This Is Me! – TIM’s Modelling Memoirs – Part 3 (todate)

Don’t Panic, Don’t Panic! (2006)

She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were travelling with the kids down to the New Forest in Hampshire, a couple of hours from where we were living in Hertfordshire at the time.  We were looking to buy a holiday home so we could spend more time together and with the kids.  Despite SWMBO being a stay at home mother my work life balance was shit, it simply didn’t exist.  If we could get away at weekends, some of them at least, I might get some life back.  It seemed a practical solution but it wasn’t meant to be.

On the journey down, and completely out of the blue, I had a major panic attack.  There is a lot more to this story and a great deal I could say about the subject of panic attacks but I’ll spare you the details as it gets to far away from my modelling journey.  I will say I’m happy to talk about it so if anyone wants to know more just let me know!

The doctor diagnosed work/life overload, prescribed some drugs and signed me off for a month which, as I was then due to go on holiday for three weeks, meant I would be off work for seven weeks.  Brilliant!

Two weeks into my time off I received a call from work. They wanted to know if I would be able to meet the Head of Occupational Health on neutral territory.  As Gail, the Head of OH, was a friend anyway I agreed.  Expecting an informal enquiry into my well-being and likely return to work I was completely taken back when Gail advised me that the company wanted to know if I would be interested in taking redundancy.  After 32 years service it came as quite a surprise.  In less time than it took to say “fuck me and take me to heaven and back!” I had said yes and signed the papers.

All I had to do now was tell SWMBO!

The financial service industry started shedding jobs way back in the early 1990s.  Redundancy, thanks to large pay offs had become the preferred way to leave an organisation.  It was an advantage being of a certain age and being in the wrong place at the right time.  Culling of staff became the norm and you got used to it.  As the years went by it held little fear for me, I was in a pretty safe position and allied to my ability to duck and dive I was able to carry on working and building my pension.  SWMBO was aware of this situation and I knew she’d be OK when I told her.

Now SWMBO never swears so when she said “you’ve done fucking what?” my male intuition led me to think that I may have misjudged her.  I decided to put off the announcement of selling up and moving to the country until after dinner when I thought she’d be more receptive!  

The year was 2006, I was 49 years old, had retired after 32 years with the bank and was relocating to Lamerton, West Devon, a village with no internet access or mobile reception in the middle of sodding nowhere.  SWMBO had come came around to the idea of a better life in the countryside for ourselves and our children, with cleaner air for Tom and his lung condition.  A no brainer.  No regrets.

Work Life Balance

One thing I discovered on my life’s journey is that one way to get your work life balance back is to ditch the work bit.  A major spin-off from this life changing event was getting my life back and having time to do the things I used to enjoy once again, like modelling.  Now was a good time to pick up the brushes once more.  So out they came and I started where I left off all those years ago.  I was rusty, very, very rusty but time and practice got me back to where I felt I had been.

After nine months off, which entailed moving, getting the kids settled, doing the new house up and trying to get up to speed with modelling, I thought it would be a good time to join a few clubs.  This back fired somewhat when everything I looked to involve myself in seemed to have a minimum age requirement of 70.  Where were the younger retirees?  Turns out they all went back to work so I decided to do the same, albeit part-time doing twelve hours a week.

Modelling wasn’t the main stay of my life, time spent with the kids was but I kept my hand in and was painting with some regularity.  I was still focused on the Old West and hadn’t really looked beyond 54mm miniatures from Andrea.  The company had gone from strength to strength and their range had expanded along with their prices.  Life happily for the most part plodded on, modelling too, until from out of nowhere I felt the need for a change.


Up to speed again with Andrea

Looking back now I think the catalyst was gearing up for full retirement and the realisation that the kids no longer needed me as much as I needed them.  Having reached the decision to set a deadline for stopping work (I’m calling it a day this August when I will be 61) I knew I needed to fill my time or I would be on the slippery slope to an early grave.  So, from around 2015 I started to get my head around the idea and modelling, not my only interest and activity by any means but in some ways the most important to me, and how I could do more.

I had reached the point where simply painting figures wasn’t proving to be enough.  I’d seen images on-line of people doing some outstanding base work and felt this was something I wanted to try to emulate.  Research, followed by more research, followed by purchase after purchase built up my collection of tools and materials and slowly I expanded my knowledge and creation of base work.  I was enjoying what I was doing but now found myself more absorbed by modelling landscapes than figures and wanted to do something bigger.

It was all very well wanting to construct larger models but where to put things wasn’t something I could simply ignore.  Believe it or not storage and size was something I pondered for a considerable time.  I wasn’t short of ideas but none worked.  Then I had a light bulb moment which illuminated the bloody obvious, drop down to a smaller scale!  Sometimes you cannot see the wood for the trees and this was very much the case here.

