Fangirl Feature – The Imperfect Modeller

This week’s Fangirl Feature is from The Imperfect Modeller

Hobby showcase! Share with us: Your favourite images.

What games/systems are you most interested in/do you collect?

I think first up I should say I am not a wargamer.  When asked (which is not very often!) I describe myself as a figure painter and a diorama modeller.  Systems doesn’t really come into it for me but I do have favourite manufactures whose figures I like to collect.  In 54mm scale my go to brands are Andrea and Bonito while I particularly love Hasslefree, Knuckleduster and Reaper for the smaller scales of 28 and 32mm. 

Any specific armies?

The nearest I am to collecting and painting an army is with the Knuckleduster range.  I am of an age where the American Old West dominated my childhood in all things from books, films and TV shows.  That fascination has been a constant and when I discovered the Knuckleduster range I just knew I wanted to collect all the figures on offer.  In reality I haven’t got a hope or a prayer of keeping up.  They are expanding far quicker than I can buy and paint them!  

What aspect of the hobby are you most interested in?

Painting, diorama building and collecting.

What compelled you first start or restart the hobby?

Wet weather!  As a kid back in the 60’s indoor toys, games and TV were not what they are today.  I was fascinated by Airfix 1/72nd scale figures which I collected, painted (badly) and played with.  A few years on and any interest I had disappeared due to girls, football and beer.  I was inspired to take up the hobby again in my late 20’s when I went to a model show to get out of shopping with my wife!  Some of the models on display blew me away and I knew from that moment on that this was something I wanted to do.  From then until I retired I dipped in and out due to work commitments but I always kept it going.  I often credit the hobby with saving my life on the grounds that it took away a lot of day to day stress.  While you are concentrating on painting a miniature you can’t think about much else.  Now that I am retired I am grateful to the hobby even more.  I am convinced that the failure to have an indoor interest in the British climate is a recipe for an early demise! 

Do you have any future plans for your hobby?

My plan for now is to keep on track with the goals I set myself a few years ago.  Back then I decided on a few courses of action.  Firstly I decided to create my Blog.  My aim was to maintain an audit trial of my work and keep my brain active in retirement.  The engagement I have had with people all over the world has blown me away and has proven to be a very unexpected bonus.  To continue to build on that would be great.  Secondly I want to still produce figures for selling on Ebay.  I get a real buzz from people buying my work and although I will never become rich from it this little enterprise has made every aspect of my hobby self funding.  Thirdly to try to keep entering competitions, something I really enjoy in association with my model club and finally to keep doing figures and dioramas for myself.  Right now I have plans for a very big diorama which will take me years on and off but I am in no rush! 

What sort of materials do you use to create your hobby? How long does it take you to complete a project?

As a diorama builder the list of materials is simply endless and there are far to many to mention.  That said Milliput, adhesives, cat litter, wooden coffee stirrers, wire and string are regular go to items.  The time it takes to complete a project varies considerably.  A single 28mm figure can often be done in a few hours whereas a 54mm figure is more likely to be measured in days.  Small 28mm vignettes usually take me four or five days and large 28mm dioramas can be measured in weeks and months. 

What inspires you to keep going? Do you admire any other hobbyists?

Simply trying to improve, both creatively and technically.  Going to shows, usually with my modelling club, can provide a huge amount of inspiration but so can websites such as Pinterest.  Then of course there is the work of fellow bloggers and hobbyists, there are some very talented and creative people out there.

What do you find most frustrating about the hobby?

I think space is a big frustration.  Over many years, and even more so now that I have even more time for my hobby, it is surprising just how much stuff gets produced.  When I first started out all my work was in 54mm scale but dioramas in that scale take up a lot of room.  Dropping down in scale made a huge difference and now I much prefer 28mm.  Space is also another reason why I branched out to sell on Ebay.  It meant I could practice and try to improve without simply gathering more and more models.     

Do you have any tips for any aspiring hobbyists – beyond the usual ‘practice daily’?

I have two, one practical and one mental.  The practical one is to not be afraid to use oil paints.  When I started out it was pretty much all we had but these days most people use acrylics.  Personally I use a combination of both mainly because the blending properties of oils is simply second to none.  There are a lot of false myths around oils, you just need to know how to use them.  My mental tip if I can call it that is to be happy being the best you can be and enjoy the hobby.  There is a reason I chose to call myself The Imperfect Modeller.  Like a great many hobbyists I checked out YouTube tutorials and like most professionals they make things look easy.  It isn’t easy though and can take years of practice to achieve good results.  It can be very tempting to become disillusioned and call it a day in the pursuit for perfection.  This nearly happened to me until I realized I didn’t have to produce perfect models to enjoy the hobby.

What is your fondest hobby memory?

Again I have two.  Selling my first figure on Ebay was a real thrill.  To think someone was willing to pay for something I painted gave me a great buzz and I still get excited with everyone I manage to sell, especially if it is to a previous buyer as it confirms they like what I do.  My other memory was from earlier this year.  A model I entered into a competition not only won its category but was awarded best in show.  Being acknowledged in this way by my peers blew me away. 

Anything else you would like to tell our readers?

Unless you already do so open your mind to other modelling areas.  When I started out I only ever looked at 54mm figures but when I embraced 28mm I was in awe of the figures available and of their quality.  The techniques for painting 54mm and 28mm figures are different but not incompatible and when it comes to dioramas some of the skills used by Railway Modellers are well worth embracing.     

Many thanks to The Imperfect Modeller for taking the time to answer these questions for the Fangirl Feature this week.

You can find The Imperfect Modeller on their blog here

This is the 50th Fangirl Feature post I have had the great pleasure to publish. It’s been a great run, but I am going to place the Feature on hold while I change up the questions and give it a bit of a refresh! Many thanks to everyone who has been featured so far and I look forward to approaching more people in the future with a new version.

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