The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 17)

Welcome to this week’s Musings!

Exterminate! Exterminate!

I don’t know if I saw the first ever episode of Doctor Who when it was first broadcast in 1963 but I certainly got into it when I was very young.  As a six-year-old it was quite a scary programme made all the darker because it was broadcast back then in black and white.  As best I can recall it was my first exposure to Science Fiction and as such it was a fascinating programme.  For a good number of years I loved SiFi as much as I loved the Old West but then I fell out of love with the genre.

My interest was rekindled many years later by the likes of Alien, Aliens, Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (other titles in both film series served only to devalue the first couple of films in my opinion).  I never got into Star Wars with the same level of enthusiasm that others did, oddly it sort of passed me by, although I understood its appeal and the impact it had on everything that followed.

So why did I fall out of love with SiFi for a period?  Story lines played a part for sure but overall I think it was more about the alien(s).  They simply weren’t believable to me.  

Now in my opinion the greatest Alien ever is the Dalek.  I’m sure this statement will divide opinion so I’d better explain why.  The answer is a straight forward one.  A Dalek did not and does not conform to a humanoid form and neither, by modern standard’s, is it solely a product of CGI.  Too many films and programs way back then featured an Alien which was no more than a chap in a costume (much the same applies today).  A nice costume but a costume all the same.  Yes, I know there was a bloke inside driving a Dalek but a Dalek doesn’t look like a bloke in a costume and that for me was the key.  If Outer Space is truly infinite then why did (and still do) the writers and film makers think nothing could exist outside of a basic human form?

Fortunately, the figures produced by the model industry appear to have no restrictions on imagination.

The Future of Modelling?

I’m not entirely sure why but the other day I found myself wondering what the future held for our hobby.  I think what got me started was when my son Tom said that Hollywood rarely produces anything these days which is truly original.  Most films being the next in a sequence or a remake of something made a long time ago being presented to a new audience.  I’m not sure how true this actually is but I do feel there is something in it.

So, where does our hobby go from here?

New games will certainly come out but will they truly be original or simply a variation on an existing theme?  Wild West Exodus for example is relatively new but the Old West theme certainly isn’t.  So has everything been done?  I’m guessing it hasn’t but I cannot get my head around what lays ahead.  A small fortune awaits those that can!

Almost certainly new tools and modelling materials will become available but right now I cannot see what’s missing that is actually needed.  I’ve no doubt someone will think of something but if they do is there a danger that whatever it is it may remove another element of modelling creativity?

What about figures, where do they go from here?  The obvious one to my mind is 3D printing and being able to design your own detailed figures.  Conversions could become a thing of the past, you’d just create your own unique miniature and print and paint.

Can paints be improved?  Brushes too?  If so how?

Change is inevitable but for now, other than 3D printing,  I can’t get my head around the future.  Time of course will reveal all.  Perhaps this weekend’s Plymouth Show will provide some clues.

The Plymouth Model Show

This weekend it is the annual Plymouth Model Show, the largest show in South West England.  Not a huge show relative to those which take place elsewhere in the country but significant for the area.  The show will be the second I’ve attended (I went last year as a member of the public) but the first time as a member of the club and as an exhibitor. I’m looking forward to it.  Hopefully there will be plenty of excellent models on display and an opportunity to pick up a few tips.

The show is organised by the club I joined a year ago so this will be my first involvement.  Unlike other shows I’ve attend this one is not just about turning up on the day to display some models but also about the set up and everything else that goes with it.  It will be a busy weekend but a fun one I hope to.  Just as long as I can find somewhere to park!

On a personal level I couldn’t be less organised right now.  This is not like me but then again domestic issues abound and my time has been stolen.  I’ve been taken in directions I’ve not wanted to go in or been able to control.  That’s life.

Tomorrow I need to seriously get my finger out.  Although the show is on Saturday the setting up process begins Friday and so far I’ve done nothing!

I’ll let you know how it goes!


