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Cthulhu Hasselhoff

Constructing the Death Star for 7 Wonders.

7 Wonders: Making of the Death Star

I am likely one of the hardest-core Star Wars fans you’ll ever meet. I’ve been reciting the movies with my big sister for as long as I can remember. I can literally wear a different Star Wars t-shirt to work for at least three weeks straight without repeating. My D&D 5e Monk is named Bomarr, after the the B’omarr Order monks whose palace Jabba squatted in after they gave up their bodies in search of enlightenment. I am STILL mourning — MOURNING — how Karen Traviss’ rich Mandalorian culture was nonchalantly swept from canon. Right now, my favorite Star Wars characters might very well be the psychotic murder droids Triple-Zero and BT-1. And in my opinion, the best reveal in Solo: A Star Wars Story wasn’t Darth Maul, it was the use of Teräs Käsi!

So, when it came to making geeky pop-culture-influenced custom boards for 7 Wonders, the very first thing I had to make was the Death Star.

Step zero: Prepare yourself

Before we go any further, there’s a few things that will genuinely make this article more useful.

  1. Learn AT LEAST basic skills in Adobe Photoshop or GIMP.
  2. Commit to learning keyboard shortcuts.
  3. Read my 7 Wonders “how to” overview.

(There’s very little in this article that actually ties to number two, but knowing keyboard shortcuts will make you exponentially more efficient. And after all, who… does… number… two… work… for?!)

Step one: Find some art

I always start with a Google Image search. In this case, I searched with the phrase “Star Wars art”. Why the additional criteria of “art”? Because I prefer not to work with screen caps and photo stills if at all possible because I find that starting with something painted — even digitally painted — will match the general style of the real 7 Wonders boards better. Regardless of image source, I’ll always do some sort of image manipulation, but we’ll get to that later.

More importantly, remember to search for the biggest image you can possibly find because you’re ultimately going to be printing in 300dpi. Web-optimized images are generally going to be in a lower resolution with a smaller footprint. Take the extra time and specify that you’re searching for large images under “Tool” like this:

Use your Google Image search filters wisely!

I eventually stumbled across a digital rendering of the Death Star II by Nathan Lange on ArtStation. By chance, it was even offered as a downloadable 1920×1080 px @ 72 ppi file. By comparison, my 7 Wonders template is 2925×1275 px @ 300 ppi.

Step two: Tweak the image

The very first thing I had to do to the image was stretch it out to fit the template. When using Adobe Photoshop, you should hold down “Shift” while (Command + T) transforming the image in order to maintain the image’s original ratio. I HATE it when I see half-assed image sizing that distorts an image.

Keep your aspect ratio when sizing images!

When resizing the image, I do think about composition. A lot of times, it’s just easiest to keep large objects centered on the board. Other times, it doesn’t hurt to keep the Rule of Thirds or Golden Ratio in mind. In the case of the Death Star and the Nathan Lange’s source material, I decided to just keep it simple and centered. In the context of 7 Wonders boards, you also have to be aware of how the starting resource, title, and monument stages will interplay with the image.

If you severely resize an image, you’re inevitably going to lose some fidelity. Depending on how much you’ve stretched out an image, there are ways to address this and still make it look good on a 7 Wonders board. My go-to technique is to apply the Dry Brush filter. Below, on the left of the guide is the resized image prior to any filters being applied. To the right of the guide is the same image having had the Dry Brush applied to it with Brush Size set to 1, Brush Detail set to 10, and Texture set to 3.

I heart the Dry Brush artistic filter!

In the case of the Death Star, the image resizing wasn’t actually that harmful. However, it did pick up some light blurriness and it still retained a very “smooth” look. I prefer something that looks more painted to better match the official game boards. This is entirely a matter of personal preference. You definitely lose some of the original detail, but the dry brush filter looks GREAT on the finished product. And it’s a technique I use on every board to make them all more consistent with one another.

One EXTREMELY important point here… the Artistic Filters may be hidden by default in the current version of Photoshop. You’ll likely have to manually expose them per Julieanne Kost’s directions from this old blog post.

