Friday, 6 January 2012

Rainy day

We've popped back up to Auckland for the weekend so that A can spend some time at home as well as to relieve her flatmate from the responsibility of rubbing Margaret's (A's kitten) tummy. The forecast is bad once again, so with a view to spending quite some time inside I packed a shoebox with miniatures so that I can clean them and wash them ready for when I get home.

I brought a Commonwealth Rifle Platoon and all of my Infinity Haqqislam miniatures with me. I'm halfway through taking flash and mould lines off the rifle platoon and I'm taking a break. I must say that I detest this job, more than any other part of modeling. It's fiddly and I don't consider myself to be very good at it. To be honest I'm not sure how to go about doing it any better with my attention span. Basically what I do is remove the really bad and obvious flash and vent holes before starting work on tackling the mould lines with the back of the knife blade. It isn't the most effective method for removing the lines but I'm not really sure how to do it more effectively within the limits of my abilities. I'm too nervous to cut with the edge of the blade for fear of damaging the detail. Consequence being my miniatures do end up being left with a few mould lines on them.

After a full breakfast at a cafe up the road I dropped A off at home to get to work on her uni assignment and headed into Modelair Newmarket to take a look at their flames of war range. I haven't spent much time at all in model shops since I was a kid due to my relative geographical isolation from retail centres and my having dropped the hobby during my university years in Wellington. Modelair was a great little store packed with aeroplane, vehicle and ship model kits, both civilian and military, as well as a small range of flames of war.

The store really brought back memories and reminded me of when I first took an interest in toy soldiers. When I was a wee chap there was a tiny model shop at the North end of Thames which stocked little tamiya and airfix models and miniatures. I had a bucket full of the cheap plastic army men (some of which I painted with Tamiya enamels, others I set on fire with gunpowder and a magnifying glass - such fun). I began to supplement this collection with better quality miniatures during our regular trips to Thames (frequently to the hospital - I broke a lot of limbs as a kid). I remember having 1/72 scale kits of British paratroops, Fallschirmjager and French line infantry. I guess a musket is as good as a bren when it comes to bagging the hun, eh?

Getting a new box of models was such a highlight and I used to love going to that model shop; Modelair really brought all of that back to me! This was really my first exposure to miniatures or of using them in games. I used to sculpt battlefields in my sand pit with a hose and then fight over them with the army men - with destructible terrain of course (often followed by a scolding when the hose washed all of the sand out of the bottom of the sand pit onto the pavers...). I had no discernable rules, and most of the action was played out in my imagination. Most of the games took the form of some kind of "Guns of Navaronne" type mission and the good guys always won. Fast forward to my teens and its easy to see how my first White Dwarf magazine had such an enduring effect on me!

A friend up the road has twin boys aged roughly two (not so good with the exact details). I'm really really looking forward to them being old enough for me to buy them their first army men (and probably commando comics). Probably as an excuse to spend some money in modelair!


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