Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Weekly Update - July 30th, 2017 - Legions On The March - On The Workbench, Actually...

This is the newer box, with the scorpion in it.

A new box for me, with some issues for me...

As reported in these pages, I have gotten two boxes of Early Imperial Romans for use in my big-budget Techicolor SuperCinemaScope version of "Cleopatra". I had gotten a couple of boxes of the legionaries years ago when they first came out, to convert into Chris (Bear) Huddle's 32nd Imperial Medium Infantry - The Legion of the Translucent Emerald - for doing the Sirsum micro-campaign and specifically the Battle of Anch'ke. (They are getting new standards, by the way; I am just not happy with how I did the old ones...)

The 'Legionaries' set is the reissued box of Warlord figures, with three command and 17 line troops - you also get two troopers with the scorpion. All are the standard sprues, and they look very good; the decal sheet for the shields is even better, as it's got the central hole for the shield boss already cut out - earlier sheets had to have this cut out by hand, which is a pain in the butt. Use a very sharp pointed knife. There are not a lot of options on these sprues; you do get extra helmets and pila, which is nice, and the scorpion sprue does have more arm options. All in all, a most satisfying box of troopers.

The 'Veterans' set is also up top the same high standards, but no artillery. (Artillery I got, by the pound.) I have two small niggles about this box; one, some of the 'battle-damaged' shields are in very rough shape, to the point that I'd be picking up something from the ground to use in a fight. I'll replace the really badly damaged ones with spares - I keep everything, just for things like this - and I think everything will work out just fine. The damaged shields will get used in a repair shop diorama, and the spare helmets and pila in the armoury room.

My other - admittedly small! - niggle is that the figures are equipped with mancea (armored sleeves)on their right arms, and to my eye this just doesn't look right. I associate the mancea with gladiators, and we're not doing "Spartacus" this week. (Maybe later; I have plenty of gladiators.) So, it'll be back to the spares box, and the four tent sections of troopers will all have about the same look to them. This will get the effect I want, and keep the continuity girl happy. A very nice touch is that there are sets of greaves in this box, and I'll find a use for these - very handy!

I have three spare sheets of decals from the old boxes, so we're good there; I have two very old Minifigs / Garrison / Greenwood & Ball metal testudo sets as well, and  think I may have the Warlord resin one as well, as that would account for the three decal sheets that I have in stock - I think I should only have two. Red tunics, steel armor, bronze helmets as per the 1963 epic, and we're in business - they're attacking the Moon Gate, Caesar!!! Send out a turtle!

Speaking of which, I may have to do a little conversion; in the 1963 movies, when they send out the troops to attack the Egyptians, there's a drummer - not the usual and more historical trumpeter. So, for the sake of the effect, I think I'll slightly modify one musician and give him a drum to beat out Caesar's orders.

And I'd better get cracking on this project, too; if everyone who's talked to me about booking dates for events comes through on their plans, 2018 is going to be a very, very busy year!

EDIT: Whoops! Almost forgot to mention: I managed to get the massive 50" plasma screen up on the newly-modified shelving unit, and it's now running with a CD deck attached. The thing weighs 96 pounds, and I was surprised that I was able to lift it. The game lounge is now fitted up for our viewing pleasure; the game room proper is still equipped with the 42" and a CD deck, so we can watch what we want when we want. I may yet link the two screens, for that 'multi-plex' effect.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Weekly Update - Friday, July 28th, 2017 - "Cleopatra" And The Budget, or, Raising An Army

Miss Claudette Colbert as Cleopatra

Photo from Dark Fable Miniatures
I am happy to report that my ill-humor of the past couple of weeks has largely evaporated; the impending arrival of the latest batch of figures from Dark Fable Miniatures has improved my mood on end. I had thought that I might vent my spleen here on the blog, but after some reflection thought that I should spare all of you the unpleasant mood I've been in for a while. I may yet do a special page, detailing my annoyances, but we shall see; in the meantime, there are some updates and changes to the Rules Of Engagement.

On to Aegyptus, via Hollywood and Cinecittia!

As previously reported in these pages, I have backed the latest Indiegogo from Dark Fable, "The Legend of Cleopatra". I have also mentioned that I picked up some nice Victrix figures for her guards and army - the first 'historical' figures I've bought for use as (sort of) such since I got out of historicals back in the very early 1980s - and now I think I need some opponents for them to engage with.

