My beloved-by-all podcast Caustic Soda is doing a fundraiser for Season Five. Feel like contributing? No pressure but we’re all counting on you!
Here’s the drawing (click to embiggen):
And here’s the sculpt (not by me):
The finished mini will be available in December here
I’m easy to shop for. Just follow the instructions below!
- A theremin!****
- Kickle Snifters original 1976 paperback printing if possible (NOT library binding)! (Alvin Schwartz)
- Star Trek (original series) Remastered edition (must be the remastered edition). Used is fine!***
- Gift certificate for RX Comics (because I love supporting my local comic book retail outlet!) **
- Stripey socks (any colour, just NOT ankle socks)***
- This Star Trek shower curtain
- Spock socks**
- Dye my purple hoodie a darker purple****
This hex-grid post-apocalyptic Diner battlemat is something I put together from stuff I found online. It’s a full-colour pdf!
Why build a model of Spaceship Zero? To keep on the shelf as a cool toy? To use on the tabletop during SSZ roleplaying games? Because I can? Yes is the answer to all of these. Let’s have a look…
These are files from when the CD “Spaceship Zero: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” came out around 1999/2000.
The antennae-looking things are actually coming out of the ass end of the ship, and they are sensors. When not in use (for example when the ship is landing) they retract into the ship. On the front of the ship are 3 graviton tines, which are part of the Better-Than-Light Drive system (like warp drive).
This above image is the cross section I drew for the roleplaying game that came out in 2000 or so. What this shows that isn’t in the first images (besides the interior) is what the ship looks like with the xenon thrusters out (they pop out from the middle of the ship and swivel so the ship can navigate in any direction) and the landing gear extended. The landing gear are curved like the ship itself and indeed retract into the hull of the ship so as to be more or less seamlessly hidden. FOR THE MODEL I want the xenon thrusters out (they don’t need to swivel), and the the landing gear out, because otherwise the ship will not stand up! The landing gear do not need to retract into the ship on the actual physical model, but they should look like they could do.
The above page from the SSZ comic shows another view of the ship, and you can see kind of where the landing gear would come out of the ship towards the bottom.
Above are some scribbles as to how I envision the model working under the best case scenario. I think that if the model is about 20″ tall (originally I thought 17 inches but better slightly too big than slightly too small) then it will be to scale with the game miniatures I use during SSZ rpg sessions. Eyeballing it, I think the width at the widest point on the ship body (not counting the tines or landing gear) would be 7″ inches, maybe 7.75″ tops?
I think the main concern is going to be how big will the landing gear have to be to ensure that the model doesn’t topple over in a stiff wind.
It would be super cool if the ship were to be cut up in sections for some of the main decks so that at the gaming table it could be doubled as a battle mat kind of a deal. But it looks like that will be more expensive and would compromise the structural integrity of the model overall.
It would also be really cool if there were little blue LED lights in the tines. But again, that’s gravy.
For comparison, here are some images shared by Cliff Raeder, who made his own SSZ model out of two 2L soda bottles. Pretty great! Note that the figures he is using are kids toys that larger than traditional gaming minis that I would be using.
In my many aeons of running and playing roleplaying games like D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Spaceship Zero and Mutilator, I’ve witnessed and experienced firsthand the trauma and heartbreak of coming up with a name for a character. As a GM and a player, it’s important for me to choose names that are (1) memorable, (2) easy to say, and (3) add to the enjoyment of the game. Having the name evoke a feeling or idea that supports what the character is or does is an added bonus.
Things to avoid
- Overly long, or complicated names (it’s okay to have a long full name for the character’s last will and a concise first name or nickname that the other players will use);
- Names that nobody but you are going to remember. Tolkein was great at this (Amandil, Adanel, Alatariel, Arvegil, and Anfauglir you say? Got it);
- Names that other players are going to twist in a way that infuriates you (unless you’re okay with that);
- Random name generators. These are SO DULL. Although, they could be a good starting point if you have absolutely no idea. In which case, just keep reading;
- Racism! Aunt Mammy Blackface and Chief Heapbig Redfeather are probably not okay.
Remember, there are always exceptions. Sometimes you want a character’s name to rhyme with penis, because that character is a dick.
Put a twist on it!
One starting point is to take an average or well known name and put a twist on it to make it unique. This could be a mundane Western name and zazzing it up (Sarah becomes Sarahi, Christopher becomes Christopheles, Jack becomes Grimjack or Jackslacker) or taking a famous character from fiction or mythology and tweaking it (Prometheus becomes Brometheus, Prothemeus or even Antimetheus). This can have the advantage of being easy-to-remember for other players (most people are familiar with Red Sonja, so they shouldn’t forget Gold Sonja’s name, especially if your gaming miniature is wearing gold armour).
“On the nose”
Name your character after her physical attributes (Scar; One-Eye; Slouchy, Meatface) or skills (Cookie, Bowyer, Cardsharper, Windjammer).
This is like the above, using a descriptor as a character name, but to make it a little more exotic you might plug the adjective into a translator and see what comes up. For example, if you want to have a fire wizard, plugging ‘fire’ into google translate comes up with fuego, incendio, zjarr (Albanian), fajro, masunog (Filipino) and Brandstelle (German).
Alliteration Adds Amemorability
Think about it: Peter Parker. Bilbo Baggins. Doctor Doom. J Jonah Jameson. ‘Nuff said!
Add an Epithet
Fortran the Black; Hogmeal Wundersniff the Elder; Richard the Duckhearted; Kilwich the Sunderer; Bob the Great. Udon Haddock the Third.
