Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Sinister Podium

When sinister villains need a spot to orate about their diabolical plans, I have them covered with this stylish podium. 
 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Letterboxd List Progress May 2022

 

In my quest to watch every movie ever made, I'm naturally devoting a lot of my time to tracking down the greats. If I don't live long enough to see every film, I'm at least going to try seeing the most acclaimed. Lists aren't infallible or unbiased, and they'll inevitably miss many great works, but they serve as an excellent starting point. Above, you can see where I stood as of last March in terms of completing twelve of the "best-of" lists selected by Letterboxd. 

Here's where I stand now. Note that Guillermo del Toro's Film Recommendations has been replaced by Top 250 Horror. For the record, I'm now at 51% of the del Toro list. The Top 100 Documentaries is now the Top 250 Documentaries; amusingly, despite watching a bunch of documentaries since last March, my percentage complete remains exactly the same. 

As you can see, I'm tantalizingly close to finishing off the IMDb Top 250--just 15 more movies to go, including big titles such as Wall-E and Requiem for a Dream and lesser-known works such as The Secret in Their Eyes and Jai Bhim

I'm off to a good start with the Top 250 Horror list, which comes as no surprise since I'm a fan of the genre. I've made quite a bit of progress on the Top 100 Animation List, discovering incredible works like Perfect Blue and Waltz with Bashir alongside the formulaic Disney stuff that gets more and more grating as I grow older and more cynical. 

For Sama is a heart-wrenching documentary about the civil war in Syria that appears on a couple of these lists. The first time I tried to watch it, I had to stop about ten minutes into the film because it was wreaking emotional havoc on me. I came back to it about a month later and managed to finish, and I'm glad I did. It's brutal, courageous, honest, and moving, and it's also an important historical document. It's on Amazon Prime--don't miss it. 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Action!

Let's call this grizzled studio veteran Alfred Ford, eccentric, tyrannical, but gifted director of motion pictures. Not only is this miniature better painted than those I've been posting for the last few days, but I found a light source to help create clearer photographs in this environment. 


 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Painted a Mechanoid

Or "P.A.M." Not happy at all with this one. Looks muddy, washed out, lacks detail. 
 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Tinker Tom the Wasteland's Son

Here's Tinker Tom, a Railroader mechanic. I like his skin tones, and his clothing looks okay. I should have painted the base white, then dry-brushed the brick surfaces so that I would have had contrasting mortar lines. Live and learn. 
 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Little Drummer Boy

Here's Drummer Boy, another Railroader from Fallout 4. Like several of my minis, this one looks better on the table than it does in a close-up photograph taken with mediocre-to-bad lighting conditions. 
 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

They Call Him Mister Tims

Here's another member of Fallout 4's Railroad faction, Mr. Tims. I used contrast paints for his suit, then drybrushed on some highlights; the model looks better in real life than it does in this photo. 
 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Doctor Carrington

Here's Doctor Carrington, and only now so I see that I forgot to paint his tie. Unless he deliberately chose a white tie to go with his white shirt and white jacket. Well, he's a scientist, so who knows? 
 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Desdemona

Here's Desdemona, leader of the Railroad faction in Fallout 4. For a challenging figure, I think I did all right here. I like the base, her vest, her hair and features, and the weapon is...all right. It's playable, at least. 
 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Gunner Conscript

No wonder this guy is angry; he's been conscripted into the service of the violent and deadlyk Gunners mercenary faction. Face and hair are okay here; weapons passable, base not bad. 
 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Another Gunner Private

Here's another Gunner private. Face and hair are terrible here, weapon and outfit merely passable. Not one of my better efforts. 
 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Gunner Private

Here's a private from my small squad of Fallout: Wasteland Warfare Gunners. Face is okay, hair decent, and I like that the armor plating stands out from the rest of her outfit. The dried mud base is all right, too. But still - needs greater definition. 
 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Gunner Sergeant

Here's a Gunner Sergeant to help ensure that the Gunner Commander's orders are well-executed. I'm a bit happier with this model; I feel his various parts are better differentiated, and his face is actually reasonably human. 
 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Gunner Commander

Here's one of a handful of Gunners I painted over the weekend. This one's clad in a set of power armour, sans helmet. I regret the dark brown I chose for the base. The Gunner's face is okay, and the armor's not bad. And yet the model still lacks that sense of depth and realism I keep striving for, even after several retries on this figure. 
 

