Saturday 24 December 2022

Ho, Ho Ho! It's the Obligatory Christmas Blog Post!

Yes, so... updates to this blog have been somewhat sporadic.  Back in February I started a new day Job, and whilst the money has been much appreciated in these times of doom, it rather meant that the creativity and model-making dropped off significantly.

This has proved to be a problem, because the Day Job is quite stressful (because of my usual knack for these things, I joined the NHS in the exhausted aftermath of a pandemic, working in a department busily and desperately training new staff).  I've been recommended in the past by the doctors to do creative things like the blog and comic, and model-making, as a mindfulness exercise, and I hadn't realised until I was unable to find time to do said tasks, quite how much I needed them for my sanity.

So to get round it, I started trying to incorporate the model-making into my other activities, in this case, Scouting...

The Scout Group that I'm a leader with were looking for a Christmas activity, a nice 'making something' sort of a project where the young people could create an item to take home as a decoration.  After bouncing some ideas around with Amy, we hit on the idea of a laser-cut Christmas Tree that the youths could decorate in the Scout meetings.  It would be suitable for all sections, from the Squirrels (4 years old) up to the Scouts themselves (early Teens).

The somewhat simple drawing was scanned and edited in RDX...

...resulting in this rather garish prototype, as I didn't have any green or red acrylic at this stage.

One delivery from Kitronik later, and we had prototype 2.  Note the slots in the base...

...for presents.  More on these in a moment.

Mass-production underway, with the slightly-underwhelming Laser Cutter looming over the plastic forest.

Decorations to go on the tree were being mainly provided by Amy, from lots of scrap mini circles, stars, and diamonds from her laser cutter at the school she works at.  I decided though after Prototype 1 that it was missing something on the base, so designed a few simple presents.  The idea was to create a large selection in a variety of colours (cut from my offcuts box)...

...and the youths could pick a few each, to glue in.

And here is the project underway on the night, thus is one by one of our younger Squirrels (4 and a bit years old) who properly got stuck into it.  Not literally, mind you, we did all the supergluing for the younger ones.

It went down well, and the youngsters really seemed to enjoy it and get into the build.

I took one of the spares home to knock-up as well.

It seemed to work as a project, and forced me to find time to do something creative and practical (at a point where I was up to my neck with the day job, and really needed a task to focus on outside of the job).

Yeah, so anyway... doing the whole Christmas Tree project, and the beneficial effect it had on my mental health, prompted some serious thinking about this blog, the comic, and my wider model-making.

Before the new job, I was chasing magazine articles, competitions, all sorts, and it was getting a bit wearing because I wasn't really doing what I wanted to do.  Then I pretty much dropped it all for months because working at the hospital was so knackering.

Anyway, it's prompted the decision to drop most of the speculative magazine work which has had patchy results (some big winners like Port Eden and some bits for Hornby, but a few duds too) as the Day Job pays more than the freelancing could.  In the meantime though, to keep me sane, I'm going to be properly throwing myself into this blog.  More comics, more random builds just for my mental health, and even if nobody else ever reads these sprawling, stupid blog posts, at least it will be something for my mental health, and keep me going.

Assuming the Russians, the rising oceans, the various plagues, or Martians don't get us all first.

Merry Christmas, and here's to 2023 being more successful and less of a shite-storm than 2022.


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