Talk of the real world is going to find its way into this and some future posts because the tabletop gaming hobby and real-world conditions converge in the studio Iím trying to create. Earlier failed attempts at writing an update were going to do their best to avoid this but given the scope and scale of world events, Iím finding it difficult to untangle everything. In the spirit of being relaxed and civil, I donít have any desire to bring up really heavy-handed economic, social, or political, subject matter that will cause friction in a place intended to help distract from such subjects of the real world. However, I find it all but impossible to talk about the hobby as itís related to the studio without touching on some of my perspective about the structures and conventions of society that are having such a huge impact on my personal plans and the world that impacts us all. I welcome any dialogue that might arise from anything Iíll be talking about over the coming weeks, months, and years, but I insist that in public it remain casual, civil, and tied somehow to the subject of tabletop gaming; if itís going to go too far off into the weeds please take it to a Private Message.
TL;DR ∙ Please see the end of this post for a summary of these extended musings. Abandon all hope ye who enter; here, there be monstrous walls of text.
Well then, itís been a while. I really enjoy writing, but when there are too many things pulling at my attention, itís so hard to do. Where to start? How Ďbout, the begending?
I didnít invent the word but the mashup dawned on me a while back and seemed fitting as I came to the realization that so many events donít really have a formal start or finish. Some events do have a discrete start, middle, and finish, but so many beginnings represent the end of something else, and so many endings are the beginning of something new. While I was coming to this understanding on a personal level, world events had me noticing that itís even truer when it comes to the flow of history. There is no arguing that we are in a unique moment in history and it seems like it might be a once-in-a-lifetime begending on a massive scale with outcomes that we can only guess at right now. So what was originally going to be more about my own recent begendings, well, world events have made it difficult to ignore a larger picture.
So, last spring (Oh yeah, weíre going back a bit, but just for a quick recap) I managed to injure my hand when I had an altercation with a cat weíd adopted. I donít hold it against Oakley because he was still mellowing (Heís nothing but a good-tempered suck today) but heís a huge cat and bit me really badly. He managed to nick the bone, hit a nerve, or something, in my right hand ruining my grip strength, and cats have bites that are notorious for getting infected so it took two rounds of antibiotics to get that under control; watching the infection spread across my hand, even after starting the first round of antibiotics within 24 hours, had me a little nervous until a switch to a more effective antibiotic made things right. I figured it would heal in a few weeks but it turned into more like a few months where I had no strength in my hand so it was all but impossible to cast or make moulds in the studio. All things considered, it was not lost on me that the same reasonably minor injury in another part of the world would have come with far more cost and/or complications but for me, it was an inconvenience that sidetracked me for a while.
∙ I was able to paint, 3D model, contemplate, and procrastinate. This beauty is an example of my distracted 3D modelling but it also got me thinking. Want to help me make it real?
Initially, I created this APC as a bit of a flight of fancy not really considering it for production any time soon; it seemed too large and ambitious but I wanted to model an entire tank, so I did. But, the more I considered my situation the more I could see that small kits arenít working right now. Crucial to perfecting my printing and production process, smaller kits are also very
easy to get distracted with because theyíre generally less work to design, consume fewer materials, and very
prone to tempting flights-of-fancy; but, I simply canít produce enough small kits by myself to make them profitable enough to fund faster studio expansion. I have the ambition to try and make it work by myself while I have no other realistic choice, but the cold reality is, the only way to make smaller kits work is to ramp up production by dividing the labour between more people; itís fascinating how diving a complex task has a compounding effect on the output, so doubling or tripling the labour actually produces more than double or triple the output, and that will be the key in the future. So, for now, Iíve decided to really curb smaller ideas, keeping them for side projects and when I have proper studio space that can accommodate the extra people I can really focus on the smaller ideas to produce them in volumes that make them sustainable.
Until that can happen, I need to do larger kits like the APC pictured above that command a higher price per kit, and these kinds of larger projects will lend themselves to individual crowdfunding drives; if I can get 50 people to support a $100 kit, thatís $5,000 upfront that can let me really focus all my attention on the project for the weeks itíll need to finish. Up to this point, Iíve been doing lots of labour and investing in materials upfront to get a kit ready for production and then waiting for it to recoup that investment with sales. I wish I could simply keep doing it that way but until I get some kind of a proper cushion of funds to work with I need to at least have a selection of kits that provide healthy returns as a foundation that fund progress. Even if a funding drive is less successful I can still make it work but the pace will be slower, and if itís more successful I can slog to finish knowing Iím obviously on to something and gain more momentum to expand the studio that much faster. With everything Iíve done so far, Iím very confident in what I can produce, just not how quickly I can do it, but once I get a few done Iíll have a better idea going forward. With each kit successfully put into production Iíll have an ever-broadening selection for future customers and some upfront profit to take the pain out of the process. Once Iíve got a large enough selection of kits that can do some heavy lifting the cycle should be able to become self-sustaining as long as I can keep the ideas up and Iíve got plenty of ideas. So that was the plan, put the smaller stuff on the back burner to simmer and get the larger kits cooking, and then life happened, quite literallyÖ
∙ Hello Begending. You didnít think I was only going to reference current events and the like when I was talking about the real world, did yaí? Iíll see your expectations and raise you a baby!
In case youíre wondering, heís about 7 minutes old in the picture above, and heís about 7 months old today. So, right around the time, my hand was finally healing properly and I was getting the above plan sorted out this
little guy became a future considerationÖ and promptly melted my brain.
Preparation for his arrival combined with contemplating how he was going to fit in with everything I thought
I had just sorted out, well, that was enough for my brain to start overheating for a while. At some point in the next 3-4 years, my house is going to need another bedroom and at least part of my in-house studio space is now on the chopping block to provide the room. If Iím starting to get cramped for space in my studio now, well I guess my timeline just got much more concrete. If Iím going to do the studio now I have no choice but to get really serious about it, or, let it go. *Sigh* Back to pondering and weighing proís, conís, timelines, and all sorts of other things.
