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What got you started into figure modelling/making

Discussion in 'General Figure Talk' started by Adrian Cowdry, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. Adrian Cowdry Well-Known Member

    On another thread one of the contributor's has said it was Zulu and Waterloo - films that got him into figure modelling/making.

    What got you into it?

    I was very much into the Aurora Glow in the Dark kits, my mum and dad bought them all for me and I was allowed on Friday nights to stay up and watch the BBC2 Horror Double Bills - I still get a thrill watching Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. But these figures were caricatures. I also had a few of the Airfix Historical series as well as the Tamiya Military Miniatures in 1/35 but my first serious figure came about in the early 1980's.

    For me the Iranian Embassy Siege and The Falklands War had occurred and the SAS had piqued my interest. I found a copy of Military Modelling with Barton Miniatures just released a Nimrod figure in 90mm, I sallied forth to Hammersmith and purchased direct. That was it I was hooked on my favourite branch of model making.

    Since then I have over dosed on SAS, special forces as well as large garage kits of famous and not so famous monsters with much in between.

    What got you into figure models and have you still got it? I still have my Barton SAS figure.
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    My first figures were Aurora monsters but original early 60's versions, not the later glow ones. I always wanted them to look real but there are limitations to what a 10 year old can accomplish with testers gloss model car paints.

    Then Waterloo came out in 1970. My adult neighbour started collecting hundreds of 1/72 Airfix Napoleonic figures to allow the kids in the neighbourhood to refight the battle. We lined them up and moved the lines forward with horizontally placed screwdrivers. I started looking for books to paint them accurately, found Rene North's Almark book on Waterloo uniforms and then saw my first Historex kit in the local model shop. The rest is history.

    My first models are long gone although I do have an early Lasset guard grenadier kicking around somewhere.

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  3. Tubby-Nuts2 A Fixture

    In a bizarre way it was the, 'Old painting by Numbers', of the 70's, then that coupled with my Fathers interest in Napoleonic's, and again the, 1.72nd Airfix, figures (Same as Colin). That got me interested in, Military History! then AFV, Aircraft, Fantasy (Old Citadel stuff of the 80's) etc! Basically anything I could get my 'Grubby' hands on!:D

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  4. garyhiggins A Fixture

    What got me into figures was my dad. In the 1960's he was chief designer for Mettoy, then he started Les Higgins Miniatures, which became Phoenix when he died.
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  5. Martin64 A Fixture

    Well for me it started with two Airfix HO/OO-packs of WWI "Jerries" and Tommies"
    AIR01726Box.jpg AIR01727Box.jpg which kept me going and spending my bucks for more kits of that range what finally led to my first "conversion" IMG_4027.jpg and then came the Airfix Collector`s kits and their excellent Multipose range
    Airfix AWI.jpg IMG_2933.JPG eyeballs painted with the tip of a needle - not easy with fast drying Humbrols:).
    As you can see I still keep them and I already started thinking about doing some of them again with todays techniques.
    So Airfix got me into the hobby....
    Cheers, Martin
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  6. Tecumsea PlanetFigure Supporter

    As a travelling Sales Rep in the late 70's I was kicking around St Albans in my lunch hour between calls when in the side streets I found a shop "Cavaliers" regular advertisers in Military Modelling at the time.
    I was fascinated by the figures and still have my first purchase. It was an ECW Musketeer in 175mm by Niblett. I still have the kit and the underneath of the box is marked KD £10 for 2 consecutive months, on the 3rd month it was mine! I also bought an English Grenadier from the same series which is painted and in the cabinet. Later of course I discovered PM, Barton, Ceremonial Studios and Richard Almonds work. I know very little about the Military as such but have enjoyed reading military history in retirement. Painting I find relaxing and the internet of course has made the hobby available to everyone to improve, research their hobby and communicate with a huge body of friends sharing the same interest.

