Friday 29 March 2019

Razorspine Rattlers

These four big snakes were quite a challenge. Mainly as there were dozens of scales that needed slow and careful highlighting. The dark ones are inspired by Australia's Red Bellied snake, one of the most dangerous ones out there.
I've also finally got to paint my old metal version of this miniature. Tough to say which one I like more as the plastic ones look more impressive overall although they don't have so well defined details.
I wanted to keep with the swampy theme so I've applied some pure Vallejo Still water effect an top of final highlights to give the skin a glossy look.
Now, time for the three-headed tiger and Marcus.

#7/2019 Little Fires Everywhere

The novel starts with a fire at a family house that was most likely the result of arson. Family members immediately have a suspect - family's black sheep Izzy. This way of presenting the story allows readers to pay close attention to all the events that lead up to this situation. Events and complex family relations. Because at its core, Little Fires Everywhere is a family tale. 
We have the Richardsons - wealthy and seemingly happy family living in a large house. Mia - a photographer, artist, and a restless soul who constantly changes her address, starts renting part of their rental house. She moves in with her daughter, Pearl. Over time she notices that Pearl spends most of her time at Richardsons' place and openly admires their daughter Lexie. Mia is soon offered a job as a housekeeper there and decides to take it in order to have a chance to check on her daughter there.
There are many complex human relations here. Mia's difficult past comes to haunt her as Miss Richardson begins investigating it.
Celeste Ng creates lively, credible characters. Richardson children go through their maturing and face challenges involved with it face-on. While they seem to be a perfect family, moments of crisis reveal cracks in that structure, both on personal, and on emotional level. I picked this novel totally randomly and this is not the type of prose I typically read but it was surprisingly enjoyable nonetheless.

#6/2019 The Fisherman

John Langan's "The Fisherman" has a lot of what I've found to be lacking in recent novels by Stephen King. Set in a small town, with credible characters and elements of the supernatural that are introduced subtly, with well built tension along the way. As Abe and Dan, two widowers, try to come to terms with their loses, they discover a passion for fishing. This hobby brings them close together, but it also gets them tangled in an old and dark tale that. There's a nice story-within a story that sets the scene for the main events in the novel. At times it even feels Lovecraftian with dark cults and larger-than-life dark creatures.
I really liked the way Langan moves smoothly from a hearsay tale filled with ominous evil to present narrative, without losing the pace and managing to maintain the suffocating atmosphere. Also, his vision of afterlife is really interesting, even though it is unsettling too.

#5/2019 The Breakdown

This is probably the worst novel by BA Paris I've read. The plot is rather simple - a woman travels by car late night in bad weather and notices a car with another woman inside. She stops to check on her and after a while gets spooked and decides to leave. The following day she finds that the woman she saw was murdered. Wracked with guilt, she can't stop thinking about the situation. It gets worse as more details of the crime are released and events take a turn for the worse, making her question her sanity.
The mystery is there, the plot thickens as strange events begin to pile up but what I found lacking was... perhaps substance? In essence, this is a rather simple story, limited to only a few characters and contained within relatively small area. That means the possibilities for a potential antagonist are very limited and it's not too difficult to figure out that something feels odd about the whole thing early on. That being said, it's still a solid page-turner. 

Thursday 14 March 2019

Rumble in the Jungle

 Cojo was one of the biggest winners of various erratas that Wyrd has introduced to balance the game. For his fairly low cost he is a versatile beater/scheme runner/scheme denier. 
I have never painted a monkey or ape model before so I approached this mini with some apprehension. While I do like the proportions and pose, I don't care much for the spikes on his forearms and his back. Hard to imagine him pounding his chest in battle-ready stance with these on but they do explain his ferocious (pained?) expression. 

As always painting white, especially on such big surface, was a challenge. I focused on diluting the paint with water to very thin consistency here and applying multiple layers for smooth blends (both on fur and skin parts). Skin part was tricky as I started with purplish tone and worked it up with browns to light yellow. I also wanted to make sure that the swampy part of his base looks murky, as if he stirred it bu wading through water.

Jackalope was painted in a similar color scheme with the main difference on his fur as I tried to make it look more rumpled and filthy. The severed/bitten off head was given several glazes of different colors varying ranging from brown to blue to give it a slightly decomposed look. I was working on 4 models simultaneously so that sped things up a little. I've also decided to use glowing eyes effect to give them extra element of magical/unnatural appearance.

Goodbye my little friend

I know it's a hobby blog but since this cat was present here on many occasions I feel it's right to write a few final words about him.
"Tuptuƛ" was such a nice, gentle presence in my life that it was truly heartbreaking to have him put down. He had pretty good 8 years with my family during which he managed to survive leg amputation and a number of other serious diseases. Sure, he had his shortcomings like lying in the middle of my workspace or neglecting to use his litterbox for #1. But he was also a fighter who lived his life to the fullest despite many limitations. Having him around has made me a calmer, gentler, more emphatic, qualities that make me a better person. I guess he used up at least a few of his extra cat lives during his time with us. Sadly, the last one wasn't too good. All the infections he'd gone through had taken their toll on him. It was hard to watch him gradually fade into the state of pain and confusion. The decision to have him put down was probably the toughest I've ever had to take but deep down I believe it was the right call.

his big buddy is already missing him
his last pic, probably not the most flattering one

It's funny how we get used to the company of our furry family members and take them for granted. Still, they do affect us in a positive way and leave many good memories to be cherished. It may seem strange to write it but I do believe having him around has made me a better person. He's also taught my kids (sometimes with the help of his teeth or nails) to be more gentle and kinder to smaller creatures. And those who say that animals don't have emotions couldn't be farther from the truth. My second cat has been miserable for last two days and has been walking around our apartment, crying in what sounded like eerily human-like voice. Time probably heals wounds and all will be fine once we come to terms with it and are able to distance ourselves a little...
You will be missed, my little friend.

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