Some quick Googling led me to decide on 28mm as the scale for me.  I was blown away with the sheer amount of stuff available in this scale.  I had opened up a whole new world and couldn’t wait to get started!

Of the many sites I discovered at that time two stood out.  The first was Dixon Miniatures and the other was Sarrisa Precision.  Dixon’s had a large range which included Old West figures which they sold separately rather than in packs of 5 or 6 and Sarissa produced amongst other things lazer cut MDF Old West buildings.  What quickly followed was my first attempt at a building project.  A photos of the exterior appears below.  A full account together with more photo’s of both the exterior and interior can be found under the “Buildings Menu” of this blog .


I was pleased with how this one turned out and enjoyed painting the smaller scale figures.  I was also motivated by the idea of entirely making my own buildings from scratch and started on another journey of discovery which resulted in making several more buildings and 28mm dioramas set against an Old West back drop.  I was on a roll and enjoying modelling in a way that I had never done so before.

Plymouth Model Club (2017)

Things continued in this was for another couple of years until I got it in my head to join a modelling club if I could find one.  By now I was in my late fifties, my kids were more or less independent and I needed, because She Who Must Be Obeyed had told me to get out from under her feet, something else to get me out of the house.  The search for a club didn’t prove to be as easy as I thought it would be.  If there was a directory of clubs in existence then I couldn’t find one but then, thanks to numerous search variables, I discovered that my nearest club was 18 miles away in Plymouth.  I took the bull by the horns and went along.

I know it sounds silly but I was more than a little nervous.  I simply had no idea how my work rated along side that of others.  I wasn’t sure if I needed to take anything with me but in the end I decided to take along a couple of figures just in case they wanted to see the sort of thing I did.  As it happened it was the clubs monthly internal competition night and I was made welcome and encouraged to get one of my figures from my car and join in so I duly obliged.  At the end of the voting my figure was voted best model on the night and almost instantly I felt accepted into the group.  I’ve attended ever since and managed to pick up a few awards along the way as well as a few good modelling tips here and there.

At the time I joined the group, just over a year ago now, they were discussing plans for their annual show.  With 2018 being the 100 year anniversary of the end of the Great War and of the formation of the RAF they were keen for everyone to produce some models for a show display.  Having only just joined I felt I ought to at least provide a model of my own.   Besides, I felt a departure from the old west might be a good thing.

Once again I was blown away by the amount of figures available and before I knew it my first WW1 model had been completed.  More than that I had loved doing it.  I had enjoyed the research, the period and simply doing something different.  More models in this period followed resulting in my WW1 Timeline Project.  I’d also gotten the taste for doing something different and suddenly I was into anything and everything that took my fancy.


At the same time that I joined the club I decided I had decided to test the water and create my own blog.  It was something I had thought about doing for a while but kept putting off, mainly because I didn’t think I had anything worth saying that would be of interest to others.  I think my initial success at the modelling club gave me the final push to eventually get started although I’d pretty much decided I would give it a go for myself anyway.  If nothing else it would serve as a simple means of documenting my work.

TIM was born in March 2017 when I posted my very first article.  Why the title TIM?  When I was trying to learn more about modelling and painting I turned to YouTube for guidance.  There were, and still are, some great tutorials on there, some by relative novices and some by true professionals.  The professionals are great but in truth they, through no fault of their own, nearly put me off of continuing with the hobby.  I got it into my head that I would never ever be as good as them and so what was the point?  Foolish I know but nevertheless that’s how I felt at the time.  I was on a downer and briefly lost my mojo.  When I snapped out of my self-imposed misery I realised it was better to take part and be the best you can be even if that wasn’t perfect.  I decided it was OK to be “Imperfect”.

My first post was published on the 22nd March 2017.  A little later I received my first “Like” and a little after that I received a notification that I had my first follower – somebody by the name of Imperial Rebel Orc!  Of all the people in the world …

It’s hard to put in to words the significance of having my first follower.  I was energised and motivated but above all someone was interested in what I had to say and what I was doing.  Powerful stuff and with every follower, comment and like I have received since my motivation to continue remains (so it’s your fault!).  I think I must spend as much time dedicated to my blog as I do to actual modelling, possibly more!

So that’s pretty much my modelling journey to date.  Hope you enjoyed the ride!

I guess the big question is where to go from here?

To Infinity and Beyond!

My first aim is to ensure there is at least another 30 years of memoirs to report!

