Presidential Superfractors

Presidential Superfractors

Custom Cards – Personal Projects – Commissioned Work

Presidential Superfractors

I made beautiful customs for SuperBreak’s Pieces of the Past!

Matt “Doc” Perry

July 28th, 2020

So, to really tell this correctly, we need to back in time a bit…

Back before the Coronavirus was really a problem. Back to January 2020. I had received an email through the contact form (yes, those things actually work, and actually send mail, and I actually read it!) from Adam at SuperBreak. For those that don’t know, Adam and Scott run SuperBreak Sports. They make absolutely top shelf repack boxes and breaks. Mike Trout rookie along side a Micheal Jordon autograph and a Tom Brady patch card. Those sorts of boxes. After I watched a few box breaks on YouTube I was pretty convinced they were putting together some really nice stuff for collectors. They had contacted me about working on a card set for them. They had seem my posts about my custom cards, the superfractors in particular.

In addition to sports boxes, they also have a couple lines of historical relic/autograph based cards called “The Bar” and “Pieces of the Past”. It was the Pieces of the Past that they though some 1/1 Superfractors would be a really interesting addition to. I decided to jump on the opportunity to work with actual card industry people, and take my customs from “fun little personal projects” to actual “real” cards, in the sense that they’d some day be pulled from boxes and packs, and appreciated by other collectors.

The idea was to make a full 45 Presidents card set, each a 1/1, using the metallic superfractor material.

I started by working on designs. I actually had a pretty good idea of what I wanted design wise right off the bat. I wanted something clean and simple that really showed off the metallic material. After a couple rounds of mockups I had settled on an early 20th century sort of look to keep it “historical”. Kind of an inverted Gypsy Queen sort of thing with a badge signifying the number of the presidents and the date they were inaugurated.

From there I knew, from making my previous refractors, that I needed to work out the printing (backwards on transparency) and to get the airbrushing just right. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to refine the process as well. I wanted to make sure, not just for myself anymore but now for fellow collectors, that the cards I was making were the best quality and used as much archival material as possible. I went on a search for acid-free card stocks, the highest end transparency sheets, and archival fixatives and sprays.

One of the most important things about these was going to be consistency. If I was making a 45 card set, I didn’t want 44 different ways they were being made, or sprayed, or glued, etc.

So, using materials I still had around, I started on some tests. Some went well.

Others not so much.

Here’s a good picture where you can tell the difference between an early test, and the final product. In this one, I used cheap transparencies and ink, and didn’t spray with the fixative before airbrushing. You can see the “print lines” and ink drop pattern (look around Georges chin). These are almost invisible in the final products (end of this post).

I also needed a serious upgrade in tools. Goodbye cheapo Harbor Freight airbrush, hello professional Iwata.

Early tests also showed me that I had two choices when airbrushing if I wanted to avoid overspray on cards other than the one I was working on. I either had to cut up the sheets one at a time, or cover up the additional 5 (out of 6) somehow. I decided to invest in a small light table, so I could cover up the cards safely, but still see what I was working on. It ended up being a game changer in terms of airbrush quality and control.

After I was confident in the methods, it was time to start cranking out some cards. First, I needed to actual design them, and source images. Fun fact, the official portraits of the president are public domain since technically they were paid for with public tax dollars. The people own them, and can use them. So, I went strait to the Library of Congresses digital archives and grabbed the highest res images that were available.

After that it was printing time! Sadly, I also had issues with the printer towards the end, it barely made it through the process and I ended up recently getting a new one (more on that later). I had to switch from 6 cards per sheet, to 4 cards per sheet. That meant I had less margin of error and needed additional transparencies. I’m glad I changed that in the end, as it seemed to be right amount of “backup prints” due to margins of error. For every 1 perfect card, it might have taken me 2 airbrush attempts to get it just right, and 1 left over in case of cutting/trimming mistakes (which certainly did happen).

As I mentioned before, I also wanted to spray everything I was making with archival fixative. At one point my garage art-studio looked like a laundromat. The spray was used for two reasons. Primarily it was used to “fix” the notoriously fragile inkjet ink to the material, while providing anti-aging and anti-yellowing UV resistance. It was also necessary to create a smoother, non-porous surface for the airbrush paint to stick to. Here’s a good example of what happens when you don’t spray it.

The bottom portrait on this sheet was sprayed, the top was not.

