. I'm planning on learning a lot more than I currently know, about sculpting figures, and painting them. (And there's nothing wrong with "enjoying the scenery"!)

    -- My name on these boards: "Wardenstein" --

    -- My real name: "Ward Shrake" --
    DaddyO likes this.
  2. Mirofsoft A Fixture

    bravo 2.gif

    Wardenstein likes this.
  3. Joe55 A Fixture

    Greetings and welcome to the Planet! (y)

    So, where in NM are you?

    Wardenstein likes this.
  4. Wardenstein New Member

    Thanks, Joe! The upper-right-hand corner, when looking at it on a map. The small (and some might say, shrinking) town of Raton. It's so remote of an area, in terms of the human population and "having stores" and what not, that we have to drive about fifty miles, round-trip, past the border of Colorado, just to get to a Wal-Mart store. But some might say that kind of a situation also means far fewer distractions; and less temptations to spend money on foolish things.
    Joe55 likes this.
  5. Nap A Fixture

    Hi there

    A BIG ŴELCOME to PF , comprehensive introduction , look forward to your threads

    Great to have you with us ....share the PF word , all are very welcome to join ..no matter what's modelled with figures

    Do ask any questions someone will know...feel free to message me with questions

    Lots of different sections to look at including traditional and 3 D sculpting , competitions , WIP's , References , Painting techniques and so much more

    There are threads in Welcome Aboard about how to do things including posting pics on PF but do contact me always happy to help

    We have a Marketplace where after members have contributed 50+ posts can use to sell , request if anyone has a model to sell etc
    We have V Bench for WIP's and also a Completed part ,reference section

    There's also Painting techniques where you will find much about Acrylics and Oils

    ALL figures are welcome and of course Vignettes & Diorama ( we run friendly competitions if you wish as well , one called FOTM where there are 3 classes to choose in which to enter )

    Look forward to seeing your modelling no matter what you paint ..its all about having fun

    Happy bench-time

    Nap ( Moderator/Admin )
    Joe55 likes this.
  6. Joe55 A Fixture

    Yeah, you are really out there in the sticks :D!

    Well if you make it down to Albuquerque sometime, there's a pretty decent hobby shop there. I go there typically once a year and stock up on paints and accessories.

    Wardenstein likes this.
  7. Wardenstein New Member

    Thanks for that info, Joe. Years ago, I used to go to "ABQ" a lot more often than is the case, these days. I haven't even crossed the border, into Colorado, in something like four years; or maybe more. Just haven't felt any need to do it. I find that my needs are, for the most part, "simple and stable" so I didn't have much reason to go there, even before that last trip to CO. Last time I visited ABQ was likely five years or so ago. I am glad I had the foresight to (really!!) stock up on lots of things that I knew I'd never be able to get, anywhere local, out here in the Mega-Boonies. When I was last in ABQ, they had an "exotic wood" supplier there. I stocked up on a few items, for possible wood-working tasks, down the road. Picked up some Jelutong wood, for possible carving -- if and when I get into such a mood.

    Have you ever had any reason to hit up an unusual store that (back then, anyway) used to be in Albuquerque? I'm referring to "Senly Beauty". Normally, I'd have no use for such a place, but they have great deals on sanding items. They were a place that sold supplies, in bulk, to people who had manicure jobs, and the like -- plus cutting hair, and other grooming-related businesses. Anyway, I used to put up with the weird stares I'd get from other customers, for clearly not "fitting in" in such a place; and the annoying smell of all that nail polish and remover. I'd also ignore the vast majority of what they sold there. I'd just happily go right back to the aisles where they had kept their sanding sponges and/or their sanding sticks. I'd buy $50 to 100 worth of the sanding sticks at a time, in bulk "bricks" of 50 of them; in various grits. WAY cheaper than any other source I ever found, for that kind of a "consumable" or a supply. Most hobby (or dollar) stores want between one and two dollars, per stick; and Senly Beauty was selling me bricks or bundles of 50 of them, for something like $15 USD. In my experience, they were usually fairly water-resistant (way better than some such sticks I'd bought, in semi-bulk, elsewhere). I didn't always have spare cash when I went to ABQ, but if I had the funds to do it, I'd stock way up. I'm still using up the ones I bought, from years ago -- but I'd rather have stuff on hand, that I use a lot (when I'm actively building stuff, anyway) than wish I could find an item.

