Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category


2022 recap

December 31, 2022

Another year done! As you’ve probably noticed if you read the blog with any frequency, it’s been very quiet on the writing front with only a few blog posts during the whole year. As usual, nothing dramatic – my enthusiasm for blogging tends to wax and wane, and for the last years I’ve had less and less time and enthusiasm to put into writing in my spare time alongside my academic work. What I do regret a bit is spending less time reading other people’s blogs, though! Although Salute didn’t happen this year, I did have a great gaming trip to Dublin for some Ghost Archipelago, which was definitely one of the high points of the year, both in hobby terms and overall.

For hobby things, this hasn’t been a bad year at all, although towards the end of the year my time has been taken up by digital gaming, primarily Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, Cyberpunk 2077, and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. I heartily recommend all three – you can find me on Steam under the nickname manatic if you’re up for some Darktide!

As usual, I made some resolutions last year. How did they pan out? Weeeeell….

Learn some freehand

No. This was something that was carried over from the previous year, and again didn’t materialize. I haven’t given up though, surely I can do this one year! Keeping this one.

Paint at least 100 miniatures and other pieces

Another thing that’s starting to be a staple. I nearly met this, but my painting output sadly stalled a bit towards the end of the year. I did manage 75 miniatures and terrain bits and two larger pieces, so this was well within my reach. There are five nearly finished models staring at me while I write! Still happy with this number, and I’ll keep this goal for next year too.

Build a 1000 point 40k force

Nope. This just didn’t happen. I did paint a lot of stuff related to the 40k universe, but my interest for army level 40k turned out to be a very brief thing. Never say never and all that, but my minis found much more use in Kill Team.

Try solo gaming

Yes! I did and I liked it. I played a bunch of Five Parsecs from Home early on in the year. It’s a great game and I only stopped playing because I had to clear away the terrain from my usual gaming table, and then the table got cluttered and I needed to paint some stuff for the next scenario and it just sort of never happened. I think I just might get back to it in the next few days before work starts again.

Clear some backlog

Nope. A few old minis found new use in Five Parsecs, but for the most part I was printing up new stuff and painting (or not painting) it. With some late Kickstarter stuff coming in and the printers seeing active use, I built up more backlog – yay! I did publish an academic book chapter on the subject, maybe that counts?

Experiment with something new

Not to the extent I would have liked to. I did play around with some blood effects and bought some fancy colourshift paints, but have yet to use them. I think I’ll try this one again!

Resolutions are always fun, right? I’ll keep some of the previous ones (Learn more freehand, Paint at least 100 miniatures, Experiment with something new) and let’s throw a few new ones into the mix:

Complete a project

I’m intentionally leaving this vague to make it easier to complete. Here, project can mean anything deemed to be a project: a squad for Kill Team, a collection of walkways, a set of object markers…anything, as long as it doesn’t get stuck in a half finished state.

Learn awesome drybrushing skills

I’ve been looking at (but not watching) drybrushing tutorials by Artis Opus on YouTube for a while now. I drybrush a lot, and updating my technique seems both useful and viable, so I’ll try and pick up some new pointers for the new year.

Come up with ways to use the stuff I have

I guess I’m not alone in that I keep buying useful new tools, fancy paints, texture effects, and whatnot – which then end up sitting unused because nothing suitable for them comes along. I want to flip that around, and come up with things that allow me to use all that great stuff.

With this, I want to wish everyone a great new year! Let’s hope the new year brings us a more peaceful world, with war limited to pixels and toy soldiers.


Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2022

The sweetest imperfection

May 15, 2022

Wow, really hasn’t been an active year for blogging, has it? While DotL has been very quiet, I’ve been busy with hobby stuff – and I’ll hopefully eventually post about it.

Much of this year’s gaming has been Five Parsecs from Home, a solo game that I’m happy to recommend, which I have been printing and painting models and scenery for. However, this is more of an editorial style post than a regular From the painting desk one. Why is this? Because I’m doing something profoundly different!

