Monday, May 25, 2015

Dark Fable Egyptian Mummies (and Lady-Friends)

As promised, here are some quick snapshots of the Egyptian figures I painted this weekend:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Realizations and Working Hard at the Painting Table

In the past few weeks, as the weather's warmed up to the point where I can prime figures outside again, I've begun painting again, only to come up against a rather ugly realization.

I have lost the patience required to paint whole units of 28mm figures.  I used to be able to do big blocks of Games Workshop Orcs and Skeletons without batting an eye (granted, the skeletons were sprayed black and drybrushed ivory, but still), and now...

I went through a huge struggle just to work up the motivation to paint eight Greek Hoplites.  They're not finished.  I'm not sure they will be.  Right now they're sitting in a little plastic container, mocking me.  Sitting down and doing nigh-identical figures over and over again...I'm not sure I can do it any more.  Even working in nice stages of, "OK, armor's done, next round, cloth, then a round of leather bits" is proving deeply discouraging for me.

On the other hand, I'm having no trouble painting characterful figures, especially, um, characters!

If you'll recall back in December I posted about backing Dark Fable's Egyptians on Kickstarter.  I got my two packs a month or two back, and over the last couple days I've gotten them painted, and it was very relaxing and enjoyable to do so - I'll post some pictures as soon as I varnish them.

Having five figures at a time that have a theme, but aren't the same guy over and over again, seems to have worked very well for me.  As such, I've ordered a couple packs from Pulp Figures to keep me busy for the next couple weeks - I love Bob Murch's big, chunky, richly detailed and lively sculpts and I love 1930s Pulp...anything, really.  Most of my reading lately has been pulpish stuff, and in August Gina and I will be attending Pulpfest in Columbus, Ohio for a long weekend getaway - and hitting a couple geology museums, hiking trails and a large conservatory with attached butterfly conservatorium along the way.

Gina's actually been razzing me about my order from Pulp Figures today - I bought them in part because this weekend is Spin-Off, a twice-a-year uber-sale her local yarn and fiber store holds and in the past she's bought hundreds of dollars worth of high-end yarn and knitting supplies during Spin-Off Weekend, and whenever she gets in a consumerist mood it invariably infects me as well.  Naturally, since I preemptively ordered two packs of toy soldiers, she hasn't bought anything at Spin-Off yet, and is actually not sure if she'll get anything - she's reading a book about decluttering one's life and the value of minimizing one's possessions to just things you truly love and which bring you great joy in life, and getting herself a little freaked out that she's burying herself in a mountain of possessions that she's not in love with.

I'd mentioned to her mid-week last week that I wasn't sure about ordering from Pulp Figures, because there weren't really any packs available that I really looked at and said, "I HAVE to have that."  Instead it was a lot of packs that garnered a response of, "Well, that'd probably be fun to paint," and she used that to try and discourage me from spending the money - or spending it elsewhere on figures that I HAD to have.  But throughout the week I discovered that there were several packs that I just kept going to the website and looking at, and I finally broke down last night and ordered two of them.  So pretty soon I should be getting a pack of Canadian Mounties and a pack of American Rocketeers - I'm not sure why the Mounties resonated so strongly with me, a non-Canadian, but the Rocketeer figures are modeled on The Rocketeer, which was one of my favorite movies as a kid and I fell even more in love with the character a few years ago when the comics got reprinted.  So the opportunity for five Rocketeers...

And yeah, I know, irony of ironies - I struggle painting eight Greek soldiers but two sets of five guys in matching uniforms is okay.  Go figure.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Manifest Destiny, Session 7: Will the Real Thomas Jefferson Please Stand Up?

After being dosed with toxic fungal spores, Liza and Nashoba found themselves in a hallucinatory version of the world they'd just left behind, looking up at a red-stained moon shining bloodily on Monk's Mound as five jagged stone pillars erupted from the top of the mound, reaching skyward, then turning into stony fingers that flexed and clawed.  Nashoba emerged from his hallucinatory coma after 12 hours; Liza, after 22.

They decided their best bet after this was to plug in the brain-cylinder they were carrying around and consult with Meriwether Lewis' disembodied brain.  He told them what he could about a ritual designed to enchant pipes to improve summoning spells, and then made a request of his own - that they allow him to die.  After heated debate as to the wisdom of letting Lewis' brain die, Liza attempted to shoot the cylinder to bits with her blunderbuss, only to be tackled by Amity (causing Nashoba to be winged by the errant shot), and Dr. Ryder blasting the cylinder to pieces to prevent further dissension within the group.  They stood by somberly, watching the pulsating brain on the ground shudder and finally, months after his alleged demise, finally grow still.

[DM'S NOTE: The look on Liza's player's face when Lewis requested to die has been my favorite moment this entire campaign.]

After this, Amity joined Liza in her study of the copy of Monstres and Their Kynde they'd recovered from Griner's Stand, and not long thereafter Thomas Jefferson, retired President, arrived in St. Louis to confer with the PCs.  They laid out what they knew to him, and he laid out plans to them to requisition a significant quantity of copper for the purpose of producing musket balls and bayonets from the metal, due to its toxicity towards the alien creatures.

At which point, Thomas Jefferson walked into the room, apologizing for being late.  Before the PCs
could react, the Jefferson they'd been talking to produced an egg-shaped device that, once pressed to Dr. Ryder's chest, delivered an incredible electrical discharge.

It was only the swift medical administrations of Nashoba, while Liza and Amity blasted the false-Jefferson (revealing him to be an alien in disguise) that allowed Dr. Ryder to survive.  He spends the next two weeks bed-ridden and recuperating.

From Monstres and Their Kynde, Amity learns how to "Command the Night-Flier," and decided to test the spell using the enchanted pipes they'd created using Lewis' spell.  After a few minutes, a bat-like creature swooped down from the empty sky, perching in front of her, awaiting her command.  She climbed onto the creature's back and had it do a few looping reconnaissance flights out over Monk's Mound; on the last of these, she spotted two of the insects apparently excavating near the top of the mound; dismounting back where she began, Amity, Nashoba and Liza crept out to attempt to take down these two creatures.

Liza's first shot missed, alerting the creatures - Amity's pistols took one down almost instantaneously due to copper shot, and the second creature took off straight up into space.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mini Painters' Corollaries to Murphy's Law

Today I finally had the time and the climate to lay down a coat of primer and begin painting a set of eight Spartan Hoplites I'd assembled months ago, before the arctic came to visit for six months.  And I began to remember some things about miniature painting...

  1. There will always be one color that you just can't get good coverage with...until you accidentally get some on part of the figure you didn't want it on.
  2. There will always be a piece of flash that's invisible until you prime...then it's enormous.  
  3. A hair will inevitably fall on to wet paint.  Even if you're entirely bald, a hair will materialize from somewhere.  
Anyone else have any good ones?