Saturday, April 1, 2023

A is for The Army Painter

For the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge this month, I'm going to be tackling topics relating to the wild world of miniature painting - by that I mean tiny models used in board games, tabletop roleplaying games and wargames. Stop by every day to learn a little about my newest hobby and obsession!


The Army Painter is a manufacturer of wargaming/modeling supplies and paint based out of Denmark. It’s a great beginner’s line because their products tend to be a little cheaper than others, and while they're not the top quality, they are perfectly functional and they make a little bit of everything (paint, brushes, modelling tools, decorative materials, glue, etc) so they're a handy one-stop brand. 

I started with AP paints because their line is carried at my local Gaming Store and, personally, I find their paints mostly easy to work with. They come a little thinner than other model paints, and thinning is one of the first and most important techniques you need to learn in painting minis, so I appreciated the head-start. That said, their pigments aren’t as rich as some thicker paints, so they wash out quickly. When you know what you’re doing, you’ll want to thin your paints yourself the exact amount you need, so you’ll need the colour of the paint to be more flexible. Another drawback of Army Painter is the consistency across the colours. For instance their Matte Black is superb—smooth, glossy, covers well—while their Matte White is terrible—lumpy and grainy. Over time, you will come to know your preferred colours in different lines.

Source: Spikey Bits

Army Painter also makes the “Gamemaster” line of terrain building kits, which are an awesome way to get into another facet of the hobby. Terrain building (building the forests, dungeons, villages, etc where your games take place) is a whole other complicated discussion that I’ll touch on in later posts.

Bonus "A": Airbrush

Airbrushing is a HUGELY important part of miniature painting but it's one I don't know as much about because I don't actually own an airbrush. Ergo, it's not the headline topic for today.

Airbrushing is using pressurized air to spray paint onto your surface. The advantage of course is that it covers much smoother than a brush, without leaving any brush marks. It’s commonly used in things like the automotive industry and bodypainting, but it can also be used for a variety of techniques in miniature painting, too. Priming is a great example (laying an undercoat on the surface that will take paint better), but you can use it for fine shading and highlighting. It all depends on the quality of your tools and the skill of the user.

I don’t have an airbrush but I hope to get into it someday. One thing at a time (this hobby is getting expensive!)

I got to the end and realized I hadn't shared any good pics on the main theme: Minis! So here's a batch of recent ones painted by me. These were done mostly with Army Painter paints so it fits today's topic. Stay tuned for more blurry photos of inch-tale people!

See y'all tomorrow!
Hugs & Kisses,

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

A-to-Z Blog Challenge 2023 Theme Reveal

I'm probably going to regret this, but I'm throwing my hat in the ring for the 2023 A-to-Z Blog challenge.

I haven't done the A-to-Z since 2017. I stopped doing it because April is a very hectic time for me at work, so it never made sense to try and write and visit so many blogs during my busiest time of year. So why am I doing it this year? I don't have a friggin' clue. Maybe because I have something interesting I want to talk about?

I guess that leads me straight into my topic reveal reveal. This year, I want to blog about... MINIATURE PAINTING!

What is miniature painting? Not limning, which is the 16th-17th century art of executing small, fine portraits on vellum, prepared card, copper, or ivory.

I did not paint this 1524 portrait of Henry VIII. That was Lucas Horenbout (probably). Credit:

No, I'm talking about painting miniature gaming figurines - the kind you get with board games, tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons and wargames like Warhammer 40K. It is a fun, finnicky hobby that takes up a lot of time (and money). Personally I love it and find it very peaceful and relaxing - though I can appreciate it's not everyone's cup of tea. Painting tiny details on models that are barely an inch tall may appear daunting to some. 

Here are some minis that I did paint, along with a handy Canadian quarter for size comparison.

It can certainly be tricky at times, and frustrating, but I enjoy learning and improving. I painted my first minis nearly twenty years ago, but I never really got into it because I had no idea what I was doing. I just recently got back into it about six months ago, and I've gone hard. (Please don't tell my wife how much I've spent on paint and brushes) (Though it's partly her fault - she bought me a 3D printer for Christmas) I've basically been trying to catch up on the last two decades by painting as many models as I can as quickly as I can, and yeah, it's a hobby that's rapidly turning into a bit of an obsession.

Anyway, I've been chronicling my painting adventures here on this blog (read part one here and part two here), but I'm going to get into more of the nitty-gritty in the month of April where I'll talk about different painting techniques, types of paints and brushes, as well as share pictures of my own work as well as photos from people who are way, way better than me. I'm sure it will be of absolutely no interest to anyone but myself, but that's what the A-to-Z blogging challenge is all about, isn't it?

