Monday, May 25, 2009

Q & Ages 25 & Up #5

Previous Q&ANext Q&A

To celebrate the fifth Ages 25 & Up Q&A session, Monkeywrench decided to surprise me, and surprise me he did! Here's what he had to say:

"It's time for the 5th Q & A! Since this is the 5th one, I wanted to do something special. I contacted some of the long time readers to contribute to this Q & A. I have usually kept the Q & As to around 5 or 6 questions. However, I got so many great questions that this one is much larger than normal. I was going to post this towards the end of the month but since there is so many questions I thought it would be smarter to post it now to give you plenty of time to answer."

Despite that, I STILL found a way to be late. The new Archive page I've been building has been taking up a lot of my time. I hope you'll believe me when you see it!

Before I get to the questions, I just wanted to give a big thank-you to Monkeywrench, xFlintx, Irid70, Foolproof, and Money-B for combining their forces for this very special fifth Q&A sessions. I really appreciate it, guys!

Now, let's get to the questions!

I have never been a Duke supporter, but he has started to grow on me in the last few years. His Resolute portrayal was pretty good and his Resolute figure is awesome! We saw him in the 2nd Public Service Announcement. Is there plans to continue to use Resolute Duke?

Really? His portrayal in Resolute was a massive rickroll, to me. I mean, all the crap I hoped they wouldn't do with the character ended up being in the animation: being the 'leader' (I guess Hawk wasn't on the Flagg), trying to steal Scarlett, generally being a tough-guy jerk, etc.

I might use the Resolute Duke figure occasionally, as a face in the crowd or maybe for a throwaway joke, but I'd rather not add him to my main cast.

Can we expect to see Shipwreck have some zany drunken adventures?

Adventures? Sure. Drunken? Maybe. Shippy can handle the bottle! There ain't a brew on earth than can wreck The 'Ship!

That being said, I was planning a Shipwreck story a while back, but I didn't have a Shippy figure. And once I got the figure, I guess I forgot about it. But I do want to make that story, though. The head of Beard Force's Naval branch is sure to get himself into trouble!

How did you come up with your screen name?

You've known me long enough to know that it's not JUST my screen name! (You can find me on other message boards, on Xfire, on Steam, on several online games, and on YouTube under that name.)

'1337W422102' dates back my high school days, where I played the first Unreal Tournament every day with my friends. We had an underground Frag Club and everything. Our physics teacher was also the school's computer guy, and he'd let us into the locked computer lab and we'd eat our food and frag, despite all of that being against the school rules. It was awesome.

My callsign was '1337W422102' as it means 'elite warrior' in 1337-speak, an internet subculture language. It stuck, and I've been using it ever since.

If you could express the awesomeness of Beard Force in an equation, how thoroughly would it blow the minds of even our most awesome mathematicians?

(Clutch + Rock N Roll + Shipwreck + Snow Job) = (8-hour erections + badassery + alcohol + really big guns) = Beard

"Beard" plus "Women" minus "Cobra" divided by zero equals-- whoops, I think I just created a paradox which resulted in the formation of an alternate universe!

Do you have any tips on 1:18th scale figure photography?

Sure! I studied film and photography in college and had a job as a photographer in a jewelry store (taking detailed photos of small subjects was crucial), and gathered some experience over the years. Here are some handy tips. Some might seem obvious, so bear with me. Remember, crappy photos can ruin even the best projects, so try to take the best pictures that you can.

  • Use a good camera. Your webcam or phone's camera probably won't cut it. Read your camera's manual. Knowing how to use your camera is essential (and half the battle). Plus, you might learn about some handy features!
  • Focus! It is imperative that you focus your camera properly. All too often, I've seen pictures of figures in which the background is in perfect focus instead of the subject. You might have beautiful wallpaper, but if you're trying to share pictures of your figures, make sure to focus on the figures.
  • If the camera is too close to the subject and it won't focus on the figures, back up and try again.
  • See if your camera has a Detail Mode. This mode is sometimes indicated by a flower icon. It's great for taking detailed photos of small objects... such as flowers. And figures!
  • Focus manually if you have to. Take a few more shots with different levels of focus if you aren't confident that your first shot was good.
  • White Balance your camera. Sure, you can colour-correct your pictures later in Photoshop, but it's easier to get it right when taking the picture in the first place. White Balancing will help your camera make sure that colours come out as they should. Especially helpful when taking photos with yellow lighting, fluorenscent lighting, or at different times of the day. Forgetting to White Balance and/or colour-correcting your pictures can result in really ugly photos. I say this from experience!
  • Use a tripod. The camera has to remain steady for the best photos. Remember that you are working on a smaller scale! A little bit of movement that wouldn't blur a picture of a full-sized person could easily ruin a photo of a 1/18th-sized person.
  • Use white lights to make sure that colours come out properly. Don't forget to White Balance, too!
  • TURN OFF THE FLASH. It make photos of full-sized people look terrible, and it will hands-down destroy your close-range shots of tiny subjects. The sudden blast of white light will drown out the foreground.
  • Avoid direct light if you can. (Direct sunlight, a spotlight, bright light from a window, etc.) Like the flash, this powerful light will brightly illuminate one face of the subject (perhaps overwhelmingly so), leaving the picture washed out with too much brightness.
  • Light the set well so you won't need the flash. Bring in some extra desk lamps or camping lanterns if you need to. Using multiple light sources, illuminate the room (or area/desktop/set where you are shooting) well rather than having a direct light shining down on the figures. Unless if you're specifically trying to get a particular shadowy look.
  • Avoid using a single light source, as one side of the subject will be too dark and another side might be too bright due to direct lighting. Unless if you're specifically trying to get a particular shadowy look.
  • Take more photos than you need. That way, in case some are blurry/out of focus/bad for whatever reason, you'll have some more to fall back on. Plus, it saves you from having to use bad pictures, or needing to reshoot.
  • Try to forget that you are photographing toys (except for the techinical aspects that I mentioned above, of course!). You're taking photos, so keep in mind all that you should when taking regular photos: lighting, focus, framing, composition, etc.

