Ah, another bout of quiet on the blog-front. Usually that means I haven't done anything hobby-worthy. That was indeed the case. To be honest, after the disappointment of the last batch of minis I wasn't all fired up to do something else. Oh, I had a list that didn't involve painting minis (more on that further down) but I lacked the gumption to follow through on any of it.
Thanks to Jer enjoying his gaming rig and regaling me with stories of adventure in Elite Dangerous, I managed to switch my free time focus to flashing back to my teen years and sat around playing video games. I'd tried playing Elite Dangerous before but just couldn't get the hang of the controls - I could never complete the 2nd dog-fighting tutorial. Thanks to some tutelage from Jer, I spent the better part of 3 hours customizing my controls to be more intuitive, and eschewed dog-fighting and instead stuck to delivery missions. Intergalactic UPS! It's been oddly fun.
I've also been prepping for Black Friday 2018. Much like last year, I started cutting back on my DVD ordering early and had a list of what to go after, with Skyscraper being at the top of my "This isn't worth $25, but I'd pay $10" list. Thanks to Amazon, Target, and Best Buy making more sale items available online starting Wednesday I was able to get all but 1 thing on my list by the time Black Friday actually rolled around. Season 2 of Lethal Weapon is avoiding sale coverage. It will be my grail item of the season!
Outside of DVD shopping, 4Ground had another 25% off coupon sale this year. I decided this was a good time to get some Mayberry-esque commercial buildings that would fit in with the rest of the scenery I've been making. RPGNow had downloads of Star Trek Adventures, for 25% off, rules that had been sitting in my wishlist for a while. While I was there, I picked up some maps that I've got plans for (more on that further down).
Outside the realm of game stuff, I took holiday sales as an opportunity to enter the realm of the smart assistant and got some Echo Dots. I've been using my Fire tablet to stream stuff when I go to bed, and the idea of a Dot had been appealing to me for a while. There was a good sale on a 3-pack, so now I have Dots in the bedroom, kitchen, and garage. I'll be a streaming fool! Or at the very least I can ask what the weather forecast is from 50% of the house.
This Is Further Down
My hobby list has plenty to do, but as stated before I've been lacking gumption. One of the things to do that keeps staying on the list is making maps to print via Poster Ninja. My standard map tile for Potham is 7.5" square. The specialty tiles I made for the mini mart and coffee shop were 22.5" x 15". Piecing together 6 pieces of paper together didn't work as well as I hoped. Enter poster size (affordable) printing! At Poster Ninja, I can use their 36" x 48" poster and fit four of my over-sized map tile layouts. If I get 4 of those posters, I reach the free shipping threshold. 16 special tiles. I can plan that!
The easy route is to alot half (eight) for full grass or asphalt coverage. The other half will be more specialized, or more than half if I need it. I printed sidewalks and driveways for houses, and glued those to thin sheets of plastic and cut to size. While it works, it doesn't look that good. With larger tiles, I can dedicate the sidewalk and driveway per house. The same with any commercial buildings and parking. To do it right, I should make the building(s) and have the proper footprint and know where sidewalks and driveways should go. That doesn't sound crazy.
Now, instead of trying to print off everything and then make the buildings, I'll make a building, measure, and set out the lot on the map. That sounds a lot more grown up than I intended. I'll start by setting up the buildings already made (phase 1) and go from there. Hobby path forward is set!
En masse army painting. It's a wargaming thing. Prime, wash, drybrush, seal. You can crank out minis by the gob this way. "Gob" is a lot, don't even bother Googling it. Just trust me.
After the last batch of random minis I'd sorted through some sci-fi/military minis that I'd gotten a gob of at some point. These minis were old. They were likely some of the first Chronoscape minis I'd ever seen in a store, so I got them. I like space marines (more Starship Troopers than Warhammer 40K) and these would come close to fitting the bill when the day would come that I'd need them. Many days passed and the need never happened. Being me, I managed to pick up at least 2 of most of these things. Since I first picked up these minis, my painting skills have gotten better. I've also gotten a little more picky in the details of the molds that I buy, because these Nova Corp/IMEF figures aren't very good compared to what I've seen and gotten over the last couple of years (the date on the bottom of one of these minis had "2009", so mini-sculpting has come a long way in a decade-ish). The first thing I do these days when getting ready to paint is look online for what other people have painted. For the most part, they're not good. With this in mind, I didn't hold out much hope for anything really usable, but tried to focus on not screwing up too bad along with a dash of tweaking my wash and drybrush skills.