By “profoundly different” I don’t mean a new technique or a fancy new tool, but a fundamentally different approach to what I usually do. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to miniatures stuff (and various other minor things in life). Very small things can bug me far too much. An irritating mote of dust stuck to a miniature’s varnish. A slightly off painted eye. A mould line that I didn’t clean up neatly enough. Support marks on prints. A slightly different colour tone on two miniatures’ bases when they should be the same…you get the idea.

In general I don’t mind this, it’s just who I am after all, but it can cause some practical issues now and then, such as when you’re in need of a table full of new terrain. Sticking to my usual working habits, a table full of scifi terrain would probably take me months, and even that would involve compromises. That’s really not good for actually getting a game in – a couple of months is plenty of time for a budding project to run out of steam and result in half-finished reminders of that one cool idea you had.

Solution? Live with these minor imperfections. This is obviously nothing groundbreaking, and I’m sure it’s something every miniaturist thinks about at some stage. Sometimes you’ve done something as well as you can no matter if you’re happy with it or not, sometimes you just want to finish something so you can do something else that’s more inspiring or interesting. I’ve done this in the past too, and obviously I don’t put 110% into everything I do, sometimes I just want stuff that’s finished. This time, however, I’ve been doing it to a different extent than usual.

With this scifi scenery, I went for terrain that looks good on the table. I wanted it to look nice for gaming, but it does not have to stand up to close scrutiny or close-up photos – which this post will feature to illustrate a point. What this means in practice is that I printed at a much higher layer height than usual (0.2mm compared to my usual 0.12mm), only bothered to do minimal clean-up, and no imperfections such as failed or rough bits have been fixed. As I don’t want to bin things that can be used, these are basically stuff that I’d normally label “test prints” and give away for someone who can stand them being a bit crappy, or spend a lot of time fixing them with putties, sanding, and things like that.

The same goes for painting. These models have been hit with spray primers (one of which completely malfunctioned, covering the model and my spray booth in dry paint powder – no matter, still used the model), lathered in quickly made washes, and given a couple of coats of drybrushing using large brushes and craft store paints. Some very basic detailing and weathering, and that’s it, done!

You can click on the photos below to enlarge them.

Wrong printer settings resulted in funky random lines on the surface. Also, the windows are just blotches of paint.

Layer line central! Printers aren’t good at shapes like the pipes here.

These buildings have detachable roofs…

…that warped horribly after painting.

My printer had a rough day with this file, resulting in some gnarly texture and print artifacts.

Spray can malfunction left the inside gritty and chalky. I decided not to do anything to it, as I don’t usually play inside buildings anyway.

At first this felt horrible, but as it was a very conscious experiment, I decided to plough through and just live with it. What do you know, at some point I started to be more and more happy about them! Are they perfect? No! Do they need to be? Also no! Placed on they table they look really nice actually, and of course everything is subjective – I would’ve died for terrain this cool as a kid! This isn’t an “oh, woe is me, my super high standards are simply unbearable” kind of thing, but more an issue of my own personal flaws features and idiosyncracies and dealing with them in a healthy and beneficial way. I know this may not seem like a big thing, but believe me, it is!

Local planetery enforcers about to get destroyed by a genestealer. Doesn’t look at all bad to me.

I’m sure most of us have feelings of inadequacy at one point or another in this hobby: with the internet full of amazingly skilled people, while inspiring, it can also be disheartening at times. Learning to let go of excessive perfectionism or self-criticism that needlessly holds back hobby enjoyment is, I think, a great way of getting more out of our toys. For me, it meant putting together a bunch of very adequate terrain in a fraction of the time it usually would’ve taken, which means more time left for other things, more terrain to actually use in games, and more joy from completing things. Most of all, it allowed me to enjoy this awesome hobby even more than before. Importantly, this isn’t a “you should do this as well” post. Lavish attention on your models to your heart’s content if that is what makes you happy!

