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In the Spotlight with Terry Neesham

Discussion in 'Meet the Artist- with Art in Miniature' started by ArtinMiniature, Sep 17, 2023.

  1. ArtinMiniature New Member

    Good Morning, please find attached the new Spotlight article featuring Mr Terry Neesham. For those not familiar with Terry’s work, his attention to detail his fantastic… feast your eyes on some of the accompanying pics. I hope you enjoy the article half as much as I did!! terry1.jpg

    Meet the Artist
    Terry Neesham

    Q1 How long have you been painting miniature figures and how did you get into the hobby?

    A For as long as I can remember wielding a paintbrush and being able to apply paint to my satisfaction which would have been about 7 back in 1961. In those days it would have been the Airfix 1/72nd scale range of figures which I painted in a very rudimentary fashion. I also collected the toy soldiers of the era, Britains, Herald, Timpo, Cherilea etc but could never quite find figures from the period of history I was really interested in. This resolved itself when I became a little older and first discovered the toyshop, Hamleys on Regent St. London. At the time, the basement of this store housed a cornucopia of brilliantly painted soldiers from nearly every period of history that I was aware of. It was as they say a life-changing moment and I had to have some for my own expanding little army. That was until I was informed of the cost and couldn’t get my head around it; at the time the cost for one figure approximated to 30 times my weekly pocket money. Then in 1968 at the age of fourteen I discovered “Historex” and “The Garrison”model shop in Knaresborough, the world was never quite the same again.
    Getting into the hobby for me first began with a love of history which was imbued in me by my maternal grandfather who had a real passion for it. Having lived through all of the history of the 20th century himself at that time he had acquired a lot of knowledge and could recognise even in my early years a kindred spirit. I just devoured every story he told me and looked forward to the nights when he baby-sitted me and my older sister. We would be transported to North America in the times of discovery and exploration or the feudal wars in Japan or perhaps with the Crusaders in the middle east. We were never told anything about the two world wars as I think that held too many bad memories for him, including the loss of his younger brother at the Battle of Arras in 1917, strangely this avoidance has to this day been reflected in my own modelling and painting preferences as I very rarely produce a figure from these periods.
    Apart from a brief hiatus from my late teenage years through to and including marriage and kids (three daughters) I have been making models continuously over the last sixty years. It has provided a lifelong interest and has been both an abiding joy and a great source of stress relief in a hectic and chaotic world. During all this time my wife Linda has continually supported my activities in the hobby and inspired me to go that little bit further with every model.

    Q2 Do you have any particular figure painters / artists that have influenced your style or motivated you?

    A It would be easy to list a lot of the well-known international luminaries in the hobby and I’m sure you will have heard all their names, and over the years I have been fortunate to have met a lot of them and forged friendships with some. I am a great admirer of their work, however the main sources of continual influence and motivation for me come from my fellow members in the two clubs of which I am a member; the Darlington Military Modelling Society DMMS and the White Rose Military Modelling Society. A lot of these guys are the unsung heroes of the hobby, they might not go to a lot of shows or exhibit their work but they regularly produce fantastic work of such high quality and are always only too willing to share their knowledge and techniques. These guys are very modest and just love the hobby for the pure pleasure that it gives, they seek no accolades or recognition other than their own sense of achievement and satisfaction.
    I am retired now and can indulge myself in the social aspects of the hobby a lot more but during my professional life (Chartered Mechanical Engineer) there just wasn’t enough time and for me the hobby was a very solitary pastime when my skills didn’t really seem to improve. Joining the two clubs and attending more shows helped to open my eyes to what was possible with a little imagination, practise and effort and of course the generous advice from my fellow club members.


    Q3 What are your favourite brand of miniature figure paints and why?

    I am an old-fashioned painter and still rely heavily on oil paints over a base colour undercoat. Up until the mid-nineties I undercoated in enamels but then I moved onto the newly available high quality acrylics. This gave the advantage of fast drying times and being able to apply the oil paint within minutes. I have a large variety of oil paints and will use whatever brand to achieve the result I want, I mainly use Winsor & Newton, Rembrandt, Old Holland and Vasari.
    I also must have purchased virtually every brand of acrylics going, Andrea, Vallejo, Scale 75 etc both individual dispensers and the paint sets. Some of the more exotic colours are invaluable for achieving a vibrant undercoat prior to oil application. I have tried to move to a complete use of acrylic paints but I find that I can only achieve the results I want by using oils, specifically when painting freehand designs and patterns / tartans / flags etc. A thin smear of oil paint applied with a “000” Series 7 paintbrush can produce the finest of details.
    Extending this question to include paintbrushes, I can highly recommend the aforementioned brushes, I must have experimented with every brand of miniature paintbrush available but always come back to Winsor & Newton, although more recently I have discovered an amazing new brush on the market; Abteilung 502, Marta Kolinsky Top Line sold by AK Interactive. They really are fantastic at detail.

    Q4 Approximately how long do you spend on a typical figure project?

    A A difficult question to answer accurately based on a single figure due to a variety of factors: scale / mounted or foot / single figure or vignette, but if I take a more scientific approach and increase the statistical population to cover how many pieces I produce in a year it would be approximately in the mid-twenties, so that equates to a nominal two weeks per piece. This production rate has been made possible by retirement, when I was working it was about two or three figures a year. Having more time for the hobby certainly increases efficiency and effectiveness, providing the desire never diminishes, which fortunately hasn’t happened to date.


