Friday, September 28, 2007

Two Nights in a Row?!?

Well this is an unlikely post. I not only took some WIP shots, but I worked on three separate miniatures tonight. The Autrarch is nearly complete, with the freehand on his back and the gemification of the gems as the only notable things left. The next Harlequin is... well... I haven't decided yet. Between pink, blue, black and bone I'm not sure even who she thinks she's supposed to be. Rounding out the group is the ever popular Alastriel, for a direct to eBay mini. I just wanted some fantasy stuff to paint after focusing on 40k so much.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quick WIP Shot!

I'm trying to get into the habit of taking more WIP shots, so here's one from tonight's fun.

I'm not sure if the turquoise shirt and the blue jacket are too close. I was trying for a color scheme based on blues and greens, but it might end up with just too little contrast. Maybe if I make the jacket liner black. Hmm.....

Water Effect Test

I'm testing a two part water effect that Stef bought for me to see if it will be good for the Samurai Rhino's base. I've decided to track the test for the good of the CMON community, but I figure I'll mention it here too.

The product is "Quick Water" made by "Garden Splendor."

I suppose more WIP shots of minis while I had the camera out would have been nice. I wish I would have thought of that earlier. Whoops.

Where Did That Camera Go Again?

Anyone who comes here to see my painting will surely be frustrated by the lack of WIP photos nowadays. I seemed able to post them quite regularly in the past. One of the main barriers is the digital camera itself. I have to 1) find it, then 2) take a reasonable picture, and finally 3) take the memory card over to my computer and upload the photo. The first one can be challenging, the second one infuriating, and the third one merely tedious. It often leads to me packing up and going to bed without taking any photos whatsoever.

The Harlequins continue. It's interesting that these tiny little models are mostly done in patterns, since it is less space to freehand than most of the larger models that have solid colors. I'm getting to like them quite a bit. I'd like to make the real showpiece of the unit the Shadowseer, so he'll be getting a bit of extra attention. The Death Jesters are cool, but tend to get monochromatic paint jobs of black and white. I'll have to do some creative freehanding on the back of their long coats to match the level of the others.

I've also been working on the second Autrarch from that Eldar army box. My friend (and painting mentor) Mark showed me a technique that involves priming white, then painting straight ink onto the model before the base coat. It works really well for Ultramarines, the blue ink undercoat giving them a very vivid blue when you're done painting the ultramarines blue over it. The Autrarch has a coat of red ink now, and I'm hoping that will make the blood red that will go over it much more even and vivid.

Samurai Rhino Gen is almost done. I'm almost done with model itself, leaving only some of the basing elements to paint and the water effect to apply. I tried a little of the 2-part water effect I have at home, and I wasn't too thrilled with the result. After two days it still felt tacky, which I'm not particularly fond of. Maybe I didn't mix the two ingredients in the right proportion. I've also considered just using 2-part epoxy adhesive, but I'm afraid it might change color while curing. I currently have test setups of "Tacky Glue Quick Dry" and Beacon Adhesives "Fabri-Tac" adhesive drying on a shelf. Fabri-Tac is an acetone based adhesive that is clear, so I'm curious to see how it dries. I've used it to glue basing material, and it tends to leave long strings while you work with it, much like hot glue does.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

At Least They're Consistent

One fact about little girls that you may not know... if there are dolls about, especially Barbies, the dolls are probably naked. We have bin after bin of Barbies in various states of undress.

Today I logged into World of Warcraft for no real reason. The kids play it (with the chat disabled) and I know that at one point Sarah had sold all her characters clothing and was running around in her underwear. I was chiding her about it. When I looked at the server that the girls play on I was a bit surprised to find that all of the character they have created were stripped down to their undies. They dutifully carried sword, shield and staff but apparently pants were too cumbersome.

