Monday, March 28, 2011

Ramblings on a Slow Hobby Month

I have been working on a few projects here and there, but I've had little time to put in a lot of time on anything. There have been a lot of things going on since my last posting, good and not-so-good, that have preoccupied my time.

Last week, I celebrated the Big 5-0. Yikes! My wife threw me a nice dinner party. It was mostly friends from work, their spouses, family, significant others, etc. The highlight seemed to be the showing of the "war room." A lot of my friends knew about my hobby activities, but few have seen my stuff. It always feels a little funny when I show people my minis and such. I guess I feel a little reluctant to let people into my private world.

Work has been incredibly stressful...probably the most since I became the head of the department. I'm not going into particulars, but a lot has to do with the financial health of my school and the penny-wise, pound-foolish decisions that the administration has made. The past three weeks or so has left me feeling really demoralized (the birthday party was major pick-me-up). It has also got me rather concerned about retirement, more so than usual.

Big question for folks out there: does the current economy and/or retirement plans make you re-think your hobby expenditures? It has for me. It seems that every year, the financial and retirement experts keep bumping up the minimum amount of money needed to retire somewhat comfortably. I'm not doubting their wisdom, but it feels like swimming against a current. I am not ready to put up all my wargaming stuff on E-Bay yet, but I need to take a hard look at what I am buying. I have the feeling that there are those of us out there that spend far more than I do, but I feel like I need to cut back on a lot of things.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Space Demons

Here are some shots of Khurasan Miniatures' 15mm Space Demons.

I think they are the best non-Alien aliens in 15mm out there. They have a big variety, and each variety has a number of poses. In fact, they just added more poses to two of their varieties. My only problem is, that like other cool-but-exotic-looking miniatures, I get a bad case what I call "painter's freeze." Painter's freeze is: 1) I can't make up my mind as to how I want to paint them, and 2) I keep feeling that I won't do them justice, especially when I see how other people have painted them. I have a bunch of Scotia-Grendel's Kryomek Aliens that are still waiting to be painted no thanks to painter's freeze.

How did I break through this disturbing psychological block? Nail polish! There are all kinds of metallic colors out there. I have used nail polish before to simulate silk or satin on historical Asian miniatures. I found some cheapo metallic polish. The color of the pictures is not perfect, but it was a blue-green metallic color. I just painted it on straight from the bottle. Try not to be too thick, but make sure it covers. If I buy more space demons, I might try painting them without priming them. Once dry, I very sparingly highlighted some of the raised parts with metallic silver paint and painted the teeth a creme color. Then I sparingly washed them with a mixture of black india ink and Future floor wax. The bases are pennies. The base texture was done with a mixture of sand, burnt umber acrylic paint, and a little wood glue.

Hey! Don't leave your snack wrappers on the floor!