That's it for now. I know you're waiting with baited breath to read about brush hair length and zenithal priming, but you're going to have to tremble with anticipation for a little bit longer. I'm off to check out some of the other participants, and I'll be back April 1st!

Good luck, everyone!

Hugs & Kisses,

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

My Miniature Painting Journey (Part 2: Speedpaint and Etsy)

This is an ongoing series about my newly re-discovered love of painting miniature gaming figurines. To read part one, click here. It was mostly about old lead minis and how I didn't thin my paints properly.

The last thing I shared in my previous post were a couple of Stormtroopers I painted, which were a pain in the ass because white is a really hard colour to work with. The reason I painted those Stormtroopers was because I was hoping I would be running a Star Wars roleplaying game. I've probably mentioned it before, but I'm a huge fan of the old Star Wars roleplaying game, and I was going through a phase where I was trying to convince my family to play a game with me. It... still hasn't happened, but it gave me an excuse to paint some Star Wars minis, which is lots of fun.

This batch were not official models from Lucasfilm, but from a designer called Black Remnant Studios. I bought the files from his Patreon and then had them 3D-printed on Etsy. After buying a couple of dozen of these is when I realized I should probably get my own 3D Printer.

After my poor experience painting Stormtroopers, I tried this Imperial Admiral using a dry-brushing technique. It worked pretty well, but it left a dusty texture on the mini which I don't like. I've since learned that this is caused by the material you use to wipe the paint off your brush, so I'm hoping the next one works better. There's also a little drip of red coming off his rank insignia that drives me nuts—I can't remember why I didn't fix it. I think I tried several times and each time I added white I messed up the colours, each time I fixed the colours I messed up the white, etc... sometimes you just have to know when to quit.

These Ewoks were done mostly with Army Painter Speedpaints. Speedpaints are a type of high-viscosity contrast paint that contains different weights of pigments, so the the darker, heavier pigments sink to the recesses of the models, and the lighter, brighter pigments sit on top. Basically it has your contrast layers built in, allowing you to paint your model much faster. In theory this is great, but it's a bit trickier than than the advertisements suggest. First, you really need to put this paint over a light, preferably white, undercoat in order for the colours to come out properly. It's hard to tell from these pictures because I messed with the brightness so much, but I used a dark grey primer on the Ewoks so they came out REALLY dark with the Speedpaint, which I was not happy about.

The other, even worse drawback is that Speedpaint never really dries. When you paint over it with anything wet, it reactivates and the paint mixes with your new medium. There are ways around it when you get the hang of it, but it's a huge headache when you're first using the stuff.

This batch of models was also some of the first I tried with custom basing (decorating the base the minis are sitting on). The Ewoks have "dry moss" material I got from the dollar store, which worked out okay.

These Jawas also used Speedpaints, which I was starting to get the hang of and worked a bit better. There are much nicer contrast gradations on their robes and belt pouches. The sand on these guys also came from the dollar store, but I painted it this time so it gave it a passable desert-looking appearance. 

This is the Crimson Corsair, a character who gets like 15 seconds of screen time in The Force Awakens. Still, it was one of my favourite paint jobs for a long time. I used a combination of regular acrylic and Speedpaint and I think it worked well. This was my first time using some gloss varnish for the helmet to give it a little extra pop (usually I use matte varnish for everything). Varnish is important for minis to protect the paint job from scuffs and scratches when you're handling them on a game table. I use matte varnish, which cuts down on glare and light reflections, which can ruin the details on such small figures.

Something varnish doesn't protect against though is the fact that 3D printer resin is really brittle. My daughter knocked this guy off a table and broke off the end of his rifle (it should be sticking overtop of his shoulder). I never found the broken piece and it irked me for a long time.

Speaking of my daughter, she picked this figurine out at the game store and asked me to paint it for her. This one is not 3D-printed, it's made of cast plastic (which is why the sword is bent—I've since learned how to fix that). It turned out pretty well—the blue is Speedpaint, which explains the really nice contrast there. The armour is a metallic silver with some darker wash in the recesses, which came out nicely. 

My daughter wanted her to have purple hair, and I bought purple metallic paint by accident, but went with it anyway. The sword was also metallic purple, but I tried to add a red tint to it and turned it completely red instead. Oh, well. My daughter liked it like that so overall I call it a success.

This is a dwarven toilet paper salesman. It was also 3D printed from Etsy. I bought it because it was hilarious and I don't regret it. Painted entirely with Speedpaint except drybrushing for the white, I was mostly happy with this one, and I was starting to get the hang of the Speedpaint... with Santa Claus  I didn't use any Speedpaint at all! This is another Etsy special... I paid a lot of shipping leading up to Christmas. For Santa I used all straight Vallejo and Army Painter acrylics, and tried to shade and highlight it by hand. I used a bit too much wash, but overall I was super happy with it, until I put on the varnish.

