Monday, July 26, 2021

I Wanted to Love This, But I Don't

 

As a fan of both Paul McCartney and Beck, I was pretty excited when I ran across this new music video just a few minutes ago. But while "Find My Way" has an interesting beat, it just doesn't grab me like I hoped it would. Plus, the CGI version of young Paul falls deep into the uncanny valley. I guessed the final reveal, though! 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Nelson and Murdock's Apartment Building

Just now, in the wee hours of the morning, I finished painting this 28mm-scale New York office/apartment building. 

As you can see, this building is set in the Marvel Comics version of New York. 
I believe this is the largest terrain piece I've painted so far. 

I tried to make the building look a little grungy and aged by adding a murky ink wash and some dry brush effects. 

I'm quite pleased that the Nelson and Murdock sign is legible. The dry brushing here isn't perfect, but given how teeny-weeny the job, I'm more than happy. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Fib

I
Lied
When I
Said that I
Knew the rule of five
The truth is found on the sixth line

Friday, July 23, 2021

Desert Outbuilding Mark II

Yesterday Jeff posted some excellent tips for improving my desert outbuilding, and I took them to heart. I repainted the driveway in basic black, then sprayed a thin layer of glue over the driveway and building. I sprinkled sand over all surfaces to give the place a weatherbeaten look. Then, I popped in some foliage for a bit more character. 

I left the cargo module alone, since I might need it for other environments and I was pretty happy with it anyway. 
Here's an anachronistic merchant for scale. 


 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Desert Outbuilding

So here's a desert outbuilding and some cargo stored next to it. I'm happy with the paint job on the walls and cargo, but I'll probably take another stab at the driveway. I just couldn't find a result I liked, and as a result, I have a mess. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Alps Over a Century Past

 

Here's a very sharp, clear glimpse of the Alps as they were in 1917. Trains, horses with sleighs, iced-over streams melting, dapper ladies and gentlemen seemingly overdressed for the weather by modern standards--it's all pretty fascinating. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Against the Grain

It's hard to tell from this crudely-shot photo, but the Vallejo "Wood Grain" paint Sean introduced me to really does a great job of making plastic look like wood. Thanks Sean! 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Inkwashed Tower

Here's my Modular Realms tower, finished at last inside and out. I'm pretty happy with it. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Cobblestone Tower

Here's the tower that came with the Modular Realms Kickstarter project. As with the cottage, I'm trying to make this look as though it's been built with many different kinds of stone. I'm going to call the outside finished aside from an ink wash. After that, I'll do it all over again with the interior walls . . . 
 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Cyberpunk Bridge


 
Here's a vaguely futuristic bridge from the near future. Metallic tones seemed right, and I tried to create a bit of overhead lighting by painting the underside's oval bar neon blue with a touch of silver. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Countdown to Enerdity

In a little over an hour, I'll be live on Twitch for an exciting two-hour episode of Star Trek Adventures. Join the crew of the USS Artemis at 8 PM MT at twitch.tv/MassiveDamageAdventures
 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Don't Miss an Astonishing Star Trek Adventure Wednesday Night!

My friend Meric Moir has been running tabletop and virtual roleplaying adventures for years now, and I'm very excited to be part of his crew this Wednesday, July 14, partaking for the first time in the Star Trek Adventures system by Modiphius. The two-hour single-shot adventure will be broadcast live at  twitch.tv/MassiveDamageAdventures starting at 8 PM MT. 

What's a twitch stream? It's like watching a television show focused on a handful of real people playing a game. Sometimes they're playing a board game, sometimes they're playing a video game, and in this case, we're playing a roleplaying game. I'm playing the role of fresh-faced young Ensign Barnaby Meme Throughput, the flight officer (pilot) of the USS Artemis. Who knows what new worlds the Artemis will encounter? Find out Wednesday night, and as added incentive, you could WIN your share of $500 in gaming giveaways. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Fancy Cola

Today Sean and Sylvia and I took Mom to the HomeRoom Diner in Devon, where we enjoyed a truly superb brunch with locally-sourced ingredients. It was magnificent. Even the soda I ordered was local, brewed in Calgary. (Relatively local, I guess.) Quite tasty, with a strong nutmeg/cinnamon taste. 
 

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Mom Takes Another Spin around the Sun

It's Mom's birthday again today, and I'm marking the occasion by showcasing one of my favourite photos of her. Here she is sometime in the early 1950s, enjoying a dip at the pool, presumably somewhere in southern Manitoba. Originally a black and white image, this photograph has been colourized by software. 

Today would be a good day for a dip in the pool; it's going to be over 30 degrees Celsius today, which is why Mom postponed her birthday lunch until tomorrow, when it's supposed to be cooler. 
 

Friday, July 09, 2021

Sad Ambulance

In my own defence, I'm not finished painting this yet. But oof, what was I thinking? I mean, the base colour is okay, and the Red Cross symbols turned out all right considering I did them freehand, but that red trim is just awful. 

My aim here was to paint this in the style of a real-life ambulance that I encountered in 1995. A friend of Jeff and Susan's came over to help them move, and he arrived in a vehicle something like this. 
 

