30 April 2006

Skaven, Step 2

I was able to get one picture of my next Skaven step, so I'm posting it here. It's not a great photo, but it gets the point across. My second step is to paint any lighter-colored or non-furry parts (faces, hands, feet, and tails) of the rats. I use Vomit Brown for this. It's still pretty sloppy, but I try to keep the paint in the lines a little more than I do with the first step. I'll probably do the armor next. A lot of the steps are interchangeable, so i just do whatever ones I feel like.

I also got a picture of my assembled Giant, with a Clanrat and a Battle Sister standing by for comparison purposes. In the background you can also see my wife's backside. While not as large as my wife's butt, the Giant is pretty huge. I haven't added all of the pieces to him, as some of them will be easier to paint and then attach afterwards.

My Giant, Featuring Gheorghe Muresan and Billy Crystal

Yes, the title of my post is a real movie. Not a great movie, but most films featuring basketball players turned actors aren't that great.
I've pretty much finished assembling my Warhammer Giant. He's pretty sweet. I like all the parts that came with him, although it did make for some tough decisions. I finally decided to go with an "attacking the town" theme. I'm using the hand holding a dude, the running away guy, and the sack of people. For a club, I chose the dragon's head. I was considering doing some sort of Skaven-themed base, but nothing good really came to mind. Maybe I'll use some of the giant rats from the Skaven army box and put them on the base, so it'll be like "the Skaven overran the town and brought their big friend with them. He is a very imposing model. For now he goes in the "projects box" that I keep by my desk. I'll probably work on him along with the Immolater, the Night Runners, and the Clanrats unit (whenever I find my camera charger).

The Giant

I am working on assembling the Giant right now. I'm holding the parts of his torso together while the glue dries. I hope it dries soon because my fingers are getting tired.

29 April 2006

All Over the Place

Today I am all over the place. The first several hours of my day were spent at work, for the sixth consecutive day of working. I don't hate the work, but I still hate that I spend more time at work than I do at home (at least the time I spend at home and awake). It is a sad state we have got ourselves in, when work and money is more important than family and the pursuit of happiness. It'd be nice to be a dog and just worry about chewing on stuff, eating poop, eating food, sleeping, rolling in smelly stuff, playing, and in general loving every second of your life.
I sprayed a bunch of hornet nests today, so hopefully they will be dying in droves over the next little while. I don't mind killing soulless creatures.
I did quite a bit of hobby-related stuff today, and that's what was really all over the place. I put some red paint on parts of the Immolater. It was really watered down so I could avoid having a lot of streaks and lumps, so it will probably take a few more coats to get everything evened up and fully covered. The little bit I have done looks pretty good, though. It'll probably be a bit of a long-term project for me.
I also trimmed the flash off of and assembled two Skaven Night Runners. At some point I'll get the other eight in the unit put together and get them all primed and ready for painting.
I've been jonesing for a new unit of Battle Sisters, but I'd prefer to paint up an entire unit at once rather than doing it in pieces. So I talked my wife into letting me buy a complete unit of Battle Sisters. She said, "For the $45 you would spend doing that, why not just get the Giant?" She is a smart woman. It was an adventure getting to Hobbytown, though. She had to go to visit my little sister to hang out, leaving me with just my van as transportation. My van is an '88 Plymouth Voyager that has left it's good years far far behind. While I was in Iraq it sat in my parents weed patch and got full of wasps and mice, so it smells like something a plumber might find in your septic tank. In addition, it's full of trash and stuff that we never got around to unpacking after we moved. It has a tendency to overheat if it's warmer than 50 degrees outside and recently it's been having transmission issues. Basically it's the biggest piece of junk you've ever seen. The good news is that I got it for free several years ago and have only put about $110 into it ($70 to get the transmission fixed and $40 to buy a new taillight after a drunk ex-girlfriend kicked it out). The short story is that it barely will make the trip to my job, which is about 4 miles away, so I couldn't be sure that it would make the 14 1/2 mile round trip to Hobbytown and back. It made the trip, due in large part to a storm that swept through and dropped the temperature by 30 degrees in a matter of minutes. I think most people were angry about the storm, but I was extremely happy that it came up just as I was driving home.
All of this trouble with the van has brought me some good fortune, though. My wife has decided it would be a good idea for me to get a motorcycle, something I've been wanting for a while now. It's not going to be big, but it will at least be a step above a moped. And because she is concerned for my life, I will probably be able to get an awesome helmet and some leathers or something. Of course, people may laugh at a guy in full racing garb on a Ninja 250, but that's life. And it'll still be faster off the line than most cars. We really want to get a Ninja 500, but we can't justify the payments on it at the moment.
What with the motorcycle and the Giant and everything, my wife is a pretty awesome gal. I think I'll keep her around. Our dogs have been super-cute today. Even our poop-eater Basset Hound. He keeps running into the house and bucking all over like a little calf, just happy to be running around. He's been waging a war on my wife's flip-flops lately. She even hid them all in the hallway past our little barrier. Some people might tell you that Basset Hounds can't jump or climb, but I'm here to let you know that they're stubborn enough to learn. She told me today that there was no way he could leap the barrier and get a flip-flop without us hearing it, so of course she went out into the hallway and found one of her flip-flops missing. He is a terrible little creature.

27 April 2006

Stupid Camera!

This would have been the second post in my series on painting Clanrats, but my camera's batteries went dead and I have no idea where the charger is. So that project is temporarily postponed until I locate the charger.

26 April 2006

Painting Skaven, Part One

This is the first post in my little series of entries on painting a unit of Skaven. I may do one for Battle Sisters later. The disclaimer: This is my own personal method and you may or may not agree with it. On with the first post.

For this unit, I was kind of sick of painting all green uniforms, so I decided to add some blue uniforms into the mix. First, I ranked up all of the miniatures and picked out three from every rank to have green uniforms and two to have blue uniforms. Then I painted little appropriately-colored dots on the bases to remind me if a figure is a blue figure or a green figure. The figures also have grid designations on the bottom of their bases so I know where in the unit they fit. It's all extremely scientific. Anyway, the end result should be that I end up with a unit that is mostly green (in keeping with the army theme), but that has a little bit of blue to spice it up.

