Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I've finally gotten started on my Crimson Fists. I have the two test models I did a few months ago and last night I painted up a third bolter marine. From a technical standpoint I am very very happy with how he turned out. I gave him a really smooth base coat of Regal Blue and then two highlights. The first one was a 60/40 or even 70/30 mix of Regal Blue / Ultramarines Blue that was pretty watered down. I used this in pretty broad strokes as a bridge between the basecoat and the second highlight, which very thin lines of straight Ultramarines Blue.

Looking at the model up close I was really proud how how I had executed the highlighting, but from arms length almost all of them dissapeared. Obviously that's the opposite of how I wanted the highlights to work and I'm not sure what went wrong. I went ahead and finished the model with the hope that addine the reds, metallics, and whites would help the overall effect pop. To a small extent they did but not as much as I wanted.

I'm not really sure how to fix this but I'll keep experimenting.

Last week was the last up week of my marathon training and it was capped off with the last 20 miler in the schedule. Sunday was a very rainy, cool day and I think that contributed to the pretty poor showing both Lisa and I had during the run. Neither one of us had much pop in our legs from the get-go and come mile 10ish we were both feeling pretty bad. Around Kenmore Square we both decided to slog through to the bottom of my hill and then walk up.

I'm sure the rain played a role in our poor showing but I'm not willing to give it all the credit. Neither one of the 20 milers I've done this training cycle have gone particularly well, and both times (and other times through this training) I've felt that my legs just didn't have and life in them. I don't know if this is because they're reacting poorly to the increase in mileage or if they're not recovering adequately or if the problem is something else. I hope that the three weeks of tapering gives them enough time to rest and be fresh for the race.

Other people however, don't seem to be having my problems. Haile Gebrselassie, the world record holder in the marathon, shaved 27 seconds off his previous record time to finish the Berlin marathon in 2:03:59 and become the first person to ever run a marathon under two hours and four minutes. And he's 35 years old! I think it's only a matter of a few years before someone knocks off those last few minutes and we're looking at a marathon run in under two hours.

Steve and I had a long conversation yesterday about the financial crisis currently going on. I was pretty uninformed about it and when I tried to get informed, most of the articles I was reading were assuming that I already knew what was going on. I think I have a handle on the general ideas now and I'll admit to being a little nervous about what's going to happen. My dad sent me an article a few days ago that talked about the bailout plan that was ultimately shot down.

This Thursday is the Vice-Presidential debate. I am planning on racing home after teaching on Thursday to watch it and see how Sarah Palin holds up. I am pretty scared of the prospect of her becoming the VP after watching her handle herself in this interviw with Katie Couric. Thus far she's been almost completely hidden from the national media and most every time she has spoken it's been pretty scripted. She tried standing on her feet for that interview and failed miserably, so I wonder how she's going to make up for that during the debate. The evidence against her keeps growing and I think Thursday will be a very telling moment.

A few weeks ago my parents came up to visit and brought my old Play Station. Yesterday my copy of Final Fantasy VII arrived in the mail and I'm really excited to play it. I remember the huge hype and excitement when I was in 7th or 8th grade and it came out and how even now it is hailed as one of the greatest RPGs ever made. Unfortunatley I never got a chance to play much of the game (or Final Fantasy IIX or IX) so I'm excited, as a fan of the RPG genre, to finally get to play it through.

After teaching last Thursday I finally got on the wall and climbed for the first time in what feels like months. It didn't go very well. I still remember how to make all the motions but I don't have any of my arm, core, or hand strength. I've certianly done this before with climbing but it doesn't get any less frustrating.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

After a few more days of diligent painting I completed my Wild Rider Noble.

I tried a few more of the washes on him and I had some pretty good successes. I used Gryphonne Sepia on his helmet horns, Asurmen Blue in his hair, and Badab Black on the skulls on his cape and on the horse's skin. The blue worked really well on the Waywatchers earlier and continued to do so here. The black was probably the star of the show though. It really added depth to the two skulls and did a great job bringing the horse's skin together.

This completes the 2000 point army list I've been working on for the past year.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Last Monday Laura was doored by a woman in Brookline Village. She ended up getting away with just a broken elbow but the whole experience was terrifying. The two of us spend some painful hours in an ER where we got jerked around by the doctors. The next day I called Jenn because I had no idea what to do, and she reccomeneded a doctor at Boston Medical. We went and he was great, and since then Laura has been doing a lot better. Her elbow still hurts a lot, but the swelling has gone down a lot and her range of motion has improved as well.