This does, however, bring us to the question of just how 'seriously historical' I want to be, and the answer would seem to be 'not much'. Most of the time in movies, the Ptolomaic Egyptians are all dressed in very dubious 'Aegyptian' costumes, and their usual opponents the Romans of Caesar are all in lorica segmentata; the latter armor is much more Imperial, and Julius had his lads in mail; the usual gaming term is 'late Republican' or 'Caesarian'. I actually have plenty of the right troops, as a long while back I got some Old Glory figures from the right period. They were co-opted to be the medium infantry for my legion, All-Consuming Flame, and their shield designs are the Vriddi clan-glyph. Right armor, wrong paint job. So, what's a gamer to do?

Answer: think like a Hollywood producer for staging our miniature epics, and call the costume rental house for some cohorts. Yes, they'll all be in the wrong armor, but they'll all be instantly recognizable as Romans. I got the Macedonians for the same reason; by the time of the real Cleopatra VII, most of the countries around then had equipped their armies as sort-of-Roman, with everybody in mail and with oval shields. Thank you, but if I'm staging one of my epic games, then I want equally epic forces in the picture. So, as seen in "Cleopatra" (1963), Warlord Romans will do just fine. The F:GS has some for cheap, and I'll get them this weekend.

And yes, 'cheap' is a factor. I get $400 a year for my gaming budget (the Missus has her own gamig budget, by the way) and I have to spend it wisely. This year, I have this for a current balance sheet:

Dark Fable 'Legend of Cleopatra' Indiegogo - $145
Sea Dog Game Studios boats - $80
Victrix Macedonians - $84
TRE Games Ships - $16                                          

Total for 2017 - $325

So, we have the gold in our coffers, and the Legions will march once again. Bring plenty of popcorn; I'm setting up the game lounge to be a family viewing room - this after a major family meeting, last weekend - and "Cleopatra" is going to be a double feature, with Claudette Colbert and Elizabeth Taylor in the starring roles...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Not The Weekly Update - Sunday, July 16th, 2017 - Cranky and Annoyed, At Best

I now have a chaise to go with my deck chair, with parasol.

There's going to be no real post today, as I'm tired and cranky and don't really have anything interesting to all of you to talk about. Maybe tomorrow, if I feel like it.

Did have a very good time at IKEA Friday, and visiting with friends yesterday; it's the recent e-mails and messages that have gotten me down.

If I may offer a personal comment, some folks just can't seem to understand that their antics ruin a lot of other people's fun, and really manages to alienate them from the larger game hobby and game community; it's like watching "Game of Thrones" with all the nice bits removed. Lots and lots of unsympathetic people doing unpleasant things to each other, all in the name of power and prestige.

Have fun with that, people. You ain't welcome 'round here, no more.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Weekly Update - Sunday, July 9th, 2017 - Of Qol And Table Saws

The stars of Free RPG Day at the FLGS


It has been, if I do say so myself, a very nice quiet weekend so far. I was out yesterday with the Daughter-in-Residence getting her stocked up on her "Nightwing" comics, so a visit to The Source Comics and Games was in order. She got comics, I got decals for shields and some sets of printed scenery tiles, and then we got the weekly groceries. All in all, quite charmingly domestic.

Once home, is was out into the back yard with the table saw; I cut a batch of MDF to make bases for the Scrying Eye tiles; see also http://scryingeye.weebly.com/ for more information. The FLGS had two sets on clearance, and I wanted to get a little something to 'jazz up' my Free RPG Day games; the "Desert" set seemed a good choice for that. I'm not normally a big user of pre-printed materials like this, as I've found that players in a long-term campaign get wise to the quirks of the printed maps - and bored by them pretty quickly - but for the 'one-shot' nature of the games I usually run at this event it shouldn't be an issue.

Having the tiles sty put is, though, as while they are printed on a nice card stock they have no 'staying power' on the table. So, several sheets of MDF got sliced into the 8" x 8" tiles that I needed, and the leftovers put back into stock for a different project; since I had the saw out, I thought that I might as well  work on another project at the same time. Next step is the glue and spatula, and some matte finish varnish to protect the printed surface of the tiles. A very satisfying project, I think.

