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. 


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

More Mattresses

Once I finished painting my small collection of ramshackle shacks, I realized I'd need more mattresses for the inhabitants. Stained and moldy as they are, they're better than the cold, hard ground. 
 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Jurgen Tolstoy, the Fishtorian

Here is a 28mm-scale representation of Jurgen Tolstoy, known far and wide as "The Fishtorian" for his almost believable tales of fishing history and legends. Some say that he is far older than he looks, and that he has gone by many names . . . 

I painted this generic fisherman mini in colours I thought fitting for the profession: orange boots, gloves, and hat, yellow rain slicker, a red and white first aide kit, etc. At this close range, you can see all the flaws of my paint job, and the lack of any sort of depth or nuance; this guy is strictly paint-by-numbers. I think it's partially a matter of confidence; this miniature has a lot of very tiny details, so I focus on trying to "colour between the lines," as it were, while avoiding any complicated techniques. 


 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Motorcycle Bases

I'm in the process of painting three miniature motorcycles and their drivers. I started with the bases, challenging myself a little to give them not just the right colour, but also the right texture. I painted the bases with a base coat of black, then added Astrogranite technical paint for texture. Astrogranite is light grey, so once it dried I added ink wash to turn the pieces black again. Finally, I used a square-cut brush to paint yellow dividing lines on each base, trying out different angles and positions to simulate wayward movement of the cycles on the road.

I'm pretty happy with these; hopefully the rest of the pieces will look as good.  
 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Hand Stones

Here's a collection of mysterious stones. I added the flowers to suggest these are ancient and overgrown, but I think I'll need to group these on a larger base together to really sell the effect. On their own, they look a little goofy. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Asphalt Sidewalks

Here's a small collection of miniature asphalt sidewalk pieces. Once again I had trouble determining the right amount of ink wash; the curbs, as a result, look dirtier than they should. On the other hand, I supposed urban sidewalks don't look pristine very often anyway. 


 

Friday, June 11, 2021

The Second Dose

It is not the end of COVID-19, nor even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. Earlier this afternoon, Sylvia and I received our second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. While caution remains necessary, it's still an exciting step. To anyone who's ever visited the blog, I hope you and yours are staying safe and that your own vaccinations are coming soon. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Woola

 

Here is John Carter's pet calot, Woola. He didn't turn out as well as John Carter or Tars Tarkas, but he looks okay on the table. 


I tried to give Woola's skin some shading, but I think the contrast between colours was too subtle. 

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

John Carter Leaps into Action


Here's a 28mm John Carter of Mars. I like him well enough, though he didn't turn out quite as well as Tars Tarkas. I do like that he has some definition in his face, though, and the metallic parts of his harness provide a hint of realism. 

This side-by-side comparison shows that Green Martians are much taller than humans and the humanoid Martian species. 


Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Tars Tarkas

Last night I painted this 28mm-scale miniature of Tars Tarkas, one of the savage Green Men of Mars, loyal friend to John Carter. The miniature sculpt is quite detailed and accurately captures Tars' look from the Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. 

In this case, I painted the model's separate pieces individually and then glued them together once the painting was done. This allowed me to reach spots on the model's chest, abdomen, and arms that I wouldn't have been able to access if I'd assembled the model first. It was a bit of a pain, but the effort was worth it. 
 

Monday, June 07, 2021

Base in Space

I was going for a quasi-Martian surface, a romantic, old-school idea of Mars. That might provide a clue as to who might wind up standing on this base...

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Fisk Trailer

Here we have a mobile office of the type commonly seen on construction sites. Since I used to work for ATCO, which produces units like this, I decided to paint this 28mm-scale model in ATCO colours, though of course in the real world the yellow stripe goes on top. 

It took many, many coats of white paint to accomplish even this level of whiteness, which as you can see isn't exactly uniform. It is, however, much better than it was for most of the painting process. 

I haven't quite finished. I'll add a light ink wash and some weathering effects to make this look like it's been soiled by the dust and debris kicked up by construction. 

Friday, June 04, 2021

Earl's Nut Ranking

1. Macadamia nuts. Balanced moisture, superb flavour, splits into pleasing halves, satisfying crunch, excellent with chocolate.
2. Brazil nuts. Excellent nutty flavour, nice moisture, good crunch, large size.
3. Pistachios. Pleasing green colour, excellent flavour, balanced moisture, but must be shelled; sometimes shells are impossible to crack and put teeth and patience at risk. 
4. Cashews. Technically a drupe, not a nut. Pleasing shape, divides into halves nicely, chewy texture, sweet nutty flavor; size varies widely.
5. Filberts. Solid crunch, splits nicely into halves, savory/sweet flavour, but only medium-sized at best.
6. Walnuts. Large size, excellent moisture, strong flavour; suffers in that the meat must be broken into pieces to enjoy due to the structure of its shell.
7. Peanuts. Signature peanut flavour, good crunch, medium moisture, but small size.
8. Pecans. Unsatisfying, over-soft texture, decent flavour, no crunch, medium-sized at best.
9. Pine nuts. Weird flavour, too soft, tiny; best used in pesto or other recipes. 
10. Almonds. Sharp, bitter flavour, very dry, medium size, has an unappealing "skinned" or "bleached" variant. 

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Exit the Nunja

Her mission accomplished the
Nunja follows the passage that
Leads to the now-peaceful street

As is her habit, she pockets her
Nun-chucks and
Somewhat fussily beats the dust
From her black and white robes

Then the brave Nunja
Thanks God for giving her strength
And asks His forgiveness
For the violence

She doesn't know
God fixes them up right after
And nurtures the sparks of righteousness
That bloom with every Nun-chuck'd bruise