Step three: Make it playable

There are several things to consider when setting up a custom board for 7 Wonders:

  1. What starting resource makes sense in the context of the theme of the board?
  2. How many monument stages should this board have and why?
  3. How much do each of the monument stages cost and why?
  4. What do you get in return for building the monument stage and why?
  5. Is what you’re proposing under- or over-powered?
  6. Will it play differently than every board already in existence?
  7. Would it be fun to play?

Oh look, that was kinda sorta seven things for 7 Wonders!

At one point, I had considered using the standard three stages for the monument, but it simply didn’t look right and it didn’t feel right. The Death Star had to be one giant THING, so decided to design one giant stage. Additionally, I determined that I wanted to build thematically around the Sith Rule of Two.

It was this concept that helped guide the construction of the board. There should only be a master who wields the power and an apprentice who craves it. As such, the starting monument immediately does away with two leaders, but allows you to play two leaders without having to pay the cost. In theory, this could be an enormous advantage, starting with two leaders when everyone else may only start with one. However, you have to make a choice before playing any other cards, so one of your leaders may end up with minimal value.

The lone monument stage costs a bunch of ore (a proxy for durasteel) and money (because the two Death Stars must have cost a A LOT of imperial credits). But most importantly, you also have to sacrifice a leader, symbolizing an apprentice betraying his master.

As a reward, you get a war, straight up victory points, and the ability to play your final two cards every age after you’ve built your monument.

Step four: Pick colors

You’re going to need to pick two colors: one for the rounded rectangle main area of the monument stages and one for the ornate contoured frame around the main monument stage area. I usually use the color picker tool to select two different contrasting colors that already exist within the original artwork.

Using the Photoshop Color Picker tool.

Contrast can take form though selecting one light and one dark color from the source material. Another is selecting opposing color wheel combinations that exist in the source material. I rarely select a color that is completely non-existant in the image. The only time I choose to do this is when the source image is overly monochromatic. And then I search for a complimentary color from the color wheel to make the end result more dynamic.

A few tips to make your life easier:

  1. It doesn’t hurt to write down the Hex Color values in case you ever need to reference the exact colors you’ve selected. In the example above, the value is #065d59.
  2. Instead of selecting the shapes and forcibly filling them with the colors of your choice, use Blending Options for the layer to apply the Color Overlay Effect. It’s cleaner, more flexible, and more efficient in the long run. Right-clicking on a layer will make the Blending Options, err.. option available.
  3. For the main area of the monument stage, in addition to using Color Overlay, you should also adjust the opacity of the layer to allow some of the board’s imagery to be visible through the rounded rectangle. Again, this is consistent with design of the official boards and is a simple and efficient technique to get the look you want. Try anything between 50-75% opacity; this isn’t one size fits all. See below for an example of what all this looks like in the Layers panel.
Blending Options Effects in the Layers panel.

And theeeeeeen?

And then you’re you on to flattening your image, creating a printable document, printing your design, cutting your parts, assembling your board, and play-testing your concept. You may want to tackle that in a different order but that’s what I like to do. (Yes, I realize that I’m likely creating a bunch of extra work for myself when revisions are necessary, but it makes for a much more satisfying play-test experience.) Again, I’ve written up those general steps here.

Future 7 Wonders posts will likely be less about my Photoshop process and more about the source material and reasoning behind the board creation. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

Magic the Gathering vampires.

Magic the Gathering: Fourth time’s the charm for my vampire deck

You may remember a while ago, I was determinedly tweaking my black/white mana vampire deck to combat my son’s all-blue, Jace-led, mostly-merfolk Magic the Gathering deck. I’ve since modified my deck three more times with varying degrees of success. However, the most recent version seems to have made the most significant impact.

Vampires, the next generation.

Creature (29)

  • 2 Captivating Vampire
  • 2 Drana’s Emissary
  • 2 Gifted Aetherborn
  • 2 Inspiring Cleric
  • 2 Martyr of Dusk
  • 2 Paladin of the Bloodstained
  • 2 Tithe Drinker
  • 2 Vampire Cutthroat
  • 2 Vampire Neonate
  • 1 Blood Artist
  • 1 Blood Seeker
  • 1 Bloodrite Invoker
  • 1 Bishop of the Bloodstained
  • 1 Drana, Kalastria Blood Chief
  • 1 Elenda, the Dusk Rose
  • 1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
  • 1 Legion Lieutenant
  • 1 Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
  • 1 Skymarch Bloodletter
  • 1 Vampire Nocturnus

Enchantment (1)

  • 1 Legion’s Landing

Sorcery (2)

  • 2 Call to the Feast

Instant (2)

  • 1 Moment of Craving
  • 1 Moment of Triumph

Land (25)

  • 9 Swamp
  • 4 Forsaken Sanctuary
  • 4 Kabira Crossroads
  • 4 Piranha Marsh
  • 4 Scoured Barrens

Planeswalker (1)

  • 1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

Even vampires don’t always get it right on the first try.

