Lifestyle and Emerging Technology In Plain English

Lazy Long Weekend Project

About five years ago, we got a cute little R-Pod 173T.  It’s a trailer with a pop-out tent to extend the internal living area by about 36 sq. ft.


Very cute and just the right size to be towed by our Santa Fe.


A couple of years ago, my very patient wife suggested we remove the sofa to make more room inside. (not my photo — found on the tubes)

Brilliant! Awesome to have more space.

But what to do with the couch (sofa)?

She suggested we (I) figure out a way to use it in our Garage-Jang.

Garage / training room.

Of course, I over analyzed it. Here’s my project sketches to prove it.



Fast forward to 3 years later. Yes, it’s done.


And perhaps I over-engineered it a bit. (seriously. 2×6??)



I don’t care. It’s done. It’s solid, and it’s actually comfortable.

Long Weekend Win!


More progress on painting Alien Frontiers Field Generators


AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_2Wow, when you take photos of painted miniatures, the photos always catch all the rough paint-work and other issues, making the minis look like crap 😀

Ah well, since these Alien Frontiers field generators are meant to be played with and not put on a shelf and admired, I’m not too concerned.

One done, one in progress and one primed and ready to go.

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_1The orange one’s interesting. I bought the Alien Frontiers Upgrade Pack. It included a lot of the new colony components, and these field generator components. It’s meant to upgrade the more generic ones from earlier Alien Frontiers generators.

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_3So this one came without one of the generator arms attached. After filling out a form and uploading a photo of the flawed component, Game Salute, the distributor sent along a replacement (it’s the unpainted one in the background).

In the meantime, I’d decided to paint this one anyway, and am going to turn that gap where the arm mounts into a docking port. I think I’ll be adding yellow and black ‘alert’ lines around it. We’ll see how that goes.

Then, finally, I think I’ll likely give them a final spray of Testors Dulcoat, just to eliminate the shine. I like the way it helps bring out subtle detail and gives them a more ‘realistic’ look. Must be a personal taste thing developed back in the day when I painted plastic models.

Alien Frontiers – Colony paint complete

Well, I finished painting the colony components. Looking at the photos, they kinda look messy. Note to self, don’t rush, even if you have 40 of the little buggers to paint.

Alien Frontiers Colonies

Alien Frontiers Colonies

Ah well, on the game board at normal viewing distances they look ok.

Alien Frontiers colony repaint

I didn’t want to paint the originals that came with the game so I had 3 options:

I went for the Upgrade pack, even though my first choice was the Factions Expansion. It looks like a neat addition to the game but it’s damn hard to find, either online or locally. Both the Factions Expansion and the Upgrade pack include the extra components to allow a five-player Alien Frontiers game, using the publisher’s expanded rules. So on to the painting.

Before I started painting, I looked at a lot of space colony images like these for inspiration.

Then I primed the components – 2 coats, first a dark to fill in the shadows, then a white, from above only, to provide highlights.


I wanted to test some colour schemes first, so I mocked them up using some image editing tools on the iPad. I took photos against a white background, converted the images to black and white, then kicked up the contrast.

Alien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers Mini

Then just overpainted the image on the iPad until I found an appealing colour scheme.

Alien Frontiers - Colony mockup

I like this technique. It lets me work anywhere, gives reasonable results, and doesn’t cost me any paint to trial it.

Alien Frontiers Colonies

Alien Frontiers colony repaint

Next up, the Field Generators. And I’ve got some ideas for the Rocket Ships too.

Painting the components of Alien Frontiers

Recently I’ve become aware of a trend to paint the often garishly-coloured miniatures and game components you find in modern board games.

My first attempt was with Mice and Mystics, and now I’m working on Alien Frontiers.

This time, I decided to prototype my  colour schemes digitally. To do this, photographed the components just after priming, so the base colour has been neutralized.

Alien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers Mini

Then I processed the images, cropping them, making them black and white, and enhancing the contrast and brightness to bring out the detail.

And finally, I load them into Pixelmator on my iPad, and Experiment with layers.

Testing Overlays in Pixelmator iPad

Alien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers Mini

Hopefully I can come up with something interesting 🙂

Oh, and one thing I just noticed while looking at other people’s designs, the above Field Generator is missing one of it’s towers. I just assumed that gap was a docking bay or port or something. I’ve contacted the game publisher about this to see about a replacement.

*** Update *** A replacement Field Generator is en-route. More to paint!

Painting Mice and Mystics Miniatures – Part 2

Well, I’ve finally finished them. I’ve learned a lot, and quite a bit has changed since I last painted minis (about 20 yrs).

I think they turned out fine, and I’m looking forward to my next set… not sure what that will be yet. Maybe something Star Wars.

Here’s a gallery of the finished Mice and Mystics set.

Mice & Mystics

Painting Mice and Mystics Miniatures – Part 1

It’s been about 20 years since I last painted anything remotely similar to these miniature game figures for Mice and Mystics. I have a lot of re-learning to do. Paint is now mostly acrylic, not enamel. New techniques like Dipping make the work easier. And the differing plastics used on different minis makes each attempt interesting.

I’m almost done this set for Mice and Mystics. They need some touch-up, maybe a bit more highlighting, followed by a Dip coat and a flat coat.

Can’t wait to be done and play the game 😀