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Archive for January, 2009

I should have been productive, right?

January 30th, 2009 No comments

Gotcha!  I have been.

All the figures for the Crusaders army are painted.  Well, the monster has just a couple of little touchups to be done from when I cut off the integral base (giving myself a blister, I might add) and I only saw them when I was painting his new base.  That's not bad and shouldn't take more than 10 minutes, including time for the paint to dry.

I also was able to finish up one of the Mega Miniature figures I had partially done.  I like having a few of those handy so I can test color schemes as well as use up paint on the palette.  This one was 99% done but I was stumped on what color to paint a final detail.  My online painting friends helped me out, as usual.

I was also going to try doing some freehand design work on her dress.  I put down the first line and realized it wasn't going to happen.  I painted over that.  Now she's just going to dry overnight and I can varnish her tomorrow and call her done too.

My goal this month was to finish painting up the Crusaders.  Technically I met that goal but they don't have their scenic bases done.  I'm going to hold off on my next big project so I can finish those, paint a couple of figures that have been in queue for a while, and generally get caught up.  The next army is already ready for painting so once it comes time I can get right on it.

The terrain painting is also getting done.  I have a few more of the arena pieces done and I did some pre-painting on pieces so I can assemble them without really futzy paint work.  Actually I had to do these pieces in this order.  They have gates that are far more fragile than you would believe when those gates are cast out of plaster and not resin.  So I glued them to clear plastic backing and now they're nice and sturdy.  So I had to paint them before gluing them to the plastic or it wouldn't have been clear plastic any more.  Make sense?

Next up, building more terrain; painting some figures that need to be done; casting more bricks to make more terrain.

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I can’t help myself

January 24th, 2009 No comments

I had to go to the hobby store to return one last thing from Christmas.  I also knew I was getting a piece of fabric to make pillow covers.

Ooo.  And glitter was half off and I have a couple of projects that will use glitter.  Yes, glitter.  Don't look at me like that.  They're going to be cool.

And Christmas merchandise was 90% off so I picked up a couple of velvet poinsetta stems.  Because it was cheaper than velvet ribbon.

So of course I spent more than I had in return money.  Who's surprised by that?

But I was actually good in that the only 'extra' things were the two poinsetta stems and they were pocket change.

I shouldn't be allowed in hobby stores.

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I’m the “Busy Person”

January 22nd, 2009 No comments

Remember the old adage "If you want something done give it to a busy person"?  Lately I seem to be that busy person.

I've been trying to use my bits and pieces of time between fixed situations to work on projects like painting, building, etc.  Overall that's been working well enough.  I haven't had any projects that required uninterrupted blocks of time.

But now a pending project has become an immediate project.  And it's for Mr. Rastl, of course.

His club has leagues.  Those leagues generate scores.  Those scores are aggregated, ranked and posted weekly.  Until now it's been a pretty manual process using Excel sheets with minimal function usage.  I've done the work to make those Excel sheets more automated (and therefore more useful) but that's a stopgap measure.  They want to take this to the web.

Data storage means database.  Fine, I can do that.  I've been pondering the database structure for this ever since it came up in conversation so that's not a huge deal.  The scoring data itself is actually pretty basic.

Entering the scoring data is where it starts to get more complicated.  The scores themselves need to be validated on entry and then those scores need to be totalled.  That's client-side on action so that means Javascript.  Which I've barely dabbled in.

Last night I spent a whole lotta time making up the score entry form and putting in placeholders for the various pieces that will be calculated on form entry.  I stopped far too late into the evening while doing code formatting since it all worked the way I wanted.  I do have to do a bit of 'search and replace' to fix one situation but that's easy enough.

So now I bring home my pounds of reference books I've been keeping at work and really start looking into how to do this.  I could probably find a mostly correct script on the internet but for now I want to understand what it's doing and how it works since I'll have to write the instructions for using it as well as the reference for how it works.  Ah, technical documentation.

Actually I'm probably going to handle this like I would a project at work.  I'll be putting together a requirements document for this first piece and then get them to agree on the final functions.  Them = whoever at the club is going to complain the loudest.  Overall the function isn't changing – it's just moving online.

And when the scripting hurts my brain I need to revise the format of the existing site.  The original designer used the correct style functions but made things fixed instead of floating.  What this means for the uninitiated is that the site won't use your entire screen – it will use a fixed amount of space for things regardless of how much real estate you have available.  I can work with that using a local copy, luckily.

Now I'll spend my entire day programming, come home, do some chores, then program for the evening.  Something isn't right with that equation.

Finally, I'm really thinking about participating in Who's Yer Con in March.  It's relatively local, relatively small, and looks like some fun.  If I do this it will be my treat for doing all this additional programming.  That is completely separate from my annual pilgrimage to ReaperCon that I combine with a trip to visit my dad.  Two cons, two months apart.  That's a hectic schedule for me.

