Friday 23 August 2013

Spue Cutters Union Philosophy

Well we are now into topic 5 of the sprue cutters union and the ranks are continually growing! This weeks topic is all about our philosophy towards model making. For me I know that this will read to most as contradictory as I am both a perfectionist and lax in my model making. I am an historically accurate and realistic model maker and a sci-fi/steam punk/war game model maker. I am a sculptor of historical figures and one of fantasy. As far as I am concerned THIS IS A HOBBY, DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT AT THE TIME.

I make models that make me happy, when others appreciate the work or the detail or the finish of my pieces, of course I feel pride in what I have produced; but that isn't the reason why I do this. I have quite openly shared with anyone who has read through my web-site, that model making for me is a way of preserving my sanity. I have a mentally challenging job (University lecturer) that can and has consumed my concentration well past my working day. I find it extremely hard to change focus onto other things and making models allows me to this. In terms of what drives me in my hobby, the simple answer is whatever catches my eye. I tend to see a particular model or figure, like it, then think of a setting & scale to put it in. If the idea is large scale then I tend to go for 1/35 or if it is a small setting with the total focus on the figure, then I tend to go for 1/16 or 120mm.

For military models I tend to err on the side of accuracy in what I make. Please take note that I am not a "rivet counter" and only tend to use etch parts if they are either provided with the kit or are a reasonable price and the kit would benefit from the additional detail. I would also point out that I tend to stay away from the "war action"  models mainly due to a statement from my late grandfather, a WWII veteran who said to me on more than one occasion "war is 90% boredom and 10% of shear terror. Why is then that the model community at large for so many years has only focused on the 10% of warfare? For this reason I opt to shed a different light on the history of warfare, choosing to depict my choice of subject conducting the other 90% of what war is like, such as fishing for food on a frozen lake or chatting with one another on the back of a beaten up workshop truck, preparing a terrifying missile for launch, etc.
Where possible I will add as much interest as I can. The founder of the Sprue Cutters Union, the combat workshop, has said that he is tired of the new release kits always showing "at rest" poses, and to some degree I must agree with him. A diorama of a few soldiers sitting around doing nothing is boring and historically inaccurate. When soldiers are not engaged in battle, then they are normally doing something else, whether that is eating, cleaning weapons, moving stores, digging fox holes, etc. This is what I aim to depict in my diorama's. If I can add some element of comedy into a dio then I will do that as well. As far as the accuracy of the paint schemes, number of rivets, etc I don't really care if the shade of the uniform is 5% more or less green than it should be or that the jeep that I have made has 10 less bolts on the chassis than the real thing! While those that strive for this level of accuracy have only my deepest respect and admiration, this is not for me.

As far as my other choices of models, I suppose that you could call my collection an eclectic mix of what the hobby provides the hobbyist. While WWII military in 1/35 is my first choice in what I make, I must admit
that at times I think to myself, "I'm bored" when this has happened I will make something completely off my main subject of choice. This has been anything from a Battlestar Gallactica Viper in 1/32 scale, to a Dust Tactics war games model to a sculpt of Ezio from the Assassins Creed game. Each one of these models has given me untold joy in their assembly and painting and in the end that is what a hobby is supposed to provide.

I have recently started to sculpt my own figures as well. This is something that I thought I would never be able to do on some kind of competent level, however I am pleased with what I have produced so far and the modelling community is a wonderful place to share skills, knowledge and techniques for any area of the hobby. The community never fails to amaze me in its diversity as well. If you had asked me what war gamers do as part of their hobby, I would not have said that they make and paint the amazing figures and vehicles that I have discovered they do. I would have never imagined them adding
such detail and realism to their models and I have learned so much from the war gaming community this past year.

Many of my friends who do not share my hobby have said on different occasions that I should take up a more sociable hobby such as golf or fishing. When I point out how many forums there are, or twitter or google blogs and the amount of encouragement, discussion and passion there is for model making, they, as am I are amazed at how social this hobby really is. Model making provides me with so much joy and happiness, solitude or socialising (depending on my mood) and something to occupy my mind, that I look at others who do not make models of some description and feel sorry for them!!

If you would like to read other sprue cutters thoughts on this hobby, why don't you check out these other members web sites:

The Combat Workshop
David Knight's Weblog
Lt. Smash's Models
A Scale Canadian
Yet Another Plastic Modeller
Mattblackgod's World
Martin's Scale Models
Doogs' Models
Kermit's Workbench


  1. Great post Craig! Didn't realize you finished the figure from Assassin's Creed, he looks outstanding!

    1. Thanks Jon. he is not quite finished yet as I've had problems with the oils curing properly but he won't be long