Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Getting Close To Not Posting Today - Writing Is Fun

Giving yourself a goal is a good thing. It keeps you motivated. There is a reason for plodding on. The number of times I have heard from people in my family that when you retire you die for some reason hits me hard. I am a long way of retirement, unless things change, but I still like to have something to keep me going.

For years now I have been writing. It has always been my ambition to get something published. I mean properly published, not self published or something online. Now that I have something written down I am error checking it. As I am a either a little bit dsylexixic or I have a problem with typing (my fingers seldom seem to type what my brain tells them to do). So proofreading and error checking is mostly very entertaining.

So I am about twenty percent into error checking my first magnum opus (note the ego). It's a post apocalyptic bestiary for the UK, specifically London. It's only about five years in the making. Now I am looking at format and art. That is even more fun.

If anyone has any suggestions that might help, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

50 Shades Of Decay Or How I Paint Zombies

Have you ever seen a body that has been dead for a while? I have. More times than I care to think about. I'm thinking about it now, so that last sentence was probably counterproductive. It is the stuff of nightmares. One of the last ones I saw sticks in my memory very, very clearly. I didn't eat a baked potato for about two years afterwards. Now I still can't face a baked potato with cheese. I always expect the cheese to start wriggling. Maybe you catch my drift, maybe not. No more details on that score but you are bright people so I guess you can work it out.

My early zombie cinematic experiences are of Romero films. These low budget epics used simple ideas. Most zombies were usually had light green makeup unless they were African American, then you got a kind of pale blue makeover instead. Feature zombies had a bit more gore, but if you were in the long shot you were green or blue. For the most part I still stick with this colour scheme. I use a number of shades of green to give each model a bit of variation. There is always a bit of shading but it is mostly ink and blood that I use for zombie effects. There are usually several tones of ink in there to give the skin a bit of variety.

As time as gone on, brown, especially baked potato brown, has come in, for obvious reasons. When I use green paint, I vary it with a little light grey or brown paint and mix it poorly. Red and black ink usually still feature highly and whilst I use sepia-ish inks in the main, the green and often red creep in there too.

One of the things I keep meaning to do is some fresher zombies. Ones with either healthy or healthy ish skin tones. The thought had occured to have some unarmed civilian types that I can initially use as a crowd. Then, well the players have got used to the idea of having them around, use them as zombies.

Zombies should look pretty badly hammered for the most part. I like Tamiya Clear Red for this. When it isn't varnished it looks like fairly fresh blood. Older blood should be much darker. Too much really doesn't work. When choosing where to put the blood I think in terms of where it would probably end up. Anything on the hands would probably wear off quite quickly but there would always be some there. Around the face is another good place. It follows that most of the blood is going to be on the front with probably more on the chest than on the legs. Rather than paint the whole front side red, I think it would be more splatter and drips. Little bits here and there across the front on the body, none or almost none on the back and some on the floor.

To give them a really shabby appearance, I use a lot of inks. Mostly I do a base wash in the right colour for the paint colour below. Browns help to make them look dirty, especially brown over black ink. Green give a real sense of decay but maybe not use too much of it or the skin will look wrong. High traffic areas are probably a good bet, ower arms, knees and backside are good place for green. A mix of reds, ruddy skin tone, purples but mainly green make a good range for skin tones but experiment a little. Red ink is good on facial features and around wounds done with Tamiya Clear Red. I am not a fan of the GW paint, Blood For The Blood God, for this kind of work.

The best advice is go and watch your inspiration, later Romero and The Walking Dead for me. Look at what they do for their make-up. Emulate that in a more simple form as you will have a lot of zombies to do. Get on with it and don't be afraid to experiment, because with zombies you can usually cover up anything you hate quite easily.

Zomtober must bring out the worst in me.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Start Of Zomtober Week 4

The good work continues. This is going to be another hard week.

More Mantic The Walking Dead: All Out War stuff. Zombies from a variety of sets.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Zomtober Week 3

Really the title of this post should be Zomtober Week 3 - as far as I got.
There is still a few bits to do on the paint work. Across all the figures, there is plenty I am not happy with. There are also a few bits that are just not done. The basing still needs to be dealt with to. This is probably going to be put off for a bit.
The New Cruelty is not happy. I am not happy.

Well except I am. I have had a bloody good day, a nice evening meal in a restaurant and I have managed to put as smile on one of the lads faces on his birthday.

