Do minis have estrogen?

10.09.2019

This batch is tagged "CleavageFest 2019" since Daniel pointed out "that's a lot of cleavage". 3 of them have no cleavage at all.

Yet again I've managed a "all but 1 from Reaper Chronoscope" batch. This time I was going to focus more on taking care of finer details (ie don't rush through whatever paint color is on the brush) and play around a little with the bases. If ever my theme of "finding minis to paint regardless of ever using them in a game" was present, I'm pretty sure it's here.

My focus on this batch was going to be "doing better". I think my skill level is up to mediocre, where on average my minis look fine from about 4 ft away. Now to challenge myself to raise my skill to where they look fine from 3 feet away. The first thing that's going to help with that is Glam Hobby h6902B Head Mount Magnifier with LED Head Light Bracket and Headband, 5 Replaceable and Interchangeable Lenses: 1.0X, 1.5X, 2.0X, 2.5X, 3.5X. That's what's it called - I've just been calling them magnifying glasses. I've tried various magnifying helpers in the past and none have worked for me until this pair (set?). I've stuck in the 3.5x lenses and I can see a lot better when holding things up close to paint. They fit just right for me where I can shift my view above/below the lenses and see that I need to (paint, water to splash the brush in). I'm honestly amazed at all the spots I can see where I've been missing the first coat of paint along with those spots that could really use a 3rd coat of paint. And I can finally see where to put those black dots for eyes!!!! Holding my hand steady enough for that is a whole 'nother story.

Technique-wise, I used mostly Citadel Contrast paints and various washes that I normally stick to. I found, to my chagrin, that I tend to have the best luck using a Citadel brush for detail work - I may end up getting a couple more of various types just to see if I found a magical brush or if their line is just better suited to me. I used some Secret Weapon bases for a few of these minis. "Not on cracked earth" bases are the ones to keep an eye out. For the cracked earth, instead of glopping it on after the mini was painted I opted to try out adding it in before priming. Oh, and water effects. I do so love adding water to stuff, so I tried filling in some gaps on bases with water and I like the way it ended up. There's 1 leaky pipe, with rust.

The true test mini of the batch was the anime-styled Takoashi University Study Hall. This was especially true once I noticed half an arm was missing. Weird, Joker-inspired color scheme on the clothes so I could test out washes + contrast paint overlaying differently. I wondered if I could make "sand" with the base - sand doesn't crack so "kinda" would be the answer there. Still keeping with playing with water, I went for a gentle wave settling on the beach - and got another "kinda". Even though this mini will likely never again see the light of day, I consider it a testing success as I tried some things out and didn't completely hose it over to the point I'm ashamed.

Along with "doing better", looking at endless pictures on gridded cutting mats is boring. As I thoroughly enjoy Christian's pics I thought it about time to change up my background. I've got plenty of stuff to use as background. Enter an Infinity building that I'm pretty sure I purchased on Black Friday 2015, and then managed to paint at some point in the last 2 years.

Continuing on the progress chart:
- Painted 294 to 303 (+2%)
- Reaper Chronoscope Painted 103 to 111
- Ninja Division 100% complete (all 2 of them)!

Next up to be primed is a batch that won't make the above progress chart. Miniature Market had a sale on a biker game expansion from a game I'd never heard of. The minis looked cool so I got them. Now, instead of letting them be forgotten on a shelf for a couple of years, Last In First Out rules come into play. Until next time (maybe a week or so)!


gaming miniatures hobbies reaper chronoscape

Hasslefree Tony Represents

09.28.2019

Now for the "after knocking the rust off the paint brush on the previous batch, how'm I doing" batch of minis. Or "I'm enjoying vacation."

After some previously painted duplicates in the last batch, this batch of Reaper Chronoscope (plus a Hasslefree sculpt) minis was still an eclectic assortment that would never make sense in the same game, yet would give me a good mix of easy + test out my skills.

I mentioned last time about Reaper plastic sculpts not only not needing primer, but not working well with most primers. I didn't read that little tidbit of information until after I had already primed this batch. Normally I use white Fine Detail Tamiya primer. On Reaper plastic this primer covers with a gloss, pools into too many details, and the gloss keeps the follow up paint from sticking like I'm used to. In this batch, Agatha Fox was primed white and looks like crap. The Physician was also primed white, but turned out a little better - maybe because I mainly stuck to using Citadel Contrast browns? I went the some route with John Watson, a metal figure, and the results look about the same. Maybe it's got something to do with how small the Agatha Fox mini is? The Innkeeper got grey primer which seemed to work out ok.

