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Where it all began - My first figures, seriously...

Discussion in 'Completed Figures' started by Mike - The Kiwi, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. Mike - The Kiwi A Fixture

    Start of a New Year ...
    A time for reflection.

    After online discussion with a couple of "Top Class" figure modelling buddies, Man Jin Kim & David Bailey. It was fascinating to see their first serious figure painting efforts & hear the story behind these.
    Both of them have clearly done lots of practice & learning since these first efforts, with online forums like the PF critical to each of their improvement.

    For me, this 1988 diorama with converted Tamiya & Esci figures (only ones readily available for me back then) was my first serious effort to properly paint figures using oils.
    Technique & colour mixes were direct from Shep Paine's legendary "How to Build Dioramas".

    Not sure if this has been done on PlanetFigure, if so please point this one in the right direction.
    Otherwise let's get sharing.

    What were your first figures? Gotta a photo too? :)
    And what was the biggest learning for you to help step change your approach or style?

    Happy 2015 everyone.

    Stay safe


  2. Chris Mortimer Active Member

    Hey mate. I see the Shep Paine influence. For me my mind set shifted from "having fun with my hobby" to a much more serious approach and striving to get better each figure and grow my skills about 2 years ago but even more serious again in the last year. This has come about through sites like PF and I'm lucky enough to be involved in a local club with some exceptional modelers who have always taken the time to share advice and techniques.

    I don't have any pics of my old stuff but suffice to say I've come along way but every day I see such inspirational stuff here I know I have so much more to learn. Now where's my brushes?....
  3. Mark S Guest

    Great idea for a thread, Mike.
    I've always been involved in modelling in some way or another since I can remember with a bit of a break during the late teenage to young adult years which I don't remember anyway....I may have done some figure modelling in those days but any claims for my actions during that period I now refer to my solicitor.
    But I've always had a thing for model conversions and at age sixteen I did this conversion of the Airfix ECW Cavalier into a French Canadian fur trapper,with snow shoes and traps and the like............that was long enough ago now that even the official secrets act on the Cuban Missile Crisis no longer applies.
    For some reason I thought blue was a great colour for a horse at the time.

    Trouble is for me it seems I peaked too soon..........it's been down hill for me from this one on.

    my figures 013.jpg
  4. Chris Mortimer Active Member

    I like it mate, still stacks up in my eyes!
    Mark S likes this.
  5. Babelfish A Fixture

    Great idea for a thread!

    The oldest model of mine that I still have is the Airfix 1/12 scale French Imperial Guard Grenadier, which I painted way back in 1980. It was one of my first tentative forays into shading & highlighting and I was VERY proud of it at the time. It doesn't cut the mustard any more of course, not by a long way, but it still means a lot to me and I keep it in the cabinet for sentimental reasons.

    Last spring I picked another one up on eBay and have since started work on it as a trip down memory lane. And although it's no longer "state of the art", for a figure of that vintage it's actually still pretty good.
    Mike - The Kiwi likes this.
  6. Mike - The Kiwi A Fixture

    Yep Shep was & still is the master of telling stories.
    He inspired so many of us in those days, especially with his books & creativity.
    It was an honour to spend a day with hi, hosting me around Chicago back in '02 & so hope one day to visit again.

    What were your serious historical figures Chris?

    garyhiggins likes this.
  7. Mike - The Kiwi A Fixture

    He's a beaut Mark.
    You've got some serious fur going on there - what did you use?

    Stay safe,

    garyhiggins and Mark S like this.
  8. Joe55 A Fixture

    Amazing how many of us have a similar start with this great hobby despite being so far from each other, and seemingly isolated. My painted up soldiers and tank crew figures from that initial start are long gone, and it never occurred to me to save one for memories sake. Here is a pic of the oldest figure I still have that goes back to the late 70's, and an example of my initiation to oils. I do seem to recall that he had a saber that is now long gone.

    Thanks for initiating this thread Mike. It'll be a blast to see everyone's early efforts.


    20150106_105159 (360x640).jpg

    Here are the first ones I finished...after years of starting and never finishing anything due to misplaced perfectionism. These are the only ones I still own and they date from the late 70's. All Historex conversions painted in Humbrols mixed with artists' oils.