Really, one of the simplest changes came out of a very simple observation made by my ten-year-old. Despite fielding a semi-spammy low-mana deck, I found that the luck of the draw left me land-starved more often than not. My son’s very astute suggestion of increasing my land-to-other-card ratio was probably one of the most beneficial changes I made.

The other change that seemed to have significant impact was doubling down on lifelink, “gain 1 life,” “lose 1 life,” and “create a 1/1 [token]” cards while eliminating most others. As a result, I’m constantly gaining a life here and there while my opponent loses a life just as frequently. I suspect this makes my deck super-annoying to play against which makes it even more appealing to me.

Up next? Figuring out a sideboard.

Then? Tweaking my five-mana, no-creature deck!

Vampire notes!

I always like it when things match and coordinate, so I’ve since tricked out my deck with some accessories that I thought I’d share:

 

Custom Cards Against Humanity cards.

How to make custom Cards Against Humanity cards

Cards Against Humanity recently had an open call for submissions which reminded me that I’d never posted about my very first foray into making custom game expansions three years ago. I decided to try my hand at making custom Cards Against Humanity cards for my Virginia Beach gaming friends-that-are-basically-family. After all, why wouldn’t you want cards that mention your friends by name?

Working backwards against humanity.

As opposed to what the cards would actually say, I started with “how the heck am I going to print cards that have the right size, right texture, and right per-unit pricing that won’t cost me a crap-ton to produce a small run of cards?” After using my mad Google skills, I discovered that Printer’s Studio can print custom content onto premium 310gsm linen-textured 63x88mm cards. Furthermore, you can customize the fronts AND backs of each individual card so that you can make your custom white and black Cards Against Humanity cards all in one go!

Production checklist against humanity.

  • Crafting Supplies
    • None, because Printer’s Studio is doing all of the physical goods production for you.
  • Files
    • Printer’s Studios Photoshop template (standard poker-sized).
    • Max Miedinger’s/Linotype Design Studio’s Neue Helvetica 75 Bold font.
    • Or just use another similar sans serif font like or Helvetica or Arial.
    • Alternatively, if you ever intend to publicly distribute your cards, you may want to REALLY differentiate your product with a dramatically different font.
    • If you’re really ambitious, you could try this old code I stumbled across in GitHub.
  • Software
    • Adobe Photoshop (the $9.99/month 20GB photography plan is more firepower than you’ll need).
    • Feeling cheap? Go with GIMP instead.
  • Intangibles
    • A sick sense of humor.
    • Human sounding-boards.
    • Time.

Disclaimers against humanity.

Before we go any further, I want to list a few disclaimers:

  • Please don’t steal. That includes intellectual property.
  • Be smart and don’t get sued. Here’s an interesting article with law words and here’s one about “bullying copycats.”
  • Do it because you love it, not because you’re trying to be a table-top-game-bijillionaire.
  • I will NEVER sell my grossly infringing cards as they’re intended for personal use ONLY. (However, if I have a really great idea for way less infringe-y cards, I WOULD consider that.)

What’s next against humanity?

Here’s a high-level breakdown of my process:

  1. Create an accurate Photoshop template. Do yourself a favor and measure better than I did and set up your guides appropriately. I started my text right at the “safe” dotted red line when I really needed to allow for more white space around the borders. Use a ruler, write down the measurements, and change your Photoshop ruler to inches instead of pixels. Make sure you’re working with a 300dpi file.
  2. Layers are your friends! Save every distinct card’s text as its own layer in case you need to go back and change stuff. It makes like dramatically easier.
  3. Keep your template organized. Use folders and layers. Lots of them.
  4. Birth your own brand. In the category of “please don’t steal”, make your own brand even if you’re just doing it for personal use.
  5. Design the card back. With your brand birthed in a disturbingly wet and messy push, design a back for your cards. Remember to do it with white-on-black and black-on-white.
  6. Prepare for print. Save every unique card front and back as a separate flattened file. PNGs work just fine.
  7. Set up your project and purchase! Once you have your project all set up and you’ve THOROUGHLY QAed your work, submit your order.

