Here's a quick "what's been going on" lately.
I broke my first screen on an electronic device a few weeks ago. I use an Amazon Fire 7 Tablet for playing match-3 games and random audio goodness to lull me to sleep. On of those lulls left the Fire in the bed as I flopped around and learned it is not soft and fluffy like the mattress. A slight *snap* and parts of the screen cracked. It's still perfectly usable, except I can't stand a cracked screen. JeffyB knew this and put the Fire 8 on sale 2 days later. The memory card of the Fire 7 (above, right) wasn't recognized by the Fire 8 (above, left) so I'll have to start progressing through my random match-3 games again.
I've also got a perfectly fine Fire 10, but it's a bit too big for 1 hand manipulation, which evidently is a thing for me.
One of the Xmas $5 sales I picked up was a 1 year subscription to Reader's Digest. I used to always read this on visits to my grandparents (the jokes were great bathroom reading). I forget when they stopped getting it - probably 20 years ago - but I always kind of missed it and told myself I should get it. Subscription sale came along, and in supporting turning elderly in the coming months I purchased said subscription. The first issue arrived last week.
I hope it still has Humor In Uniform, it was was my favorite.
Dots and lines with the airbrush at home. Grey dots were the day of my airbrush lesson. Brown dots were after getting more stuff to paint better. Speaking of, I mentioned to Christian I'd tell him about the Quick Connect Coupler with Valve, so if you're reading this, that's what I was talking about! Tweaking the pressure at the airbrush instead of the tank works a lot better for me. And remembering to release the moisture trap, too.
I put together my first plastic model in a decade or 2. The tank I've been mentioning off and on. Making a model as a grown up is a lot different. Sprue cutters and sanding instead of twisting crap off. Taking 2 weeks of leisure time instead of cranking it out in an hour or two. Waiting for glue to to dry before attaching the next piece. Having to use tweezers to place and hold some stuff because my big-man fingers couldn't get the job done.
It's not perfect, but it wasn't meant to be. That's part of why I've got a 2nd copy of the kit. Just to get it over with, I ended up spraying some camo-esque patterns with the airbrush. I'll still go back and pick out some details and weather it, maybe add some battle damage to cover up a big gap in the back. Overall it was a nice re-entry to learning how to make a model.
Let's start off the the second hobby update of the year! By going backwards!
With my net gain of 13 minis painted over the course of 2018 I move forward by updating the spreadsheet by adding 11 minis to the "To Paint" list. I can blame Daniel, as he wished to purchase Mecha Paint from Miniature Market, and I always have wishlist filler for free shipping thresholds.
Last week I took my first airbrush class at Lowe Mill without finding an excuse to put it off or not go! I learned how to take the airbrush apart and put it back together without breaking it. This was what I really wanted to learn. I painted dots, and dots, and lines. Hardly any were what I was trying to paint, but you've got to start somewhere. I did lots of things wrong. I may have done some things intentionally wrong so I could ask questions. In the end, I did a lot of stuff wrong and a couple of things right. Then I came home and practiced. At home I noticed all the stuff I didn't have that was making everything harder than it was during my lesson. A regulator coupler for the airbrush instead of fiddling with the compressor. Light. If I'm doing this at home in the garage, I need better light. And other stuff. Other stuff is always good too.
Stuff was ordered from Amazon. Stuff took a while to arrive, and 1 shipment is stuck in Mesquite, TX for an extra 2 days (so far) for no good reason.
Even though I'm still painting dots and lines on paper, there are now 5 primed minis from Zombicide to practice on. I have zero faith these will be usable in any way. They're for practice.
My painted mini spreadsheet doesn't include everything, so it may be a little misleading. I'm leaving off little, inconsequential scenery and scatter items. WizKids has pre-primed minis, and I'm drawn to their furniture because I think of all this gaming scenery as a glorified doll house! These blister packs have all sorts of little doodads. I've picked up a couple of library sets along with other miscellaneous furniture packs, some of which may be prime "how's this wood color airbrush paint work?" candidates.
This is also the week I'm going to start putting that model tank together. The box has been opened. The plastic bags have been split open and sprues of plastic are ready to have parts clipped and glued! I'm definitely getting my $35 worth out of this tank.
Back during this year's Black Friday shopping (maybe), my Miniature Market order needed a little padding to reach the free shipping threshold so I tossed in the Plast Craft Games Urban Furniture set.
Plast Craft makes a nice little assortment of low-effort scenery. Slightly high density foam with pre-printed graphics along with laser cut wood accents for the buildings that I've gotten so far. Interestingly, for each building I've made I always do something wrong but manage to cover it up well enough. That kept true this time.
Compared to the cover pic, the 2 Bus Stops are mirrored from how they should be. My fountain is a little Pisa inspired. A couple of the wooden pieces on the benches didn't get cut very clean. Way to start off 2019!
None of this is horrible. I added my favorite water feature to the fountain, but I got air bubbles I couldn't completely get rid of. I can touch up the marred wood with some paint here and there and it will end up lookng fine. My real reason for making this my quick one-off project to start off the year is that now I'll force myself to make the 4Ground Playground pieces Keith gave me a year ago. The Potham City Park needs a child friendly area... for the zombies to find snacks?
