Off the Top of My Head #6: Gangnam Style

Off The Top of My Head

I’m the last person in the world who gets into latest trends.  I’ve essentially been the same since about 1996 in terms of style, musical tastes, and interests.  That being said some fads are catchy.
I came late to the “Gangnam Style” craze.  It kept showing up in parodies, videos, and feeds on all my frequently visited sites and I was curious.  Needless to say it was pretty confusing and all the typical questions popped into my head such as, “What the-?” “Huh?” and “Why-?”  But when I saw the real video it all became clear.  It’s a hilarious track, the video is full of pop-satire, and, of course, it’s extremely catchy.

So when I went to the wedding of some friends and Gangnam Style came on it was hard not to do the dance, even if it was just on the sidelines.  The groom cut loose on the dance floor, and when my date to the wedding, the fairer half of RevPub, shoved me out on the dance floor I had two choices:

1.) I could slink back into the shadows and appear as a “punk” in the eyes of all in attendance.


2.) I could do my best to NOT be out-danced in public!

I went with the latter.  And the impromptu routine the groom and I concocted on the spot got lots of praise from everyone present!

Here’s a video taken at the event:

More than anything it was a LOT of fun, and goes to show, trends may seem a little silly, but if you can’t beat ’em…join ’em.  You might just have good time.

Off the Top of My Head #2: How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Painting and Warhammer 40k

Off The Top of My Head

As I mentioned in a recent “artboard” post I’ve recently become interested in the intense, deep, gothic sci-fi table-top wargame and fantasy book series Warhammer 40k.  I love it.  The lore, the races, the strategy.  It’s everything I’m interested in all rolled into a compact expressive, creative package.

Admittedly I only became interested after playing the excellent Space Marine on PS3 (my favorite game of last year) and became more obsessed after I played through the Dawn of War series, read some Black Library books and an old 3rd edition rulebook from a local used book store.

Like Hans Gruber from Die Hard (maybe not the best role model…) I always enjoyed models as a kid but hated painting them.  All those tiny parts with horrible paint that never went on cleanly…  I just wanted to put my tank together.  Putting together Citadel miniatures has been a new experience.  Not only do I like putting them together but I actually enjoy painting them.  It requires a lot of focus, steady hands, and patience, which thankfully I do actually have (thanks to years of drawing and old-school gaming…)  Though I have a couple of battleforces in boxes ready to emerge onto the battlefield, I started with the easy-to-put-together miniatures that came with my starter paint set.

These guys were supposed to be Dark Angels but because I grew to love the Dawn of War Blood Ravens characters I decided to go with that paint scheme.  They aren’t finished (I haven’t put any wash on them and I plan to print off some chapter-specific insignia) but I thought I’d share my progress!

It’s my first time painting anything like this…definitely anything this small so there’s nothing but room for improvement but I’ve enjoyed it and I hope the future models will only get better.

This was the first guy I ever painted. I primered in Chaos Black, air brushed in Mephiston Red and layered from there!
Marine Back
The backpack.

The Dawn of War series also introduced me to the Orks and I love those guys.  Their gruff, simple demeanor.  Their remarkably descriptive slang.  Their ultimately unruly appearance and junkyard tech.  Gotta love orks.  Because I’ll mostly be playing with myself (hey, you in the back, stop laughing.  Care to share what you thought was so funny with the rest of the class?) to learn the rules and get used to the complicated ins-n-outs of the game I bought Assault on Black Reach at a local hobby store and started painting the Orks as well.  Not only are they a lot more details in their equipment and appearance than vanilla marines, but they also present a lot of variety and possibilities in painting.  I’ve only painted some of them so far, but I feel my abilities and techniques have improved from what I did with the Marines.  They are still very beginner but I’m happy with them so far!

