Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Horror Comic Display

Using vintage horror comics from his collection, Jeremy made a special Halloween display at our neighborhood's clubhouse. A number of people have commented how they like it and remember some of the old comics.

He bought some spooky webbing and other Halloween doodads and arranged the entire display himself. Our community's annual yard sale is this Saturday at the club house, so a lot of people should be seeing the display. He'll be there selling off about two long boxes of comics he no longer wants at cheap prices, along with a bunch of other older video games and other items. Of course, all proceeds will go to buy additional comics and video games!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

WW2 and Modern Vehicle Drawings

I'm not sure how I found these websites, but I thought I'd pass them along. The WW2 Drawings website is very deep, with drawings for just about everything. The Modern Drawings website is still rather shallow. If you're into this sort of thing, check them out.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wet Pallet Revalations

This past weekend was one of those revelation moments when it comes to painting miniatures. Not having any committee or department meeting nor having to run up to campus at all (huzzah!), I spent the morning watching painting videos online at youtube. There are some nice videos, and many not so good videos. Still, I applaud the efforts. Making good hobby videos is very difficult!

Today, I will recount my experiences and revelations about using wet pallets. Later, I'll get into some other painting revelations that I am sure everyone else had a long time ago. (It always seems like I'm the last to figure out the basics! LoL)

Several months ago, I tried using a wet pallet but very frustrated with it. I use the Masterson Sta-Wet Handy Pallet kit I picked up at the local craft store chain for $5 after a discount coupon. (You can make one yourself, but $5 is such a cheap price that making one is not worth the hassle in my opinion.) When I last used the pallet, the paint would get too thin when sitting on the paper, and I had a few other issues making the wet pallet experience very distasteful to my...uh...pallet. So I went back to using those cheap-o $1 pot-pallets, though I could have used plain old paper plates instead. Anyway...

So there I am Friday morning, cruising youtube and reading different bits of advice on various blogs and forums when I stumble on some wet pallet advice (and decide to reread the pallet's instruction sheet as a last resote). Hmmm.....yep....oh!....hmmm....duh! Those were the sounds my wife heard emanating from my Man Room as painting revelations smacked me in the head like a sledge hammer.  So last night, I finally gave the pallet another try. Bingo! It worked great!

What Did I Do Right This Time?
I learned that using distilled water is a must. I have no idea why. Perhaps the fluoride and other chemicals dumped in tap water mess with the paper? Everyone, along with Masterson's instructions, says to use it. I didn't use it before. I use it now!

I also made sure not to overload the sponge with water. I even poured off a bit of excess water just to make sure. I think this and the distilled water made a huge difference.

I also followed the instructions for soaking the pallet paper in hot water for 15 minutes, though I used boiling distilled water out of fear of using tap water. (Our tap water in Central Florida has a ton of minerals to boot.)

When done, drain a little water from the sponge

After all of this, the pallet works perfectly! Some people said to thin the paint as you normally would, though I thinned it just a tad less because the paint will pick up a bit of the water.

The Benefits of Wet Pallets
Here is what I like about using the wet pallet:
  • While using the wet pallet, I realized that I used less paint than normal because I used nearly every bit of the paint I placed on the pallet. Wow!
  •  I didn't have to worry about the paint "skinning over," getting that goop layer across the top of it because it's drying out.
  •  Dropper paint bottles are far more efficient with wet pallets than craft paint bottles because dropper bottles are more precise, allowing me to use less paint than I normally would in a regular pallet.
  • I can rinse off the paint "left-overs" from the paper and reuse it.
  • If you sit two colors near enough to each other on the pallet paper, you can paint with each one of them and then easily mix them for a mid-tone color, dragging the paints toward each other. (Ok, you can do this on a paper plate as well, but on a wet pallet you have hours instead of minutes to work with the paint.)
  •  Finally, the paints does not dry out while I'm painting.

So I highly recommend using a wet pallet. The Masterson Sta-Wet is very nice, with a tight-fitting lid. And make sure to read the instruction sheet.

Friday, October 14, 2011

From the Greatest Generation With Love

This photo is so full of joy and sadness that I don't know where to begin. Every time I try to start writing this post, years of emotion keep welling up. It has been a year of great joy and many deep loses for our family. So I'll try to keep it brief for now.

I took this photo back in March of this year. We were having a neighborhood block party that evening and were celebrating Jeremy's 20th birthday. The weather was perfect, so many people turned out, the food was delicious, and Jeremy's birthday cake was great. We really love our neighbors. It's like a family.

