Yearly archives: 2020


A blast from the past goes to prison

Just over a decade ago, I decided I was going to follow the 2010 General Election on the blog. In a post on three particular Manchester constituencies, I introduced a character who would go on to make further appearances on Spinneyhead.

Last, and certainly least, is Richard Carvath. He’s standing as an Independent, on the More Self Righteous and Homophobic Than Anyone Else platform judging by his blog. Everything’s a conspiracy, it would seem, intended to turn our children into French speaking Muslim homosexual perverts or something.

Dick provided an insight into a certain type of bigot. His posts made a lot of noise, but shed very little light. They provided enough content worthy of criticism or mockery that I gave him a category of his own, nested under the wider banner of Idiots. He was clearly unwell, and I didn’t just mock him, but kept pushing for him to get help.

The delusions of being a politician faded, and Dick disappeared for a while. When he returned, he had decided he was a journalist, and most of my interactions with him were on Twitter.

The Carvath school of journalism consisted of trying to interfere in court cases, mostly by trying to intimidate witnesses and complainants. This escalated. I reported him to Twitter multiple times, and the Police at least once.

I won’t go into the details of the case that proved Dick’s downfall. Unlike him, I believe in protecting the children involved. He was found guilty of harassing a judge earlier this year. I would have written this piece then, but he promptly disappeared, failing to turn up for his sentencing hearing and claiming to be out of the country. When he was found by Police, in Manchester, it was still a few more weeks before he was sentenced. But I can now say that he’s a couple of weeks into a twenty week sentence, the maximum for what he was convicted of.

It’s not a surprise that Richard Carvath’s tale- this part of it anyway- ended with him doing time. The shock is that it didn’t happen sooner. I’d like to think he can learn his lesson whilst inside, and come out with some insight into how wrong his beliefs and actions have been, and a plan to reform.

But experience tells me he won’t.


Not Coming Back

I’m getting out more, now. Not rushing out to pubs and all that stuff, but leaving the flat for more things than just going to work or shopping for food.

After last week’s jaunt, I decided to go for another bike ride around Manchester City Centre. This time, I thought I’d pay respects to three Manchester venues that this week announced they won’t be re-opening.

In reverse order of their importance to me-

Nexus RIP

Nexus Art Cafe has been one of my favourite coffee shops for years. I’ve gone there to write, do life drawing, and meet friends. It was a quirky semi-basement space, which hosted art exhibits and all sorts of other events. A not-for-profit, it was run by a Christian group that displays all the best qualities of religion- caring, inclusive, and all round decent. I’ll miss it, and I hope something as lovely rises from the ashes.

Deaf Institute RIP

The Deaf Institute. Two bars and a mid-sized music venue. I’ve drunk in there a few times, but may only have been to one gig. I would have liked to go to more….

Gorilla RIP

I don’t know if I’ve ever been in Gorilla. I’ve been too broke for too many years to do the gigging I wish I could.

I’m sure these buildings will be taken over by new management, and the new venues that are created will hopefully be as good. It just sucks that they had to end this way.

I have a job now, and a bit more disposable income, so I’m going to do what I can to get the cash flowing for other local small businesses. After I’d taken my photos, I took the time to go buy some stuff in Fred Aldous and FanBoy Three, because I don’t want to be posting photos of their locked doors in a few months time, saying how much I’ll miss them.

Update: Embedded Nexus’ farewell Facebook message below-


The first ride since lockdown

First ride after lockdown

I finally left the flat for something other than work or food shopping. Just an easy ride into Manchester city centre to check out car free Deansgate, then around a few familiar places, and back again. You may have to click through to enjoy the full gallery, depending upon what mood the embedding code is in.


The big list of figure model makers and suppliers- 2020 edition

From the Spinneyworld blog:

A few years ago, I wrote a post listing all the model figure manufacturers I could find sites for. I updated it in 2013, and it’s now time to do it again.