PS against humanity.

In case you’re wondering what my example card says, I’ll give you a hint. Two of the missing words are “Princess” and “interrogation”. You can fill in that first blank yourself.

7 Wonders custom board samples.

How to make custom boards for 7 Wonders

I’m just a little obsessed with 7 Wonders.

I own and love all the expansions (except Babel). I’ve gifted 7 Wonders at least a half dozen times. My co-workers and I sometimes play at lunch or happy hour. I’ve considered entering the 7 Blunders competition at PAX East. And I’ve figured out how to make pretty good looking custom boards for 7 Wonders.

Now? Now I’m blogging about how to make pretty good looking custom boards for 7 Wonders.

Impulse purchase time!

Let’s break this down into a giant, well-organized bulleted list, because that’s how I do.

Custom Death Star 7 Wonders board concept.

Mad disclaimers, yo.

Before we go any further, I feel compelled to make a few disclaimers.

First off, please be good dudes and dudettes. If you search around Google and eBay you’ll find plenty of bad dudes and dudettes trying to money off of someone else’s intellectual property and/or someone else’s hard work and creativity. Like Aurélien, please make these boards out of love. Give credit where it’s due. And if you’re going to go public with your designs, please share for free.

I’m going to say it right now, I am definitely NEVER going to publish hi-res, printable files of my completed designs. Why? I’ve borrowed art from a huge number of talented artists who probably never intended for their art to end up on a 7 Wonders board. And so, all of my designs are never for sale and are intended for personal use only.

I may consider sharing my PSD template someday, but I do think there’s a lot to be said for figuring some things out for yourself. Wizcreations and Aurélien have already done the majority of the heavy lifting for the rest of us.

What’s next?

Here is a very high-level breakdown of my process:

  1. Create an efficient Photoshop template. This includes setting up guides where they need to go; measuring and placing design components; meticulously aligning things for accuracy; identifying font sizes and kerning; building folders and subfolders to keep things organized; etc.
  2. Design the board. This includes identifying art that will suit your theme; planning out the stages of the monuments and thinking through game balance; making good color choices for the monument stages and their borders; etc.
  3. Generate a printable file. This includes flattening your board design into a single image that you can place into a PDF file for a printer.
  4. Print! Aurélien suggests a glossy paper, but I really like how my boards came out on linen. It just looks right when you set them next to the official boards.
  5. Playtest. Honestly, I don’t play test until the board is completely finished because I want an authentic experience. But unless you want to repeat the assembly process multiple times, it probably makes sense to playtest and edit before mounting and sealing.
  6. Cut and mount. This includes  Mod Podge-ing your design onto chipboard and meticulously cutting your mounted design. Be warned that some printers will offset the printed image slightly (this happened to me). So if you’re making double-sided boards, make sure the cuts align correctly on both sides. Otherwise you’ll you need to cut, mount, and then cut again to make sure the front and back are flush.
  7. Spray seal!

Until next time…

That’s all you’re getting out of me in this post. I’ll start writing up some detailed techniques as I write up individual boards in future posts.

In the meantime, I highly recommend reading some of the links I’ve included above and looking at other fan-made expansions. Build upon the knowledge of others and add to that knowledge base if you’re so inclined.

7 Wonders custom back for CthulhuAdoresHasselhoff.
Bomarr, the wood elf monk and his clockwork dog, Kowaki.

Quest for a Clockwork Dog D&D Miniature

Our beloved Dungeon Master at Alpha Omega Hobby has a copy of an old book titled Central Casting: Heroes of Legend. With this book, we roll incredibly elaborate backgrounds where we learn story-enhancing details like the circumstances of our birth or the professions of our parents. Occasionally we’ll even learn of tragedies that befell us in adolescence or of an unclaimed inheritance.