Continuing with the blog is a no brainer.  I cannot get over how much I have enjoyed blogging!  It’s a niche interest and I’m never going to have a mass army of followers but I really do appreciate the ones I have.  I enjoy the banter with those who wish to participate and I’m encouraged in so many ways by the things you do and the things you have to say, be it modelling specific or life in general.  So brace yourself for more future posts!

This blog wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for modelling.  One interest simply fuels the other.  If the blog has any chance of being interesting, to me let alone anyone else, then the content needs to be varied and therefore my models need to be too.  Quite what I will do remains to be seen but I am no longer fixated on one subject.  I will always return to the Old West, there’s nothing like your first love but there is a whole world out there to explore and that’s what I intend to do.

Thanks for reading!


OH, one final photo To conclude the article!


Yours truly with SWMBO – August 2017

(taken just before she pushed me overboard!)

30 thoughts on “This Is Me! – TIM’s Modelling Memoirs – Part 3 (todate)

  1. Its so great to read these posts. I’m turning 33 this year and have been feelining like I dont know where my life is going. Reading this about a person almost twice my age (no offence), this gives me hope that better things will happen. Its already started happening. 16 march this year i got married after 5 long years of back and forth with Dutch authorities (im from South Africa) and now finaly able to live with my wife. My life only starts now. Thank you for sharing these posts. Your blog is like 1 month older than mine🙂. I started in April 2017

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Glad you enjoyed the read. Don’t be in a hurry to live your life, time goes by to quickly as it is and be careful what you wish for! Good health and a women to love sounds pretty good to me. A lot will happen in the future, just wait and see!

      Liked by 5 people

  2. An interesting path you’ve taken. I only wish I could retire at 49, but the truth of it is that I’ll be dead before I hit the age as successive governments keep moving those particular goalposts. It’s just gone to 65 1/2 (when was the last time since about twelve years old that 1/2 made a difference?), will change again to 67 in 2023 and they want to bump it to 70 by 2035.

    On a less depressing note – great work on both John Wayne and Lee Van Cleef up there. Both look fantastic and were instantly recognisable.

    It’s been an interesting read to see how you got here, and good to see how young you’ve managed to remain, as far as a mental perspective goes at least. We’ll need to get you into PlayStation gaming next. Are you looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2? (go Google the teaser trailers!) 😉

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Not sure I chose everything along the way, sometimes life has a way of directing you here and there. As for retirement I was lucky to work for a very good company with a final salary pension scheme. My state pension doesn’t “currently” kick in until I’m 66. Remember the old adage, “don’t let the bastards grind you down!”.

      Glad you like the figures. I know they can’t be bad when you say so!

      As for PlayStation, that sounds like my son! Still if it keeps the brain active why not?! Off to check the trailer.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hey, my mum got onto the Internet in her 70’s. No reason you can’t get onto the PlayStation now that you’re in your …early fifties. Nothing like a wide open western world that you can wander around inside of…

        Liked by 3 people

  3. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m having a day off I don’t think I’d have managed to get this read between dinner-time and bedtime! Based on the commentary and last photo, I’m assuming you’re really on some remote tropical island really, blogging and modelling to your heart’s content!
    I think in your shoes I’d have taken redundancy as well! I’m only a couple of years younger than you but still working full-time! The trade off is that working pays for my toy soldier obsession but I’m hoping retirement (when it comes) will give me the time to play with toy soldiers more (although my wife remains the wild card in the pack on that one)! The dogs don’t appear to care one way or the other on this one!
    But thank you for the insight into the inner workings of TIM am looking forward to all the models that appear here!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Life has its twists and turns as I’m sure you are all to aware of. Most of my life has been responding to things which have happened to me rather than things I set out to do, not that I’m complaining, to late for that anyway! There are pros and cons with retirement just as there are with most things. It’s a bigger adjustment than I and a lot of people realise. The key is having plenty of interests and although other things I enjoy also occupy my time I do love my modelling and most recently the blogging. Can’t see you having a problem with it when your time comes John.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Another truly memorable read TIM. I have enjoyed learning more about you and your journey. Of course, now I know what redundancy means to you Brits! Here, it’s just called getting laid off. Glad to have your blog in my reading world. Also agree that the Duke and Lee Van Cleef are super.

    Your discussion resonated with me greatly because at present I am just shy of 56. I have had a nasty but non-life threatening condition since August 2016 which has mostly kept me out of work. My company just filled my position last week, though I am on the books and getting disability until and unless I get back to work for them by next February. So being this close (relatively) to retirement definitely brings out thoughts of “where am I going from here”? Reading blogs like this one, does help with the process.

    Lovely picture of you and your bride by the way!

