Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Monk - scoring of the casting

Casting score card.

Materials - A mid grey resin, the carves off quite easily, and sands well.

Parts break down is as follows; upper and lower torso, left foot, gourd/ drinking container, branch, 2 x resin runners with 4 x flowers & 1 x butterfly. No base included, although the right foot has a pre made peg that will allow for drilling out and mounting.

Air bubbles - found one (and just 1) under the right elbow. a 15 second fix. 2 marks
Texture - smooth on the skin, robe and necklace of beads, texture on the soles of the sandals (where raised) texture on the branch is okay. 2 marks
Fit - very good, torso joins along a natural seam line, as does the left foot/ sandal. The gourd/drinking vessel will need a bit of gap filling, however there is a peg & hole to help with fit on this also.(it fits to the right hip, just under the sash). 4 marks for the torso fit, the left foot, and branch

Mould lines - only visible under a magnifying glass - so don't be that up tight, it's a hobby!

Mould slippage, short pours or rough casting? none present.

Overall view. Minus the 3 marks for lack of instructions, subtract another for the single air bubble I found, I'll give this a score of 22 out of 26 marks.

A off beat and interesting subject, within the 54mm range. I have already contacted Ernst with a quick impressions review, and advised him that I would also do a review.

For a first figure, it is nicely sculpted, cast with a logical part separation (and better, a smart way of hiding the seam on the torso)

I do this review to offer feed back to Ernst & his team of co-artists, he stays in communication with queries (he can be contacted via Planet Figure, via private message. I'm not aware of other websites he attends, although Cool Mini or Not is likely) and to see more of his work in the future.

I would buy from this person again, and if the subject matter appeals to you, would encourage you to buy with confidence also.

From Latvia to Australia is a good test for a mailed package, both for potential damage, and time for delivery. It arrived intact, and in a realistic time-frame, for a good price.

There is a link to "White Rabbit" on the box - this website is under construction, I had to Google search for a image of a completed figure. Ernst and his team are working on this for the future.

The lack of instructions or images is understandable, for a first run or limited run kit, the lack of a base helps keep the cost down. This kit is not a table top gaming figure, and I cant recall too many Tamiya kits where a base is included for each soldier.

Recommended with confidence.

Note - reading back over this, I will have to rework the scoring system. Errors are mine, it's still a nice kit, and an excellent first start.

Happy Monk - scoring and image

Images - top, the lower half of the figure, the foot, branch, drinking gourd, and 2 x resin runners with flowers and butterflies. Next, upper and lower torso of the monk. There are pour stubs on the belly, underside of the sleeve and top of the raised knee. The figures in the bags, to ensure against loss. The bagged parts in the plastic clam shell box.

The Review.

The figure I first saw on the Planet Figure sculpting forums, and it caught my eye as different and novel.
I sent a private message to Ernst, and arranged for a copy, and paid through pay pal.
Ease of ordering, 2, secure payment, 3 mark. total, 5.
IT arrived approximately 2 & 1/2 weeks later. quite acceptable, Europe to Australia. Well packed in a padded bag (the type lined with bubble wrap). Additional 2 marks.

Total 7 so far.

Packaging and security.
See above photos - for a smaller scale figure (well, smaller for me) the clam shell style plastic box kept everything together, and resisted delivery bruising very well. Sealed bags kept everything together. 2 marks for packaging, 2 marks for security (bagged and taped shut)

Instructions and images - I am torn on marking this down, as a smaller figure, these are uncommon. But I have seen (& purchased) other figures that have a least one picture on the front of a completed, painted figure. So had to mark down the three points for that. Tank line of figures spring to mind, as that company has images on the boxes.

Still on 7.

Next post, casting score card.

"Happy Monk" 57mm tall kit.

"Happy Monk" is the first commercial relase for the sculptor Ernst Veingart, of Latvia.
It depicts a monk, holding a branch, that is flowering and attracting butterflies. The monk is a well fed fellow, wearing a robe, and shown standing on one leg.

Nice animation, and a different subject. The image is from the blog, Massive Voodoo.