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Back to painting .. stuff

January 21st, 2009 No comments

I've had some time here and there so I'm trying to fill it in with useful projects.

I have a few more of those arena pieces done and some others in various states of being painted.  I'll try to get pictures this weekend – no promises.

I also realized that I had a self-imposed goal of finishing up those Crusaders this month.  I happened to look at the calendar and saw there isn't much of the month left.  So I picked up my paintbrush and finished up the sergeant.  There wasn't much to do, honestly.

Then I put the basecoat on the monster/Guardian Beast/Doom Kitty.  I'm going to do a slight experiment with colored metallics in that I'm using the dark blue metallic as my darkest 'silver' and working up from there.  It's looking good so far but I can see that at least one wash is going to be needed to blend the transitions a little.  The dark blue metallic paint left a bit of a gloss finish.

I was thinking about putting small wires into the bases of the models so color-coded beads could be used to track various effects and damage.  Yeah, that's out the window now.  It's an interesting concept but more complicated than I want to do and it has the potential for being too delicate.  I'll stick with the tried-and-true methods of tracking.

This morning before work I glued together two more arena floor tile sections for my arena.  They aren't glued to the foam base but they are in the required 6 inch by 6 inch section.  I saw at least one more of them sitting on the bar so I'll have to poke around and see if there's any others waiting for foam.  I know the ones I did base only have the darkest color of paint on them so it will be easy to catch up.  In total I need 36 of these floor tile sections to make a 3 foot by 3 foot arena.  I don't remember how many I have but I know it's not nearly 36.

Now that I've done some more casting I can make the rest of the arena pieces, start in on my challenge build, and work on another build I was doing for another project.  Yes, I've been putting off building things.

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And now for something completely different

January 18th, 2009 No comments

I didn't get any hobby projects done this Saturday.  Instead I went to a class on personal protection.  More specifically, I went to the class that is part of getting a concealed carry permit.

In this class I learned quite a bit about how to be more aware of my surroundings, how to try to remove myself from threatening situations and/or diffuse those situations, and what my responsibilities are should I choose to carry a concealed weapon.

I've mentioned bullseye shooting and such in passing before and I think I've talked about practicing various types of shooting.  Bullseye shooting and defensive shooting are completely different and it was very interesting to be able to compare the two mentally during the class.

I passed my live fire exercise and made Mr. Rastl proud.  He said so.  I went with the first group of shooters since I just wanted to get it done and not have to wait around quite so much.  It didn't work quite like that since we all had to wait for everyone to finish but at least I didn't have to stand around the firing range viewing area unless I wanted to.  The practice I put in was just what was needed for the exercise, so that was good.

Did you know that your fingers can be too dry to give a good fingerprint?  I didn't.  But I do now.  Even after applying lotion for about half an hour my fingers were barely 'plumped' enough to give a good print.  But the person taking the prints had done this many times and assured me that they were good enough.  So again I'll have my fingerprints sent to the FBI.

Yes, again.  When I started work at the bank they took our fingerprints at new employee orientation and sent them to the FBI.  Who knew?

So now I just need to get a few more things in line then I can send in my permit application.

It was a long day and rather tiring.  Between sitting in rather uncomfortable chairs and taking in a LOT of information it is surprisingly tiring at the end of the day.  So we got food on the way home and just kind of relaxed.

Tonight is the banquet for the fall bullseye league where they hand out the prizes.  EDIT – my overall rank in this league was 27 out of more than 27 while my best weekly rank was 20.  I had a couple of poor scores in the middle of the league.  Turns out that while I enjoy bullseye shooting I don't like being required to shoot, if that makes any sense.  So I didn't sign up for the next league and will continue to shoot when I feel like shooting.

I probably could get a couple more Hirst Arts casts done since I have the equipment sitting out but I'm going to take it easy and relax for the afternoon.  I'm not a very social creature and this is two days of being around people and making conversation.  It's not exactly where I shine.

We've got a work holiday tomorrow so I can use that time to cast, paint, build, whatever.  Along with doing laundry and grocery shopping but those happen every week anyway.

And my broken car turned out to have a bad ignition tumbler.  While not hugely expensive it was still an unexpected expense.

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Crusaders and terrain

January 16th, 2009 No comments

Two things that go well together, right?

Well, yes they do as a matter of fact.

The terrain is part of an arena set I'm making for a friend.  I posted some of mine earlier with blue marble detailing.  His has the tried and true 'black and gold' detailing.  The Crusader figures are in the picture for scale reference and because they look cool.

Speaking of Crusaders, here's shots of just the guys.

