I thought I'd talk a trip down memory lane today and talk a little bit about how I got started as a sculptor. We go all the way back to 1999. At that time I'd been painting minis for about 12 years and had been employed a couple of times in the industry; first as a writer for Citadel Journal and then for a very short period as an Eavy Metal painter, both at Games Workshop. I'd always had an idea that I'd like to sculpt stuff but was rather ten-thumbed at it. I'm one of those people who, if they can't get it right straight away, finds it hard to put the work in. I'd often had tips from my friend Neil who is, to this day, the world's maddest converter. Believe me, it's true. Never seemed to be able to get any kind of hang of working putty though. Think I was too impatient and didn't really 'want it' enough. I did a few conversions with a bit of greenstuff but nothing very spectacular.
Anyway, 1999! It was to be my third time at the Golden Demon Awards after a couple of rather successful years and I'd decided to enter the Open with a Mordheim gang of Skaven. So, cue lots of building Skaven. I had built an elaborate display base for them and there was a big 40mm by 40mm gap in the centre for a Rat Ogre. And I had constructed a converted Rat Ogre. I was nearing competition day and started to paint the Rat Ogre. It went horribly wrong and I was unable to rescue it when it largely disintegrated in the paint stripping process. I needed a new Rat Ogre and with that gap in the base, there weren't many options for alternatives. My local GW hadn't any in stock and I'd just missed the deadline for getting one Special Deliveried to me by GW Mail Order. This was Thursday evening and GD was Sunday. My entry was done but with the gap. I then spied my roll of greenstuff and felt I had nothing to lose. And now I had all the motivation in the world. To learn to sculpt and turn out my first mini... in the next 24 hours (I'd need Saturday to paint it). I saved a little time by making it a one armed Rat Ogre and a little more by stealing the fist from my destroyed conversion and a tail from a plastic Clanrat but I then learned to sculpt VERY fast and by Friday night, my first miniature was done. I painted it the Saturday and entered GD on the Sunday. The gang didn't win anything. Ah well. But here is the result of my fevered last minute sculpting. This is the only pic I have of the Rat Ogre as it now sits in someone else's collection along with the rest of the gang.
Anyway, I returned from the contest and started thinking that if I could make this monster then maybe I should try something more human and at 28mm. So, out came the putty again and I fought my way through my first 28mm figure: a generic saxon/viking type warrior. At the time I was painting lots of miniatures for Wargames Foundry and was very aware that sculpting paid better so I was inspired to start pushing and made my experiments historically-based as I hoped I could get an 'in' at Foundry. Well, the first 'saxon' went okayish and I tried a second. Another saxon/viking type. Foundry were very kind to cast one up for me and I decided to try something else. I decided to sculpt Sherlock Holmes. This figure was the first that, when finished, I felt it was actually a decent figure. The guys at Foundry obviously agreed as they bought the figure from me and gave them away as that year's Salute Limited Edition figure. Not long after this I made the trip to Nottingham to go to work at Foundry as a trainee miniatures designer. This of course goes off into tales of my professional sculpting career and that's not really the point of today's post. So, I'll end with a picture. I'd like to introduce you to the first three 28mm, human sized, miniatures I ever sculpted. Other than Sherlock, I don't think I've ever shown these online. I like to think I've got a bit better since then but I'm still quite proud of them (even if I usually refer to the first as one half of a stretcher party).