HOWTO Paint: Skulls & Bone in 6 easy steps + the Raven

I got these raven sitting on skull minifigs from the Wildspire Miniatures Animals of Sol’an set, but singles are also included in the Hero’s and Animals set.

plastic raven sitting on a skull miniature, unprimed.

Here are the steps I took to paint the skull.

1. Prime black. I’m using Rust-Oleum 249846 2X Ultra Cover, but really, any flat black primer that sticks to plastic should work fine. Continue reading

Generic WiFi Adapter (SDHC) using the WIFI@SDCF app [Dxingtek/Keytech]

I purchased this (very) generic “WiFi adapter”. (Model AD_wifi_SD) It accepts a Micro SD card, and when powered by a host, generates a wifi network (Default SSID: WiFi@SD, default password: 99999999 [eight nines] ).  I was hopeful that it would expose a webserver that I could access from my linux desktop to download files from the camera’s SD card, but no such luck.

The server resides at, and assigns IP addresses starting at, however it uses a proprietary (UDP packet) protocol that only works with the provided android or iOS app (Called WiFi@SDCF on the Google Play Store com.keytech.wifisd).

Although it may be technically possible to run this app in an emulated android environment on Linux, I didn’t want to put in that much effort. Especially as it appears that the android app (and likely the SD card server) are buggy, and the protocol does not support error detection or correction.  See the class project paper here in the wifi-sdcf repo by David Buchanan for more details.

In short, unless you only want to transfer files to a phone/tablet and are willing to run the provided app (which is of questionable quality) on your device, probably steer clear of this device. [For Sale: One at the cost of shipping….comment if interested.]

HOWTO: Paint crocodile tabletop mini figures (Alligator)

I demonstrate how to paint four different color schemes for a crocodile or alligator mini-figure. I use a cream colored base coat on all 4 necks, a gray base-coat on the back of two figures, a dark green base-coat on the back of the other two figures. Then I drybrush one of each with either a black or a muted yellow for highlights. I also demonstrate red, black, and yellow eyes, and the mouth/teeth details, plus gluing flocking to the base.

The figures were printed from a free model on Thingiverse by Mr. Stirling:
Swamp Alligator:

Items you may want to follow along (Amazon Affiliate Links):

Glowforge lid / hinge separation (2nd unit)

Back in January of 2020 I received a replacement glowforge ($500 repair & shipping cost) that they swapped for my orginal kickstarter model because I needed the laser tube replaced.  You might remember that with the original kickstarter model I also had issues with the front handle coming unglued from the glass lid, as well as the rear hinges coming unglued from the glass lid.

Unfortunately, the glass lid detaching (from the left rear hinge this time) issue has presented itself on this unit as well. Currently, only the left side has detached, but I’m worried that the whole joint will fail if I open/close the lid more.

With the lid closed, this presents as the left side rear being slightly raised, and the left front not going all the way down.


You can really see the gap most obviously when in the process of lifting the lid. (Look at the gap that is between the silver bar bolted to the left hand black hinge and the glass above it…now go compare that to the photo below where I have it supported by a clamp to see the difference.)


I’m afraid to open/close the lid as I’m sure every motion is weakening the rest of the joint, so for now I’m just leaving it open with a small clamp on it to try and make sure the rest of the glue joint doesn’t have pressure on it.


Here is a video I shot when opening the lid.

How to paint Mouths, Maws, and Teeth

HOWTO Quickly Paint Mouths, Maws, & Teeth

Here is the quick technique I’ve developed for painting mouths and teeth at the tabletop miniature level of detail. First, mouths are very pink. I like this “baby pink” color, but you can pick any shade of pink that looks good to you. Paint the entire inside of the mouth, possibly even getting a small line around the outside depending upon the type of monster or mouth you are painting. I sometimes do this BEFORE laying down the base color of the rest of the face or body, as mouth interiors are usually one of the deepest parts of the model.

Then, water down some bright red paint (I like this “cherry cobbler” color)
Continue reading

It’s February 2022, how is Orange County Florida doing with Covid-19?

The Omicron surge is now on a downward trend in Orange County Florida. However, the number of cases per week is still close to the peak of the delta surge.   Our case positivity rate is “only” 18.2%   (after a peak of 36.2% the week of Jan 7th). That same week there were 27,941 confirmed cases out of a population of 1,457,445, or two people out of every hundred were infectious that week.

The CDC data from Florida in general show that the total deaths from the omicron surge is significantly lower than that of the delta surge.   This is partially due to the fact that more people have been vaccinated (or previously infected with an earlier variant, or already dead), and mostly due to the fact that the omicron variant is generally less deadly than prior variants of the virus.

According to the CDC since the beginning of the pandemic, Orange County has had a total of 2,933 deaths where COVID-19 was involved (11.8% of 24,786 total deaths from all causes in the same time period).   This is a covid-19 death rate of 201 individuals per 100,000 population.

Needless to say, the orange county public schools had a significant number of their students and staff catch COVID-19 as they returned from winter break. However, the total number of cases in the schools has been falling in line with the above county level graph.

Data from the Florida Hospital Association shows that the peak of hospitalizations occurred in mid January. Although almost 20% of ICU beds are occupied by covid-19 positive individuals, there are ICU beds still available and the number of hospitalizations are going down. The total number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 is trending gradually downwards, but the percentage of ICU patients with COVID-19 has slightly increased from this time last month.   Luckily, the majority of patients hospitalized with the Omicron variant do not need to be moved to the ICU.

Adding an orange line showing total hospitalizations in Florida to the number of deaths chart shown above clearly shows that while a significant number of people are being hospitalized, the number is smaller than with the Delta surge, and the proportional number of deaths (when compared to hospitalizations) is also lower.


It’s January 2022, how is Orange County Florida doing with Covid-19?

Over the last three weeks the Omicron variant has proven to be highly contagious. The number of cases and speed of their growth has far surpassed the delta surge. In the last week, almost 1 out of every 50 individuals in Orange County has tested positive for COVID-19.   According to the latest FDOH report, Orange County Florida has had 27,941 new cases in the last week, with a test positivity rate of 36.2%.

This number would be completely terrifying except for the fact that many of the infections are breakthrough infections of vaccinated individuals, who for the most part are protected from serious disease.   However, many vaccinated individuals are also having asymptomatic infections, so the number of infected is certainly higher than the number of positive tests, and the virus is endemic to the population.

The case numbers and test positivity rate tell you that it will be very difficult to avoid exposure to the virus, but the case numbers may not directly correlate to deaths. Currently data from the CDC for the state of Florida indicates that with the omicron surge, so far deaths have not been directly related to cases. This may be due to delays in reporting (or delays in deaths, as the omicron surge really only started a month ago), but it does appear that the omicron variant is less deadly than earlier variants of the virus.

Hospitalization and ICU bed usage numbers are likely to be more directly correlated to future deaths than straight case numbers. According to the Florida Hospital Association, as of Jan 7th, COVID-19 patients made up 16.2% of ICU bed usage.   This is almost double the number (8.7%) a week ago. Adult hospitalizations with covid-19 has gone up from 4,484 on Dec 31st to 7,305 today, again, an almost doubling over the last week.   At the peak of the delta surge, Florida COVID-19 hospitalizations were at 17,121, so it is possible the omicron surge will kill fewer individuals than the delta surge.