Monday, 7 April 2014

Liebster Award

Stygianheart nominated me for this Liebster Award bollocks thing so here are eleven truths about self.

1 - I had my eyes laser corrected about four years ago but as I was already used to wearing contact lenses I generally forget this ever happened. The only thing this life-changing event ever comes to mind is when I get asked at work to read tiny serial numbers off server chassis and IMEI codes off SIM cards.

2 - The most amazing place I have ever been is Hampi in Karnataka and the journey there was almost as spectacular as I got to fulfil an ambition since childhood and ride a train in India. The route from Goa goes across the Dudhsagar Falls, up and over the Western Ghats where the line runs higher than the jungle canopy (so that you look down from the train onto the jungle) and then down onto the Deccan plateau. All this in a train with bars on the windows (no glass), red dust, beggars and buskers, and curry delivery service to your seat. Fantastic experience. Would do it again at the drop of a hat.

3 - I have a strange ambition to travel in a submarine but I have absolutely no idea why as I know I would suffer from claustrophobia and it's not like submarines have windows so you wouldn't see anything. I'm sure that being locked in a constricted boiler room for a fortnight would give a good simulation of life aboard a sub.

4 - I don't like bacon. It's the most over-rated meat on the planet.

5 - When everybody else at university in the mid 1990s was driving Fiestas, Vauxhall Novas and Nissan Micras I was driving to lectures in a 1976 Triumph TR7. When it worked.

6 - Because I worked on IT projects for the newspaper industry that got bought by the (NFSW) Sunday Sport and had to go and visit their offices regularly, I get ribbed to this day as having "worked in the sex industry". When I left that particular project, a guy who used to work for The Church of England took over my role of laughing at telephone sex lines being played on the phone speaker in the office, hearing about "tuna pants" (don't ask) and fault-finding as to why working girls' phone numbers that had gone through our databases had ended up going to print swapped with those of old dears in Lancaster.

7 - I once went to change gear in a Ferrari 355 at considerable speed but forgot it was a left-hooker hence I took my left hand off the wheel and rammed it hard into the map pocket inside the door and then got it stuck. My instructor was quite phlegmatic about this all things considered.

8 - As a Blackcountryman I regard spicy curry as a birthright.

9 - A friend of my parents once stupidly let me take the controls of his helicopter somewhere over Wales. When I was eleven.

10 - I went to the same school as Robert Plant, Clint Mansell and Samuel Johnson of "A Dictionary of the English Language" and Blackadder the Third fame

11 - I have been a TV License refusenik for over four years.

And the answers to Stygianheart's 11 questions.

1. How did you first get into your hobby?

My local libraries had (scattered across all of them) what was probably a complete collection of Donald Featherstone's books on wargaming which were really easy to read and understand what he was talking about. This would be about 1983/1984 and wargaming was still pretty big in the public conscious from having hit a peak in the 1970s - it wasn't an obscure hobby by any means. Lots of things happened all at once around then, the first Fighting Fantasy books came out, and Lone Wolf followed them pretty quickly. At the time my Father was teaching at a local technical college and had his finger on the pulse of "youth" things so he'd heard of D&D and having seen my FF books was able to tell me that it seemed similar to this game he'd seen played in the canteen.

2. Who is your favourite artist/s or hobbyist/s and would you like to emulate their style/s?

Game artists - I like early John Blanche, Gary Chalk, Russ Nicholson, Iain McCaig, Chris Achilleos and Wil Rees. Outside of game art Rodney Matthews. Outside of game art and fantasy/sci-fi Klimt, Lempicka, Beardsley and Stuck.

I am a great fan of visiting local galleries (Birmingham, Walsall), being blown away by the chance to examine great art in depth and coming away having completely forgotten the names of the artists whose work I've been lost in for hours.