    As for ABQ's various other (hobby) stores: besides semi-generic, wider-interest hobby places like Hobby Lobby, or Michael's craft store (which I have no problems going to), one hobby-related place that I really loved to go to, isn't there any more (that I know of) and I had the impression it's getting harder and harder for "brick and mortar" stores in general to survive. If you don't mind me asking, what's the name of that place you mentioned? Is it a gaming supply place, or a dedicated hobby shop that sells stuff like plastic model kits and R/C stuff? Or something else? I ask mainly out of curiosity: but it's always good news to know that "brick and mortar" places are still hanging on!
  8. Wardenstein New Member

    Thanks much for that kind and very warm welcome, Nap!

    And for those offers of helping me to get used to the swing of things, here, too!

    In looking over what I had written, I don't know how "comprehensive" my summary or introduction was. I see that I (shamefully?!) left out the huge, mind-blowing levels of interest and inspiration the "Diorama Tip Sheets" once had on me, as a youngster: the tip sheets that kit-maker Monogram put into some of their 1970's aircraft and armor kits. Those tip sheets had me buying up various books by "Shep," soon after I knew things like dioramas were "a thing".

    And that in turn led to finding out about guys doing things like Boxed Dioramas full of figures. (Ray Anderson, etc.) I even tried my hand at a small / simple one (long since in a landfill) myself, in the early 1980s. I was already leaning towards the small figures and associated "fluff" and things related to the 1970's-era "Dungeon and Dragons" figures, and the like, about that time. I bought one SF3D or MaK kit, in the early 1980s; but that didn't get me into the figure hobby, in a lasting way. Not in a "major focus" kind of way, anyway. I've always "come close" to starting up in the figure end of the hobby, but never, for one reason or another, quite "got there". I kept buying figure-related books, along with the other kinds of scale modeling or artsy books I'd buy. For whatever reason, until now, I mainly chose to focus on building (and painting) things like vehicles. But an interest in figures was always "dormant but there".

    I am also shaking my head that I only mentioned Brian Criner, as far as that IPMS chapter went, too. Lots of guys in that club did very high quality work! (Steve Kays was also in that club, and he won a trip to Japan, one year, for a model he entered at TamiyaCon. And Kevin Hjermstad, an author for Kalmbach's series of books, was in that club, as well. And the others I knew, from my days in that IPMS chapter were no slouches, either: Henry and Dennis and Al and the others were also quite talented!) I mainly "only" mentioned Brian, because (believe it or not) I was trying to "write short," for that intro; and he's the person that had initially showed me what the then-current state of the kit-making art was ... which immediately made me want to get involved, again, in some way, in the hobby of scale modeling. I think one of the club guys jokingly said, once, that he played with toy trucks as a kid, same as most boys of that era; it was just that his toy trucks all had to be green. If memory serves, only Henry and Bob were interested enough, regularly enough, in figure modeling to get past the intimidation factor that sometimes came with looking at what figure folks worked on -- the rest were mainly "vehicle guys" to the core. The rest respected figure folks: but despite their own accomplishments, seemed to be too timid to risk failing, at doing things like painting figures.