One of 2020’s aims is to build and paint more figures, to improve my skills, so this is as much a placeholder for me as a resource for you.

Alternative Images – USA Film and fantasy resin kit figures. Some dead image links, so I don’t know how up to date it is.

Alternative Armies

Ancient and Modern Models

Andrea Miniatures – One of the world’s premier figure manufacturers. You can get Andrea figures on Amazon.

Armorcast – USA Fantasy and Wargame figures

Army Bits

Artomic Studios

The Assault Group

Miniaturas by F. M. Beneito – Spain Historical Miniatures specialist

BNA Model World – Australian model shop. More than just figures.

W Britains – Military figure manufacturer

Bronze Age Miniatures. 28mm and 54mm figures, mostly for gaming.

Brother Vinni

CP Models

Creative Beast. Mostly dinosaurs, but some fantasy figures.

Crusader Miniatures

Le Cimier – France Military Figures, tools and reference books

Denizen Miniatures – 1:43 motor racing figures- drivers, pit crew, etc, – and 90mm fantasy and sci-fi figures.

Devils Own Resin An interesting selection, but no obvious buying links.

Dragon Models – USA Home page of Dragon Models.

Dream Master Creations – USA Erotic resin figures

Drum and Flag

The Dunken Company – figure casting supplies and moulds.

Dutkins’ Collectables – Among the many products sold by this company are figure models.

E2046

Elan13

El-Greco Miniatures – A shop with a wide range of companies stocked. I have bought from them in the past, and will do so again.

El Viejo Dragón Miniaturas – Spain Historical Figure specialists

Empress Miniatures

Essex Miniatures

Eureka Miniatures

Fields of Glory

Firing Line Miniatures.

Fontegris Miniatures. The Fontegris site has been taken over by a beauty product retailer. This is a list of their products at Noble Knight games.

Footsore Miniatures and Games

Friendship Models

Frontline Figures – Beautiful 54mm award winning collectible figures!!

G-Force Models

Germania Figuren 1:72nd figures in resin and pewter, as well as 3D printed items in various scales and even 3D files for home printing.

Gremlins in the Garage! – USA Welcome to Gremlins in the Garage the first webzine dedicated to figure kit modeling

Ground Zero Games. Gaming miniatures and fantasy figures.

Wayne “The Dane” Hansen – Figure Kits and Sculpting Supplies

Hassle Free miniatures Gaming figures and accessories. Great figures, mostly in 28mm. I own a few, and love the company’s sense of humour. The models are great sculpts, and tongue was firmly in cheek when most of the names were thought up.

HaT Industrie – HäT Industrie produces 1/72 and 1/32 scale soft plastic military miniatures or toy soldiers. Our goal is to produce a line of figures not produced by any of the past or present manufacturers.

Heresy Miniatures

Historex Agents – UK Historex Agents represents over 70 different companies, specialising in connoisseur model soldier kits and AFV conversion set

Hobby Search – buy direct from Japan

Image Anime – USA General Anime kits and figures

Jimmy Flintstone/ Dr Flintbone Primarily manufacturers of hot rod and custom car bodies in resin, Jimmy Flintstone also produce figures to complement the vehicles. Dr. Flintbone is the more adult arm.

Kaiyodo – Japan Star wars, Godzilla (original) and Anime figures.

King & Country – Design and manufacture the most amazing (and affordable) range of toy soldiers, miniature figures,military vehicles, model aircraft and buildings in the world today! All our products are hand-made and hand-painted to the highest professional standards.

Kings X Toy Soldiers – Models from various toy soldier manufacturers, plus an exclusive range of Alamo figures

Legends – Kits, accessories, reference materials, Japanese si-fi & anime, from all over the world.

Magic Sculp

Magister Militum

MBM Models – Holland Military, Sci-Fi and Fantasy fig specialists

Micro Mark – tools for the serious modeller

Mic Shaun’s Closet – Plastic figures from many periods to include Napoleonic, American Civil War, Alamo and World War II from a variety of manufacturers.

