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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


A gamer or a collector?

July 6, 2018

My blog has gained a lot of new regular readers since I wrote this back in 2009. Funnily enough, a lot of this still holds true – except that we no longer have an annual WHFB bash. I decided to reblog this, as it’s still a fairly accurate description of my gaming and collecting mentality, and might be of interest to current readers.

Dawn of the Lead

These last few days I’ve been thinking about the following question:

Am I ever going to game all those scenarios I’m designing, or use the forces and gaming tables that I’m building for actual gaming?

For someone who’s invested a fair amount of money and time in collecting, putting together and painting a ton of miniatures and scenery, this might seem like a strange question. Surely all that stuff has been bought for a reason, and that reason is gaming. What use is a gaming table if it’s never played on? Why pick up two opposing forces if you’re not going to get some dice rolling? Good questions, indeed.

I was introduced to the hobby by my two older brothers, who were avid RPG gamers way back when the D&D red box was all the rage – it was even translated into Finnish – and who used to buy and…

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Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2017


On the road again

March 1, 2017

I’m currently vacationing in Indonesia after spending a few weeks in Malaysia. I’m missing my toys, but the surroundings do help! I haven’t forgotten about my pirates even out here, so here’s a blog post on how the project is travelling with me despite no miniatures. I’m cleverly writing this on my smartphone after equally cleverly leaving my laptop at Bangkok airport. 

Inspiration is readily available here and in many forms. Not only is the area known for its piracy, the East India company and colonisation have left their stamp on many things. The tropical sights serve to spark the imagination, with palm trees, white sands and turquoise waters.

The local architecture in George Town, Malaysia, has a strong Georgian (well, duhh) feel to it. Many of the houses are from early 19th to early 20th century, and at times it felt like walking around in an actual pirate town milieu. A couple of photos to illustrate below.

Also, many of the buildings show the ravages of time and the weather, which gave me plenty of ideas.

We also visited a lovely old graveyard from the 19th century, and now I want to build one. 

George Town also featured an actual, late 18th century fort named Fort Cornwallis. While the fort never saw combat, it was really inspiring to visit. I even bought a mug – a sure sign of a good sight!

I brought along some appropriate reading, namely two books by Marcus Rediker (the second one co-written with Peter Linebaugh): The Slave Ship and The Many-Headed Hydra. As tends to happen, the project has sparked a wider interest in the period. I’m currently reading the latter book, and it’s super interesting.
I picked up some really cheap (less than 0.50€ each) nylon brushes at the local bookstore. Even if the quality doesn’t turn out to be special, these will undoubtedly find use, and at that price they were a steal.

As for Indonesia and pirate inspiration, well, let’s just say we’re on an island that looks like something out of a film.

And last but definitely not least, we got engaged yesterday. Apparently my pirate fixation is adorable…or at least tolerable.

Until next time, dear readers!


All quiet on the blog front

July 5, 2014


It’s been ages since my last post despite me being on my summer holiday, prompting one of these “come on, stay with me man!” posts. I primarily blame the following two things for my extended blog rest:

FIFA World Cup – I love football, and the World Cup is one of the few sports events that glue me to the screen. Despite my favourite team, Italy, being knocked out early on, the cup has been awesome so far. Still, on average the games have taken approximately 3-5 hours of most of my days.

Steam – I work with computer games (in the “parents, this is what you need to know about games” department) but rarely have time to play as much as I’d like to. With the holidays on, I’ve finally had time to play some of the games I’ve gathered in various Steam sales – including the latest summer sale. Games like The Wolf Among Us, Infested Planet and Dota 2 have been keeping me busy and I’m looking to tackle Shadowrun Returns next.

I haven’t been doing any hobby stuff for a while know, my hobby life being in the ebb phase currently. I did go see Edge of Tomorrow which was mighty inspiring, though, and made me want to do some 28mm for a change as well.

Anyway, things are coming to the blog, starting with a long overdue review of some more Predastore Predators. Stay posted!


A player’s eye view

November 23, 2012

A few posts back I reported on my new game project, Utopia. I felt it went great, and from what I’ve been hearing from the players, they liked it too. In fact, one of my players wrote a very nice blog post about the game, so for another point of view, do take a look. And while you’re there, read around – it’s one of my favourites.


We have a winner!

January 4, 2012

The first official Dawn of the Lead prize draw has now concluded. There were eight participants, numbered in the order of comments received. I then utilised a hi-tech manual random number generator:

d8 dice

As it happens, entrant number seven was none other, than one Colonel Shofer. The good colonel has been notified and will receive his prize in due time.

Thanks to all participants!


Happy birthday dear me!

August 20, 2010

I have now officially reached the considerable age of 28, meaning that I still have two years left before my beard starts creeping neckwards. I will celebrate by heading to our summer cottage with my gaming group for three days of beer and boardgaming. This is the first time I actually get to play with an almost full Aliens Space Hulk conversion. Some of the other games that will hit the table are Small World (which is definitely worth buying, amazing fun!), Arkham Horror and World of Warcraft. Maybe Blood Bowl, Settlers of Catan, Civilization, Gloom and Zombies!!! as well.

Thanks to all you readers out there, you really make blogging worthwhile!


As a birthday present a friend shared this. Cheerful, uplifting and hilarious!


Beggars can’t be choosers

August 9, 2010

Having all but finished my auto loader, I was given a great tip by fellow blogger sho3box to add in small detail such as unit insignia, warning signs etc. The main problem is that my freehand skills really aren’t up to par, so I figured that a few waterslide transfers might do the trick.

Being the cheap(ish) hobbyist that I am, the thought of picking up a sheet of transfers for a few EUR seems a bit silly, knowing that I need maybe three or four of the designs – a few letters and such – and I probably won’t find what I need on a single sheet. I could buy some decal paper for custom transfers, but then I’d need a new cartridge for my inkjet printer only for that task, and that’d set me back 25 EUR or so.

So, without further ado this is a call to the readers of Dawn of the Lead! If you have extra transfers knocking around, I’ll be glad to take them off your hands. Maybe you’ve used the three or four designs you need, and that massive credit card sized sheet of paper is taking up valuable space. Maybe you were given them as a gift, and they don’t really go with your decor. Maybe you just hate transfers.

Anything and everything is welcome, I’m sure I can find a nice combination. Imperial Guard, Space Marines, WW2 aircraft, Battletech clan markings…it’s all good!

I’ll be happy to pay postage, and all donors will be handsomely (ho-hum) rewarded in the future. Replies in the comments section, or through email.

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