Upcoming on the hobby front:
- This Sunday I take my first art class in decades as I follow through with "How to use my airbrush". I'll save whatever details there may or may not be until later.
- Next actual hobby project is a 1:48 Tamiya M1A2 Abrams Tank. I'm not sure when the last time I made an actual plastic model was. I picked this up on my trip to HobbyTown last July-ish.
- My map-tile making project has stalled out and I'm going to see why I've lost my gumption there.
It's that time of year to reflect back and plan forward. I like planning forward as having a goal helps to keep me from sitting like a knot on a log. But I shall start with looking back and checking off that reflection part.
This year Russellmania was more of a hobby blog than anything else. It helped hold me accountable for making progress on all the stuff I've accumulated to paint over the years. So how'd I do?
Green rows had more minis painted than I started the year out with; Yellow rows are the inverse; The other rows had no change
118 minis got painted.
105 new minis got bought.
Net gain: 13 minis painted.
That doesn't feel very productive.
The crux of those additions come from the Star Trek Adventures RPG game (52 new minis). A game I'll likely not play, but I do want to paint those minis. Zpocalypse might be a typo along the way, unless there was a good sale somewhere that I forgot about.
This doesn't include any of the scenery I made this past year. Scenery was something I didn't start out tracking so I don't really, at least easily, know how much progress I made there. I did make a lot of stuff, printed out a lot of stuff to go with it, and enjoyed it.
The rest of the 2018 - honestly nothing really stands out. I'm ok with that.
What does 2019 bring?
Hopefully more than a net gain of 13 minis painted. The first thing associated with that is that I'm going to look into taking a mini painting class at Lowe Mill which will force me to finally take the airbrush out of the box! I visited the place last week forthe first time, and think I would be comfortable learning from the folks there. The last time I took any type of art class would have been circa 1980. I'm still enjoying painting minis and scenery, so for now that's still going to be my hobby!
This is also a big year for me in other ways. I've had Russellmania.com registered for 20 years, and a bug chunk of that has been my blogging hither and yon. At one point I had all the old version of the site saved off where I could reach it/them, but to be honest I'm not sure where those burned cds have gotten stashed to. In March I'll turn 50, and although I have no big celebratory plans I'll no longer be able to joke about being old. I'm going to be old. A couple of months after that, I'm scheduled to make my final mortgage payment. Now that is seemingly a big deal. With luck, the house won't fall apart before then.
2019 also brought something I've been expecting for a year and a half. At 7:30 this morning, my wireless router died. Luckily, I had a replacement waiting in the garage since something happened in April 2017 that made me think the then-8 year old router was going to die.
The router ended up lasting a good 9 years. This morning while watching Supergirl on Netflix, the wireless connection went down and all the lights on the router were out. An hour later the new network was up and running. It took and extra hour and a half to get everything that's supposed to use the wireless network re-connected. Smart lights, Echo Dots, tablets - I just have lots of wirelessness. And I just remembered 2 laptops that have to be connected.
That was a good router though.
It's been almost 2 months since showing anything on the hobby front. When I have a bad batch, which although on 1 out of 4 was really bad, it left a bad taste in my mouth for painting figures. The thing is, I wanted to paint some more figures and not vehicles/scenery/etc. The key here - what's something I couldn't screw up? Or at least have a hard time screwing up. Enter the Chronoscope Toolbots.
I have no need for little robots in anything I can see myself playing in the next half decade. Luckily that has no bearing most of the time in picking out what I'm going to paint. After scouring the interweb for some reference pics of how other people have painted these, the majority aren't painted very well. A low bar! That's perfect for the taste that's been in my mouth!
I found a color scheme I liked and decided to emulate at least parts of it. Each bot would be a different color, but little details like collars, visors, and knee joints would be the same color.
Like most of my painting, this batch was wrought with mistakes to cover up. I never do well with bright colors on top of grey primer (so why start that way?). Yellow is always too... streaky? Blue went on too thick. I used 2 shades of green on 2 bots, but they ended up looking the same to me. Metallic gold and silver went on a little thick sometimes, too.
I got to try some things that worked out too. The beveled bases got leveled out with Tamiya Putty, and a decent enough job for concrete-looking floors. The caution pinstripe tape I got at HobbyTown in Kinnesaw worked well on those floors, too. I tried out washes that matched the base colors - that might be why those 2 greens turned out more alike. I dipped into the fluorescent colors for neon green and orange, which I applied with a toothpick and holding it like a miniature pool cue to help steady it.
While not great, I don't think they suck. I used more paint than my normally successful prime + wash + drybrush method.
After a year, I discovered I've been calculating my Percent Complete incorrectly on my little spreadsheet. I've been using my total painted vs remaining unpainted, instead of total painted vs total (unpainted + painted). Just for consistency, the final tally for the year shows the old method while I'll kick off the "right" way with whatever is painted next.
Next time - maybe the Year In Review. Year End Review? 2018 Summary!
As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).
Tags have been added to posts back to 2005. There may be an occasional old blog that gets added to the tag list, but in reality what could be noteworthy from that far back?
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