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Archive for May, 2012

I built stuff

May 8th, 2012 3 comments

Yes, I built stuff.  And I painted stuff last weekend too.

I have a gothic arena that I started back in 2009, I think.  It may have been 2010.  Whatever.  It was a while ago and it has been sitting, rather forlorn, in a box.  I needed to feel productive so I pulled it out to paint.  I also have some additional pieces for my modular dungeon that I built almost a year ago and never painted.

While I was painting I found some of the arena pieces weren’t as well constructed as I would have liked and some had been damaged in the moves.  Tonight I dug out the bins of appropriate bricks and built not only the replacements but a couple of new ones.  I’m mixing the basic and advanced arenas so eventually I need to figure out what’s left to build.  I think I have all the basic pieces.

Here’s proof I built.

It takes a heck of a lot more glue than you would think to build this stuff.  I probably should have thrown that out before taking the picture.

I do a lot of building on my homemade magnet board.  That’s a steel baking pan sitting on a piece of countertop.  (I used to be able to buy the sink cutouts – fantastic for solid surfaces).  The pieces of wood have magnets glued into holes – you can see one of them upside down in the upper right.  I can’t remember where I found the instructions to do that.  I do remember the time it took to align the radial arm saw to as close to a perfect 90 degree cut as possible.  That took a while but it’s worth it.

I also build using my Lego as braces and alignment blocks.  To be honest mine are Brix Blocks, the Sears equivalent to Lego.  I’ve had them since I was a kid and I’m still playing with them.

I’ll let these dry for a few days and then probably put paint on them this weekend when I do the touchups on the pieces I already base coated.  And the touchups on the pieces I touched up when I painted last weekend.  At some point I do move beyond the base coat.  Really.

Ranting a bit today

May 1st, 2012 1 comment

I’ve tried to stay away from ranting and since I’ve been taking a hiatus from the hobby my blog isn’t that popular any more so I can rant away.

I had a friend.  Note the verb tense.  The “last straw” was my fault and I admit it.  The several bales of hay before that were him not making any real effort to be my friend but being there just enough to keep me thinking it would happen.  Anyway.

He’s a painter and a pretty good one.  Personally I think he’s reached his limit.  Everyone has them, he’s reached his, he just doesn’t know it.  I’m hoping the next major competition will be that wake-up call since all the local competitions are dominated by a small group and these are the same people who judge the contest.  They’re also part of his regular painting group.  No ego stroking going on there.

When he would still talk to me he would ask my opinion about his works in progress.  I had to ask him just how much critique he wanted and it was never very much.  That says a lot.  I’ve been told I paint just as well or better than he does but since I don’t care for competitions he had no way to “prove” he was the better painter.  So I would give him fluff critique and he would go away happy.

Now he’s got a blog and he’s got one person who always posts the “ZOMG you’re amazing!!!!one!!” comments on anything he puts up.  He’s getting the attitude since he’s got a fanboi.  He’s been doing army painting and his paint quality shows it.

So why am I ranting about this person?  Because he’s my personal whipping boy for the “I don’t want someone to give me an honest opinion.  I want you to tell me I’m good and pet my ego.” painters now.  I’m tired of seeing decent paint jobs praised like they’re museum quality works of art that could never be improved and the painters lapping it up.  I’m tired of seeing the judges in painting competitions all know each other and judging their groups’ work on a softer scale than people they don’t know or don’t like.  I’m tired of seeing the same people winning competition after competition because it discourages other painters from entering.

There used to be a Masters category at the local cons.  Win “Best In Show” and you were automatically upped to that level.  Win a certain number of first place trophies and you were upped to that level.  I’ve always felt that was important because it opened up the playing field for aspiring painters since they weren’t always going to lose to the big guys.  As soon as my whipping boy won Best In Show he changed the way the painting contest ran so that they went to open judging.

Now I rant about open judging.  For those who don’t know what it is here’s a synopsis.  No trophies – you’re judged against some arbitrary scale and given a medal based on your own abilities on that scale, separate from anyone else.  In theory this sounds great but it means that you’re now painting for the judges and what they consider “worthy”.  I prefer the honesty of a trophy competition where you’re competing against other painters.  I want to see the best paint job for that competition.  I don’t want to see 3 bronze medals, 5 silver and 2 gold.  It means nothing to me as a spectator since no one wins.

My whipping boy didn’t want to compete against the other painters in his class so he changed the judging method so he didn’t have to do so.  I find that weak.  Very, very weak.  He’s complained about the declining number of entries in the local competitions for a while then he changed the judging so most people didn’t understand it and had even less reason to enter since they didn’t get a trophy.  It’s great for the handful of people who compete in nationals and have won major awards.  It’s confusing and kind of disappointing for the rest of the people.

In summary – I’m tired of people who don’t want honest critique when they ask for it.  I’m tired of seeing the same people win competitions, both local and national.  I’m tired of people manipulating the system so that they don’t have to compete against their peers.  I’m tired of fanbois and the attitude they create.  I’m just tired of a lot of things but these are the high points.

Comment if you’ve got stories to share or your own thoughts on the subject.

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