Sep 252011
 

There were some great artists at the Detroit Fanfare this weekend. These were just a few of what the ones that really stood out.

Kurt Einhaus | http://kurteinhausart.com/fantasy-painting/

Michael Calandra | http://www.calandrastudio.com/Calandra_Studio.html

Dave Aikins | http://daveaikins.com/

Dave is an interesting character, I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Motorcity Comic-con in May, this time I came prepared. Dave does the artwork for both Zombies and for Many of the Nickelodeon books such as Dora, Diego, SpongeBob and Backyardagins. So while I got my Zombies game box personalized with some cool zombie art, Xander got a few of his favorite books signed as well.

Jeremy Bastian | http://jeremybastian.blogspot.com/ Jeremy was one of the Artist for The Guild Tink one shot comic; he did the Tink tall tale story piece. Of course I had him sign the comic for me.

Diana Harlan Stein | http://www.naiadstudios.com/
Diana did a great transformer character for Xander, this is a photo of a copy, but check it out.

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Sep 252011
 

I took my son Xander to his first comic book convention this weekend, it was a great time. We had the opportunity to mean Adam Baldwin (Jayne from Firefly & Serenity) as well as Peter Weller (Robocop). The fair was at Cobo Hall in Detroit, it wasn’t quite as cool as Comic-con, but it was still fun.

Here are some of the events highlights for us:

Adam Baldwin (Jayne) signing my Hero of Canton poster.

Adam was very cool to talk to, we talked a little Firefly of course and he mentioned he would love to do it again. But the thing that really set him apart from other celebs that I’ve talked to was a chat about our kids. Having an almost 1 and almost 3 year old I asked Adam if he had any good parenting advice. His whole hearted answers seemed really out of place coming from Jayne, the same man who said “Do you know what the chain of command is here? It’s the chain I go get and beat you with to show you who’s in command.” on Firefly.

Paraphrasing an awesome ten minute conversation, his advice was 1.) Take lots of pictures and video, especially while they are still young. 2.) Don’t ever fight with your spouse in front of your kids. 3.) Tell your kids no, yes is good sometimes, but they need to hear no. 4.) Save your money, and most importantly; 5.) “Never yell at your kids with hate in your heart.” Adam advised that you should be more like a coach, be instructional and guide them.

It was just really cool to hear advice like this from him; sometimes it’s easy to forget the actors have lives just like we all do.

More to come later…

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May 182011
 

Really, the CDC posts a zombie preparedness plan as a way of spreading real preparedness of a “real emergency. This brilliant marketing campaign is not something you would expect out of the CDC, but it’s real.

“There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e.” as quoted directly from the CDC website. The post goes on to link users to the zombie preparedness 101 which intends to give good preparedness information for all important emergency situations, zombie and other.

This is a great idea, with the exception of massive alien takeover, I can’t think of anything pre-disaster that would drive a bigger audience to the CDC site. The problem is, the CDC must not have properly prepared its servers for the massive onslaught of traffic brought on by this post, because rather than zombie survival information, the only thing coming up on the CDC blog site is the browsers loading… message.

Hopefully they get on top of this server issue soon, because this campaign is seriously EPIC.
[http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2011/05/preparedness-101-zombie-apocalypse/]

*Update:
Shortly after I posted this I was able to get in, and I was not disappointed. This is a great article released by the CDC, I highly recommend the read. This will not just help get you prepared for a zombie attack, but also to prepare you in the event of any other important emergency’s. So, aside from the server mishap, way to go CDC, +5 geek points for you!

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May 142011
 

I had a great time at the Motor City Comic Con today. I got to meet some great celebs and artists, get some cool autographs and photos and buy some nice stuff for the geek den. I really wanted to take my son Xander with me, but he was still recovering from a cold, so it will need to wait till next year.

Here are some of the better photos from the event.


Tricia Helfer signing my Battle Star Galactica poster at the Motor City Comic Con. I didn’t really know what to say, so I just told her I was nervous, but i love her work.

Brent Spiner giving me a “Manly hug”. It was really great to meet him, it brought bake a lot of great memories of watching Next Gen with my dad as a kid. He signed the perfect photo for me, its of him as Data painting. It’s going to be hung up in my Painting room.

I had the great honor to meet and get a personally signed print by Larry Elmore.

Random Starwars goodness, some great photos of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion.

                  

    

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May 122011
 

Here are a few pictures of the latest project. This is a very rare Monorail Terminal that can be used with the Old Crow monorail system. Perfect for Battletech! It took me two years to get a hold of one of these things and I am extremely thrilled with how its turning out. I’ve made some modifications such as adding platforms, steps, doors and of course adding the old crow tracks.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these amazing Monorail Terminals you can contact Blanche (Tba0075_NOSPAM@aol.com). *Be sure to remove _NOSPAM from the email address before emailing (I put it there to stop spam bots).

                                                

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Apr 032011
 

The Xmarx hanger is finally done (original pictures here) , well at least to the point of non custom work. It really doesn’t need much additional work, I plan on doing a few painting touch-ups, and adding some minor details like LCD screens, maybe some ammo storage and some girders that will fix an error I made with the roof not being level. This was by far the most detailed and complex model that I’ve ever worked on. All the work was well worth it, because this thing turned out great. I spend a lot of time attempting to ensure I hit every minor detail making it look as realistic as possible.