Here are some more jumping off points…
Think Indiana Jones, Hanna Montana and Carmen Sandiego, but better. Load google maps, pick a spot on the planet, zoom in and look at some of the place names. I just zoomed into northern Pakistan and in less than 3 minutes found Mingora, Battagram and Sukai Sar, all of which I’m now going to use so hands off!
Food, spices and drugs
Think about your favourite (or most hated) foodstuffs. It’s especially fun to name siblings or groups of characters after specific related consumables. For example, you could have in your favourite tavern three halfling serving wenches named Fennel, Anise and Caraway – these are all ingredients in a popular tea blend. A court of nobles could all be named after fancy cheeses (Lord Camembert; Earl Roquefort; Tyrolean Grey; Cherise Chevre; Casu Marzu; Sir Hedwig Havarti) or a trio of hirelings could be dishes you’d find in an Indian restaurant (Palak Paneer, Malai Kofta, Aloo Ghobi).
Gems & Precious Metals.
Amber, Sapphire, Ruby, and Jade are always popular, but there are many other less well known gemstones and minerals such as Alabaster, Beryl, Bismuth, Borax (sounds like a dwarf to me), Cadmium, Celestine, Corundum, Coltan…and I’ve only gone through A-C.
Plants & Animals (and parts thereof)
Got a druid, shaman or ranger? How about Talon, Fangfoot or Greywing to start with? Mammals and birds are a common go-to (Flynn Falconhelm, Nighthawk Emberblade, Tyr Bloodfox, Ursa Windsinger – notice how I dipped into the Latin name for bear) but let us not forget fish, reptiles, and our invertebrate friends! Marlin Smelt, Octus Snakeblade, Coral Greentooth, Snails McPhee, Dargh Brittlestar, and Tarantalus Rex come to mind. For a more feminine angle, flowers and plants work great: Greta Greenleaf, Forsythia Hollyhock, Ivy Monkshood, Lily Snapdragon, Belladonna Nightshade, Fern Azalea are all easy pulls.
I wouldn’t even mention this, except for the following: Fuchsia, Azure, Cerulean, Sienna, Taupe, Teal, Mauve, Carmine, Celadon, Cerise, Chartreuse, Vermillion, Cinnabar, Magenta, Drab, Ecru, Glaucous, Tawny, Fulvous and of course Aurometalsaurus. See also epithets above.
Thanks to Jay H, Andrew B, and all the other nerds on Facebook for your help!
Just in case there’s any confusion, Life Day is the Christmas of the Wookiee planet, Kashyyk, as noted in the Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978.
12 *unintelligible* – Chewbacca
11 gooberfish – Jarjar Binks
10 oil baths – C-3P0
9 pod racers – Watto
8 IT’S A TRAP! – Admiral Ackbar
7 custom boxes – Yoda
6 *unintelligible* – R2-D2
5 fully operational battle stations – Emperor Palpatine
4 yub nubs – ewoks
3 light sabers – Obi Wan Kenobi
2 bounty hunters – Darth Vader
1 sweet deal at toyhutt.com – stormtrooper
Remember a little while ago I designed sketches for a line of post-apocalyptic miniatures? They are now in the fundraising stage so they can move forward into production. If you’re a gamer or a fan of properties such as Gammma World, Land of the Lost or Thundarr the Barbarian then you will want to contribute to the indiegogo fundraiser campaign. There are a bunch of different tiers of support with different perks for each, so do check it out and help make it happen!
Last year I worked on the Astonishing X-Men motion comic for Atomic Cartoons. My job was in the art department, specifically characters (not to be confused with the background artists or the animation department). So what exactly did I do? What are the challenges of taking an established comic book, in this case written by Joss Whedon and illustrated by John Cassaday and turning it into a “motion comic” which is somewhere between a comic and a cartoon?
First off, check out this clip from youtube:
Now, here’s a scan of the original comic book.
As you can see, this particular page is three panels and they are all vertical. In a motion comic, however, the format is the standard TV ratio 4:3, as shown to the right. It’s the job of the director and storyboard artist to figure out how best to translate the printed page into this format. In panel one, it’s easy, start at the top of the tall panel and slowly track down to the group of X-Men, as seen in the clip. (The animators added some jitter and smoke effects) The second panel is similar, but rotated 90 degrees, not much work for the illustrator (me) to do on that one either.
Panel 3, however, is different. Here’s three screen shots of the video clip which I quickly patched together in Photoshop:
In the original comic, you can’t see Wolverine’s backside, or the top and bottom of the robot’s head. It was my job (and my teammate’s David and Carmen) to create all of that. Usually that was done from scratch, but sometimes there were poses and images re-used from panels earlier or later in the comic. It all depended on the scene.
In addition to filling out characters that were partially (or sometimes fully) “offscreen” in the print version, there’s also the matter of filling in what was behind characters whenever they moved. This was often a background artists job, but if for example in the print version we see Wolverine’s claws in front of his face, and in the motion comic the storyboard calls for it to start on Wolvie’s unobscured face and for the hands to then move into the shot and then pop his claws, it’s the character art department’s job to make sure the empty spots behind the claws are filled in with some good-lookin’ art. Same deal if one character steps away from someone behind him.
Make sense? I hope so!
I’ll be with my usual Caustic Soda: The Podcast hosts Kevin and Joe this weekend at VCON for a live recording. Our topic will be “The Post Apocalypse” and our guests will be authors Greg Benford and Connie Willis!