Shadows of the Past

Driving 8.5 hours from Pittsburgh to Connecticut, we broke up the trip by overnighting with my parents midway. I was happy to see these old friends again.

These are over twenty years old. I made them in high school when my imagination was deeply colored by the classic American weird writers Edgar Allen Poe & H.P. Lovecraft. Some classics merit acclaim, or attention, or whatever they merit chiefly due to their influence, but others stand on their own artistic achievement even today.

The urgent and concrete terror both authors can convey in their fiction holds up well to the modern reader. Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart introduced me to psychological horror around age twelve and has stuck with me for the next two and a half decades. The cataclysmic emotional release at the end of the tale demonstrated what a well crafted short story could accomplish. Lovecraft typically paints in dread rather than pandemonium. When I first discovered Lovecraft at fourteen I read (like so many of his protagonists) too much too quickly and ended up scared to walk down the dark hallway at night. I was certain that there were ghouls ready to pounce on me from the shadows!

My ceramics teacher, Jim Shirk, was a supportive mentor and always allowed me to create my own projects rather than follow his syllabus. I can remember the incredible schematic drawings he would spontaneously produce whenever we asked for creative advice and his beautiful, meticulous handwriting. Jim is a wonderful artist who, like me, loves to capture Nature’s beauty in his work. These two sculptures always evoke fond memories of my time learning from him.

Demoted for the Better

Kill Team Elites has opened up a ton of new options for (almost) every team, and the Astartes may have gotten more new possibilities than anybody.

This former Tactical Sergeant picked up a pistol (I plan to run it as a plasma pistol, at least for now) by becoming a Company Veteran.

Elites has immediately changed what you can do in a Kill Team roster and team. The Space Marines no longer need to scrimp on the best weapons, as the veterans open up what amounts to unlimited access to special weapons.

Dark Angels did not get the same level of flexibility, as they cannot take Sternguard or Vanguard Vets, but I’ll see what I can do. For fluff reasons, I may move the Eremoi away from the First Legion anyway.

Missile Accomplished

I managed to wrap this fellow up in two sessions.

I’m eager to try out some Kill Team line-ups with two missile launchers. They’re expensive, so compromises will have to be made, but these ultra-long range heavies pose a major threat to everything on the board from the first turn. Stay tuned for results in upcoming battle reports, and expect my judgement on this strategy in future installments of Command Academy.

I painted this guy for the tabletop, but I always aim for a fairly high standard within those parameters. This one’s not as lovely as most of his peers, but, hey, I got him done quickly!

I’m glad I’m at the limit for this unit, because these snipers are a pain to convert for missile launchers!

MFCA

I’m back from the 2019 MFCA show in Philadelphia. I earned two bronze medals for my pieces.

Considering the quality of the entries, I was pleased with the result.

My favorite work on display was Matt DiPietro‘s bust of Conan, painted in a Frazetta style. I got to talk to Matt for about an hour. He is a great person. We talked about techniques, his business as a full-time painter, and his experiences getting to where he is now.

Many of the historical pieces were mind blowing. The techniques and stylistic norms are quite different from what I’m used to, but those old heads do know how to paint!

This incredible scratchbuilt masterpiece was voted a deserving best in show.

I got to meet many great folks, and spent an enjoyable day in the company of painters eager to share our love of mini painting. I’m hoping I get back to the show next year.

The Road to Adventure

I’ve finished the base for my dwarves in time for MFCA this weekend. The wooden plinth (something I picked up at a craft shop) is being stained. I’ll attach it when it’s dried.

I applied some subtle washes (some browns, green, and blue) to the rocks to give each of them a slightly different color from its neighbor.

I’d like to add a few mushrooms & flowers, maybe a touch of grass, but we’ll see if I have time between now and Thursday.

Here’s the gang on the road to adventure.

And here you can see how the wheel ruts on the base match those on the display base.

Four-Banger!

I stumbled across a flyer yesterday and today I visited Tricon, a show put on by the local chapter of IPMS. The people were great and I made some new friends.

Though most of the show was dedicated to ordinance, cars, airplanes, ships, and larger scale models & busts, my 28mm offerings did very well, earning four gold medals in an open judging competition.

I had a great time and look forward to visiting again next year. I’ll try to bring a few friends to increase the visibility of 28mm models, and also prepare some pieces that jive more with the overall settings of the show.

Woohoo!