Monday, May 09, 2022

Grognak's Greatest Foe

At right, we have Grognak, the blonde barbarian featured in comic books scattered around the post-nuclear holocaust world of the Fallout computer games. I bought two of these models because they make great standard barbarian archetypes, but wound up thinking of Grognak's world and the enemies he might face. Many great heroes eventually face their mirror image, so I came up with Kangorg, Grognak's evil doppelgänger. But for their hair and clothing, you'd never know the difference--until they act. 
 

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Mother's Day 2022

Sean and I helped Mom in the garden yesterday and wished her Happy Mother's Day then, but I wanted to mark the occasion today too. I'm very grateful to Mom for her love, guidance, and the example she set, and I'm looking forward to celebrating a milestone birthday with her, Sean, Sylvia, and our aunts and uncle this summer. Happy Mother's Day! 
 

Saturday, May 07, 2022

The 28mm Thing from Another World

Because The Thing from Another World was shot in black and white, I don't know what the titular alien might have looked like in colour I tried to imagine what the costume designers of that time might have done, and so I settled on a metallic sheen for his spacesuit, green skin, and purple hair. 

Friday, May 06, 2022

Monitoring Antarctica

I'm pretty happy with the neatness of this console. I'm getting better at steadying my hand and applying the right amount of paint to tiny, tiny details like the buttons and switches seen here. 
 

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Doctor Frankenstein

Here's Doctor Frankenstein, ready to bring down the lightning that will galvanize his grim collection of body parts into a living, breathing monster. But who is the real monster? 
 

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Pig Platter

Here is a 28mm-scale roast pig, served up on a platter of fruits and vegetables. 
 

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Sausage Barrel

Sausage links, just seven copper pieces per stone! 
 

Monday, May 02, 2022

A Chilly Relationship

I have some winter terrain from a Kickstarter coming soon, and in preparation I've painted and based a number of miniatures to suit that terrain. Here's a fellow lugging snowshoes (why isn't he wearing them?) and his faithful wolf hound. 
 

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Old West Bank Patron

This little lady came as one-third of a set of people you might find at a bank in the mid-to-late 1800s. I'm not terribly happy with my colour choices, but what's done is done. 
 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Master Detective

What ho! Something's afoot in the drawing room, eh what? A knife in the back and yet all doors and windows locked tight from the inside before we arrived. A perplexing pickle indeed! 
 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Green McRoth Steamobile

This is my second McRoth Steamobile. I painted the first in shades of purple; this one, as you can see, in shades of green, with gold accents. 

I wasn't quite as successful in applying natural-looking highlights as I had hoped. It's not just about applying the paint, it's about understanding how light works and where highlights would appear. 
Even so, I judge this one of my better recent efforts. 


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Oregon Trail Mixup

Woe is me
I've posted again
AI artwork that's the same
A post repeat I much regret
Causing me to fume and fret

Thanks be to Jeff
Faithful reader
Who spots it when my effort's meagre

What can I do but
Add a poem
Edit title
Nourishing loam? 

Woe is me
A repeat post
Overstaying its welcome
Unfriendly ghost



 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Monday, April 25, 2022

Oyoubyourys

I made this simple map of a fantasy planet with a browser tool called Inkarnate. Even using the limited tools available with the free version, you can generate a pleasing map for display or your favourite roleplaying game. Pretty nifty. 
 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Another New Dream Job

When awareness comes, I'm sitting in a four-person cubicle, one person intended for each quarter. But there are only two other people here, two young women, one blonde, one brunette; the other quarter of the desk has no chair or equipment; it's given over to storage. 

I'm wearing a suit, and I have a typewriter. There's a sheet in it, but it's blank. 

I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. The two women pay no attention to me; they're focused entirely on their own work. 