16 (well, 15 by the end of it) minis would be a lot for me to paint at once. All but 3 (well, 2) I had duplicates of.
With that many minis, I knew I would bore painting details on each one, so I went the pseudo-army painting route.
I little more detail than army painting, but I still did three times the number that I normally get done in a week. And they're done, which is mainly what I was trying to accomplish with this batch. With the SHIELD shoulder logo as the theme for squad organization, I've got plans for the 1:48 military vehicles I picked up about a month ago. But that's yet another story for another time.
I've already forgotten what name goes with which mini(s), and the pics aren't really for showing any detail since I was skimping on the real detail. Still, I've got a tradition of posting pics of what I paint (and Bob gets bored at work sometimes).
I dug out some of the original Nova/IMEF minis I painted from Feb 2017 (which I had completely forgotten about) for a little side by side comparison. 3 minis that I took my time + dedicated detail work VS their modern counterparts that I whisked through. While the old ones aren't as rough looking as I half-remembered, the speedy results from this week are just as good/better.
A momentous occasion in the painting progress list - there are now more Chronoscape minis painted than left to paint. There was one in the batch that was sacrificed for testing. The head and arm didn't glue on very well, and I've been looking for another mini to test things out on. In the batch of 16 primed, only 15 completed painting. I've never (successfully) painted that many minis at once, especially without rushing and doing a crappy job - that makes me proud of this batch!
Next time... the gas station should finally be ready. 3D printed whatnot still has to be cleaned up, primed, and painted. And maybe some bonus scenery, but we'll see how carried away I get before the next post.
After the success of Pimp & friends I wanted to continue focusing on washes with a little bit of paint for detail. With the 3 Men In Black, I had some ideas to paint dark/black better, so I found the right batch - Snake Eyes and some Ninja! Well, Snake Eyes is named Cobra, which I of course think is supremely clever. Instead of my normal white primer, I went with the traditional grey primer followed up by as even of a black wash as I could apply. From there I picked out some details on each mini with a little color, and it all seemed to work out. The ninja each got a different color accent, Power Rangers style, just to help tell them apart if the day ever comes they're used in a game.
The next batch would require more than just washes. I'd had good luck with skin tones on the Pimp batch, with the skin not looking as blotchy as is my norm. With that, I dug out a handful of scantily clad women. One, Bridgette the Dirty French Maid, I'd forgotten was topless until after I had primed her and started looking at some painted reference pics online. Suddenly I was going to have to learn how to paint nipples (the text here probably isn't helping get past the NASA filters for Bob - sorry Bob!). Much like the time I had to learn to paint pizza when I thought a cop was eating a sandwich, this was an unexpected "oh crap, how do I do this the right way". In the end, it turned out... what's the word? Less sleazy? Yeah, that'll work. Lest sleazy than I feared.
Overall I'm happy with this batch. I made a couple of mistakes, like normal, but nothing that ruined anything. I even got some workable eyes on some of the girls! I've also started playing around more with adding points of gloss coating after the matte sealant, to help bring out metallic highlights (guns, swords, buckles, etc). Or, in some cases, glossy lips.
Over on the Painting Progress front, I technically went backwards (again?). The batch of 8 Chronoscape minis was offset by a clearance sale at Miniature Market that forced, yes FORCED, me to pickup 4 packs of Walking Dead (12 minis) and a Riddler Crew for the Batman Miniatures Game (4 more minis).
Next up is either finishing the Chronoscape motorcycles that I started with the Ninja - to be honest painting these is a little boring - or one of the 1:48 vehicles I picked up at HobbyTown on a vacation jaunt (perhaps more about that later).
Today, a little bit of everything from the past couple of weeks.
The Wargames Foundry B-Team is all painted up and ready for the zombie apocalypse, or whatever else comes along. It's been a month or so since I painted anything, and I tried to take my time and not rush the paint job, but these still didn't turn out as good as I hoped. Part of it was the molds, but mostly I have a hard time with browns and blues - they just don't go on as even as I like. Must be something about the pigments used and me not doing something properly. I think I've got an A-Team from someone else, too.
This makes a small dent in the overall painting progression.
The painting progression is going to go down sometime next week as 2 sets of minis for the Star Trek RPG game, some Borg and TNG Away Team, come in from CSI.
As mentioned yesterday I got a cheap belt sander so mainly see about sanding down/evening out printed models. The Nascar I had to slice into 2 models to print, thanks to my limited print volume, did not have flush ends to smoosh together where there should have been. The plastic was too thick to cut as I'm still wary of slicing chunks of me off. Running sandpaper over the 2 halves would take a lot longer than I was willing to commit to. Hence, Harbor Freight and a belt sander.