Also up on The Workbench is another batch of those wonderful Qol from Howard Fielding and The Tekumel Project. I love these figures; they have a lot of what we call 'charm' - they look like what they are, devout followers of Lord Ksarul and stalwart guardians of the Temple's treasures - and I use them a lot in games. I really like the separate weapons and accessories, and I did a little bit of drilling and assembly to get a few different figures for this batch. (The lanterns are a particular joy!) I also departed from my usual practice of using flat white spray paint for the primer coat, and used flat black; these figures have outfits that are almost all this color anyway, so I thought I'd save myself a little time. Liquitex flat white followed by Liquitex 'Iridescent White" for that serpent scale look, and details to suit. Bases in stonework, like the last batch, or maybe something else for a change of pace.

If you haven't gotten some of these figures, do yourself a favor and get some. You are missing out on some really fun miniatures.

Speaking of miniatures, the Dark Fable "Legend of Cleopatra" Indiegogo funded to over 300%, and we're expecting to see these at the end of the month. I'm looking forward to them - all I need to do is get Rex Harrsion and Richard Burton figures, and I'm all set for my own blockbuster epic.

I am really happy to be having a real weekend off. I'm getting back into the groove with my painting, and getting my writing going again. My policy of letting other people organize events really seems to be working, as I'm getting back to what I do best - building things. I'm now set up to put on really good events, so my end of it is all done; it's up to event runners to do their thing - I'm happy to help, but I can't do it all, anymore.

So, that's the news for now; more later, with photos...

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The (Belated!) Weekly Update - Saturday, July 8th, 2017 - Adventures, Misadventures, And A Weekend Off!





Well, it all went pretty smoothly. The poor old van's starter died (at 332,000 miles for original part, I am not shocked by this) on Saturday - after we'd loaded all the tables, chairs, and lawn canopies, of course - and had to wait until yesterday to get replaced, we had to replace the minister (sudden call-in to work; he's a paramedic), the bride asked me to give her away, I was asked by the groom to take photos, an they finally told me when and where this was all going to take place. It was at the family home on Lake Owasso, originally owned by the bride's grandparents, and quite lovely.

(I did have to bring in some of the relatives from the pontoon boat, so we could have the ceremony. Nobody fell in the lake, although some of the younger kids did their best trying to.)

It did make for a very wild and wonderful holiday weekend - and no, it's next to impossible to rent a van on no notice on a holiday weekend at the start of a month as we found out - but we all coped, and got the job done. A very good time was had by all, and I actually had four of the five daughters in one place at the same time - the universe did not implode, as had been predicted. I wound up with lots of the left-overs, and have been gorging on cake for most of the week. (It's very good.)

This is Third Daughter, by the way, the one who applied for the job of Daughter when First and Second moved on with their lives, and the position became vacant. She applied, we went though the interview process, and only after she'd been brought onto the strength did she reveal that she was part of a 'package deal' with her two sisters, who both thought that being part of this particular job lot was A Good Thing.

We are, as we say, a family because we chose to be a family. Nothing more, nothing less.

We all had lots and lots of fun all trying to work out how we were / are all related to each other, and we really did need a whiteboard for the task. Everyone was hugely entertained by this, and we had the chance to meet and get to know each other - a whole lot of very cool people!

It was also a very nostalgic event; the Missus and I were married in our backyard twenty-seven years ago this month, using many of the same chairs and lawn equipment. Time does fly; it seems like I'd just put them all away... :)

On a slightly different note, this will most likely be the last event that I have to be the stage manager / stagehand / logistics manager for; I'm letting other folks do this now, and it's kind of nice not to have to haul chairs and tables up hills and through hallways. Time for a new generation to do the pick and carry - I'll still stock the gear, and build and fix as needed, but I'm retiring a bit.

This is the first weekend I've had off in months, and I'm taking it easy. Some model-building and figure painting is in order (along with mowing the lawn and doing the laundry) and I'm looking forward to some quiet time...

Monday, July 3, 2017

An Exhausting Weekend, But A Glorious One...

She made her own dress, too.

Third Daughter is now married; Second, Third, and Fourth Daughters assisting. I moved chairs and tables.

Oh, and she asked me to giver her away, what with me being her new dad and all...

Longer report to follow...