   

I purchased this model from Xmarx.com. When it first arrived, I remember being amazed at the quality, but also daunted by the amount of work I believed I was going to need to put into it. All said and done, a year later, I am still absolutely amazed at the quality and detail of this model, and the work, well It was by far the best project I could have done to quickly learn how to do larger projects like this.

   

Hanger highlights:
The majority of the hanger was painted using various Vallejo gray paints. I must have gone through 12 different shades and variations before I finally settled on the colors, I think I actually doubled my supply of paints just trying to figure out how I wanted to do this thing.

In the end I used the following colors:

Vallejo
• Black Grey
• Medium Sea Grey
• Dark Sea Grey
• Game Color Chaos Black
• Game Color Scar Red

Citadel Washes
• Devlan Mud
• Badab Black

Walls:

   

To paint the walls I used the various Vallejo gray paints along with citadel washes. I went through a few different shades before I found the perfect one, but in the end I believe it was the citadel washes that really made the difference. I think the gray base color was much less important in the end. One thing that I learned while painting the walls was the importance of a larger brush. When I started this, not knowing any better, I was using the same smaller Winsor Newton Series 7 size 0 brush. Trying to cover such a large surface with it was simply painful, and from a looks perspective it left small streak lines due to uneven coverage which I wasn’t really happy with. Fortunately, halfway through painting I decided to try a larger brush and it made a world of difference. Not only did it help with the realism by removing the smaller brushstroke issue, but it allowed for more coverage much faster.

Pictured Windows (Reflection):

   

When I started this project I didn’t think I could do it justice with my level of painting skill, so I was looking for other unique ideas that I could use to really spice it up. One of my ideas was trying to make the model look as though it was part of something bigger, even when only being used with a few small pieces. To do that I decided to print off some awesome planetscape photos that I found online and cut them out as reflections in the windows. Even if you do not have a good printer, just save your favorite Sci-Fi background onto a thumb drive and get them printed at CVS or Walgreens for 25 cents.

Important tips;
• Cutting them out to the proper sizes can be difficult. Be sure to make a template, perhaps out of evergreen plastic that will fit in the windows to use as a way of tracing for guidelines before cutting the photo.
• Out of excitement I put the photos in before finishing painting. I plan redoing them after I protect the model with future floor wax. This should be done last.
• Even though you are going to be covering the windows, be sure to paint underneath with a good solid dark color that fits in. I made the mistake of painting the windows blue at first, I now need to go back and fix them as a few minor areas have the blue showing through in my pictures.

Armored Windows:

   

While the reflection idea was cool, I wanted this piece to also look used and battle worn. By adding armored plating to the windows I was able to give the model an armored look that both adds to the realism and allows for a different offset texture to break up the model. To create the armored windows I used evergreen plastic and cut them out just like the pictures on the reverse side.

Laser burn/bullet holes and physical damage:

   

One of my favorite custom parts to the outside of the hanger is the laser burn (or physical damage) effect. To make the damage I heated up my hobby knife and melted the resin. The effect didn’t work exactly as I had hoped at first, it allowed me to make the indentations, but I was looking for a melted look. To finish off the effect I ended up using some white epoxy putty under the damage to create a melted effect. Citadel washes helped to finish the effect off. The bullet holes were made using a simple pin vice, I just drilled into the resin a little, then scratched up the area a little bit to look like small cracks. The citadel washes were essential to finishing the bullet holes off, it brought out the detail of the damage. I would have to say the washes are my two favorite and most widely used paints. They are perfect for battle ware and tear.

Bay doors:

   

The bay doors again use various Vallejo grays with the addition of Gunmetal silver. To finished it off I used Tamiya Weathering Master C Set – Orange Rust, Gun Metal and Silver. This set helped me with some highlighting and add an element of rust to the doors to help give it a slight aged effect.

The Roof logo:

The House Kurita logo was done by hand, I started with a template that I cut out using a piece of evergreen plastic, that helped me get the basic shape down, but it still required a considerable amount of touchup work. I originally intended to use an airbrush, but I am still learning how to use it and did not feel comfortable enough to use it on this piece.

Inside the hanger:

   

Using various decals from Fighting Piranha Graphics I labeled the bays inside of the hanger (1-6) and added yellow/black warning effects on the catwalks and floor. My absolute favorite part of the entire piece is the dirty/oily/rust effect on the inner bay door. This was done using Vallejo Brown Glaze, as the paint dried I dabbed it with a paper towel creating a flattening effect on the paint. I wrapped it up using the citadel washes again to add to the effect. This technique may serve me very well for weathering other models.

All in all, this thing turned out great. Xmarx.com has a whole line of great products that I can’t wait to get a hold of. I hear that a sister hanger set up is in the works, something that will be able to connect to a larger base structure through various attached corridors. I can’t wait to see it.

Be sure to check back later for updates on that and to see the additional custom work I do to this one.

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Mar 122011
 

It was an interesting winter to say the least. Check out the local wildlife after the “Great Blizzard of 2011”.

“Aaaw look, its the Moma and the baby. Timid creatures those At-AT’s.”

Speaking of Blizzard, whats the two biggest reasons I have not been blogging?

Yes, that’s the new baby playing World of Warcraft Cataclysm. What can I say, he loves his Epics.

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