First and foremost, I survived sanding with no injuries, so it's a win there no matter what. Outside of that, sanding is going to be a challenge. The printed plastic starts to melt after a while, which isn't that big of a deal other than something to be aware of and factor in. The hard part, especially for me, is that sanding in 3 dimensions when there's not an even/flat surface to go along with (each outer side of the car was curved enough to not really be flat, even the bottom). It was also the first time I've ever used a belt sander, and with that comes at least a little bit of a learning curve.
In the end, the 2 halves are closer to fitting that when they were first printed. At this point it's going to end up coming together as a wreck of some type, maybe with smoke billowing out. It's going to take some extra practice before I print the A-Team van.
At the first of the month, Antenocitis Workshop was running a sale to (so they said) test out and celebrate their new shopping cart. They've had vehicles on my "oooh, those are cool" list for at least a year, and I had intended to place an order around my birthday but at the time, I just wasn't feeling it. Can I say "just wasn't feeling it" this close to 50? I'll say I can. When they had this sale, I was feeling it.
Antenocitis has 2 lines of vehicles I was interested in. They have vehicles for Infinity which I like to think would fit in my game world set 15-25 years into the future. Far enough to have some curvy, sleek, sci-fi looking cars (as long as they steel have tires) yet still not look too out of place next to a current run-of-the-mill car. They also have a Survival line, which is mostly modern cars and trucks, sometimes with a hint of Mad Max or Kill That Zombie. Even better, they have wrecked molds.
The key with this order was to maximize what I could get while minimizing shipping. They have a free shipping option which, for the US, is a special balance of overall order price and estimated weight. I tweaked what I originally had (and took out a LOT of things that I really didn't need, like an equivalent of an Aliens 2 Drop Ship) and managed to get free shipping at 35 British Cents over the minimum. Not bad! My order consisted of 21 items, which after GBP conversion and exchange fee came out to just under $170. Once shipped, it took a little over a week for the order to get processed, it took a little over a week to reach me. England to Alabama, with no problems.
I guess I need to figure where to start on that batch?
I've been wanting an airbrush for a long time. All the cool kids use an airbrush on minis and whatnot. The maintenance and cleaning required has always kept me from entering the airbrush arena. Then, one day at work, Daniel came in with a couple of his airbrushes and showed me how they were different, how they came apart, how they went back together, and then he told me a lot of interesting stuff I forgot. Then I watched some beginner YouTube videos with tutorials on how to get started, how to tell when you've screwed up all kinds of stuff and how to fix it. Important stuff. Then Hobby Lobby reduced some prices.
The Iwata HP-CS was what Daniel told me I wanted. Daniel's always right. Life has been easier since I accepted that. The Lobby dropped the price on that specific airbrush by $75. The Hobby Lobby coupon wasn't good on airbrushes - so no extra 40% off that. It was still cheaper than I could find elsewhere. Being me, I went to JeffyB and ordered the air compressor (that Daniel told me to get) and a 10ft hose. Since then I've been stopping by Hobby Lobby on the way home and using my coupon to stock up on air-friendly paints, because I'm going to need all the help I can get here.
Since getting all my painting loot it's been staying between 90° and 95° in the garage whenever I think about hooking up the airbrush and actually going through the tutorials I've watched, but that's pretty damned hot out there. So for now, I watch tutorials and ponder.
I haev no idea what I'm going to work on next. Paint cars? There's a gas station that still needs to be made. Another small batch of minis? Temperature be damned, get that airbrush brushing? Is there something I need to 3D print while doing all of this?
A It's time to organize my list, it sounds like.
This weekend my goal was to paint some minis (Foundrey Wargames version of the A-Team). They're 90% finished, needing their weapons painted and whatever texture/terrain on the bases
to dry and get the little details I enjoy putting in. I would have gotten them completely done except I spent too much time on Saturday running errands I didn't really need to run, and then
I wanted to keep taking naps on Sunday. But that's part of a joy of the weekend. Procrastination!
One of those errands Saturday swung me by Harbor Freight where I picked up a cheap belt sander, as pictured above. Why do I need a belt sander? Well, obviously I don't. Why did I get/want one? For those times when I tire and bore of hand sanding! My first experiment in belt sanding, no I've never belt sanded before, will be to see what happens when you put a curved yet oddly solid piece of 3D printed plastic against 3400 RPMs of 120 grit sandpaper. The votes are evenly split between "melt" and "shatter" so far.
A-Team to be finished sometime this week!
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