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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Grapefruits of Wrath

I found a way to run Stable Diffusion on my own PC rather than using the various web hosting services. My first prompt was "A grapefruit contemplates the meaning of life, oil painting in the style of Michaelangelo and DaVinci." I wasn't pleased with the first result. Not only does it look as if the AI merely cropped out a slice of existing, human-painted work, it doesn't capture my intent. 

So I rendered the same prompt again, and Stable Diffusion came up with this much more pleasing (?) result. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Pulp Aviatrix

Here's a Pulp Figures aviatrix. I'm pretty happy with this one, from the colour choices to the highlighting to the facial expression. V for victory! 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Crash and Burn

Am I talking about what happened to turn these Car Wars models into wrecks, or am I talking about my attempt to paint them? I'm calling these done for now, but I know there's more I could do. Weathering these is proving more challenging than I thought. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Captain Kirk of Earth-2022

AI art is getting wackier/scarier/more amazing by the day, it seems. My prompt for this was "Captain Kirk goes over Niagara Falls in a barrel, oil painting in the style of DaVinci." This result is not at all what I had in mind, and yet it's somehow arresting. (Interpret that adjective however you see fit.) Made with Stable Diffusion's DreamStudio

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Piles of Gold

Individually painted coins and gems! Well, some of them. Off.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Bushy Barricades

Some barricades with foliage to provide cover for wasteland warriors. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Plain Barricade


Double Dungeon Door Display

Here are two more finished dungeon doors from one of the Dungeons & Lasers terrain Kickstarters I backed. Not bad! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Little Buddha

Painting this tiny Buddha statue was simple, but the results are nonetheless pleasing. A couple of thin coats of different shades of bronze and gold followed by an ink wash did the job. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

On Wings of Eagles

With thanks to Jeff S. for the inspiration. 

They arrived by Eagle, of course, setting down gently on launch pad three, the pilot expertly firing the retro-rockets just enough to not quite overcome the tug of the Moon's one-sixth gravity. 

Flying would have been faster, Clark thought to himself in the passenger compartment. But then, there's no reason for Superman to be on the Moon, is there? 

An Australian accent crackled over the intercom. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived at Moonbase Alpha. We will be debarking in a moment, once Eagle Four has reached its final berth in the landing bay." 

"That's Alan Carter," Lois whispered, pointing at the speaker grille above the cockpit door.

"Gee, Lois, you think so? There's got to be more than one Australian assigned to Alpha..." 

"I know that voice. I interviewed him a few years back, when he was moonlighting as a voiceover artist playing villains on those silly cartoons about Superman and the Justice League." 

"Gosh, I didn't know he did voice overs. But then I'm not really into cartoons," Clark said. 

"Attention passengers - I'm opening the doors. Head to the reception area to be guided to your ultimate destination on Alpha. Enjoy your stay." 

Lois and Clark milled out with the other passengers, looking inconspicuous in their Moonbase guest uniforms--what amounted to tan slacks and long-sleeved tops, each with a thick green stripe running down the left side of the ensemble. 

"Honeymoon suite," Lois said as they reached the reception kiosk. The Alphan attendant smiled widely and handed them each a small, roughly cylindrical device. 

"These are your commlocks," the attendant said. "They'll open your suite and any other publicly accessible place on Alpha. I highly recommend the sun room - it's very relaxing and great for people watching," she smiled coyly, eyeing Clark. 

Clark blushed as they moved past the reception area and into the white plastic catacombs of Moonbase Alpha. "Gee whiz, Lois, I hope you're not thinking of that sun room suggestion. It's a little, uh, racy for our story, don't you think?" 

"Clark, don't worry about looking all scrawny and underfed in your swimsuit. No one will be paying attention to you. Besides, if we're going to get the real scoop on the rumors of rip-offs and kickbacks in Moon tourism, we're going to have to check out all the attractions at some point."  

"Uh, gee, Lois, I guess you're right." 

The honeymoon suite proved quite decadent. The room was cavernous, the ceiling crafted from a gigantic dome of transparent aluminum. The view was magnificent, with the glorious blue-green Earth hovering overhead. 

Lois immediately began stripping out of her Alpha coveralls, causing Clark to abruptly turn his back like the gentleman he was. 

"You know, I think I will check out that sunroom," Lois said, rifling through her travel bag for a suitably scandalous bikini. "I could use a little relaxation after that long flight. And it should be a great spot for gossip." 