Monday, September 24, 2007

White Dwarf.... probably not

White Dwarf 333 is out, and it has great coverage of Baltimore 2007 Games Day. All the trophy winners were pictured, but none of the honorable mentions. Next month will probably have Chicago coverage, and although I was desperately hoping that my giant would appear in White Dwarf, I have come to accept that it won't.

Next year I fully intend to come home with a trophy, so I'm sure to get a photo in White Dwarf at that point. Ambitions? Definitely. Overconfident? Perhaps. I've barely broken 7 on my best CMON entries, but that 8 is coming.... one day.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Evidence of Progress

I continue to paint! I present to you the evidence!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"The Shakes"

I have endeavored to resume lunch-time painting.

The plan is to paint things for local people (coworkers and friends) during the 30-45 minutes or so that I have to paint, or maybe for myself if I'm feeling selfish. The samurai rhino I mentioned is one of these. The Dwarfs for Bill and Skorne for Brian are also in this category.

Problem: for the last two days I've been shaking so bad at lunch that I can't paint with any level of accuracy. I don't have this problem at night, so I'm thinking it might be a lack of sugar. The doctor had warned me of the symptoms of low sugar (which my recent blood work and diet indicated might be an issue) and shaking was one of them. Maybe I need to have a little pre-lunch snack, some raisins or something, an hour before lunch. It's frustrating to sit down to paint and then not be able to.

Encroaching Weakness

For the first time ever, I am finding myself seriously drawn to starting a new army, in this case 40k Orks. I have toyed with the idea of starting a Hordes army or another Warmachine army. I have even considered starting another Warhammer Fantasy army. By far, this new pull toward 40k Orks is the strongest. The problems? #1: no money. at all. #2: I've never even played 40k! How can I be jonesing to switch 40k armies when I've never even played?!

So what about Orks attracts me? The craziness. It's what attracted me to Skaven originally. I just love the self-destructive mish-mash of Orks. The frustrating part is that it's another horde army, so creating a reasonable Ork force would require a ton of models. I should take a look and see how few models a 1500 point army could be... maybe an Orky Dreadnought or models with tricked out gear. I have to admit, I really want to paint them too.

Grrr. This hobby is harsh. Since my commission painting has become "second job" more than "hobby funding" it's been frustrating to be back at zero budget (nearly... painting expenses still have to come from commission fees.) On the plus side, I don't have a lot of time to paint my own stuff and I still own a lot of unpainted models, so I could theoretically go for an awfully long time without buying a new model for myself.

Side note: today is supposedly the 25th birthday of the smilie emoticon. :-)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WIP Photos... for once

Hey, I found the digital camera! My photography still stinks out loud, but enjoy! Both miniatures are perched majestically on a jar of P3 "Heartfire" paint. The tasteful background is a Kroger brand coffee filter that I use to wick my brushes (another TAB Stuido tip.)

First up is an Eldar Harlequin, in all his deadly space clown glory. He looks pretty cool (in person anyway... roll eyes) but I just don't think he's tacky enough for a Harlequin. The next one will have to be over the top.

Next up we have the very beginning of a Skaven Lustrian Warlord, which will be one of my competition entries for next year. I really wanted the base to go up and forward, leaving room for detail in front of and below the warlord. This seems to work well.

Space Clowns and Rhinos and Rats! (oh my!)

I've been painting lately. Painting like mad. I'd love to show you a picture, but I can never seem to find the digital camera when I'm done at night.

Space Clowns: I've been working on Eldar Harlequins for a commission job. I tried the ubiquitous diamond pattern for the first time last night, and it seemed to turn out pretty good. My challenge will be to paint them garish enough.

Rhino: I tried the primer/Future mixture that Tracy from TAB Studio (aka Tab Stuido) recommended in her very cool video tutorial, and I love the finish it gave him. Now I need to paint him, paint the base and add the water effect. This is going to be so cool.

Rats: "Build unto me a base of ridiculous proportion!" commanded the Skaven Lustrian warlord. And so I did. This fellow will be my entry into the "Warhammer Single Figure" category at Games Day next year.