This material is designed to “soak” up ink, and if it’s not “closed” by a spray, it’ll soak up the paint as well, and eventually crack. So, there ya go, pro-tip if anyone is ever crazy enough to try this at home (besides me).

It was about this point when I remembered, “Oh yeah, real cards have backs…”. You see, when I make custom cards, part of it being “art” and not an actual production card mean I typically leave the back blank. Literally just blank card stock that I usually sign, or put a sticker on saying it’s a custom art piece, etc. This created another problem. How was I going to put “1 of 1” on these?

 

The answer, it turned out, would involve scanning, and hot foil pressing. My vinyl cutter, which up to this point hadn’t been involved with the process, was called into action due to it’s PixScan mat and technology. After printing the card backs, I was able to get accurate registration by scanning the mat and using the alignment dots to line up my hot foil press. Yes, I now own a hot foil press. Don’t judge, lol.

It took several tries, but eventually I got it down and it started making some really sweet foil transfers. Nice and clean “1 of 1” in legit gold foil. My only regret is not figuring out how to put it on the front. Unfortunately hot metal and thin plastic don’t really work well. Many a card was lost in early testing. Oh well, on the back works well, and is considerably safer.

After that, it was assembly time! Layers and layers of stuff, sandwiched together and pressed, followed by the most nerve-wracking trimming I’ve ever done. I’ve trimmed thousands of photos in my lifetime, most for really important things like clients and wedding albums. This was a whole other level.

The guys at SuperBreak were generous enough to supply me with a large cutter that made the cutting go much faster. Actually, they furnished me with a large portion of the supplies in general. They were awesome to work with! Whatever I needed to make the best cards was what they wanted to send me. That kind of support, from an artistic perspective, is very hard to find, and incredibly appreciated.

In the end, I think I was able to make some really nice cards. I watched as Go GTS Live pulled one on a live stream and thought it was really cool. I’m so happy other collectors like them and appreciate them.

I had waited to post this until I knew the product had been released, I didn’t want to spoil the surprise, and then Covid happened and everyone’s schedules went all crazy and honestly the time has just gotten away from me. These cards are out there in the wild now, and are available in Super Breaks’ Pieces of the Past boxes if you’re lucky enough to pull one. I don’t know what the pack odds are, but I can only imagine they’re hard to pull. I think you can buy boxes on Blowout Cards or GTS.

That’s about it. All I can say is that it was a pleasure working with Adam and Scott, so much so that we have several more projects in the works, most of which I can’t talk about because they’re seriously next level awesome and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Let’s just say that we’ve got some stuff planned involving some HUGE names. No spoilers 😉

Here are a few more photos of the finished cards.

2020

2020

Personal

Wait… is it 2020 already?

Where the heck did the time go?

Matt “Doc” Perry

Jan 28th, 2020

Honestly, I’m not even sure where the fall went. I guess I was a little burnt out on posting the High Heat set and after I finished I just said “I’m going to take a break for the holidays”. So I did.

Felt good.

Blogging isn’t essential to the pursuit of happiness, and there is a laundry list of more important things.

I hope everyone had a good Christmas season. Mine was hectic but enjoyable. Had (still having) car trouble, so I’m on the lookout for a new ride. Work has been crazy, I’ve been filling in for someone who’s out recovering from cancer.

I’ve also been using my spare time on some really awesome side-projects. I’ve made a couple websites, done some logos and business cards, and I’m currently working on something that really has me excited.

It’s a new card related project that I’ve agreed to not talk about until it launches. It’s AWESOME. You guys are going to love it. Sorry for that vague teaser. It’ll be worth it though.

I’ll tell you all about it in a month or two.

Anyway, just wanted to say that I was alive, I’m working on some cool stuff, and that I’ll check back in once it all wraps up.

Later!

2018 In Review

2018 In Review

Personal

2018 In Review

Where on earth did the year go?

Matt “Doc” Perry, Somewhere on that 3rd rock from the Sun

December 21st, 2018

I don’t even know where to start…

Usually I’m pretty good with words. However in 2018 they apparently escaped me entirely. I guess that makes sense, there was quite a lot going on.

The majority of the year focused on repairing the house, which I’m sure I’ve beaten to death by now as a topic of conversation. Although we moved in over the forth of July, it wasn’t until August and September that it really came together as a home. Art is up on the walls, things are painted, knickknacks are back on shelves. Everything has settled back in nicely and we’re looking forward to taking a break of everything for the holidays. No, not everything is back to 100%, there’s still lots of boxes in the garage, but we made a good dent and we’re happy with the progress.