She has another appointment next week where hopefully we'll learn that everything is healing well and that there are no more problems.

This past weekend I crushed my 12 mile run. I know that the middle six miles I was cruising really hard both down and up Heartbreak, and I know that the last three miles were a bit slower because I was pretty tired. I ended up averaging 7:49 per mile, which means that I was going faster than that for the middle six. This week is the last up week before the taper and Lisa and Ia re hoping to have a more successful 20 miler than we did two weeks ago.

I've been doing my best to crank out my last Wood Elves before October 1st. Last week I had a lot of painting time while I was taking care of Laura and I managed to finish my last Waywatcher.

Waywatcher Noble

This is the noble model, but since I couldn't find 6 distinct Waywatcher sculpts I brought this guy in to finish out the squad. I'm not as happy with this guy as I was with the blonde or gray haired Waywatchers, but I think he looks good and I'm one model closer to being done.

This weekend I made a really good start on the Wildrider Noble who is the last model I need to paint. I have him broken down into three sections, main body, arms, and horse. I finished the body (the largest part) and I hope to finish the arms tonight. Once that's done it will be a single night's work to finish off the horse and then I'll be done with the elves!

I put up a few ebay auctions for some models that I won't be using, specifically a OOP Space Marine Land Speeder and some Knights of Chaos. Both auctions have watchers and one already has a bid.

I also bought some tiny rare earth magnets after reading this post over at All Thinkgs 40k to play around with magnetizing my Space Marines.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I finished up the Waywatchers this weekend.

All five

A close up that shows the hair and details.

I'm really happy with how the hair came out on these models (the two who have it anyway) as well as their dark green cloaks. The details really help bring these models to life and they look great lined up with the rest of the army. I have two more models left for this army, and about two weeks to get them done it. The end is nigh!

I made use of some of the new Games Workshop washes on these guys, which was something I hadn't done before. I really wanted to bring some definition the their faces, so I tried the Gryphonne Sepia in several different scenarios. Overall I wasn't terribly impressed, although I will probably try once more with Devlan Mud. I had a little more luck with the bone colored armour on their chests. I started with Bleached Bone and gave a pretty liberal coating of Gryphonne Sepia over it. Again, not really a rousing success but better this time. The washes really shined on the two models with hair though. The Gryphonne Sepia helped bring a lot of contrast to the blonde hair, and Asurmen Blue was a hero on the gray hair.

While I had been hoping for more success with these new washes, I had enough to warrent me going out to purchase the Devlan Mud (brown) and Badab Black (black) ones to see what they can do. I wanted to make use of them for shading on the power armour of my Crimson Fists, so we'll see what happens. I may also try some more flesh experiments with Ogryn Flesh.

I am really itching to start my Crimson Fists army. I've been pouring over pictures online of well painted marines and I keep coming back to two painters who are very inspiring to me. The first is Cyric the Mad because of the bold and bright highlights he uses. His models have a very clean look that I like and I think his style would be easy to replicate.

The other is spikyjames. His style looks a lot less bold from far away but has a very bold effect from up close. The painting techniques he uses look quite a bit more complex but the results are incredible.

My goal with the Crimson Fists is to find a good balance between these two styles.

This past week was my first 50 mile week ever; Lisa and I ran 20 miles yesterday to cap it off. The 20 miler didn't go as well as I had hoped but after skipping a week of training for the road trip and having a rough few weeks due to stomach problems I was happy to finish at all. Lisa looks to be in phenomenal shape and I'm sure she won't have any problems qualifying for Boston.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lisa and I went on a nice 12 mile run yesterday. I felt like I was gliding along at a really nice pace for the first 10.5 miles, and then I felt like I ground out a good finish up South Huntington, but my watch told me that I was just under 9 minute miles for the whole thing. That's a lot slower that I thought I was going (and hoped I was going) but I'm still pretty happy with the run overall.

This week tops out at 50 miles, 20 of which will be run on Sunday. I've never run that much in a week, and 20 mile runs are always a daunting prospect. This week will be a good indicator of where my training is now and how I'll be for the marathon.