Until next time.



30 thoughts on “The News at TIM – Mid Week Musings (No: 17)

  1. I’ve often had the same thoughts about aliens in Doctor Who or Star Trek or Star Wars. I guess for many (many) years, it’s been a limitation of budget and physical properties for the most part, as well as a “face” generally being a necessary component for the audience to connect (in whatever way) with most characters. Outliers like Daleks are distinctive and outliers for that very reason. Star Trek at least tried to explain it.

    Modelling tools and paints and materials. Nope, they don’t remove creativity – they enhance it. Just because I can buy a ready-made verdigris instead of making my own using paint colours and talcum powder for the texture (which I did, long ago) doesn’t mean I’m less creative. It makes it easier to Verdigris things, so I do it more, and others do it. It might make my old figure less unique, and it certainly raises the bar, but that’s no bad thing. I’m far from the most creative person in our little group (look at IRO or KS!) but I certainly wouldn’t be churning out the number of models I am right now without modern materials. Whether it’s knowing how to make my own washes(!), or the godsend holy trinity that are Soft Tone, Strong Tone and Dark Tone. Or Lahmian Medium (somehow better than all of the alternatives!) Or “weathering powders” (the one I use the most is a container of Gamblin Brown Dry Pigment from the Art Supply store. Most of those things didn’t exist in a form I had hold of 10 years ago. Now they’re accessible and they’ve been added to the hobby toolkit.

    I recently picked up the two sets of colour-shift paints from Greenstuffworld. Something I’ve wanted to be able to do for years – and now I have them! Haven’t used them yet, but they add another bow to my quiver once I figure out their use.
    Those GSW guys have come up with lots of cool ideas – from the rollers to the leaf-cutters to.. well, you know how much they have there.

    Oyumaru instant mould. I don’t use it all that often, but I’ve got it when I need it. Oyumaru + greenstuff = win. (Link for my AU homies!)

    MDF and acrylic scenery was CNC routed, and now it’s laser cut and normal. Coronasan is regularly designing the stuff in his own home.

    Obviously lower-priced home 3d printing has a lot to offer. I hope it becomes a viable thing that’s easy to use on a consumer level before my time is done.

    I dunno what’s next, but I look forward to it. It can only enhance our options and give us more scope for creativity.

    Have a great time at the show, and take LOTS of pics!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow mate, some fantastic links here, thanks for sharing. There I was wondering what the future held and you knew the answer all along, I should have known better! Those paints look fantastic and have been added to my shopping list. You do realise you are costing me a fortune right now don’t you?

      As always some interesting feedback to my post and very enlightening too. By far the biggest surprise was the Star Trek link, just how you know this stuff is a mystery ro me!

      Aiming to do a write up on the show either next week or the week after and will include photos. Just hope the show delivers.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No problem – and here’s the thing (and much of my point) – that stuff is all the present! Sure, the paints are pretty new but Oyumaru mould has been around for years now. It’s just about sharing the knowledge about these things. (and, like finding out that they actually exist in many cases!)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally agree regarding the children of Skaro, and yeah, Dr. Who was where it all started for me too (albeit with Tom Baker) – an enduring love affair with sci-fi that continues to this day. I think you’re right regarding 3D printing becoming the next big thing in the hobby (and in other areas as well of course!) I can easily imagine buying licenses from GW that allow you to customise a set number of minis in software & then print them for example… not sure how I feel about that really, but it is surely on the horizon…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. One things for sure things wont stand still. Technology is making everything very interesting, just hope I can keep up with it mentally as well as practically. I’ve noticed some people producing and selling modelling bits which look like the results of 3d printing. They don’t look like commercial sellers so things in this area look like they are getting ever closer.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep. This is awesome, as more people using the technology will only drive down the prices and make it all more ubiquitous. Hobbyists being able to make things for other hobbyists without the need for expensive equipment. It’ll never be the deathknell for big companies either. You’re old enough to remember when the widespread adoption of home printers was going to be “the death of books”. How did that work out? 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Uh… I didn’t say that technology does not march on. Cassette tapes became CDs and Laserdisc became DVD and now (sorta) Blu-Ray. And now both are becoming Spotify and Netflix.