Not art studio yet, but I have carved out a little place to do some paintings. Mostly abstract stuff, but it’s fun to dabble in. Might as well do something with the art school education other than enjoy the mountain of debt.

Yes. It’s a pour painting. The Diet Coke or Art. I don’t care, it’s fun.

Why have one monitor when you could have three!

Work has been going ok. I’ve transitioned from a 90% creative position to, literally, IT Sys-Admin and Tech Support. I’m doing stuff that I really never would have thought I’d be doing. I’m managing AD users and an Exchange server, I’m running SQL queries and exporting accounting databases, I’m setting up VMs to run specific servers for specific tasks, I’m checking the corporate spam filters and firewall traffic. It’s kinda crazy. I don’t think I’m really qualified to be doing any of these things, but I’ve always been a quick learner, and I’m at least familiar with most of it. I just don’t have the specific degrees. I guess that doesn’t really matter at this point. Wherever my career ends up going, experience counts for the most important parts, at least in my opinion.

They did finally manage to fix my office. I’m not sure I really told that story. The nutshell version is that it’s on the top floor of a small office building and the roof collapsed… into MY office specifically. Lucky me. Everything was ruined except for a few things under the desks, which luckily included my Synology NAS and Mac Pro. So, I took all that home the minute there was a “home” to take it back to. I’ve been working from here every since. They finished the repairs about three weeks ago, and besides the new carpet smell, it seems to be back to the way it was.

I did get my tasks essentially tripled this year as well. We have two guys leaving (in an already small team), so everyone gets to step up and take on larger rolls, myself included. The job security feels nice, but I’ve yet to see the added, umm, “compensation” for all the hard work. Luckily it’s review time and my boss is actually a really awesome guy, so I’m not too worried.

Health wise it’s been a bit of a roller-coaster of a year. I was pretty beat (mentally and physically) at the start of the year, floods and stress will do that to a person. Then the summer was better, I was feeling pretty good, getting back to everything. Then this fall I had a bit of a scare. I landed in the ER one night having trouble breathing. Long story short, I’ve had to change a lot of things about my life and the way I eat and exercise. Fun fact, getting older sucks. Also, just as a pro tip, from someone who’s had to find this out way too late, go figure out your family history of medical problems. Do that NOW. Then have your doctor start checking for that stuff.

The upside is that it’s now under control and I’ve made such a crazy change in diet that I’ve lost 30-40lbs since only October and I’m feeling considerably better. Apparently, if you don’t eat junk, and have a salad, you might not die early! Who knew?!

I’m actually kinda proud of myself for this one. I haven’t had a carb or a refined sugar in three months. Cold turkey. I could give up sweets and soda without a problem. I did that over night. Bread on the other hand, I really love bread. That’s been the hardest. Well, that and tortillas, which are basically bread, but with an accent.

I can however, continue my BBQ ways. That’s got me through quite a few “I don’t want to have another effing salad” moments. I’m thinking about doing a competition this spring with an old friend.

Getting better. Practice makes perfect.

New. Favorite. Shirt.

Then we come to the baseball portion of our post. How about those Red Sox? I’m not going to lie, there were a few times I thought the bullpen was a raging dumpster fire, but it’s really hard to find fault with 108 wins, and a really solid post-season run.

They were really just incredibly fun to watch this year. I’m going to be selfish for a minute, but I really needed that pick-me-up. It felt good. When I had a crappy day, or something was going wrong with the house, I knew I could put the game on and relax.

The mood was different from the other recent championships too. 2004 was destiny, plain and simple. 2007 was just a solidly built team. 2013 felt like angry “revenge” baseball to prove a point or get back at shitty terrorists.

2017 was, as far as I can tell, just really really fun.

Mookie was as advertised, Benny had a solid year-two, and J.D.Martinez proved himself to be a ridiculous hitter and an incredible clubhouse presence by helping some of the younger guys throughout the season. Sale was amazing, and the rest of the rotation too. I’m excited to have guys like Eovaldi back as well. Should be fun to watch again next year.

Last but not least, baseball cards. I’m not sure where to begin. I picked some up (surprise!). I didn’t scan most of them. I bought the usual team sets and a few assorted hits on ebay. I didn’t really go crazy this year, other things were more important. I didn’t abandon the hobby by any means, but let’s just say that it really helped the 2018 was a boring year in cards, in general. I just wasn’t impressed with 95% of the products this year. I even bought a very limited amount of Gypsy Queen.

