Total Pageviews

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Taking Aim

As I'm painting these squads of assorted military folk, I'm torn between giving them the dignity of names and histories and just letting them be anonymous troops. Of course they're just metal figures, not people at all, but it still feels weird sometimes knowing that I'm painting these little guys knowing that one day I'll send them into simulated bloody skirmishes. Why do humans play at violence? Is it just part of our shared history to prepare for the worst, given the predators and competition our ancestors faced? 

"It's only a model!" 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

White Eyes, No Pupils

Don't shoot until you see the whites of his eyes! These whites are impossible to miss, huge as they are. And yet I don't have a brush small enough to dot these whites with pupils or ring those pupils with irises. Some painters can create amazing eyes at this scale; I'm not one of them. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Dark Priestess

Her skin is too dark and I probably should have given the inner folds of the dress a different colour, but I'm reasonably pleased with this priestess of Kali. My photo here isn't great, but the burning heart in her raised hand looks fairly decent in real life. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

The O Squad Masthead

Many years ago, DC Comics published a very amusing short comic story called "Attack of the O Squad!" Starro, the first antagonist of the Justice League of America, gathers other DC villains whose names end with "o" to take his revenge on the JLA. Alas, the whole plan falls apart when T.O. Morrow shows up, for his name ends not with "o," but "ow." 

"But it sounds the same!" 

Not good enough for the O Squad. 

I'm not sure what brought that story to mind tonight, but I began to wonder if the O Squad would ever get their own series. That prompted me to design a masthead for such a comic book. 

My graphic design skills are quite rusty from long disuse, but I think this works conceptually. It obviously needs considerable polishing to meet professional standards. I had fun designing it, though! 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Unimpressed Rifleman

I love this guy's facial expression. He doesn't seem happy about his current situation. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Capture the Flag Fail

I didn't realize until I was well into painting him that this soldier is supposed to be the standard bearer. He didn't come with a flag, so I'll have to make one. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Portrait of an Unknown Person

I don't know who this miniature is meant to represent. This conundrum presented difficulties during the painting process. With no references to draw on, I went with black boots, fair skin, red hair, and shades of blue for the outfit. It sort of looks like it could be a stillsuit from Dune, but I don't think that's right. Leeloo was my other guess, but no. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Becky O'Dell

Here's another in Pulp Figures' Yukon Peril line. I like this, for the most part, but I wish I'd added some white trim to the bottom of her coat and made the buttons more distinctive. 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Frenchy Arsenault

Pulp Figures calls this guy "Frenchy Arsenault," so that's what I'm calling him too. Shades of brown seemed right for this character, another from the Yukon Peril line. I'm getting progressively better at painting facial hair; I just have to take my time, use the magnifiers, and use tiny, tiny amounts of paint. 

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Doogie McTavish

Here's another of Pulp Figures' trappers from the Yukon Peril line. Sideburns! Half-decent facial featurs! A Tam o' Shanter! 

Friday, February 09, 2024

Farley Moffit

Here's a fellow from the Yukon Peril line of Pulp Miniatures. Farley Moffit is a rough-and-tumble fur trading forest dweller sort of guy. 

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Profane Circle

Here we have a stone summoning circle with hot blood filling in the arcane runes that will soon call forth eldritch fiends from the dark beyond! 

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Special Advisor to the President

I'm in an airport just outside Las Vegas with Sylvia, Sean, and Mom. Luggage in tow, we're making our way through the bustling terminal, luggage in tow, to the arrivals pickup area, where a small convoy of black SUVs awaits us. Secret Service agents hustle us into one of those vehicles; the First Lady is there to greet us. 

"Earl, you have a meeting with Joe and the Joint Chiefs immediately; we'll escort you to the temporary situation room, and your family will be taken to the hotel of their choice, on us." 

I nodded, feeling a little numb, not understanding at all why this is happening. To my surprise, I'm wearing a dark suit, and I'm quite fit. Something isn't right about this, but everyone else seems to be taking the situation pretty seriously. 

Moments later, having said my goodbyes to my wife, mother, and brother, I adjust my tie and join the President and his advisors in a small, brightly-lit conference room. I stand in a corner, listening quietly as one advisor after the next briefs the President on the factors that could possibly affect the peace talks in Riyadh. 

