Commentary

Thoughts on things.

One of the great things about NOVA is it gathers so many great hobbyists and teachers in one place. NOVA always brings in someone new every year (often from over seas), and I’ve enjoyed learning something different from each instructor.

When you’re in these classes, you pick up on more than just the technique or concept the class is about.  You also get insight into the general philosophy or attitude the teacher takes towards their work. 

Sometimes, that’s the more important take away than the painting technique the class was about.

Most teachers will tell you they’re in it for the fun, but a lot will also say that when it’s a job it’s tough work and really takes a certain kind of person to do it.

The thread that really stood out for me is the happiness part of that.

One of Roman’s sayings is “Paint Happy” – his philosophy is that painting should be for you, as the painter. The act of painting should be enjoyable, and if it isn’t – you’re doing something wrong. He often signs his art prints with the slogan.

Sam and Alfonso both echoed similar things.  Watching Sam paint was a masterclass in throwing caution to the wind and just painting for fun.  He didn’t have much of a plan going in, but he took cues from the room, how he was feeling and just improvised.  Alfonso took Roman’s concept a touch further and spoke about how different painting styles are fun for different people – it’s a personal, tailored experience, so paint however makes you happiest.  Experiment often.

I don’t think my current method of painting is one that makes me happy;  I know my painting isn’t yielding the happiness it could.

The good news is: I’ve come to terms with why this is the case and I have been brainstorming some strategies to rectify it.

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The NOVA Open is held only a few miles away in Crystal City, Virginia, just across the river from Washington DC.  It’s a con I’ve been volunteering at and attending for the past five or so years, and it’s currently the only con I go to each year.

The con kicks off Wednesday night with some small special events and goes through Sunday, offering over 4 days of events.  One big benefit to working only three blocks away from the con is that I was able to swing by after work on Wednesday and picke up my SuperNOVA registration and Swag Bag.  The SuperNOVA is NOVA’s premium registration, and offers loads of perks for the notably higher price – one of which is the embroidered KR Multicase Backpack 2.  The rest of the goodies… well, you’ll just have to wait for the loot showcase!

The con really started on Thursday for me.  My schedule for Day 1 included a Build-and-Play for CMON’s Dark Age, and three (!) seminars.

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Muse On Minis was vending at the NOVA Open this year, and they had some fancy pants tokens they were pretty proud of.  They offered to give me a set if I wrote a review of them on the site. Overall, I was pretty impressed, but I do have some suggestions / criticisms which you can find in the pro/con lists at the bottom.

Last Wednesday at my LGS, I set out to blight the good blight equipped with a fancy new set of “Dragonspawn” Tokens, a spiffy magnetic spray template and some AOE mats for my Ravagore Scathers.  Local buddy and PG Chris decided to try and show me the error of my blighted ways, and threw down with his Biel Tan Eldar Retribution.  He happened to have some of the new MK3 Muse tokens, too, as well as a set of magnetic objectives for us to mostly ignore.  To make sure this review is as saturated with Muse stuff as possible, we borrowed some rectangular zones from the Advanced Maneuvers crew (who were filming one table over) which were custom made for them by none other than…  you guessed it… Muse on Minis!

Models, check. Tokens, check. War Room, check. Wait, where's my Diet Coke?

Models, check. Tokens, check. War Room, check. Wait, where’s my Diet Coke?

Have I name dropped enough yet?  Yes?  Cool, let’s get on with the pew pew noises and pictures of pretty, pretty tokens by models.

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I’ve been fairly consumed with Overwatch since it’s release several weeks ago, but I had a goal to get two New Edition Battlegroups painted for demos by the end of July, so I’m happy to say that I bucked down and made it happen.

First up, is the Khadoran contingent, led by Lord Kozlov. The Juggernaut is the one that I painted long ago for the Khador army I took to Templecon in 2014. Kozlov and the Decimator were cleaned up and assembled, and about 8 hours of work later, the small battlegroup is ready to dominate the battlefield!

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Khador was the obvious choice for one of the New Edition battlegroup purchases, as was Legion. However, when demoing the game, it’s often best to stick to one system or the other, since it’s simpler and less confusing. It’s also generally considered easier to learn Warmachine since it’s effectively a “mana” mechanic that most video games or other magic systems use. So, Warmachine was the system to build two Battlegroups for, and that meant picking a second faction to paint up. I made the decision based on which battlegroup boxes were available after pre-orders when our launch kit arrived. Cryx and Protectorate both had boxes left on the shelf, and I love the idea of a Bane Witch, so I decided on Cryx.

Again, I re-used some of the models I’d already painted a even longer ago, and only really needed to paint up Agathia and the Reaper.

You may notice that the shading on the two ‘jacks are different. The Juggernaut’s more stylistic, and the Decimator’s more realistic. I’m not sure which I like more, but exploring that difference was a side goal of painting up the Decimator. Which do you like better?

I had some trouble with the mold lines on Agathia’s ghostly skirt, but the Reaper was a charm, and went together just fine. I had a blast painting the Cryx models, since P3’s green paints are so easy to 2-brush blend. The Cryx models also use lots of colors I don’t get to paint on my Khador or Legion, so it was really refreshing.

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So, there we go! Some proof that I’m not only still alive, but that I also still have the capacity to paint.


In other news, I have a commission in need of a quick turn around, and I have a competition mini (or two) that I’m working on for Nova Open in about a month. I’m taking 6 (8?) painting classes at the Open as well, which should hopefully level up my game.

So… stay tuned for more to come.

Now that the free week-long Beta test is over, some fun statistics are cropping up about the Overwatch Beta. According to Steam Spy, most of the top shooters available through Steam saw a sizable decrease in attention during the beta. Searches for “overwatch” on the popular porn site PornHub saw an 800% rise during the test period. The Overwatch Subreddit has exploded with stories of players claiming to have withdrawal, or proclaiming it to be the best thing they’ve played in years and will buy two copies of the game, just because. All other games feel bland, by comparison.

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I spent several hours playing, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was lucky to fall in with a group of long time FPS players, and we embraced the strong team-play aspect of this game. Using Discord, we hung out and explored the first new IP from Blizzard in 17 years. For those who don’t know, Blizzard has a history of producing immersive, polished video games that hold their own for a long time. Star Craft, for instance, is so popular in Korea, that it is on broadcast television.

But what makes Overwatch so great? To me, it was the rich and unique cast of characters, gorgeous maps with transparent but meaningful objectives and Blizzard’s focus on providing a positive experience to it’s players and fanbase. This isn’t to say there aren’t some things that worry me or that need improvement, but I’ll get into that later.

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