"O-of course, Lois," Clark stammered as Lois primped in the mirror, tch-ing at every perceived flaw. To distract himself, Clark scanned the base with varying combinations of telescopic, microscopic, x-ray, infrared, radar, and ultraviolet vision, admiring the intricate mechanical and biological systems that kept the Moon community safe and functional. People really are a marvel, he thought, smiling to himself. 

But when he scanned beyond Alpha's walls, across the stark, dusty moonscape, he saw something alarming at one of the nuclear waste dumps. Clark's eyes widened as his Kryptonian senses revealed a catastrophe in the making: Somehow, the spent nuclear fuel was approaching a critical mass that should have been impossible. In seconds, it would produce an explosion that could crack the Moon in half--or worse. 

Moving faster than the human eye could see, Clark peeled off his Alpha uniform and eyeglasses, stuffed them into a drawer, and vibrated his molecules as he took flight, soaring through the transparent aluminum dome without shattering it, passing between atoms like a spectre. 

Lois felt only a strong breeze. She turned around. "Clark?" 

But Clark, moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light, was already on the far side of the Moon. 

Despite his great speed, he was a second too late. The freighter Eagles would clear the explosion - barely - but it was too late for Clark to halt the reaction. In slow motion, he watched, horrified, as a great plume of nuclear fire erupted. He'd failed--

--or had he? Defying logic, the reaction's energy wasn't being released in one terrible burst; instead, it was spraying out like a rocket engine, putting immense pressure on the Moon, shifting its orbit. In fact, Clark calculated, there was enough energy being produced to send the Moon flying off into outer space with sufficient acceleration to eventually reach relativistic speeds. 

He couldn't let that happen. An eyeblink later, Clark - Superman - positioned himself directly opposite the nuclear waste dump, on the Moon's so-called "near side," relative to Earth. He pressed his hands flat against the Moon and pushed, his tactile telekinisis augmenting his Kryptonian strength and, importantly, preventing him from simply drilling through the satellite like a missile. 

The pressure was immense. Superman's mighty thews strained, and if he could have broken out into a sweat, he would. 

The reaction on the far side of the moon roared in silent rage, throwing all its vast power into propelling the Moon beyond Earth's reach, into the starlit eternity. It was an irresistible force--but there on the other side was Superman, the immovable object. Impossible pressures threatened to crush the Moon, but it held fast. 

On Moonbase Alpha, over three hundred men and women were violently tossed to and fro as the entire satellite trembled. It felt like the end of the world. 

But, over the course of several long, agonizing minutes, the nuclear fire burned dim and finally flamed out. Clark relaxed the force he was applying, steadily, carefully, and at last backed away from the grey surface. He flew past Alpha, scanning for casualties, finding none. He waved at the awestruck Alphans as he flew past the windows of Main Mission, offering them a reassuring smile. 

"You picked quite a day to visit your old stomping grounds, Commander Straker," said John Koenig, newly-installed leader of Alpha.

"So it seems," Straker said blandly, though in truth he was as amazed as everyone else. 

Lois was just picking herself up off the plush carpet of their suite when Clark reappeared, glasses and all. 

"What was that?" she exclaimed, her hair adorably mussed. 

"Looks like we might just have a bigger story to write, Lois," Clark said, and turned to wink at some audience unknown and invisible.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Blonde Vault Girl

Here's the Vault Girl that printed correctly, with her sledgehammer in hand. This one's a blonde to help differentiate her from her brunette counterpart. I probably should have added something to the base, too; but I can do that later. 

Vault 11 represent! 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

I Want to Believe in Fictional Worlds

I placed my phaser replica behind a transparent "I Want to Believe" X-Files poster and then added a couple of filter effects with Photoshop Camera to create this little mashup of a couple of popular SF television shows. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Misguided Blonde Biker

In pulp fiction Nazis make excellent villains, and so I have a handful of Nazi figures for use as bad guys in games like Villains & Vigilantes. Even so, painting these guys makes me uncomfortable, partly because there's a danger in trivializing one of the greatest horrors of the 20th century (or perhaps any century), and partly because fascism is on the rise once again right now. On the other hand, popular culture is a powerful force, and casting Nazis as the most despicable characters could possibly be one of the best means to remind people that their ideology is one of the most noxious ever created. 

