Tuesday 10 September 2013

Living in a miniature world

This weeks topic of how has living in the small scale world influenced your day to day view or understanding of the 1:1 world is a brilliant topic as far as I'm concerned. Anyone who knows me personally will I am sure agree with me when I say that I am happily obsessed with scale modelling. I'm actually so obsessed with the hobby that in order to answer this question properly I will have to divide my answer into three separate topics:

Living in a 1/35 historical world:

I had the honour and pleasure of being raised by a World War Two Special Forces veteran, my late Grandfather. Later in life he studied for a degree in modern history, specialising in modern warfare and turned one of the rooms of his house into a library devoted to the subject. He left me this library of approximately 500 books in his will. Needless to say this interest in modern warfare has rubbed off on me as I spent my formative years sitting in the library room with him describing various battles on land, sea or air and showing me the many pictures of the ships, vehicles and aircraft involved. He also imparted something onto me that is very hard to describe in a book. The emotion and feeling of actually being there in World War Two. Make no mistake, he did not romanticise what had happened and would rather describe the actions of his fellow servicemen rather than glorify what he did. This emotion is what I try to replicate in my dioramas. If you take a look around my web site you will see servicemen of different countries taking part in mundane every day tasks such as cooking, chatting to one another, fishing, etc., in essence these were ordinary, everyday people who did extraordinary things in service of their country. My dioramas attempt to show them trying to retain some normality in their lives whilst enduring some horrifying and terrible experiences with one another. My 1/35 scale world is almost completely based on history rather than day to day events, however it has given me a deep and profound gratitude for the life that I have today because of the sacrifices made by my grandfathers generation.

Living in a 1/16 world.

This is a new venture for me. I began painting 1/16 or 120mm scale figures many years after I had started 1/35 military modelling. Initially these were again WWII figures but I have started to sculpt other subjects that grab my attention. In my lunch hour in work I will browse through the many news websites to keep abreast of current affairs and will occasionally come across a story that has such a profound effect on me that I get the urge to replicate this in miniature. An example of this was the terrorist atrocities committed on the world trade centres in America (911). An image which will always stay with me is that of a lone fire fighter sitting down in the rubble, his head bowed in utter disbelief and horror of what had just happened. This is something that I am currently reproducing in a sculpted figure. I do find that my ideas tend to come thick and fast at times and I find it increasingly difficult to remember some of these ideas when it comes to deciding my next figure sculpt. To that end I have now started to keep a diary of sorts for my ideas. This is a plain black A5 notebook that I keep a small record of my ideas including sketches, images and descriptions of what I would like to portray in a sculpt. As I approach the completion of a figure I will return to my "ideas" book for inspiration and will then start to look around for things that could enhance the sculpt or the setting, whether this is simply putting tree bark in my pockets that is used to fill around the plants in my place of work to observing how people sit in different positions, their facial expressions or how the material of their clothes falls in different directions. All of this is sketched out or mentally noted for incorporation into one of my sculpts. Two photos of my "ideas" book are below;

Living in a Fantasy World

This is one of my favourite places to be. Whilst I deeply love what I create in 1/35 or 1/16, sometimes its nice to just step away from reality and let your imagination run riot! I am a huge sci fi fan that includes Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Gallactica and Star Gate. I am also a very big fantasy fan which includes the recent Marvel comic films, Lord of the rings, etc, etc. If I get the chance to make something similar then I will leap at it and just enjoy myself without too much concern for dimensional accuracy or historical value. I have recently become interested in the steam punk models that occasionally pop up on the internet. What I love about these is that they a normally scratch built around a common theme (steam) but anything else is down to the modeller. I have a few ideas of my own for a steam punk themed model but I'm sorry I'm not going to share that one with you just yet. You will have to keep following my web site for when I've finished it and taken some photos!


Living in a scale world has if anything given me a deeper appreciation of the world around us and how we as human beings interact with one another. Sometimes this is a beautiful event such as watching the pride in a parents face his/her son or daughter graduates from University which is something that I had the pleasure of seeing over and over every year as part of my job and sometimes its a horrifying event such as the 911 attacks that make us realise just how fragile and precious life is. If I can capture just a fraction of this in the models that I produce then I am a happy man.

If you have read this and enjoyed it then when not check out some of the other sprue cutters union posts. The links to the other members can be found here:
The Sprue Cutters Union


  1. Great glimpse inside your hobby mindset Craig! Nice post!

  2. Hey Craig, fantastic post. I found particular connection to your comments about your grandfather and your 1/16th scale modelling, which just goes to show how deeply our hobby can be rooted in the real world, and by recreating events, we make them even more real.

    I would love to go through your grandfathers military history library one day...

    1. Hi Frank. Thanks for your kind words. I'm in the process of re-creating his library in my attic. When its finished and if your in Wales you will be more than welcome. Just give me a 12 months or so to finish it as I'm doing the attic in between models!