Thursday, 23 October 2014

It's been a year since I posted? Really?

I can't believe it's been exactly a year since I posted [a meaningful project] on this blog. A big surprise as I was actually enjoying this form of model making and collecting more than I was the WW2 vehicles I was doing at the time!

In the end, however, as I was a beginner to model making I decided that trying to attempt to gain mastery of two such different styles of model making was too much for my minimal model making skills. So I put my FLW interests to one side until I felt confident enough to be able to adequately model in either style and scale.

Well, I feel I am about there! I have made some quite pleasing progress with my basic modelling skills, and my basic painting skills, and so am dusting off my FLWs projects and reminding myself where I was exactly with this hobby.

I have a week off work next week, so that seems an opportune time to reacquaint myself with the quaint little principality of Molatero!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Update on Harry! Shaking a leg...

OK, so I admit it's taken me a long, long time to shake off my Christmas modelling funk. But maybe the Spring weather has given me the boost I needed as today Harry (Pose 2) is finally seeing some progress!

Left: 'Harry' in his Pose 1 incarnation.

Just to quickly recap; my 'Harry' figure - my very first original 1/32 sculpt - will eventually consist of three body poses - 'At Ease', 'At Attention' and 'Firing'. The 'At Ease' (relaxed or walking) pose was the first pose to be completed, but now I am working on the second pose - an important one for toy soldiers - 'At Attention'.

(Once all three body poses are complete I then have to work on a selection of four or five heads and a variety of arms.)

The 'attention' pose shouldn't - in theory - be too difficult as the right leg of the 'At Ease' pose is already straight and ideal for a standing straight posture. So, it should be just a case of making a new straight left leg...

I began - as you can see above - by amputation poor Harry's 'relaxed' left leg. I then removed his boot, discarding the leg from the top of the boot upwards, and inserted a metal wire into the boot. Then I reattached the left leg again.

Using the right leg as a template I hope to mirror the leg's design so I end up with two straight legs.

As usual I will be using white Milliput putty to remake the leg. I start with a roll of putty and then will add the detail of the trousers.

Once I have two legs I may have to remove both legs from the body again to re-center them and place them closer together in a typical 'at attention' (heels together) pose.

Fingers - or do I mean legs - crossed! LOL ;)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

It's not all about making stuff I guess!

Long story short...I forget that this hobby is as much about collecting as making and I have neglected to post about some of the stuff I have collected to use later as part of my Molatarian army.

Take this horse pulled carriage that I found on good old eBay. I'm not sure who made it or what it represents, all I know is that it is 1/32 scale and provides a good mode of transport for our beloved monarch King Vallzack III.

Being the senior Vallzack, His Majesty is something of a traditionalist and a horse and carriage of his type seems more fitting.

It's a nice diecast carriage, the horse team is plastic, but I am intent on changing the colour. I nice sober and magisterial black is my choice, and I may replace the heavy nags - which seem a little more suited to a beer dray - with a couple of more eloquent horses!

Update: Found this model on a model farm website - it's by SIKU and seems to be discontinued now.

Anyhoo, this will make a nice centrepiece for my general staff element of my army. The real challenge will be making the driver, His Majesty and his 'companion'. :)

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Lycra not required! 54mm cyclists

Perhaps a little late but here's a little heads-up on a nice article in February's edition of 'Toy Soldier & Model Figure'. Written by James H. Hillstad, 'The Bicycle in War and Peace' sketches out a rough history of the bicycle in civilian and military use

I know it's amusing to think that bicycles were, in fact, taken so seriously by the military at one time, but practically every major nation at least investigated the idea of a bicycle unit as a cheaper and easier alternative to cavalry. Many invested heavily in the new-fangled contraption in order to increase the mobility of their infantry regiments. Indeed, until motor transport finally replaced horses wholesale during the Second World War bicycles remained one of the most cost effective ways to move troops around (when movement by rail was impractical).

I am very interested in this notion, particular where the bicycle was utilised as a means to transport heavier team-crewed weapons like the Maxim. Mr. Hillstad's use of toy soldiers and figures to illustrate his history of the bicycle is delightful and is an inspiration.

My copy of 'Toy Soldier' was bought from as I like to have my magazines available for various devices and have to option to print out articles if I wish.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Charmingly illustrated 'History of WW1' in 6 minutes

With the centennial anniversary of the outbreak of The Great War coming up it seems that the world of Funny Little Wars is donning it's tin hat and readying itself for the pretend war to end all pretend wars. So it's perhaps time to remind ourselves how the whole cuffufle began with this charmingly illustrated potted history...

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Message to myself - To Do list!

You can ignore this - it's really a message to myself to remind me about what work I have to do for my Molatero projects. I'm trying to get myself organised!

Schedule of Molatero jobs - immediate and 'in the pipeline'

1. 'Harry's Head'I've actually started this, had a couple of dodgy practises. But my third attempt is looking more promising! This will set the style of a series of five different heads which I will use on my 'Harry' series of toy soldiers.

2. 1/32 (54mm) scale Steyr-Mannlicher M1888 rifle model
I've decided that the Molatarian Army will be armed with the Steyr-Mannlicher M1888 bolt-action rifle (it was a choice between this and the Russian Moin-Nagant). I will be having a go at making a small scale model of this rifle which I will then send up to my brother for him to duplicate in resin for me.

Steyr-Mannlicher M1888. Souce: Wikipedia

3. 'Bugler Bill' 1/32 toy soldier sculpt
To test out the concept of my 'Harry' body sculpt I will be making a one-off completed soldier. As a one-off I decided that a good subject might be a bugler for my HQ Command section of my army. This also means I can be a little creative with the uniform as he will not be part of a regiment of the line.

Left: A trombone I know, but I like the uniform. Believe it or not this is a member of the 1917 Municipal Band of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Slow progress for Harry!

I know, news from Molatero has been scant over the past couple of months, but things are busy busy behind the scenes believe me!

My brother has produced the first clutch of my 'Harry' sculpture in resin, and he is also now in possession of a fine new piece of photographic equipment with which to be able show off his work...

Now, I'm hoping to speak to him tonight and persuade him to send me down some of the prototypes so that I can begin work on some heads for Harry and some other arms (for different poses). But he also noted a few production problems based on the way I had made my figure which I will also have to rectify.

But, progress, albeit slow! But we are taking our time and hopefully this will show in the end product. :)

Monday, 13 January 2014

Happy New Year! Er, a bit late but hey ho!

Well, here I am dusting off my Molatero blog for the first time in 2014! Probably quite a momentous year for Funny Little Wars fans as we approach the centenary of The Great War (so I expect to see a lot of commemorative projects based on WW1 related toy soldiers).

Anyway, I am still - believe it or not - packing away Christmas decoration. My attic man-cave is awash with cardboard boxes into which I have to carefully put all the baubles, lights and tinsel and then somehow squeeze them back into storage for another year! The upshot of this is that it's almost impossible to get to my work benches at the moment in order to get some hobby work done.

However, luckily for me my Grinch-like brother had no such post-crimble fall-out and has been beavering away with my Harry sculpture...

The beginning of the casting process for Harry. It's all
rather exciting as my brother begins his magic!

'Harry' is my primary project for the first quarter of 2014. I hope to be churning out the first of my very own original toy soldiers within a couple of months. So, may the new year bring you all as much excitement as I no doubt have in store for me!

All the very best, Steve