Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Bargain Block

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting with Sylvia in the theatre room while she was watching Bargain Block, a reality show about two guys who renovate homes. The show's hook is pretty interesting: the guys buy really cheap, awful houses in Detroit, renovate them, and then sell them at affordable prices. Typically they buy a property for $1,000 to $50,000, pour in a few tens of thousands of dollars in renovations, and sell them for $85,000 to $115,000 or so. And it all happens in one neighbourhood--a sort of two-man urban redevelopment scheme. 

It all sounds too good to be true, but I've gotten kind of hooked on the show and the two guys doing the renovations and their friend the realtor seem utterly sincere. Moreover, the renovation guys are incredibly talented, turning houses that were falling apart into genuinely beautiful spaces. 

Like all "reality" television, Bargain Block has its irritating tropes--the obviously rehearsed moments that are meant to look spontaneous, the fishy editing, the screen time wasted on establishing shots that don't relate to the story or even help set the mood, the music, etc. But the sincerity of the leads and their obvious talent shines through all that. They obviously love their work, and if the numbers they display are to be believed, they really are creating affordable housing and restoring a neighbourhood that desperately needs it. To my embarrassment, I was moved to tears by the end of one episode because of the simple everyday humanity on display. People are actually nice to each other on this show, and I think I'm starved for that. 

Search for Bargain Block on YouTube if you're interested in seeing clips from the episodes. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Big Questions #1

 If you find yourself in a shotgun shack, couldn't you just shoot your way out? 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Earlquilibrium

When the world spins out of control
We all get dizzy spells
Some of us stumble
And fall

And even as the spin increases
We help each other up

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Mine Walls

Here are some more pieces from one of the Dungeons & Lasers sets I Kickstarted. These are the reinforced walls of a mine. I used several techniques for these, starting with a coat of black primer, followed by light coats of dark brown for the wood and grey for the stone. Then, I drybrushed the wood with lighter brown and lighter grey to create highlights for the wood and stone. After that, I applied a variety of different colours to a few random rocks to suggest various ores. Finally, I applied a brown shade to the wood and a black shade to the rocks. 
 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Eight Doors

Recently I painted eight doors from one of the Dungeons & Lasers terrain sets I Kickstarted. I think my favourite is the bio-organic Alien-esque door--the one in tones of green. The portal door and the vault door might be my second and third favourites. Really, though, I'm reasonably happy with all of these. 
 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Green Ti Terminal

Here's what I envision as a public access computer terminal. The colour scheme is inspired by TD Canada Trust, and I included the Ti logo (really a wordmark, I guess) I invented for my soda machines. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Map on a Table

This fun piece of scatter terrain represents a table with a large sheet of parchment draped across it. I toyed with the idea of leaving the parchment blank, but in the end I decided to attempt painting a freehand map. It's very simple, but I think I've conveyed the idea of a river and a delta separating a lush green area from a drier area with some roads and bridges connecting small towns (or castles or fortresses, etc.). 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Arcade Cabinet

This is the second or third 28mm-scale arcade cabinet I've painted, but this time around I tried something different. Instead of attempting to paint the cabinet's screen or sides, I opted instead to cut up some bits of paper with interesting printing and glued them into place. It's not a particularly realistic illusion, but on the table it looks okay--certainly better than any cabinet art I could have attempted to paint manually. 
 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Altar of Golden Skulls

Many have tried and failed to solve the Riddle of the Altar of Golden Skulls...
 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Wooden Stairs

Here are some wooden stairs, faded from foot traffic. 
 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Stone Pillar

Sure, it's just a pillar, but I approached this with intent and achieved the result I wanted. First, I painted the whole thing black; then, I drybrushed with off-white to create the appearance of stone. Painting it black first really helped the cracks between the stones stand out. 
 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Ti Refreshments

These vending machines needed some kind of branding, so I conceptualized the simplest logo I thought I might be able to paint with a very fine brush. At first it was just a stylized T, but then I added the small i, driven by some strange impulse. While imperfect, I think my crude branding looks slightly better than nothing. 
 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Black and Gold

Sometimes simple is better. I primed these furniture pieces in black and drybrushed Retributor Armor over the decorative bits. 
 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Legion of Super-Thrones

When Dave Cockrum redesigned Duo Damsel's costume in the early 1970s, one-half the outfit was purple and the other orange, divided down the middle. When Duo Damsel split into her two selves, one wound up wearing an all-purple costume, while the other was all in orange.

