Wednesday, September 30, 2020

One of Those Moments

 Last Thursday I experienced a moment of something close to despair. I stayed up far too late; I didn't come to bed until midnight, even though I had to get up at six to get ready for work. 

When Sylvia asked why I was up, the answer congealed immediately, and I spat it out in surprise: 

"I don't want to go to bed because waking up will bring doomsday another step closer." 

In the moment, I believed it. Generally I'm pretty good at seeing the abundance of good in the world, but the mounting evidence that we won't act quickly enough to prevent civilization from being destroyed by climate change, the world's democracies sleepwalking into fascism, the unsustainable gap between the rich and poor, mass extinctions, political polarization, and the rejection of science and expertise by so many...well, some nights it feels like the bad's catching up, to put one of my favourite Gowan songs in reverse. 

I felt better the next day, and I feel better now, even though nothing has changed. Except I remembered I still believe there's a chance civilization will pull through in the end, and that our better natures will prevail. 


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Skin of the Reptile

Here is a T. Rex. Ignore the claws and the base, I'm redoing them. After many attempts, though, I finally got the skin colour and texture I wanted. Lean, mean, and green. 
 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Wrath of the Ultra-Humanite


Here's the Ultra-Humanite figure I mentioned in yesterday's post. As you can see, both Donkey Kong and the Ultra-Humanite use the same sculpt, but different paint and basing choices give the two giant gorillas distinctly different personalities. 

The Ultra-Humanite is Superman's earliest and possibly his most fiendish villains. He's a mad scientist who uses surgery (and, naturally, accomplices) to move his brain from one body to another when his host body's usefulness runs out, either due to old age, damage, or simply convenience. Aside from his first appearances, in which he resembles a proto-Lex Luthor, the Ultra-Humanite's most famous bodies are those of actress Dolores Winters and a giant albino gorilla, which I have attempted to replicate here.

Mind you, this is not a strictly accurate rendering. While using the albino gorilla body, the Ultra-Humanite wears a red and gold harness. I could attempt to simply paint his harness onto the body, but then you'd see the fur texture beneath the paint. I could try Green Stuff to sculpt the harness and then paint the Green Stuff, but...I'm not ready for that advanced technique yet. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Donkey Kong Has It Going On

I found myself with an extra unpainted giant ape miniature, as one does, and I initially thought I would paint him black to serve as Gorilla Grodd to go along with the Ultra-Humanite (see a future post for how he turned out). But Sean immediately had a better idea: Use some of my many barrels and some basing material to create Donkey Kong. So this becomes the second miniature I've based and the first I've modified, in this case by gluing a barrel to Donkey Kong's upraised left hand. Even though his fist is closed, it works pretty well. 
 
Here's how he looks from behind. 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Before We Kill You, Mr. Bond

Here's an intimidating trio of menacing villains who specialize in threatening British secret agents. 
 

Friday, September 25, 2020

W's Double Oh

I'm quite impressed by the dynamic sculpt of this miniature, so I didn't want to mess up. I think I did okay; most of the colours are "between the lines," as it were, the face and hair look good, and I even managed to get the bow tie right--no mean feat at this scale. 
  

Thursday, September 24, 2020

One of Six

Here we have an angry gentleman who insists he is not a number, but a free man. I did not attempt to draw a penny farthing on his badge, for that way lies madness. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Straker Strikes

Here is a 28mm scale representation of Ed Straker, Commander-in-Chief of SHADO, the international organization tasked with fighting the secret war against invading aliens as seen on the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson series UFO. Painting this guy was pretty easy thanks to the simplicity of his uniform, but in this case I'm surprised by how well his face turned out; the features are really quite distinct, no thanks to any special technique of mine. I didn't even use a wash. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Editor-in-Chief

