I'm pretty sure I don't keep it a secret that I suck at painting animals. Horses, a tiger, a deer I thought was a pig. They turn out ok, but it's only by sheer luck.
At some point I picked up a pack of oxen. Sure, these look simple enough to practice animal painting on. I then did my natural thing and tossed the pack with lots of other D&D unpainted minis and forgot about it. I forgot about it so well that at 2 more times I had the same idea again while I was out shopping.
I'm still in my non-spray-paint friendly outdoor cycle, mainly due to wind, so the parking garage I started during Christmas is still on hold. I should just accept that's going to stay on hold until April or so. As it is, I decided my impulse paint project would be those oxen I had forgotten about. I want to say "I picked them so as to better my skills" but honestly for the things that I [will] "want" to paint, I just wasn't in the mood. Thus, oxen it is!
The oxen were a pain. In retrospect, I think the indoor humidity was higher than normal as I had really bad brush stroke lines when painting. That meant another coat to try and cover those brush stroke lines. And while I'm at it, what's the difference between painting what should be an ox with how I think a cow looks?
After a couple of days the brush strokes were covered up enough. I went a little crazy with different colors on manes just to make them look different. Oxen don't have blonde manes. Very, very light brown. With sun bleached highlights.
Now I have oxen. No idea what to do with them, but they now live in the collection. Next up for priming while waiting for April is a batch of Hasslefree minis that have been sitting on a shelf for 3 or 4 years.
The 4Ground Mall now has a food court! No tables to eat at, but there's a food court!
Now that the actual building (of buildings?) for the mall is nearing the end, the food court got details included during the build instead of just walls and windows. This worked out well, as my meaty man fingers would have had a lot more problems gluing signs in kitchen areas once the walls were glued together.
In keeping with "things I remember from malls" motif, the 3-kitchen food court features Chick Fil A, a food court staple around here. A Sbarro, which I only recently learned also exists outside of malls. Burger King made the cut because I still end up going there when I go to Opry Mills. I haven't been to Opry Mills since Feb, 2020 but I'm pretty sure BK is still doling out double cheeseburgers without me.
I tried to have a little fun with the entrance sign. The obviously-Googled "Food Court" logo is printed on vellum and glued (around the edges) to a wooden nickel, courtesy of Hobby Lobby. I was trying to see how much of the wood would show through the vellum, and I think it's "just enough" to make it interesting.
I left the columns and support beams in the dining area un-glued. Thinking again of my meaty man hands, when time comes to play it would be a lot easier to just move that stuff out of the way. The slots they fit in are tight enough for support and to keep things from falling over.
The one thing, or things, left for later are the dining area table and chairs. From past experience I know the 4Ground table and chairs, and furniture in general, requires patience. With 4-7 tables, and 4 chairs per table, to glue together, I need to save up some patience before I start.
The lone remaining mall building to make is the bathrooms. That one may get finished by the end of the year, but realistically I'm in no rush to get it all done. My Black Friday order of extra stairs/elevator/walkway bridges arrived too.
And then there's all of those stores that are in need of some clutter to sell...
The past month has not seen me be productive from a hobby standpoint. If I tried to pick a reason for the lack of anything content-worthy over the past month, it would be "lack of artistic gumption". There were some things I started, but decided not to continue/finish. Things I worked on took way too long for the end result. But hobbies are for fun, so I shouldn't be worried that I don't have much to show for August.
I thought I would make a good, old fashioned model - an A-10 Warthog that I picked up no telling how long ago at Hobby Lobby. The last model I made was a tank last year. For the A-10 I started with paint details in the cockpit, and then started to put the body of the plane together. At that point I both wasn't sure what to do next (prime what I had, add more parts, what about painting more details?) AND I just kind of lost interest. I don't remember getting to the point of a hobby project and just saying "eh, I don't really want to do any more." Again, since hobbies are supposed to be for fun, I didn't force it and just decided to put aside what I'd done.
From there I went to the old stand-by of I Can Paint Some Minis. As the Reaper Chronoscope batch was getting ever smaller, I pulled out a couple of blisters to prime. Of the 6 ladies I saw I was going to paint, I'd painted 4 of them before.
The painting was uneventful beyond trying out some new skin tones. I faltered when it came to working on the bases - this is when the lack of inspiration really hit me. Usually I enjoy bases the most, but at this point I was just ready to be done with it all. I tried giving one of the bases a rain/wet/puddle look, but I don't think it works unless you know what it's supposed to be.
6 more minis down on the Completed column. On the Chronoscope side, I think the ones I have left to paint are all duplicates.
On the "what next" front... I don't know. Over the next 6 weeks I'm taking a bootcamp course for Salesforce Developer certification which
should eat up a lot of free time. This is one of those things I've been putting off since April so I really need to bare down and study. There's
plenty of hobby stuff for me to do, but for the next few weeks I need to find things I can spin up and then put away (when needed) quickly. With that
in mind, there's a couple of computer/graphic centered things I can put on the list, but I don't know how well my hobby mood will align with sitting
in front of the computer.
I've also been enjoying GTA with Jer. We play a couple of times per week. Sometimes we grind away at missions, other times we do goofy stuff. It's been a good way to get my mind off, well, everything.
Since my store sign test went well enough, I decided to go ahead and make all the signs for the first 6 stores
that came with the mall bundle. I'm not sure id I've stated it here before, but my goal for these sign frames was to have something non-permanent so
I could both switch out store names, plus when I come up with a better idea for how to display store signs I won't have to tear everything apart since these are just held on with sticky-tack.
The store names are mixture of third tier chains you might find in the dwindling days of a mall's existence, plus shops from Grand Theft Auto. For whatever reason, that just felt right.
I learned that the plastic for the larger mall entrance signs was a little too porous for the Elmer's glue I was lopping on. The paper sign ended up with a bit of the wavy, "too much glue" finish. Next time I'll add the glue to the paper instead of the plastic. Since this is all printed in paper and plastic, printing up another batch of each just takes a little set up and time.
Adding in the Mod Podge Dimensional Magic, or "e-z clear resin", really helps to keep these from looking like paper in a plastic frame. I was printing the images on glossy paper, but with the Mod Podge on top I don't think I have to do that as the resin gives the glossy look.
Overall, I'd mark this as a nicely decent first pass at signs.
In the time of being socially distant while working from home and avoiding the plague, some more progress has been made on the 4Ground mall. The mall roof section is now done. The only hard part here was matching up the parts with the directions. There were 2 of everything, as there are 2 roof sections, and within each section there are parts that look awfully similar but are sized ever so differently.
I also managed a return to my resized map tiles. Nothing noteworthy to show graphics-wise, but my homemade vise for flattening out the tiles is working well. It's a couple of pieces of wood (shelf cut courtesy of Lord Ford) with some trigger clamps to bear down on everything. Between glue and humidity these things bow a lot, and this seems to help.
I also got the Anycubic Printer back to level and started cranking out interior clutter for mall stores - checkout stands, shelves, trash cans, etc. On Thursday I saw the spool of filament was getting low. I still had the unopened package of filament that came with the printer, but to be safe (in this age of socially distant plague) I went ahead and ordered a couple more spools as I've got a lot of printing planned.
With that said, there may now be a little printing break as I learn/figure out how to edit STL files in Fusion360. All the examples I've found so far are for earlier versions of Fusion with menu options that I don't 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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