    I noticed that I completely skipped mentioning that I was once in the military, too. (Shame on me for that?) With so many people here likely also being ex-service folks, in one branch or the other of the military, I probably should have at least briefly mentioned being a "Data Analyst Specialist" with the USAF between Oct 1985 and Oct 1989. (And I get to say that, "Yes, actually: Uncle Sam WAS paying me to think!") I did my four years, and I left with an honorable discharge, but I didn't make a career out of it. To put "leaving in four" in context: Congress was making massive cuts at that time. The Air Force pretty much "dumped" 75,000 people, in three waves of 25k each, onto the civilian job market, after the Berlin Wall fell. I'm sure lots of other people "got cut" -- in all branches of the US military -- and those I knew who were up for another possible stay, often decided "No, this isn't working out" or something similar. So it was pretty common, in the late 1980s, for people who were in the Air Force, to decide not to continue on. I did enjoy a lot of the work tasks I had done, though. I was "quietly proud" of some of the work they had me do: custom computer programming, for instance, to make our base's Unisys brand mainframe's data to be something that our primitive personal computers of the day could also use, for things like putting the entire maintenance history of one aircraft on a laptop PC, when that aircraft deployed, elsewhere in the world. And more common tasks: doing the things that we were supposed to be doing: which was more along the lines of using statistics to analyze data related to things like aircraft maintenance, and failure patterns of types of parts, and the like -- not analyzing things like troop strength and/or movements being made by the opposing side, in the Cold War, or things like that.

    As for me posting threads, on these forums, about things I've worked on:

    I'll see if I can't figure out some way of getting some of my past articles scanned in, where figures were a major part of the overall build experience. That might take me a while, but I'll put that on my "mental to-do" list, for later. No one here is likely to "ooh and ahh" at anything I've done in the past, figure-wise. But I'll try to get that scanned in.

    It's probably going to take me some time before I start posting any paint jobs of anything that's actually "new"? Or for that matter, any sculpts. I'm pretty "spread thin" for the time being: trying to improve my skills in both areas, at the same time, will (or so I hope?) pay off, longer-term ... but for now, I'm treating myself like a total beginner. I'm focusing on the basics, first. Watching lots of figure-related DVDs, and YouTube videos by sculptors, and the like.

    Of the two areas, I'm guessing (but I could be wrong?) that I am probably (?) more likely to first post things related to sculpting -- before I post anything paint-job-related.

    That idea of learning how to sculpt, was the thing I was "studying" and "playing with" and "getting used to," before I found this place. If it matters: I had been a member over at the Shiflett Brother's Sculpting Forums, for maybe half of a year or so. (I'm using the pen name "Ward Ess," over there; and on a few other groups on Facebook.) There was an interview, by Figure Mentors, of the head honchos, over there -- which is how I heard about that "e-mag". In checking out the Figure Mentors web site, and their shops, and their various online tutorials, I found this place.

    Something I was studying, from afar, as it were (before I found this place) was how people use "waxers" to create various (usually small) types of sculptures. One (rather big) reason I was asking, in another thread, about the known / printed "history" of how figure modelers used tools like the "pyrogravure" that Historex figure modellers seemed to sometimes love using, was the amount of similarity to (as far as I can tell, anyway) what wax-workers do; and what I was doing, some years ago, to sort of "re-sculpt" plastic injected kits, using an electrically-heated tool.

    If I end up taking a while to "get going," around here, I assure you that it's not due to any lack of interest on my part. Sort of the opposite, in fact: I'm trying to throw myself into the study of a lot of different areas, more or less at once.

    In various areas of life, I'm just enjoying "taking things slowly" these days; whenever "real life" lets me get away with doing that. I plan to take a fairly long time, slowly getting used to what's here. Looking around. Reading posts. That sort of thing. At the same time, I'm also doing things like ordering some of the back issues of "Figure Mentor," and I have also been (for some months, now) dusting off my copies of other figure-related books and/or magazines. Some years ago, Squadron Mail Order had some great sales on things like "Figure International" magazines. I bought 27 of those, so far. Plus various single-subject books by Osprey; lots of books about aircraft and/or armor models. I have probably 80% of the now-defunct "Modeller's Resource" library of magazines; and almost all of the printed magazines Amazing Figure Modeler / AFM put out. I just love printed materials, and I have always been that way.

    Not everyone loves to read, these days; but some of us "couldn't live without it". Or we wouldn't want to, anyway!