Sometimes, we’ll even come into possession of unusual magical items like Spider Gloves or prosthetic limbs with as yet undisclosed abilities. Or a clockwork dog.

Yes, I said CLOCKWORK DOG.

I really lucked out and acquired a clockwork dog that I anticipate will become a favorite semi-NPC of our party. It’s already done some bizarre things and we’ve only had one session with which to become acquainted.

Given our group’s affinity for Hero Forge custom miniatures and an increasingly contagious propensity for impulse purchases, I knew I’d have to find a clockwork dog miniature for our Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League campaign.

But who knew how difficult it would be to find ANY kind of mechanical dog miniature that would look natural with our minis?

Who knew?

Within five minutes, I knew. I found all kinds of vicious, snarling, drooling dogs. Cyborg pirate dogs. Dogs covered in weapons that made them look like refugees from Dominion: Tank Police.

But no dogs that looked remotely clockwork or D&D-esque. No dogs that looked like my quirky, eccentric dog that spawned from the pages of Central Casting.

And then I discovered Crossover Miniatures.

While Crossover Miniatures had no clockwork dogs, the did have robo dogs. Three of them. In a single pack (no pun intended). Ten seconds later, I placed my order with full belief that I could paint one up in a way that would look reasonable on our D&D table.

Full Metal Alchemist.

Awaiting a package in the mail, I took inventory of all the metallic Citadel paints in my collection and researched photos of REAL dogs. By the time my robo dogs arrived, I had a game plan ready to go. Here’s what I did:

  1. Spray-primed with Citadel Mechanicus Standard Grey.
  2. Base-coated with Citadel Screaming Bell.
  3. Painted the top half of my dog’s snout, his ears, his feet, and the juncture parts where the legs connect to the body with Citadel Balthasar Gold.
  4. Painted the bottom of his neck, belly, lower jaw, inner-lower front legs, lower back legs, and the tip of the tail with Citadel Leadbelcher.
  5. Painted a middle section of tail, the upper-back shoulder of his front legs and upper-front shoulder of his back legs with Citadel Retribution Armour.
  6. Dotted his left eye with Citadel Abaddon Black.
  7. Dotted his right eye with Citadel Evil Sunz Scarlet.
  8. Washed with Citadel Athonian Camoshade.
  9. Dry brushed with Citadel Retribution Armour.
  10. Dry brushed with Citadel Screaming Bell.
  11. Re-dotted his right eye with Citadel Evil Sunz Scarlet.
  12. Painted the base with Citadel Mournfang Brown.
  13. Washed the base with two coats of Army Painter Strong Tone.

While I lost some of the clearer delineations of mechanical panels and precision painting when I dry-brushed, I’m REALY happy with how much more cohesive and weathered he looks. He’s got that steampunk vibe even though I think he was cast with futuristic science fiction in mind. With that, here are some photos…

A post shared by Stephen Lin (@silinx) on

Hero Forge custom miniature of my Way of the Four Elements Monk.

Hero Forge: Peer-pressured into custom D&D miniatures

“If your friends all jumped off a bridge, would you?”

Well, no. But if my Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League party all bought Hero Forge custom miniatures then yes, I OBVIOUSLY would.

And I did. Our Dungeon Master at Alpha Omega Hobby had one created of himself (not in character). Then automagically, Hero Forge miniatures of our tiefling bard, human ranger, and wild magic sorcerer all appeared. Before I knew it, somehow I’d placed an order for a Way of the Four Elements wood elf monk and a Rogue Thief/Warlock Drow.

Someone must have inadvertently cast “Friendly Peer Pressure” in my general direction. Oops.

After several weeks of procrastination…

Motivated by a PM Dawn Stout (with cold brew coffee!) from Trillium Brewing and the freedom that accompanies Father’s Day, I broke out my supplies to paint Bomarr. Fortunately, I’d primed my miniature over a week ago and I’d also previously acquired the missing Citadel paint colors I needed to fulfill my vision.

And now a blow-by-blow account of everything I did.

