I was born in Liverpool in the UK, June 22nd……….. too many years ago. I have one brother and one sister. I was always interested in Military stuff. We used to live in ADEN (Southern Yemen), which at that time was a British Naval Base, my Dad used to work for BP, who worked at a refinery there. We used to see quite a bit of the Navy (British and US) in the port, and the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders were there at the time trying to stamp out the “terrorists” who were trying to throw the Brits out. They had a camp outside our School, and we used to wander over there when we got out after lessons, which ended at Noon (having started at about 7 am if I remember correctly…it was a convent school). After being picked up by my Parents, we used to go to the Beach club, which had a nice shark netted swimming area and generally seemed to spend the afternoons there.We eventually got out of ADEN (The Brits that is) in about 1967 when the British government decided we didn’t need to have a Naval presence “East of Suez” and we had to come “home”. I do however seem to remember quite a bit about our time out there, including the Queens Birthday parades with the very impressive Arab Camel Corps, armored cars, Highlanders et all trooping by…..all very colorful. As I said, I have always been interested in the Military, and as a kid I used to make figures out of Plastecine to go along with my collection of William Britains figures and Airfix car kits that were all we could get in ADEN. It filled the time, as there was no TV out there then, and you generally just had the Radio on in the evenings. At that time I knew nothing about the 2 part epoxy putties that were then becoming available, so the figures i was making then didn’t tend to last long before falling apart (it was a good grounding in modeling though). I read somewhere that you could use Banana oil (a kid of shellac) to give the Plastecine a hard coat, so for a time I was using that, and could actually paint the figures using the Banana oil as an undercoat. From that I progressed to “Plastic wood” and “Green Stuff”, which I found frustrating until I started to let it cure and then carve to get the form I was looking for. Eventually, I did find out that you could use Two part epoxy putties, which set as hard as stone to make figures, and have them stable and long lasting and have been using them ever since. I am married to Marion Ebensperger, we married in 2003, and we first met in Paris in 1999. It’s very nice to have a partner who shares the same interests as you do, and it means that we don’t have to make excuses to each other about the reasons why we want to go to a show, or a shop, we both end up going. It also makes it interesting to have someone there to give suggestions or to bounce figure ideas off at any time. As she paints it also helps to have her eye run over a figure to see where I need to do some work to make it easier to paint. All in all, it works very well; we have a strict demarcation of work, she paints and I sculpt (I used to paint as well, but not as well as she does ;)As of 2003, this is my Job, I moved to Switzerland to marry Marion, and the chance to make my hobby a full time job became a reality. it was a case of trying it to see if it worked, and luckily to date it seems to be.
Bio-Marion Ball- Ebensperger
I was born in Zurich 1963, and am the oldest of six Children. At this time families had a lot of Children and not as much TV,,,that’s probably why Families were so big. I was really totally different from my sisters, instead of playing with Dolls etc; I played football, cowboys and Indians, built Aeroplanes, castles and other things like that. I still remember very well my first Diorama, which was only a mountain of Plaster, (unpainted), covered with soldiers and groundwork, and I thought it looked fantastic. I was so full of Joy and showed my “masterpiece” to my parents ……..they probably wondered when I would finally start to act like a normal girl . When I left school at Sixteen, I met my first great love, which lasted till a few years ago. At that time my then to be husband (Erwin) was running an Italian restaurant, which we ended up running together for the next seventeen years. It was Erwin who gave me my first historic wooden ship kit for one of my birthdays, and from that moment on I left the Plastic kits behind and built wooden ships for the next ten years. When I had my first experience with figures, it was more of an accident than anything else. I was at a Placido Domingo concert in Vienna, when I discovered a figure shop, I always looked for sailors to populate my ships, and thought that this was the perfect opportunity to find some (I found them, and still have them). Over the Years, I always wished to have my own little army of Soldier figures, but I never had the slightest idea that the “little men“ existed, so very quickly I bought my first two figures and was very excited , I couldn’t wait to go home and start to paint them. At that time, I didn’t know any other paints than Humbrol, which I used for my wooden ships, and didn’t know, or have, any literature about figures or Uniforms. I started to look for Information, and found the English “Military modelling” and the American “Campaigns” magazines, which were my guides. The problem was my English at that time was pretty poor, or should I say almost non existent there was no other way than to learn the language step by step. These days I am really glad that I was forced to learn English. I had no idea about highlights and shadows, colours or shading, if the uniform was red, I just painted them Red, with no shading or highlights. Even worse, the figures were glossy in the end, but nonetheless, I still remember how I felt on completing my first figure, it was a fantastic and incredibly satisfying feeling, which gave me a real push to go on. I got my first important award at Euro in 1997 my first Silver medal ……from that year on everything was on the up. The joy I had at getting my first silver medal I will remember all my life. Some years later, I made the decision to change my painting style to that which I am using today. I have to admit, that the changing to Acrylics was really difficult for me, it required a totally different technique, and I had very big problems at the beginning but finally got used to it. Things went on this way for several years until I was hit by a stroke of destiny; my husband became seriously ill and never recovered from that. My whole life was turned inside out and I noticed with total clarity how quickly life can be over, from one hour to the next everything changed. I gave up my job, and wanted to take care of my husband at home, but that didn’t happen as he died. I really though that everything was lost, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, destiny gave me another chance, and some time later I met my present husband, Alan Ball. Together with him it has now been possible to make our hobby our profession… a dream for many people. Since 2003 we have been married and work as a sculptor and painter happily together at home, with our three cats.