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?
About 2 months ago I finished painting some bikers and crows. Then things got busy. Actually, I primed a batch of minis and then things got busy. This past week things slowed down a little and went back to paint that primed batch.
As much as I go on about painting minis here, I like to think that over the years I've gotten better. Most of the time I comment on the things I should have done better while usually getting lucky enough to point out a gem or two of technique that I managed to do better than the last time. This is not one of those times.
When I picked up the first mini to paint, I saw how bad a job priming I did. I harked back 2 months and remembered that I was priming when I shouldn't have. It was humid. Wet Alabama humid. This makes for a more runny primer. The can was also almost out of primer. This too leads to runny primer. Put the 2 together, I was going to get doubly runny primer. 2 months after priming, I saw how crappy double runny primer was.
This batch was not my normal random assortment of Reaper Chronoscope minis. This batch was the Wargames Foundry Lovemore Detective Agency. I'm not sure what Black Friday sale I picked these up on, but I remember lucking out on the prices + 5 minis per pack. The sculpts on these are a little more angular than I've gotten used to. Angles and super moist primer isn't a good combination. My favored method of using washes and contrast paints doesn't really like angles either.
This batch was doomed from the onset.
I muddled through and painted them "done enough". I didn't know what to do with the bases - usually my favorite thing to work on to bring back a paint job I'm not happy with, but the bases didn't cry out to me for anything special. Road/pavement with a splotch of grass was what these got. Bases are one of those things that's easy to come back to after the fact. Months after the fact, even.
I'm also still getting the hang of the new blog pic camera/lightbox. There's too much wasted space going on in those pics!
The painting progress chart got it's update. It's mostly moot, as I've decided that the new Marvel: Crisis Protocol game looks too cool to pass up. I bet I go the Walking Dead route and have 100 minis still on the shrinkwrap on shelves before I start painting anything.
Next up, as part of the Primed 2 Months Ago batch, are the Lee and Clementine web exclusives for Walking Dead. I'm going to see if focusing on just 2 figures will help cover up the crappy priming job. I'm also trying to decide if next year should have an overarching goal or theme. Jer and I are talking about playing Gaslands (which Christian & Co. managed to finally play, ironic timing or what?). Being us, it's more an excuse to play with Hot Wheels and glue bits on them, while making up some new scenery. Maybe we can get a game in by October?
There's also all the (MDF) buildings I've got on shelves to put together. Not just the 4Ground Mall, either. I'm trying to conscript Jer and Keith into helping convert one of the 4Ground multi-story buildings into a dice tower. Which may or may not have lights in the windows.
There, I said it. Now pressure from the internet will force movement on all of this!
I didn't mean to paint anything. Not really. I wasn't planning on priming a batch and then spending the week working through them all and trying to get them done. And I didn't do that. I primed some stuff I thought would be interesting to paint, and then I painted a little here and there when I thought about it. I didn't worry about "I have yellow on the brush, what all needs to be yellow?". I didn't rush through the final color that a mini needed to be called finished. Just some nice, relaxing painting.
I had purchased some "web exclusives" from the Mantic website. I'd shown my batch of points I sent in previously on a post I'm too lazy to link to. A special Abraham and Negan were bought. There was also Rick's Badge to replace the cardboard 1st player token - I play solo, so why do I need a 1st player token? A bag of guns rounded out the web exclusives. Those last 2 just sounded like they would be fun to paint. What else am I going to spend Mantic Points on?
I've been grabbing Zombicide minis for test painting (those details are really too boring to go into). Amidst all that grabbing I came across a couple of clutter minis. Mattresses piled on top of random crap. The cast was good enough to actually tell the distinct parts in the pile. Those could be fun to paint! As such, they made it into the batch to be primed.
Even though it's been rainy and humid, I really wanted to prime everything up to paint. I waited until the rain had quit for a day, but even then you can see that the primer ran and pooled a little. Some day I'll find the right patience to wait until the weather cooperates, or I'll switch to airbrush priming.
Over the course of a week I painted a little here and there. Taking my time, plus my $10 magnifier glasses from Amazon, really makes a difference. The 2 clutter minis were 95% contrast paints. The badge went through a few transitions of Tin and Gold before ending up with whatever it is now. The letters on the badge were fun. The letters are recessed and I just filled them with Nuln Oil and a properly small-tipped brush.
I've got to learn to work better with light colors, especially white. The white I put on for t-shirts is too thick. Thin layers weren't sticking to cover errant color strokes underneath. Thick (enough) layer shows mottled brush strokes. Going over the thick layer with just a wet brush helped, but it's still something I need to work on.
This is my 1st try at a new camera setup. There's likely to be lots of iterations on tweaking before settling on something for a while.
Normally I would mention something about progress here, but to be honest I've done more than what shows up on my little spreadsheet with things that don't count toward the progress I track. The case in point is that I painted parts of almost a dozen Zombicide minis as color tests for Star Trek Adventures. I've got a painting guide, but I don't trust it 100%. I don't even trust it 80%. For my peace of mind, I decided to test (and DOCUMENT!) color options before committing to the Trek figures. This is something that I wanted and needed to do, but I've got nothing shareable to show for it. Eventually there will be some Trek minis to show, but not now.
The 4 Walking Dead minis shown above were added to the Painted total, but they weren't in the To Be Painted total before. I believe that is a net gain of 0.
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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