If I don’t do this, I will absolutely forget the sequence of events and exact colors I used to achieve my final product. I’m sure this is TMI for some and just right for others. Here we go:

  1. Spray primed with Citadel Corax White.
  2. Painted Bomarr’s under robe in the front and visible pants with Citadel Sotek Green.
  3. Painted Bomarr’s boots, arm wraps, and lone visible sideburn with Citadel Mournfang Brown.
  4. Painted Bomarr’s face and fingers with Citadel Flayed One Flesh.
  5. Washed the under robe and remaining white parts of Bomarr with two coats of Citadel Coelia Greenshade.
  6. Realized that Bomarr’s arm wraps are more likely cloth than leather and repainted with Citadel Zandri Dust.
  7. Washed Bomarr’s arm wraps with Army Painter Light Tone.
  8. Washed Bomarr’s face and fingers with Army Painter Flesh Tone.
  9. Washed Bomarr’s boots with Army Painter Strong Tone.
  10. Dry brushed Bomarr’s arm wraps and boots with Citadel XV-88.
  11. Lined edges of Bomarr’s robe with Citadel Balthasar Gold.
  12. Dry brushed Bomarr’s robe with Citadel Screaming Bell.
  13. Dry brushed Bomarr’s robe again, this time with Citadel Sotek Green.
  14. Dry brushed gold edges with Citadel Balthasar Gold.
  15. Painted wood flooring with Citadel XV-88.
  16. Washed wood flooring with Army Painter Strong Tone.
  17. Washed candles with Army Painter Light Tone.
  18. Dry brushed floor and candles with Citadel XV-88.
  19. Touched up candle flames with Citadel Ceramic White.
  20. Painted candle flames with Citadel Sotek Green.
  21. Dry brushed candle flames with Citadel Ceramic White.
  22. Edged base with Citadel Mournfang Brown.
  23. Dry brushed base edge with Citadel Screaming Bell.

Voila!

All of this was achievable with just the Army Painter Wargamer Most Wanted set of three brushes. The PK-Pro miniature grip was very nice to have, but not entirely necessary. This was the final result:

Hero Forge custom mini of a wood elf monk, fully painted with Citadel paints and Army Painter washes.

And yes, the Sotek Green candles are in homage to Acquisitions Incorporated.

Post-credit scene.

Brushes given a nice hot shower with Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo.

PAX East 2018: Acquisitions Incorporated

Inspiration from PAX East 2018: Acquisitions Inc.?

I’ve never been big a huge fan of podcasts. I occasionally listen to Song Exploder, Bill Simmons, Locked On Celtics, and Lore, but I’d don’t think a podcast has ever been in my top ten items of consideration for entertainment.  And I’ve definitely never listened to a podcast and thought, HAY-SOOS!!! I need more of THAT! Two and a half hours wasn’t nearly enough!

Until now.

Perception check, successful.

In a passing conversation at Alpha Omega Hobby, a fellow gamer perceived that I — a PAX East attendee and Adventurers League, umm… adventurer — would enjoy the Acquisitions Incorporated podcast.  Why?

  • It’s a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
  • Played by the creators of Penny Arcade and PAX.
  • With a great revolving cast of characters including Wil Wheaton and Morgan Webb.
  • And it’s REALLY funny.

Arcane knowledge check, failed!

It is MIND-BOGGLING that I’d never heard of this before. I consider myself a well-informed, well-rounded geek who is perpetually bathed in the soothing hot springs of pop culture. Make no mistake, I consider this a personal failure.

Investigation check, NAT 20!

Today, I made things right. I spent nearly three hours commuting through stupid rain-tainted Boston traffic and listened to the entire PAX East 2018 podcast. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Three thumbs up, six star rating, and an eleven on a ten-point scale.

In addition to being hysterically funny, the podcast was also unexpectedly inspiring. In a pinch, if asked to DM a game of Dungeons & Dragons, could I improv a game based on the PUBG/Fortnite concept with exploration and events cards the way they did at PAX East? Sure I’ve seen creature decks, dungeon decks, and encounter decks before, but the entire tongue-in-cheek Battle Royale structure was both fun AND funny. And oddly practical!

So, I leave this post here for me to find in the future. Maybe I’ll re-inspire myself someday and put this concept in my project queue. I leave you with the Twitch stream of the 2018 event below:

Watch PAX EAST 2018 – Main Theatre – Acquisitions Inc. from PAX on www.twitch.tv

Post Scriptum

It still pains me that all things Battle Royale aren’t credited back to Battle Royale.