My next step is to paint the main fur color. For Clanrats I use Vermin Brown. I pretty much just slop it all over. It looks patchy and awful, but later steps will clear that up to the point that it looks right. That's as far as I got on the painting today. Here are the pictures:

In this close-up, you can see how the paint is just slapped on there. I'm not careful with it at all. You can also see the dot indicating that this rat will have blue armor.

24 April 2006

Just in time for bed...

I was able to completely reassemble my Skaven army list, despite losing the old one for a while. It is based mostly off of which miniatures I find exciting rather than any specific tactics or themes. From reading the rulebooks and whatnot, it looks like a fairly balanced list, without too much of any one thing. I guess I'll find out how it plays at some point in the future. I even have an alternate list that swaps out a unit of Stormvermin for the new Dogs of War Giant.
Tomorrow my agenda is to copy down my Witch Hunters list into a legible form and perhaps start on my little step-by-step Skaven project. I may also figure out which miniatures I need to buy to flesh out the full Witch Hunters army. It's always good to have a shopping list. I may even do a variant list that fits St. Celestine into the army.
I've picked up the Immolater a few times, but I can't bring myself to apply any paint to it just yet. The Skaven should go quickly. Then I will make an attempt at the Immolater. But now it's time for bed so I can get up in the morning and earn some money to buy minis with.

Turning Down Miniatures

My wife and I went to Hobbytown today and looked at the Warhammer 40K stuff. They had the Witch Hunters character St. Celestine on the rack, which I have never seen there before. My wife tried to talk me into getting it (meaning she took it off the rack and carried it around behind her back where I couldn't reach it). It's a really cool miniature and I probably should have let her get it for me, but St. Celestine isn't in my army list and I have 1,233 points of Witch Hunters to paint and 1,595 points of Skaven to paint as well. Add the Warhammer Giant, some terrain, and who knows what all to that and I've got a lot to do. But I might let her talk me into getting St. Celestine in a couple of weeks anyway. I'm sure I could work the model into an alternate army list.
I also saw a couple of guys getting ready to play one of the Privateer Press games (maybe Hordes?) but I wasn't too interested in that. Their figures were unpainted, but I guess the game hasn't been out for too long, so I can't fault them too much.
Since I'm going to be failing out of school this semester, I told my supervisors that I can work full-time from now on. I don't know how my wife does it. I don't mind the work that much, or even the time I spend there, but I really can't stand having so little free time at home. It seems like by the time I get home, eat, yell at the dogs, and say hello to the wife, it's already time for bed. It just doesn't seem like life was meant to be like this. I guess I envision a life where you can make enough money working a few days a week and then have a few days to have some fun and get out to enjoy your hobbies, nature, the family, and whatever else you like. I figure that I sleep seven hours and my work cycle (wake up, get ready, travel, and time spent at work) takes 10 hours, so that leaves me with approximately 7 hours of "free" time. I don't think it ever really comes out to a full 7 hours, though. It just doesn't seem like enough time and it doesn't seem right.
I think I'm going to get a motorcycle.

23 April 2006

Quick extra note

I am extremely intimidated by the Immolater. Painting it seems like a recipe for disaster. I feel the same way about the Giant. I am not sure how I will paint all that skin convincingly.

At least the painting is done...

After some help from the people at The Miniatures Page, I was able to fix my Battle Sisters. I had to do a bunch of repainting and revarnishing, but they ended up looking pretty good. I also took some time today and finished up the Canoness. She looks pretty good as well. I wasn't sure about how to paint the fire on her backpack, but I just painted it red, then highlighted it with orange, then a bit of yellow, followed by the tiniest bit of white. It came out pretty nice. I think my next project will be a little step by step write-up of painting the last ten Skaven in the unit I've been putting off. My brother-in-law thinks that it's not as easy to paint minis as I say it is, so hopefully I can illustrate some of the little tricks I've learned that make me look like a better painter than I really am.
I am fed up with clearcoats. The first one I used was a spray that "snowed" all of one unit of Skaven. Then the next one made the inks reactivate and run. That same clearcoat dulled my Battle Sisters. The new Floquil stuff that I'm using activates inks as well. I wish I could find a clearcoat that won't reactivate and smear all of my inks. But enough ranting, it's time for my pictures.
The Canoness. The flames look better in real life:

The Canoness and a Sister Superior:

The Heavy Weapons, a flamer and a meltagun:

The grunts, seven Battle Sisters with bolters:

Just as a side note, I saw a couple of kids playing Warhammer Fantasy at Hobbytown yesterday. One kid had a Dwarf army and the other kid was playing Bretonnia. It was cool to see them playing, but I don't think there was a single painted figure on the table. And many figures were represented by groups of bases surrounding a single model of whatever type the unit was. I realize that kids probably don't have the funds/patience/skills/motivation to field a whole painted army or maybe to even get all of the models that constitute an army, but it gave me a bad feeling, like it was wrong. But they seemed like decent kids, unlike the troll cheater kid we saw there a couple of weeks ago. I guess I should really get started on that Skaven army, since I'm only finished with 55 out of the 196 models in my 2000-point army list.

Also, I really need to get with my brother-in-law and play the Macragge Starter scenarios. Maybe we'll be more motivated to paint our stuff if we get some gaming in. Of course, it's a bit of hypocrisy to rail against those kids in Hobbytown and then turn around in the next paragraph to say that I'm going to play Warhammer 40K with my barely primed Tyranids, but I don't care. I still firmly believe in playing with painted miniatures. I'm just willing to make exceptions to that rule based on my own whims.

22 April 2006

You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry

Well, I am angry again. I went to clearcoat my Battle Sisters and the clearcoat completely destroyed the metallic paints. My silver is now a dark grey and my bronze is a brownish-yellow. I'm going to have to repaint the metallics and recoat them in a different varnish. So much frustration. Sometimes I wonder if I paint miniatures because it's relaxing or because I like to be super-angry all the time.

