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.
When it comes to minis for the Walking Dead game, I try to find reference pics to paint by. I'm not good with color choices so going by what someone else has that already looks good helps. In addition, using a "good" template helps my skills along.
This time, I had 3 goals. The ever present first goal of "Don't glob on paint and make them suck" was foremost. Second was "try to make some eyeballs that don't look retarded." Finally, "Change up skin tones" was a direct result of the last batch needing too many coats of paint & wash to not look from pasty death to rotted death.
The packs of minis this time didn't contain 1 "Hero" and 2 zombies. I guess they've released enough zombies? Except for Zombie Duane, son of Morgan, Distraught Father, added in to Morgan's pack of 3, the packs I opened up all had 2 "Hero" minis.
Walking Dead reference pics (from Mantic Games) that I used for reference:
Over the course of 2 weeks, even though there were 9 minis lined up to paint, I eschewed the assembly line method of picking a color and using it on every mini that could use that color. Instead I did what (I've heard) works better - start at the bottom/hard to reach level of the mini and work up. Normally that means "skin". If a hand is holding something, that isn't necessarily true. I started with Abraham, for some reason I wanted this one to turn out the best, to make sure I took my time on. Skin, red/orange hair (easy to do with the Citadel orange wash), green camo clothes. Everything was something I'd done before, although camo painted uniforms were more of what I painted in the 80's and 90's.
Since I was trying to vary skin tones, thanks to the Juan Ton Soop incident of last month, there wouldn't just be a base skin tone and flesh wash applied. 4 black (African-whatever, I've never tried to be PC here, just ask Juan Ton Soop), 1 Latina (fine, a little PC), and the rest are normal white guys. I always have a hard time with black, as I'm wary of going too dark (covering up features) and often end up too light (hey, nice tan, bro). Even the white guys are normally too white, with me depending too much on the flesh wash.
Taking my time helped. When things didn't look right - of course the first 2 passes of my black guys were all too light - I tried to find a shade to LIGHTLY APPLY to see if it made things better. Most did. Some, of course, did not. By the time I was done, Jud was the only mini I wasn't at least halfway happy with. Jud's skin was too... sunburned is the best way to describe it. And there had been enough layers of paint and wash that he'd reached the tipping point of having enough detail showing to be presentable. When you don't make the cut, you get experimented on! Jud, welcome to the tattoo needle! The tattoo needle is really a pen tip, but that doesn't sound as ominous. Some light scribbles and Jud, whoever he is in the comics, is now a tatted up rough looking dude.
The rest stuck pretty close to the reference pics I was using. Abraham turned out the best, as I'd hoped. Eugene, holding a radio, ended up better than I expected. Almost everyone had eyes that ended up looking in the same direction. Morgan's eyes look a little weird, but I was trying to go for the "distraught/crazed" look and went a little too crazy. I knew my attempt to fix it would screw it up, so Morgan remains "super distraught and crazed".
For once I haven't noticed any obvious mathematical formula errors in the painting progress spreadsheet. I also haven't bought anything since last time. This means, for the first time in a long, long time, the spreadsheet shows PROGRESS! +9 painted! +1% progress!
There's another batch of Walking Dead minis awaiting priming so they'll be ready to paint when the mood strikes. It's rainy, humid day and I've learned that priming when it's raining leads to runny primer covering details. In keeping with the Walking Dead progress, I pulled out the Greene Family Farm scenery expansion and thought it might be nice to make their barn. There's also plenty of other, prep-work tasks I've got to keep me busy so I can have something cool to show later. Plenty to do!
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.
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