 Chameleon Boy quipped "Very clever...one of you is dressed in orange, the royal colour of the days...while the other wears purple, the colour of the nights!" 

Inspired by that comic, I painted these thrones in purple and orange. 
 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Another Nuka-Cola Vending Machine

Back in 2021, I painted a Nuka-Cola vending machine. Here's one I painted just a few days ago. I'd say the newer effort represents an improvement, though the earlier one isn't bad. 
 




Friday, June 10, 2022

Johnny Quickly Painted


 
Here's Johnny Quick, the super-speedster of Earth-3's nefarious Crime Syndicate. I'd call these results fair-to-middling; I avoided adding an ink wash this time, and that was probably a mistake. I have a red wash now, so maybe I'll give that a try. 

Thursday, June 09, 2022

New Vegas Eyebot

Eyebots can be seen floating around the wastelands, broadcasting music or propaganda and occasionally zapping botflies with their laser beams. I have this one a New Vegas feel with brown tones for the robot and some desert foliage and a cow skull from a Pulp Figures set for the base. 
 

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Green Sedan

 

Same basic process as yesterday, but I didn't use any shade. 



Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Sedan with Highlights

For this 28mm-scale sedan, I wanted to push myself a little harder with regard to authenticity. I started with off-white primer, then applied several thin coats of light red, black for the wheels and windows, silver for the rims and lights, and a splash of yellow for the licence plates. Then, somewhat trepidatiously, I applied one coat of shading. While it filled in the recesses as desired, it also muddied the car's paint job (in this case, "paint job" meaning the toy world). But I'd planned for this. I drybrushed light red over the dirtiest parts, but left some areas dark and applied lots of drybrushing to the raised surfaces and anywhere the most sunlight would likely strike.

You can see the highlights a little better from this angle. 

Altogether, this was a reasonably successful experiment. 

 

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Ebb and Floe

Marooned on a slowly melting ice floe
The man with the megaphone drifts
Toward the edge of the world
One last time he raises the megaphone
And croaks out his final, vacant koan: 

"If the medium is the message, what is her fortune telling?" 

And then man, floe and megaphone
Slide over the edge, riding that great waterfall
That falls forever into the abyss

Friday, June 03, 2022

Airwolf at the Door

I watched the Airwolf pilot as a 15-year old way back when it premiered, as well as the series that followed for a couple of seasons. I remember the show as being of the same cheesy calibre of The A-Team and Knight Rider, but rewatching the pilot a couple of days ago revealed my memory, at least of the series opener, was unfair. Writer/director/producer Don Bellisario delivers a crisp 90 minutes or so of action-adventure that's pretty grounded in reasonably extrapolated technology, and main character Stringfellow Hawke has a deeper, richer backstory than I recalled, strengthened by a dark, tragic turn at the episode's climax, one with real and unexpected emotional weight. The action is solid, the direction and editing crisp, the special effects excellent for the era, and the plot, though simple, holds up, with believable geopolitics reflecting the times. This is a surprisingly mature offering. 

Does the rest of the series maintain this higher-than-expected calibre? I really don't remember, but revisiting Airwolf's origin story was a pleasant surprise.


Thursday, June 02, 2022

Road Ragers

Here are three armed and dangerous bikers. Painting the bikes was complicated and I think the results are okay for tabletop play, but I'm happiest with their bases, which I painted a couple of years ago. I used a combination of a rough texture paint and a black wash to create the asphalt, then carefully added the yellow lines. 
 

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Hoop Dream

Once again I used Retributor Armor to add some glamour and pizzazz to something that should be a little showy--in this case, a flaming hoop. I wasn't sure how to create the flame effect, so I took a guess and started with a yellow contrast paint, covering the entire surface of the translucent plastic representing the fire. Then, I used red contrast paint lightly around the edges. I think it looks pretty good.