No base is included, so it is up to you on how you base it.

Onto the next post, images of the figure, and the scoring system.

Doing a review - a scoring system of some kind.

OK, first of all, let me set down my qualifications for doing a figure review.

None. Smallish grey army, and have painted 8 figures to date. So my experience is limited.

So this will be a semi - objective opinion piece, and I have tried to assign some values to the process, so the evaluation process can be sorted out, rather then ...."hmm, I really like this subject, so I'll rave about it".

Here is the process I am going to follow.

Subject - no marks, just the title. Potted history, or back ground description.

Ordering and Delivery
Ordering - how easy was it to order on-line (or over the phone, out of a catalogue, via fax, carrier pigeon, etcetera) and then get what was ordered within a decent time at a decent price.
Ordering - 2 marks. 1 mark for ease of ordering., 1 mark for timely (within 72 hours) replies
Payment - 3 marks. 1 mark for ease of paying, 1 mark being for able to pay securely, 1 mark for acknowledgement of payment
Delivery - 2 marks, did the item ordered show up? and did it show up within a reasonable time frame? (3 - 3& 1/2 weeks for a surface economy order)

Was the figure (or paint, putty, reference book, brushes, tools, gadget, gizmo, do-dad or essential 'bit of kit') securely packed, padded or boxed to guard against the casually incurred damage sometimes viewed when items go through the mail or courier system?
Packaging - Figure protected from transit damage and 'bruising'. 2 marks (box and padding)
Security - reasonable steps taken to ensure small parts are not lost, and resist damage (ie, zip lock bags, backed onto cardboard) 2 marks

Simply, How do I put this together, and then paint it? And in what colours? was it red cuffs for the cavalry, or the blue cuffs for the grenadiers, those kind of things. Is there a image (or two) that helps with the instructions
Instructions - text, line art work, combination included. 1 mark if present.
Image for reference - photo of at least front and back view. 2 marks if present. Additional marks for images (painted or otherwise) on how to put the figure together, or additional views. maximum additional 4 marks.

What material is this made from; resin, metal, combination of materials for different parts, quality of casting also

Casting - No air bubbles present? 3 marks. (or!) Air bubbles present, in easy fixed places? 2 marks. Good textures, 2 marks. Good fit, 2 marks

Loose marks for the following
- mould slippage - 2 marks
- air bubbles, more then 11 over the figure.* 2 marks
- rough casting or short pours. Where a casting is in complete. 2 marks

*I had to think over this number, and I have started with this figure of 11. Some air bubbles are almost inevitable in most figures. I chose to build on some lee-way, yet balance that against a number that still allows a figure to approach sale worthiness.

Fit - How closely do the parts fit? I'd allow a 2-3 mm gap for figures above 70mm, 1-2 mm below that. 5 points maximum, loose a mark per poor fit, per part.

*For the 30mm size minis (and lower) I dont usually see these in multiple parts, so I'd automatically award the points.

So a quick tally.
Payment & Delivery - 7 marks
Packaging - 4 marks
Instructions - 3 marks
Casting - 7 marks
Fit - 5 marks

Total - 26 marks.

And of course, there will be the human element added back in, to compensate for rigidly applied markings

Onto the review.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Other projects, Sculpting practice also.

Well, time at work has taken away time with loved ones, and that time has priority over bench time.

Life is what shows up while we make other plans.....

Have two sculpting projects under way, both as practice and to be turned into display pieces....

And they will be reworked until I have achieved a level of satisfaction with them.

Top is Kanae, it will be a 3/4 (or demi-) bust*, as I will be depicting her in her yukata. I like the challenge of doing a likeness, the simple colour palette, plus the details that can be included such as the pattern on the obi (the broad, purple belt)

The second is Hayao Miyazaki's Porco Rosso. I do this as a practice piece, to either warm up before working on the sculpt of Kanae, or when I feel like I have a "block" I find it quite relaxing to work on Porco, so I may have to do more of these kinds of sculpts....great to mentally get away from it!