Laura and I were at Cambridgeside Galleria this weekend getting some clothes and I decided to stop into the Petsmart there to see if they had any neons. They did and I ended up bringing home a dozen of them (although I only asked for 10). The attrition rate was pretty awful and I ended up losing five of them at an alarming rate, but the remaining seven seem to be doing alright. They are still pretty skittish and like to hide in the back corner behind some plants, but they were moving around pretty well when I woke up this morning. Their eating has been pretty sparse thus far but I'm sure they'll get hungry eventually.

I finally sat down last week and started painting some Waywatchers.

I have most of the major color blocks done (skin, tabards, cloaks, and cloak details) with just the leather left before the massive detailing begins. These models have tons and tons of little things all over them; my goal is to finish the leather in the next few days and then do the detailing on one or two a night. Even though these photos don't show it, the highlighting on their cloaks looks really good. I took my time and paid attention to where the highlights should go and at the end I was really happy with how it came out.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

More Crimson Fists painting research. A guy named spikyjames (who is already in my big thread of marines) does some really excellent work with marines. His poses and conversions look very realistic and dynamic and his highlighting is fantastic.

His Ultramarines are painted with the following (taken from his Warseer project log):

1- base coat of midnight blue allover
2- regal blue on all the armour plates leaving midnight in all the recess's
3- 1st highlight of 50/50 regalblue/ultramarine bluefairly fat around the edges of the armour
4- 2nd highlight ultramarine blue around all the edges of the armour(edging only)
5- 3rd and final highlight space wolf grey only on the extreme edges of the armour plates

This produces something that looks like this:

I think I can replicate this effect (not nearly as well, but enough). I really like how step 3 in his process adds something akin to a glow on all of the edges, instead of an extreme highlight. I also like the white dots he adds to the back of the lenses; I've seen it before and I'm going to try to incoprate it into my Fists.

I finally got a start on my Waywatchers. Right now their skin and smocks are painted, and I hope to get some of their camouflage done tonight. The models are very detailed and I've been taking my time on them. Thus far they've turned out pretty well and I hope I can do them justice. I tried using some washes of Gryphonne Sepia on their faces to bring out the details but I don't think it worked terribly well.

After taking a week off of running I wanted to come right back and get into the swing of things. My plan was to run 4, 5, 6, and 7 miles starting on Monday, take a break on Friday, and then return with the normal rotation on Saturday and Sunday. For some reason I ran the 4 and 5 milers at around 7:15 pace per mile and I'm paying for it now. My legs have been sore and tight for two days and I'm going to cut the 7 miles down to 4 to try to work the soreness out before this weekend.

Those two runs pretty much cemented for me that I won't be able to qualify for Boston this year. That pace of 7:15 is what I need to run per mile in order to hit the 3:10:59 qualifing time, and if I can barely hit it on 9 miles over two days I suspect that I won't be able to hit it for the full 26.2 I'm surprisingly unconcerned however and I still think I can get a PR at the race.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I've been here (and by that I mean driving across the country) for the past week.

The blog ends with our arrival in Vegas sometime on Friday night. I was exhausted and passed right out. Saturday we spent at the pool drinking beer and swimming (sometimes at the same time!) before donning suits and heading out to the casinos. I ended up losing 200 bucks playing blackjack and craps, but it was a fun time. I'm going to miss Spoony a lot, but he'll be around for ultimate and we made plans to meet up at some big Warhammer tournament sometime next year.

I only managed one run over the past week, which is a bit troubling to me. The one was a gorgeous 2 hour, 14 mile run along the coast of Lake Michigan that I was feeling really good about. I'm planning on doing 4 miles today, and increasing one or two miles every day depending on how I'm feeling.

At this point I don't think I'll be able to qualify for Boston this year, but I'm still going to train hard and do my best. I think I over-simplified the type of training I'm going to need to do in order to qualify, but I think the mistakes I made this time around will help me later on.

Spoon and I stopped at a comics / gaming store in Albuquerque so I could get a copy of White Dwarf to read in the airport. I ended up getting a few back issues and I really enjoyed reading it. There are all sorts of good tutorials and articles and tons of detailed shots of very well painted miniatures. I ordered a subscription today along with the Dark Elves and High Elves Army books. I've also been doing some more research into my Crimson Fists, so I need to get in gear and finish off those seven Wood Elves.

My laptop still hasn't arrived, but I know they've charged my credit card; hopefully it arrives soon.