Last night I was watching the Sci-Fi/Horror Movie “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die”, clearly a classic. The basic premise is there’s this mad scientist see, and he gets in a car accident with his girlfriend see, and she literally loses her head over the experience see, and the mad scientist takes the disembodied head back to his lab see, and he, like all great movie mad scientists, has this semi crippled assistant see, and the two of them rig up a contraption to keep the girlfriends head alive see. Now, I will soar right over all of the obvious “head” jokes and cut to the point. This assistant in the movie, the semi crippled guy, comes into the lab and, upon seeing that the head is awake, strikes up a conversation with it.

Just like that, no shock or awe that the damn thing is alive and talking, no sense of horror at this abomination, he just chats it up with the head like its some regular gal he ran into at a Starbucks. Not only that, but the girlfriend/head chats it up right back like it’s just another day at the beach, not “Oh! Good God in Heaven, where’s the rest of me!?!?!” None of that stuff, just talks to the crippled assistant, and makes ungrateful statements about being kept alive. Geeez, where’s the gratitude, lady? I think it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in a movie. Which brings me to my subject this month, how weird and wonderful this past year has been since I seriously got back into the happenin’ hobby of figure modeling!

As stated in my BIO page I jumped back into this hobby in November of 2002. I had been slowly warming up to it, a short burst of Weird-Oh build ups in the early 1990’s (take a look ), a couple of Ed Roth re-releases that I picked up in 2001, but I really got supercharged when I stumbled onto the “Amazing Figure Modeler” website.

Amazing Figure Modeler

Inside a Screamin’ 1/6 scale Elvira vinyl kit that belonged to, but was never built by, my late brother Clay, I found a glossy ad for Amazing Figure Modeler magazine. This led me to search it out on the net and, bingo, I had found a site full of kindred spirits. Basically, other model building knuckleheads like me. But I knew I had a lot of learning to do to keep up these fellas! They clearly had advanced techniques far beyond me and my set of Testor’s Primary Glossy Enamels.

I had this darn Horizon Joker on a Throne kit sittin’ up in a closet for 3 ½ years taunting me to step on up to vinyl and leave that styrene thing behind, so I set out to get with the Pros! Well, that was 15 months, 18 kit build ups and a full blown personal website ago, and its been a hell of a ride! I’ve tried to document the process as well as I can on this website, with considerable help from my son, Cory. We work hard to keep it interesting and informative for those folks who find themselves now where I was a year and a half ago. That’s pretty much the mission here. I’ve noticed a lot of places on the web that give excellent and detailed tips for the “expert” or “skilled” modeler, but not so much for the mugs like me and so that is where I am concentrating my efforts. And it’s easy for me to do since I am really learning this stuff as I go. Trial and error is a wonderful thing, trial and NO error is a fantastic thing!

Some of the techniques and materials and other stuff I have learned about during this past year are:

1.) Acrylic Paints, color mixing
2.) Dry brushing
3.) Thinning and washes
4.) Value of a GOOD brush!
5.) Putty and Seam hiding

6.) Pastels and tinting

7.) Kit locating (where to find what you want)
8.) How to build a vinyl kit
9.) Masking (ah, blue latex)
10.) Recasts, Bad. Original kits, Good.
11.) I am not alone!
That number eleven point there, that’s an important one, and I learned that it was true when I found a site called “The Clubhouse”. Actually Cory, quite by accident, found this site while surfing for Batman Model kits for me. I joined this Web Group in January and it’s a trip.
Modeling Clubhouse

Thousands of modelers are there, displaying their kits, sharing their tips, and providing that elusive sense of appreciation that the wife, girlfriend or significant other, just can’t seem to give you. They try, Lord knows they try, but it’s just not the same as getting’ that big ol’ thumbs up from folks that are in the hobby. And the folks that are in this hobby, so far, have proved themselves to be alright. For example, I was missing some parts for a few of my old Aurora kits, and I met some guys on the board who had them and gave them to me!! GAVE them to me, just for the assurance of a return favor. Now that’s cool. Also, I have been able to swap kits with other members, buy kits I was looking for, receive and provide advice, and just jaw it up. It’s great, really.

On the our site here, you can see for yourself the progress I think that I’ve made in the hobby, and I hope you can pick up a sense of the FUN that I am having, and that you can have, too. Also, I hope that it will inspire you beginners out there by showing just how much ground you can cover in a relatively short time. I’ve received quite a few emails from people who have found me here, and they have sent me some nice kudos and actually given me the opportunity to help them. Now that feels good. For this year, well I’ve got some learning to do. Got me an airbrush for Christmas and it has become this year’s “Joker on a Throne”, taunting me from its wooden box to step on up to airbrushing and lighten up on those bristle brushes! And there’s those pesky resin kits under the workbench, never built a resin kit before. So there’s clearly more info that I’m gonna’ be itching to pass on to you as I progress. I hope you’ll hang with me and send me your advice and/or questions. Otherwise, its kinda like I’m talking to a disembodied head in a lab somewhere. And I don’t even have a semi crippled assistant. Sheeeesh!

HEY YOU! Got an opinion? Shoot me an email and let me know what you think.