Saturday, 29 December 2012

Covenanter Commander (VBCW)

I have been working away on this figure for the last week or so. He started life as two (well three if you count the horse) different figures. The top half holding the cigar is the torso of one of my favorite Artizan Design figures. A painted example of what the original figure usually looks like is below:-

Now I have painted the original figure two or three times now and have a couple of versions of him. I just love the pose and the figure to me its just so very VBCW. But for my new Scottish Covenanter army (to be completed at some point who know's when) I wanted this figure but mounted.

So I cut the original figure in half below the belt line, losing the pistol and a forearm and hand in the process.
The torso was then attached to the legs of a Mutineer miniatures cavalry figure (no idea which one, just a random as it had the right legs). I sanded the sword scabbard off the cavalry legs and attached my torso to it. I was still however missing a right forearm and hand.

Now I'm no master sculptor but I got the putty out and had a bloody good bash (if I don't say so myself) at sculpting the new forearm and hand. Now I know sculpting a hand resting on a leg is hardly the work of the century but for me it was a real step forwards in terms of sculpting skills.

I have to say I am very pleased with the results of this conversion, I am really happy with how my hand and sculpted forearm turned out. This chap is painted in grey fatigues with a blue head band to note his allegiance to the Covenanter cause. At some point in the new year I will paint up a couple of squads of scots infantry for this chap to command, but for the moment other projects are absorbing my time.

This is probably the last thing I will finish this year, and given my poor showing on the painting and modelling front this year I feel, for me I am going into the new year on a positive finish. It has also inspired me to have a crack at sculpting again, something I'm going to try and do a bit more of next year.

My hope now that I am back and working at home again is that next year will be more successful on the painting front!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas everyone, thanks for reading my blog throughout the year and putting up with me wittering on. The above is one of the wife's lovely Christmas card designs created in illustrator on the computer.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Mrs Clause

Just finished painting these two figures from Hasslefree up for the wife. They were really nice to paint although there was a slight miss cast on right side of face but its not too noticeable. She liked them so that's all that matters.

I really like how these turned out, although due to a measuring fail on my part the base they are currently on will not fit in my display cabinet, so I have to now re-base them for the wife.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Book Review - The Return Man

I'm currently working away on a Christmas project for the wife, and she reads the blog from time to time cannot post pictures of it here. However I thought I would post up a quick review of a book I have just finished reading.

As the picture suggests the book is The Return Man by V.M.Zito, as far as I can see this is the authors first, certainly main stream, novel. Feel free to correct me on that point if you know better.

Its a Zombie apoc novel, I don't want to spoil the book but the basic plot is that the main character is living and working in the "evacuated states" with the surviving parts of america in the "Safe States" on the east coast. The main character finds the zombie version of lost loved ones and basically puts them out of their misery for surviving family members. The character is hired by a shady government type to find a former colleague and I can't really say much more than that without spoiling the plot.

I found this to be a great book, nicely written, pacy and funny. The things I have always liked most in post-apoc books is hearing about the fall of society, and what the world looks afterwards, and there is plenty of that level of explanation here. If your looking for a good and engaging Zombie apoc book I really recommend this, I couldn't put it down and thought it felt a bit different to other "escape and survive" Zombie novels.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Unreported World - The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

I wanted to bring something to the attention of any UK based readers, which has been largely unreported. I wont lie the following may seem largely boring, and some will think irrelevant. But trust me when I say this new piece of legislation scales back workers protections to Victorian standards and removes most, if not all of the regulatory requirements on an employer to ensure YOUR workplace is safe and a health place to work. It will also have much further reaching consequences for workers and the courts.

My background as some of you may know is in the Insurance industry. I am a reasonably senior investigator for a large multinational who handles injury claims of all types for some of this, and the worlds, largest Insurers. Without meaning to blow my own trumpet I am an expert on Health and Safety law as it applies to the workplace, and insurance claims, and have investigated everything from tiny cuts to major injuries.

The current Government has modified The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to make a significant change to safety at work. Section 61 of the bill  removes the Civil Liability on employers to comply with any of the current health and safety regulations unless the regulations specifically implies a civil liability for a breach of the them.

Almost none of the current regulations confer any civil liability on an employer for breaching them, as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, section 47 (2) currently confers a civil liability on employers if they breach any of the regulations made under the act. For the unaware all of the health and safety regulations employers currently have to comply with are made under the act and therefore currently a breach of them confers a civil liability for the injury on the employer.

The act currently states

"Breach of a duty imposed by health and safety regulations shall, so far as it causes damage be actionable except in so far as the regulations provide otherwise"

Section 61 of The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will change section 47 (2) of the HSW Act 1974 to read as follows

“(2) Breach of a duty imposed by a statutory instrument containing (whether alone or with other provision) health and safety regulations shall not be actionable except to the extent that regulations under this section so provide.

(2A) Breach of a duty imposed by an existing statutory provision shall not be actionable except to the extent that regulations under this section so provide (including by modifying any of the existing statutory provisions)."

Now the real question is what does this mean in real terms if you are injured at work and think it is the employers fault?

The result is the immediate effect of removing liability on employers if they breach the regulations, for example.

