54mm Steampunk Sybil Figure Finished

Posted September 27th, 2015 by Devin and filed in Modeling

2015-09-17 21.36.56Several weeks back I attended the 2015 Jersey Fest show here in New Jersey. As part of the three day weekend, I registered to take a miniature painting class, taught by Maya at Morland Studios. For the class fee of $65 you got two figures, one of which is the Sybil, Steampunk Lady Bust shown here, multiple bottles of paint, some high quality brushes, and, not least of all, hands-on training and critique by an extraordinary figure painter.

I used to paint a lot of gaming miniatures. While in the Navy they were the only things portable enough for me to take with me to the bases and aboard ship. I was never very good at them, though, as soft modeling (organic shapes and surfaces) has never been my forte’, I’m better suited to the realms of hard modeling (mechanical items). I’ve always wanted to learn to paint realistic skin tones, though, and here was the perfect chance.

Class attendance was 10 people, a nice small number to allow the instructor lots of one-on-one time with the group, and for individual critique. The only draw back was the generic fluorescent hotel conference room lighting, which did little for accurate color representation. I had my Optivisor with lights on-hand, though, and that helped a lot towards at least getting rid of the shadows. We worked exclusively in acrylics, and over the course of 5 hours, laid out the flesh tones with some shading, blocked out the blue and the blue shadow and highlights on the clothing, and blacked out the area of Continue Reading »

Book Review: Descent into Darkness

Posted September 24th, 2015 by Devin and filed in Review

Descent into Darkness: Pearl Harbor, 1941-A Navy Diver's MemoirDescent into Darkness: Pearl Harbor, 1941-A Navy Diver’s Memoir by Edward C. Raymer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A memoir of the first year of the war, written by a veteran after the fact. Does a great job of filling in some of the “day in the life” of being a sailor at that time. This is the second book I’ve read by someone stationed in Pearl Harbor, and it’s odd to hear how the place was universally hated by military personnel. It wasn’t yet the paradise it is today. Continue Reading »

Book Review: Into the Storm

Posted August 20th, 2015 by Devin and filed in Review

Into the Storm (Destroyermen, #1)Into the Storm by Taylor Anderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

INTO THE STORM is in some way pretty much exactly what I expected, and in other ways not at all what I expected. It’s a quick read that doesn’t go too far in to the explanation as to how a WWII US Navy destroyer ended up in a parallel and prehistoric universe — which I like — but deals with the actions of the characters and how they deal with their new reality.

The things I expected and did find in the book are the stock characters that make up the crew. All from varying backgrounds, they all have the typical hard-assed or meek or jokester personalities, that you expect in a book about the crew of a warship. While these generalizations are typical of military books and seem cliche at times, much of is actually on-track with what my own experience in the Navy.

In the “I expected more of this” area, I did expect more action in this book. Of course as this is the first of the series, the world building needs to be done, and here it takes up a Continue Reading »

Book Review: “Pirate Hunters” by Robert Kurson

Posted July 8th, 2015 by Devin and filed in Review

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate ShipPirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Robert Kurson’s “Pirate Hunters” relates the story of two shipwreck hunters, John Chatterton and John Mattera, and their quest to find a verifiable Golden Age pirate ship. While a true story, the nature of the search and the backgrounds of those involved make for fact that’s more enthralling than most fiction.

The quest in “Pirate Hunters” is for the Golden Fleece, the 17th century pirate ship of Joseph Bannister, a well respected British merchant ship captain that suddenly turned pirate later in life (broke bad, if you will) and raised hell all over the Caribbean, even fighting off two British men-of-war while his ship Continue Reading »

Book Review: Battleship Sailor by Theodore C. Mason

Posted July 1st, 2015 by Devin and filed in History, Review

Just finished reading this title. A fantastic look at enlisted life in the Pre-WWII U.S. Navy:
Battleship SailorBattleship Sailor by Theodore C. Mason

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mason has done a fantastic job of describing the life of an enlisted man on a battleship on the eve of WWII. His description of arriving at the training command in San Diego in 1940 was almost exactly the same as mine in 1988: the same late night arrival, not knowing what’s going on, finding an open bunk in a strange barracks in the dark, and the following days of figuring out where one belongs in a totally foreign new world.

His descriptions of time in the fleet also show how little the Navy changed in a half-century, with the Continue Reading »

Model Completed: Battlestar Valkyrie

Posted June 24th, 2015 by Devin and filed in Modeling

valkyrieMy most recent completion is the Battlestar Valkyrie. A small-ish kit at just under 6 inches long. The intial cleanup of the resin parts took a while to get done, but once completed, the build and painting was fairly straight-forward.

Added to the website HERE.

Just Some General Maintenance

Posted May 23rd, 2015 by Devin and filed in Whatever

The blog was down for a few days. According to the lovely lady at GoDaddy tech support, they “Made a change that didn’t affect 99% of our users”. But me, of course… I’m never in the good 1%.

Back online. Added links to a podcast of my short story “Forgotten” to the Writing page. Also added Instagram as a new place to find me on the net, to the Contact page.

Podcast of “Forgotten” Online at Toasted Cake

Posted May 12th, 2015 by Devin and filed in Writing

toasted-cake-podcast-logo-thumb-120x120-162Toasted Cake has published a podcast of my flash fiction piece “Forgotten”. Tina Connolly does a wonderful job with the reading. You can give it a listen HERE.

MK I “Male” British Tank, MB Models, 1/72nd Scale

Posted March 26th, 2015 by Devin and filed in Modeling

IMG_5966I finished this one some time ago, and have finally got around to posting it to the Model Building page of the website. You can see it HERE.

I’ve got another build or two that I’ve finished in the past year that have yet to be posted, and another two projects that are nearing completion. Now that I’ve upgraded my computer and got a newer version of Photoshop up and running, I’ll get around to adding them in due time.

Writing on the Run

Posted March 23rd, 2015 by Devin and filed in Photography, Travel, Writing

devin and kristenWriting, and any art, is a ritual. Show up at the same time every day, sit at your desk or stand in your studio. Keep showing up and your muse will show up as well, and all will be right with the world.

But what happens when you or your muse get bored with the same ol’?

This is the third year that Kristen and I have done the Reboot Camp in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, with Michael Andreula. We came here for the work out, and work out we do. Every morning we’re up with the sunrise and do a full hour on the beach, punching and kicking with a group of other morning warriors, working with hand and knee pads, round house kicking in the surf, yoga stretches in the sand. Breakfast and decompress immediately after it all, and then it’s 10 a.m. and I’m in a hammock on a rooftop deck with a view of the Pacific, writing.

Something about the workout clears my mind, a sort of meditation. Regular meditation has never Continue Reading »