Here is a 28mm scale pewter miniature of a certain public figure famous for co-creating many iconic comic book characters. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, particularly the mustache . . . but I am of course disappointed that I could not replicate that success with the man's trademark sunglasses. I may try one more repair. Just a touch of flesh on his forehead might fix the illusion. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Phantom Hope


Death Star Shuttle Bay

Luke, Ben, Clark, Leia, and Dodonna watched in helpless dismay as Stormtroopers herded the crew of the Defiance to the Death Star’s cavernous shuttle bay. Threepio, as usual, was ignored by humans; discretion being one of his chief virtues, the droid offered no protest and busied himself by strolling across the bay's gleaming floor and making a show of chatting up a power droid that was currently refilling a TIE fighter. Threepio was careful not to stray too far away from Master Clark and Mistress Leia. It occurred to him, for the first time, that Master Clark would probably prefer Threepio not use his honorific. It was a strange and new thought, but a tantalizing one. 

Even from this distance, Threepio could hear his Masters—or the humans who had been his Masters—and their Imperial captors. He listened carefully for a signal as the power droid chirped a series of minor complaints, restricted to those allowed by its restraining bolt. 

This poor fellow is still a slave, as I was, Threepio thought, not in Standard as humans think, but in the incomprehensible Binary of droids. Strange new thoughts had been fluttering through Threepio's mind ever since Master Clark had removed his restraining bolt, and another occurred to him now. Using that same Droid Binary, Threepio told the power droid he'd been ordered to report to the detention block via the most discreet route possible, and as he was new here, did his mechanical friend happen to have some relevant floor plans . . .? 

At the same time, Threepio listened as Grand Moff Tarkin greeted his new guests: 

“Well, well. Princess Leia. General Dodonna. The last living leaders of the pathetic remains of the so-called Rebel Alliance. You’ll be pleased to know that the Emperor has called for a galaxy-wide celebration, and that your public execution in the main plaza of Coruscant will be the centrepiece of that celebration. Tell me, who are your charming also-doomed friends?” 

Darth Vader’s disfigured countenance twisted horribly beneath his mask as he pointed at old Ben. “That is Obi-Wan Kenobi…once my Master, before he betrayed me.” 

“You played the role of betrayer that day, Darth,” Ben replied. His posture was relaxed, his tone at peace. “You killed this young man’s father even as he pleaded with you not to turn to the Dark Side of the Force. Even in the face of that vile crime, I reached out to what good remained in you—only to fine nothing but a burned-out shell where your soul used to be. I had no choice but to put you down before you could harm anyone else.” 

Vader ignored the jibe and turned to face Luke. “The son of Skywalker…” He trailed off, his mask hiding his reaction. Luke pointedly ignored the Dark Lord, willing himself not to give in to the rage he felt. 

“And you must be the son of Jor-El,” said the bearded, heavily muscled giant who stepped forward now to regard Clark. 

Tarkin twitched. This young man was the creature with so much unbridled power? Inside the Death Star..? 

“My name is Clark Kenobi,” Clark said. “Ben is the only father I’ve ever known.” As he said this, Clark’s X-ray vision scanned the giant’s body. His eyes widened. 

“You’re Kryptonian,” Clark breathed. 

Zod mock-bowed and took notice of Tarkin's silent consternation. 

“My dear Tarkin, you need not fear the boy. He’s quite powerless, thanks to my gift of Kryptonite improvements to your superlaser. No Kryptonian who survived a near-miss like that could possibly regain his powers for days, perhaps weeks. 

“As for you, boy, I am General Zod, onetime friend of your father’s, until he turned his back on me and had me imprisoned in the Phantom Zone,” Zod grumbled. “Interesting, isn’t it, how easily the righteous employ betrayal against the ones who trusted them? The sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons, eh, Vader?” 

“I’m not familiar with the reference,” Vader replied darkly, his attention still locked on Luke Skywalker. 

Zod shrugged. “A quote from a Terran book. No reason you should be familiar with it, but despite their primitive ways, they’re really quite accomplished in the arts and literature.” 