        But even Napster and home CD burners didn’t kill the music industry (though it got a good, well-deserved kicking). Pirate Bay and writable DVDs/BRDs didn’t kill the DVD market or put Disney or Fox out of business…

        The point is that even when consumers have the means to “make” things themselves with Piracy and home technology, the “official” for-money versions still march on, and continue to make the money – even if they morph.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. There are a lot of tech companies that are no longer around too. You’re right though, the music biz and piracy is a better example. It’s also why I freak out a little bit that GW hasn’t stepped into the home 3D printing realm yet. There are some parallels there. I’m sure they have a plan, they’ve been smart enough to keep afloat this long.

        One thing I could see them definitely doing is selling a 3D printer that keeps track of how much you print, but allows you to print officially licensed models. Probably using encrypted 3D model files. With the money some people spend on GW stuff, I’m sure some would buy it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I can’t see GW allowing 3d printed files at all – at least until they have absolutely no other choice. It’s pretty simple, even now to get hold of a new release movie, or a new release AAA videogame. Ubisoft and Activision-Blizzard and EA have a *little bit* more money than GW for DRM. If GW put out .STL files they’d be hacked and open to anyone within hours.

        The same thing happens with all of their digital rulebooks and codices. I of course, buy genuine hard copies of all of my codices with 8th because I like the new version of 40k and I also like physical books, but if I happen to accidentally come across a .pdf file while online to compliment that new book that I purchased with real money, well….


  3. I’m not sure who it was but someone recently said 3D printed minis are souless. I agree. I’m sure the printing will only get better but considering I’m a little old fashioned and don’t keep up to date with technology I think I’m safe with my conversions. Daleks scared the crap out of me as a kid but Grange Hill was even scarier. Star Wars was my first intro to science fiction and then Westworld. The old movie. Talk about sci fi mixing with cowboys. Brilliant. Good luck at the show man I look forward to reading about it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Cowboys and Aliens” – less of a film and more of a documentary on how the wild west really was back in the day!

      I think like you say things will continue to improve with regard to 3d printing. The software also has to be of interest too. Time will tell but I can’t see you giving up the contents of your toy cupboard without a fight!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Nah. Whoever said that was wrong. I usually go with “all opinions are fine”, but this time they’re just flat out wrong – think about it this way:

      You personally are a big fan of plastic models, and the wide range of plastic kits we have available right now. So how are they made?

      3d-printed miniatures are designed on a computer.
      Most modern plastic miniatures are designed on a computer. (They used to sculpt a 3-up by hand and scan those – some, like the Perrys still do this.)

      So what’s different?

      1) Means of production. Plastic moulds of whatever kind vs a 3d printer
      2) Materials. HIPS, PVC vs extruded plastic or resin
      More importantly.
      3) Democratisation of the process.

      By that last one, I mean that anyone with the skills to 3d model can now get something made via their own printer, or a company like Shapeways. You no longer have to be an employee of Games Workshop, or Warlord Games or Hasbro to be able to make your own miniatures. There’s a second option besides learning to sculpt with greenstuff. And it means people can make whatever they want, and not be subject to a strict design brief from their employers. It’s actually closer to the old days when sculpting was all done by hand by individuals.

      Think about our blogs. What are they? In a way they’re the spiritual successor to magazines, or even ‘zines. The difference? Production quality and ease of production & distribution. Digital cameras and shared knowledge (light boxes, etc) mean that what we all produce can be much higher quality than in the past. Look at White Dwarf today – sure, it’s fucking miles ahead of us – but then look at WD or Dragon magazine of 1990 or so. The stuff produced by us isn’t all that far away from much of it, and in many cases is much more aesthetically pleasing. This discussion here? It’s the Letters to the Editor section, just hours and days apart rather than weeks and months. Our blogs also don’t have an editor (which is sometimes a bad thing) but also means we don’t get told that’s enough photos now, or you’re over your word count.