I also couldn’t find half the “exclusive” bullshit products. Target exclusive this, Walmart exclusive that. Bullshit. The distribution is so terrible that Topps should be ashamed to be using the same companies year after year. I’m not exactly rolling in cash, so I’m not buying cases of anything (ever), but it seems like that’s the only way to find about half of the hobby these days. That and their stupid online only crap, which I refuse to buy into. I did make one exception and bought a “Holt hits the cycle” Topps Now card, but I bought it for $0.99 on ebay, on the secondary market.

There was one bright spot in the boring wasteland of cards this year. I teased it on twitter, and I’m teasing it again now (see image), but Panini Chronicles was a massive success in my book. The designs, borrowed from Panini’s other products (football, soccer, etc) as well as a few baseball and unique designs made the box (and subsequent blasters) a real joy to open. The variety was outstanding. I got dozens of really nice rookie cards for the top talent in the league, and well, what can I say about the hits…

I’m doing a proper post, with scans of everything from the box, probably after new years, but this was easily my best personal pull in history.

Oh my…

I think that about wraps it up. I’d apologize for not blogging enough this year, and I do miss the interaction with people, but things just got crazy and needed to be taken care of. I know I speak for everyone around here when I say we’re really wishing that 2019 would be a normal, boring, regular sort of year. No changes in jobs, no car wrecks, no floods, no sickness. Maybe a vacation at some point? People still take those right? That would be nice.

Anyway, I hope everyone has an awesome Christmas, and a safe New Year. Sláinte!

Crazy Summer

Crazy Summer

PERSONAL

Crazy Summer

I don’t even know anymore…

Matt “Doc” Perry, Creative Geek, Texas

September 7th, 2018

As I sit here, at my desk, in my house, I think about how easy those words are to type, but a year after Hurricane Harvey, how hard they were to actually make a reality again. Last week was the one year anniversary of when our home flooded. I can still remember to torrential downpour of rain that blanketed the roof all day and all night. There was hardly any wind, the electricity stayed on (for the most part), and we were glued to the local TV weather report. We were watching Channel 11 (KHOU) as the TV station flooded and THEY evacuated, which was an ultra-surreal moment.

At the time I was comparing it to one of those Sci-Fi movies where you hear the “news coverage” in the background of the aliens landing and then suddenly there’s screams followed by nothing but static. You see that in a movie and you’re thinking “that’s crazy, the news wouldn’t just go off the air like that, that’s cheesy”. Then it happens in real life and that little voice in the back of your brain, the irony-center, starts screaming at you to pack up your crap and run.

The mad scramble to put stuff on on tables and in closets is what I remember most from the actually night it started. The amazing “tetris” zen that comes over you when you’re trying to stack your entire existence onto a dinning room table, or as high in a closet as you can put things.

I’ve covered what happened next already. The Cajun Navy boat ride. The dump truck journey across town. The shelter. The helpless feeling.

Then the recovery, and the help we received, and the love we felt. That’s still very real a year later.

Throughout the entire repair process, even when stuff was going all pear-shaped with contractors, when things weren’t working out, when things were delayed, we always had people willing to help. Especially towards the end, when it was coming down to the wire.

The moving back in was a mix of glorious triumph and back-breaking labor. Contractors had delayed and delayed and kept pushing things off. We drew a hard line and said that the 4th of July is our drop-dead date. We were moving in. We scheduled the movers for that Friday (the 6th). As of the 5th, they electricians, the plumbers and the painters were still all not finished. They were painting my living room until 4pm on the 5th. At 5pm I had a friend come help me and we put down laminate flooring until 1am. The movers came at 8am.

Since then it’s been a weird mix of finishing little things (like weather stripping and door thresholds, and unpacking as best we can. It’s taken most of the summer and we’ve only just put a good dent into it. We’ve unpacked about half, but also reduced down quite a bit, and donated most of what we don’t plan on using going forward.

I’m sure it’ll be months until the final boxes go away, but we’re comfortably moved in and unpacked enough that we’re really not missing much. Except the crockpot. I still can’t find the damn crockpot, lol.

