After the printing frenzy from last month, I would have thought I would have been productive and have something to show on here. But nope, nada.
That's not to say I've been doing nothing, it's just for the things I've been doing I've nothing to show. Hence, it was time for a traditional "not dead" post.
My big hobby projects have large "I need to do stuff on the computer" components. For the 4Ground Mall, I've got to scrounge, resize, and print graphics. More importantly, I've got and idea for switchable store-front signs that involves not just the 3D printer, but making the model for the 3D printer. Even with my years and years of playing around with Poser and some intro training to 3D Max when I started working at Westar, I still don't know how to make a 3D/Printable model. Thanks to a recent sale, I found a starting from scratch tutorial series that I thought I would give a try - and so far I'm enjoying it. There are plenty of free tutorials out there, but I like the way Vladimir teaches. Halfway through the course and I'm not lost yet.
I'm taking the Old Man approach to these lessons, which is something I found worked well for me when I was trying to learn Unity programming. Although it would be fairly easy to binge and run through all the lessons, that only teaches me to parrot what I see and not understand why I'm doing things - and more importantly why NOT to do some things. With the Unity tutorials, I would watch a video - not follow along and write code, not skip the parts I thought I already knew - and then after watching I would replay the video and follow along writing code (or whatever I needed to do), trying to use the video more as a reference to see how well things soaked in. It worked well - in later videos the instructor might make a mistake and I would pick up on it before he corrected it better than half the time. And here's the important part of my approach - I only watch/attempt 1 lesson/day. At some point I read about trying to learn too much at once, and how the brain and subconscious needs time to sort and absorb what you take in. It sounded like New Age hullabaloo, but I've found since then that I retain better using this approach. It takes a little longer, but I'm in no real hurry.
Slow tutorial learning - that's been the crux of the past month. Add in cold weather is still keeping me from doing anything with the printer in the garage, and the big things I had lined up to do just have nothing to show. While I've still got a batch of minis primed, I've not thought about painting anything. Not sure if that's good or bad. Maybe I'll pull out the paint this weekend and see how my skills have dulled?
2020 is the year Jer and I play Gaslands. Attempt to play Gaslands. Play with Hot Wheels and say we're getting ready to play Gaslands.
This past week, I fired up the "new" 3D printer and printed bites and pieces for Hot Wheels cars. I haven't done anything with the printer beyond the standard set-it-up print after I first got it. I've been watching more and more people use resin printers, which gets me wondering how the old fashioned printer will fare on small, Hot Wheels sized, details.
After copious Gaslands searches on Thingiverse and Yeggi, I had plenty of bits. Armor, guns, some rally/checkpoints. For the better part of a week the printer printed. And then I messed things up. When scraping prints off the bed, the bed scoots. My natural grabbing point for a scooting bed is the front leveling knob(s). Eventually, I unleveled the bed enough that prints started messing up. Possible associated, the garage got colder and my print settings weren't warm enough so that the plastic was cooling too fast - so I got some printed strings of plastic.
Overall, I think all of the printing worked out. The details seems good enough to work. We'll see how I feel after some priming and painting. I'm also going to try an easier route of painting/weathering Hot Wheels which doesn't involve drilling out the rivets to take the cars apart after reading an article on just weathering the cars. Weathering attempt #1 I hereby proclaim a success!
For when the painting mood hits me, the final Foundry minis are primed. They're primed grey, which is not my normal priming color. It will be interesting to see how that works out.
Whatever I do next will be somewhat weather dependent. Alabama is about to have winter for the next week or so as it gets down to freezing. Basically, nothing involving the garage will get done. While printing is the most obvious hold off, gluing map tiles (which is always on my to-do list) will also be held off. Mall buildings have yet to be started, so they're an option. As is playing around with the graphics of whatever I'll put in those stores.
Thanks to a Miniature Market sale, I ordered some more DC/Batman minis with which there will be a (negative) update to the spreadsheet to start out the year. As I have a love for racing games, I also placed an order for Rallyman GT, but not the Kickstarter version, last week.
My last odd purchase of late has been for a lot of Classic GI Joe TPBs which I used to have, but think I gave them away at some point in the past decade or so when it looked like IDW was going to reprint them all in hardback books. The Joe comics were my childhood, and I've been meaning to re-read (and even read some for the first time) for while. I've grown disenfranchised with modern comic stories as I can't find anything I like where I fall in the target audience. Now I'll see if I can relate to when I used to be the target audience.