When the briefing concludes, the President nods at me. I muster enough courage to whisper a question: 

"Mr. President . . . why am I here? Your advisors clearly know their business. I might know more about what's happening in the region than the average layman, but that's not a high bar to clear. I'm not even an American; I'm from Manitoba." 

Joe pats me reassuringly on the shoulder. "You're my secret weapon, kid," he says. "When the time comes, I'll call on you, and you'll know exactly what to do. I'll see you on Air Force One in six hours. Enjoy a meal with your family, but don't be late." 

All I can do is nod sheepishly. I leave the building to hail a cab, but the sidewalk starts moving beneath me. I realize I'm standing on the middle deck of a high-speed conveyance that extends underground and aboveground, and before I can jump off the platform the expressway is hauling me east at hundreds of kilometers per hour. A few minutes later it slows to a halt; I'm in a mid-sized town. I ask a passerby where I am; she says "Mubbock." 

Making it back to Las Vegas is a long shot, but I start running anyway; miraculously, I find myself running up the stairs to board Air Force One just in time. Out of breath, I take a seat in the plush forward lounge; sleep takes me as we're taxiing toward the runway. Riyadh awaits. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Blue Rifleman

A discernible beard with the lips showing! What a day. 

Monday, February 05, 2024

A Boy and His Duck

Not the best duck I've ever painted (or is it ? maybe this is the only duck I've ever painted . . .), but I like how the boy turned out. 

Sunday, February 04, 2024

Venerable Wise One

Here's an ordinary citizen from the Pulp Figures line. Red seemed right for him. 

Saturday, February 03, 2024

Chun King

Pulp Figures calls this guy "notorious warlord Chun King." I'm getting better at super-fine details such as moustaches and, in this case, medals. 

Friday, February 02, 2024

How Many Can I Identify?

Taylor Swift: I know who she is - I became a Swiftie with "Shake It Off" and the 1989 album. 
Bad Bunny: No clue.
The Weeknd: I recently discovered The Weeknd thanks to the Ms. Marvel show. I only know one of his songs, though: "Blinding Light." 
Drake: I think this is a Canadian rapper, but I don't know any of his songs.
Peso Pluma: No clue.
Feid: No clue.
Karol G.: No clue. 
SZA: No clue.
Kanye West: I know Kanye because he said Beyonce deserved the Grammy more than Taylor, and because he later embraced the alt-right. But I don't know his music.
Lana Del Rey: Never heard of her, but is she perhaps heir to the Del Rey publishing fortune?
Eminem: I know him, he's the real Slim Shady and he has that one song that goes "meep, moop, meep, moop...gangster's paradise" 
Metro Boomin: No clue.
Junior H: No clue.
Ed Sheeran: I believe this fellow has very orange hair, and I think he collaborated with Taylor Swift once. Don't know his music, though.
Arijit Singh: No clue.
Ariana Grande: The name is familiar, but I don't think I can count her because I can't think of any of her music.
Travis Scott: Judging by the name, must be a country and western artist? No? No idea.
Morgan Wallen: No idea.
Billie Eilish: I know the name because it's one of my Photoshop Express filters, but couldn't tell you about any of her songs.
Rihanna: She wrote a cool song for Star Trek Beyond, and she's a Trekkie!

9 out of 19, if you're feeling generous. I try not to fall out of touch with modern popular culture, but clearly I'm failing when it comes to 2020s pop.  


Thursday, February 01, 2024

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Five Heavy Duty Consoles

I've painted some heavy duty consoles, as they're named in Fallout: Wasteland Warfare. I imagine these are used to operate power plants and rocket launch facilities, etc. Lots and lots of fiddly details threatening eyestrain for these guys, but they turned out sharp and clean. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024


Dad would have been 82 today. Here's a nice photo of Dad in his natural environment by Mom. He loved the outdoors. 

Monday, January 29, 2024

Walk Don't Walk

My freehand painting needs a little work, as exemplified by my attempts to paint "Walk" and "Don't Walk" lights.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Two-Horse Town

Here's a pair of horsies, happily galloping through flowery fields. What idyllic lives they lead! 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Red Rowboat

Here we have a shockingly red rowboat. Why red? I'm tired of painting floating things brown. 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Ejector Seats

As Sylvia and I were talking about playing "Danger Zone" through the speaker systems of vehicles experiencing turbulence or collision hazards, I started thinking about the ruckus such a system would cause on passenger jets. At that moment, another ridiculous idea occurred to me: fighter pilots get ejector seats, so why shouldn't the pilots of commercial airliners? I imagine it would be way too expensive to make every seat on an airliner an ejector seat, but surely you could do so for the pilots and maybe the flight engineer. When all hope is lost, why not save two or three people instead of zero people? 