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Shifting Sands

I suppose this set of magnetic terrain tiles doesn't look that different than the mud flats I shared earlier, but just as a reminder to myself, I used three different shades of brown and a brown wash to create this effect. It's supposed to be desert. I'm tempted to apply a light coating of actual sand with spray glue, but I'm scared...
 

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Wee Stone Cottage

Here's another item from the Modular Realms Kickstarter, a little 28mm-scale cottage. I tried to paint this to make it look like the cottage was assembled with assorted stones, some wood, and "painted" (in the world of the game) "wooden" shingles. 
 

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Floor Tile


Another Modular Realms tile painted; this time, it's a wooden floor. It looks better in person than it does in this photo, thankfully. 

Monday, July 05, 2021

Mud Flats


Here's another Modular Realms magnetic dungeon tile. I painted this one to simulate a square patch of dried-out mud flats. 

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Ocean Square

This is the flip side of yesterday's Pride tile. I lack water terrain, so I painted this side as a small 3x3 segment of a roiling ocean. As you can see, some colours from the Pride side were accidentally transferred to the ocean side. But I think they add a little something; they might be little splotches of algae or reflections from the sky or flotsam of some kind. 
 

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Pride Flagstones

I'm a little late for Pride Month, but I wanted to see what Pride colours would look like on this 28mm-scale 3x3 magnetic flagstone tile. It's the first tile I've painted from the Modular Realms Kickstarter I supported last year. I think this is one of those cases where I should not have added ink wash. They do give the tile a bit more depth, but they also mute the colours. Luckily I have several of these tiles, so I can try again. 

Friday, July 02, 2021

Yellow Roof

Here's a section of cottage roof. Still needs an ink wash. 
 

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Unhappy Canada Day

The Great Western Canadian Heat Wave of 2021 hit me hard last night, and the effects have lasted all Canada Day. Normally this would not be a big deal, except that I was really looking forward to today because it would have been the first social gathering Sylvia and I have attended since before the COVID-19 pandemic hit; and for that matter, the first time in years that we had decent plans for Canada Day. 

So I guess I'm feeling a bit out of sorts. And now I feel guilty, because hundreds of people in British Columbia are dead thanks to the heat wave, and there are probably more casualties around the world that I haven't heard of yet. 

And it scares me that this could be the new normal.

I'm glad that my friends were able to get together, though, and there will be other gatherings. 

Ugh, my privilege is leaking. 

JULY 4 UPDATE

Turns out my privilege really was leaking because in my heat-addled haze, I hadn't realized that there were calls around the country to cancel or at least tone down Canada Day celebrations to recognize the old wounds of Indigenous peoples in Canada freshly torn open by the discovery of mass graves at several locations across the country. To complain about a missed gathering obviously feels pretty tone deaf in retrospect, and if any Indigenous people ever read this blog, please accept my apologies for my insensitivity. For some great reflections on this topic, please see my friend Steve's blog: Oh . . . Canada

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Dramatic Irony

 Weak as a kitten starting at about 7:30 tonight. I think maybe I have heat exhaustion

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Heat Exhaustion vs Heat Stroke

The US National Weather Service created a handy infographic to help people learn the difference in symptoms between heat exhaustion and (much more serious) heat stroke. I know I've experienced heat exhaustion several times in my life, and I'm pretty sure that I've experienced heat stroke at least once, based on this chart. Luckily I survived even without medical treatment, but I'll never count on that kind of dumb luck again. 
 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Heat Wave 2021

Art by KC Green, 2013


Welcome to the coolest summer of the rest of your life. Edmonton is expected to enjoy (to varying degrees, pun intended) temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and above every day this week, more +30 highs in just a few days than the region has experienced collectively in the last five years. Of course, weather is not climate and even outlier events like these cannot be definitively linked to global warming, but the problem is...when are extreme weather events like this no longer outliers, but the new normal? 

 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Ensign Barnaby Meme Throughput

Who is this fresh-faced young lad? Why, it's Ensign Barnaby Meme Throughput, straight out of Starfleet Academy and ready for his first assignment. Artwork by the Star Trek Miniature Maker 2.0. For a few nights this summer, I'll be putting Ensign Throughput through his paces in a Star Trek Adventures RPG hosted by my friend Meric. Should be fun! 
 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

John Ottman and Superman Returns

John Williams created one of the greatest film scores of all times when he composed Superman (1978). I've listened to Williams' iconic music for the Man of Steel for decades now, and from the first track to the last, it never fails to give me chills. 

However, I must say that I enjoy John Ottman's Superman Returns soundtrack almost as much. While Ottman draws heavily on Williams' themes, he also contributes a good deal of original music, and the best of his work captures the bittersweet melancholy of the film. Superman Returns is far from a perfect film, but Ottman helped some of the story's most important moments land successfully. This track, "How Could You Leave Us?," beautifully expresses the wonder of a flying alien contrasted with his own personal heartbreak and the anguish people felt when Superman left Earth in search of surviving Kryptonians. 