2020, the start of a new year, the chance to get shit done anew, and the chance to dwell on what I didn't get done last year. Well, not dwell too much. My joy of hobby organization and progress is the spreadsheet I've been maintaining for the past couple of years. My pseudo bane is how the details of what I've been tracking kept popping up as incorrect every couple of months. I halfway joke that I've got so much to paint and build I'm not going to get it all done before I die. The truth is I've accumulated more stuff over the years that I'm not interested in doing anything with, and don't really want to do anything with it in the foreseeable future. With that, the 2020 Hobby Project list has gotten pared down to what I want to work on, conceivably, over the next year or two. Maybe three or four.
I spent a weekend and looked at what I've been working on, what I think I will continue to work on, and the things I'd like to work on. From there I tweaked a copy of my hobby spreadsheet to include only those things, and then I double checked the count (my bane) on those things. Now, I've got a list I can trust!
The new 2020 tracking list! Walking Dead, Knight Models, and Star Trek are still on the list. Most other things have gotten combined. The Reaper count is now Chronoscope + the other lines I get random assortments of. One Offs is for the brands that may not go with a game, or I get 2 minis from some company.
This is to be my year to focus more on buildings and scenery. Normally I've been tracking this stuff half-assed by manufacturer, as I was doing minis. Once again, I decided to combine into meaningful categories. Buildings, Vehicles, and Clutter. While Clutter can be almost anything, I've bought some packs of clutter over the years and found out I'd forgotten I even had about half of them. A lot of the clutter goes along with buildings - there's a pack of bank accessories for the TT Combat library that I was planning on turning into a bank.
The last 2 things listed are mainly so I don't forget that they're there. My project in converting my 7½" map tiles to 6" map tiles keeps stalling out - because I forget to do it. The same goes with plastic models. I've been picking up models I think would be fun to make over the past couple of years. I've made 1 - a tank - shortly after I got my airbrush last year. I used to crank out a model in a couple of hours when I was 10. While I don't have to speed build, don't leave stuff in a closet in the shrink wrap for years at a time!
For fun, here's how some of the worksheets are laid out.
Subset of the building list:
Foundry minis, mainly showing because the last batch to complete these is primed:
Subset (I think) of the One Offs, formerly a bunch of worksheets with a few entries on each:
Most of what's left on the various Reaper lines. There's a couple minis that are pretty well dedicated to being technique/color tests that will never get finished:
Remainder of Walking Dead boosters:
My big project for the year is the 4Ground Mall. Between 2 sales I acquired enough mall-stuff to build a 2 foot long mall with 2 stories. The bundle 4Ground sells for the mall creates a 1 foot, single story mall. I'm ambitious, it appears. More than half the fun is going to be branding the stores. Instead of printing out and gluing in the graphics that 4Ground provides, I'll scour the internet looking for a Chess King sign to replicate.
Since this, all of this, is for fun and not supposed to be a chore, I whipped up a fun little blueprint for the mall as an alternate way to track what I build along the way. Additionally, I had to go over measurements for what the 2nd floor needed as support just to make sure I'd gotten the right kits to make.
There's other things on my "fun in free time" list. Jerry and I are using Gaslands Refueled as an excuse to play & pimp Hot Wheels cars. I finally played a video game besides GTA and enjoyed it. I have plenty of video games through Steam I've never played, many of which I attribute to a steep learning curve. I've invested enough in base game + dlc that it's time I finally commit to conquering that curve on Arma 3 and Cities: Skylines. A good FPS and another Sim City replacement.
There's other things on my plate for fun, but those are the biggies I've mapped out for the year. Or four.
Starting off the new year with the last things I painted in the last year. The first is the 2nd Walking Dead web exclusive Abraham that I received. 2nd because Elvis at Mantic didn't have the stats cards in stock when I originally ordered everything, and I told him to go ahead and send the model and, at his suggestion, they could ship the card later. They did indeed ship the card later - with the mini. I bet it's easier to just keep everything together, but it's still nice to think I got a little bonus.
The other things painted were Sara's Xmas present to me for this year. Last year she gave me a cross-stich of Tyler, her, and me. That combo we have affectionately referred to as Team TSR, no copyright lawsuits yet, for the past couple of years. Sara is all about Christmas. She was excited months ago when she "found the perfect gift". I'm impossible to gifts for. I loved the cross-stitch from last year because it came from the heart. I really doubted she could outdo that one.
Well, she did. There was a small box upon my desk. When I opened it, it was from Hero Forge. 3 minis from Hero Forge. Tyler. Sara. Me (sans glasses - I mean, come on!).
Hero Forge's print quality has gone up since they first came on the scene, and especially considering what I'm used to with my home printer. There were good details in these prints! The challenge for me was going to be painting them up as people I knew, and people that would see themselves. Yeah. No pressure.
