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About HappyHaddock

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  1. @DetCord12B Most of my paintings are hand painted miniature copies of old masters, or portrait work commissioned by various wealthy collectors around the globe but I occasionally dabble in digital art focusing on one or another forms of transport where I seem to be drawn to the moody atmosphere of smoke, fire and shadow of old steam loco sheds.... I'm not entirely sure I've found a style of my own with my digital work but it is fun to try different effects and finishes. Again I don't know how many of these images I've shared here before but here's a few more
  2. I do (or at least did before the whole covid thing) a lot of demonstration work and teaching at model making exhibitions and conventions and in many respects the above is an ideal I try to instill in all model makers regardless of age and skill. Regardless of the level you work at there will always be people better than yourself and those worse, the only competition is with yourself. The only way to get better is to push yourself with challenges that you risk failing at, but to not get disheartened if that happens as you learn most from the biggest failures. The "hardest" part about working professionally is that you have to guarantee a client success within their budget and deadline and so you are always having to work within your own capabilities, this is the very reason an amateur should eventually be able to outperform a professional, an amateur can afford to take risks and try again and again until they get where they want to be. keep up the good work with kids HH
  3. Spare a thought for the poor sod who had to design the cheap tat that sells in museum gift shops.... I've done my fair share of pattern mastering for that sort of thing where you have to create the masters from which a sweatshop in some developing nation then churns out hundreds of low quality cast copies a day. You are wasting your time and money creating a high quality piece if the client won't pay for something decent that will be more complex and cost them more to mass produce. It is an entirely different skill set intentionally making something that has to meet very tightly defined "low standards" where "quality" work wouldn't be acceptable. As for "requests from friends and family" I feel your pain on that one as I've been there many a time.... Most of my family are 1/12th scale doll's house miniaturists (if that's the correct term for such a large scale?) I've shot myself in the foot too many times in ending up making stuff for them because the market can't make a profit out of selling anything high quality. Similarly when it comes to my wife and her/our love of historical re-enactment; I've ended up making so much for her because "....I know you can do so much better than the stuff I can buy at this, that or the other trade fair". You make a rod for your own back when it actually comes to trying to surprise a spouse with a "special gift" as you can never just buy something, nor can you just take a few hours to make something simple once she has become used to getting simple things. That said I did win some serious brownie points the time I tailored and hand embroidered her a reproduction Elizabethan corset... that she wasn't expecting! HH Well people often say it must be great to have turned various hobbies into full time employment (or alternatively they look at my CV and claim I'm a delusional fantasist who couldn't possibly have done everything I claim), truth is whilst I do do all this through choice it is in no way the same as doing what you love for the enjoyment... by and large the things that generate the enjoyment are the same things that stop projects from being financially profitable! As for wooden boats, years ago I used to care for a museum collection of 200 year old Napoleonic prisoner of war models of sailing ships which was interesting, and I have also done a little work pattern mastering for one or two manufacturers who used to make kits of wooden boats. However at the other extreme I have been involved in not one, but two experimental archaeology projects building full size replica Viking vessels; with a little stretch of the imagination you could claim I took the smaller of these out on the Irish sea, though in truth, although tidal water it was about as inland and sheltered a coastal a location as you could find. As far as I am aware the second and larger boat I designed still hasn't been completed by the group in charge of the project, though I did produced replica woollen textiles for their sailcloth so they wouldn't have to use more a modern hemp/canvas sail. HH
  4. I always maintain the best materials or tools for any job are the ones you are most comfortable and familiar with. The fact somebody else can get good results working a particular way doesn't mean the same approach will suit you. Myself I'm not a fan of any kind of varnish, and although I own three different airbrushes I try to avoid using them where I can. Pretty much all my work is done with fine paintbrushes using a mixture of acrylics, inks and chalk pastels. That said I don't really work the way most modelers do. I come from a fine art background (well actually I trained as a theoretical physicist but went on to become a museum conservator before going full time with my miniature arts/crafts) so I don't so much view painting models as accurately colouring in 3D technical drawings one part or layer at a time, more a case of painting pictures on 3d canvases. In many cases I am painting "wet on wet", so crude as it may seem it may be the primer or undercoat that is binding on the chalk weathering. The approach may sicken many model makers but working professionally you pick up too many bad habits. If I do feel a need to seal a model I tend to favour magnolia emulsion paint from the DIY store heavily dissolved in wax floor polish. In the tiny scales I often work in it adds a final subduing finish, not so much to "weather" the model to suggest dirt, age or damage, but to "hue down" contrasts to give more a of a "scale colour" effect to simulate atmospheric haze and distance that otherwise makes vibrant subject look small and subdued at distance. As for making models with kids... that's much like making models professionally... it's not about the quality of work you are capable of, it's about how many corners you can cut to get the job