∙ I had plans of showing more in-progress images as the Onagers received their paint but that kindaí got lost along the way as I became absorbed in it as a meditative distraction.
Iím fortunate to have some contractual work during the fall and winter months at the college I attended. Itís a mixed blessing since itís nice that it adds to the household income but it also takes away some of the finical motivation to get the studio up-and-running. It can be frustrating when it feeds into my procrastination, but in this case, I was feeling more than a little distracted so Iím glad I have it to fall back on and provide some outside structure to my weeks. With that, I set to work on the modest task of three
Onagers so that I might meditate through the act of painting; it isnít my favorite part of the process, but I do like it for the trance-like state you can attain, that can then be used to block out some of the excess noise of the universe. My little nurgling pictured above (Producers of saliva, urine, feces, vomit, vectors for contagion of all manner, and yet so adorable and entertaining, yes, infants are essentially nurglings.) arrived in early December 2019 so there were only a few weeks until a hectic holiday season of visiting family followed up by a new year settling in discovering the kind of routine that a baby creates. No two are the same, so it takes some time to learn the routines and rituals of placation that work.
∙ Despite the Onager competing for space in AdMech lists these days, Iím still very pleased to have a Ďunití of them ready for the tabletop.
Iím not sure Iíd choose to do three of them together in one go again, but I can say that despite being much larger they were less daunting than painting three of the Sydonian Dragoons at the same time. Gluing the flip-down foot component to the base using the legs as a guide, and then keeping the legs loose during painting was a good plan. The AdMech model range benefits from (demands?) painting the models in sub-assemblies much more than other miniatures Iíve painted over the years, but theyíve given me an appreciation for what you can get away with if youíre careful during final assembly. Iíve learned that you can make surprisingly delicate/obvious connections between components without harming the paint job if you use Extra Thin solvent glue carefully; the simple trick is to be ready to aggressively blow on the join after applying the glue to quickly evaporate any excess that will cause damage or wrinkle the paint. However, the join must
be plastic-on-plastic if you want it to properly fuse and have any serious strength so carefully masking all of the touch points with poster-tack before priming and painting adds to the modelís preparation. Personally, the reduced headache of trying to paint some of the many challenging nooks-and-crannies of the AdMech models is worth the effort.
While Iím pleased with how the decals turned out Iím a bit frustrated how obvious some of the edges are even after ample Micro Sol/Set application. They snug down to curved surfaces perfectly but it doesnít soften or blend the edges. Being new to making decals Iím certain I was too heavy-handed with the spray-on film so I think I might need to try a few experiments to perfect the process of making them. I did some research to see if there are any other options for dealing with this and discovered that you can put a heavy coat of hard gloss varnish over the decal and then use really high grit sandpaper to blend the edges away. Naturally, I learned this after
I had applied some softer satin and matt varnish in hopes that they would do the trick by themselves. Iím fighting the urge to be impatient and trying to very gently sand the edges with some 1200 and 2000 sandpaper, but Iím forcing myself to try it on something that isnít a finished model first. Iím not pleased with it but itís ultimately very minor and Iíd hate to make a bigger mess trying to fix it.
∙ As the Onagers were finished it started to dawn on me that, hold on a moment, *Checks his to-do list* IíveÖ got aÖ painted armyÖ ? ... Iíve got a painted army. Iíve got a painted army!! And look at that, a begending.
Now, the points have changed over the many months of painting and building, my understanding of 8th game mechanics and tactics changed (and now 9th is here), along with the AdMech faction getting some new toys, so I knew already that my 2,000 point list was going to change. (More on that in a moment.) Iíve also still got to do the decals on all
of the troops, and some final little touch-ups and overlooked details, so thereís still a bit more work but the end of this phase is in actual sight
at this point; Iím finally at the tipping point that going forward all I need to do is paint units to add to the greater whole and thatís always a lot less daunting. *Binaric screech of glee* So, even if the list is going to get an adjustment I have enough painted
models to put a proper table-ready list together and actually venture out into the real world and start checking out what the scene in my area is like. I get out, start throwing some dice, meeting some people, and let my models work as conversation starters; I need to find at least a few talented individuals to grow the studio so Iíd rather try and find a gamer or two who appreciates the hobby and this strange obsession with little plastic toy soldiers rather than someone just doing a job. To be perfectly honest, I have no desire to be a boss so why would I want someone whoís just an employee? (Again, more on that in a moment.) I finished the custom bits, assembling, basing, and priming the Onagers in December and painted them over January and February as the little nurgling settled into his routine, my brain settled back into my skull, and I reassured myself that yes, I can make this work. Iím sure you can see where this
What could possibly
happen in March to stop me from being able to go out into public?!
*Subtle sslloowwllyy tilts his head as his eyes grow wide and his expression becomesÖ disturbing*
Huh? What the heck is a Novel Coronavirus? *Entire regions of the world begin grinding to a halt* Aw jeez, now thatís
I think Iím gonnaí need another distraction, or several, and some time to process this turn of events. Whatís that, stay at home orders? Well looks like Iíve got the time part sorted out.
∙ Umm, what else needs some paint? Some Breachers and another Dominus? That works for me! Because of my procrastination, these are actually finished at this point but thatís another story for another post.
Ok, this is somewhere in the middle of what Iím trying to write, but I got tangled up trying to convert my thoughts into words, and then I got pulled in a few directions by some studio stuff and more real-life events to distract me.
So, this will be a To Be Continued
post that I hope to follow up within something resembling a short while.
TL;DR Ė See the end of my next post for a summary of my prolonged wording.