Minutemen Toy Soldiers – USA Military figure kits and gaming specialists

Mithril Figures – Ireland Mithril was founded in 1987 and has been dedicated since then to the creation of miniature figures, inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of Middle-earth as portrayed in his famous works “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”.

MK35

Moebius Models. Licenced re-releases of old Aurora kits.

Monsters In Motion: A Sci-Fi Gallery – Welcome to Monsters In Motion, the world’s greatest gallery of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror & Famous Movie Personalities as finished statues and model kits for the hobbyist and collector.

Mooncrest Models

Mr Dandy

Nagleworks

Otherworld Miniatures

Paleocraft – models of extinct animals

Perry Miniatures

Pegaso Models – Italy Manufacturers of 54mm, 75mm, and 90mm figures.

Prince August Factory Shop – Ireland Military figures for the collector, together with moulds and Chess sets

Quarter Kit – France White metal and diecast military miniatures

Reaper Minis – Minis, paints, and more.

Resin Crypt

Resin Realities

Ronin Miniatures – Based in Ukraine, and trading through an Etsy shop, Ronin produce figures primarily in 54mm/1:32.

S & D Models

Saratoga Soldier Shop – USA Pewter Civil War and American revolution figures

Shiflett Brothers

Sideshow Inc – USA Site specializing in liscensed figurative vinyl/resin model kits and collectibles based on some of todays leading artists, including: Clive Barker, Bernie Wrightson, Tim Bradstreet, Frank Kelly Freas, Brom, and Bill Stout.

Der Sockelshop German webshop stocking Modern Armies In Miniature, and others.

Spectral Motion Inc – This company sells some amazing horror figures!!

Spectre Miniatures

S & S Models – UK 1:76 scale model figures, games and accessories

Stockade Miniatures, Inc – USA “Soldiers of the World” figures, plus metal and plastic figures from a variety of manufacturers

Styrene Studio – Excellent resin figures

Tedtoy Miniatures Online – USA Civil War Military figure specialists

The Toy Soldier Company – The Toy Soldier Company featuring the sales of toy soldier figures, sets, books and accessories

Valiant Enterprises. Figures and wargaming miniatures.

Wargames Foundry

Watson Sculptures and Models – Dinosaur, Ancient reptile and Prehistoric figures and models

Zotz – Mexico Glamour and Erotic figure specialists


The Ruins of Bolton

A fortnight ago, I went for one last photography wander before starting my full on social distancing*. But I thought I’d go further afield, and hopped on a train to Bolton. If the Flickr embed below isn’t playing nice, you may need to click through to see the whole gallery.

Ruins of Bolton

*Even more distant than the social distancing I’ve been doing for the last few years.


The Workbench – now with video

As we all go into social distancing, it’s time to get back to the workbench.

I’ve made a couple of videos already, and I’m likely to make more. The exact timetable will be worked out as I go along, but, for now, some timelapse I shot over the last two weekends.

1- Putting some figures together, so I can practice figure painting-

2- Diving into the big box of dismantled Gundam I won on eBay, and seeing how many I can put back together-

More coming soon!


The Workbench – Atomic Gas

I’ve got behind on the workbench reports. Atomic Gas was completed a while ago, but I’m only now writing it up.

Atomic Gas

This little service station is a model from Sarissa Precision that I picked up at the Britcon show in Manchester last year. It’s my first laser cut wood kit (if you don’t count the bed I got the same day), and I’m impressed.

I went overboard with the weathering and debris, but it is meant to be a post apocalyptic location, after all. The transfers came from a bunch of locations- some were old bus advertising from my Dad’s model railway stash, others were sold for nail art, and the graffiti comes from a Judge Dredd game, and my own designs.

Now I need a post apocalyptic game to play, so I can use this location.