Nearly there...

I'm almost finished with the Canoness. I put in an all-nighter to get it touched up. My wife says I need to work on the face a little, I have to paint and attach the backpack, base, and clearcoat the figure. Then I'll be done. I'll probably base and clearcoat her with the Battle Sisters unit. Anyway, less talk and more pictures:

I don't hate Travis as much now...

I think I finally got the look I'm going for with the power sword. The details on the gold armor look fuzzy because the old gold looked way too yellow and I just painted over all the metallics with a softer gold that hasn't dried yet. My metallics tend to go on way too thick, so I usually think them down to the point that it's more like a wash than a paint. It takes a few coats to get full coverage, but I think it ends up looking better than goopy lumpy thick paint. The power sword doesn't look too great close up, but from a tabletop distance it looks pretty good. The rest of this mini shouldn't take very long, so hopefully by the end of the weekend I'll have a complete miniature to post about here.

I hate Travis!

This Battle Sisters Canoness is killing me. It seems like problem after problem hits me while i work on it. I think the worst part is that paint keeps rubbing off of the miniature. She has a little fur cloak thing, and it seems like every time I paint it, the paint comes right off as soon as I set the miniature down. The same thing happens on her head and weapons. I'm going to have to paint all the parts where metal starts showing through right before I clearcoat her or I'll never keep the paint on her. I've noticed some of the paint coming off the Battle Sisters squad as well, so I'd better get them sealed up as well. I wonder if I'll run into this problem with all of my metal minis. It's very aggravating. My second problem comes from painting her sword. I'm trying to do a power sword with swirling color like a picture I saw in a White Dwarf magazine, but I just can't get a good color mix or a good pattern. I put about ten different coats of paint on it, and it got so lumpy that I scraped the paint off and I'm going to give it another shot later. I can't stop thinking about it. It's like a personal challenge now, like the miniature is taunting me and saying, "You can't even keep paint on my cloak, how are you going to paint a fancy pattern on my sword? Huh? Huh? You can't, can you! AHAHAHAAH!" So now I have to get it painted just to stop the mocking. I can't believe I'm being taunted by an inanimate object.
I cleaned a bunch of trash out of the trailer today. It was starting to get really bad. My wife and I live like bachelors, so sometimes we let things go for too long. It doesn't help that our Basset Hound is a walking mess-making machine.
The title of my post refers to a school project that my little sister did in elementary or middle school. She had to make a diorama out of clay, and the main character ended up being bigger than the trees in the forest he was walking through. She was in a terrible mood and yelled, "I hate Travis!" And thus started a new family joke. The Canoness is my Travis at the moment.

21 April 2006

This Is What I Have to Deal With Every Day

There are days when I want to kill this dog. He's absolutely freakin' cute, but he constantly terrorizes my life. It's like that old Dobie Gillis show where the dad always says, "I gotta kill that kid." Some days I feel like killing my Basset Hound. Of course, in this picture he's resting. It's hard work getting into the cleaning supplies, eating your own poop, eating other dogs' poop, barking at all hours of the night, peeing in the house when the doggie door is fully functional, playing in your pee, sticking your wet nose on everyone, drinking water until your belly swells up, and throwing tantrums whenever things don't go your way. I love him to death, but sometimes I have to wonder why we bought him. He sure enjoys every minute of life, though.

And here is why we only take pictures of our dogs when they're resting:

This is our good dog, who just had her first birthday. By good dog, I mean that she pees outside, doesn't bark much, and comes when called about 35% of the time.

And here is the Canoness I started painting today. My first stages of painting usually look like a train wreck, but I add detail and tighten up lines as the miniatures get closer to completion. Someone on The Miniatures Page was discussing that some expert painters' figures look awful right up until they add the finishing touches. I don't claim to be an expert, but my minis sure look worse before they get better. I don't really like gold at all, but it fits the theme of the army so I'll just do my best to make it look good. The gold didn't coat as well as the Boltgun Metal did on the Battle Sisters squad, so I'll have to go over it again. The red will need a couple more coats as well.

20 April 2006

Added Links and I Admit that I'm a Total Liar

I added a link to Captain Comics because they gave me free comics, and I added a link to Red Rick because I won his contest for $15 in free miniatures from GHQ, a manufacturer of Micro Armour. So go check out their websites and tell them I sent you!
And now the part where I admit to being a total liar. I was supposed to start working on my Skaven today, but I cheated and started on the Canoness for my Witch Hunters. So far I've just done some basic blocking in of major colors, so she's quite ugly.
I realized that I don't really get depressed at work. Maybe there is fulfillment in working after all. I also have realized that I hate school and don't really give a crap about my classes. More on that situation as it develops.

19 April 2006

Nearly there...

Today I finished painting details on the backpacks for my Battle Sisters and glued the backpacks on. Here's a tip for everyone out there: Make sure you check for fit on extra parts before you paint everything up. I had to do some filing and cutting to get all the parts to fit, and then I had to do some repainting to get it all looking good again. All that's left for the unit is basing and then a clearcoat to protect the paintjob.
I will be glad to get back and do some Skaven, as near the end of this unit I was getting burned out on Battle Sisters. Hopefully I can keep skipping back and forth between the armies so I don't get too bored with painting either one. I also have partially redone my Skaven list because I lost the old one. I'm still curious as to the mix I had for those last 300 points or so. I think it was some sort of Clanrats unit and a Warlord.
I also went to my local comics shop today, as it is New Comic Wednesday. I buy most of my books online because the discounts are better, but the local shop has a weekly drawing for variant covers and action figures or whatever merchandise they've got to give away, so I usually go in and buy two or three books to get in on the drawing. I've won a couple of drawings, so it keeps me coming back. This week I won a drawing for a variant cover of Teen Titans #34. That was pretty awesome. If you're ever in the Boise area, stop by Captain Comics. It's a good, clean store with normal people as employees. They also have a small satellite store in Meridian, but a lot of the more popular stuff sells out there quickly.
My wife and I played some World of Warcraft today and probably were pretty close to getting kicked off for participating in the taunting of some punk kid. It happens. I am going to try playing as a Warrior for the little group my wife and I have with my sister and brother-in-law. My mains will probably always be Dwarf Hunters, though.
I also stopped at Hobbytown and saw the new Giant miniature for Warhammer. I really want one. Part of my depression is an intense "need" to buy new things, so I really wanted to get it even though we have millions of bills. I felt pretty bad for about an hour today after leaving the store without buying anything, but at least I have that impulse partially under control now. I've been able to wean it down from buying everything I can get my hands on to either making a small purchase or walking out with nothing. I even briefly had the thought that I might as well just quit miniatures because [insert multiple reasons why miniatures are ruining my life]. It's just another symptom that I have when I get depressed and can't get everything I want. I think I'm going to go talk to a shrink. It would probably be good for me, but the grump inside of me wants nothing to do with people asking questions that are "none of their business." I still really want the Giant, though. It'll be a huge (hehehe) project and I'll have to learn a lot about painting flesh tones, but it's a sweet model. Maybe when I finish another couple of units I can work out a way to get him. He'll slot right into my Skaven army and be a nice way to add some variation to it.

