All posts for the month November, 2013

Two weeks ago I discussed a thought exercise that will help you get in the right frame of mind for doing some computer programming.

Today, I want to help you get an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) set up, so you can follow along with my examples in the coming articles.

The Language: Java


The programming language of choice is Java. Java has several advantages for us than other languages:

  • Java has fantastic documentation.  Sun / Oracle, who controls the Java Language, has a large library of documentation on functions, interfaces and other important bits.  There are also loads of tutorials.
  • Java is Object Oriented.  This means that all of our Java code has to do with things, rather than more abstract ideas like memory locations, pointers and other stuff that makes my head hurt.
  • Java is platform independent.  This is the biggest reason for Java’s success.  You write code once, and you can run it anywhere: Mac, Windows, or Linux.  I’ll go into more detail on this later.
  • Java is everywhere, primarily due to the points above.

So, we’re using Java because it’s the biggest thing in programming right now, it’s very approachable, and it won’t matter what computer you’re using to follow along, the code is identical for everyone.

The IDE: Eclipse

eclipseSo, here’s what you want to download: Eclipse.  Eclipse is an IDE, and the package I’ve linked to includes the packages for working with Java and using GIT to keep backups of your code.  GIT is also how I’ll be giving you sample code, via  Don’t worry, you don’t have to make a GitHub account to access my code, but you will need one to upload code if you ever want to send me your code.

 Here’s why I like Eclipse:

  • Real-time compliation level errors:  Normally when you write code and you typo a variable or function name, mismatch some curly brackets ({}), or whatnot, you don’t find out until you attempt to compile your code.  Eclipse examines your code as you type, and gives you error and warning flags when you type variables you haven’t declared or mistype function names.  This is a huge time saver.
  • Eclipse integrates Git, so you can keep remote backups of your code up to date with just a few clicks of your mouse.
  • Eclipse has support for several programming languages, so if you ever want to branch out from Java, you don’t have to learn a new IDE along with a new language.


  1. Download Eclipse and install it.
  2. Bookmark the Java 7 API Reference, Java SE Tutorials, and GitHub.
  3. Comment here with ideas for what sort of program we should make
  4. OPTIONAL: Make a GitHub account, and post your username.

Well, here we are at the final installment of the Ghetorix Extreme conversion.

Last time, I had mentioned that the side panels on the head were too thick. I needed to add some Circle armor patterns to them, but it’s too difficult to remove GS cleanly, so I decided to remove them.  I liked the look, so I just left them off.  I”m not terribly confident in my ability to sculpt the Circle armor patterns and I’ve been sitting on this project for far too long.  So, rather than give the customer something that I’m not happy with, I’ll test myself on this stuff later.  For now, all evidence of the side burns was removed.


I did go ahead with the rolled edging on the rest of the headdress.  This started as a very small rolled snake.


Continue Reading

Roll Call

In an effort to support the community and help expand the network of bloggers, I want to highlight some blogs that I visit.  There’s a list in the Blog Roll section of the website, but I want to periodically bring some to the front, just because.  In no particular order…

Khadoran Machine Never Breaks


This blog belongs to local Adam.  He’s a Khador and Legion player, as well Space Marines (Dark Angels) and Bretonnians [Edit: Actually, he plays Empire].  He’s currently painting Bretonnians and working on his Vayl2 list. IN addition, he has the same Infinity starter box I do, the Pan-O Knights Order.  His blog oscillates between painting and tactical discussions, depending on what is occupying his time at the moment.  He’s a much faster painter than I, and he’s a better player too, so I try to pay attention whenever he has something to say.


Arcane Paintworks

APW Color

Website of Freelance artist and many painting awards winning Meg Maples.  I’ve taken one of her classes a year or so ago, and I’m planning to attend another in a month or so.  She’s a wealth of information, and usually a great sport about being bugged with questions.  If you’re a fan of the Retribution or Convergence studio schemes, you’ve likely studied her work, among many others.  She’s also working her first miniature, so I’m pretty excited to see how that works out.


Miniature Musings of a Bear

This blog isn’t so much original content, as it is reblogging of anything the owner finds interesting.  As a result, it updates pretty often, and it’s almost always good stuff, and I’m not just saying that because I’ve been reblogged there…  🙂


 If you have a blog you think belongs here, leave a link to it in the comments below!

After assembly comes the task of gap-filling and working the converted pieces into the base model.

Here’s the two tools I’m using for 99% of this.  The silver tool is from the P3 sculpting set.  The other tool is a Colour Shaper, and it’s actually made for painting, but the silicone tip doesn’t stick to Green Stuff, so it’s perfect for smoothing out the finger prints and wrinkles.


The colour shapers come in several tip shapes (flat chisel, pointed chisel, rounded tip, etc) and sizes (same sizes as brushes, 0, 2, 4, 6, etc), and stiffnesses of the the silicone.  As you can see in the picture, I’m using a size 0, soft flat chisel.  This works for me.  Much like brushes, it’s all about what feels right and what works best for you.  If your local art store doesn’t carry them, there’s always Amazon: Color Shapers.

Continue Reading

My Magic post last week spawned an e-mail from a local friend who had the inside scoop on a small casual draft party every weekend.  Since I want to cut my teeth in a friendly, low key environment, this seems like just the ticket.  Before I dive in with both feet, though, I figure I should test the waters.

I nabbed a single Theros booster at Target when I was stocking up on extra Halloween Candy last night, and I figure I’ll do an analysis, much like AbsoluteMTG does in videos like this:

So, here’s what was in my booster:

Yeah… So I pulled a foil rare.  The Temple of Mystery.  Not a bad start!  But, what’s the pick of the booster…

Continue Reading