Next week... Zombies.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Where Did That Day Go?

For the first time in a while I am worried that I am not going to make my painting goal for the week. My other half has been ill. Although she is up  now, I guess she has been upstairs for about sixteen hours. She did get out of bed to help me do some shopping but other than that I have been busy. Then there has been prep for one of the kid's birthdays tomorrow to do. Not to mention playing a bit of Fallout 4 and my latest purchase, Dead Rising 3. Did I mention the dog is ill too?

Settling down to painting has been out of the question. I would have spent more time cleaning brushes than I would have painting. It's been up and down kind of day.

Having played Fallout for a bit it has rekindled my love of  post apocalypse RPG. So I have been working on the Underground setting. I now have an idea, the very bare bones at least, for a campaign. I still kind of have an idea about publishing it so I am still proceeding in that direction with the writing.

Still, busy day tomorrow. Hope I can find some time for painting. The shortness of time might give me the push that I need.

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Lasting Appeal Of Fallout 4

For better or worse, I am someone who loves the post-apocalyptic genre. I am not so sure I would be too keen on the real thing but as far as entertainment genres go, I guess it is my all time favourite. Other genres have their attractions but I guess these are not as great as mutants and zombies. This especially applies to roleplaying games and miniature painting.

The first apocalypse film to really have an impact on me was Dawn of the Dead which was quickly follows by Day of the Dead. This closely followed by films like A Boy And His Dog, Terminator, The Omega Man, Mad Max, Logan's Run and Planet Of The Apes. When I look back at my choices of Sci-Fi, worlds were being destroyed and settlements were being wiped out. The big comic of the time, in the UK at least was Judge Dread. As the nineties came along, I read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction with the most notable being The Postman. This book had a big effect on me. It taught me that if I don't take responsibility no one else will. If you were to take one thing away from this post it would be to read The Postman and not to judge it by watching the film. I guess the seventies and eighties were bleak times indeed. As computer games developed at the end of the nineties, Fallout came along. I have been hooked since.

A couple of days ago I started playing Fallout 4 again. Despite playing it heavily, I have never completed the main plot. I am getting close to completing Far Harbour but I still have a long way to go with the main plot. According to the game I have something like 700 hours of game play in it. There have been a number of back trackings and I am sure there is plenty of time I have just left the game running but I assume the figure is mostly accurate. Sadly, this is not as big as my investment in the Fallout 3 game (or Skyrim for that matter).

Despite all this time I am still drawn back into it. Unlike a lot of games, you are able to affect the world. In small ways and in specific locations perhaps. These settlements then serve you a little, allowing you to recover cash and resources from them. You have a real sense of being at the heart of rebuilding this world and not just going out and killing things although I have done plenty of that.

This has in turn spurred me into action. This evening I have been working more on my RPG background based in the ruins of London, called Underground. Whilst not a direct copy, the idea of going around and rebuilding is a part of what I want to do with the game. All gear is built from the ground up but the emphasis is different. You are building tools and machinery for settlements more than you are building weapons and armour. Vehicles made out of scrap also feature highly in what is going on. In lends some of the more stranger stories and events in London both real and fantastical (but no Jack the Ripper).

There is no real moral to this story. What there is, well it is just a piece of advice. Find your inspiration, tweak it into something you can relate to. Then go and make it your own.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Lego - Not What It Used To Be

Today was the first time I have played with lego for a long while. I was trying to assemble a Lego robot, with the word trying being the most important. Lego has gotten complicated. I don't remember being able to plug into it and program it to do things. As well as the technical side, the build was pretty damn complicated. This was not helped by the fact that to find the bits for one robot I had to look in several boxes that contain the parts for ten robots.

When I got back home I spent a bit more time painting. For the most part everything has a base coat and much of it has been ink washed. Progress is slow but I am confident that I will get there by Sunday. I keep looking at the Blood Bowl stuff on the bench and then I think about getting some more of it. Again I haven't been too focussed but I am not beating myself up about it.

I am still feeling a little detached from my normal reality. Right here and now it doesn't feel so bad. In fact it feels okay. Right now I am putting this down to watch Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories on Netflix.  Hopefully it should be an easy day tomorrow and Saturday is looking pretty slack too. Maybe I can keep this relaxed mood up a little longer.