As an interesting final note, I started this post months ago but haven’t gotten around to finishing it. After digging the models out of storage, I found myself thinking that they actually look pretty nice and much better than I remembered. This made me happy – it seems there’s been an actual shift in how I view these things now, so…go me, I guess?

The hut in the first few pictures is a micro hab unit by Saucermen Studios, available for free on Thingiverse.

The buildings with the detachable roofs are stackable buildings by Rocketship Games, also available for free on Thingiverse


2021 recap

December 31, 2021

Another year done, time to look back! It’s been a pretty nice year hobby-wise, actually, despite the blog being sadly very quiet. Highlights of the year in terms of gaming-related things were definitely Cheetor (of sho3box) visiting us in Helsinki in the summer for all sorts of shenanigans including a couple of nice Ghost Archipelago games, as well as getting to go to London for Salute this November. Getting into 40k was a weird surprise too, but a welcome one too!

So, how did I do in terms of my resolutions for this year?

Finish at least one stalled project

Yes! I finished the brig’s rigging, finally bringing this project to a close. Seeing as this was the model that prompted the resolution, this was a resounding success. Another piece that kind of goes into this territory is finally painting up the A.T.A.C APC that I reviewed way back in 2013. Instead of my Colonial Marines, it ended up being repurposed as a Chimera for my 40k project. I’ll show it to you eventually, promise!

Paint at least 100 miniatures and other pieces

Yes! A total of 105 plus two bigger finished pieces (the brig mentioned above and the crab ship). I’m really, really happy about this one, as it basically means I spent more time on the hobby and loosened up a bit as a painter. Citadel’s Contrast range has helped a lot, as I’ve developed a more relaxed style of painting that still gives really nice results.

Paint something I feel is out of my reach

Yes, sort of. While I didn’t tackle an old classic or one of those super pretty Hasslefree pieces, I did print and paint the crab ship, which is a huge centrepiece kit covered in detail, exactly the kind of thing that would typically remain printed yet unpainted for years and years.

Blog regularly and participate in our lovely little micro-blogosphere

No and yes. For the blog this must’ve been one of the most quiet years so far, but I did keep up to date on the blogs I’m a regular reader of – for years now. I want to streamline my photography process, because this is where most stuff stalls. I’ve painted more than in years, yet blogged less than in years, so there’s a bit of a disconnect there. Some kind of semi-permanent setup would probably help with this.

Paint something just for the fun of it

Kinda sorta! The crab ship (that seems to come up a lot on this list) was a kind of a spur of the moment thing. I don’t really need it, nor will it see gaming use in years if ever, but it’s a cool model. Same goes for the lizard beast – while it was painted with Ghost Archipelago in mind, there’s not a direct equivalent for it in the game and I just wanted to paint something bright and tropical.

Learn some freehand

Hard no. I’ll push this resolution up to next year, as it’s something I still struggle with. I’ll get there eventually!

New year, new resolutions!

Learn some freehand

Not giving up on this one.

Paint at least 100 miniatures and other pieces

Another one I’m bringing over to the new year – it has been a welcome goal, not too stressful yet concrete enough.

Build a 1000 point 40k force

A very concrete task, this one. I currently have a couple of hundred points – maybe 500 once I finish a tank. At the 1000 point mark I’ll see if I need/want any more.

Try solo gaming

I’ve got the rulesets and the interest, but for some reason I’ve yet to get a game on. This is something I want to rectify.

Clear some backlog

Stashed-away miniatures, I guess we all have them – whether we think of them as a pile of shame, a pile of potential, or just the more neutral backlog – and I want to cut into mine. I want to paint some of it, get rid of things I’m unlikely to ever paint, and so on.

Experiment with something new

I like to develop my painting skills, or at least let them evolve. Next year, I want to try something new: a new kind of paint, a new technique, a fancy modelling material, something. I might like it and make it a part of my repertoire, or I might not, but without experimenting I’ll never know, will I? Not a bad approach to life in general, I think.

That’s it, six resolutions for the hobby year, let’s see what happens.