Cards

As for cards, there’s really not a ton to say about 2018. I didn’t have anywhere to put them for most of it, so I just didn’t buy any. Don’t get me wrong, I ordered a couple team sets here and there, but I cut way back on ebay and comc orders and hadn’t bought a retail blaster until Optic this month. Sam brought me a couple nice cards the couple times we got to hang out this summer. A really sweet 2017 Museum Collect Rick Porcello tri-relic and an awesome 2006 Papelbon/Breslow duel auto he said he found for $2 somewhere and couldn’t pass up. He also brought me the two photo variation SSPs from 2017 Flagship, Ted Williams fishing and a Mookie All-Star game photo variation. I’d scan them, but the scanner is at my office, which also flooded, which is an entirely other insane story for another time.

As far as major sets go, 2018 was pretty disappointing. Not because I missed out on a set, but because I didn’t really want them in the first place. Maybe it was my overall mood for most of the year, but I just wasn’t in a happy place collecting-wise. When you get right down to it, I just had more important stuff to do.

Flagship is, well, flagship. Heritage was boring except for the inclusion of the B&W “deckle edge” photos, Donruss took a step backward from it’s high-point of reinvention last year and even Diamond Kings was kind of washed out and boring. Stadium club looked nice but I literally never found any. Bowman Platinum was a WM exclusive again and so I never found any of that either. Ginter is “meh”, Bowman is “meh”, and Chrome just came out but 4 cards per pack has always been downright insulting.

The real highlight, for me at least, was Gypsy Queen. I like the design, and the inserts were top-notch this year, but I just didn’t have the funds to try and put a whole set together. So, I got the teamset complete and I’m pretty happy with that. I wouldn’t pass up the chance to build it (anyone have like 400 dupes?), but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Games

I did try and keep my sanity with a little digital entertainment this year. I picked up a tiny handful of games for the PS4. I bought God of War and The Show 2018. The Show is an unmitigated disaster and I’m quite honestly done with the franchise. They managed to ruin something basic like a baseball game in the same way Call of Duty has slowly ruined the FPS genre. Micro-transactions, points, coins, DLC, features locked away behind achievements and GRIND to get even little things. Unholy amounts of grinding for levels and games and unlocks. In The Show it’s all about the “Diamond Dynasty” mode and unlocking cards for players to use on your team. Oh, did you want to use Nolan Ryan as a pitcher? That’s take 4000 strikeouts and 500 games as a lesser pitcher, just so you can unlock him. I’m sorry, maybe I’m more “casual” gamer now, but that’s just not going to happy.

God of War on the other hand, was probably the best game I’ve played in years. Complete story, not too many mindless quests, plenty of game area to explore, awesome characters, breath-taking graphics. It was a complete gem and the best $20 I’ve spent in forever (found it on sale somewhere).

I also played Destiny 2 for all of an hour and was very happy it was given away for free this month and not something people are having to spend money on. Wow, has Bungie ever fallen. It’s that bad.

Art

The plan for the “art studio garage” is working it’s way toward reality. As I mentioned above, we’re about half-way unpacked. The rest of those boxes are sitting in prime studio space, so we’re planning a massive garage sale for later this month or early October. Hopefully with a combination of that and more donating/purging stuff we don’t need, I can be putting together a working studio by the end of the year. I’m really really looking forward to it, not just as a goal, but as a creative outlet. Working IT this past year has been interesting, but my heart will still always lean towards creative endeavors.

The end goal is to really make a push into using the creative space for the things we enjoy doing and using extra money from things like custom cards or cut vinyl or photography or painting to fuel the things we’ve always wanted to do as a family. If I can have fun and support my family with a little side-business, then it’s all worth it.

I’ve played around with a few customs as well, just to keep myself busy. Nothing really noteworthy for the moment, but a couple re-do’s of products this year that were a little weak, and a couple fun takes on classics. I’m sure I’ll show those off at some point.

I don’t really have too much else. Just a busy, crazy summer. Just glad to be home.

I’ll just leave this here…

I’m still alive

I’m still alive

So, last post I made back in May was about changing hosts and servers. That was an entire ordeal and a drawn out fight with with the old hosting company. In a nutshell, they tried to hold me hostage and told me my stuff was un-movable. They lied, I moved anyway, they can go pound sand. It’s the makings of a more detailed post later on. All in all, it took most of June. The site was up and down, moved, etc. Wasn’t really any point in posting while it was still up in the air.

In July WE MOVED BACK HOME! So, naturally, I’ve been way too busy with that to even think about posting something. Now it’s August. We’re still unpacking and settling in. I don’t know when normal posting might resume, but I am in fact alive and just really busy, in the best possible way.

Be back soon-ish.