Plus, I will be doing some more work on Mirei-san, and now that Base44 is a good guy, I will be ordering a base (or two) from Micheal.

Till next time

* a bust is usally a head and shoulders sculpt. For me, a demi bust is almost a half figure. It may include a arm, or two.Thinking about it, this will end up a 1/2 bust. As the details of the waist sash are just to lovely to ignore....

Monday, June 27, 2011

A slightly different view point.....

Ok, I admit, I don't spend as much time as I could on the hobby bench.

But I do wonder, with all the little people that get painted by fellow scale artists....

.....what would they see, from their view point?

Something like the photo in this post, me thinks......

(either that, or I am trying out my 'Popeye' face)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Melbourne Model expo - Bases!

Good News for the Australian (& hopefully New Zealand) Modelling community!

I'd like to introduce Michael & Robyn (& Luke) of Base44.

Michael is an avid modeler, of skill and experience. He also produces bases for displaying completed models.

Some of his work was entered in the 2011 Expo, hope he earned some trophies!

Michael & Robyn stuck me as friendly people, promoting their business venture at the Model expos.

Bases are reasonably sized & priced, and he can do custom work.

Link to his blog

Details on woods, edges, round bases for figures (Yay!) can be found on his blog

For more information, email Michael at

And yes, he will do mail order!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

And now, some light humour

"It's not easy being green...
...when 900 years you reach"

At this point, I'm calling "time" on posts. I do have a few more entries to do, I just need to get eyes away from the screen for a while.

Thanks for looking in!

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Full Figures

A selection of the figures. Great whites on the first figure, nice atmosphere with the second, while the third is a Russian sniper moving through sun flowers.

I like the contrast being the sniper and the flowers.

Again, a high standard aimed for, and achieved by these people.

Mind you, I still remember thinking "gee, those are tiny!". working in a larger scale has re-calibrated my ideas of scale!

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Boxed Vignettes; the close ups

Here is where I have difficulties shooting a pic through glass - hopefully, the pics are visible enough to make sense.

Top, a wounded soldier is lowered down a track. I presume this is the Kokoda track, and the stretcher bearers are Papua New Guinea natives, nick named at the time "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels"

Second is titled "Farewell my Darling", a final embrace before boarding ship. Yes, that is the side of a hull as a back drop.

Third is some commandos /soldiers scrambling down the cargo net - gear does look Australian.

Fourth is the pair of Soldiers, rescuing a lady from a bombed building. Given the rest of the figures and the theme, I would say this would be related to the Japanese bombing of Nothern Australia.

The fifth (again blurry photo) showed emaciated figures, wearing tattered clothes and battered slouch hats, working on Hellfire Pass.

Wikipedia entry on Hellfire Pass.

This as high craftsmanship, these five.

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Boxed Vignettes

Here are five vignettes I saw, that really show some thought, hard work, sculpting and painting as an all round presentation.

all are themes from WW2, and related to the pacific theater (or related to it)

I had to stop, back up, and really look at these.

Close ups, next post.

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Busts part 2

More busts. I like the ida of the US Marine, one from the Vietnam War, the other from WW2.

The subtle blacks on Captain Ramius are nice too.

Subdued basing also lets the eye dwell upon the busts, rather then drag it away.

With figures, basing does become very much a part of the overall; you have to focus the viewers attention on such a small area, and give it character and life.

Great effort from these artists.

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Busts

Busts - where skills with a Brush will breathe life into the figure - or otherwise.

These have been done to a very high standard, and cover a broad range of periods and roles.

And almost all are military related.

I did grab some photos of a New York City fireman, as well as a Native American mother with Child. My skills with the camera weren't up to the task, and blurry photos are no good.

Bases are either subdued, or occasionally, complement the bust nicely (like the U-Boot seaman).

Again, photos to speak for themselves.

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Figures, other scales or subjects

Ok, top to bottom, we have Motoko Kusanagi, from Ghost in the Shell, a Japanese Manga/ Anime,
followed by Judge Dredd, from the British comic 200AD,

rounded out by Yoda.

