Showing posts with label Learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Learning. Show all posts

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Cyberpunk RED - Rockerboys

Cyberpunk RED miniatures from the Rockerboys faction. Tried to evoke lots of 80's Vaporwave and retro-future Miami Vice with the color choices. The Manager has some of the most effortlessly awesome eyes I've ever done, and the skin and hair on the Guitarist just glows. The assembly was kind of a pain being resin, and you might notice some mistakes if you look too closely as these are tiny tiny minis. But I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Hopefully, I get to paint more if they keep doing that system.




Nolzur's Marvelous Minis - Palette Cleansers

I call these small projects Palette Cleansers because I paint them in between other big projects like whole army units or big figures and terrain. The Nolzur Minis by Wizkids are cheap, already assembled and primed. They can be frustrating with mold lines, but they are decent enough at 3 ft. These usually come in two sculpts per pack.  I picked one and surplused the other for trades or teaching others how to paint.

Golden Dragonborn Sorcerer

Classic Barbarian with Sword

Warmage with Spear

Mustard-colored Wizard with Staff

Bronze/Gold Dragonborn Cleric or Wizard with Staff and flowing Blue and White Cloak

Red Dragonborn Cleric with Green Mace

Purple Wizard with Green Fire and Staff


 Black Dragonborn with Spear and Shield


Knights of House Caro Mea - The Dark Hand

The Dark Hand, or Manus Tenebrae in High Gothic, is an ancient war machine that traveled the galaxy after The Overgrowth. Eager to reclaim their home world and the forges that wrought these old machines, the knightly house of Caro Mea has joined the Mechanicus expeditionary force. Its pilot keeps the restless machine spirit at the heart of the Dark Hand busy with forest-taming operations. And while the trees of Pholos IV are more hostile than most, recent skirmishes suggest it will be called upon to enter the fray against more heady foes.

After being assembled for 5 years, I finally got the courage to paint this lumbering mech of a Father's Day gift. The under-carriage was a straightforward Leadbelcher with Nuln Oil drybrushed to highlight, and the panels are where I spent most of my time. I'm particularly proud of the blue stripes that give the flat blocks of color subtle depth. In addition, this is my first attempt at decals in some time, and Micro-sol was a miracle-worker at keeping them from being shiny. I used a black Sakura Pigma 005 for writing the name on the chest scroll. The base was mostly an afterthought, and I hope the Necron that was tread underfoot makes a speedy recovery.





Thursday, November 2, 2023

Drip Cup for Cast Iron Juicers

Hamilton Beach manual citrus juicers have a handy drip cup that swings out when you put a cup under the juicer, and it swings back into place when you remove your juice. Without this, the dripping juice left in the metal funnel can get all over your bar top, counter, or cutting board. If you have a generic cast iron juicer that doesn't have an attached drip cup, what is an enterprising bartender to do?

Print this thing I added to Thingiverse, of course!

The mechanism uses a rubber band of the right tension to return the cup to its initial position. As you push the cup to the side, guides slide the cup out of the way. The strength of the rubber band should be tuned to be light enough to not push over your juice cup nestled between the loving cast-iron arms of the juicer. When you remove your freshly squeezed juice, the rubber band slides the drip cup back into place. Et voila!

You'll need a rubber band, a conical shot glass (the smaller the better), and an M3 set screw. You will also need a set of hex keys to disassemble the juicer base to get the Shaft sleeve on.

Enjoy your drip-free juicer! Here are some prototype and action shots:

Monday, October 30, 2023

Star Wars Kepi from

Ventured into hat making for a Star Wars costume made for my kid. I grabbed the Star Wars Imperial Officer Hat pattern from Janet's pattern was amazing! I loved the specific brand recommendations for interfacing, and I also liked that she used actual sewing terms with explanations where a noob like myself might fall down. All my questions were answered by googling when I got stuck.

We have abnormally large heads in this family, so I splashed out with enough material for two. Most of it was available from JoAnn's. My partner sews more than I do, and she helped me make sure I had all the seam allowances and backing correct before I started cutting.

The top and crown was where I struggled the most. It kept bunching up and puckering, and I couldn’t figure out a way to get it to stop. I just lived with it once I fixed the worst spots, and you can’t see it from 10 paces. Especially on black! After finishing the cap, I found that the instructions say to cut relief snips along the seam allowance of the top. Rookie mistake that I should have realized once the puckering started.  Better luck with round two!

Friday, October 6, 2023

Reading Lilith's Brood after Black Lives Matter

DEF CON Theme Screenshot Showing Lilith's Brood as a recommended book

DEF CON 31 had Octavia Butler's Lilith's Brood/Xenogenesis series on it's reading list next to Snow Crash. This recommendation came after the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests which brought antiracist and critical Black history topics to the forefront of public life. Cold War and genetic engineering fears appear throughout without feeling dated, and the three novels remain provocative as they are firmly steeped in the author's American upbringing in Black culture. The old and new contexts brought out the enduring richness of this landmark Black sci-fi author's work. 