18 April 2006


The Easter Bunny brought my wife a copy of Sid Meier's Pirates and promised not to play it before she did. The Easter Bunny has been watching her play it today and he is quite jealous of it.

Almost done...

I am just about finished with my first unit of Battle Sisters. I pushed hard all weekend to get them done. I even did some painting at my parent's house during the Easter bonfire. All that's left is painting and attaching their backpacks and doing something with the bases. As soon as I get that done I'll post pictures. Then I can finish that unit of Clanrats and work on my Battle Sisters Canoness and Immolater.
I also restarted my World of Warcraft account and made a new character on a new server. I'm a Dwarf Hunter named Chonk on the Turalyon server.
And now it's time for bed. I have no idea how we're going to wake up in the morning. In other fun news, my cousin, my brother-in-law, and I destroyed a computer moniter at my parent's house. We were out shooting at junk with a BB Gun and then we saw the moniter, so we threw rocks at it and smashed it all up. It was hilarious, like that scene in Office Space where they destroy the fax machine out in the field.

15 April 2006

My Wife is Pretty Awesome

Today I was having Hobbytown withdrawals because I hadn't been there for a few days. I wanted to go look at toys, so I told my wife I was probably going to go and look at stuff for a while. I had every intention of sticking to my promise of not buying anything until I got two units painted up, but she told me to go ahead and get an Immolater for my Battle Sisters. So I did. It's a pretty sweet little vehicle. I decided to go ahead and model it with the hatches all closed, so I was able to assemble most of it today and primer the main body of the vehicle. There wasn't a lot of flash or mold lines, so I really only had to trim a few parts to get a good fit. I left the tracks off as well as the gun turret, because it'll probably be easier to paint that stuff separately before I assemble it. I'm going to have to trim some of the turret pieces to make it fit together correctly. I'm not sure if I'm going to model the extra armor upgrade with styrene pieces. I probably won't, just because I want to keep it simple. As far as paint scheme, I think it will stay mostly black with some red, bronze, and tin. The bronze and tin will help tie it in to the colors of the Dominion squad it will eventually be a transport for.
The main point of the post, though, is how awesome my wife is. She let me buy a tank and she puts up with me on a daily basis. I still have no idea why she married me because she could've done a lot better as far as a husband is concerned. Like maybe someone who could hold a real job and buy a home that's not mobile. I guess she's a sucker for punishment, but I'm glad she sticks around. I'd be even more of a mess than I already am if she took off.
In other news, I bought a can of spray paint at Wal-Mart and have been coating the Tyranids from the Macragge set in it. The paint is crappy, so it's going to take a few coats before they really get fully covered. I'm still trying to decide what to do about painting the weapons and helmets of my Battle Sisters squad. I know what colors I'm going to paint faces and hair, but I'm nervous about doing that, so I keep putting it off. I need to finish them up and I've still got ten Clanrats to paint as well. I also have about 1400 more points of Skaven to assemble and paint. I lost my army list for Skaven, but I'm pretty sure I can reconstruct it without a lot of hassle. And I am seriously considering restarting my World of Warcraft account.

14 April 2006

I forgot to add pictures of the Battle Sisters with the Bronze added. Here they are:

More Painting, and City of Villains

I painted the trim and iconography of my Battle Sisters today. I decided to paint it in Dwarf Bronze. I'll probably stick to the metallics for the trims as well, using a contrasting metal color for each type of unit. So the color scheme will be something like:
  • Troops - Boltgun Metal, Bronze
  • HQ - Gold, Boltgun Metal
  • Fast Attack - Bronze, Tin
  • Heavy Support - Tin, Gold

I'm still deciding what I want to do with helmets and weapons. Once I get those all painted I'll just have to do some ink washes and paint the faces. The squad isn't taking as long as I thought it would, even though I've invested quite a bit of time into it.

I found a code in one of my comic books for a fee 7-day trial of City of Villains. I downloaded it last night, tried to play it for a little while, and was reminded of why I quit playing City of Heroes and switched to World of Warcraft. It's just not a very exciting game.

Battle Sisters

I finally got some paint on my Battle Sisters. So far I've just blocked in the main colors for their robes and armor. I had to paint three coats of red for the robes to get full coverage, but they came out looking quite nice. I went with a darker red (Scab Red rather than Blood Red) than they use in the books because I think they look better with a duller red. I don't imagine a group of battle nuns running around in bright colors. I decided to go with metallic armor, and to mix it up I'll probably use a different kind of metal for each troop type. Maybe something along the lines of:
  • Troops - Boltgun Metal
  • HQ and Elites - Gold
  • Fast Attack - Bronze
  • Heavy Support - Tin

I think it'll turn out pretty nicely and give me a little variety when I paint. I'll keep the robes all the same color of red in order to tie the army together as a whole, sort of like my green theme in the Skaven army. I'm getting excited as I get closer to finishing the two units I told my wife I'd finish before I buy any more miniatures. I really want to try my hand at assembling and painting a vehicle. I guess I could post a couple of pictures so all five of you readers can see what I'm talking about.

