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Finished miniatures Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures Space Hulk Warhammer 40k

My first finished miniatures since 2012!

After buying the 3rd Edition of Space Hulk back in 2009, it took me about three years to finish painting my Genestealers — about 2/3 of the minis in the box.

That was in 2012.

Today, in the year of our glorious Emperor 2020, I finished Brother Scipio, Blood Angels Terminator, and “throne boy,” a nameless fallen Space Marine found aboard a space hulk in one of the missions.

The eye of the Emperor is upon you

It only took me 11 years to reach this point . . .
Let me get some action from the back section

Since I’ve put these two in the lightbox at every stage of production (base coat and wash in one post, dry brush in another, sealant in this one), let’s do a quick 4×4 gallery showing them side-by-side.

As always in my (limited) experience, the starkest difference is between base coat and wash. I wish I’d started doing washes years ago, instead of being too gun-shy to try them.

But it’s drybrushing that brings a mini to life for me. The difference between wash-only and wash plus drybrush isn’t huge at first glance (and some of that is likely down to my inexperience as a painter!), but it’s the step that makes the mini feel most real.

The overhead LEDs in my lightbox make the matt varnish (sealant) pop more than it does in person. A small price to pay for minis I can play with worry-free.

Onwards! I have 11 Terminators left in my Space Hulk set. It will not take me 11 more years to finish painting them. If I keep up this pace — roughly 2 minis a week, without feeling like I’m grinding them out or stepping on my other hobbies — I could have the rest done in about five weeks. Although the temptation to put in a marathon painting session is strong . . .

Musings on joy

More importantly, painting these miniatures brought me joy. Painting them, not just having them fully painted. There was joy in finishing them too, absolutely (and I’m so glad I stopped painting them assembly line-style), but my head was in the game as far as enjoying the painting as the hobby as much as the rest of the hobby around it.

That plus reading a piece in White Dwarf #451 about Phil Kelly, who has been collecting and painting the same Waaagh! of Orks for many years, across multiple editions of 40K, with models he’s inherited, kitbashes, new and old sculpts — just keeping going, loving the hobby for itself, riding out the vagaries of different editions because the Waaaghh! is the fun part — has got me thinking about trying out 40K again.

But not necessarily in my usual mode (buy game, learn rules, paint minis, find opponents). Rather in the mode of: pick a faction that speaks to me, buy a box, enjoy the painting, and maybe try playing down at the local shop sometime in 2021 — or not, and just keep building an army for the fun of it.

This r/Warhammer40k thread overflowing with positivity towards a 40k newbie and painting novice, is full of folks saying basically that: choose a faction you think is cool and form a bond with your minis. That’s where my head is at.

Categories
Life Tabletop RPGs

Twenty more moonrises

Recently I’ve been thinking about this Paul Bowles quote, which I first saw on Brandon Lee‘s gravestone, in relation to gaming:

Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.

I don’t know about you, but my stack of “bucket list” gaming items — campaigns, megadungeons, settings, systems — is probably past the point of being feasible in my lifetime.

Some things on the list, like playing a MechWarrior campaign where we use BattleTech for the ‘Mech fights, I’ve been dragging around for years (roughly 25 years, for that one). Others are fresh, but I can feel them sinking comfortably into the warm, cozy blanket of wishful game-pondering.

If I turned myself to clearing the whole list, with a purpose and a fire in my eyes, and excluded all gaming that wasn’t bent to that purpose, maaaaybe I could get through it all . . . but I’d have fewer friends, and no lovely serendipitous gaming opportunities, and no con sessions, and so on. It’s in no way worth the cost.

So with 30-40 years of productive gaming time ahead of me — if I’m lucky, and stay fortunate, and don’t develop Alzheimers, and on and on — how do I chip away at the list? Do I chip away at the list? Do I even make a formal list?

I don’t know. I’m not maudlin about it, exactly, but it is a sobering thought. Only twenty more moonrises, and all that.

Categories
Life

Epicurean epitaph

Ever since I turned 40, I’ve been more aware of, and thinking more often about, my own mortality. (So clich├ęd! I know.)

One of the most comforting things I’ve stumbled across is this Epicurean epitaph:

I was not; I have been; I am not; I do not mind.

The idea that I won’t exist is terrifying. I don’t want to stop existing. But thinking about it in those terms — that it won’t matter to me because I won’t exist — is oddly reassuring.

Categories
Fitness Weightlifting

Simple activities with complex underpinnings

I hit my 90th session of meditation (zazen) tonight — I’ve missed three days in the last 93. Realizing my “Seinfeld chain” was broken when I woke up on Saturday morning was a bummer (camping; slipped my mind), as I’d done 89 days straight until then, but in the end what matters boils down to: just sit. I’ll work my way up to and past 90 straight again.

Today was also day 94 of working out daily, weight lifting MWF and doing light cardio the other four days. My routine is all dumbbells (plus crunches); I started out with 5-pounders around 9 weeks ago, and am up to 20-pounders for most exercises. A couple are at 15, a couple are at 25, and I’m going to try one at 30 this week. Spurred by lifting, I’m also working on managing my macronutrient ratios and eating healthier, which feels surprisingly good.

The benefits of both of these activities — meditation and working out — have been tangible, meaningful, and more profound than I expected. I’m not big on horn-tooting and I’m not sharing this to brag — I’m a pretty awful meditator, and no one but me can tell I’ve been working out yet. Looking like Chris Evans in Captain America is a ways off, to say the least.

I’m sharing it because of the profundity: These are simple activities with complex underpinnings, and I’m just starting to scratch away the surface and see what they’re all about. It’s a good feeling and an interesting experience.

Categories
Life

Specialization is for insects

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” — Robert A. Heinlein

This quote has intrigued since I first read it when I was younger. Back then, mostly it bothered me: I’ve generally tended to become deeply interested in just a few things, rather than exploring lots of different things. (And I did, and still do, most often play hyperspecialized RPG characters.)

Back in high school my favorite teacher said, “Everything is interesting if you look closely enough,” and in the 20 years since then I’ve found that to be true on many, many occasions.

Becoming a dad five years ago shifted a lot of things in my head, as I’m told it tends to. Dads (and moms) can’t afford to specialize; I’ve had to branch out and learn to do lots of things, to appreciate things — pony cartoons, invisible sisters, weird games — that I would never have considered on my own.

Fast forward to this past year, when I took up old interests I’d abandoned (camping, hiking, biking, target shooting) and got into things that were totally new to me (peakbagging, weightlifting, meditation), and I now realize that I see Heinlein’s quote differently than I did as a kid: I’m enjoying the hell out of not specializing.

Categories
Miscellaneous geekery

Dorknado

My mom sent me my high school yearbook.

Yes, I was starring in the SyFy original movie Dorknado.

As pretentious as it was to use a Nietzsche quote . . . I still like the quote!

Categories
Books

Don’t finish shitty books

At 36, I can expect to live another 45 years or so, barring any surprises. Before getting a Kindle I was reading maybe a book a month (in recent years; I used to read more often). Now I’m reading a book every week or so. A book a week for the next 45 years is another 2,340 books before I croak.

On the one hand, 2,340 books sounds like a lot. But on the other hand, it makes it easy to calculate the “cost” of a given bad book in terms of lost opportunities to read good books: 0.043% per book. Every 25 bad books I finish represents roughly 1% of my estimated remaining lifetime reading opportunities. And the older I get, the more each bad book will cost.

In a rather long nutshell, this is why I usually don’t finish shitty books.