    P1060103.JPG P1060104.JPG P1060106.JPG
    P1060108.JPG P1060109.JPG
  10. Chris Mortimer Active Member

    Super stuff mate. I must look into getting some historex figures they look great.
    crf likes this.
  11. Bailey A Fixture

    Thanks for starting this thread. It's neat to see people's early work and I look forward to reading many more responses!

    We discussed this a bit on another thread, but I thought I'd respond here too. I started painting roughly 20 years ago with some Ral Partha fantasy figures my dad picked up for me at a garage sale. From there I moved on to Games Workshop figures and painted gaming figures like those on and off for a quite a while. Then, about 6 years ago I picked up my first historical figure, a 120mm Cuirassier. I really enjoyed working on a larger scale. Going from 28mm up to 120 gave me a lot more room to paint details. I also enjoyed working on a more serious subject than elves and goblins (though I still do the occasional fantasy piece). That lead me to more historical figures and quickly to sites like PlanetFigure. Seeing the examples from talented artists really showed me what could be done with figures and inspired me to work hard at improving my skills. All of the feedback and tutorials were a huge help as well. Oh, and another big moment for me was attending the MFCA Show for the first time back in 2012. Seeing figures online is great, but actually seeing world class figures in person really opened my eyes.

    So, while it wasn't my first figure, I'd say the cuirassier was my first serious one and a project that sent me down a whole new path with this hobby. Here's a picture of that figure along with a couple other early attempts.
    cuirassier.jpg Union02b.JPG UnOff06.jpg
    (Cuirassier - 120mm, both ACW figures ~75mm)

    For kicks here are three of my most recent projects. I've come a looooong way since those early figures. The two Napoleonics are 75mm and the boy Arthur is about 40mm tall.
    OG23.jpg A05.jpg ADC05.jpg

    Chris - just so you know there was a lot of putty used in these particular Historex figs - Davout and Bessieres are the closest to stock. In some cases the Historex elements consist of equipment, face and body as an armature.

    pgarri27 likes this.
  13. Mark S Guest

    Thanks Mike, the fur and blankets were made from bits of my mums stockings.......the ones she'd somehow lost a few days earlier! ;)
    Infact I find the same material is still useful in 120mm. It suits a larger scale,.......and it's not just an excuse to buy stockings...:whistle:
  14. Mark S Guest

    Nice piece Joe, I remember that one from an old tattered Military modelling magazine I've still got somewhere.
    Joe55 and crf like this.
  15. Mark S Guest

    Very nice collection there Colin, they certainly do stand the test of time..........but I'm sure you could never have imagined where you'd be now.
    crf likes this.
  16. Mark S Guest

    David,very nice work...before and after.........notice you've picked up a few tips on lighting and photography too.
    crf likes this.
  17. Chris Mortimer Active Member

    I remember looking at my dads copy of Shep Paine's dioramas when I was a kid and "painting within the lines" so to speak was an unobtainable goal! I forget the title but I also enjoyed a book by Ray Anderson and of course Bill Horren's master class(?) Book changed my life. I don't like to cite names of people who have been inspirational as there has been so many and each day brings more but these 3 books stand out in my mind.

    Mike, my first real serious attempt was an Airfix multi pose figure of a Dak German. I made slings out of paper and sculpted a neckicheif!
    Mike - The Kiwi likes this.
  18. NickM Well-Known Member

    Great idea for a thread Mike. Good fun to see where everybody started out, and it shows how far you've all come too.

    Like most you blokes I began early at 8yo, but lost interest in my late teens and didn't pick it back up until 2006.
    This dogs breakfast is my first attempt on returning to the hobby. Note the use of a Nescafe Blend 43 lid as the base :rolleyes:.

    This vignette is from around 2009 and was probably the turning point for me - still messy looking at it now, but it was the first time I pushed myself with the use of oils for flesh tones and in presentation generally.
  19. Mark S Guest

    Nice stuff Nick......that second base certainly is a nice step up from the Nescafe lid.
    The base on the picture I posted is an up turned wooden bowl...:cool:
    NickM likes this.
  20. NickM Well-Known Member

    Wow, I didn't notice the bowl until you mentioned it mate.
    At least it looks like a proper wooden base. Mine both looked crap and smelt of coffee ;)

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