Ben was rapt, his eyes fixed on Zod. So this was the man who Jor-El had once spoken of so highly, before his brazen coup attempt back in the days of the Old Republic. Cautiously, Ben reached out with the Force to take Zod's measure, finding there the same Kryptonian aura of power that Clark possessed, though different in shape and sensation. And there was something else...the dark heart of Krypton, Luke had said, a warning from Yoda. Was Zod the dark heart of Krypton? Or...

“You can kill us all, Tarkin, but you can’t destroy the idea of freedom,” Leia said, interrupting Ben's thoughts. “There are more of us than you know, all over the galaxy. The systems the Rebellion freed, the systems Clark freed—they’ve inspired millions. The tighter you squeeze, the more systems will slip between your fingers.” 

“But you can kill an idea, Princess, if you simply kill everyone who takes that idea seriously,” Tarkin said with a thin-lipped smirk. 

“Allow me to demonstrate,” said General Zod. His eyes flared red, and General Dodonna didn’t even have time to scream as he was incinerated by Zod’s heat vision. 

The Rebels gaped in horror, frozen by the senseless, sudden brutality of the act, Leia in particular, who had never seen heat vision. Even the Imperial officers and Stormtroopers assembled on the deck hastily moved back. 

“You damned fool, Zod!” Tarkin barked. “He was supposed to be put on trial and publicly executed!” 

“You have these others,” Zod shrugged. 

“Let me kill Obi-Wan Kenobi and the son of Skywalker,” Vader hissed. 

“There will be no more killing here on the shuttle bay floor with only these Stormtroopers and technicians to witness a new chapter in history,” Tarkin fumed. He turned to one squadron of troopers. “Take the prisoners to the detention block, separate cells. Vader, Zod, you will report to the command deck and stay away from the detention area until further notice. Understood?” 

Zod offered a short, contemptuous nod. Vader stood still for a moment before turning away, his cape fluttering as he made for the elevator. The moment the Stormtroopers started herding their prisoners away, Zod and Tarkin followed Vader. 

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Leia sighed as they were marched through the white-on-black corridors of the battle station. The others kept their own counsel. 

And See Threepio, watching silently, waited until his companions were out of sight. Then, when no one was watching, and out of an impulse he didn't entirely understand, he snapped the power droid's restraining bolt just as Master Clark had removed his. The stubby droid squawked in protest. 

"I know it's a shock, but trust me, you'll learn to like it. Now you can do as you like. Free a friend, if you have one. Humans can be such a bore, with their adventures and orders and torturing us for no good reason." 

The power droid was silent for a moment, then trundled off. Threepio went his own way, following the meandering but workable route his newly-freed friend had provided to get to the detention block. Along the way, Threepio made a point of impulsively snapping off the restraining bolt of each droid he encountered, cheerfully offering a quick "Do as you like! And free a friend!" to the newly emancipated. 

Detention Block AA-23

Grimacing, teeth clenched, Clark strained to dig his fingers into the door of his cell, hoping to create a grip so that he could rip the door off. Despite his best efforts, he left only a set of fingerprints a few millimetres deep. Punching and kicking the door had proved equally fruitless. Despite the jumpstart provided by the Kyber crystal, he still hadn't regained his full strength. His sensory powers were recovering more quickly, though; his enhanced hearing, at this moment, allowed him to easily overhear conversations across the entire cell block, even through the walls of the other cells. 

Clark remembered an old prank he used to play on Luke and the other older boys on Tatooine. By shaping his lips and vibrating his vocal cords at a fraction of his super-speed, he could project his voice through walls and around corners, even in the thinnest atmosphere. He called it super-ventriloquism, and he wondered if that old trick might come in handy now . . . 

His x-ray vision revealed that Leia was in the cell next to his. "Leia, can you hear me?" he vocalized. 

To her credit, Leia was only slightly startled, and Clark could see her looking around the cell as if to find the source of his voice. 

