Can I Support Those Digital Copies?


I've been buying movies for a long time. The first movie I bought, on VHS, was 1989's Batman. In 1997 I started getting DVDs (Starship Trooopers was the disc I bought). Being elderly, I like having a physical copy of a movie. It's come in handy those times when, living in the boonies, my internet decides to take a vacation. Over the past year, I've been purchasing fewer physical movies. The prices don't drop as fast as they used to, and the prices are going up a little bit (about $3 from what the average new release week prices were a few years ago). Stores are carrying fewer and fewer discs. I went into Target this past week and found the DVD section was now 1 aisle. 2 years ago, it was 4 aisles.

I've been watching more streaming video, like everyone else. Amazon Prime and Netflix have become the "stations" that I watch. Movies that I'm traditionally on the fence about purchasing, or waiting for a good sale, often end up streaming on one of these. For the past few years I've had a "wait for a $10 sale" movie list. Amazon's streaming service has managed to put a lot of those movies on my wait list on sale for $10. At that point, why not spend $10 for the digital version and not worry about storing the physical disc?

I've got a lot of dedicated space for those discs. With the living room remodel, an impressively rough estimate of 9'x13' of wall space is now covered in Ikea shelves just to hold those discs. In my quirky way of keeping track of things, with the latest purchases of XMen and Spiderman I now have 2256 DVD titles. That number doesn't include all the extra discs of TV shows. Running a quick query, I've got 506 seasons of shows. Conservatively, if a season fits on 1 disc (and not 7, like season of Star Trek: TNG takes 7 discs) when add on 506 discs to 2256 titles. Granted, that 2256 includes 1 entry per TV show, but I think there are more multi-disc seasons than not so it's still a conservative average. 2756 discs. That definitely takes some room.

As such, I'm trying to embrace purchasing digital/streaming copies and ignore the voice in my head that says "what if the place hosing the movie goes under?" I almost exclusively buy from Amazon which means that shouldn't be a problem. But the voice with the question is still there.

Movie formats change. DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K/UHD. I'm not sure if today's streaming format will be supported in 5 years. I still pop in that 20+ year old Starship Troopers disc on occasion, so it's something I actually worry about. I've gotten screwed twice with apps I enjoyed that were no longer supported due to my device being too old to support the upgrades (stupid 1st gen iPad) or whatever place was hosting the server, and a server was required because it was an app, shut down.

All of that is out of my control. I hardly ever rent a movie because I'm traditionally more apt to watch something I like more than once. It's a $10 purchase vs $3 rental that I gamble on and most likely lose money on in the long run. Maybe this is the time to convince myself to switch to renting more streaming movies instead of purchasing everything outright. Can I make a New Years resolution in November? That sounds like a good one.

movies/tv/dvd random

I Am A: Chaotic Evil Human Wizard (7th Level)


I was cleaning up bookmarks while moving to a new everyday-laptop and came across a still-active link with 100+ questions that would tell me what D&D character I am.

I Am A: Chaotic Evil Human Wizard (7th Level)

Ability Scores:

Chaotic Evil A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him. Chaotic evil is sometimes called demonic because demons are the epitome of chaotic evil. Chaotic evil is the best alignment you can be because combines self-interest and pure freedom. However, chaotic evil can be a dangerous alignment because it represents the destruction not only of beauty and life but also of the order on which beauty and life depend.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus.

Detailed Results:

Lawful Good ----- XXXXX (5)
Neutral Good ---- XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Chaotic Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXX (13)
Lawful Neutral -- XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
True Neutral ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (16)
Chaotic Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (19)

Law & Chaos:
Law ----- XXX (3)
Neutral - XXXXXXXX (8)
Chaos --- XXXXXXXXXXX (11)

Good & Evil:
Good ---- XX (2)
Neutral - XXXXXXXX (8)

Human ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXX (13)
Dwarf ---- XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Elf ------ XXXXXX (6)
Gnome ---- XXXXXXXX (8)
Halfling - XXXX (4)
Half-Elf - XXXXXXXX (8)
Half-Orc - XXXXXX (6)

Barbarian - XXXXXX (6)
Bard ------ XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Cleric ---- XXXX (4)
Druid ----- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Fighter --- XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Monk ------ XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Paladin --- XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Ranger ---- XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Rogue ----- XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Sorcerer -- XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Warlock --- XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)


Bikers & Crows


Pictures with no context. That's what this batch is. There was a sale on an expansion - The Others: 7 Sins - Sons of Ragnarok. Bikers, with some kind of game affiliated backstory that I don't know and will never pay attention to. A box of bikers for around 12 bucks was a good enough deal for me to jump on. The zombie apocalypse could probably use some bikers.

While raiding the bajillion Zombicide minis I've got for use as test subject (more on that farther down) I came across crows. I thought it would be neat to paint some crows so I pulled out a few (there's 4 or 5 per stand). After the fact, painting crows is boring. Black paint is too dark and covers up all the details. Various shades of black/grey with various types of highlights and drybrushing - all boring.

Normally, down here, there would be a painting progress update from the Excel file I keep up with all of this stuff in. Not this time, though. The section of the spreadsheet I clip to show is only on the minis I think I'll make long term progress on, which is roughly ¼ of everything. The minis painted this time fall into that other ¾ that's there, I just don't pay much attention to it. 10 things painted, no stats to show for it.

The next things I'm painting are similar. I'm prepping to paint Star Trek minis, and I have to get the color/shades right. Once you factor in primer color, washes, contrast colors, suggested colors, etc, I'm not 100% sure which direction to head. As such, some of the Zombicide 600+ mini masses are volunteering to be color tests. I'm not planning on any of these that I paint to be saved/usable, I just want a red shirt to be the Mr Scott red shirt that I've seen all my life. Is that too much to ask?

Yes, it probably is.

gaming miniatures hobbies

Do minis have estrogen?


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


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

Blog Archive

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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