Well, Jeremy got a very special present that day that no one expected. No, it wasn't a video game or iPad or some other tech toy. Bill Peebles, a WWII veteran, gave his service medals to Jeremy. He loves the kid. I don't like tooting our own horn, but Jeremy is one of those rare kids (young adults!) who loves helping others, is totally respectful to everyone, and just tries living out what he reads about in his Bible. Bill wanted Jeremy to have his medals because he knew that Jeremy would understand their importance and appreciate what they mean to Bill and future generations. Neither Jeremy, nor us, knew what to say

Bill, now in his late 80s, joined the army at about Jeremy's age. Bill served in the 36th Infantry "Texas" Division. He was a .30cal machine gunner. He served in North Africa, then hit the beaches during the invasion of Salerno, Anzio, fought at Monte Cassino, captured Rome, nearly froze to death in Southern France, was wounded a number of times, then joined the Air Commandos, got shot down over Germany, survived, and then made his way back to the USA. An amazing life the likes I cannot imagine living. He considered it just another day.

Sadly, the doctors gave Bill a bleak diagnosis this past week. It looks like his days of service here on Earth are coming to an end very soon. Jeremy and Robin (my wife) are visiting with him right now as I type this. He still has some time. He's still the spunky fellow we've known for the past several years. But...

Just got a phone call from Jeremy! Bill wants to tell his story to Jeremy and wants him to write it all down, all of his adventures during WWII. Jeremy is an excellent writer, who has already written two novels. So who knows where the Lord will be taking this! Jeremy is excited. So am I!

Ok, time to wrap this up. I'll probably be posting more about Bill Peebles in the coming weeks. So just say a small prayer for Bill and all our veterans of the Greatest Generation. We are quickly losing so many good men who gave so much for us all.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blue Moon Cowboy of the Month

Though my teaching and committee schedule has been busy this semester, I actually took some time to sit down and get a bit of painting done last weekend and this. Inspired by Adventures in Lead's "Photography blues" recent blog post about just grabbing the old digital camera and quickly shooting a shot on the workbench, I snapped some photos of what I've been working on. I used a large yellow envelope as a background. Like I said, grab and shoot.

The first snap I'm posting is of Blue Moon's (Old Glory) June cowboy of the month freebie, CP-11. I got it a few years ago as a member of the Old Glory Army. It, along with several other figures, have been sitting in the drawer partially finished for the past two or three years. Getting sick of seeing this figure lingering about, I finished it off last Friday afternoon. Not the best of my work, but it looks good enough on the game table.

Vest Stripes
I think I posted a while back how painting stripes (and any kind of straight line) scares me to death because my hands shake something fierce when painting. Painting highlights on clothing is also challenging. How I envy painters with steady hands! On this figure, I bit the bullet and tried painting some ivory-colored stripes on his light-blue vest. Forgive me for tooting my own horn, but I actually like how they turned out. A first!

I found another nice color for painting holsters: Americana's Antique Maroon. It has a reddish leather look. I added some Ivory to it for the highlights, but Antique Rose turned out to be the same color. Go figure! After I painted the highlights, I recalled reading somewhere that adding orange to the red leather would make a good highlight. Not sure about that. I'll have to try it next time.

The base color coat is Ceramcoat Charcoal, with black shadows and Ceramcoat Dolphin Grey highlights. Memo to myself: try using Rain Grey next time. Dolphin is a bit too harsh I think.

I have no idea what color I painted these three years ago! Highlights and shadows are too subtle, as I suspected. Oh well. I don't feel like messing with this figure anymore! Memo: write down the colors for each miniature I paint and then don't lose the notes. That last bit is really important, Bob. Really really important.

Hair and Beard
I like the way the hair and beard turned out. (toot toot!) While looking in the mirror, I tried matching various shades of browns and tans to my own hair, holding the bottles next to what little hair I have left. An odd sight to behold. I painted Ceramcoat Espresso over the black primer. The paint is thin (even though it claims to be opaque) and allows black to show through quite a bit. No problem this time though. Espresso is the just shadow color. If Espresso is unavailable, any darkish brown will do. I just had Espresso handy and never get to use it. It's one of those "orphan" colors that never gets to play with all the other colors. Next I applied the base color, Ceramcoat Territorial Beige, one of the most useful browns made. The highlight is Ceramcoat Trail Tan, another useful color. With each new color, make sure to let the previous colors show a bit.

Well, that's it. Now that I posted my painting info, I will not lose it like I did most of my painting notes a couple weeks ago. Is there an emoticon for smacking myself in the head?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Road to Victory: Combat Photography

Just about wrapping up my series on the Road to Victory reenactment. Inside the auditorium that day, a group of fellows who reenact World War II army combat photographers set up a wonderful display of authentic WWII camera equipment, showed vintage combat footage and war-related cartoons (Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse), and gave a fascinating talk about combat photography in WWII. Jeremy felt it was one of the highlights of the day. I should have overcome my introverted nature and taken more photos of the equipment and gentlemen. I wish I had their talk videoed. They also go into schools dressed in their WWII gear and give talks to the students. What a great way to make history come alive for the kids!

I love old cameras. Imagine lugging these across a battlefield.
Later that afternoon, the German reenactors gave a weapons demonstration and talk for the spectators. The clip below is about 17 seconds of them firing their weapons. We are getting ready for the battle!