Sounds of Soldiers is available in paperback

Sounds of Soldiers cover

One of this year’s missions is to get as many as possible of my ebooks available as paperbacks. A couple of Garth Owen books are already in print, and now Sounds of Soldiers joins them.

Universal Amazon link

It’s also going to be available through the appropriate distribution routes for sale in bookshops. If you want your local bookshop to get some of your money, you can ask them to order it for you. The dreaded Amazon still get their cut, and I get less. But I don’t mind that if it puts money into the pockets of small business owners as part of the deal.


A couple of walks on the fringes

Feb 1st Wander

I started the month with a walk around the area close to Mayfield Depot, on what I think of as the Ancoats/Ardwick border. Lots of interesting stuff, and I finally found the location of Dirt Factory, where I plan to throw bikes around some day soon.

Pendleton Decay

My next wander was closer to home, and more of a hunt for something specific. I watched a couple of episodes of car customising programme Goblin Works Garage, and kept seeing the Beetham Tower in exterior shots. So I went for an explore in street view, but couldn’t find the exact location of their workshop. Until one of the shots showed ‘Pendleton Cooperative Industrial Society’ carved into the bricks of their neighbours. The building was less than a kilometre from where I live, so I went and visited at lunch time, and got some shots of the neighbourhood.


On the Workbench 2020 – the CR-X and My First Gundam

The hope for this year is to build more stuff, learning and re-learning skills along the way. I’m also going to utilise products from the shop as often as possible, showcasing how they can be used.

First project of the year is the Honda CR-X kanjo-style racer. The Fujimi kit has gone together well so far, apart from needing to clamp the front subframe as the glue set. I have now reached the point where the chassis is complete, and so is the interior. But it’s being put aside for a while, until I get my hands on the colour shifting paint I want to use on it.


Honda CR-X Street racer - interior

Not the best image of the interior. I shall try to get a better one. This build, as well as utilising a wing and steering wheel from parts sets, has been detailed with bits from the Spinneyworld JDM Interior Parts set, and the Street/Track Racer set, and will sport the JDM Style Door Mirrors when complete.

The CR-X album is here, with more photos, and some commentary.

Whilst the CR-X awaits its paint, I’ve moved on to project 2 of the year- My First Gundam!

This is not the giant battle suit I had originally bought to be my first Gundam, because I got another one cheap on eBay, and decided to have a practice on that one first. I should have some of the scribing tools and detailing parts from the store by the time I start on the second build, so I’ll be able to see how they change the experience.

After watching *a lot* of Gundam build videos on YouTube, I have some ideas of what I’m going to do. First off, I’m welding all the seams, then cleaning them up. Then I’m going to look at improving the existing panel lines and maybe scribing some new ones. But I’ll still head off on my own tangents quite often.

One such tangent happened when I had a look at the shield, the back of which was far too flat and empty. I dipped into my tubs of old kit bits and ‘greeblies’, and added a ring and other pieces, to give it some depth. Few other parts will get this level of added texture, but I had fun adding all of this.


Gundam Mercurius Build - shieldGundam Mercurius Build- detailed shield

Alternative Olympics

It’s an Olympic year, and, if I’ve replaced my recently deceased TV by then, I will be watching some of the action from Tokyo. But in the mean time, it seems that YouTube wants to show me some alternative sports that didn’t make the cut.

It started with extreme gravity racing, with lots of clips of downhill carting in, mostly, Ecuador. Check out this crazy drift trike race, and tell me you wouldn’t watch a show dedicated to it.

The redneck delights of Barbie Truck Racing are positively tame compared to it.

Then, I spotted Longsword fencing. I haven’t a clue what the scoring system is. But I don’t know it for standard fencing, either.

Because I’d watched the longswords, it was suggested I have a look at Medieval Combat. Which appears to be LARPing meets car park brawl. Of course they’re playing The Final Countdown in the background, and it goes without saying that the American commentator can’t understand why the Polish crowd is cheering on the home team, rather than the USA.