The bases on these plastic sculpts is a little annoying. The base is part of the sculpt, and looks like it should be a pile of dirt/rocks/uneven ground. For some extra stability I glue these on cheap, plastic 1" poker chips which also gives me a little more base to work with when it comes time to finish off the mini. I didn't know what to do with the Innkeeper - he's cleaning a glass, so he shouldn't be outside in the grass or standing in mud.

This batch also gave me a chance to play around some. I tried to get something besides "white guy" skin on the sumo. I didn't mean to go to Trump Orange, but I knew from previous experience that once my skin tones skew to oranges it's not going to get any better. I tried a little more Not White Guy on the Innkeeper and the Psychologist. I'm not sure how much they'll count as Black Guys....

Borris & Sasha got my post-apocalyptic juices flowing - leather and metallic what-not! Lobo Sanchez was my surprise favorite. I found a reference pic where people were doing really good jobs on patterns on the blanket draped over his shoulder. Had I planned out a pattern it might have ended up better, but eyeballing what was working AND not working, it turned out better than I expected.

Over on the painting progress chart:
- Painted 281 to 294 (+1%)
- Reaper Chronoscope Painted 98 to 103
- Reaper Savage Worlds Painted 7 to 14 (a couple of old painted minis got skipped on the updates in the spreadsheet)
- Hasslefree finally has 1 painted!!!!

After painting nothing for almost 3 months, I get busy during a weeks vacation and finish 19 minis, with another 9 primed - and I doubt I'll finish them before going back to work on Monday. While these 2 batches weren't perfect, they weren't overly frustrating. They were just the amount of fun they needed to be!

The next batch, already primed, is all Chronoscope, all metal, all female. I picked up a pair of magnifier glasses that I'm going to try out and see if they help with seeing all these details I notice I'm missing after the fact. I haven't had much luck with magnifying glasses in the past, but these were recommended by multiple people in some Facebook group posts. We shall see how it goes.


gaming miniatures Hasslefree hobbies reaper chronoscape

9 Minis, and the Start of Some Contrast Paint

09.26.2019

After inadvertently taking the summer off, I finally picked up a brush and painted some minis! I took the opportunity to take a week off from work and decided that would take a staycation and do lots of little things around the house that I've been putting off, yet wanting to do. At the top of the list: Paint Some Minis!

I knew there would be a little rust on my techniques, so I grabbed some random Reaper Chronoscope "ehhh, I think I may have already painted a copy of this". Nothing special about this batch, save a couple were plastic instead of metal. From the Reaper website:

I've mentioned the Reaper plastic minis because I learned something much, much after the fact (so far after the fact that I've almost completed the next batch of painting where I could have really used this tidbit of information). Reaper plastic minis do not have to be primed. In fact, they don't like to be primed. I now know why my primed plastic Reaper minis are ungodly shiny, and the primer doesn't hold paint like it should. IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO.

Beyond that, this was a nice batch to get back into painting with. No color guides to hold true to. Nothing I could really do "wrong". This was my first use of Citadel Contrast Paints - and I'm still figuring them out. While I've managed to get a really good technique of painting 90% of a mini with washes, that same technique doesn't work with contrast paints. Not yet, at least.

Something I learned which I don't want to admit is that I tend to do better detail work with the Citadel Detail brush. I've tried cheap brushes, over priced brushes, and way overpriced brushes, but never really given Citadel brushes a chance. After painting the mostly-red varsity jacket (red paint is hard for me to work with) and the Christmas-flavored Baron LaCroix, I've got to say I like that Citadel brush. I'm not even sure when or where I got it, but I might have to pick up another.

Nothing really noteworthy stood out with this batch. I half-assed it on the bases while trying for something different. I don't really like what this different turned out to be. But that's ok - I know not to try this again.

It's been long enough that it's time to introduce a couple of new tweaks to the paint progress spreadsheet. The rows are reorganized to just show what I might actually work ok. The real spreadsheet still has it all, but no need to keep copying 20 rows that never change. For fun, I added a % Done for each category. Once again the base numbers changed a little - this is really a set of 3 and not 1 mini, oops. This also skewed the numbers on some previously painted minis. Overall an increase from 37%(269) painted to 39%(281) painted.

I really need to make some type of "progress over time" chart to show progress at a glance.

