More Eldar: Dark Reaper Conversion

I originally posted everything below the first pic on my “old” blog on March 4, 2016.   A FRICKIN’ YEAR AGO ALREADY!  Only once since then have I made time to sit outside and do this kind of hobby stuff.  And I didn’t accomplish nearly this much.

But this shows the painting plan I was talking about yesterday.  Dark blue body, armor dry brushed for highlights. Skull-white head.  My preferred wraithbone blue-grey super-long sniper rifle/railgun/reaper launcher.

Boom. Done.  Good enough. Next!

dr1

It’s been a good 1.5 years since I indulged in ye ole Warhammer 40K hobby.  (With my schedule, it’s either hobby or writing, not both, which is why I managed to get a lot more writing done last year.)  Yesterday I got out of work early, it was a sunny, warm day, and I decided that I was going to camp outside and do some painting, damn it!

And I did so using my new painting philosophy, which is: keep it simple, stupid! If I ever want to get even half of the irresponsible horde of models I own painted one day, I’ll have to keep each one pretty simple.  That means relying heavily on washes and dry brushing for details, and keeping the perfectionist in me at bay.  Overall, I’m pretty darn happy with this guy.

I usually paint the first one by him- or herself to figure out the scheme, and then I can paint more than one at a time once the design it determined.  So hopefully, completing my squad won’t be far behind.  There’s only 3 more models, after all.

You might notice that these are not the Craftworld Dark Reapers you are used to.  The “new” (at that time) Dark Eldar models are just so much cooler than the old Craftworld ones, that I decided to build a lot of my aspect warriors using DE kits.  That’s my “Black Phoenix” Craftworld, and these badass aspect warriors are no exception.

They are basically DE Warrior bodies with WH Fantasy dark elf masked heads.  I also added a DE accessory behind the head to act as “reaper range-finding” gear.  The weapon, I believe, is a DE dark lance.  To me, the Reaper Launchers are not mini-missiles but quick-fire railguns.  Each time they pull the trigger, two very thin, javelin-like munitions are magnetically fired in rapid succession.  The poor targets at the other side are dead before they even hear the report of the gun.

I don’t know when I will get another tiny pocket universe of time to paint more, but this was sure nice.  And I completed him in only an hour and half, which is pretty good for me, especially being rusty and all.

 

 

Painting 40K Eldar, the Easy Way

da-4While I was swimming today–something I haven’t done in a while–I was daydreaming about something else I haven’t done in a while: painting Warhammer miniatures.

Years ago and three duty stations back, when I first got back in Warhammer (thanks to my friend Josh and my finally earning an adult paycheck), I used to think about painting strategies while I swam laps.  This kept my mind occupied.  If I thought too much about swimming, I’d get bored with it, or convince myself I was tired or out of breath.  The one time-space coordinate that is still stuck in my mind is swimming the very narrow pool at a particular gym in Carlsbad, CA, thinking about how I should paint my Eldar fire dragons.

And nine years later, I still haven’t painted those bastards!

Actually, I’ve made new dragons out of Dark Eldar warriors.  And I haven’t painted those bastards, either.

da-back2But I was thinking today, that if (when!) I ever get time to mess with them again, I want to keep them extremely simple.  My Eldar scheme would basically be to pick a body color and a head color, and keep the other details to a minimum.  Some washes, some dry brushing for highlights, and not much more.  Mostly in an effort to get some damn models painted!  In about 30 years of off-and-on obsession with the game and hobby, I really haven’t gotten jack squat done.  Not for having had 30 years to do it!

These Dire Avengers I painted about the same time I was swimming those laps (2008-2011).

(I know the labeling on the pic was totally unnecessary, but it made me feel good, okay?)

I was going for a Darth Vader badass feel, and I want to stick with that.  But future models, and future aspects, may be even more simplified.  For example, I might do those fire dragons orange with red helmets.  Banshees red with white helms, or bone-white with red helms (even better).  My scorpions I won’t mess with; they’re already on that scheme, basically.  scorp-lord-2

I know I’ll never be satisfied with any paint job I do, and that my talents have atrophied since about 5th grade on (I was really good then!), but I have to convince myself that many painted models is better than a handful of overly-stressed-over ones.  And someday I’ll get back there!  I even have some high-quality, hobby-grade spray colors that I inherited from someone else who couldn’t pack them when he moved.  And once the weather warms up, I need to use them up!  I left most of my shamefully large collection of models back in the States, but I do have lots of Eldar, Space Wolves, and Chaos stuff here still.  And throwing at least a base color on them will at least be a small step in the right direction.

(I know this blog post didn’t accomplish much, but it made me feel like I was doing something 40K related, ya know?)

Trump and 1984

eyeI can’t believe it!