This first picture is from some point when I was painting the red. I hadn't done the sleeves or collars yet and was probably on the second coat of red for the skirts.

And this is sort of a close shot after the Boltgun Metal has been painted on. Notice that the boltguns themselves are not painted. I still have to decide what color to paint them, as I think there will be too much silver on the models if I go that route. I'm still deciding on that.

12 April 2006

Kind of a Sad Day

Today my wife and I went to my family's farm to hang out for the evening. It was somewhat against my will, but now I'm sort of glad I went with her. Our old cowdog has been dealing with cancer in her mouth for a little while now and recently had a tumor removed from her lip. Today she was lying on her bed and we noticed that something was wrong with her. The cancer had somehow broken her jaw in half and she was bleeding from her mouth. You could tell she was ready to go. We had planned on putting her to sleep at the vet's office because she is deathly afraid of guns and we didn't want her last moment to be one of fear. Out on the farm things are a little different and often farmers have to put down their own animals rather than depending on the vet to come around. Anyway, it was too late to call the vet and she was in an extreme amount of pain, so we took her outside and all the kids who wanted to say goodbye got to pet her and whatever else. My dad sent everyone inside and then put her down. She knew it was her time and closed her eyes, so she never knew there was a gun around and she was able to go in peace. I helped him dig a grave for her out where our other dog is buried. She always had a big shaggy mane, so we cut a lock of hair from that and then we buried her. Right now she is probably in doggie heaven rolling in someting smelly and chasing cows across the sky. She sure was a good dog and I'm going to miss seeing her when we visit the farm.
I think people should take more responsibility not only for the lives of their animals, but also for their deaths. The people I most despise are those who drive their pets out to a rural area like ours and dump them off by the side of a road in a box to "fend for themselves," essentially sentencing them to a long slow death by exposure rather than something quick and humane, often because they don't feel comfortable taking their pet in to die. I'd like to take those people out in the desert and dump them off in a box with no food or water and see how well they do at fending for themselves. If you don't feel comfortable about being responsible for an animal once it is too sick or old to carry on or especially if you think you'll just get tired of it after a while, then you have no business owning that animal. I think that those who don't take responsibility for their pets will answer to an higher authority for it at some point.
I had my first hobby-related injury today. I got some Skaven in the mail and when I opened the box I sliced my finger open with my X-Acto knife. That didn't feel too great and it bled a lot. But at least I got sixty new Clanrats to paint.

11 April 2006

Lots of pictures. Not a lot of words.

This is a pic of my most-recently completed rank of Skaven.
And here we have all three painted ranks lined up together.
And here we have a picture of all of my painted Skaven. The command group for the Plague Monks is currently on display at Hobbytown. They give you a $2.00 gift certificate every month that you put a mini in the display case.
And here is a photo of my primed Battle Sisters. On the far left are a Canoness and Sister Superior, the next two minis are the heavy weapons team for the squad (a flamer and a meltagun), and to the right of them are seven Battle Sisters with bolters.

10 April 2006

Escaping Snakes

I am not as angry today as I was yesterday, so that's a step in the right direction. I followed the advice of the guys at The Miniatures Page and bought some new glue, which is working quite well on my Witch Hunter miniatures. That's one crisis averted. I also have just about wrapped up five more Skaven, for a total of 15 out of 25. Only ten more, although that number includes my leader model, my standard bearer, and my musician, which will all take a little longer to paint. It's still exciting to be making good progress on a unit.
In other news, our Ball Python is missing. She is probably somewhere in our trailer, but we haven't located her yet. I'm not too alarmed at the moment, but I hope we find her soon.


I would’ve posted this last night, but the internet went down. I’m not going to bother editing it, so just read it like it was posted in the nighttime.

I threw my first miniature across the room today. I've been trying to get my first squad of Battle Sisters together, but it is terribly frustrating. My glue isn't working to hold the miniatures together. I've tried using more glue, less glue, heated glue, and everything else I can think of to keep the metal parts attached to other metal parts and whole minis attached to bases. The glue just won't hold the damned things together. So in a fit of frustration I threw a mini across the room this morning. I also threw the same mini down on the desk this evening, as it has been extremely frustrating to work with and acts a ringleader for the others to rebel against their bonds. Just thinking about it makes me boil. This predicament brings a couple of things to mind.

First, anger issues. They warned us when we left Iraq that we might face anger issues when we got home and to be extra careful about our tempers. Basically, the whole don't beat your wife, kids, or dogs speech. I didn't think much of it as I've always been a pretty laid-back individual. Since I've been home, though, I am always in a foul mood. It's like when you cook Ramen Noodles and the pot of water is boiling and the lid rattles around on the pot. My lid is always rattling. I don't take it out on my wife or dogs because I am at least able to recognize it and shut myself down when I'm angry, but throwing a mini across the room when I'm alone doesn't seem like normal behavior. From talking with the other guys in my unit I'm not the only one affected by this post-traumatic stress disorder.

Second, I'm not very excited about my Witch Hunter army. So far it has just been a frustrating project. I still enjoy working with the Skaven and getting them assembled and painted, but when I turn to work on the Witch Hunters I just get apathetic. I don't know why. The concept is still interesting to me and the miniatures are pretty cool, but I'm just not excited like I used to be. Even when I go to Hobbytown I browse the Witch Hunters a little, but then I go and look at all of the Ork stuff. I'm thinking about switching over and doing an Ork army instead. My problem with switching is that it feels like giving up for no good reason. It's not like the Witch Hunters personally offended me and I vowed to have my revenge by not collecting them anymore. I just woke up one day unenthused by them. I am going to paint this one squad that I have before I make any lasting decisions. If I end up having a good time painting them up, I'll probably stick with it, finish up the army, and then move on to Orks. If it's an awful chore for me, I'll probably scrap it right now and start my Ork army first. Maybe I'll come back around to Witch Hunters once I get my Ork jones out of the way. I wonder if every wargamer goes through this.