done quickly. I love the rare commissions for wealthy collectors that really don't care what a job costs or how long it takes, they just want you to impress them. HH My own experiences with jewellery work are pretty limited and come from work as an experimental archaeologist studying and trying to replicate the work of early medieval smiths which is as much about trying to replicate the errors and faults inherent in primitive techniques as in trying to overcome them... all the more so when a museum client wants a replica piece in an "as excavated" condition rather than as new a thousand years ago. Much as I've got in my workshop digital furnaces and kilns, wax injectors and all manner of other modern kit for lost wax casting... you learn a heck of a lot as a craftsman working over a charcoal forge with beeswax, horse dung and clay. I may be one of the few model makers alive who can claim to have refined and made their own sheet metal from raw ore dug out of the ground, not because it was beneficial or necessary, but because I wanted to see if I could! So, as you say you do get to borrow some very handy tools when it comes to model making... that said my "hobby" is learning new craft techniques something I can pretty much write off as business expenses as I make a point of never sub-contracting out any aspect of my work, anything I need I do in-house myself. Consequently over the last few decades I've amassed the kind of workshop that would be the envy of many an amateur model maker. Cheers HH
  5. As a fellow micro-modeller who has worked down to 1/2500th scale it's not so much the scale of Feathered_IV's work that impresses me, but I will admit to a sneaking admiration to the precision and tidiness of all he makes in 1/144th scale... there's a level of craftsmanship that surpasses what I expect of most model makers that crosses into that of a watchmaker. I'm sure the man himself will confirm or deny this, but I suspect, both from the standard of his work and previous comments he has made that he either is, or was, a goldsmith/silversmith involved in making fine jewellery? Myself I'm facing the pretty daunting prospect of having just signed contracts to scratch build a massive 1/1000th scale project (if that's not a mutually incompatible description for a tiny scale model that is to be bigger than a full size double bed?). This looks set to dominate my working life (and evenings and weekends?) for the next several months. I know full well that my biggest challenge will be to keep cranking out more new content every day rather than get carried away detailing and refining previous parts the way I would if it were a private project for myself.... This will be one of the very few occasions I have allocated part of the client's budget to formally breaking a project down into it's hundreds of component parts and detailing these across a complex spreadsheet describing exactly how many hours I can afford to spend on each part so as to stay on schedule and budget. There's simply too much scope for gut instinct and my natural tendencies to lead me astray. Heck I have already had it written into the contract that I could spend their entire budget and deadline researching their project with no guarantee of finding enough period images and plans to make accurate models of every component part they want the project to include! Taking an extra hour or two to just make one thing a little better isn't a problem when it is just an hour or two. However multiply that up over many hundreds of component parts and pretty soon you are months behind schedule, the budget has gone out of the window and you are dealing with an angry client who needed to meet a deadline... Within the terms of the non disclosure agreement I'll try share one or two images once I get started since I know a few have expressed interest in the little things I make. In the mean time, whilst it's not as neat and tidy as Feathered-IV's work, here's a pair of images I may or may hot have shared before of a previous 1/1000th scale scratch built aviation model and a larger 1/144th scale version of the same subject. HH
  6. Cheers for the info, and whilst I'm not sure why it should please me, it is somehow good to hear that although the paint and brushes are digital that these images are still produced in a more traditional painterly manner. Not to hijack your thread with my own work, but whilst I've not done so much digital painting, it is an interesting change from my more unusual methods with real paint on physical paper or canvas. Whilst my digital work doesn't benefit from owning a Cintiq to directly draw on the screen I do have a Wacom graphics tablet and pen. Actually I have two ... the second I won years ago in a digital art competition, where of all people to come up against I beat Roen 911 to first prize, he's the chap who now does the cover/box-art for IL2. Anyway I have shared this image before, but this was my most recent digital image, done as a gift for my father. Cheers HH
  7. @DetCord12B Love the images. as a fellow professional artist, albeit more traditional paint on canvas old-master style pictures (plus a lot of small scale model making) , I'm always fascinated by those who pursue very different subjects using different mediums. I gather from what you say that these images for NASA are done on a computer, but are they done more as "models" rendered within some sort of digital animated lighting engine which you then "photo-edit", or are they done in a more "painterly manner" where by everything is worked up from nothing solely as a 2D image? Cheers HH
  8. This year has thrown a mass of busy at me such that I've had pretty much no time for FC vol 1, but I've just pre-ordered vol 2 in the hope that I may actually get time to fly it... even if I don't I still see supporting development of this WWI flight sim as worthwhile since it it's not as if there is a queue of other companies lining up to put out this kind of content. HH
  9. I think the best answer I ever read to the staff appraisal question "how do you define your job here? was both brutally honest and also very flippant when the respondent claimed:- " I follow discretely behind my line-manager covering up their incompetence, both so they can mistakenly believe they know what they are doing and also so I can more easily drop them in the crap when later wanting to jump them on the way up the promotion ladder!" ... and isn't that office politics for you in a nutshell!