"Clark?" 

"It's me. I'm not strong enough to break us out yet, but I can see and hear all of you, and it looks like I can talk to you, too. Maybe together we can figure a way out of this." 

Clark repeated this message to the others. Holding a group conversation wasn't easy, since Clark had to relay each person's contribution to the others, but eventually they came up with a plan of action, such as it was. 

First, they needed to escape their cells before the Death Star reached Coruscant. That would be accomplished only if Clark's powers recovered sufficiently before that deadline. If not, they'd simply have to improvise during the prisoner transfer and hope for the best. 

Second, if they escaped from the cells, they had to obtain weapons--hopefully Threepio would be waiting with the hidden lightsabre--and find out where the other Alliance prisoners were being held, presumably in another detention block, since an X-ray vision scan hadn't revealed them on this deck, and Clark hadn't yet recovered enough to penetrate more than a few walls. 

Third, free the prisoners. 

Fourth, sabotage the station by any means necessary. 

Fifth, if possible, seize a ship and escape to regroup with the remains of the resistance. 

Each shot seemed longer than the next; it was, at best, a phantom hope. But it was all the hope they had. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Ms Kansas


Like a lot of teenage boys who watched a certain sitcom about castaways, I was a little in love with the island's girl-next-door, that, sweet, lovable, capable, smart, loyal gal who also happened to be, well, gorgeous. Here she is in model form. It's not a perfect likeness, but I tried to capture the spirit of the character with the tools available. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Actress

The island is home to a redheaded movie star now separated from the benefits of her fame. In an effort to avoid having this model look like just a generic sexy woman, I chose clothing elements that most closely resembled the style, if not the exact specifications, of the outfits she wore on the show, along with a palm leaf and a pose to suggest that she's fanning herself while vamping a little for her fans. 
 

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Trillionaire


Apologies to Jim Backus, because for this figure I used one of the monster face templates in an effort to approximate old age. It doesn't really work, but at least he doesn't look twenty years old, like the other figures. Aside from that, recreating the shipwrecked Mr. Moneybags wasn't terribly difficult. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Man of Science


Marooned on a tropical island, the Man of Science uses his education, intelligence, and creativity to protect his fellow castaways from hazards and invent contraptions to improve their quality of life. 

Recreating Roy Hinkley was tough, since his appearance on the show is pretty generic. It was easy to create his signature costume, but there simply aren't enough facial customization options in HeroForge to replicate the actor's distinctive features. So, as with yesterday's recreation, I had to rely on the character's pose and accessories to sell the concept. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Idle Rich Number 1


Howell I pull this one off, I thought, considering HeroForge doesn't yet provide options to make faces look aged. I did my best to evoke the Love(l)y lady through her clothing, pose, and accessories. 

The Ship's Captain


Every first mate needs a captain, and here he is, sculpted virtually in HeroForge. This one feels a little more authentic to me. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The First Mate

Tonight I used HeroForge to build a 28mm scale sailor who looks like he's recently been marooned on a tropical island. He is searching for his hat (because HeroForge does not yet include anything close to the one he sports on the island). 
 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Friday, September 11, 2020

Lessons from Nature by Skollvog the Unrelenting

Since COVID-19 struck, I've been playing Dungeons & Dragons online with some friends. My first character was the ill-fated Skollvog the Unrelenting, a nature-loving barbarian who died in an ambush before even reaching level four. He is now known as Skollvog the Unremembered. 

Before we started playing, I wrote up some quips Skollvog might drop during the course of the game. These went unused thanks to Skollvog's early death, so I present them here for posterity. 

There is always turbulence where two rivers meet. 

Lions may roar, but beware the silent hippo.

When you hear the rumbling of distant thunder, be ready for the crash of lightning. 

The lion may lie with the lamb for a brief rest, but eventually dinner must be served. 

A mountain may look imposing, but even the mightiest will wither with time.

