Sunday, July 31, 2011

Terminator Squad 2

Yesterday I glued together and undercoated the Space Marine Terminator Squad.  Today, I spent about three hours painting the first miniature.  I needed to get some black paint as I had accidentally knocked over the pot of Chaos Black, and the remnant had begun to harden, so I headed off to the local Games Workshop store.  I know that the paints and things can be bought on-line and you can use non-Citadel paints that are cheaper, but I do prefer to support the local store when I can.

In addition to the paint, I purchased some PVA glue and the "burnt grass" material for the base.

One thing I have found in yesterday and today is that as mediocre as I think I am at painting these miniatures, I am worse at photography.  I am using a $70 Sony  Cybershot, but I find I just can't get the pictures to come out particularly well.  The exposure is usually not right, and parts are out of focus.  A proper SLR and a bit of knowledge about lighting would probably be helpful.  Anyone out there who can give advice on photographing small objects with lots of colour variation?

Anyhow, on with the painting.  I took a few photos of the steps along the way, but once the detail painting began, if I took a photo every time there would be a million of them, so these are the main highlights.

I paint at my kitchen table.  It is near the back door, so I get good natural light.  I set up with my paints and brushes and get to work.

I am sticking pretty close to the colour scheme on the box.  With a black undercoat, the white areas can be a problem, so the first thing I did was a quick wash with white on those areas and let it dry.  Then a second wash coat of white went on.

Next, the first coat of Ultramarine Blue. While waiting for the white to dry, you may notice the I did the red part of the seal on the left leg.

So once the large Ultramarine Blue areas are done, I started painting the weapons in Boltgun Metal.  The Boltgun Metal on the weapons was then drybrushed with black to take away some of the shine.  Then the fine details.  Red eyes and red lights, gold for the eagle on the side of the storm bolter.  The next image from the back, you can see many of the details.  PVA glue was added to the base and dipped in the "scorched grass" material.

I have left the final image in full resolution, as I am pretty happy with how it turned out. Click on it to get a closer view.  I overpainted the chest, eyes, belt buckle and the attached sigil with a gloss varnish to bring out the highlights.

The book on painting Citadel miniatures advises that if you are building an army, to paint the miniatures in a kind of production line.  That is, do the same areas on all the models at the same time.  I don't do it that way; I like to paint each model individually.  This is partly because I'm not making an army, I am painting to relax.  In addition, I like to learn from each one I do to get better for the next one.  So with this squad, I will work my way through, learning as I go, until I get to the sergeant with his war banner and intricate insignia.

Anyway, let me know what you think.  I'll probably just post images of the others finished individually as I go over the next week or so.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Terminator Squad 1

It was not my intention to use this blog primarily to highlight my supremely mediocre Warhammer 40K painting skills, but it seems it has turned out that way lately.  Anyhow, this morning, I went to the nearby hardware store to pick up some new blades for the Stanley knife and a new fine file, the previous one having disappeared into the dimension of missing tools, socks and coins.

I opened up the Terminator Squad kit my brother bought me for my birthday while I was visiting them a few weeks back (never mind that my birthday is not until late August).  A couple of hours work then ensued as I cut the pieces, trimmed the excess plastic and filed down the rough cuts.  The result - five dismembered Space Marine Terminators.  Unlike the plastic Tactical Squad, the weapons are integrated into the arm pieces, and the heads and torsos have a smaller range of movement so a few less posing options present themselves.

Then I had some lunch, and repaired to the patio outside.  I really dislike the smell of the glue, so I like to do that part outside, and even then I prefer to wear a mask to keep out the fumes.  Probably overkill, but it is what I do.  There were a few different weapons choices.  I selected a power sword and storm bolter for the sergeant (in the centre of the picture). 

For the others, from left to right, I chose assault cannon/power fist, heavy flamer/power fist, (skipping the sergeant), storm bolter/power fist with small chainsword, and finally storm bolter/power fist with the missile pack.

Next, I did my tax return while a waited for the glue to dry.  After a couple hours doing that, I proceeded outside to do the undercoat.  As these will be in the Ultramarine colour scheme (yes, boring, I know) to match my previous work, I did the undercoat in Chaos Black.

As it is now approaching 3:30 pm, the natural light is starting to go, and so I won't start painting them this afternoon.  Rather, it is about time for me to head to the gym for the daily workout.  I'll keep you posted on progress.  I will probably spend a few hours painting tomorrow while I mull over my next certification move.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Milestone

Yesterday I travelled to Brisbane to take the Cisco CCNP TSHOOT exam.  I passed with a score of 986/1000, which I was pleased about.  The exam was mostly trouble tickets and problem solving, which is what I've spent the last 15 years doing, so a poor score would have been disappointing.