    Q5 Do you have a favourite manufacturer and why?

    A There are too many to list and a lot of my friends will attest to a certain weakness I have in buying far too many models from nearly all the known brands and building a grey army that would keep a fair size model club going for multiple lifetimes. The number of superlative figures that are constantly generated never ceases to amaze me and I have had to become a little more restrained in my purchasing otherwise the maths just doesn’t equate (number of models vs number of possible years left). However, rather than the brand name I must mention the sculptors who produce for these brands as this has a greater influence on what I buy, particularly noteworthy is the work of Piersergio Allevi, Maurizio Bruno and Adriano Laruccia. Over the last five or six years I have also had the pleasure of collaborating with Ludovico Carrano in painting some of his beautiful sculpts for American modellers. All of the above names are capable of producing such naturally proportioned and detailed figures having that undefinable “presence” about them.

    Q6 Do you have a favourite miniature figure show that you have attended or would like to attend?

    I have very fond memories of the golden age of EuroMilitaire before the internet when there was a real buzz and expectation about the show. Waiting to go down the stairs and see the new releases and spending my model budget within the first hour. It was such a great show and a fantastic social event, all credit must go to the organisers who tried to keep it alive following the withdrawal of the original sponsors.
    I have had the good fortune to attend quite a few of the World Expo events, Glasgow, Rome, Boston and Chicago and they have been quite spectacular experiences for me and my family. I only missed last years Expo at Eindhoven due to KLM cancelling my flight at the last minute but I’m really looking forward to the next Expo at Versailles.
    For over twenty years now I have travelled to the MFCA show outside Philadelphia. It is such a great event and a gathering of many talented artists both from the US and Europe. Through this show I have got to know and befriend many modellers from all around the world.
    I have an ambition to attend some of the Italian shows and will plan a trip around a holiday as I think Italy must be the nearest thing to heaven on earth that there is, it is such a beautiful country. Additionally, I must make a mention of SMC in Eindhoven, a true modelling extravaganza, a show which any serious modeller should attend at least once, not unlike a Mecca for modellers.


    Q7 Where do you see your miniature figure work headed in the near future?

    Over the years I have settled on 54mm / 1/32 scale as being the size of figure I am most comfortable with. I find my style of painting suits this size of figure and I can achieve results I am happy with. I often receive comments on how I can create such intricate details in this small scale , but conversely I find the larger scales more unforgiving, where every tiny detail must be precisely shown. In 54mm scale I find I can achieve a lot of so-called detail by illusion, trompe-l’oeil and practised technique. I am a bit of a traditionalist and so being a model soldier enthusiast my preferred scale of modelling blends nicely with the scale of my old toy soldier collection.
    I do love equestrian figures and plan to do may more in the years ahead, each horse is so unique and provides an extra challenge over and above the representations of uniforms. The finished pieces are such spectacular additions to my collection.

    Q8 What are your current thoughts on the miniature figure world today?

    I don’t think there has been a better time to be a modeller / painter, there is such an abundance of brilliant figures in all scales, periods, nationalities. It really is a purple period in model history. At the very top of the game though are those very talented individuals who create unique pieces from scratch, whether by hand or software design, I don’t distinguish between the two, they both achieve fantastic results. There seems to be so many of these very talented guys around who provide so much inspiration for us mere mortals.
    When I look at the gold medal winning models from the last World Expo, a shortfall in my imagination prevents me from seeing how things can possibly be bettered but experience also tells me that inevitably they will. In my professional capacity I encountered 3D printing technology over 15 years ago when investigating the production of low-cost prototypes and could immediately see the potential within the modelling world. I remember discussing this with fellow modellers at the time who couldn’t quite get their heads around the idea, but look at where we are now. However, I have no crystal ball to see where the next big development will come from, 3D computerised spray booths perhaps, who knows? Until then I’m enjoying all the benefits that this fantastic hobby of ours provides.
    In the future I would like to see more awareness of the hobby in the public domain so that it can be accorded the artistic merit it so deserves. In this context I applaud and support both Mark and Colin for this initiative.


    A huge thank you to Terry for taking his time to answer the questions in such depth. I’m sure the article will provide a great resource to the readers and serve as a source of inspiration.

    Thanks Terry!!
    Macca G, Tecumsea, Babelfish and 3 others like this.
  2. Nap Moderator

    Hi Mark

    Great to see another edition and what a artist Terry is ......detail work to drool at , fine presentation as well

    Questions particularly well answered and interesting to read

    Thanks to Terry for his time and long may his brushes swirl

  3. 1969 A Fixture

    Some stunning work on display, not ever met Terry but have heard nothing but good praise about his work, I can now see why.
    NigelR and Nap like this.
  4. Steve headley A Fixture

    Great interview and great models.


    TFB Miniatures Team
  5. NigelR A Fixture

    Very interesting and again, a modeller with much shared history to us older folks.....

    Thanks for posting.
    Steve headley and Nap like this.
  6. housecarl Moderator

    Terry, is a wonderful geezer.
    He just has this an amazing skill.(y)
    Steve headley and Nap like this.

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