Lilith, the series' namesake, takes the reader through her personal salvation at the hands of an alien species. Salvation comes at a price for humanity as a whole, and it brings to mind historical and societal dilemmas of colonizers and colonized, enslavers and enslaved, and generational consequences to descendants of these groups. The aliens are the Oankali, a multi-system species of natural genetic engineers. They are collectors of genetic difference, and they use the genes they collect to improve themselves as they move from star to star. The action is driven by the aliens who claim that humanity has lost the right to earth due to their fierce intelligence combined with hierarchical nature leading to nuclear war. The humans that remain are sterilized and ushered into a breeding program where the Oankali will mix a new species that overcomes this core conflict in human nature.

Elements of Black history are recalled throughout the novels. The Oankali remove tumors from Lilith in an episode that recalls the plight of Henrietta Lacks who provided the initial cells for the first immortalized cell lines called HeLa, and consent is further challenged as it is revealed that children are produced from cell lines of dead or aging humans in the name of saving the species. Children produced from unions and admixture of alien DNA is a central point of later novels. The revulsion in humans that parent admixed children recalls discussions in the African American community of what life must have been like for enslaved people that had children by their enslavers, and it explores generational implications of such couplings for both parents and children. These are obviously informed by the author's personal experience as well as historical accounts of abuse and discrimination against those of African descent in the Americas. Those looking for similar examples that will shock and horrify you should seek out recent popular literature such as Ibram X Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning and the journalistic 1619 Project.

The speculative framework dispenses with some broader cultural discussions without feeling dismissive. The Earth has been colonized, for good or for ill, and the humans have deeply limited choices. Yet this is not a colonial narrative that lauds benevolent overseers for saving benighted natives. Humans never give up on Lilith's original plan to "Run, Hide, and Fight," and the human characters do not romanticize their plight as something fortunate. The concession the humans extract from the Oankali by creating a non-admixed human colony on Mars is explicitly called out for what it is: a glorified reservation. The damage is done to Earth, so it is incumbent for the humans to decide what to do next. The aliens, to their credit, recognize that they make mistakes and commit serial offenses even as they desperately try to integrate humans into their galactic lifecycle in a uniquely alien and much deeper way than historical colonizers have ever admitted or attempted.

After a summer of protests and lockdown reading lists, Butler's adventure on and above a remade Earth shows how deeply human power dynamics of oppressor and oppressed are. While alien pheromones strip consent and poison unions, the books never answer whether Lilith was right when she started the admixture of humans and Oankali. No one ever lets her forget her role as "the Judas goat." This is not a tale of liberation through force or thought.  It is an exploration of consequence and implication when the immovable alien force overtakes a wounded people and runs up against an immovable will to be human. Even as the third book comes to a close, the admixed inhabitants of Lo establish their humanity through perseverance rather than force. Withdrawal of consent, even temporarily, becomes radical when coercion is structural, biological. These have echoes in strikes, riots and protests that rocked the US and the world. We might not have total control of our selves, our emissions, and the external implications of our purchases and relationships. But even a temporary withdrawal of consent can give us power to change the deeper structure of our evolving society.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Skitarii, Mashal, and Tech Priest Dominus

Just finished these 12 minis, all with a similar palette. I only paint right now, so they are probably not playable on the tabletop, lol.

different Dominus is the mini that got me back into painting 5 years ago, so it was refreshing to take another crack at this mini after having learned so much! I have learned a ton about blending and layering since then. The robes are richer, the metals poppier, and I am much more precise.

The marshal was a little disappointing, honestly. I wanted so much more from this mini in terms of greeblies and detail. It ended up being a scaled-up squad leader with a scepter. Literally, their leaders are just taller? Maybe I'll take another crack at his robes and add some trim to liven up the back of the mini. Big sigh.

The squad is where I took all my chances. Again, I painted a squad of these guys about 4 years ago, so the second chance brought many opportunities for improvement. I loved the purple glow, but I still think I can improve my technique. Tips appreciated. I'm not sure I have the heart in me to do a third squad. Going to try some Sicarians and other Ad Mech units instead.

A bit anxious about what to do to make my Next units stand out but mesh with this scheme:

⁠Sicarians can basically echo the black jumpsuit with metallic bits, but I feel like going with that will lack some pop. Maybe leaning into the purple energy on their blades and finding accent pieces to pop with yellow and green?

⁠Pteraxi are the same conundrum, but a wing vein with a green on yellow pattern might be fun. I intend to do the flamer squad. I can really amp up the muzzle burn with purple hues rather than make them glow to match.

⁠Dunecrawler, ironstrider, and robots: I still haven’t done any armor. I don’t want green tanks. I need a good primary color. Was thinking a brown would pull in the base colors, but drab armor is not very 40k, but I’m planning a smooth ivory for my knights. That would tie all the big boys together visually. I’ll have to think on that.

Regardless, no more AdMech for a bit! After painting a big batch like this, I am going to take a break and paint some one-off RPG figs and smaller squads with more painting variety and skill-tests. A batch of Harlequins with their diamond tights and trailing streamers would do me well.