Bewildered, I rise. Our cubicle is but one in a sea of them, a sea that covers the expansive floor space entirely save for one walled office in a far corner. I make my way there through the narrow passages between the cubicles, certain that the office must have a supervisor. 

The door is open. I rap gently on the doorframe, and a dark-haired woman in her mid-forties turns away from her conversation and looks at me blankly. 

"Earl? What's up?" 

"When you have a minute, can I talk to you?" I ask. 

"Sure," she says, and goes back to her business. 

On my way back to my cubicle, I take a closer look at my surroundings. Everyone is working on typewriters and using notepads. There are no computers, no monitors, no smartphones. I spot a Telex machine nestled into the corner opposite the office. 

My heart starts to pound. Something's wrong here. 

The dark-haired woman comes to collect me before I even reach my cubicle. "Let's go take care of that pitch meeting with the executive producer," she says. 

She escorts me to an office I hadn't noticed before and shuts the door behind us. A grey-haired executive is leaning back in an expensive-looking wood and leather chair, feet propped up on an even more expensive-looking desk. The office is crammed full of books and magazines, with old movie posters on the wall. 

"Who've you got for me today, Amanda?" the executive asks. 

"This is Earl Woods. He has some ideas for the Star Trek movie that's been stalling us for so long." 

I do? I think. 

"Great, let's hear them. Can't be any worse than some of the other pitches." 

It takes me a moment to collect my thoughts. Given the setting, I realize they must be talking about the first Star Trek movie to debut after the original show. 

I reply with a bit of a stammer at first, but I find my footing quickly enough. "Let's say it's five years after the Enterprise has returned from its five-year mission. Captain Kirk is an admiral now, and Spock is the captain of the Enterprise. We have a bigger budget for effects than they did in the original show, so we can establish that the Enterprise has been refit - she's completely new, with the same basic shape, but she's sleeker, faster, more powerful." 

I feel bad about stealing so much from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but it's all I can think of at the moment. But maybe I can get creative from this point. 

"There's a new first officer, Will Decker - the son of Commodore Decker from 'The Doomsday Machine.' You remember him. Spock is thinking of leaving Starfleet, and he intends to recommend Decker to command the Enterprise when the time comes. 

"But there's a signal from a deep-space communications station. Their extreme-range scans have picked up evidence of a megastructure long imagined but never seen: a ringworld, a vast living space built in the habitable zone of a star, with a total surface area of millions of Class M planets. It's an incredible scientific discovery, and only the refit Enterprise has the advanced labs and sensors to do justice to an exploration mission. 

"The Federation wants diplomatic and high-ranking Starfleet representation on this mission in case the ringworld is inhabited. Admiral Kirk ensures he's the Starfleet officer that gets to go, and as ambassador the Federation sends Ilia, an empathic Deltan gifted in the diplomatic arts. 

"The journey to the ringworld will take months, even at warp speed, but we'll just cover the most important events: building our new characters, reintroducing our original characters, and showing the Enterprise crew preparing for the scientific and diplomatic aspects of the mission.

"When the Enterprise finally reaches the ringworld, it's important that we show the mind-boggling scale of the construct. The Enterprise is but a gnat compared to the ringworld; close up, it will look like a vast, flat wall in space. The ring's curvature can only be perceived with enough distance. 

"The science teams perform sensor scans as the Enterprise approaches this strange new world. But not long after the crew catches their first glimpse of the star-facing side of the ring--revealing vast seas, forests, cities, farmlands, mountain ranges, jungles--world after world after world, laid out flat on a giant ring--it happens.

"While Admiral Kirk, Ambassador Ilia, and the senior staff are discussing first contact protocols, Mr. Spock, Lieutenant Commander Uhura, Lieutenant Chekov, and Commander Scott vanish from existence. 

"Admiral Kirk immediately takes command of the ship, much to the consternation of Commander Decker, who really should be next in line. Kirk says his experience on the five-year mission trumps Decker's greater familiarity with the Enterprise refit. 

"Admiral Kirk hails the ringworld, but no one answers. Kirk orders all shuttles launched to perform sensor scans of different sections of the ringworld, but with such a massive amount of territory to cover, the effort could take years without the wildest stroke of luck. 