      Again – democratisation of the process. 3D printing is the same thing. Calling it “soulless” is very literally the same as saying the same about plastic models, and that only metal models “have character”. Only it’s worse, because it comes with a (conscious or not) insinuation that only the biggest companies like GW should be allowed to make models that are designed on a computer.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, that’s the beauty of things, over time the software will become simpler to use as it’s adopted by the public (and has to be dumbed down). A good example is Apple products, where they try to streamline and make their products so simple that even babies can use them. I imagine 3D printing will just get better and better over the years.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh hell, so my scheduled Monday post…. brings up SciFi and movies! Get out of my brain, you dirty old git! Did I use that slang, right?

    Great post and lots of stuff to chew on! It’s so hard for me to keep up on posts lately, but finally here I am. I think Azazel mostly covered all the bases regarding SciFi aliens and future of the hobby that I would normally start on.

    Maybe because I grew up on Star Wars and comic books, humanoid aliens easily get a suspension of disbelief from me. I actually find the opposite to be the case. When big stupid CGI creature appears on the screen, and I start feeling like I’m watching someone play a video game rather a movie. Now some CGI has made incredible advances, but there is still some of it that will throw me out of the movie quite quickly. Thus I prefer Practical FX ( and still love movies like John Carpenter’s The Thing.

    Hobby future, as I told IRO, it will get easier. Someday even he will be able to sculpt stuff, probably through his wrist implant, while hitching a ride on the mass transit super speed tube to New Tokyo. I’d love to see more custom 3D model pieces at affordable prices. Yea, that’s my F-U to ForgeWorld:

    If I want a simple knife, gun, maybe a custom head…and could fire up the 3D printer to spin that for me, it cuts way down on the time I would need to customize something by chopping up, green stuffing, searching online, praying to the god that the thing I just ordered was the right scale… It just makes sense.

    Painting. Not sure where they will go from there. Pre-primed minis are a thing. As long as they are clean of mould lines, I have no problem with that. But what about minis that are completely painted with airbrush level details? That would be a difficult one for me. If they make minis look better than I can paint, would I keep painting? *cough* No need to commit on my painting skills *cough* If they make them look better than *I* think I can paint…haha. I think a lot of tech hurdles might have to be overcome to get there and make them cheap enough for people to buy. So I’m going to keep subjecting your eyes to the torture of those painted models. 😉

    Have a blast at the show!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a certain cap on the level of paint quality that you’re going to get out of a factory. Check out Hot Toys’ 1:6 scale stuff. Then check the prices.
      Compare that to a McFarlane Toys figure (they do a lot of the great looks with washes).
      Then compare it to a Star Wars action figure. Still pretty sweet these days – but the economies of scale that Hasbro can bring to the table for a Star Wars figure compared to what GW can bring for, say, an Ultramarine.
      Best we can expect there for a long time are the prepaints on pvc that we have now. Not because of technical limitations, but cost of production vs retail price. GW is making a killing right now based on their cheap production – just churning out sprues. You know that the full-colour printed card boxes GW figures come in cost them more than the sprues, right? The moment the figures change to have human hands mess with them (outside of terrain clipped off sprues in China) then the price skyrockets.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yea, but I imagine at some point the cost to paint small minis will go down as technical advances improve factories. Maybe not in my lifetime, but possibly someday. Perhaps it will be Star Trek replicator technology.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’ll be interesting to see if (applied) technology moves in that direction. It’d need something more popular than Space Marines to move it there, and Western companies seem to be happy with poorly painted plastic or metal to keep the costs down.

        Perhaps something like gashapon models. The Konami Aliens set I got a few years ago is simple, but effective.


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