It's too bad that WB saw Superman Returns as a failure. I would have loved to see Ottman score another Superman film, perhaps one not tied quite so heavily to the Donner films, and it would have been great to see Brandon Routh return as the character, too, hopefully with a better story for whatever villain they might have chosen. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Where Is the Epic Put-the-Fear-of-God-into-Them Climate Change Film?

When nuclear holocaust was humanity's greatest fear, a handful of key films explored what effect a nuclear war might have on civilization. Dramatic pictures such as Threads and The Day After and documentaries like If You Love This Planet painted pictures so unbelievably grim that some people my age still shudder with dismay at the memories. It's hard to say how much films like these pressured the world's peoples into making nuclear arms less acceptable and therefore led to the nuclear arms reductions of the 1990s, but there was at the very least some subconscious impact on the public consciousness. 

The movies I mention above were released in the early 1980s, one of the heights of the Cold War, a time when nuclear war seemed to some not only possible, but perhaps inevitable. 

Why then, I wonder, has there not been a single big-budget, mainstream drama about the end of the world due to climate change? I'm not talking about farcical disaster films, but serious dramas that truly capture the existential threat.  

I suspect that one reason is the different natures of the catastrophes. Nuclear war happens suddenly, with worldwide devastation wrought in mere minutes. Climate change is, in human terms, more of a slow-motion crisis. Plus, it's easy to understand the immediate threat of big bombs; the threat of drought, crop failure, sea level rise, and a rising number of extreme weather events feels less like a disaster and more like something that might happen, sometime after I'm dead, in places far away from me. 

I won't be surprised when someone makes this movie, though; a sprawling epic told across decades, from the days in the mid-20th century when the danger was first recognized to the end of days when the world's societal and economic systems can no longer cope with the increasing rate of change and we collapse together into barbarism. 

I hope whoever it is makes it soon, though, because the general public and world's movers and shakers need the emotional gut punch of a Day After or Threads to push us back on track. It may already be too late, of course, but one can hope otherwise. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Ho-Hum Humvee

Well, this didn't turn out at all. I tried applying four shades of red at various stages to give this 28mm Humvee a weathered, realistic look. Unfortunately, I have a vaguely monotone mess that looks nothing like what I envisioned. But if I don't experiment, I'll never get better, so I guess this counts as a successful failure. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Alfred Pennyworth

I've been fiddling with this 28mm scale miniature of Alfred Pennyworth a few minutes at a time over the course of several weeks. The perfect being the enemy of the good, I'm stopping here. Although perhaps well short of "good." 

Alfred Pennyworth, is, of course, Batman's butler. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Stone Bridge


Tonight I experimented with this miniature stone bridge, the first piece I've painted from the massive Dungeons & Lasers project I Kickstarted last year. Having spent an entire evening painting last night's miniature for rather mixed results, I knew I needed to attempt some of the tricks that other painters use to speed up the process. This is important because I have literally hundreds of pieces of terrain to paint, and I don't want to spend the rest of my life doing it. The idea is that these bits of plastic and resin and steel are meant to be played with, so finishing is important. 

In the case of this stone bridge, I threw caution to the wind and tried to approach the piece more by feel than analysis. The piece was molded in dark grey plastic, a good base, I thought. I started with a base coat of slightly lighter grey, then inkwashed it. After that, I drybrushed a coat of still lighter grey overtop, just letting my hands guide me without trying to second-guess where the brush strokes were taking me. I painted the flowerpot tops red to represent roses, dotting the bridge with a couple of fallen "petals." Finally, I added just a tiny bit of dark wash to each flowerpot. 

The bridge has "wooden" supports, so I painted that entire square section dark brown, inkwashed it with brown wash, and then used metallic silver to carefully dot the rivets - probably the slowest part of the process, but even then, I tried to let my hands stay in control. 


All told, it took me about 20 minutes to paint this bridge. As a bonus, I'm much happier with the results than I am with yesterday's lich. Feels like success. 


Monday, June 21, 2021

Acererak the Lich

Here is Acererak the Lich, a hideous villain I painted tonight. This one took me quite some time, because for the first time I followed an official tutorial and used each of the recommended paints and washes in turn. I like the crown and face and the robes, but I'm not a fan of how the staff turned out; there are supposed to be two visible skeletal hands clutching it, and I just couldn't squint hard enough to find the detail I needed to find to highlight them properly. Still, not bad, I guess, and it was a good exercise. 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Paint Stands

I have two more of the triangular type to build, and then I'll have enough stands for all my paint pots, with room to spare for more. Woo! 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Painting Station

Today I assembled this painting station. It's part of my drive to declutter and organize my living space while making my hobbies easier to pursue. There's plenty of room here for a wide selection of paint and other necessities, plus a decent-sized painting area. The station complements the paint and brush stands I put together a while back. 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Rock Garden of Ages

By painting a dirt path and "planting" some flowers and hay on a piece of cardboard, I've created my first piece of scratch terrain. 

The standalone rock features I was unhappy with a few days ago are incorporated into this build. 
Some 28mm minifigures for scale.