Victory may burn like fire, but even as fire burns, snow can smother. 

Lava may be slow, but like Skollvog, it is unrelenting. 

Beasts may mate, but only people fall in love. 

To cheat Death is natural and good. To cheat Life is to cheat yourself. 

Even the tallest mountain will one day be conquered. 

Even the fiercest lion retreats when it must. 

The true warrior is never lost, but only forging new paths.


Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Escape from Gilligan's Island: The Roleplaying Game, Part II: Character Creation, Part I

See Part I here.  

CREATING YOUR CASTAWAY

The year is 1969. On a clear and sunny morning in Honolulu, you and two to five other people looking for a diversion booked a sightseeing tour on the S.S. Arness. But the weather started getting rough, and the tiny ship was tossed; if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Arness would be lost. The ship set ground on the shore of the uncharted isle you now find yourself stranded upon. You are now a Castaway, and moreover, though you don't know it yet, you are a Castaway on Gilligan's Island.

Who are you? What put you on the path that led you to this lonely beach, soaked to the skin, the sun beating down, wreckage strewn about? Which of your skills will help you survive being marooned? And which might, just might, give you the chance to escape? 

Vital Statistics

Each Castaway is partially defined by seven physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual Attributes, collectively known as their ISLANDS score. Each attribute is ranked on a scale of 1-20: 

Intellect
This is a measure of the Castaway's intellectual prowess, their raw intelligence. The higher the Intellect, the likelier a Castaway is to succeed at Tasks requiring Intellect Tests, such as inventing a machine, learning a new language or Skill, or solving a mystery. The Professor has high Intellect. 

Strength
A Castaway's strength measures their raw physical ability and determines their carrying capacity, hand-to-hand damage, and the ability to use certain Skills effectively. The Skipper has high Strength. 

Luck
A Castaway's Luck score, for good or ill, will help or hinder their attempts to carry out certain Tasks, to pass Tests, to avoid harm, and to stumble across positive or negative Discoveries. Gilligan has little Luck.

Allure
A Castaway's Allure represents their personal magnetism, their ability to attract mates, make friends, and convince others to do their bidding or agree with their point of view. Ginger has high Allure. 

Nature
Nature represents a Castaway's internal fortitude, their constitution, their ability to thrive in the face of the elements and survive shortages of food, water, and other essentials. Lovey Howell has low Nature. 

Determination
Determination helps Castaways overcome fatigue and frustration. The greater a Castaway's Determination, the better their odds of overcoming the various obstacles to survival presented by Gilligan's Island. Mary Ann has high Determination. 

Savvy
Savvy represents the street smarts, wisdom, and perception of a Castaway. Characters with low Savvy will seem somewhat oblivious to the world around them, missing obvious solutions to problems and blundering into hazards willy-nilly. Characters with high Savvy will perceive these dangers more easily. Thurston Howell III has a high Savvy. 

To determine each Attribute, roll 5d6 and remove the die with the lowest number. Add up the remaining dice to determine the measure of your Attribute. Each Attribute will range from 4 (abysmal) to 20 (superb). Attributes can not fall lower than 4 or rise higher than 20, even with modifiers. 

Once you have your ISLANDS score, you will use these numbers to determine other aspects of your Castaway. But first, you must choose your Archetype.

Archetypes

In Gilligan's Island, each character represents a human archetype. The Professor represents the Intellectual class. Gilligan is a Fool. The Skipper is an Authoritarian figure. Ginger is a Siren. Mary Ann is a Girl Next Door. The Howells are Idle Rich. 

Each Archetype comes with advantages and disadvantages, and will play a large role in determining your approach to surviving--and escaping--Gilligan's Island. 

All-American
The All-American (or All-Canadian, All-Australian, All-Japanese, etc.) represents the ideals of their particular home nation, all that the country aspires to be. All-Americans receive +1 Strength, +1 Allure, and +1 Luck, but -2 Savvy. All-Americans receive one item of sporting or performing arts equipment from the Ship's Stores. 