On this note, thank you everyone for the past year – the world may be messed up in a lot of ways, but there’s a lot of good out there and in us as well. On that note, I wish you all a happy new year and a better 2022!


Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2021


2020 recap

December 31, 2020

You probably don’t need me to tell you that this has been a weird, weird year. I could write about all of its miseries, but there have been many upsides to it too! I had my doctoral disputation before the lockdown measures, work has been fun throughout the year, and as we have no kids, even the lockdown measures have mostly meant more time together and extra time for hobbies. Now, obviously there have been downsides, but I think we’ve discussed those enough through the year.

At the end of last year, I laid out a few hobby resolutions for this year – how did these turn out?

Blog at least once per two weeks

Well, no. I did manage 20 posts including this one, which leaves me short by six posts. I’m still fairly happy though! As a researcher, a lot of my time is spent writing, which definitely eats into my writing enthusiasm. Still, having some sort of goal does seem to help, so I’ll strive for that again next year!

Paint at least 100 miniatures and scenery pieces

Almost, but no. At time of writing, I’ve finished 85 pieces. It’s not a hundred, but compared to my 2019 output (57 pieces total, which I already considered a productive year) it’s a major increase, and I’m really happy with that! Different subprojects, mainly my pirate hunters and our Ghost Archipelago thing, have been a key component here. Painting something specific rather than just chipping away at the grey mountain seems to work for me. A slight regret is that due to my slow posting rate, I haven’t shown off literally half of the things I’ve painted.

Get rid of at least 50 miniatures I don’t have a use for

Wow, I’d completely forgotten about this. I got rid of 1 miniature. Now, part of this is due to the pandemic – no conventions meant no meet-ups, which are usually when I give away stuff. I’ll do better with it next year, my storage space is overflowing.

Complete at least one major model or terrain piece

Yes! I finished a beached whale.

Learn at least one new painting technique

Yes! This has been the year of Contrast paints for me. After painting for years over a pure black basecoat, I’ve almost fully switched to black basecoat + lighter drybrush + Citadel Contrasts for basic work on minis. This has boosted my motivation and output enormously, and I feel that it’s also given me a bit of a technical boost too. I’m loving the stuff I’ve painted this year, if I do say so myself.

Give something back to the miniaturing community

This one was a bit more abstract, but I’ll do another yes here. I’ve published actual peer-reviewed research on miniaturing and been quite active online as well. I’ve found that as years go by, this becomes more and more important for me. It not only keeps my own motivation up, but also allows me to try and make a small positive impact in the world. I guess that this year it was especially important.

Get at least a few games in

Well, sort of. I think I played a single game with miniatures. That was with Emmi, so I’m really happy with that! I did have plans for solo gaming, but they remained plans. Oh well, quality over quantity as they say!

Learn to master my printers

Yes! I’ve become decently good at 3d printing. I recently bought my third printer (a Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k), and I’ve been quite active on the printing front community-wise as well. It has been fun, being able to help people with their printing issues and print things for friends.

So, what about 2021? If there’s anything 2020 showed us, it is that you can never know what will happen. Even so, I noticed that some of the hobby resolutions I made were actually pretty fruitful, so I want some for next year as well. As it would be a little bit boring to just repeat all of my previous ones, there are some new ones here as well!

In 2021 I want to…

Finish at least one stalled project, as I have a few that are all but finished. I’m looking at you (and in the mirror), fully painted ship with half-finished rigging.

Paint at least 100 miniatures and other pieces, as I came so close this year, which showed me that it’s genuinely possible!

Paint something I feel is out of my reach, as this is purely a psychological issue. I think that for many of us, there are some models that have been sitting for years, waiting for that moment when we’re “good enough to do it justice”, which obviously leads to years, years, and years of waiting, because our standards rise with our skills, resulting in never feeling “good enough”. Time to break that cycle, I know I’m a decent enough painter after 20+ years of practice!