And if you don't know who Yoda is, well, "Welcome to Earth!"

I like the hair effects on Yoda, the folds with highlights and shadows is heading in the right direction, just has missed the directionality of light.

Great expression on the face of Yoda, though!

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Build it BIG!

Now here is a big & little project.

a 1/72 super cannon, German, WW2.

The Tiger 1 & figure are to the same scale.

Monstrously huge, even in 'braille scale'. I think I'll let the pictures speak for them selves.

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Naughty Lady

Well, there had to be at least one lady, barely dressed, or in a state of "wardrobe malfunction"

Andreas (I think) maid puts in a appearance.

Pity the lighting doesn't flatter the figure.

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Gundam & Mecha

Here's where the Sci-fi has shown growth over the years - previously (from memory ie pre internet or digital cameras) Gundam was one of those things that meant a pilgrimage to Japan, or mail order from the USA.

(and waiting a week or two after you sent off a letter....)

Now we are a few mouse clicks away from our areas of interest; and 'Lo & Behold' see the growth!!

The top suit has a teeny tiny soldier, between his feet, to give an idea of scale.

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Kits for Kids

Bravo to Mr John Croaker, of Model World, South Australia.

Simple kits, mostly cars, almost all of them for about $10; so very affordable, easy to put together, and a sense of acclomplismnet for our younger modellers.

This group I over heard discussing diorama ideas.

John Croaker I remember from when I was living in Adelaide, and has been in the trade for something like 15+ years now that I know of.

Yes, he keeps moving his shop (business driven decisions) however, this is a local hobby store I could recommend.

Friendly guy, God Bless him!

Cheers to John

PS - if you live in or are passing through Adelaide, the current contact number is (08) 8234 1159

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Scratch builds

Now into the realm of the scratch builders.

Here, the Australian sense of humour comes through - the Red-back spider (sometimes called the Black Widow in the USA). Normally these are very tiny, rather shy, and rather poisonous. When I say tiny, about the size of a pea is the average for a real big one; usually, much smaller.

So this one is about 15 times normal size.

The troll is also good, from the sagging skin to the dynamic pose.

And from a technical viewpoint, the 8 gun Pom-Pom anti air mount is head of the class - here's why.

- neat, tidy, precise construction
-well finished, and logically weathered.
- all the spent brass rounds give a idea as to how much fire power this weapon system had.
- a figure to give it scale
-textural variety, from the shiny brass rounds on the deck, to the worn deck plates.

Bonus - a figure on an anti air system that isn't pointing to the sky at the same angle as the guns!

Not all, just a sample, still, these guys are good; setting a high standard!

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Ships, Boats and floaty things...

When it comes to craftmanship, and in a very tiny scale, I have to admire the scale shipwrights. As you can see, they can put a lot of detail into a very small scale.

I counted two IJN Yamatos, one Bismark, a few aircraft carriers (one just as big as the Yamatos) plus a few others of types I am not familiar with.

The top one is a vessel lowering a Remotely Operated Submersible, over a ship wreck. There was another with a submarine doing a ballistic missile launch from under the surface.

As for doing crew, I find it hard enough putting eyeballs on a 1/9 face.

Painting 1/700 scale figures (and making them 3-d) is another skill set again!

Sunday, a day of Rest.....

Yes, today is a day of rest.

Where I get a chance to do the...

the Rest of the housework

the Rest of the laundry

the Rest of the car maintenance

the Rest of the animal & pet upkeep

and the Rest of everything else I didn't get to do during the week.....

Melbourne Model Expo 2011 - Sci-Fi

Sci-fi was represented, and with some fun stuff such as the "chopper" speeder bike, and the speeder bike with side car. (Princess Leia as aBad biker chick,who would have guessed.)

The general entry view covers buck Rogers 1980's TV show) to Battlestar Galactica, to Star Trek, plus the Star Was.

Others were there as well, the Gundam/ Mecha had their own entry fields.

Again, this is a over view, not a detailed write up, nor a "entry by entry" photographic effort.