Speaking of Games Day, I think I'm going to try entering four categories. Warhammer single figure (the aforementioned rat), Warhammer large model (Ogre Tyrant), 40k unit (either an Ork Big Mek and Mekboy bodyguard or a Techmarine and servitors), and .... I'm still undecided on the fourth category. 40k single figure is tempting (maybe an Ork warboss or a converted Space Marine sergeant) but Warhammer unit interests me too (Skaven Night Runners or Goblin Squig Hoppers.) Even Lord of the Rings single figure is tempting. Given the number of figures I'll already have to paint for the models I've already decided on, Warhammer unit might be too many to realistically paint to competition quality. Then again, I did the giant in four weeks, and he included two extra figures perched on him. First things first: warhammer single, warhammer large model, 40k unit. Once those are done I'll see where the mood takes me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Soft Metal and Nightmare

Two things. I'll only need a sec.

#1: Lead is soft. I realized just how soft when I accidentally drilled through the foot of aforementioned Samurai Rhino. I have a certain ritualistic number of turns that I give the pin-vise when drilling holes for pinning, and far before reaching that number I had completely impaled his foot. Oops.

#2: Remember those nightmares of showing up for a final exam and not knowing anything about the class? I had the opposite of that one last night. When my alarm went off I hit snooze and went back to sleep, without really realizing it. I then dreamed that I dragged myself out of bed and struggled through getting ready for work. When the alarm went off again I had to deal with the realization that I still needed to get up, even though I felt like I had just gone through the whole ordeal. I hit snooze again, and the whole scene repeated itself! When snooze woke me again, I finally roused myself enough to turn off the alarm and get myself going. It wasn't quite as difficult dragging my carcass around the house as it had been in my two dreams, but it still felt like a drag. So that's a first for me... waking up from an unpleasant dream to a less pleasant reality.

Okay, I lied. One more thing. Maybe I didn't make the Journeyman Warcaster's picture small enough to be a good test, but she's getting savaged on CMON right now.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Basing a Samurai Rhino

About a year ago, a friend at work asked me to paint a mini for him, "Gen" from the comic Usagi Yojimbo. I'd heard of the comic, but didn't know anything about Gen, an anthropomorphic rhino. Up until today, he had been mounted on a 40x40mm GW base, awaiting his turn. Today, something snapped, and I decided to rebase him. I molded stones from green stuff and placed them on the base strategically, then molded a tiny turtle as well. I will use the masking tape method that Jeremie spoke of in his Games Day seminar to make a little river effect, with Gen running over the stones and the turtle submerged. It is the most unique base I've tried yet, and I hope it turns out. The mini is out of production and I want to do it justice. I also wouldn't mind getting a few mid-7's on CMON. Right now, I'm the self proclaimed "King of Mid-6."

I chose to upload the Journeyman Warcaster to CMON, altered as well as I could for presentation. As a psychological experiment, the pic is rather small (by my standards.) I know she'd get low scores if I posted her large, but I'm curious if people will vote higher for a smaller photo. I don't really have more photography opportunities, as the piece has already shipped to the owner.

EDIT: I realized that the jpg image I had submitted was badly marred with compression artifacts. I re-edited the photo, included a rear shot and resubmitted. The original version was at 5.9 with about 30 votes. I'm curious to see how the new one does, since it's 350 pixels wide (as opposed to 300), in better focus, and includes another view.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Struggles, Hopefully of the Temporary Variety

I struggle with not only digital photography, but the manipulation required to make it reasonably presentable online. I really liked the way this Cygnar Journeyman Warcaster turned out, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to do it any justice with a photo. I'll crack the code on it one day.