09 April 2006

A Picture

I finally went out to the car and got the camera, so I can post a photo of the Skaven I painted this weekend. My army's main color is green, so most of the clanrats in this unit have green armor, but I mixed it up a little and added blue armor to a few of them. That keeps me from getting bored. It's sort of fun before I paint up a rank to line them up with the painted ones and choose which ones will be blue and which ones will be green. I think that if I didn't include that step I'd end up with one whole side being blue and the other side being green, which would be pretty lame and ruin the ragtag look I want.


It is freezing in my hobby shed tonight, but despite my frozen fingers I have completed painting another 5 Clanrats from the unit of 25 I am working on. That brings me up to 10 total, or 40%. I am quite proud of my recent streak of motivation. I got those 5 Skaven done today as well as getting a bunch of stuff primed. It is very late now, so I think it's off to hit the sack for a few hours. I have to catch up on the homework I've been putting off during this painting spree.

08 April 2006

Back in the Saddle

I finally got back to the paint desk today. I was even somewhat productive and finished an entire rank of five Skaven Clanrats. All that's left to do on them is finish the bases and clearcoat them. My brother-in-law came over and assembled a bunch of the Tyranids from the Macragge box set. I have several of them drying in the primer box right now and hopefully I'll have some time to slap paint on them this weekend. My brother-in-law also based his Space Marines from the Macragge set and worked on his paint scheme.

He had an idea that I wasn't too sure about at first, but so far it's turning out all right. He took a heated dentist's pick and scarred the Space Marine armor all over. He also added bullet holes and the like. Basically, the Space Marine's entire armor was all cut up and blasted. There's no way the dude inside the armor could still be living. Then we primed it and painted a bright green in all of the gashes. It sounds strange, and when he explained it to me I'll admit I was pretty wary of the idea and mostly hoped he wasn't going to ruin a bunch of good miniatures. It turned out all right, although there are still some details to work out. I'm actually coming up with a bit of fluff as to how this particular army came about. More on that later once I organize my thoughts.

I'm mostly just excited that I was able to finish up some miniatures and I'm looking forward to completing some more.

My wife, my little sister, and I went to see Benchwarmers today. It was a pretty good movie. I recommend it.

06 April 2006

Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

Life may not be pain, but going to class after work is. I hate school. I think the education I'm receiving is less than adequate and I long for the days at the University of Idaho when my schooling didn't seem like a waste of my life. My advice to Idahoans looking at schools is to stay far away from Boise State University and go to the University of Idaho. If moving freight for several hours is more tantalizing than going to three hours of class, something is wrong.
I was thinking today about the accessibility of comic creators as opposed to other celebrities. After every convention I usually try to make contact with the creators I talked to and say thank you for taking the time to come out and meet the fans. Sometimes I ask questions about comics or the industry.

The thing that gets me is how many comic creators have e-mail addresses posted on the internet and how many of them actually write back and answer questions. That doesn't really happen with most famous people. I realize that comic book creators don't have fanbases in the millions like many actors, actresses, sports stars, and whatnot do, but there are still probably a few hundred thousand or maybe even a couple of million fans out there. Try writing to ten sports stars and see if you get six or seven of them to reply.

On the wargaming front, I got my workshop set up enough that my brother-in-law could come over and work on miniatures with me. I got six Tyranids from the Battle for Macragge box set assembled and based today. He's about done cleaning up his Space Marines. He wants to start painting his miniatures, but he can't come up with a color scheme for them. I think he's afraid he'll get halfway through the army and then want to change colors. I'm thinking he could do some sort of army like one I saw in White Dwarf. The Space Marines in that army had defected from their original chapters and banded with some sort of fallen commander. They still had their original color schemes, but their insignia was scratched off and painted over with something new. That would be more work to paint, but it might provide variety.

I could probably be done assembling the Tyranids this weekend, but we'll see how much other stuff I have to do. I have to get this project moving so he doesn't lose interest before we get to play a game. I'm thinking I should just do a bare-bones job on the Tyranids because they aren't my real army and I would really like to get started on my Witch Hunter Sisters of Battle army. But I realize that playing the scenarios in the starter set will go a long way toward helping us both learn the rules. I can read the rulebook all I want, but until I see it all in action I have a hard time picturing it.

This sentence is here to remind me to post about the game of 40K we saw going in Hobbytown the other day. Actually, I want to write more about the kids playing it than about the game itself. I am so tired. I stay up all night and then I wonder why I don't feel like going to work in the mornings.

05 April 2006

Coconut in the Carpet

I often do not think things through very well. And I have an example just waiting for everyone. A couple days ago I bought an "Easy-Open" coconut from Wal-Mart. This morning I decided to eat my coconut and found that I couldn't just pry it apart with my incredible strength. So I drilled out the holes with my Dremel and poured the milk out. The milk tasted terrible. I drilled out part of the patented "Easy Open" line, which appears to be a line where they shaved a little of the "hair" off the coconut surface, apparently making it incredibly easy to open. Still the coconut wouldn't budge. So I began looking for things I could use to open the coconut with blunt trauma. That's when I spied the brass from my tank round. And here I digress into the story about why there is a Canadian tank round in my home.

Every few years the Idaho National Guard tankers, of which I am one, has a shootout with the Canadians. We have M1A1s and they have some form of Leopard 2 (a German tank that Canada purchased for their Army). In 2003 I got to be a part of that competition (which we won by a small margin). After the serious stuff was over, they gave some of us junior soldiers the opportunity to fire a round from their tanks. And after we fired the round they gave us the shell casing from it. I do not have any American casings as the U. S. is very careful to collect and inventory stuff like that. The Canadians were happy not to have to cart the shells back to Canada. Firing a tank is a huge masculinity injection. Your chest hair practically doubles within ten minutes after you fire a round. But anyway, that's the story of how a Canadian tank shell casing came to be my home.

The shell was large and heavy, so I set the coconut on the floor (this is where I stop thinking) and dropped the shell on top of it. The shell cracked a little and I probably could've pulled it apart at that point, but I decided to make sure. I added a little extra push to the drop this time. The coconut splattered all over the carpet and was made very unappetizing, with bits of coconut shell and dog hair stuck all over it. There are several lessons to be learned here.