    Question: Is there a list, somewhere, of books and/or magazines that are related to this hobby's focus on figures? I probably don't know about every title that was once "out there" in the past, and/or may still be available, these days. I'm open to places that occasionally have figure-related articles, too: not just the ones that are wholly about figures.

    With that, I'm going to "push away from the keyboard". My wrists are letting me know that I got carried away, again, on overall "word count"; my "Over-Heating" wrists need a cool-down period. But thanks again, for the welcome!
  9. Wardenstein New Member

    An update, of a sort: I just now signed up for an account, over on the "Putty and Paint" web site place.


    There's nothing of mine actually uploaded there, in terms of projects, as of this writing ... but I'll start going through old photos, before too much longer, from my various past articles in "Sci-Fi and Fantasy Modeller" -- looking to see which images from which articles I would like to upload, over there. That seems like one good way for folks that are here, to see the stuff that I had done in the past, that I consider to be amongst my better scale modeling projects, etc.
    Nap likes this.
  10. Larsen E. Whipsnade PlanetFigure Supporter

    Hello, Ward, and welcome to the best miniatures site on the web. We're glad to have you with us.
    Wardenstein and Nap like this.
  11. theBaron A Fixture

    Welcome to the Planet, Ward!
    You mention box dioramas, and Shep. Here are a couple of links you might find of interest.

    The first is Boxdiorama.com: https://www.boxdioramas.com/ You'll find a lot of photos of box dioramas by the best in the hobby, including the late Shep Paine (there's a whole page devoted to his pieces). Some are by artists who are members here, too, if I remember correctly.

    And we segue to the second site, showing Shep's Monogram diorama tip sheets, http://sheperdpaine.atspace.com/ I'm not sure that it's complete, and it doesn't include dioramas he built using other companies' models. But it is a good place to see the contents of the "Tips" brochures.


    Nap, Mike - The Kiwi and Wardenstein like this.
  12. Joe55 A Fixture

    Ok, in Albuquerque try:

    Hobby Proz
    2225 Wyoming Blvd. NE
    (505) 332-3797

    These guys deal with RC and plastic models. They have a really good selection of Vallejo and Tamiya paints.

    For books on modelling and more specific those that pertain to figures, go to:


    Dave is a great guy to deal with and has a pretty good selection on stuff for us figure modellers.

  13. Wardenstein New Member

    Thanks much, to Larsen E. Whipsnade (Rick); theBaron; and Joe55!

    I've made bookmarks / notes about what you guys told me, and I'm all for checking those places / things out!
    Nap likes this.
  14. Wardenstein New Member

    An update, regarding pictures of some of my past projects:

    I now have three of them uploaded / posted / whatever, over on the "Putty and Paint" web galleries. None of them are strictly figure-related, but one of them has a single figure in a setting or vignette (the "Hornethopter" piece), and one of them is supposedly a living-but-mechanized creature (a "Cylon Raider" pair of kits). It will take me some time, I presume, to get anything done that's truly "a figure" ... but for now, I just want to get some evidence of older projects online; even if they're not really on-topic for this place. Here's links to those projects, if anyone cares to look at them ...

    = = =

    "Hornethopter" -- a steampunk flying machine, with one photo showing a limited "setting" around it.
    This build-up was featured in an article, in Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller: a link is included, to that article.

    = = =

    Two "Thunderbirds" (1960s children's TV show) inspired police cars".
    I have not yet put a link to the article, but these model cars were also part of another article in SF&FM.

    = = =

    Two "Cylon Raider" kits, to demonstrate several tricks or tips -- including how much surface prep can matter.
    This build-up was featured in a lengthy article, in Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller: link is included, to that article.

    = = =

    Like I say ... future projects will (hopefully?!) be more on-topic, and be more related to actual figure modeling; but until I get more sculpting practice under my belt, and more painting knowledge absorbed, "study" is my big goal! Until that happens, I'll likely keep uploading some of my older articles from SF&FM's pages, over at that place.
    theBaron and Nap like this.

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