Blog regularly and participate in our lovely little micro-blogosphere, as this really is one of the key things of the hobby for me. At times I’ve only clicked on the WordPress likes, but I’m resolved to commenting more next year. I also hope to show off more of my painted minis, now I’m finally managing to finish them. If you’re writing a blog that I frequent, just know that what you’re doing is a part of keeping my hobby inspiration up!

Paint something just for the fun of it, as usually my approach to painting is a little utilitarian: I paint something to use in this or that project. In 2021 I’m going to paint some things just because they appeal to me, regardless of whether I can shoehorn them into a project. I did it this year with my efreet, and I was really happy doing it!

Learn some freehand, as even after years and years, I dread it. Emmi has been doing watercolours recently, and she has encouraged me to learn non-miniature painting. I’m hoping to build up my confidence and skill in that department in 2021. Who knows, maybe we’ll see more tattoos, fancy fabric patterns and the like on my minis in the future.

I think that’s more than enough for one year! However, I have picked fun resolutions, which should definitely help with achieving them.

This blog was started in 2009, which feels like a lifetime ago. Whether you’re a new reader or one of the regulars, my sincere thanks for reading, commenting, and liking these posts, as that interaction is a big part of why this blog stays alive(ish) year after year.

With this, I want to wish you all a happy new year!


Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2020

Wishing you all peaceful and relaxing holidays!


It rhymes with Ovid

March 15, 2020

So by now you’re very much familiar (hopefully not too intimately) with COVID-19 and the whole coronavirus thing. This is obviously a serious situation, and a very trying time for people who are themselves part of a risk group or have loved ones at risk. For me as a healthy young(ish) person it’s more a case of staying at home to avoid passing the infection around. I’m currently waiting for the surely forthcoming news of Salute 2020 being cancelled, and I assume that our long-awaited holiday trip to London is off the cards too, what with travel bans and all. Things at work have been disappointing too, with several major seminars and conferences cancelled after a lot of work put into them. Of course these are minor issues compared to being afraid for your life, but it doesn’t really help.

Despite all the risk, there are some things that are making things more palatable: both of us working from home currently means a lot more family time, and cancelled kung fu, yoga and dance classes mean plenty more free evenings. We don’t have kids, so family time is very relaxing. The cats are happy that we’re home all the time, too.

On the hobby front more free time obviously means more time for everything fun-without-leaving-the-house. Personally, I’m looking forward to doing a lot more painting than usual, tackling my Steam backlog of unplayed digital games (I started with Yes, Your Grace yesterday, highly recommended!) and shortening my reading queue too. Might as well make the most of this sudden influx of time! I have a few recently finished Black Scorpion miniatures that I’ll post about soon.

Despite the global hardships, I can’t shake a feeling of a kind of fascination with the situation. Yes, it is a catastrophe in many ways, and I definitely don’t want to make light of it. But as I wrote in literally the first post of this blog, back in 2009:

I’ve always been fascinated (in a very sanerational and normal sense) by catastrophes, what-if fantasies, tales of desperate struggle and the end of the world. The sinking of Titanic, alternative history, Helm’s deep, Alamo, Chernobyl,  The Book of Revelation, global epidemics, thermonuclear war…you name it. The zombie genre combines all of this. Simple as that.

Obviously and luckily this isn’t the apocalypse and make no mistake – I hope we clear this thing as quickly as possible with as little tragedy as possible. There’s still something oddly unreal about this situation and watching it develop. It’s not fun, it’s not cool, but it’s interesting.

I don’t usually discuss topical, non-hobby events on the blog, and don’t really intend to. However, during the past years a wonderful micro community has sprung up around miniature blogging, and I’m frankly quite interested in how you lot are doing in your corner of the world. Stay safe, and keep painting and posting hobby stuff, we all need the entertainment!


2019 recap

January 2, 2020


Another year gone, what happened in 2019 hobby-wise?

