Memorable movie scenes

I read Filmstalker, you should too.  Richard writes reviews, previews and other film related stuff, and it’s always pretty up-to-date with breaking information.  Last year and this year, Richard asked for readers to submit top 10 lists and since I’d enjoyed reading the site I wanted to be able to contribute.  I put together a list of the ten most memorable scenes from 2008 movies, not the best always or the worst, just scenes that I’ll think of when someone mentions a particular movie.

Richard’s just posted the article so I thought I’d link to it rather than re-posting it here.

I bought some cheese

Nothing special, some Camembert which is wrapped and inside a thin wooden box.  It’s stinking out the fridge.  So I wrapped it in some tin-foil.  It’s still stinking out the fridge.  So I put the whole thing inside a sealed fridge food bag.

It’s STILL stinking out the fridge.

So I’m going to have to eat it for lunch.

Mad at myself

I know white bread is bad.

I know that working from home usually means my sugar is generally higher than when I’m in the office.

Mixing the two is not good.

I need to be more careful.

Bah and buggerit

I thought I was doing the right thing taking the photo’s without the flash with as much ambient light as I could generate and then using picasa to correct the white balance etc.  However, looking at the new pictures (uploaded) they’re worse than the ones I initially took with the flash ages ago.  These are only there to get the basic images on-line so folk can see the figures, but I’m still annoyed at myself.  Internal warring between the ‘it’s done, leave it, they’re only crappy little miniatures’ and the ‘do it right, if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing it right’ factions.

I’m going to take Simes up on his offer to do some good photo’s of some of the better mini’s, this isn’t about that, it’s just about having a library of all the minis I’ve got in photo form.

Five hours.

Maybe I’ll do them again, but much later.

This is a similar issue to when I was doing the photo scans, ended up throwing a good weeks worth of work away when I changed my mind about DPI and file format.

Anyway, here’s some of the earliest miniatures, in their terrible horrific glory.

10 minutes turns into 3 hours

After writing the last post I thought I’d go looking for some really old mini’s, what I thought would take 10 minutes turned into 3 hours of photographing even more of them.  I found several more batches that I’d not photographed before, and despite the fact that many of them are very early pieces and so painted really badly, I’m going to post them to the picasa albums anyway.

In some respects, the terrible ones are an inspiration, because it reminds me that I have actually gotten better over time.  I did find some really old models and one of the earliest figures I painted (in enamel) which I’ll post pictures of later.

Now I have to work out how to repack and store a bunch of mini’s that I’ve taken out of the tin they were in because it wasn’t a good place for them, despite the fact that I probably have no-where better to put them either.

Miniatures over time

The five hobbies I’ve been doing since my early teens are watching movies, reading books, using computers, playing games and painting miniatures.  Books have changed the least, although I suspect we’re on the cusp of something in that area.  Computers have changed beyond recognition and now take part in every aspect of my day-to-day life.

But I’m surprised by how much has changed in the world of miniatures.  When I was collecting and painting miniatures in the 80’s, they were pretty cool, almost all metal and made by a range of companies.  They were sold in Beatties and various model shops as well as early hobby stores.  The model detail was ok, but they weren’t always very crisp.  Multi-part pieces didn’t really fit together that well and you had to spend a lot of time filing and filling.  As the 80’s progressed the miniatures got better and at some point, Games Workshop flooded the market with collectable miniature games.  Soon, all you could easily get hold of were GW mini’s, and they were plastic!  Cheaply moulded, not always very clean and very similar in design.  Time moved on again and their mini’s got more complex and more interesting, and now I find, after not painting for quite a while, that in the UK there are a few small family run mini businesses making very high quality figures in a range of genres.

What has also changed, in my eyes, is the quality of painting.  Sure the guys painting for White Dwarf in the early days were good, but these days the quality seems to be on another level all together.

It’s interesting to me because I tend to paint for a while, and then take a long break, and when I come back there’s usually been a major change in the world of miniatures.  This time I have a real desire to keep at it, to continue painting for long stretch in the hope that it gives me something to do and that I can actually improve my skill past the point I’m at.  I feel that I’m no further forward now than I was in the early 90’s at university because of the long breaks I always take.

If I can paint more often, keep my hand in, as it were, hopefully I’ll be able to improve my skills, and now that I’ve found some amazing mini’s for sale in the UK there’s a wealth of figures I’d just to have a go at.

I’ll try and dig out some of the mini’s I first bought and compare those with the detail on mini’s you can get now.

Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part four

Fancy Pants

This is the fourth diary entry in the ‘Painting Sasha DuBois’ series, parts one, two and three can be found by the simple click of a mouse.