Up until this point I used Army Painter Anti-Shine Varnish, which comes in little 17ml bottles and is very forgiving. I was getting low on the AP stuff, so I bought a larger bottle of Vallejo matte varnish, and this was the first model I used it on. I shook it up well (which I guess you're not supposed to do) because it went on with tons of tiny little airbubbles. I noticed it but didn't think anything of it, until the air bubbles hardened and popped, leaving ugly craters ALL over my Santa Claus. They're hard to see in the picture above, so here's a close-up:
Apologies to anyone with Trypophobia.

Finally, since I did the knight above for my daughter, here's one I did for my son. We have a little pug named Grimm that he adores, so of COURSE I had to paint a pug dressed like a Grim Reaper! It would have looked better if it was a beige-coloured dog, but since our guy is black I had to work with what I had. I was also pretty pleased with this one, especially with the wrappings around the handle of the scythe, as well as the blade itself.

I've discovered as I go on with this hobby, I often find little things that I like or did well with specific models, and I try to incorporate those things with future paintjobs. I learn something everything time I paint a mini (especially at this point—I was in the middle of a rapid learning curve when I did the models collected here), so I am slowly add new skills to my toolbox. This Grimm the Reaper was also the first time I was happy with the eyes of a mini. You probably noticed from most of my models that I don't usually paint eyes... because it's REALLY HARD when the eyeballs are like half a millimeter wide. At least Grimm's were a bit bigger. 

All that to say, painting eyes is NOT something that's made it into my toolbox yet...

Anyway, that brings us up to Christmas, when I got my 3D Printer. Now I've started printing and painting ALL KINDS of stuff. Stay tuned for the next update!

Hugs & Kisses,

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

I'm not British Enough (#IWSG March 2023)

Hey, I actually worked on Gale Harbour book 3 this month! I think I wrote two new chapters and touched up several old ones. That's more than I've done in six months, so I'm pretty stoked about that. I'll get back into the groove eventually.

Also, I may be crazy, but I'm considering doing the April A-to-Z blogging challenge. Is that still a thing?

Since today's IWSG question is an excuse to post quotes from some of my favourite books, let's just right to that!

March Question - Have you ever read a line in novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

I've said this before, but in case you missed it: I'm not smart enough to write like Kurt Vonnegut, and I'm not British enough to write like Terry Pratchett. Virtually everything they've ever written gives me author's envy.

Here's a few of my favourite quotes from a couple of my favourite books:

Terry Pratchett, "THE HOGFATHER," regarding children believing in Santa Claus:


"So we can believe the big ones?"



'You can't give her that!' she screamed. 'It's not safe!'

"IT'S A SWORD," said the Hogfather. "THEY'RE NOT MEANT TO BE SAFE."

'She's a child!' shouted Crumley.


'What if she cuts herself?'


And one more for fun:

"Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time."

Kurt Vonnegut, MOTHER NIGHT:

“I had hoped, as a broadcaster, to be merely ludicrous, but this is a hard world to be ludicrous in, with so many human beings so reluctant to laugh, so incapable of thought, so eager to believe and snarl and hate. So many people wanted to believe me!

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.”

(Mother Night was originally released in 1961. In our world today these words are more true and appropriate than ever)


“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

And just as an added bonus, here are a few from Douglas Adams, my other favourite author. 

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

“The story so far:

In the beginning the Universe was created.

This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

Life, the Universe and Everything

“The Guide says there is an art to flying", said Ford, "or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

“Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

That's all folks!

Hugs & Kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

Monday, February 13, 2023

BALANCE OF LOVE Re-Release Day! (guest post by Patricia Josephine Lynne)

Patricia Josephine/Lynne is back, baby!

After a hiatus last year, friend of the blog Patrica Josephine Lynne is back, and she's re-launching all of her books! This week, Book Two in the Influenced series, Balance of Love, will once again be available for purchase. I read this one awhile ago and it was a great read. Like all of Patricia's books, I highly recommend it. 

Without further ado...


Their voices guide us.
Or deceive us.
But is there more to Light and Dark?

Influencers are the voices that whisper in our ears. Tiny Angels and Devils sitting on our shoulders and guiding our choices. They are sworn to thwart the other. At any cost.

But is it worth it?

Landon fully believes in his duty as a Dark Influencer. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to win the mortal’s soul—even seducing the beautiful Light Influencer, Antonia. Yet, he struggles to secure the mortal’s soul. As his feelings grow for her, Landon’s resolve begins to shake.

Is there more to influencing than blind obedience? It’s not Antonia or Landon who will pay the price for their mistakes.