Hobbyists - Nobody really although my "Sunday best" painting style (gloss varnish and lots of Rotring doodling) is influenced by the stuff that Blance and Aly Morrison had featured in early 'Eavy Metals. I used to be very influenced by Kevin Dallimore whose article in a Miniature Wargames many years ago turned me from not having a clue to being able to produce really good black-undercoated stuff within a couple of hours but that led to a period of progressively slower and slower output (as I was reaching new peaks in every model I attempted) and I eventually grew to despair of ever painting a complete army leading to utter burnout and a retreat from wargaming for a few years. I don't use the Dallimore style anymore.

3. What is the worst hobby related accident you have suffered? (this can be physical or bad paint-job etc)

I was trimming flash off a base of a solid base figure with a Stanley knife (cutting towards finger in idiot fashion) and suddenly had the feeling that something badly wrong had happened. I looked at the middle knuckle of left index figure and there was a half-inch slice of flesh missing to the point where I was able to probe the wound and touch my own vein. Your veins aren't as blue as you think they will be! I remember thinking that this really should fucking hurt like fuck and that it didn't was ever so slightly something to worry about. Fairly certain I went into shock over this as it refused to hurt and I got the bizarre idea in my mind that I absolutely must find this piece of flesh and dispose of it before the family dog found it, swallowed it and got a taste for manflesh. Clearly not rational thought.

4. What have you wanted to do in the hobby but have put off for a long time?

I guess the current 15mm Rogue Trader project fits under this heading but in reality it was one of those things waiting for the right time.

5. Would you say you are more a hobbyist or gamer and why?

It's not a dichotomy. If you say you are a gamer, people tend to assume you can't be arsed with painting and so just play Warmahordes, powergamed and behaving like a twat. If you say you are a hobbyist, people tend to assume you can't be arsed with playing. I'd say 60 gamer/40 hobbyist although that swings around a bit dependent upon current gaming interests. Depends upon the project.

6. Do you have a comfort zone in painting technique or colours that you tend to fall back on?

Guilty as charged. I use the same colour combinations all the time. In my defence though, I know that unless I can churn out figures quickly and easily my enthusiasm plummets. It's either paint in the comfort zone or not at all. It's a hobby interest not some exercise in self-improvement.

7. Do you like to have the right atmosphere when working on your hobby, music, movies, quiet?
Doesn't bother me. I live on my own so it's always quiet. I'm not a great enthusiast of music or DVDs to be honest.

8. What was the first miniature you ever bought/painted?

The first "miniature" I painted would be a 1:32 scale Airfix British Para when I was about five - gloss red Matchbox enamel smeared on the beret, gloss black on the Sten gen. I had loads of these things all of which appear to have been chucked out by my parents about five minutes before I discovered "real" wargaming. The first Citadel I owned was the Adventurers Starter Set that was a Christmas present alongside my Red Box D&D set. As for buying myself, it would be a bunch of second-hand Citadels I bought from some older kids at school - I can only remember getting pre-slotta Guardsman Heeley and the Chaos Death Jester/The Motley Maniac. No, I don't have the latter anymore in case anyone asks!

9. What one hobby item (miniature/game system) that's long out of production/rare, would you love to have?

For a long time it was OGRE Miniatures which I now own. Before that Dungeonquest but then I picked up the FFG release. I'm not sure there is anything now.

10. What else do you like to do to pass the time?

I race slotcars (Scalextric things) at a local club, have a season ticket at West Bromwich Albion and drive sportscars - I've owned a sportscar of various descriptions for nearly 20 years now which I suppose basically scratches the same itch that manifest as a motorbike in others. I used to be a keen computer/vidya gamer but can't summon up any enthusiasm for modern style games.

11. When you finally shuffle off this mortal coil, what would you like to happen to your hobby collection?

Don't care. It's only toys. If the nephew retains his interest he can have the lot.


Now I'm supposed to come up with eleven question and target eleven other blog keepers. But you know what? Fuck chain letters so ask yourself eleven questions and do what you like. :)


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