I didn’t follow the model in the Black Reach book and went my own direction on a few aspects, like the checks on his orky belt buckle.
Boss Back!
The twin guns and boss pole on the back of the warboss. I used the new Citadel paints as well as a couple older ones. Then drowned them in Nuln Oil. I figure I’ll get the hang of shades by the time I get to my Zagstruk finecast…
Orks Mob
The start of my little Waaagh! The warboss, a couple of boyz (one wiff a big shoota) and a nob.  I decided to make them Goffs, not only for the color scheme but because I like the idea of a horde of infantry.
The side of my first deffkopta. This one took some time and didn’t come out perfectly…but I was still pleased with my first vehicle effort.
A pic of my Nob (you again? I said stop laughing!) It was the first chain weapon I painted and I liked the messy splatter effect.
Boy with Chainsword
Drawing inspiration from the bigger ork, I painted this littler guy up to match him.
Ork Horde
My Waaagh! so far.

I hope you enjoyed my first painting attempts.  As I go on and get a little more experienced I plan to share more.  Once I get into live firefights I’ll be posting on those as well!. It’s been a fun, and fascinating entry into the 41st millennium so far!

Off the Artboard #2: And They Shall Know No Fear…

2D or otherwise!

Anyone who has read my section in “About Us” knows I have of late gained a massive interest in Warhammer 40k.  Thereby giving me +100 to my “King Dork” abilities.

Honestly, I didn’t even know much about it until “Space Marine,” which was my favorite game from last year.  Purists might scoff at my console-game entry into this vast universe, but, to quote James Rolfe: “To be a fan of anything, you have to be exposed to it first.”  Since discovering the incredibly deep and detailed world of the far future, I have read several novels, collected many art books, played through the Dawn of War series, watched the fun Ultramarines movie, and even started my own army (pics of my first painting attempts coming soon!).

Though I began my knowledge with the Ultramarines and read books about both Space Wolves and Grey Knights, it’s the Librarian-Knowledge-Centric Blood Ravens from Dawn of War that appealed the most to me.

I utilized this overwhelming interest to exercise more of my recently acquired, albeit limited, Illustrator skills.  While I’m still in the “look what I can do with polygons” phase using only the limited tools that come with Illustrator (the preloaded color options, shapes, etc), and creating objects and/or figures that just stand there, I was impressed with how much could be done using just what was learned in a few Google-found tutorials.  This has been a fun exercise in making something I’m interested in to try and learn to operate Illustrator and make using all the tools and functions second nature.  It was also an exercise in mass-production as I started with the basic marine and used parts from that piece to create the others.  I also created two artboards of “stuff,” weapons, insignia, and symbology that could be used over and over in various places to prevent having to re-create anything.

How impressed I’ll be with these early efforts next year only time will tell, but for now I give you my 2D squad of cartoon-style Blood Ravens!

Tactical Marine
My first effort. Basic tactical marine all cartoon’d out.  I gave him a standard bolter and a couple of grenades.
Assault Marine
This one was a nice exercise in different equipment. Making that chainsword was a blast and the first part of the Blood Ravens’ motto can be seen on its blade.
Devastator marine
A heavy-support devastator marine with heavy bolter. This one proved tricky and needs the most correcting. I made him a veteran just to mix up the colors a bit.
Captain/Chapter Master Gabriel Angelos
Captain Angelos with the Godsplitter. Making the artificer parts of his armor were an immensely fun challenge. Also he’s the only one with a human face. He’s still a cartoon but mostly recognizable!
Davian Thule
The final piece of the squad, Davian Thule as a Venerable Dreadnought. This one was obviously the most difficult, I could borrow very little from the others. It was also the most fun to build! There’s some canonical text on his armor.  Davian Thule was my favorite character in the Dawn of War series.  I wanted to ensure his venerable dreadnought state got the respect it deserved.

These were fun creations and made for nice self-taught Illustrator tutorials.  They’re still 2D flat objects, but are pretty far from my first “magnifying glass” creation, even though they were created essentially using the same concepts.  Next I’m going to try some expressive orks and maybe more dynamic character art.  These were fun though and hopefully they’ll be enjoyed!