In other news, we're still not bug free. After treatment it takes a few days before you know if you got them all. It's very frustrating, and the psychosomatic itching is terrible.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bug Hunt

You haven't lived until the children of your neighborhood contract head lice. In terms of psychosomatic itching, it's much worse than finding fleas on a pet. In terms of actual treatment, it's long and arduous, especially for girls with thick hair.

They are so small that every untreated surface is suspect, every fabric item a potential carrier. I will never view a movie theater seat with the same reckless abandon. I constantly wonder how long it will be before my kids are re-infested, potentially as the little parasites make their way around the neighborhood again.

I suppose the challenge will be to avoid going all Monk about the whole thing. It really creeps me out though. Really.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Your Gastroenterologist called. Eat more.

Y'all sick of hearing about my health issues yet? Didn't think so!

Yesterday was my gastroenterology appointment, in which a nurse practitioner looked me over and explained the ramifications of my "fatty liver disease." The condition is fairly common, and the nurse explained that it was the third highest reason for people needing liver transplants, behind hepatitis and alcoholism induced cirrhosis. She was caught a bit flat footed when I asked her if she knew the proportions of the top three. Third place certainly sounds impressive, and certainly would be at, for instance, the Olympics. In terms of causation, it might mean that it is at the root 2% of all transplants, behind hepatitis at 61% and alcoholism at 36%. (Attention internet: the previous sentence was a hypothetical. I better not see someone actually using those statistics somewhere like they are facts. If you are going to spuriously collect fun facts from my blog, please use this one: By the year 2035, the only fuel our vehicles will require will be the bottled awesome of a battle between ninjas and Godzilla. On the moon.)

Anyway, back to the point. I got on a real scale at the gastroenterologist, which read 196. Okay, I had assumed it would be lower by now, but it probably only shows that my aunt and uncle's scale was reading a bit low. I received hearty congratulations from both the nurse practitioner and doctor for dropping the weight I have (24 lbs.) then received a warning from the nurse telling me that I could actually contribute to my fatty liver by eating so little. Whoops. She advised me, based on my height, to eat no fewer than 1500 calories a day. Considering that I had been aiming for 1000 to 1200 per day (with the occasional foray into slightly higher) I don't think I'll have much trouble doing 1500. In fact, it pretty much means I can eat exactly what I was eating plus a bowl of ice cream in the evening. Viva la gastroenterology!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Passionately, part 2

I've previously mentioned an old Atari 8-bit computer program that played a song called "Passionately." Friday I found a pristine copy of the disk image, complete with original author credits and correct lyrics.

Now my goal is to capture it for submission to youtube. The only copy of Passionately there currently is a copy in which someone had hacked the Atari binary to change some of the lyrics to profanity and change the author credit. A coworker has a license for a video capture program called.... hmm, I can't remember the name right now. He uses it to capture WoW video. Anyway I tried a little on Friday to capture it, but the emulator always stutters at some point and ruins the recording. I've deleted a lot of crap from my hard drive and defragged in the hopes that writing the lengthy AVI file to a bunch of different areas of the hard drive is what was causing the stutter. In any case, we should have a new, perfect copy of Passionately to see soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 03, 2007

What? A Painting Post?!?

Here is my latest WIP, a Cygnar Journeyman Warcaster pictured in front of my glass of ice water. There's something about the way the Ott light and my camera interact that makes the metallics look really chunky. I'm using the fallback position of all mini-painters on this one: it looks better in person.

I've had a lot of problems with momentum lately, feeling like I just can't get anything done. I don't know if I can call it painters' block since it's more a function of having the energy to get started than of not knowing where to go. Getting this mini to the state she is in a few days has helped restore my spirit. I also finished and delivered a Reaper Shadow Dragon that a family friend wanted to give to her father for his birthday. Apparently he was quite pleased.

After this figure I'm going to try very hard to get back on my 5 night schedule, painting certain types of work on certain nights and devoting an entire night per week to either my own painting or perhaps playing. I have a lot of backlog and I need to get disciplined if I'm going to start shipping product again.