"But on the ringworld, we, the audience, learn that Spock Uhura, Chekov, and Scott find themselves in the arid foothills of a desert mountain range...with no equipment. Atop one mountain is a spire that reaches toward the stars until it disappears, extending out of the atmosphere and into the darkness. With no other obvious clue to what they should do, they set out for the spire on foot..." 

"I like it so far," the executive says. "Spend the weekend with it, finish it up. I have a golf game coming up." 

I'm relieved, because I had no concept of an ending. But I do have more immediate concerns. 

When we leave the executive's office, I ask Amanda to sit down with me in a little lounge area. 

"Have you heard of DVDs or Blu-Rays?" I ask. 

"No," she says. 

"Smart phones?" 

"What's that?" 

"Nine eleven?" 

She shrugs. 

I tell her that I have no memory of being hired, or what my job is. She looks concerned, and said I should get checked out for a concussion or amnesia. 

"It's worse than that," I tell her, almost crying. "This is the part that's going to make me sound crazy. What year is this?" 

"What year? It's 1976," she answers. 

"Oh, god," I groan. "I'm from 2022. I'm not supposed to be here. Oh god, what's happening?" 

Thankfully, I transition back to the other world, the one with Sylvia and COVID-19. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Earl's Pizza Commandments

Just minutes ago I was involved in a group text discussion with Sean, Jeff, and Stephen, and there was some disagreement on acceptable pizza toppings. For the record, here's my comprehensive list of toppings I would and would not eat willingly: 

My Favourite Toppings
Cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, feta) 
Tomato sauce
Bolognese sauce
Pepperoni
Ham (including prosciutto)
Salami
Ground beef
Red pepper
Green pepper
Yellow pepper
Onion
Green onion
Shrimp
Pineapple
Fresh tomato
Bacon
Jalapenos 
Various savory herbs and spices


Toppings Good in Certain Combinations
Potato slices
Sour cream
Marinara sauce
Chili peppers
Sundried tomatoes
Spinach
Taco shells

Toppings I'll Choke Down to Be Polite or if I'm Really Starving
Mushrooms (though I will pick them out on the sly if I can do so unseen) 
Chicken
Sausage
Donair meat
Steak (too chewy, plus risk of fat and gristle, eewwww)
Carrot slices (raw only) 

Uncivilized Toppings Fit Only for the Demented
Beets
Yams
Sweet potatoes
Liver
Fish
Black olives
Pickles
Ketchup
Mayo
Relish
Kale
Kimchi
Turnip
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Green olives


These choices seem reasonable to me, but when it comes to the human palate, tastes may, of course, vary. 

Monday, April 18, 2022

A Pair of Rangers

These figures struck me as Dungeons and Dragons rangers, so I painted them in earth tones, and I think it works. For once I'm even happy with how the faces turned out. 
 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Meet the Hammersmashes

Here are a pair of dwarves. Sean dubbed the man "Donny Hammersmash," so I dub the woman "Dorothy Hammersmash." They seem made for each other. 
 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Nash Layfayettes

Here we have a 28mm-scale Nash Lafayette and a Nash Lafayette convertible, each with its own driver. I think the hardtop needs another thin coat of blue, while the convertible looks pretty decent. 

I painted the individual model parts before gluing them together, which really helped me keep the colours where they should go. 





Friday, April 15, 2022

First Baron, Last Baron

Readers of this blog will know that the Burger Baron chain holds a special place in the hearts of many Canadians, among them my brother and me. Behold this poster for The Last Baron, a documentary about the strange history of Burger Baron, for Sean gets a special credit on that very poster for being one of the very first to back the film's production. How amazingly cool is that? I hope this gets released on physical media, because I'll definitely pick it up. 
 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Paintin' on the Dock of the Bay, Wastin' Time

Here's a small dock. I painted it to appear as though wear and salt from the sea damaged the wooden bits over time. I think I'm happiest with the rope, though; just a couple of thin coats of sunset yellow, followed by a black ink wash.