Amazingly 2019 was the first ever year that I kept track of my miniature purchases and the like. Here’s the tally (“miniatures” refers to scenery pieces as well):

Miniatures bought: 62

Miniatures printed: 42

Miniatures sold or given away: 112

Miniatures painted: 57

Larger terrain pieces finished: 4

All in all I’m quite happy with the year. I finished the year with 8 miniatures fewer than I started the year with despite accumulating plenty of new ones. What this means in practice is that I got rid of old stuff that I was never going to paint – mostly WHFB miniatures from 10-15+ years back – and replaced them with miniatures and scenery pieces that are much more likely to be painted.

I painted a grand total of 57 miniatures and scenery pieces. I could have done more, but to be honest this is one of my most productive years in a while. As before, I’m a fairly meticulous painter although I’m slowly learning to be a bit more relaxed, spending less time on areas that won’t be very visible on the miniature. Did you know that when I started out as a teen, I would paint the soles of minis’ feet – despite them getting glued to the base? So..yeah. The end of the year was more than a bit stressful, with loads of work and my father passing away after a long illness, so I’m happy that I still managed to find time for painting. To be honest, painting more and spending less time on Twitter probably would have helped with the stress.

I also experimented with some new painting techniques. Nothing drastic, I just wanted to push my painting a little. While I’m happy with my painting, I feel like I’ve been somewhat stuck for the past few years. I’m currently learning to work with thinner paints and washes a bit more than previously. Who knows, maybe I’ll even try a white or grey undercoat one of these days. It’s only been 15 years since the last time!

On the project front, it’s amazingly enough still pirates. Seriously, this has been pretty much my only project since 2015, and I’m still enthusiastic about it. I do paint the occasional RPG miniature, and we did paint some Battletech pieces which I should show in a future post! Still, it’s mostly pirates and other 17th/18th century types.

The biggest change in my hobby in 2019 was the introduction of 3d printing. I had always looked down on it a bit: layer lines from FDM machines were ugly, resin printers too expensive. Basically, I had locked my opinions in around 2015. However, when I started looking into it, I realized that times had indeed changed, progress had been made (quelle surprise!) and people were producing some wonderful pieces on their printers. My enthusiasm sparked, I bought an Anycubic Photon which turned out to be a great idea. Before I knew it, I was down the 3d printing rabbit hole. It wasn’t too long before I found myself wanting something a bit bigger for printing terrain, but surely an FDM printer would be too…yeah I bought one. As of December 23 2019, I’m a proud owner of a Lotmaxx SC-10 printer as well. It’s been running pretty much non-stop since then, and I’ll show some of the results in a later post.

The 3d printing stuff has brought a feeling of novelty to the hobby that I realized I’ve been missing a bit. There’s something in the tinkering and tweaking that makes me happy, as well as the possibilities afforded by new technology. All of a sudden all sorts of weird and wonderful things are within my reach – I can print my own ships, buildings and sea monsters, how cool is that?

Last but not least, I got to combine work and play in a fun way. As you might know, I’m a games researcher at Tampere University, and we had the wonderful idea of doing some research on miniaturing. More on that later as well – I’m actually about to become a published research on the miniaturing pastime. How cool is that!

For the past x years this blog has been going on fairly sporadically. I post far less than I used to, and sometimes there are long (, long, long) gaps between posts. I’m hoping to remedy this a bit this year! The blog isn’t going anywhere and I’m still quite motivated about it and a huge thank you for that is in order to the regular group of readers and commenters – you know who you are!

2020I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions, but on the hobby front a few are in order. So, in 2020 I want to:

  • Blog at least once per week two weeks
  • Paint at least 100 miniatures and scenery pieces
  • Get rid of at least 50 miniatures I don’t have a use for
  • Complete at least one major model or terrain piece
  • Learn at least one new painting technique
  • Give something back to the miniaturing community
  • Get at least a few games in
  • Learn to master my printers

These should take my hobby in the direction I want it to go: more activity, interaction with the community and honing my own skills.

Here’s to another year of hobby goodness, stay tuned and my sincere thanks for stopping by!


Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas! You can click on the card to view a larger version.


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