    Looking forward to many many more of your blogs – and your work is indeed great to see. Amazing that you toiled in obscurity for far too long!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Cheers Mark, very kind comments and very much appreciated. Hope whatever it is that is ailing you finds you fit and well and doing whatever you would like to do sooner rather than later. From a personal perspective it’s great to be part of an encouraging group both in terms of my club and my blog. I value both very highly but of course things could have turned out quite differently. Some things you just have to try, as and when time allows. Some work, some don’t, these did!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well said. On the personal side, I’ll be fine eventually – just need time and more surgery and more time. I can do anything standing, just can’t sit for extended periods. Luckily I always paint standing! Things could be so much worse, and I am happy they are improving.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Sorry to hear about your ailment mate ,I hope thing improve, you sound like a trooper coping with what you are going through I’m bloody weak when it comes to miner health problems ,and fortunately they are looking ok ,just have to have some kind of need probing in a place that makes guys eyes water with the thought . Only a random check up found the bloke problem ,( we are lucky in this country to have free medical ),something I feel you don’t have in the US .Anyway I said if it’s not that bad, I won’t be having this procedure done until I have had my trip to the UK in September .
      I’m doing a English civil war dio at the moment and I need to study hedgerows ,I have JNV scouting around his area for great ones so I feel a great excitement building ,I will try to post some up dates on the cavalry I have painted so far soon . How I envy Dave having all that beautiful time ooooh ! makes me sooo green ! .
      Loved you post on Aus, and the accent (,I’m going to sound all off my 63 year here ) video , I know that’s not what it’s really called mate but Tech Ad is away ,Mob is what old people like myself call the family unit or his group of cobbers ,so you certainly did your research mate I’m Impressed .

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh I’ll live, got insurance and there’s some out of pocket costs but nothing I can’t handle. Glad you liked the Rooman Mob! The molds for them are lost to time, but I have my own molds for them.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing all that- really interesting to hear your story. Glad you have found your thing with the 28mm dioramas… that said your earlier large scale work is great too.



    Liked by 1 person

  6. “mainly because I didn’t think I had anything worth saying that would be of interest to others” Oh, really?! Haha! I think by now, you probably realize you have a lot of interesting stuff to say and a captive audience! Still sorry your first follower, had to be your crazy illegitimate son! 😀

    Great pictures of you and your Wife, and those amazing minis. I don’t know what your first mini was up against in the club, but it’s not surprising that you would win with the work you have done. Just look at that Wayne and Cleef, a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

    Great story too. I thought you were prepping us for a heart-wrenching story of tragedy in this one, but instead it’s a pretty nice story of you retiring and getting to pursue a passion. Of course, it all depends on how you look at the world. Some people would regret being laid off, and be spiteful forever. I’m glad you were able to find the bright side. Also glad you found this blogging world where you can share your tales! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Cheers and thank you for the kind words. I think I may have mentioned before in another post that the easiest decisions have been some of the biggest. That was the case here. If I decided to stay I dread to think what the outcome might have been. Not sure everything went quite that smoothly but I certainly don’t have any regrets. Retirement is a lot easier if you have enough interests. I cannot imagine anyone in our blogging community having a problem, none of of us seem to have enough time as it is!

      Glad you like the figures. Think I might start doing some single figures once again as well as dioramas. Will probably stick to 28mm generally but the odd 54mm like these chaps would be nice to do occasionally.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Look I’m no Alexander Fleming but I do feel I had a bit of a helping hand in discovering you haha so thanks for the recognition. Without going into too much detail part of the reason my family packed up and left the UK back in 86 was similar to the lead up to your redundancy. There’s always a positive after a negative.


    Are you ready for the “awwww” moment?

    At 39 I’m now manly enough to say quite openly that I feel like I have a bit of an affinity with you. All Dad jokes aside I think you and I walk the same walk and are cut from the same cloth, albeit a haggard and smelly bit of cloth haha. Do you see what I did there? I had to joke so it wasn’t too sappy haha.

    I’ve throroughly enjoyed your memoirs mate and relate to just about all of what you’ve said in this conclusion.

    Great minis too 👍🏼👍🏼

    I’m off to grow a beard and shout profanities at some sports game now!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Agreed, every cloud has a silver lining. They say God moves in mysterious ways but things have a tendency to work out for the best. You really only get to see that though with the benefit of hindsight which is why you have to have faith in the meanwhile.

      Glad you enjoyed the memoirs, we all have a story to tell. I’ve tried to keep to the bits most relevant to my modelling journey. Truth be told there’s a lot more I could say but no point boring the pants off of everyone, I feel I’ve got away with a certain amount already!

      I’m off to get the wife to wash my haggard and smelly bit of cloth!