Two or three weeks ago I started reading 1984 again, which I read 20+ years ago in high school and have been meaning to read again for years.  And as I got through the very first chapter (and am only at chapter 4 now — shows how much reading time I get), that I wanted to blog/tweet about how much 1984 sounded like 2017.  And now it seems i missed the boat!

I just saw on Amazon that 1984 is the #2 ebook right now.  Number 2, out of gazillions!  That’s amazing!

And that theatres are going to play the old movie as a form of protest.  Unbelievable!  Awesome!  And I’m overseas, so I’m going to miss it!

What are some of the similarities, you might ask?  Here’s a few:

The Ministry of Truth is basically in charge of shaping history, media, and public perceptions to match The Party’s politics.

The mantra is (always in all-caps):

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

There are Thought Police, thought crime, and doublethink.

They’ve always been at war with their current enemy (even though Winston clearly remembers it was the other way around just a few years ago).

And the one that struck me most: the Two-Minute Hate.  Everyone must gather around the telescreen and scream their hatred at images of “the enemy”.

Sounds an awful lot like the state of things now.

1984 or 2017?

And here I thought I was a “clever clogs” discovering this.  And now it’s a big thing!

…That big eye up there, by the way?  It’s mine. 🙂 

Finding Time: The Life Equation and the Three R’s

time-warp“There are not enough hours in the day.  Week.  Year!”

Like all writers (and lots of other people), I am constantly confronted with the fact that there does not seem to be enough time to get anything done.  At least, nothing we want to do.  Everything we must to do we find time for, of course.  But finding time for things like writing… Not always so easy.

So I decided to do some math.  My expectation was that by doing so, I’d reinforce the dismal idea that I don’t have enough time, and thus have plenty of excuses for not getting stuff done.  But, happily, that wasn’t necessarily the case.

Here’s what I did:

ACTIVITY HRS DAYS/WEEK HRS/WEEK
work 14 3.5 49
sleep 7 7 49
eat dinner 1 7 7
make dinner 1 3.5 3.5
family time – weekday 1.5 5 7.5
family time – weekend 5 2 10
military extra duties 1 1 1
 Total: 127

A little explanation on these broad generalizations for hours per day times days per week:

  • My work days are about 14 hours long.  I get up at 5:30am and get home at 7:30pm.  (Assuming I’m on day shifts, but it’s about the same on nights, just flip am/pm.)  The shift is supposedly 12 hours, but in reality it works out closer to 13, plus I’m including getting ready, eating breakfast, etc.  Basically, time dedicated on a work day to my work day.  I work, on average, 3.5 days out of 7 per week.  (Maybe 3 on, 4 off; or 5 on, 2 off, whatever.)
  • I probably sleep an average of 6-7 hours a night.  I was generous and said 7.
  • Eating dinner: about an hour.  If I have to also make dinner (and sometimes, even after a 14 hour day, I come home and find it’s up to me to make that happen), another hour.
  • Rough estimates on “family time,” meaning just spending time with my son, wife, etc.
  • Currently, my extra military duty time–meaning time outside of my 14 hour day; meaning, my time off–is actually pretty low.  This is partially because I make the choice to allow my career to suffer so that my family and personal time do not.  (Because you don’t get promoted for being good at your job.  That’s not enough.)  It’s also lower because I no longer have to stand the 24-hour duty day every month, due to recent policy changes at work.  But this hour is also estimated for me being on days right now.  When I’m on night shifts, this goes way up.  (Because everything extra that you have to do, you do when everyone else is at work.  And that’s not at 3am on a Saturday night.)

So this is estimating the general, everyday stuff that must get done.  There are 168 hours in a week (24×7).  As per the chart, then, my “mando-time” (mandatory) is 127 hours per week.  168-127 = 41.  So this leaves 41 hours per week.

That’s where I stopped and thought, “That can’t be right!”  How could I possibly have so much extra time on my hands?  I certainly don’t feel like I have 41 hours of free time every week!

So, because the math didn’t support the pessimistic outlook I had on life, as I had expected it to, I differentiated a bit.  I broke it down to work days and off days.

work day non-work
14 working 1 eating
1 eating 1 making
1 making 4 family
1 family 8 sleeping
7 sleeping 14  TOTAL
24  TOTAL

That’s a little more accurate for me.  The family time may vary, especially if we take a day trip to go do something.  But, generally speaking:

  • On a work day, I should not try to make myself feel guilty for not getting anything else done.  Assuming I want to sleep, eat dinner, and see my loved ones in the same day, there’s no time for anything else.
  • On a non-working day, I should feel guilty for not getting something productive done!  Generally, if it’s a weekday that I have off and everyone else is at work or school, I have lots of time to myself.  Better make it count!  And even on a weekend, unless we are doing something specific, I can find a few hours to do what I want to do.  (I generally wake up early and leave the house to write, so it’s done and out of the way and nothing else can threaten that allotted time slot.)