I mentioned another batch almost finished, so another update should be happening in the next couple of days - base, flock, and sealant drying takes 1/2 the time. And I might have another batch teetering on the brink of priming after that.


gaming miniatures hobbies reaper chronoscape

House Trio Wrap Up

09.24.2019

After mentioning it 2½ months ago I'm finally done with the trio of Woodbury houses that I started. Not finished, but done. This turned into a nice little exercise of (1) finding out what my creative limits that I can actually accomplish are, (2) it's completely possible to bit off more than I can chew, yet still grind away at that gristle to where I can swallow, and (3) admit that I can be tired of looking at a project to the point of saying "ehhh good enough" and store it away to (maybe) finish tweaking some other time.

I may repeat myself from an earlier post, but most of a calendar season has passed.

Once I started working on 3 of the 4 Woodbury houses that I had picked up during a good sale, I decided the basic kits were too plain. I went my tried route of using paint sample cards from Home Depot to use as glorified wallpaper and thus not worry about actually painting the silly things. Except I still end up painting the outside of the houses. I tested out some new things on the first house: 1mm felt (from Hobby Lobby) actually works as carpet! The clearance on the doors has to be tweaked a little, but it works. I made ample use of the printer and Home Depot, adding shutters, blinds, air vents, light switches, and electrical outlets.

By that point, I was tired of looking at the house. That was only 1 house. There were 2 more houses left.

In addition, I didn't like the cardboard roofs that came with 2 of the houses. The roofs reminded me of fast food/convenience stores. I'll try my hand at making roofs! A combo of foam core for support and cardstock for the actual roof. I was going with cardstock instead of all-foamcore because the MDF top of the buildings had a small lip everything had to fit withing, and I don't trust the exactness of my cutting skills. This turned into an omen, as everything fit. Fit, but only by the barest of definitions.

In the end, I've got 3 more houses done enough to fit into the modern/zombie apocalypse landscape. Like the Tobacconists shop I'll probably come back later, when I'm not sick of looking at these houses, and add some features and quirks. It's easy to tell I just gave up on the other 2 houses and was ready to be done with it all. Next I'm going to do something not building-related. Some figures, that's it! I have to see how much mini-painting I've forgotten.


gaming miniatures hobbies walking dead

Remodeling Complete

09.10.2019

Previously I mentioned some remodeling on the house. After the contractor-required phase it was time for me to wrap things up. This mainly involved new shelves from Ikea, which made a quick appearance an that previous update. The Kallax shelves from Ikea are popular among the snooty boardgaming clique of the world, as the 13" cubes are perfect for most Eurogame boxes. I'm all about hiding clutter, and the doors I've seen with these shelves would serve such a function as well as give a properly snooty look to the living room. As I was replacing the cabinets that stored my DVDs, and I have a good number of DVDs, I needed a lot of Kallax shelves. These things are supposed to be stackable. I hope they're stackable. I was going to stack them.

I stacked them 102" high.

I stacked them 7 rows high.

I really hope these things are stackable. They're damn impressive when stacked, I'll tell you that.

Once all the shelving units and doors were put together, I can claim to have somewhere over 1400 lbs of Kallax shelves in the living room. That include 86 doors. Each of those doors has 7 screws. I know this, 5 days after installing the last (8) doors, because it took a week to get all of those doors installed. Almost half got installed over a weekend - with a lot of Walking Dead + a couple of movies playing on that spiffy 75" TV on the wall. I had built in breaks, because for every hour and half of using my rechargeable screwdriver, it would need 2-3 hours of charging time.

Some shuffling between shelf/cubes was factored in, as DVDs had to be relocated a couple of times. The doors included an insert that gave each open cube a back, thus helping in crap falling behind the shelf. DVDs made their way to random cubes when vacating the previous cabinet homes (which are now out back in the storage shed). After all the doors were finally installed, I went back and grouped the DVDs in their proper alphabetical-ish order. I even managed to have 4 empty cubes, and that's with relocating the binders of TV shows from the cabinet in the bedroom to the top (nigh unreachable) top shelf.

The doors are installed. They're not all straight, but that's for a time when my Feng Shui OCD kicks in. It's sure not now, I can tell you that.

Now that everything is together and where it should be, things should settle back to closer to normal. I've still got to finish up those houses I was working on (they need roofs). I haven't painted anything in a little over 2 months. I miss it!


renovation/remodelling

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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!).

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