  1. Don't smash wet things on the carpet.
  2. "Easy Open" isn't all that easy.
  3. Coconuts from Wal-Mart are often rotten.
  4. Canada is pretty cool, and boy could those Canucks drink!

04 April 2006

Stupid Rain

It's raining. I hate the rain. I think the worst rain is when it rains while you're doing stuff in the Army, because water gets in all of your gear and makes life miserable. On the farm, if the rain gets bad enough, you can usually go inside and wait it out. Or at least put on more clothes or something. In the Army you're pretty much hosed. Driving a tank is the worst, because the hatches never seal right and there is a constant waterfall coming in and pouring straight down your neck. Occasionally it will land on your helmet instead of your neck, but then it proceeds to drip from your helmet onto your face or from your helmet down your neck. Rain also makes my dogs smell terrible. But rain isn't what I really wanted to talk about.
I am tired of school. I hate going to class. I'm not sure if I have inferior genetics or something, but sitting in a classroom makes me want to die. Seriously, I have to bring a magazine or something to school with me just so I don't run out of the room screaming. I think today I'll work on a Space Marines list for my brother-in-law while I sit through German class.
Speaking of wet dogs, why are my dogs so obsessed with getting on my bed? I know my sister and her husband have the same problem with their dogs. If I leave the door open, both of my stupid dogs will try to sneak to the bedroom and get on the bed. I just don't understand the appeal. Our Basset Hound is also obsessed with eating socks. He has stopped stealing other things to chew on, but he loves to steal socks. He's so dumb, though, that sometimes he sees a sock on your foot and can't help trying to pull it off. Hello, moron! It's attached to my freaking foot!
I'm still excited about the comic convention. It was awesome. I guess I should go let the dogs out of their kennels. They were getting a little to rambunctious, so I had to separate them for a little bit. I don't know what possessed us to get dogs. For the money we've put into them I could've bought a nice used motorcycle, like this one:

03 April 2006

Emerald City Comic Con!

I attended the Emerald City Comic Con this weekend with my wife, sister, and brother-in-law. It was pretty awesome for me, and by awesome I mean that I wish I could go to a convention like that every weekend. I think the others liked it as well, but it probably wasn't quite as intense for them as it was for me. I got a bunch of sketches and a few action figures and comics. I met a lot of neat creators and basically just geeked out for two dys straight. They practically had to throw me out at the end of both days. I'm glad it turned out so well because it was my big trip for the year and it would've been disappointing had I blown my big trip on something lame. The convention was anything but lame. The Penny Arcade guys were there and my brother-in-law went crazy at their booth buying like $50 in stuff. Gabe did a sketch for me, and he and Tycho both signed it. That was pretty awesome, and they also did a panel on Sunday that my brother-in-law said was pretty good. I didn't attend, as I was chasing sketches down on the floor. I got artwork from a lot of artists, which was a stupendous experience for me.

Right after I hit up the Penny Arcade booth, I ran over and got in line for Tim Sale. He was extremely friendly and seemed very happy to be doing sketches for the fans. I guess he is a local, so he was churning out the sketches the whole time as a way to say thanks to the fans in his home turf. The wait was sort of long, but totally worth it because he took the time to talk to you and socialize while drawing your sketch. I got a sweet Catwoman from him, shown below.

After we talked to him, my wife and I headed over to Darick Robertson's line, which was long as well. He kept the line moving pretty fast, though, so it wasn't long before we were at the front. I really wanted a New Warriors sketch, with my top three choices being Namorita, Firestar, and Nova. He did a Nova sketch for me, so that was awesome. Just a couple hours into the convention and I already had two of the sketches on my "short list" of ones I really wanted.

At some point around this time, I wandered back over by the Penny Arcade booth where I noticed Scott Mills was set up with his stuff. I have always wanted to pick up something from him, but I've never actually done it. He had a few of his pieces laid out and I chose this one.


I love all the little stuff he comes up with and someday I want to get a Hulk drawing from him. From what I could see over the course of the convention, he wasn't getting nearly enough business for how cool his stuff is. So get out there and find some of his stuff!

I had preordered a Ghost Rider sketch from Clayton Crain before the convention and decided to go see about picking it up from him. He spent about five minutes trying to tell me that it was no good and that he'd redo it if I wanted him to. I braced for the worst, but then he pulled out this awesome sketch of Ghost Rider on a motorcycle. I had only been expecting something like a head sketch, so I was blown away. Clayton Crain is such a humble guy. If I could draw something like that, I would totally be showing it off. Apparently it was pretty common for him to tell people who ordered sketches from him that he wasn't 100% happy with them and that he'd do it again. You can tell he puts everything he's got into his work. Anyway, here's the sketch:

I think after this we walked around some, got lunch, and attended the costume contest. Probably the highlights of that were a little kid dressed up as Jango Fett and a guy who dressed as Two-Face. My wife also picked up a Roman Dirge book (we already had it, but hadn't brought it to the convention). He wasn't at the designated signing area, but we saw him on the other side of the booth and he was gracious enough to sign it for her and draw a little sketch, even though it wasn't one of his designated signing times. That was very cool of him.

