Nova Corp Trio

02.04.2017

Needing a break from the skin tones I just can't get looking like I want, I opted for some fully armored futuristic military gun guys.

Nova Corp Soldier. I had the most fun playing with the base on this one. There was a normal scattering of small rocks on the base, but for fun I painted them. Metallic blue, then I mixed in some red along with a steel drybrush. Finally a gloss coat wrapped it up at the end. I can't decide if those painted rocks look like alien minerals or some kind of metal debris, but so far I like it.

Nova Corp Rifleman. Honestly I just screwed this one all up. The paint was too thick. Everything ended up too dark. I tried to add some highlights to lighten it up and it just.. well, it just didn't work out too good. This was also my first test using Citadel texture paint on the base, and I'm not sure how that's working out yet.

Nova Corp Sergeant. After glopping on too much paint on the other 2, I decided to try a different approach I'd heard about and just used washes and drybrush. This kept the details on the mini visible and kept the colors lighter. The other 2 ended up too dark, so this was a nice change and I actually ended up pleased with how this one turned out.

Previously I've been priming 3 minis and working on them at the same time, usually by whatever paint color I was using at the time. Then I'd end up getting ahead on the details of one, but somehow end up finishing all of tehm around the same time. This round was different. Since I was screwing up the Rifleman first, I would take whatever bad thing I discovered and try to do the opposite on on of the others - some things worked, a lot didn't. I ended up with 1 mostly finished, yet horribly painted mini, while also having one that barely had any paint on it. Again, this turned into a learning experience more than anything else, a learning experience in lots of little things to not do!

I worked on these off and on for 2 weeks so they took a little longer than what I've been taking for working on a trio of minis. Part of that was work keeping me busier of late, but it was also painting the same thing (paint scheme) 3 times, which felt more like when I was cranking out Dust minis.

Next up is a batch of zombies from Wargames Factory. These came on sprues so step 1 was gluing them together.

The zombies aren't the best cast molds (Wargames Factory as a brand is no longer around). These came in boxes of 30 minis to put together. I'm pretty sure I bought them for around $20/box, so I wasn't expecting the best quality. Basically good enough to have a bunch of zombies running around at some point. I actually have a goal with these, as I recently picked up the Walking Dead: All Out War minis game and every play video I see with painted minis & scenery looks fun. Sure, unpainted would still be fun, but painted is funner! Not sure how long it will take me to get all the fluff together before I play, but that's just part of me being me.

In the interim, I've finally taken the shrinkwrap off a game that's been on the shelf for years: Thunderbolt Apache Leader. It's a solitaire game that's long been lauded for it's quality of rules, components, and game play. It's been a while since I played a game, much less read through a rule book. Next blog-time we'll find out how this went.


gaming miniatures

My First World Problems

01.26.2017

This is one of those weeks when little things caught up to me.

I had my eye exam that I've been putting off for 6 months. I only put it off because for some reason we didn't just schedule the time for my follow up eye appointment when I had my last eye exam. The doctor's office sent a reminder that it was time for a checkup, but of course I was too busy at the time to make an appointment. It's been 3 years since my prescription changed, and last time I was right on the cusp of needing a notch stronger. Over the past few months I've been noticing how billboards and road signs were harder to focus on, so it was time to go forward with that notch. The saving grace for this year's exam is that I could, with a guilt free conscience, skip getting my pupils dilated and my eyeball touched - I hate that part.

After getting checked out I was told I was still right on the edge, prescription wise, but I seemed to notice the difference a little more of the finer details with the stronger lenses. I go forward with picking out new glasses. I also decide to get new lenses for one of my existing set of frames, and also replacement lenses for my sunglasses since I'm not getting any type of transitioning lenses. There goes $1000, but this is the one thing I mess with every day so I'd rather pay the money for something I like that be frustrated and pissed off every time I look in the mirror.