  7. Tubby-Nuts2 A Fixture

    :wideyed: Crickey! .. Martin, nice work @ 1/76th. However, thanks for the first two pictures! its reviving old memories! Oh! happy days!:D

    Ah! Childhood! (y)

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  8. ghamilt1 A Fixture

    I started like many others, in the area of armour and airplane modeling when I was very young. But when I was about 11 or 12 years old, I found a shop in downtown Edmonton called "Hobbit Hobbies", or something like that. They had mostly books, fantasy stuff and games, but there was a rack of the Historex figures, and I used to save up and buy as many as I could afford. There aren't any stores in the province of Alberta, never mind Edmonton that sell figures anymore. But I managed to keep two of those old Historex figures I did when I was a kid. These have to be nearly 40 years old. I keep them on my work bench. image.jpg
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  9. ChaosCossack A Fixture

    Great thread!
    As a kid, I was always interested in military history, thanks to my Dad and both my Grandfathers. My friends and I spent endless hours playing with thousands of little plastic, dollar store soldiers... I then started to accumulate Airfix 54mm one piece moulded plastic figs (very detailed for what they were). Seeing my interest, my Grandmother started buying me Britains figs and painted lead toy soldiers... these introduced me to Napoleonic uniforms, a passion began.
    I started painting those soft plastic Airfix pieces that I had, with Humbrols... then moved on to 1:35 WWII kits from Airfix and Tamiya... but these were all practice for the Airfix Napoleonics. I then found white metal figs... very hard to find here, mostly at flea markets etc.
    The next big discovory actually put the breaks on my painting for about 15 years... FEMALES!!!!!!
    After a work injury, after I was married (so no longer trying to impress women), I needed something to do to kill time during the months of recovery. I foung a small shop catering to wargamers where I started painting 25mm Wargame Foundry figs... I even started a painting service for gamers who didn't want tto paint their own armies. Not a job I'd suggest to anyone, unless you WANT to be sick of painting.
    I would binge and purge on painting for the next 18 years... paint a ton of Wargames Foundry, Old Glory and Citadel figs for a year or so then hang up the brushes for a couple of years... exchanging them for guitars one time, wrenches and welders the next.

    Three years ago, I stumbled across The Sentry, shop of Joe and Greg McEvoy, bought a few Metal Modeles and Pegasos, went to a painting seminar by Alex McC, found this site and... well, tickity-boo, here I sit today. I finally started to see improvement in my painting after all those years of off and on... that's probably why this painting binge has lasted longer than the ones before.

    Thanx Guys

  10. Blind Pew A Fixture

    Like most on here, I had the usual Matchbox and Airfix-led upbringing as a kid.
    I've always had a desire to build and make things. I'd love nothing more than creating a a tank or plane or ship from a mass of sprue moldings. I recall being 11 years old and amazing the lads in school by making a kit without any instructions...

    There is in fact, barely a panzer I haven't made, which may surprise those that know me.

    Then a 8-10 year interlude, during which my mates and I invented beer and women. ;)

    Manchester has always had two iconic model shops. Beattie's off Market Street and of ourse 'The Model Shop.' I'd drool against those windows, marvelling at the works on display. A great guy I used to work with gave me a Verlinden Super Scale 120mm figure, stating he'd never finish it. I was hooked again. So I began back but soon found I was paying more attention to the tank crews.... then started this journey I'm still on.
  11. Martin64 A Fixture

    Mark - that`s spot on about childhood.(y) Grown up in a rural woody landscape (kind of German Redneck / Hillbilly-area) there was just one shop offering Airfix-kits in my village and another one 20 km away offering Revell/Italeri-kits. Usually I would ride by bike to the other shop far far away and marvel at the boxes in the window but have spent my bucks already for another box of Airfix-soldiers back at my "local shop". Beside small soldiers some sailing ships and a giant "109" were tackled but it was normally all about the figures. Later with the demise of Airfix and the access to other hobby shops and visits to shows like Euro Militaire a whole new world opened up. In difference to other PF-members women, family and job obligations would later slow me down but just during my stay with the army I really stopped modelling for once.
    Beside the interest of a "grown-up" in history etc it is mainly that spark form childhood days that keeps me linked with the hobby.
    I still feel the thrill of times past when working on one of these old kits. - Evidence:
    IMG_5385.JPG IMG_5387.JPG
    One of my recent projects - it took me a while to get there because of my job obligations but as long as I can keep my eyes open it is the moment that makes my day on a day off or in the evening when I can sit down at the workbench....
    Another nice thing is to be part of the largest world-wide Modelling Club. Unlike in the "real world" over here many others can understand what keeps you hooked about little men (and childhood days):) .
    Cheers and all the best!
  12. valiant A Fixture

    Ive had a very similar "apprenticeship" as many of you guys. I grew up when all my peers made Airfix kits as part of childhood, purchased from the two toy shops or Woolies in the small town where I lived. I have worked my way through various scales, periods, subjects, etc, but I suppose it was my dad and his mate who really got me into figures. I would look in amazement at the collection of Rose miniatures, Stadden, Tradition, etc as well as the converted Britains Eyes Right figures he had done and wanted to do the same! My dad used to make and paint kits and figures with me when I was a child, but he says he cant really see well enough now to do his own, but he does display all my stuff and does still come to the odd show with me, now and again.

