User Content Friday – A Long Diatribe and one Little Tip

Since the Top X was short, I thought I’d increase you;re Friday enjoyment with a brief return of User Content to Fridays.  This time ’round we’ve got a lovely (yes, lovely) post from a new member blog called Hive Zero.

So, I’m finally recovered from Adepticon. 
Well, that’s a bit of a misleading statement. The day after Adepticon ended, I began a new job. As an old dude, I can tell you that even good changes are difficult. For the past ten years, I flew out on Mondays and flew home on Thursday nights. Ten years. There were pockets of time when I would be at home for months at a time as well. Both extremes are extremely difficult on the partner or spouse, and I need to acknowledge and marvel at my wife’s infinite patience and ability to shoulder seemingly-insurmountable burdens while maintaining her own identity. And she tolerates, nay, encourages, my addiction to plastic and pewter.

 But I’m getting off track here. This new job is much more “normal.” Out the door at 6:30am, on the train by 7:00am, and in the loop by 8:00am. Reverse the process at 5:00pm, and I’m wrangling the offspring by 6:45. The main difference from my previous job is that when I leave the office, I am done for the day. When you are a traveling consultant, you are basically on 24 hours a day whether the client expects it or not. To stray from this is dangerous in many ways. So I’m much more psychologically healthy in this new gig.

So to start over, I am finally recovered from Adepticon AND I am getting used to my new job as a senior UX architect for a major effing retailer. I have finally, thank goodness, sold out to the Man, and I couldn’t be happier.

Back to Adepticon. I didn’t play this year, but I had a great time. There were a lot of changes this year, and FoW had grown to the point where they were no longer in the same room as WFB. Every vendor had sold out of PAGK boxes by Saturday evening, which was probably good for me…I still have three armies to finish.

When good enough is, well, good enough. 

So one of the big additions to Adepticon this year was the CMON sponsored painting contest. There have been paint competitions in the past, but not with 15,000 dollars in prizes. I know the competition would be steep, so I really scrutinized the miniatures.

You can see the winners at CMON…their photographer was quite good. What you see here are my paltry attempts at recording some of the incredible talent.

So anyway, as I was looking at the incredible wet blending, NMM, OSL, and conversions, I had an epiphany. Well, maybe “epiphany” is a bit strong of a word. I realized that the 80/20 rule applies to miniatures.

For those of you who have non-consulting jobs (ie have a life), the 80/20 rule can be stated this way: in any endeavor, eighty percent of the effort will be expended to acheive the final twenty percent of the feature set. This could not be more applicable to painting our little soldiers, that’s obvious enough. But here’s why it mattered to me.

When I stepped about three feet away from these exquisitely painted models, they looked…like the models everyone behind me was playing with. You see, the main concept that the 80/20 rule is trying to communicate is that one must recognize when further effort is not worth the return – when good enough is just that.

And that was the enlightenment (how’s that for hyperbole?): I had been beating myself up for not getting every lens highlighted, every carapace blended just so, and every highlight perfect, but if I’m going to be honest with myself, my Nid swarm looks pretty damn good on the table. From an arm’s length away, my Angels Sanguine’s halved color scheme looks striking and disturbing…you can’t tell that some of the halves are actually closer to 48/52 (My CSM’s, though, look like junk from any distance…back to the Simple Green, Noise Marines!).

Anyway, if you’re like me, you would love to paint like Les Bursley, Dave Taylor, and all the rest, but you have to keep in mind that you are most likely painting miniatures to use them in a game. Don’t kill yourself comparing your work to CMON. From a reasonable distance, “good enough” and “awesome” are the same. And heck, no one is going to stop you from revisiting the models and adding detail later.

OK, time to whip out the large dry brush and shade 20 remaining gaunts!

Miracle Gum 
OK, so like the title says, I’d like to provide a small, useful tip. There is a product called Blu Tak , Paper Tak, and various other trademarks that all involve the misspelling of the word “tack” that is used to mmount posters to the wall without leaving any marks or damage (yeah, right), It has the consistency of old, chewed gum. I use it all the time to temporarily mount a model into the top of an empty paint jar for painting. And I also use it to dry fit converted models. But my favorite use for it is this:

 The picture is a bit dark. You’ll have to click on it to see the Blu Tak, I’d guess. When there is a model that is going to be hard to paint when assembled, I prime it with the glue points masked. It is very accurate in terms of coverage, and it’s immediately removable.

Once you remove the Blu Tak, you can simple knead it, and the paint will flake off, ready for the next application. It may discolor a bit, but it shouldn’t affect the next masking job.

OK, back to the grind!

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