Not the best, I was using daylight since I wasn't about to set up my very unhandy lighting rig for these.  But you can get the idea.  Yes, I strung the bow on the archer.

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And then there came the screeching halt

January 15th, 2009 No comments

Well, at least on the miniature painting.

I've picked up doing some Hirst Arts casting so I can finish some projects so that's time that I'm not painting.

I'm also painting up some arena pieces for a friend so that's more time I'm not spending on miniature painting although I am painting.

And I haven't been home for lunch so I have no natural light in which to take pictures of the things I have done.

That brings us here.  Which is kind of nowhere.  But somewhere.

I think I need some sleep.

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Sergeant is progressing

January 13th, 2009 No comments

I guess his name is Sir Conlan but heck, like I'm going to remember that.

I decided to try and get fancy and paint some of the faction symbols along the bottom of his cloak.  I'm giving myself a C+ for the effort and I'm not painting over them.  They look like I tried and that's all that's important.  If anyone gives me grief then they better have a decent paint job to hold up in comparison.

I need to paint a few more bits as metal and then do some detail work but overall he's going much quicker than I thought he would  And that's even doing his armor in two colors.  I looked at some of the paint jobs on the Reaper site and found out that some arm pieces are supposed to be metal.  So I paint them like metal.  No biggie.

I'm still keeping the paint jobs simple so that they show up well and I'm not killing myself trying to get them done.  I'm quite pleased so far and they'll look just fine on the table.

So it mostly looks like detail work is left to do on him and then he's ready to set aside for varnish.  I was not expecting that.

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And the archers are done

January 12th, 2009 No comments

The archers are done except for their coats of varnish.  None of the models have their bases done – they're just painted and waiting for the actual scenic stuff.

I made life simpler for myself by limiting the number of colors on them.  There's still a fair amount but I reused colors when I could so that there are actually fewer than the color cards would suggest.  The cards list the color for each 'item' so the same color can be used many times and just not be obvious.

I'll try to get pictures tomorrow when there's some natural light to help me get a good picture of them.  They're kind of a different faction within the army so they look a little different.  But they're all on the same side.

I painted a little more on the sergeant tonight.  His face is done (see previous entry) and I started on his cloak since that's the farthest thing in on the figure.  Standard logic holds that you paint from the inside out.  So I did.  The transitions are still a bit abrupt but I can look at it tomorrow and see if it matters, really.

I do want to do some freehand on the cloak but since it's a repeating emblem I'm going to cheat and try to make a stencil.  Fill it in with a watered down color and then I can paint it in as I like.  There's a special effect I'm going to try for.  Let's see if I can do it.

Otherwise he's going to use most of the same colors as the other Crusaders.  Just in different places since he's fancier than the mooks.

Once I get started with him I think I can get him done in a few night's sittings.  I've gotten used to fiddly bits over the last year or so and they no longer stress me out.  I can paint up a belt buckle like no one's business.  I'm quite proud of that.

I'm still considering a 'work in progress' for the monster since he's pretty cool.  But I'm not sure how helpful it will be to others painting him since he's not a very complicated figure.  I'll take an informal vote and see what the prevailing opinion is.

OK.  Off to sleep.  It was a good evening's work.

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Crusader progress!

January 11th, 2009 No comments

The archers are about 3/4 finished.  That's a good thing.  I made darn good progress tonight once I got past a mental block of "what is that and how do I paint it?" on one part.

The next session should finish up those archers.

I also did put some paint on the sergeant since I had the skin color out and he might as well have the same one as the others.  His face is the only skin visible so it made sense.  That's a fiddly bit and now it's out of the way.  Yay!

I'm well on track for having all these figures painted by the end of the month.  The only thing that might slow me down is if I do a work-in-progress of the Guardian Beast (aka Doom Kitty) because stopping to take pictures at every step adds quite a bit to the total time to paint something.

I also remembered to write down the colors I used in case I add onto the army so the new ones will match the ones I've already painted.  I don't plan on adding on but it doesn't take much to do this and it isn't a bad habit to get into when painting armies.  I think I need to go back and write down what I used on the other figures but since they're in full armor and a more limited palette it should be easy enough.

I'm really hoping to have these guys done by the end of the week but life has a way of interfering.  We all know this.  I want these done more quickly so I can spend more time on the sergeant, as it should be.  I have an idea for something on his cloak and that will take some real painting attention, not like a normal cloak.

I've also got a couple of other figures being painted with the colors I'm using here since I hate to waste paint.  So there are even more partially painted figures on my table.  It's kind of fun when suddenly there's a half dozen finished figures because of other projects.  Of course, they're all just cannon fodder for our game but at least they're nicely painted cannon fodder.

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