Now, to go onto the next step, I shall set myself up for some optimistic expectations.  What are the priorities for making the best use of that time?  For me, it’s the Three R’s, redefined a bit:

  • The first is wRiting.  I literally have more than 30 books in mind right now and come up with new ideas all the time!  And they aren’t going to write themselves!
  • Reading is essential, and I don’t do nearly enough of it.  Again, because of time constraints.  Anything I can’t do everyday is hard to turn into a habit or routine.  And I can’t do anything everyday.  Other than eat, apparently, which leads me to the third R…
  • ‘Rithmatic is the saying, but that’ll be my code word for woRking out; or, more likely, swimming laps.  I get fired from my job if I can’t fit into my uniform, and it seems some evil elves have been gradually replacing mine with smaller and smaller duplicates.  At 40 years of age, overworked, sleep deprived, and having other priorities, its difficult to motivate myself to the gym or pool on a regular basis.  It also doesn’t help that my go-to activity is to sit on my butt even more in front of a computer to tell stories. But if I tell myself that on my days off, I have 3 Rs to accomplish, it’ll make it more likely that I get there.

Of course, this simplified rant doesn’t cover all of life.  There are more things to do, unexpected outcomes, and never enough time, however much you may plan.  I’d like to blog more, too, and not just about what damn book is on sale.  I know that makes me out to be a mercenary bastard, and I hate it.  I have so much more to say!  But… blogging requires a time slot.

And time is that most precious of commodities.  You can’t make more time.  It runs at a constant speed, like sand from the hourglass, and once it’s gone you never get it back.  Money you can make more of.  You can get a second job, but that costs more time.

And that’s the main reason I don’t put in the extra time at work needed to advance my military career.  My son is 6 now and growing older at that same, constant rate.  If I spend his childhood at the office, I might gain more money, but I’ll lose more time.  And he’ll never be 6 again, or 7, 8, 9…  Maybe I get to a nice, fat retirement one day, but I’ll miss my son growing up.  Time is worth more to me than money.  Time lost cannot be bought back, no matter how much money you have.

And speaking of time, I’ve spent enough on this blog post.  Unfortunately, I have to ration out such a valuable resource, and my lunch hour is nearly up.

In conclusion, well…  I expected to conclude that, “There’s just not enough time in the day,” and “This might be making a living, but it’s no way to live!”  And I can still say those things, but to my own surprise I discovered that there is time.  I’m just not making the best use of it.  I can always use more, but if I squander what I have, it’s my own damn fault!

Groundhog’s Day: Book #2 for 2/2

This feels like a Two-Face reference already.  But on this day, 2/2 (2017) I have Book #2 in the Cold Stars sci-fi series of stories up and ready to roll.

(In ebook form, anyway; paperback coming in the next couple weeks.)

Fantasy deep space nebula with planet

     A naval scientist leads the expedition to explore a ghost ship in space. Only he can unlock its secrets. And once he does, the universe will never be the same.
     A young sniper in training faces his final exam. And now he’ll find out whether he’s predator or prey.
     A sarcastic bounty hunter and beautiful assassin join forces, but their quarry is far more dangerous than either imagined.
     Three tales of military science fiction, mysterious space opera, and daring pulp adventure, delivered to you from between the Cold Stars and the Endless Dark.     

Three exciting stories–about 100 pages in the forth-coming print version–for three bucks.  (Well, $2.99.)

Find it on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and more, right now.

Book #1, by the way, was the novelette The Thorne Legacy… (Only two bucks!)

 

Final Week for Giveaway

oneeyedjacksThis is the last week to sign up for a free ebook copy of the urban fantasy, crime-noir novel One-Eyed Jacks.

If you’re an Amazon customer, it’s really just a matter of clicking a button.

Well, probably more than one click, but the mouse does most of the work.

The only catch is that you follow me via Amazon, which I believe means you’ll just get a notice once in a while that I’ve put out something new.  That’s it!  Easy-peasy!

Click here to go there now and check it out!

Urban Fantasy Giveaway: One-Eyed Jacks Are Wild

oneeyedjacks

Click this very line to enter an Amazon giveaway!

I’ve got TEN ebook copies of One-Eyed Jacks lined up to go.  Simply follow the link, click the button to follow me on Amazon (meaning you’ll get an email from Amazon when I have new releases, stuff like that), and then sit back and relax.

Ten winners will be drawn from all entrants on February 1st.  And then, well… if you’re one of the lucky ten, you’ll have yourself a free ebook.  Easy as that!

Clock’s ticking.  Draw your lucky card right now.  You’ve got nothing to lose!