Remember, you're taking photos of tiny people, but the world around them is still the same size. The sun won't give 1/18th of its light and the shadows aren't 1/18th of their normal size/darkness. What I mean is that a little bit of shaking or too much light could ruin your photos since you're working on a much smaller scale. Just be careful and have fun!

Which (if any) comics do you cite as influencing your style?

Well, I guess I'm going to have to give a shout-out to Marvel Comics' G.I Joe: A Real American Hero! comic, as I read and loved it. When I read those first few issues, I fell for Clutch completely. He was hilarious and badass, a helpless womanizer, but a hero nonetheless. He saved the Joes' bacon a few times and even caught the Cobra Commander with Roadblock's assistance! You know what I mean? The toys introduced me to the Joes, but the comics let me learn about them. Larry Hama, I am forever in your debt. And I love Herb Trimpe, too (artist on many of Marvel's Joe and Transformers issue - he signed some comics for me!)

Any plans on bringing back Resolute Trooper? Word, holmes!

'Sup, gangsta! Whack quession, dawg.

The Resolute Trooper was introduced in File #26 "My Resolution" because Cobra Commander [who had switched roles with Destro and was the Cobra Supplier at this point] wanted to army build them, but couldn't due to budgetary reasons. [Sound familiar?] So the only Resolute Trooper that Cobra has is this one modern Trooper. Since he cost them so much, they might as well keep him around!

"Rezzie" hasn't been featured too much, but he was in File #26, File #28 "The New Challengers," File #35 "Public Service Announcement 2," and File #37 "The Reimagining." I don't want to overuse him (his dialogue would get annoying and repetitive), but hell yeah, boi-yeeee, Rez-Dawg gon' be back, f'sho.

Of course I love the comedy, you're aces at it, but I also really dig your more serious efforts, such as the currently in progress Black Ops. What made you decide to do the turnaround?

Thanks, Foolproof!

I really like the Beachhead and Dusty figures. Hell, I bought that DVD pack JUST for Dusty. I'm a big fan of Dusty. He was ALWAYS badass in the comic. Not just a 'SNIKTBUB' badass, but a noble badass. He kept his promises and would finish the mission, no matter what. For more on Dusty, check out Marvel Comics' G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero! #58 [mission with Mainframe in which they oppose a Terror-Drome], Special Missions #13 [doomed mission in which Lightfoot is tortured and the team is left for dead in the desert - they don't all survive], and during the battle of Benzheen, we learn about his friendship with Sneak-Peek, the promise he made to Sneak-Peek's mother - that he'd bring her boy back to him.

Dusty's stories were usually serious and dark, and the death of a teammate wasn't uncommon. Beachhead's filecard describes how no-nonsense he is. I wanted to do a story with Beachhead and Dusty, but I didn't feel that humour would be appropriate for these particular characters. (That being said, they were both featured in File #22 "Seeing Double," a comedic strip.)

I wanted Beachhead and Dusty's comic to do them justice, and I hope that it does. I mean, if I wanted to have a wise-cracking two-man team, I'd pair up Clutch and Stalker, or something. Or some of the Dreadnoks.

The Black Ops story arc is noticeably darker. What caused you to go that direction?

Don't worry, Ages 25 & Up will return to its regularly-scheduled humour very soon. I just wanted to try something different with these characters. The summer will be a fun one, that I promise you.

Can we expect to see more like the current one?

Maybe. But Black Ops is the only "serious" story that I've planned. There might be more later, but there aren't any on the drawing board right now. I like to keep things light, fun, and golden-brown.

One of my all time favourites was Plastic Gear Solid. Will he ever return?

Will Solid Snake-Eyes return? Hard to say. He's probably living a happy life with the Colonel's redheaded niece and enjoying the friendship of the geeky researcher right now.

The end of File PGS-107 "Endgame" saw the creation of that universe's G.I Joe team, so I guess they the world is relatively safe, it would seem.

To give a more specific non-half-assed answer, there are currently no plans for a sequel to Plastic Gear Solid: Tactical Espionage Action Figures. Sorry, mate!

There you have it! Once again, big thanks to all of the quizmasters, and to the faithful Ages 25 & Up readers!

Previous Q&ANext Q&A


Jason said...

Hey, neat, I can leave a comment! (It'sa me, Foolproof!)
One more question: In my question (redundancy rules!)about Resolute Trooper, did you italicize "Resolute" for your own devious purposes, or did I screw the pooch and call him something else originally? I can't imagine that I did, but you can never tell with me.

Thanks for taking the time to answer us!

1337W422102 said...

Hey, Foolproof! I'll post this on your profile to make sure you get it.

I italicized "Resolute" because it's the title of the animation. I wasn't trying to mess with you, or anything!

Thanks again for asking those questions, it was really great of you guys.

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