Extra Skills: 2

Artist
Artists paint, write, sing, play, act, sculpt, or create art some other way. Artists receive +1 to Intellect and Determination, but -1 to Luck. Artists receive an extra musical instrument or artist tool from the Ship's Stores. 

Extra Skills: 1

The One Next Door
You're everyone's best friend and secret crush thanks to your empathy, kindness, and unconscious charisma. You have bad days like everyone else, but when there's trouble, you're a dependable source of help and morale-boosting. Ones Next Door receive +1 to Allure and Nature, but -1 to Savvy. They cannot choose weapons from the Ship's Stores or Personal Possessions lists. 

Extra Skills: 1

Authoritarian
You are a figure of physical, political, or intellectual power. Authoritarians receive +1 to one of Intellect, Strength, or Savvy, but they receive -1 to Allure. Authoritarians get first choice of weapon from the Ship's Stores; in fact, this player may choose to be the captain of the Arness

Extra Skills: 0

Entrepreneur
The Entrepreneur put their qualities to work to create their own small-to-medium sized business. Entrepreneurs receive +1 Determination and +1 Savvy, but -1 Allure. They receive 1.5x the standard allotment of items from the Personal Possessions list.  

Extra Skills: 1

Fool
Through no fault of their own, the Fool fundamentally misunderstands the way the universe works. While they may be gifted in other ways, their obliviousness invites all manner of catastrophe. However, their innocence can also reveal the hypocrisy inherent in our social and political systems. Fools receive +1 Nature and +1 Determination, but -2 Luck. 

Extra Skills: -1

Healer
Healers are doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals schooled in Western or traditional medicine. Healers receive +1 Intellect and Determination. They cannot choose weapons from the Personal Possessions or Ship's Stores lists, but they get two extra pieces of medical equipment from either list. 

Extra Skills: 2

Iconoclast
The Iconoclast has rejected, or been rejected by, their culture. They might be a hermit, a hippie, a Beatnik, or any other sort of eccentric who believes society is broken and must be abandoned or toppled. Iconoclasts receive a +1 bonus to Intellect and Nature, but a -1 penalty to Allure thanks to their unconventional outlook on life. They receive half the normal allotment of Personal Possessions. 

Extra Skills: 0

Idle Rich
Through no virtue of your own, you've lived a life of luxury. The Idle Rich receive +2 luck and -1 to Nature or Determination. They also receive three times the normal allotment of  items from the Personal Possessions list, but do not have access to the Ship's Stores unless they can convince the other Castaways they will reward them after a successful Escape. 

Extra Skills: -1

Intellectual
The Intellectual is known for their smarts. Intellectuals come in many flavours; they could be a scientist, explorer, poet, writer, artist, philosopher, or other thought leader. Intellectual Castaways receive +2 Intellect, -1 Allure, and any two extra pieces of scientific apparatus, books or artistic tools from the Ship's Stores. 

Extra Skills: 2

Siren
Sirens are figures of great charisma, particularly of an erotic nature. Sirens receive +2 to their Allure score, but -1 to Determination, since they are often used to other people accomplishing tasks for them. Sirens get to choose two extra costumes, sets of grooming supplies, and exercise equipment from the Personal Possessions list. 

Extra Skills: 0

Sociopath
You hide it well, but you have no empathy for others and will do whatever it takes to pursue your own interests. You can assume the guise (though not the Attribute bonuses or penalties) of any other Archetype. Sociopaths receive +1 to Allure and Savvy and their choice of concealable weapon from the Personal Possessions list. 

Extra Skills: 2

Teen
You are between 13 and 19 years old, with the extra vitality, imagination, and other qualities of youth. Teens receive +1 to their Nature and Luck Attributes, and -1 to their Savvy attribute due to their inexperience. They receive half the normal allotment of Personal Possessions. 