First base coat of trousers and topWith some miniatures (for example, a zombie army you use for gaming) it’s entirely possible to make yourself get on and paint them.  The technique is different, you’re trying to paint them reasonably quickly, and it’s not likely anyone’s going to be inspecting them individually from 12 inches away, but they have to look good at distance as a unit on the playing surface.  So you can forgive yourself short-cuts and missed lines and broad brush strokes (as it were).  However, when I’m painting a miniature I like, and I really want to look good I have to be careful not to make myself progress, because I find that I lose the spark that makes me care about the detail.  If I push it too hard, it ends up looking rushed.  So I barely touched Sasha when I sat down a couple of nights ago (hence the short part three post) and although I’ve made more progress again it’s slow going.

I’d just spent a day painting a mini with blue and scab red and wanted to avoid that exact combination, but I knew I wanted to do Sasha’s coat in the red because it just looked so cool when washed / brushed.  So I went for green on the trousers and top as a nice contrast.  In the past I’ve made the mistake of starting with a base layer that’s too dark.  The issue there is that the wash makes little difference or you have to use a black wash to get any result, and then any amount of dry brushing is just too severe.  So, this time I went with a lighter green base coat with a plan to wash that with a dark green to give it some depth.  I was in two minds about starting with the trouser layer, there’s a tricky bit of work between her legs (no sniggering) where the coat shows through.  There’s a good argument to be made for doing the coat first, since it’s slightly easier to work on the legs and not hit the cloak.  However, if you put a green wash on the legs there’s a chance it’ll run onto the back of the coat, but when you wash the coat due to the layout of the model it’s very unlikely to run onto the legs.  So I went with legs first.

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Nice mini’s!

This place has some really nice mini’s and they’re just down the road (as it were).  Once our budgeting is under control I think I may have to pick a few up.  The ones I like most are the kind of pop culture ones, such as Eve, Ashlee Campbell, Mad Dog, Sadie, Harby, Witch Hazel and Dionne.  However, their fantasy and sci-fi ranges are pretty broad and impressive as well, especially considering the size of the company.  The tooth fairy is pretty cool (but not pretty), I love this female dwarf, this elf is amazing.

All the pieces are dynamic and interesting.  They have some t-shirts and I quote, “Hasslefree Miniatures, making your unpainted lead mountain just that little bit bigger”.  Yeh, thanks, I needed that.  :0

Painting techniques

It occurs to me that I talk a bit about dry brushing / washing / blending in my various posts on painting miniatures but never really explain what they are, and rather than me try and explain I’ll instead link to a few good resources on the web.

The first two links come from Hot-Lead.  Here’s the page on basic painting techniques, which despite having been painting for the better part of 20 years on and off, I’m still using and still improving at.  That covers washes and dry brushing, which on the right kind of mini can be extremely effective.  Where they aren’t so good are for subtle highlights on largely flat areas, or for very small areas which are hard to dry brush effectively.  That’s where blending can really give your work some depth and that’s covered over here.

Here’s a couple of further posts on blending over at How To Paint Miniatures.  There’s also a YouTube video, embedded below which shows someone using some of these techniques.

Finally, if you want to see some amazing and some not quite so amazing mini photo’s, check out CoolMiniOrNot and their huge range of photo’s.

Indy IV

It’s odd, we watched Indy IV on DVD yesterday and … it wasn’t as annoying as I remember it, and was actually more like Indy than I recall.  I was pretty generous in my review originally, and I had some real doubts about the whole alien plot but actually watching it again, it bears up very well in a second viewing and it’s not as totally dumb in places as I remember.

There are some truly pointless moments (why do the monkies follow Mud and attack the Russian woman, I assume because of the skull in some way but it’s not really clear, why do interdimensional beings need a spaceship, etc.) but really it’s a pretty solid Indy movie.  I wonder what it is about second viewings that make movies seem better?  Maybe like music they have to grow on you?  Maybe because you know what’s coming you get a chance to actually watch more of the supporting action?  Who knows, this is almost a duplicate of my Hell Boy II post a few days ago, because it’s exactly the same feeling.

Anyway.  Back at work this week, on call as well (including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day) but it’s pretty quiet in the office so plenty of chance to get all the admin type stuff out of the way and catch up with various bits that didn’t get done before Christmas.

Eight days until pay day, and we can see how much money we have to pay off the Visa bill that built up in November and December (dentist, christmas, etc.)  Things are pretty tight until we see where we are early in January.  I’m looking forward more than usual to not paying Council Tax in February and March, that extra £109 is always useful but this year it could be critical.

So fingers crossed.