Anyway, this was the final exam required for my CCNP certification, and this morning I got the confirmation email informing me that I indeed have completed the requirements for the CCNP.  Thus I was able to download the next set of logos, so here it is.
Now I need to figure out what I am going to do next.  Should I do some of the specialization certifications or try for the CCIE?  Not entirely sure yet.  I'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A small personal milestone

Earlier this week, my contract with the personal trainer ran out.  I had been seeing him once a week for a thirty minute session since late last year.  Anyhow, I have signed up again with him to do two forty-five minute sessions a week and I just completed the first one about half an hour ago.  I was initially in a world of hurt, but am feeling fine right now, although I expect to be sore tomorrow and Sunday.

Apart from last week when I was away visiting the folks and the week before that when I had viral gastro, I have been going to the gym just about every day and I can now comfortably do a hour of cardio.  Yesterday, I did an hour and a quarter and could have done more, but I had some things to do.  I could not imagine doing that eight months ago, when climbing the stairs at work left me sweating and gasping.  This has been the primary goal - getting fitter and feeling better.

I have totally changed my diet as well, and am eating salads, lean meats and many more good things.  Can't wait for the price of bananas to go down again.  When I want something sweet for a snack, I have the little boxes of Sunbeam apricot and sultanas.  However, my one main vice remains my regular Diet Coke.  The family complains that I shouldn't be drinking it, but at this point, I tell them that I've given up just about everything else; please grant me this one small thing.

At the end of my contract, Ben put me on the scales.  While I have asked him not to tell me my weight as I was concerned at the beginning that tracking numbers would be a discouragement, he did tell me that I have lost around 25 kilograms since I began in September last year.  In addition, I have lost a few inches around the middle.  Below is a picture of the belt I bought last year.  The old one it replaced had an extra hole added near the end.  I am now at the point where I may be in the market for a smaller belt.  Perhaps I should switch to braces until I stop losing inches?

I have gone from a 137 waist to 122, and from a 52 neck to a 47.  I went to the Apex Club changeover and I could actually do up the button on my suit jacket, which I haven't been able to do in years.

I still have a way to go, but I like to think I am on track.  I certainly feel a lot better lately.  Being on long service leave certainly helps as I have plenty of time and no excuses, but I would like to think that when I return to a job that I will keep up what I have done.  But my biggest pieces of advice in losing weight are, firstly, to not worry about the numbers and second, know that it is going to hurt, and as much as you want to curse the trainer unto the seventh generation at the time, it is worth it in the long run.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Space Marine Painting

While I was up visiting Mum and Dad, I was left to my own devices for a significant amount of time. So I painted up some Space Marines from a tactical squad kit. For the first time I attempted a couple of colour schemes other than the Ultramarine scheme just to see how they would turn out. This morning after I returned to Toowoomba, I pulled out the undercoated Sergeant and painted it up as well.

To begin, I spent a few hours gluing the seven models together. Five of them had bolters, one a heavy bolter, and one a flamethrower. The green cover in on Mum and Dad's pool table.

Next, I applied the Chaos Black undercoat.

The next stage was applying the colour scheme and decals. I painted two of the standard bolter-equipped Space Marines along with the heavy weapon-equipped Marines in the Ultramarines colour scheme.

I then experimented with three other paint schemes. From left to right, Black Templars (black and white), Blood Angels (red), and finally Imperial Fists (yellow).

These may not look perfect, as I really should have applied a white undercoat instead of black. The white and yellow required many coats to be properly applied.

Upon returning to Toowoomba, I painted the Ultramarine Sergeant I had previously undercoated. Unfortunately the photo I took is a bit blurred, possibly due to the darkness of the room (it is quite overcast here today). He is equipped with a bolt pistol and a chainsword.

So, here is a shot of the Ultramarine squad members I painted over the past few days.

And finally, a picture with some older Space Marines, the Dreadnought and the Drop Pod I have previously painted in the Ultramarines paint scheme.

I have a couple other squad kits, but may wait a while before doing some more, but I hope these look alright.

Been away

I have been away for a week visiting the folks up north. I spent some time painting Space Marines which I will post about shortly, and I spent a day out with Dad prospecting for gold. After panning the proceeds of the day, we found six small specks of gold after digging and sluicing dirt for eight hours. Not going to give up the day job.

A couple of years back, Dad bought a small Kobelco digger so he no longer needs to dig by hand. I took what might be the most boring video ever with my iPhone and uploaded it to Youtube. So here is Dad driving his digger before starting to dig for gold.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Well, it has been a few days since I updated the blog. Top news is that I spent three days not going anywhere out of a twenty pace radius centred on the smallest room in the house. A bout of viral gastroenteritis laid me pretty low. I can't remember the last time I've been so unwell.

Anyhow, this bout of illness meant that I had to reschedule my CCNP SWITCH exam, which I was hoping to take on Tuesday. Instead, I took it this afternoon and passed, despite still being a bit foggy in the head and having some issues concentrating. Not to mention the frustration of being stopped on the Warrego highway and Ipswich motorway four times by roadworks! I got 879/1000 where the pass mark was 790.

So, that means I just need to pass the CCNP TSHOOT exam to get the CCNP certification. I will probably look at doing that exam in three weeks' time, but for now, I am going to make some dinner, have a look at a few blogs and go to bed early. Might go down to the local Games Workshop store and have a look around tomorrow.