Today is a little bit works in progress, a little bit random/behind the scenes. This is what happens when projects get a little carried away and look to take longer than intended.
The hobby project that's turning into a big hobby project has been a trio of MDF houses. There's a 4-house set for Walking Dead of which I picked up 3 during a sale at some point or another. As my theater project got delayed (more on that some other time) I thought I'd just whip out these 3 houses. My method of whipping takes a while.
I've long been hesitant to paint MDF as stories of it drinking up paint are legendary. I've not really experienced it myself, but I've really been limited what I paint. The kits as they come are fairly plain. I went my favored route for home and instead of trying to paint interior walls, I went by Home Depot and picked up paint sample cards for Behr paint. These specific cards are really good for what I need. They're sized to cover most walls. There's a variety of colors. Nobody in Home Depot seems to notice or mind when I grab 4 samples of 10 colors and merrily walk out without buying anything.
I've learned the method that works best for me is to glue the card to the wall and then cut and trim the excess. Before this, I dry-fit everything together (this will come in important on that theater project story for some other time) to make sure I get rooms with the same color. Once the glue dries, excess is trimmed so the walls will fit flush, or as flush as I can make them, with each other and the floor. I tend to get a little overboard with the color choices. My house has tan (Gourmet Mushroom) walls throughout, but here I pick a different color for every room. It's colorful, if nothing else.
Interior window openings have been tricky in the past, with lots of mistakes learned. Just a square opening, thank you square hole punch, doesn't look right. Windows have trim. I tried a couple of craft-stick, fine - square toothpick - frames with 45 ° corners, but my Chopper wasn't making consistent, flush cuts. Being lazy, I opted for and old fashioned square frame with longer top and bottom, and the sides are trimmed to fit between. With transparency film cut to fit the window and glued in before the paint card, it all makes for a decent window.
With the walls dry-fit into the base, I went ahead and glued all the walls together with some wood glue and let it all set for a day. Now it's ready for the next step. Ah, the next step. What is the next step? Notice the lack of doors? Part of not gluing walls to the base is so the doors can still be added - and this time I took extra care to make sure the holes for the door hing/axis are on the correct sides. I learn from my mistakes! Sometimes. The outer doors have openings for windows, so I'll likely go the transparency film + toothpick frame route for those. The interior doors are very plain. I'm currently planning on printing out some door textures and gluing them on. Door textures may not be the proper term. There's some nice pics of interior doors on the Home Depot website that I'll likely be cropping and printing. I use Home Depot a lot for this stuff. Maybe I can get a sponsorship?
There's some other little details I'm going to print out and see how they look, but I'll save further explanation until we see if it's worth it. The one part I will mention is how the floors of these 3 houses work horribly for house floors. While I'm tempted to just print out floors, which is Plan B, I'm going to see how 1mm felt works as a carpet replacement. That's crazy, you say. Home Depot doesn't have 1mm felt! That's true. Hobby Lobby has felt!
Seeing as it took the better part of 2 weeks to get walls covered in color and glued, I'm not really sure how long to expect this next phase to take.
Segueing from Home Depot, it's clearance time of year. While I always drop in for coupon usage on Tamiya Primer I'll also wander the aisles looking for anything with a red sticker that I might one day use. This year that included some Brier Patch flock and a couple of water effects. I've yet to do much with water effects but if I keep watching Luke Towan I'm going to try something or other before long. I picked up some random odds and ends while roaming the aisles, too. I was starting to run out of the Sand & Mud pigment that I use, so instead of using my coupon on primer I picked up pigment. I also picked up a couple of random packs of wood pieces, because sometimes I just need random wood pieces.
After watching way too many videos on the pros and cons of contrast paints I decided to pick some up. Most people talk about how these paints work well for painting lots of minis quickly, although the colors tend to come out flat and in pastels. The thing I noticed is that these paints seem to work well with skin tones and fabric. I paint a lot of skin tones and fabric! Contrast paints are described as a thick wash. I like to paint with a wash!
I made a list of the colors I would be most likely to use and headed out to The Deep to get what I could. They had 7 colors in stock. 5 of them were colors I wanted, so I picked them up. From there I went to the Warhammer Store, and discovered they were closed on Tuesdays. Luckily, Adam at work mentioned a Warhammer sale of some type at JCs House of Cards. I thought they were mainly a Magic The Gathering & card games of that ilk shop. Facebook listed Warhammer in their stock, so I took advantage of social media and asked if they carried/had in stock any contrast paint. They replied "yes, we have them all". That afternoon, I saw they did indeed have them all. And then I may have left with too many. But they had them all!