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Good stuff mate – funny how things work out, isn’t it? I’m glad it has worked out for you though! I get what you mean about the shock of retiring – my folks retired last year, and they were struggling to adapt at first… I was a bit surprised to be honest – I thought they would take to it like ducks to water, but it has been quite an adjustment…

    Personally, as a time-skint IT ‘professional’, father of two, blah blah blah, I’m actually really looking forward to retiring… I’m confident that I have enough hobbies and social circles to keep me fully occupied – as long as I have eyes to see and hands to work with of course! 20 years and counting 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Cheers Alex and best wishes to your parents. Retirement is a funny thing in that you look forward to it as light at the end of the tunnel and then you are blinded by the light when you get there! It’s weird shrugging off routines that you have been engaged in for years. I guess that’s how a prisoner feels leaving an institution and returning to civvy street. Keep the hobbies and social side going and you will have no problem. So many people I’ve known have ended up living for their work and are then at a loss when it’s no longer there. In my experience these are the one’s who often leave this mortal coil first!

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Thanks Dave great post ,Didn’t think it was the way of the English to open up like that ,a bit opposite to the Aussie way like a complete stranger given a couple of stubbies at a BBQ will bombard you with his life story with most of the personal details (I’m guilty of that, so my wife and the sister whom I lived with I Paris say ) so good one Dave I’m glad a bit of Auss rubbed of on you when you were here ,that goes in you favour cobber if you decide to immigrate .
    Never easy to put personal stuff out there ,says a lot of what you think of us and being an old guy I appreciate it ,as you said it could make some feel a bit awkward ,I’m sure it would have when I was a younger man but from a guy like you it’s pretty well put .
    Retirement, that is the question I have asked myself for the last couple off years do I or don’t I hard question .I tried 2 years ago but work talked me out of it bribing me with a nine day fortnight so I’m still there ( As Azazel says the aged pension is 65) thanks mate didn’t know about the half . The problem if one sees it that way is I’m fortunately in a financial position that I don’t need the Gov’mt pension , as you say Dave can I adapt after working for 45 year of grind to absolute freedom ,I’m sure a lot of folk would say silly old duffer but as you say it is a scary change for some ,What I’ll do is put that decision of until we return from our holiday ,that’s what I always do eh !
    Great photo of you and SHMBO ,looking so young ,is ferry you are on ,ahh hah !
    Thanks again mate I’m so glad I have made contact with such a great bunch of young folk ,cheers Pat !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Years ago Pat I would have been sensitive to such things but you reach an age where things like that don’t matter much. The older you get the better perspective you get on life. Perhaps a bit of Auss did rub off!

      The best of advice I received regarding retirement, which I took eventually, was to to start by going part time. Get used to the idea of a few more days off doing what you want rather than the shock of going straight into it. After a while you’ll run out of time and then need the rest off. It worked for me and others so maybe give it a try when you get back from your hols?

      The photo with SWMBO was taken on a cruise to Russia last year. Gotten bitten by the cruise bug. Off on another in August and already booked two for next year. Once the youngster starts doing her own thing we can get back to going even further a field I hope.

      As for a great group of people, couldn’t agree more. One of the best things I’ve ever got involved in.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Always enjoy seeing your side of the modelling hobby, great work on those heroes of the West. Never know what to expect from your posts, and never disappointed – always poignant and funny. Glad you are enjoying your life in blogs!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Thank you for sharing this, I just read the three posts in a row and it was wonderful to follow your journey.
    Eventhough I am at an earlier stage in my life (retirement and kids are still far down the road), many of your experiences resonate with me.
    I started my career (not that long ago tbh) with a demanding job and for 5 years my work/life balance was well…quite unbalanced. I switched jobs recently for a couple of quieter years but will come back to my original path after that (if all goes according to what is expected of me anyway). So that part of your stories rang some bells in my head.
    I find what you say about the joy of sharing (and the initial fear of not being “good enough”) very true and felt the same way when I started my own blog. I use twitter and the blog to share my “work” and I was astonished of the good spirit I encountered it helped me a lot last year, just before switching jobs, when the work/life unbalance became really challenging.
    Anyway, sorry for the too long comment but I really wanted to point out how nice it was to read your story here.

    PS: please pardon my English, which is sometimes sloppy, as I am not a native speaker. English is my hobby language.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Work life balance is an important lesson in life, better to learn it early as you have done than much later when to much life has passed you by. The community we have is a very nice one, people share and encourage which is great. Don’t worry about long replies, it’s always nice to read what people have to say. Your English is excellent to, far better than my French! Enjoy your hobby and whenever possible find time for the things you enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

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