 

Reaper Bones Miniatures

Reaper Bones Miniatures from a CRAZY generous co-worker!

I’m not kidding when I say I NEVER imagined that I’d ever pick up miniature-painting as a hobby. I didn’t think I had the patience or the fine motor skills to make it work. And while I always admired others’ craftsmanship, I pretty much knew that was never going to be me.

But then…

I met James at work. I’m pretty much a human divining rod when it comes to discovering people who love Star Wars. From there it wasn’t long before James — a hardcore miniature wargaming guy — turned me onto Star Wars: X-wing.

My ten-year-old and I now LOVE that game. It was also super-appealing to me that the miniatures were already assembled and painted. So, I still had ZERO intention of ever investing in miniatures that I’d have to paint.

But then…

I took my son to Alpha Omega Hobby where we met our future Dungeon Master, Adam. We joined the Adventurers League and my son fell instantly head-over-heels in love with Dungeons & Dragons.

Oh yeah, by the way, Adam isn’t just a great Dungeon Master. He also happens to be an incredibly talented and renowned professional toy painter. That said, I was pretty satisfied with the unpainted Reaper Bones Miniatures I’d purchased for our characters so I still wasn’t really driven to paint anything.

But then…

In a passing conversation at work, James extolled the benefits of washes and dry brushing techniques. On a weekend not far removed from that discussion, my son and I semi-inadvertently took a two-hour painting lesson with Adam. Not long after that, Fantasy Flight Games released Star Wars: Legion.

Well, crap.

I guess I have no more excuses. With the knowledge, experience, and support of James and Adam I feel like I can learn. With the interest of both my kids, I have a wonderful screen-less hobby that we can share.

Speaking of sharing…

In an act of CRAAAAAZY generosity today, James shared a box of Reaper Bones Miniatures for which he had no plans. I’m stoked. The kids are pumped. And now, I suspect, we’re in this hobby for a good long haul. I don’t think any of us is getting “MINI LIFE” tattooed across our knuckles any time soon, but I foresee us painting more weekends than not. And THAT is what inspired this post.

Thank you and a crisp high five, James!

Aaaaaaaaaand theeeeeeen?

NO AND THEN!

Star Wars Legion stormtrooper

Star Wars Legion: Amateur hour painting

I am a COMPLETE n00b when it comes to painting miniatures. I have literally one lesson under my belt from Small Angry Monster at Alpha Omega Hobby. So bear with me as I share my descent into madness.

Don’t be mad.

If you’re a Star Wars purist, you might get mad that I’m choosing to paint my Star Wars: Legion miniatures with non-traditional color schemes. But make no mistake, there’s a 99.99999% chance that I’m a bigger Star Wars fan than you.

Corran Horn remains one of my all-time favorite characters. I was devastated when they retconned all of Karen Traviss‘ rich Mandalorian history. I’ve voluntarily watched the Star Wars Holiday Special as an adult… twice. I still maintain that Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi was a fun game. Lastly, I’ll pour a hot chocolate out for Quinlan Vos, Cade Skywalker, and Lieutenant Kettch.

Yub yub, commander.

Or be mad, that’s cool, too.

This blog is absolutely for sharing, but it’s as much for me to remember what the heck I did in case I ever want to do it again. So, here’s a quick blow-by-blow account of what I’ve done so far:

  1. Got busy with the Loctite Super Glue to get everything assembled.
  2. Painted the Stormtroopers with Citadel Corax White spray paint.
  3. Mounted the base to the cork of my PK-Pro miniature holder with poster putty.
  4. Used every curse word I knew as I applied black with Sakura Micron Pigma Pens.
  5. Applied Citadel Abbadon Black to the larger black areas.
  6. Blinged up the left shoulder with Citadel Screaming Bell and Citadel Retribution Armour.

I still need to do a dry brush with Citadel Ceramic White; but I’m also REALLY tempted to try with Citadel Longbeard Grey for a little extra contrast. And I’m tempted to go with an even redder metallic paint for the shoulder panel of the armor.

Come back later!

I already have plans for my Rebels and wargaming space, but it’ll take me time (and a bunch of blog posts) to get there. I even have a vague story to support the color-schemes and the terrain which I think I’ll share when I have EVERYTHING put together.. It’ll all eventually make sense… at least to me.