Last week my garage door opener died. It's close to 20 years old and these things wear out (according to YouTube). I watched a video or 3 on how to replace one and it seemed to be within my realm of ability. Off to Amazon I went and ordered as close to my existing model as I could find, hoping that I could just switch out wires 1:1. New opener arrives and I start looking at everything closer. First, the wiring connections are just different enough that I can see I'll connect things wrong the first 3 times. Then, I see where the screws that hold everything to the ceiling are and can easily see everything falling down on me as things likely require more than 2 hand and one ladder. I return to my normal ways - getting people. I email garage people and tell them I want to replace an existing opener with one that I have, and I live out in the boonies. I get no replies, as I expected. I call garage people. I learn none of them will install equipment they don't sale. I know it's a scam since they'll service anything, and Chamberlain makes 90% of the garage equipment out there. The hard part, as ever, is getting someone to show up at my house. After learning I can return my Amazon purchased opener I make an appointment for this Friday to have garage people come and install their opener, with the early estimate being about $120 more than what I paid at Amazon - so in essence it will come to $120 in labor which is fair enough to me. Except I think the end price will be higher. I'll find out Friday.

While doing laundry this weekend I washed the key fob for my car. I've washed these before, but something didn't feel right when I picked it out of the washer. Sure enough, it didn't work. The problem here is that it's a smart fob and I don't have anywhere to insert a key, the car just knows the key is nearby. I can press the car start button with the fob and it starts (this is magic to me) but the car doesn't recognize that the key is present and will turn off after 10 minutes. Luckily, I have 1 2nd fob so I'm not completely screwed. I called the service department and they said it just needed a new battery. I don't believe them, but I'll try sticking a new battery in it now that I've again gone to YouTube and learned how to crack open the fob and replace the battery.

I ordered a new battery from Amazon that will be here in 2 days. I could go to some local battery shop and get a battery, and it would be close to $10. I ordered a 4-pack on Amazon for $2.50. It would make even more sense for me to take the battery out of the working fob and stick it in the one I washed to see if it works. With the way it feels my luck has been going, though, I can see that messing up the working battery or maybe I can't put it back together right, then I'm stuck with no way to run the car for more than 10 minutes at a time.

I'm now very paranoid about emptying my pockets when I walk in the door.

With luck in a couple of days all of this will be fixed and I can stop worrying about it. I only worry because it's completely out of my control and I'm at the whim of garage people, USPS delivery, potentially the Hyundai service department, and the eyeglasses construction lab/whoever delivers their stuff to the office. There's probably one of those phobia names for this. Hopefully I'm not at the phobia level though. Damn close though, I bet.


rambling random

3 More Minis

01.21.2017

Another trio of minis managed to get painted. I'm still trying out new techniques - I'm not sure if I can call this last batch a success or not. I guess I learned things for better or worse.

The first mini was a version of Mad Max, Rex, Dark Future Hero. At first I thought the mini was just Arnold from Terminator 2, but after seeing the torn/missing sleeve on the leather jacket the right light bulb went off. I tried a couple of new things with Rex. His skin was just white primer with Citadel Reikland Fleshshade. It turned out pretty good but there was still a little too much primer showing through. Instead of just painting everything leather straight black, I painted it grey and applied a Nuln Oil wash with some black drybrush/highlights.

None of that worked at all. It looked like crap, and I managed to get careless with my brush and a couple of grey and black streaks were on Rex's face. Cover up with a layer of (thicker than I meant) black on the leather, some various flesh paint for his face, and Rex was usable but his skin tone was off. Still, I couldn't really improve with what I know.

Next up is Noy James Bond, Daniel Sterling, Secret Agent of GUARD. My intent was to be simple with this one. Grey suit, nothing fancy. I tried a couple of shades of grey to get some highlighting to show up and it mostly worked. Again I used the Fleshshade wash, this time without messing it up. The problem here is that he ends up looking grey - in his face, not just the suit.

Lastly is my mandatory female, Candy, Anime Heroine who looks a lot like the Anime Hero Sugar. Again, Fleshshade for skin. I had a mostly dried up pot of Citadel Sky Blue that I was able to use thanks to my wet palette - it revived the paint pretty good! Very thinned out and then a drybrush of the blue managed to keep the details in the mini sculpt showing. The gunmetal drybrush on the gun just looks grey in the picture though. Of the 3, I'm least frustrated with this one.... I think that's the best way to put it.

I was also practicing more on my secret weapon bases. They've got great detail and I was concentrating on not covering that detail up. For Rex and Bonnie and put down a thick layer of Nuln Oil wash in the cracks & crevices to bring them out, then applied wash layers to rest of the base - a combo of the flesh and earth shades, then topped off with a thinned out Nuln Oil to darken it all and bring the highlights down. It worked best on Bonnie's base where to looks like she's on broken up marble.