The suited Tyler mini was ripe for a Christmas Suit. Tyler got such a suit last year and always talks about how comfortable it is, especially for a $20 suit. Since Sara, lover of Christmas, camps out in front of Hallmark movies for the silly season, she would get appropriate sweatshirt. And for me... well I would wing it.
Primer was primed. Paint was painted, and touched up, and painted. Tyler and I got grey highlights in our hair. Facial hair was drawn on. Clothes became Chrstimasized with decals.
And that's where things screwed up. I have the worse luck with clear decals. Decals which are mostly red and green, laying on top of Tyler's green paint and Sara's red paint. Well.... hell. That's the best way to sum it up. Tyler ended up with more of a camouflaged suit then Xmas suit. While I knew the text would be too small to read for Sara's shirt, all you really notice is a black smudge from the back of the truck & tree. I couldn't think of a way to salvage this save for pulling off the decals. I added the decals after sealing the minis, so the paint should have been fine, but I didn't trust it. And I really didn't want to paint everything over - I wasn't sure I could do that well again.
But there we have the last batch of 2019. Not as good as I'd hoped, but overall about in the middle of the quality that I expect.
The progress list.
It's time for me to go back and do a proper inventory of what I've got left to paint. While updating the spreadsheet for this painted batch, I notices I had more unopened Walking Dead boosters than I thought there should be. There were 2 that weren't included in the spreadsheet. Those 2 give me 6 more minis to paint. On my overall progress, the 4 minis I painted increased the total count by 6.
As such, one of my New Years Resolutions is to get organized. I love me some organization! Really. No sarcasm there at all.
I also have projects for 2020. That's going to be the next blog post, as the projects fall into the organization aspect.
Part 2 of Primer Gone Wrong has the web exclusive pack from the Mantic web store - Lee & Clementine from the Walking Dead Telltale game (series?). This booster was originally a convention exclusive, but sometimes it shows up in the Mantic web store as a chance to redeem all those (proof of purchase) points I've been racking up by getting all the boosters. I originally bought this from a guy in the UK via one of the gaming Facebook groups, but the package never made it to me. Adding up the cost of lost packages, price of all the boosters to get the needed points to qualify for purchase, and whatever else was needed for the purchase - I can't remember now if this was points-only or points-plus-fee - this has turned into an expensive set.
An expensive set that I hosed down with runny primer.
This was my chance to concentrate on 2 figures, 3 if you count a zombie with an animal I didn't recognize at first. Lee and Clem have a pretty standard color scheme thanks to the video game. Blues for Lee, pinks for Clem. Red hues don't normally cover well for me, so this would be a good test. One thing I've started to do while painting is going back and touching up errant smears, usually by (re)painting white. And then I smear the white, so I go back over it with the color I was trying to apply. And of course I smear that, so back with a line of white. Eventually I decide something is good enough. Clem's backpack was the example of this exercise this time. Most of Clem got repeated paint applications. In the end, there's no telling how many times I equivalently painted that one.
With Lee, I tried a customized brown for his skin. It was a half-accident. I had 2 shades of brown on my pallet and a section of each streamed into a mix. Wondering what the worse that could happen might be, I mixed them properly and had a pleasant surprise as to how well it worked. Lee's supposed to have a Fire Axe. Given that I was fighting my "cover with reds" on Clem, I didn't want to wage that battle on another front, so Lee got an old fashioned regular-metal axe.
The poor, forgotten zombie was chowing down on a deer. When I first looked at it, I didn't see a deer. I saw a boar/pig. Pigs have bright pink flesh, so that was the first coat on the poor animal. It wasn't until the flesh coat was completely on that I saw how it didn't look right. Nope, not a pig. It's a deer. I suck at painting animals! How am I supposed to salvage a deer from a pig? About 4 shades of brown of varying thickness will cover up that I have no idea what I'm doing. Also, I was applying the 2nd shade before I noticed the deer-was-pig had a stub of leg resting on top of the zombie leg. That wasn't a piece of the zombie!
Deer-pig with leg-hoof I thought was part of another body. To be honest, anything that qualified as "passable" in the end would be good enough for this one.
And in the end, everything worked out ok. Not my best work, but not my worse. Overall: average.
The painting progress chart... well, I think it's still a little screwed up. Every time I update it, I come across a box that has 3 minis instead of 2. Or 2 boxes I never counted. 2020 may be the year of a proper inventory.
I may get 1 more batch of minis painted before the new year. Next year will have a plan for what to hobby. Should have a plan. Might have?
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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