    Its been a hobby the Ive never really left, apart from some short periods and as I grew older, I ventured into quite complex conversions and scratchbuilds. I concentrated on figures more and more, but do wargame as an aside to the main hobby, so also paint 28mm when time allows. As many others say, it would be great to have more time for the hobby, but maybe that makes me value the painting/modelling time even more!

    Through PF, Ive met many other kindred spirits and long may it continue!


  13. MCPWilk A Fixture

    Airfix figures of all sorts - 1/76, 1/32, 54mm and 1/12. The 54mm 10th Hussar was followed by assorted other Napoleonic figures and a Charge of the Scot's Greys diorama I did for a history project (!). Historex figures were then followed by assorted 75 -90mm figures from Ray Lamb, Stadden, Richard Almond &c. I've since continued to make models of all sorts including Airfix, Italeri, Hasegawa and Revell aircraft, O Gauge Locomotives, assorted (wooden) ships and boats in cases and R/C boats. I'm now mainly back with 120, 150 and 200mm figures.

    What a wonderful hobby.

  14. legend69 Well-Known Member

    For me it was these little suckers 1/72 scale. My favourite were British Soldiers in the Zulu war. I had hundreds of these when I was a kid (surprised I didn't swallow a few)...moved on to tanks and planes and the rest is history.


    Attached Files:

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  15. Adrian Cowdry Well-Known Member

    This is great reading gentlemen. And extremely nostalgic. And great to see some of those original models from way back when you all started.
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  16. Ron Tamburrini A Fixture

    Broke my collar bone playing football :eek: laid up needed something to do :D
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  17. bonehead A Fixture

    It is interesting to see all these stories, especially from England. It is clear that the cultural pull was quite different for Brits and others than it was for me here in the states. For one thing, all seem to mention military or model soldier connections.

    For me, it was all about models. In the states in the '60s when I was a wee lad and my interest began. it was all about cars. Model cars. Yeah, I built airplanes too. But cars were big-time here in the states back then. Every young American boy built model cars at one time or another during the '6os. Mine was probably the last generation in America to do so. My interest in airplanes was inspired by my interest in models - not the other way around. Military was far from my mind, my fascination was with machines and making models of them. All of my friends built model cars. My interest in military aircraft was not shared by any of them. I built "funny cars", hot rods and military aircraft of all descriptions. I was an avid modeler from the time I was six years old - and the only military modeler i knew until I was into my teens.

    What got me into figures was the coming of a hobby shop to my town, The Squadron Shop. I went in there to find model airplanes (no model cars in the shop!). I loved looking at all the cool built-up models in the display cases. This included some armor models and figures. Neither were my thing, per-se. But I loved models and it was those display pieces that got me interested in figure models. I bought the very first Airfix "collector" kit of a Coldstream Guard as a novelty to try something new. Then seeing some of the very original ancient figures done by Peter Wilcox in some of those small sized issues of Military Modelling (from England) perked my interest.

    The first figure i did was the Airfix Coldstream Guard. The second one I did was the same kit made into an ancient Viking. It was crude, but that is where my interest in figures began. That is what got me into modeling figures. To this day, I still see the figures I sculpt as models. I am model building - people instead of machines.

    My interest in military things is firmly attached to model building. Even as a child, I thought that military matters and wars were the result of idiocy and not things which should be glorified, promoted or even acknowledged by sensible people. So for me, history is academic and not a thing I feel any attachment to. History is how i get to making models - even if - they represent the sociopathic tendencies and stupidity of mankind toward his fellow man. That is how I feel about such things, even while making my models of military subjects.

    Crazy, I know. But for me it is, was and always has been about making models. I do not consider what i do to be art. I do not take an artistic approach. My object is and always has been to build nice models of people, planes or whatever. I do not always succeed at that. But that is my motivation. If not for modeling, my interest in military matters likely would have been nil. Perhaps less than that.

    Yep, looney for sure..... :wacky::wtf::whistle:
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  18. Mirofsoft A Fixture

    Born from a boring conversation ..