I suppose knowing pilots can bail out the moment a flight starts to go wrong might make passengers a little nervous, but surely most people would eventually see the utilitarian value of the concept. 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Collision Alarm

Imagine this: new safety rules mandate that all vehicles be required to start playing the chorus of Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" whenever some kind of accident is about to happen, or has the potential to happen. How pumped and powerful and ready for action would you feel if your car or 747 suddenly started blaring "Highhhhway to the DANGER ZONE" at maximum volume? Adrenalin would flood your system, giving you the split-section reaction time you need to pull yourself straight out of that danger zone! Plus, you can enjoy the screams of your passengers. 

Special thanks to Sylvia for workshopping this idea with me. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

A Big Heart on an Orange Sleeve

Maybe it's just because I watched this movie at a very vulnerable moment with low expectations, but I was shocked to find myself loving Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom


Sincerity and genuine heroism. Above all else, a superhero movie should feature heroism, and far too often in this genre we've gotten what I would call surface-level heroism without the heart--witness especially the DC films of Zack Snyder. 

Yes, this movie is silly and cheesy, but it embraces those qualities and invites you to participate in that silliness. There's a moment where two characters reconcile and seal that reconciliation by shaking hands, and their gauntlets go "clang." But by that point of the film, you KNOW those gauntlets are going to clang, and it's okay because that's the tone this movie sets. 

But beyond the cheese we have a story about the importance of empathy and forgiveness told through the lens of broken families and climate catastrophe. There are no subtle metaphors here, but given the issues presented, I'm fine with that. 

This movie touched me with its aspirational qualities.  Too often, superheroes are really just keepers of the status quo who get involved in senseless fistfights, resulting in tremendous property damage and (presumably) loss of life. There are, of course, battles in this film, but the motivations feel organic and the crises authentic. Is it cheesy to call for a more united world? Is it silly to imagine people working together to fight climate change? 

Maybe what I appreciate most is that Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom isn't cynical; it doesn't try to be profound or gritty. Everything's on the surface--despite the movie being set underwater. 

Say what you will about the uneven quality of the DC Extended Universe films, but the project gave us a handful of good to great movies, and with this one, at least the DCEU ends on a high note.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Earl's Rational Chili


2 lbs extra lean ground beef
2 cans brown beans
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp salt
2 cans bolognaise sauce
1 can pomodoro sauce
2 cups water
1 green bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 Spanish onion
5 green onions
2 cups shredded cheese
1 cup sour cream

Stir ground beef, beans, bolognaise sauce, pomodoro sauce, and water in a frying pan over high heat until beef is browned. Chop vegetables into small pieces and add to frying pan. Add spices. Stir for another five minutes. 

Put everything in a slow cooker for two hours. Remove and let cool for five minutes; add shredded cheese and sour cream as toppings. Serves 1-25 depending on portion size. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Dumpster Trio

They're dumpsters, they have no lids, there's no garbage in them. But I like how they look so far--very "urban grime." 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Ancient Sentrybot

Here's a sentry bot that's been hanging round for hundreds of years, wandering without purpose. As a result, it's covered in rust and mud and fuel stains. I tried to make the left machine gun barrel look like it was glowing from just having been fired, but alas, the effect isn't terribly convincing. Next time...


Saturday, January 20, 2024

A Pair of Radscorpions

I get a little freaked out whenever a radscorpion starts chasing me in one of the Fallout games. It makes a horrid chittering noise as it charges, and it skitters in a beeline toward you so fast that before you know it, it's driving its stinger into you, delivering an unhealthy does of lethal poison. Plus, they're just plain ugly. Yuk! 

Painting these was pretty simple; I just primed them in black and drybrushed Dark Reaper over the bodies to create highlights. I spent more time on the bases. 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Mirelurk Hunters

Here's a jolly pair of loathsome, clickety-clackety mirelurk hunters. I'm quite pleased with the look of the eyes. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Two-Fisted Gunslinging

Can't choose between energy weapons and good old-fashioned slug throwers? Why not pack one in each hand? 

(Recommended for fantasy violence only, of course.)