  10. I've done a little technical authoring myself way back in the day, but more the reverse of what you describe in that I was writing teaching manuals taking coders/programmers "help guides" for their finished work and translating it into something ordinary end users could actually make sense of in terms of then getting the best out of the new software... How many "so called" help guides state the bleeding obvious without actually telling you what you need to know! As for this model making project I don't think it is so much a case of not knowing what they each want as individuals, but there being "too many chiefs and not enough Indians". When everybody is in charge of deciding what is important and how to proceed they all decide something different. Democracy only goes so far and I'm sure with a little more pushing in the right direction I can get the head honcho to "impose" a decision on everybody. Once they stop debating internally and are simply told what is happening I hope there will be more progress in terms of getting the commitments and reference material that I need to sign off on a formal brief/contract. With this latest "potential" project I do at least have the major advantage of being able to talk directly to those at the top of the communication chain who have the power to make decisions (if only they'd exercise that power). The worst model making projects are those for big PR/advertising companies who are basically only puppets for their own clients and where everything has to go up and down the system through multiple committees and middle managers before I get to hear of a decision from some junior nobody. Quite literally I have been involved in model making projects where by the time changes to the brief reach me at the bottom of the communication chain, those at the top have not only already changed their minds, but then made revisions to the revisions I haven't yet heard about. Still if you can charge a client for 10days admin spread over three months for what turns out to be a 1day build and they pay without quibbling then you just take it on the chin and think of the mortgage and the utilities bill whilst hoping the next client is a private collector who knows exactly what they want 🙂 HH
  11. This isn't a space for folks to grumble about their work, but I hope folks will forgive the following for as some of you know much of my income is derived from making miniatures. I find myself in the situation of having a prospective client desperate to get lots of funding spent before a fairly tight window expires. They are enthusiastically offering me months of really interesting and challenging work doing the sorts of things I like to do for free as a hobby. Nothing to grumble about there you'd say and yet I feel I can't yet say yes! When you take on any kind of paid commission, let alone large well paid high profile ones, there is a contractual obligation to actually deliver what the client wants and has paid for or face the ensuing litigation. In this instance I'm damned if I can get this client to recognise they still haven't actually told me what that is... at least not in enough detail to be meaningful or useful. I know they want a very small scale "model of a model" making as a kind of small portable preliminary/feasibility study to help market and fund raise for a larger scale multi-million pound model making project. I've established that the full size subject they want to represent had a combined frontage of about 3km yet the various individuals representing the organisation wanting to commission this work won't/can't decide on what scale they want me to make this "model of a model". Even in 1/1000th scale my work could end up a few meters wide, and yet they were initially asking for me to work in 1/150th scale where they seemed very surprised when I pointed out how massive and "unfeasible" this would be in terms of delivering a small feasibility study within their deadline. On top of this I've spent the last several weeks asking them for various forms of reference materials by way of plans/drawings/photos on which to gauge exactly what is wanted and how I would/could go about making such a model. Though I have a rough idea in my mind of the nature of the overall project I still have a list of "primary features" for which I am waiting on information regarding what these look like, how big they are or where they fit into the whole project. I've probably found out more about the subject from old photos on Google than my client has so far given me. However when the so called authorities on the subject you would go to to do research are the very same client that has so far delivered very little info you feel stuck in a vicious circle. I know if I can pin this client down to making some commitments as to what they actually want and then tell me what that is, I can do the work. However there are days when my job feels more as if I'm some sort of kindergaraten teacher come counsellor come detective come motivation coach. I can't say yes until I know what I'm saying yes to, but I do need them to get a shift on in terms of collectively agreeing and offering some contractual clarity as to what they are actually asking me to make, otherwise they will have exceeded their deadline for spending the funding made available to them without ever getting to the starting line. ... everybody says it must be great to turn a hobby into your work but admin and internal politics come with every job! Cheers HH
  12. Much depends upon how you define "shield maiden" - there have been a small number of archaeological excavations of women buried with all the wealth and military trappings of male warriors... Of course that doesn't prove they fought along side their male counter parts and the burials may just have been symbolic of power... plus nobody is suggesting that anything seen on this show should be treated as accurate historic depiction.
  13. Given that I was employed making props for the show I did try to like it... I tried really hard and struggled all the way through the first series but that was all I could take... Sadly if you've got any knowledge or interest in early medieval history it was difficult to even accept the premise these people were Vikings.
  14. I've always judged a project (at least private projects for myself) a success based upon new skills I've learned along the way and how I've improved as a miniaturist more than on what, if anything, I have to show at the end.... Sadly paying clients do seem to want some some of quality model in exchange for their fee which does limit you to repetition of things you already know you can do rather than trying things you can't. So if it is any consolation or support, then view the "nightmare" as what is making your DeLorean project worthwhile... if it was a routine, quick and simple project would there be any satisfaction to be found in completing it? HH
  15. It's the micro model making that keeps the men in white coats at bay... without it I'd have to deal with the real world and that's enough to drive anyone crazy! HH
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