    As a kid, I was reading, reading, later chasing girls ( not always fast enough ;) ), playing bass guitar, then university, married first kid . A that time I encountered a guy who had a bookshop specialised in SF & Fantasy, we became friends ( and still are 40 years later )
    One day he spoke about the pleasure he had when he was younger, making kits and plastic figures and ... and....( I never played with "toy soldiers", except for annihilating some with a marble game, I built only one kit, an airplane, to use as target practice with an air gun ) . I ended the conversation as fast as I could, telling " .. how right he was, I liked making kits etc... " ( liar :whistle: ) .
    The next month he went in London, came back and visited me in my home and said " .. as I know you liked figurines when you was young, I bought some for you . You owe me xxx£ ..."
    What !!! :sick: ... I was catched in my lies ... . there was a complete set with 6 horses of RHA by Hinchliffe, some Sanderson, some Lasset, ( antiquity).... ( in 1972 )
    SO... I bought paints, brushes and it started all . It never ended .

  19. swralph A Fixture

    I used to make models when I was young planes, tanks.
    Then due to illness becoming worse,I needed to occupy my mind.I went into the model shop and bought a couple of kits to do.these were finished, not to good, but I enjoyed doing them.Phil in the model shop told me about a club in Bebington.I went along with my finished model's and was absolutely slated.Then a nice bloke named Ron Mackenzie took me to one side and told me to ignore them,and proceded to show me a figure he had done and explained all about it.This really peaked my interest and Ron said that if I wanted to, he would help and guide me going down this route of modelling.He also said that there were two other blokes that did figures(Alan Ball and Ged Kincaid)and that they would help me also,which they did.So this is what started me figure modelling and I have never looked back.I still do other model's Planes,ship's car's etc as this keep's my mind busy.
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  20. TADATSUGU Guest

    I am the one Adrian was referring to when he started this thread, saying I was inspired by Zulu and Waterloo. That is not to say I hadn't been modelling since I first fell out of my cot. Sticklebricks, Lego, Airfix, Aurora Monsters, Planes,Trains, Cars and Ships - all fell under my sticky mitts! I discard these as inspiration though, those were the things that all kids did in those days (1960s) when not chewing gum to Collect Mars Attack Cards. Other gum card sets at that time included one on the American Civil War and one on WW2 (imagine that happening now). Comics from Sgt Rock to Capt Hurricane, Films on TV , from endless war films to John Ford's Cavalry films, there wasn't a minute we weren't bombarded with influences.
    But then I remember a Prestige showing of Waterloo in Manchester, in Cinerama! with pipers in the Foyer and and both an illustrated programme and a tie-in book issued by Pan Books which I still have to this day. The Pan book had colour uniform plates from Charles Hamilton Smith and Knotel, as well as portraits of the actual commanders - That was the turning point -I was off.
    Airfix came first (I read Airfix Magazine and Military Modelling, before it became AFV Monthly!) and both featured many articles on converting and building figures for dioramas. When I got old enough to leave the Homeland (Manchester), cheap day rail Tickets to London revealed that, in those olden days, the streets were paved in Model Soldier Shops. yes!, whole shops devoted to nothing else but model soldiers - (Under Two Flags, I miss you). In these heady establishments I discovered Historex, Rose, Hinton Hunt, Tradition - and others too many to list.
    My earliest efforts all ended up in the bin, as my efforts improved (at least to my standards) and I became embarrassed by the earlier rosy cheeked little fellows. I still have a few of my latet period figures, which are reasonable but nothing to write home about. Unfortunately I then went through a long period of stress related Depression when I simply did nothing for years (queue the violins). Although depressed I somehow still retained some interest in model shows - I suppose they were a kind of therapy . and because I continued to attend those shows ,mainly Euromilitare, it was easy to get back into things when I started feeling better. Since then I have started mass a horde of models but have not yet got much further than starting a few long thought about projects - I always preferred to adapt figures or convert. If and when I do complete something I will post it -for better or worse.

    As a P.S; If you are enjoying this thread. I highly recommend the book Achtung Sschweinhund! by Harry Pearson. It covers similar ground in a very funny recollection of everything through Clark's Commando shoes, Action Man (G-I Joe), figure modelling, wargaming and re-enactors. As it says on the cover - a tale of obsession, glue and kits. (Little,Brown Books ISBN 978-0-316-861136-6)

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