Daniel Sterling ended up on a flight deck base. I washed this with grey (maybe 1:4 paint:water) which started out looking like crap because the wash was so thin it wasn't covering enough. I kept with it though, and kept applying washes after the previous has dried. Once the washes gave everything the proper grey tint I was going for, the whole base was drybrushed gunmetal to bring out the steel plating feel. Nuln Oil again, but extremely light, to tone things down a little and shade recesses, with a follow up gunmetal drybrush to try and bring out the top highlights. For all the work (ie multiple layers) that went into it you really can't see that much. The saving grace here is that I didn't completely mess it up.

The next batch up are all space marine themed. No skin to worry about, and they'll probably end up on standard bases to flock.


gaming miniatures

Beginning of Year Painting

01.12.2017

I got in another good week of leisurely painting. Last week I primed 3 more figures to paint so they would be ready when the urge struck. Having primed minis along with a wet palette that keeps me from at least feeling like I'm wasting dried out paint has made it a lot easier to just pick up a brush when the mood strikes - and then put the brush back down when the mood is over.

Once again I felt I'm getting a little better still, but still making lots of mistakes. The skin tones didn't feel right on any of these. I was trying to give Doc Savage a little more of the "man of bronze" feel, and Chop Saki the Asian tint he deserved. I think you can see what I was going for, but it's just not there.

Doc Savage's leather boots and white shirt turned out well. The leather look is really just poor painting that lets more of the white undercoat on the primer show through, while the shredded white shirt is just primer with a very light dark wash - the dark wash I apply first to help bring out the details that I'll eventually paint over (thanks Kevin & your Black Wash).

I had forgotten the bases for Doc and Bonnie came from the Secret Weapon "Urban Streets" line. I just thought they were rubble. Actually they're whatever you paint them up to be, but when I bought them I had intended to go the route in the painted examples where the painted lines are in the rubble. Now I'm pretty sure that's a more advanced route to go. Bonnie ended up with black-rock rubble, while Doc got more of a stone base.

While I've primed 3 more to paint next, I've got to ready a box to store these things in. Foam core box inserts! I'm not sure if that will have anything blog worthy or not. We'll see.


gaming miniatures

End Of Year Painting

12.31.2016

I've been lax in my hobby painting. I've wanted to, but the gumption to follow through has been lacking. This past week I finally took some leave from work and decided that I wouldn't lounge around and waste the time away. I had lots of little projects I'd been putting off for one reason or another. This was my time to finally make some headway.

I've been stocking up on minis to paint for a while (fine, years). I don't get minis to play with a specific game, I just some one (fine, some) that look like they would be interesting to paint and don't worry about a game. I don't claim to be a good painter, but I enjoy it and I enjoy watching the techniques of people that are a lot better than I am. The drawback there is that a lot of times I'm too intimidated to actually get the paint out and start on a mini. But the only way to get better is to mess up a few along the way - that just might be one of the reasons I've got a closet full of random minis to paint.

Instead of trying the assembly line method that I used when I was painting Dust figures I'm instead focusing on quality of details instead of just trying to crank everything out. With that, my plan is to prime 3 minis, finish painting them, and then move on to 3 more. I grabbed a handful of packaged minis in the closet and ended up picking out 3 from the Reaper Chronoscope line. The 3 I started out with were:

Over the course of a week I went through and took my time, playing around with various washes and finding out that different brush lengths really do make a difference - long brush bristles aren't bad like I thought they were! I made mistakes, then I would see if I could turn those into happy mistakes and discover something good along the way.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how these turned out. Janus the cybertech guy is my favorite of the batch, probably because he turned out the closest to how I originally imagined. I played around a lto with skin shades, which had him looking like a zombie for a little while. That turned into some happy mistake discovery afterward. Those discoveries could have been happier, but it turned out ok for the level I'm at right now.

I picked 3 more to prime to work on next. Karate Guy, Not Doc Savage, and Chick With 2 Guns. The first thing I did was follow something I saw another painter do, which is apply a light dark wash after priming. The purpose of this wash is to bring out the details so you can better see what you're painting - a big plus for old eyes! I also decided to try out some of the Secret Weapon bases that I'd picked up to get away from the normal grass/rock flocking I always do to the bases afterward.

I don't think I'll get all 3 of these done in a week, but I've got them ready to work on when the mood next strikes. Maybe I should get out the calendar and schedule that mood, just ot make sure I don't get in another rut.


gaming miniatures

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