Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thrift Store Treasure = Good Photography

So I found myself at a Salvation Army thrift store recently. Now typically I can't stand pawing through thrift stores or garage sales... that's not to say that good things can't be had, only that I have no talent for finding them. (In contrast, my brother-in-law excels at finding things that will have 10x eBay value.) Anywho, I come across a "Clairol True-To-Light VIII" in the electronics area, which looks to be a lighted vanity for seeing how your makeup looks in various light-types. There are settings for day, office, evening and home. Two fluorescent tubes provide the light, and colored filters provide the difference in light coloring. On a whim I dropped the $6 figuring I could try it for photographing minis.

Here is the setup I contrived. I took out the central rotating mirror from the vanity and stuck a plastic tab on the bottom with construction adhesive. The stand it came with was made to tip it back so one could look slightly downward at it, not really conducive to my intended purpose. The backdrop for the mini is a 40k Razorback box I hacked up with a piece of thick gray poster-board nestled in it.

So then I started taking some pictures... and .... wow!

I have never, never gotten a good photo of this guy. Until now. This was my first attempt at a Golden Daemon entry and it got an honorable mention, finishing just behind Cathy Wappel's bronze winning Chaos Spawn.  I'm tempted to throw this guy back up on cmon now that I have a decent pic.

And this feller is what I actually won a daemon for. Again, a better photo than I have ever taken of him.

Best $6 I've spent this year.

The Perils of Low Light Painting

No no no no NO. How many times will I fall into this trap of stupidity.

So, there I was, painting up some Sedition Wars Vanguard troopers. They weren't anything special, just tabletop quality. A little clean, a little dirty. I have enough of these that I can use a few to get a feel for the model before I try to make anything look nice. Still, I was pretty happy with the overall effect.
30 points of shooty goodness
For reasons of sheer laziness I had painted under my kitchen overhead lights instead of my Ott or gooseneck CF lamps. I thought, "Hey, the light isn't that different, right? I mean, how much could light affect my ... OH MY LANDS WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR FACE, WOMAN?"

Looks like phase 2 infection to me
Seriously, what looked like a smooth skin tone and decent eyes from my overhead light looked like horrible acne scar makeup death mask under real light. On top of the acrylic texture issues, the mold line remnants don't help one bit. So are they getting repainted? Noop! Like I said, I have so many of these that I don't care all that much if some look like crap. I'm certainly capable of painting faces (shameless, I know) but this one is going to stay disfigured. Maybe I'll paint a big scar there. I dunno.

I still haven't come to grips with this plastic either. The mold lines are just torture to remove for me. Maybe I should have bid for the chance to spend the day with Mike & Aly at their paint studio just to learn how to clean the models. Sigh.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Ubuntu Wireless and 2Wire U-verse wifi

Ah, technology. It enables us to do so many things, yet spend so many hours banging our heads against a brick wall trying to get the simplest thing working. Like Wifi and my Ubuntu laptop. For the longest time it just worked with my home network. Then it didn't. Then it did. Nothing that I am aware of changed.

Finally, after a little poking around I determined the problem was the Wifi encryption protocol. Ubuntu and the 2Wire router play just fine with WPA-PSK (TKIP) but not with WPA2-PSK (AES). So when the router is set to use either, of course the two of them negotiate to use the one that doesn't work. Yay, technology. The solution was the tell the router to only use WPA-PSK (TKIP). Every other router I've tried just works with my laptop, but something about those 2Wire routers is just odd.

Anyway.... played Sedition Wars for the first time last night. Lots of rule questions. Lots of inconsistent terminology in the rulebook. I guess it's a matter of "come for the miniatures, stay for the voluminous FAQ and errata." All the same it has a lot of fun potential, and the wonderful cinematic climax to scenario 1 was worth the game. Everyone was pretty happy at the end. Vanguard won, by the skin of their teeth. One more turn would have ended it. I love a close game.