Balance of Love is available pretty much wherever books are sold, but you can also use these handy shortcut links below:



And don't forget the other books in the Influenced series! Influence of Love is available now, and Revelation of Love is coming next month. Don't miss it!


A paranormal and fantasy junkee, Patricia J.L. loves to craft young adult and new adult stories about vampires, mermaids, angels, demons, zombies, and other mythical monsters. Aliens might even appear in her stories. No matter what fantasy creature you crave. Patricia J.L. has a story for every imagination!

You can find her young adult novels under Patricia Lynne and her adult novels under Patricia Josephine.


Wednesday, February 8, 2023

My Miniature Painting Journey (Part 1: The Beginning)

 I've been spending a lot of time painting miniatures and models lately (more than I've spent writing, honestly), so I thought I would share some of my passion here. I would probably be better off doing this on Instagram or Reddit or something, but I've got a platform here, so I might as well use it!

I got a 3D printer for Christmas, so there are A LOT of models to paint. And this just shows the finished or nearly finished ones. I have several dozen more waiting in the wings.

Below are some of the very first minis I painted, about 20 years ago. I had no idea what I was doing - I didn't have the proper paints, I didn't prime them first, I used crappy brushes. I bought them cheap at a comic and gaming store in Toronto (the store that was actually the inspiration for The Spider's Parlour in Hell Comes to Hogtown), and they're all metal - unlike today's minis which are usually plastic or resin. The little goblin I believe is actually made of lead.

Though I enjoyed painting them at the time, I got busy with other things (not to mention frustrated because I didn't know what I was doing), so I didn't do much painting for many years. Flash forward to this past fall (October 2022), when I picked up a paintbrush again on a lark. I don't even remember what spurred the idea, I just decided one day that I wanted to give it a try again.

I started with some old Star Wars minis, which I bought the same time as the fantasy models above but were even older (they were originally sold in the 80s and I'm pretty sure they're all lead). I repainted them, using some of the knowledge I gained from the YouTube and other sites on the Internet. They still aren't great, but they're miles ahead of the originals.

I actually primed them this time, but I was still using cheap, lumpy, dollar-store craft paint, which is very hard to work with on stuff this small.

From there, I bought some new, plastic minis, and discovered that these models have progressively gotten larger. The old Star Wars minis above were true 28mm scale, meaning they're barely an inch tall. Nowadays the standard seems to be edging toward 32mm. The new Star Wars Legion Stormtroopers I bought were closer to 40mm (like 1-3/4 inches), which made them easier to paint but also made them look like giants compared to my old models.

They're a slight improvement from my previous models, but still not anything to write home about. Painting solid white is hard, especially since I still didn't mix or thin my paints properly.

Plus, I was really sick at the time so my hands were not exactly steady. The Stormtrooper on the right was painted while I had COVID, the one on the left was after I got better. There is a noticeable difference in quality.

So have I gotten any better in the ensuing months? We shall see! You'll have to wait with baited breath until my next update. 

(Spoiler: Marginally. I've improved marginally.)

Hugs & Kisses,

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Happy Groundhog Day (#IWSG February 2023)

I completely missed the January IWSG. I would love to say it was because I was so busy writing, but that would be a bold-face lie. 

I have been creative, not just in putting words to paper. I think back in November I mentioned I had started painting miniatures again? Well, I got a 3D-Printer for Christmas, so now I've been doing A LOT of painting...

Some people look at these tiny little things and think that painting them must be stressful, but I find it incredibly relaxing. I can paint for hours and the time just floats by. Sometimes (often) it gets finicky and difficult, but I fix it, redo it, try it again, or sometimes just move on. I've learned a lot in the last several months, and I like to think I've improved already.

I've always liked making things, especially small things (I was a Lego nerd as a kid), and I love games and art. I've found a way to bring them all together, which is pretty fulfilling.

That said, I do have a half-finished draft of Gale Harbour 3 staring me in the face, not to mention several other projects I'm either planning or actively working on. I'll get to them eventually, probably when the printer gets boring, or the fumes from it get so bad my wife makes me throw it out.


If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

I have gone back and forth between making my own covers and having someone make them. The cover for Ten Thousand Days was commissioned, as were the current covers for the Gale Harbour books. Hell Comes to Hogtown was a combination, as I commissioned the text for the title, a friend of mine took the photo, and I put it together. 

I am always stuck in a situation where I know what I want but don't quite have the skills to make it happen, nor do I ever have the money to pay someone to make it. The covers I have paid for were all pretty cheap (hello, Fiverr!), so they're usually fine but never exactly what I wanted, either.

What about you? Is anyone ever really happy with their cover?

(I know they are, just let me pretend they don't so I don't feel so bad)

Have a great month!

Hugs & Kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

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