I'm going to practice with these on some Zombicide minis that will never see the light of day, just to get a feel for how they work.
With all the Walking Dead minis I've gotten over the past couple of years, I've been racking up Mantic Points/Proof of Purchase. The Mantic web store had some more things in stock, so I finally got my points together and placed an order. I needed 40 pts, which I managed to get together - I had to raid a couple of not-yet-opened boosters. I'm not sure I've ever mailed anything to England, but I visited my local USPS to ensure I had everything packed, addressed, and properly paid. Sometime in the next 3 weeks they should receive my points. Hopefully in the ensuing 3 weeks I'll get my point paid booty.
Another batch of Walking Dead minis. This time, 3-mini boosters opened up were:
There was nothing exceptional about this batch one way or the other. After painting Riot Gear Michonne in the last batch, I thought I'd go ahead and wrap up the other minis that were in riot gear as they are 95% Dark Grey with a Blue Wash. The only "can I do better" attempts were to use grey (t-shirts and a cap) and, finally, a pair of white-ish sneakers. Flesh tones turned out ok. Bleed over of colors thanks to errant brush stokes was about average. Overall, everything was ok. And that's... ok.
Since the last post, the delivery from the last Miniature Market sale came in. 9 minis got painted, 7 new ones were in the order. Net gain of +2 painted. I need to go double check the math in the spreadsheet. There were no new Walking Dead minis in the order, yet paining 9 Walking Dead minis only reduced the Walking Dead To Paint entry by 6. For something I do for fun, this spreadsheet keeps popping up to be a pain in my tuckus.
There will be a painting break for a little while. I'm going to concentrate on (A) putting together the new and improved map tiles, and (B) at least START on the movie theater that I'm overly ambitious about adding a 2nd floor/balcony. The theater is more of a long term project as it involves my first attempt at creating 3D models to print. They're simple 3D models, but who knows how first attempts will turn out?
This batch of minis came from the Fear the Hunters and Michonne Prison expansions from the Walking Dead game, plus a puppy.
I'll start out with the puppy. Reaper, for one of their fantasy lines, has a giant dog called a War Dog. As part of my "I need to work on my animal painting skills" unknown effort, I picked up said puppy because bigger dogs are easier to paint than smaller dogs. Granted, I likely won't have a lot of use for a giant medieval fantasy dog in the midst of the zombie apocalypse I keep painting toward, but when have I ever let that hinder me?
Tom, from the Michonne booster, started out as my focused, make this look better than the rest mini. The reference pic I was using made him look real similar to The Rock. That sounded fun! The first thing I did was lay down a dark flesh basecoat that would have made for a perfect American Indian. Normally this would leave Tom as an Indian. Instead I persevered to get back to Rock flesh. He ended up a little more brown than I intended, but as a fix for what I started out with I was proud of myself.
This batch had a #2 Pretty Good mini in David, who sports a fairly nice automatic machine gun of some type. Instead of trying to use whatever color was on my brush on all the figures applicable, I focused more on painting from the "inside" of the mini out (skin, shirt on top of the skin, skin of hand on top of the shirt). There was less primer and splotchy painting this way (finally!). Yellow and Red, my bane colors, worked better by mixing with Vallejo Glaze Medium. Thing for me to remember - glaze bright colors! See if it works next time, too.
+2% progress on the Realistic list!
The "To Do" side of the sheet will grow in the next week thanks to a Miniature Market sale.
Since the last batch of Walking Dead turned out pretty well, I decided to try the same route on another batch. 9 more primed, mainly 5 from the Made To Suffer expansion which WAS NOT ON MY PROGRESS SPREADSHEET. For someone who prides himself on organizational skills, that spreadsheet has been my bane.
I strayed from keeping to reference pics this time. This is obvious when looking at Bruce, who I neglected to make black. Besides not noticing, I still have a problem with those brown skin tones so I don't feel too guilty. In trying to up my painting game after becoming a little more confident with my "eyes looking close to the same direction" technique, I tried to give everyone eyebrows. Face detail, that's what I'm working on. Mixed results on that front.
Martinez, with the headband, was my hero to focus on this time and he turned out well. There was an errant dab of paint on his elbow when I was touching up something - I have no idea what. Instead of trying to get the skin tone to match back up, that dab turned into a recent wound with some extra blood laced scratches around it. I'm all about covering up mistakes with grime and gore, after all.