I don't know. History and politics aside, I like the way the paint job turned out. And as Steve suggested, if this range of figures winds up leaving me too disconcerted to use, I can always recast them as 1970s biker gangs (only slightly less problematic, perhaps). 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Brunette Fallout Girl

Jeff 3D-printed Vault Girl for me--twice. This is the first. It's still a perfectly good mini, but her sledgehammer failed to print. So I used this one for practice. I think she turned out fairly well, given my trouble painting human beings at this scale. I like how the little pile of bottlecaps and the teeny-weeny lunch box turned out. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Another T-60

Here's another wasteland wanderer who's lucky enough to have secured a suit of power armor. In this case, though, I applied an ink wash in an effort to create additional depth and detail. I can't decide which result I prefer. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Pristine Power Armor

Here's someone wearing a very well-preserved set of T-60 power armor. Most technology in the wasteland is old and beat up, but sometimes a lucky survivor will find something new in a sealed container. So no rust or weathering on this particular model, just shiny metal. 

Monday, August 15, 2022


Tonight I painted the turret you see here defending a donkey and a high fantasy version of Sylvia. (The Sylvia model is from the HeroForge full-colour 3D-printing Kickstarter I supported a while back.) The turret should keep low-level raiders and hostile wildlife at bay. 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Cheap Barricades

A little sloppy, but they'll get the job done on my Fallout: Wasteland Warfare table. And they were cheap! 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Forgotten Sunrise

Golden light forces its way through the forest's defences
To paint a brave, solitary ray across the foaming surf
Of an undiscovered river with no source and no delta
What the hell kind of river has no source and no delta? 
Metaphorical rivers bubbling briskly through bad poems

Thursday, August 11, 2022

15 Years of Silly Bliss

Today Sylvia and I celebrate our 15th anniversary. What a delightful ride it's been, rich with silly nonsense, deep conversation, shared experiences, and abiding love and laughter. How fortunate I am. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Unforced March

Just over the horizon, annihilation beckons
Headlong we march toward doom
Tripping over accidental progress
Held back by decency and luck
Hampered by reason and courage
Delayed by compassion
Hindered by science
But stopped . . ? 
Not yet. 


Monday, August 08, 2022

On the Precipice of Tomorrow


All at once eternal and fleeting
Searching for immortality already granted and denied
Forgetting we are part of all that is
Exploding from blank eternity
Collapsing into ultimate everything
Everywhere and nowhere forever and never

First Forge

Before the invention of time
Three women captured flame
Tamed it
Used it to warm bodies and hearts
Centered the radiance in circles of storytelling 
Until those purposes were corrupted
And the fire consumed. 

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Carson Smith Has Weapons

Here's Carson Smith, one of the figures included in the Pulp Figures Rugged Heroes 1 set. Rather than try to ape the excellent paint job featured at the link, I gave my copy of Carson my own spin, styling him in blue, black, and white rather than shades of brown and tan. 

The Rugged Heroes 1 set comes with two weapons for Carson: this intimidating whip . . .

. . . and a deadly machete. Carson's metal hand creates enough friction to hold his weapons in place simply by shoving the grip between his pliable metal thumb and fingers. This gives the mini an additional level of versatility and immersion on the table, and I'm really glad Pulp Figures creator Bob Murch incorporates this feature in a few of his minis. 

My paint job is, well, serviceable. I need to keep practicing and fostering my eye for colour, shading, lighting, brush strokes, and all the rest. 

Friday, August 05, 2022

Baked Bean Soup

While Sean, Sylvia, Mom and I were driving down to Kelowna to visit Mom's sisters, we had a discussion about the merits of beans. During that discussion, I came up with the concept of baked bean soup. Here is the recipe: 



One can of baked beans
Two whole new potatoes
One rasher of bacon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cilantro
1 basil leaf
1 sprig dill
4 dollops sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar

Chop new potatoes into small chunks. Chop bacon into small squares. Pour all ingredients into stewpot and boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool for five minutes, pour into serving bowls, and add sour cream and shredded cheese. 


Thursday, August 04, 2022

Cringing Minion

Every good villain needs a skulking minion of some short. This guy skulks. Or perhaps cringes. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Newish Car Wars Wreck

Here's another attempt to paint a Car Wars wreck. Jeff gave me plenty of good advice after I posted my last such wreck, but I only used a smidgen of his thoughts this time around--mainly because I thought this wreck needed to look more recent. So there's no rust, but there are some smoke and oil streaks and paint scraped away to reveal bare metal. Also, fresh blood! Ominous. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Monday, August 01, 2022

Schoolyard Encounter

Just to show how some of the minis I've painted could interact, here's a little post-apocalyptic scene featuring a ghoul chasing a raider in front of a bombed-out old school bus.