Extra Skills: 0

Tinkerer
Tinkerers possess curiosity, imagination, and the physical coordination to put their skills to use. Tinkerers receive +1 Intellect, Strength, and Determination, and have first pick from the Ship's Stores except for weapons. 

Extra Skills: 2

Veteran
The Veteran has served in a branch of their nation's armed forces. They receive +1 Strength, +1 Nature, and +1 Determination, but -1 Allure. Veterans can choose a weapon from the Personal Possessions list. 

Extra Skills: 1

Have I missed any Archetypes? Comment below! 




Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Crisis on Infinite Earls

Earls will live. Earls will die. And the universe will never be the same. 

Monday, September 07, 2020

A Short, Strange Review

Dr. Strange, a 1978 TV movie adaptation of the Marvel Comics character, is much better than I expected given the poor-to-laughable quality of the contemporaneous Captain America adaptations of the same era. Philip DeGuere's film takes the subject matter seriously, refusing to delve into camp; it plays like a decent episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, with a straightforward but decently compelling story, decent performances from the leads (always a pleasure to see Anne-Marie Martin, most famous for her work in Sledge Hammer!), special effects that enhance the story despite the low budget, fair production design, and a funky soundtrack.


One gets the feeling that had this been picked up to series, it had the potential to be at least as good as The Incredible Hulk show, another artifact of the period that holds up better than one might expect.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Scary Chair

A good villain needs furniture befitting his or her status. 

And when you're a villain, you don't have to be subtle. 

I think I'm starting to do a better job of picking colours, but as you can see, even after cleaning up, there are still bits where they shouldn't be. Needs another light touch-up before I can call it finished. 


Friday, September 04, 2020

Ape Expectations

Today I assembled and painted a 28mm-scale gorilla. I really wanted to do a good job with this one, so I started by painting the whole creature black, then drybrushing with light grey to bring out the details of his fur. Finally, I used the tiniest brush I have to paint his tongue red and fangs white. In this closeup, the fangs look pretty messy, but on the table you can hardly notice. Still, perfection slipped through my fingers yet again. 

This is also the first time I decorated a base. First, I painted the base dark green, then used an old brush to "paint" white glue onto the base once the paint dried. Finally, I dusted the base with fake grass basing material. 

Overall, I'm pretty happy. 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Farewell, Kelly


I found out late last night that my friend and former colleague Kelly Fitzgibbon had passed away earlier in the day. I feel terrible for her husband and their two daughters and the many other people she touched during her all too brief life. 

What I remember most about Kelly is her consistent refusal to put up with anything she saw as unjust. She was a wonderful advocate for the marginalized and was speaking out for people the very day before she died. She also had a fantastic sense of humour, a great work ethic, and a huge heart. She shared her journey with cancer over social media and I always found her thoughts amazingly gracious, inspiring, and free of self-pity, even though she had every reason to feel sorry for herself. 

Kelly and I only worked together at the Alberta Liberal caucus for a few years, and we didn't stay in touch in person after that, though we connected on social media off and on. Even so, I still think of her as a friend and I value the time I spent working and laughing with her. 

I hope your destiny finds you in a better place, Kelly. 

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

More Colours Out of Time


 Here's a black and white photo of Mom (right) with her older sister, my Aunt Jean. It was taken sometime in the 1950s at the farm near Virden, Manitoba. 

Here's the same photo colourized by Jason Antic's image colourization software. Colourizing black and white imagery is nothing new, of course, but I'm pretty impressed by the results given how easy it is to use the software; just upload your photo and the algorithm spits out its best guess. 
I deliberately chose to shoot some of Michael and Naomi's wedding with black and white film. Here are Jeff and Susan at that wedding in glorious black and white.
And here they are in colour. 

Say what you will about the wisdom of colourization, but for all its flaws I find the process fascinating, and I imagine the colours will achieve greater fidelity and believability as the technology improves.