Say I am 18 and new to the metal fabrication industry, I work with a large table saw all day cutting sheet metal into shapes for further fabrication. The equipment I use is a table saw, which is very sharp and could quite easily cut my fingers or hands off if used incorrectly, or if it is faulty. I am new to this role and type of work, my employer asks me if I have used the table saw before. Because I don't want my new colleagues to laugh at me, and because I think it looks easy I say yes. The employer says fine hands me some metal and tells me to crack on cutting it into stars for a client. 

I don't really know what I'm doing don't set the safety guard properly and cut three of my fingers and my thumb off on my dominant hand. They are badly damaged and cannot be salvaged by a Doctor. I am no longer able to work, and there is no remedy for the loss of my fingers. I will have significantly reduced earnings and have to retrain entirely. 

I sue my employer because I was not trained on how to use the equipment, and I only had a go at it because I didn't know any better and thought it would be easy. 

Now when considering the claim for the above individual under current legislation the employer would, amongst other regulations, have to show compliance with the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (often referred to as PUWER98). Specific requirements, broadly speaking, are that the employer would have to show they showed the employee how to safely use the work equipment, provided him with appropriate information on the specific risks, and provided appropriate guards for the moving parts.

In the above example the employer would be liable as no training or information was given to the employee, it would be clear cut, easy to establish fault and move forwards.  I should also advise that I do not believe the requirement to train an employee on dangerous equipment is a particularly onerous one on the employer. Just 30 minutes training would have been sufficient to show the employee the safe way to operate the machine and how best to avoid injury.

If the incoming regulations pass, which they almost certainly will, the situation would change significantly.

Again taking the above example, under the proposed legislation the employer simply does not have to show any compliance with the regulations  All he has to do is demonstrate he acted "reasonably", and guess what a court could conceivable consider that by asking the employee "do you know how to use this machine" the employer has acted reasonably. There will no longer be the requirement to show compliance or face sanction, the protection offered by current regulations will be removed overnight.

I should say the above example is an actual case I investigated last year, the individual suffered massively debilitating injuries, and has to now come up with another career path. Yes he was stupid to say he new what he was doing, but the employer should have taken the time to train him. He was awarded several hundred thousand pounds which sounds nice, but when your missing most of one hand really is not.

Under the new legislation the young man in question may have gotten nothing. Imagine that was you. 

Almost none of the primary regulations which are currently in place confer any kind of civil liability on an employer because, as I said at the start, the HSW Act 1974 currently confers that liability  When this change comes in next year there will be no civil liability for breach of regulations. This will make every single claim more, not less contentions, costs for bringing claims will go up as there will be higher risk and the knock on effect could cause more cases to go to the European Courts.

The effect of this legislation will be a slackening of health and safety priorities on employers that frankly are already woefully lacking in many areas. I have heard all the arguments, "I'm trying to run a business, I'd be here all day if I risk assessed everything" and so on. To be blunt most employers that tell you the legislation is to hard to comply with simply cannot be bothered. Most of the cases I investigate could be easily defended, and the accidents probably avoided, but for want of 5 minutes of care on the part of the employer. Most of the accidents I investigate are insanely obvious issues, which were waiting to happen.

Check the legislation out, if I haven't bored you to death, just Google the name of the bill and it will come up. Part 61 is the relevant part (tucked away under an obscure unimportant sounding heading).

If you read it, and feel like I do that this is an erosion of protection, and reduction in safety, complain to your MP and ask why he is not disputing this legislation. The press are largely ignoring this, and failing to report it with the vigor which it deserves.

Sorry if this is dull, but I think its important, I promise the next post will be less legislation shouty and more model painty!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Science Fiction Kilts

I've been busy with work for the last week or so, but I found the time yesterday and today to put together and paint this. The figure is  made up of components purchased from Victoria Miniatures a purveyor of a large selection of components to compliment GW's imperial guard range. They are however modular and I made the above figure from a pair of kilted legs, imperial torso, shotgun arms and a militia head all from Victoria Miniatres.

The parts themselves are really well sculpted and a joy to paint. I spent a lot of time working on the kilt, and skin tones (sadly the camera has washed out the figure a little) and I am very pleased with the results. I would think a lot of the parts from this company would be good for anyone doing VSF or Pulp adventures and of course 40k.

Check the site out at the link above the figures are great, and really well priced. Also service is great, the shop is in Aussi land and yet with bog standard postage the figures were in my grubby mitts in 7 days (not working days, 7 days total). At the moment I think its free postage on everything so strike while the iron is hot.

I've bought a pretty sizable selection from them so I will be slowly making and painting up some of these figures. I'm not really making them with 40k or anything in particular in mind. I just liked the bits and wanted to make and paint some kilts! But that said I find myself thinking they could be used for a characterful game of Necromunda or similar.

I have some mounted bits as well and intend to make a small diorama or something.

In other news it turns out this is my 250 post to the blog, hard to believe given I only started it as somewhere to keep track of what I had painted. If you have put up with meandering mutterings over the last couple of years, thank you. I hope next year to return to a slightly more regular painting and posting schedule now that my work has settled, and I am working at home again.