Dr Stevens was the one that turned out better than I expected. I tried to keep his coat Primer White, and mostly did, although one of the final steps on him was to apply an off-white drycoat to cover up some bleeding from other colors. Plus, the stark whiteness of the primer was a little too much.
It's never until I take pictures and look at the details that I see just how much better most people's painted minis look. If nothing else it shows that I'm looking at the right people to learn from.
A while back I posted a few pics of the 4Ground Tobacconists Shop that I wasn't very happy with. Nothing wrong with the kit, I just did a horrible job on it. This bothered my subconscious enough to ponder what to do, and after nigh on 2 months I have an improvement I'm not as disappointed in. The shop is now a semi-derelict building for lease. It even has graffiti (applied via clear mailing stickers). It's still not something I'm proud of, but now I'm not ashamed of it.
Over on the progress spreadsheet, taking into account that 5 of the minis from the expansion weren't present previously, there was another gain of 1% on the Realistic list. 251 painted minis, and 345 total. Mostly for the fun of painting. Why let games get in the way?
Next up - continuing progress on the Walking Dead minis, the Fear The Hunters expansion is up for priming. There's 5 minis in the expansion, so that leaves some room to see what else catches my eye to reach the target of 9 things to prime.
When I was (playing around and) making Zombie Mall - at least 7 years ago - the part I had the most fun with was making map tiles. One of the things I've been putting off for my generic gaming scenery/Walking Dead game has been re-sizing the map tiles I've used in the past. While they've worked well, the 7½" size they magically started at is not expanding well as my scenery wants grow.
Instead of just resizing the tiles to 6", this was an opportunity to make them better. The road sections from a Fat Dragon Games paper scenery kit worked well in the beginning, and I was used to the look of their road. The sidewalk was another feature I was used to, and wanted to keep it. Resizing the sidewalk to what was appropriate wasn't much of a problem. The grass... the grass I wanted to make better.
Back in Paint Shop Pro (best $100 I forced Jerry to pitch in on in 2001 - yes, I hit "about" in PSP to double check) I used some various grass texture I'd purchased at some point through DriveThruRPG and added some layers, opacity, magic, and a tweaked eraser tool to limit straight lines. After a couple of false starts I ended up with a curved road that look improved over the previous curved road. SUCCESS!!!
Although with a road you would normally thing Straight, Curve, T & X Intersections, I was planning ahead for different parking lot entrances. I'm still sticking to 2-lane roads, but now I've added in a 1-lane parking lot entrance on the right, a 2-lane entrance on the left, and while I'm at it let's see how many of those combinations I can mix up. A how about a variant with a curved sidewalk at a corner instead of a hard right angle? This led to 10 variations of parking lot entrances. With the original, basic road sections, there would be 19 types of map tile after factoring in bordered by sidewalk and bordered by grass.
With smaller map tiles, I would need more for those occasions I wanted to cover up table. Generally I think of the max playing area I might use as 4"x4". With the bigger tiles, 5x5 was the max I could fit. At 6" square, I could now use 8x8. 64 tiles to cover the table. As I thought about it, a little more variation in those tiles would help. Potholes, trash, road patches. That would make a 8-section road more interesting! And that's what happened.
Thanks to the original layered PDFs these roads came on, potholes, trash, and road patches were available. New variants for each of those 3 were copied and the new layer (of crap) added in. 19 types of map tile grew to 76. Actually 79, as there was a full tile of sidewalk, grass, and pavement that never got the extra clutter treatment. 79 map tiles sound like a lot more than 19. My plan was to print around 250 map tiles to make sure I had enough combinations of road, sidewalk, and grass so I could put together whatever layout I might want. 250 map tiles doesn't care if it comes from 19 files or 79 files once you get down to cutting and gluing.
Cutting and gluing is later. Now that I've got all of these files made, saved, and converted to a printer friendly format, it's time to print. There's multiples of each file to print. I made a list to help make sure I get at least the minimum of some of these printed out. Printing is step 2 (step 1 was graphicing the mess UP!). There's not a lot of viewable detail in the thumbnails below, but I was due a blog update of some type and this helps me feel like I'm making some hobby progress since the last post.
After printing, these will be cut and glued to 6"x6" cake boards, with the "sidewalk" copy on 1 side and the matching "grass" copy on the other. For the overly-happy-with-exits versions, the square and curved versions will be on opposite sides. With the fun I have on cutting (and gluing) straight lines, that part will be the time sink.
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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