At this point I had either received the sketches I really wanted or ruled them out because of cost, availability of the creator, etc. So I decided to try to discover new people who I could get sketches from. When I saw a Deadpool sketch that Patrick Zircher did for a friend, I knew I had to get something from him. I had no idea who I could have him draw, though. Then I had a flash of inspiration and asked him to do Cloak and Dagger. He seemed to really like the idea and said that they are really fun to draw just because of the costumes and the things that can be done with the contrast between black and white. We talked a little about how underused they are. He wanted a reference for the costumes, as he hadn't drawn them in a long time and wanted something to look at just to make sure he got it right. He told me that if I didn't want to buy a book, I could just tell him what booth it was at and he could go borrow it when he was ready. I couldn't imagine sending him off to run an errand like that and so I ran off to the first quarter-bin I saw and got a Cloak and Dagger comic. The guy running the booth laughed when my wife handed him a quarter and made a big announcement that he'd just made his smallest sale of the day. We took the comic back over to the artist alley and watched Mr. Zircher try to decide how to draw a Hulk and Abomination sketch for someone. He was commenting on how the person had asked for the two biggest Marvel characters and given him the smallest piece of paper ever to draw them on. Around that time Kurt Busiek wandered over and said he should draw Hulk eating some cheese. From there the cheese ideas got pretty wild. We listened to them talking for a while and then wandered off. When we came back, he had started on my sketch and we watched him work on it. It's mind-boggling to me how artists can come up with these ideas and then just draw them out. I just don't have the mind for it, I guess. The sketch turned out awesome and Mr. Zircher gained a fan in me. He's a great guy and a top-tier artist. I can't say enough good things about him or this sketch. A lot of people who saw this sketch commented on how awesome it is.

Around the same time, my wife and I decided we really needed a Wonder Woman sketch, so we went over to Stephen Sadowski and begged him for a sketch. He agreed and drew up an extremely nice Wonder Woman for us. He also teased my brother-in-law for being a native Idahoan.

At some point during the day, I noticed a Fantastic Four vs. the Super Skrull print at Erik Thompson's booth. I went back later and he had the original art to the print up for sale. I couldn't say no to something that awesome, so I bought the art and a copy of the print. It was sweet action.

The next day I woke up a little late due to confusion about daylight savings time and I jumped in the shower, packed all of my stuff, and apparently angered the rest of my fellow travelers as I attempted to oust them from bed to prepare for another day of comicky goodness. After many glares and mutters, I finally got them all up, cleaned, and in the car. When we got to the convention center it was revealed that I, the man who had claimed to be all ready to go and just waiting on everyone else, had forgotten my cell phone at the hotel. There was a little to-do over that, and my wonderful, awesome, beautiful, and long-suffering wife went back to pick it up so I could get into the convention and pursue my dreams. I really can't explain in words how great my wife is, but she certainly didn't get the fair end of the deal when she married me. My brother-in-law attended the second day of the convention with me and my sister and wife went to the fish market.

I didn't quite match my productivity of Saturday, but I still got some awesome sketches. I went over to where Doug Mahnke was and listened to him and Ed Brubaker talk a little about Spider-Man and comics in general, and then when there was a pause in the conversation, I asked for a Superman sketch. He apologized for having me stand there for so long, but I really enjoy hearing the creators talk to each other. It seems like you always learn something new when you listen in on their conversations. It was very cool of him to interrupt his conversation to draw a sketch for me.

One of the people I really wanted to meet at the convention was Karl Kesel. I am a huge fan of his Fantastic Four work and I really wanted to meet him. He wasn't at the convention in 2004 and this year he wasn't there on Saturday. On Sunday he was at the booth, though, so I got in line and when it was my turn I basically told him I loved him and that I want to have his babies. It was quite the fanboy moment. Although I'm sure he was creeped out by my profession of love for his work, he seemed genuinely flattered and drew up a sketch of the Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing for me. It was neat to finally meet him and find out that he's such a nice guy. If you want a good look at his writing talents, pick up the recent Fantastic Four Wedding Special. He nails the characters dead-on.

The last sketch I got was from David Hahn. My wife really wanted a Red Riding Hood (from Fables) sketch, so I was tasked with getting one for her. I don't really know anything about Fables, but I saw on his little placard that Mr. Hahn had drawn two issues of the series and so I resolved to ask him if he could draw a sketch for her. I admitted that I don't know anything about Fables, but it would be great if he could do a sketch for her. He asked if I wanted it inked and I sort of hemmed and hawwed, because from his price scale it would probably be $50 and I was about $15 short of that figure. He said, "I'll pencil it out and if it needs ink I'll ink it. Either way it'll be $25." I could have jumped for joy right there, but I restrained myself and said that would be great. Later on I dropped by and he was inking it with a sweet pen that looked like a felt tip marker with a really flexible tip. It was almost like a pen-paintbrush hybrid. I asked him a little about how it works out and how easy it is to draw with, citing my inability to get paint on miniatures with a brush in any real form of straight line. When he finished it up, he said she came out a little sleepy, and Karl Kesel leaned over and said it wasn't sleepy so much as world-weary. That seemed to work for him, and he personalized it to my wife, handed it to me, and said something that sounded like, "It'll be five dollars." That didn't sound quite right, so I asked him the amount again and he said, "Just five dollars. I'm glad I got to do that for you and help a brother out." Another awesome creator hooked me up. My wife was so excited about the sketch and when I told her the story about how he only charged five dollars she was even more happy, not because I saved so much money, but because he had done something so nice. The sketch is great. I think we'll put it up on the wall in a frame.

All in all, it was a great experience for me. I'm still excited just thinking about it. Even though my sister and brotehr-in-law aren't comic fans, they found a lot of stuff that they enjoyed, like some anime stuff, a lot of anime-styled art, and some animation software. My brother-in-law has been on a big Photoshop kick lately, and so computer animation is his next step. They bought a bunch of stuff like DVDs, prints, and t-shirts. He also attended the webcomics panel and afterwards suggested to Gabe and Tycho that they should podcast panels that they do, as apparently that one was quite entertaining. They thought it was a great idea and he was stoked that his idols liked his idea. We also saw something unfortunate. There was a guy in a ninja suit, who must've been a real ninja assassin. We saw him sneak up on Brom's table, but then he disappeared and reappeared behind Brom's table. Brom didn't even know he was back there, and the ninja silently chopped Brom up. The ninja was so fast and so stealthy that Brom didn't even know he had died. He acted normal for the entire convention, even though the ninja had clearly killed him. Then just for kicks, the ninja stole Brom's wallet and bought some art from Brom with his own money, then posed wth Brom for a picture. That picture is probably hanging up in the ninja lodge now, with a caption like: "He doesn't even know that he's dead." So if you read about Brom's mysterious death in the newspapers soon, you can be one of the few who knows the real truth. Ninjas are crazy dudes.