Monday, April 24, 2017

The Weekly Update - Monday, April 24th, 2017 - News From The Workbench...

Simple Green at work...

First off, I've been able to read your comments on Google+. But, I can't reply to them; something about my browser and computers. We're working on it, but I fear an eventual migration to something like Wordpress may be in order. We shall see.

I'd like to thank everyone who sent the Missus their best wishes; she's doing a lot better now, and was actually able to get out a bit this past weekend. I'm also in good shape, and may be finally recovered from the road trip. So, good news all round, and we're pretty happy campers.

Speaking of the Missus, her six sets of the Ral Partha "Elfquest" figures have all been run through the bath (Simple Green, straight up, for a week) and are now back to their pristine state of raw metal. The Armory brush-on primer she'd used on these back in the late 1980s had not aged well, so off it came and will be replaced by my usual spray-on flat white primer. Much thinner, and you'll be able to see the details on these; they still look good, and I think they'll be fun to paint. Her collection of RAFM 'Dr. Who' figures will also get done at the same time, and they'll see the light of day after almost three decades. Basing will, I think, be our usual 25mm rounds as these are mostly going to get used in RPGs.

Also in the bath, but this time in acetone, have been my fleet of Valiant Miniatures ships. All of the masts and sails have been gently removed, and I'll get the ships put back to their former glory. The soft-metal masts have suffered greatly from the passage of time, so these will get brass wire behind them to make them that much sturdier, and then I'll get the ships back into their paint schemes. In the meantime, the flotilla of laser-cut galleys from TRE Games will be our mainstay for naval games.

The big news around here this week is that the new Indiegogo campaign by Dark Fable Miniatures is up and running:

I'm very pleased with what I'm seeing, and the Missus has announced that we'll be backing this campaign as we have all of the previous ones. I can think of uses for all the figures - while the Macedonians are a wee bit too late for 'Ancient Egypt', my local FLGS has a bunch of Macedonians that they have been 'suggesting' I look into. My thought is being able to play out some of the possible game scenarios from "Cleopatra", like the defense of the Moon Gate of the palace, and as I have some Romans on the shelves it's very doable.

Let's see, what else...

We've had some very fine weather this past weekend, and I managed to get the garden sheds cleaned out and the van unloaded. I've trimmed down our stock of trade show booth items, keeping the two Skyline sets (the table top and the full booth) and disposing of the rest to people who can use them. I'm in the process of organizing up my stocks of scale lumber - the Missus has pointed out that both she and the Daughter-in-residence need to use the laundry room too, and it would be nice if the miniature lumber yard moved into the workshop and onto my shelves.

To hear is to obey.

The plasma screen continues to amaze and astound me with the superb quality of the picture; it's making sorting the lumber very enjoyable - I love those Techicolor epics, and having them on the big screen is a delight. I am still dithering over what to do with the 40" Sony LCD; I'd like to keep it in stock for gaming use, but I do have a potential buyer for the thing. Decisions, decisions!

I and the game room have also been booked for some game sessions, which I am pleased with, and I'm looking forward to hosting guests. Dates are May 27th and June 3rd, starting at one pm; e-mail me if you might want to drop by and see the mayhem.

I think that's everything, for now; much more to come, as I get all caught up with life...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mr. Wells And Mr. Pratt Meet Mr. Burroughs - Thoughts On Radium Cannon, And Their Use In Games

'Keri'. off the slipway...

Well, it's been a lovely day, and I'd like to move on from all the doom and gloom. Let's introduce some people to each other, and go from there...

As has been mentioned on this blog in the past, I happen to like Barsoom and have been in the throes of building a pair of skyships based on those in "John Carter". I was looking at the film, and re-reading the books, and something struck me - air warfare, as depicted in the source materials, looks a lot like pre-dreadnought naval warfare, where one pulls up to the foe, and blasts away with one's batteries of quick-firing guns. Well, all right, I said, but how do we do this as a miniature?

Originally, I had planned to simply buy some Victorian deck guns, and get on with it. However, this has proved (for various reasons) to be not happening, so I am going to have to build a half-dozen radium cannon. Okay, no big deal; get some tubing, and build them. Enter one Mr. H. G. Wells, author of "Little Wars", and his associate Mr. Fletcher Pratt. The latter wrote and played a very good naval wargame, which like "Little Wars", is a floor game. (I keep a 100' tape measure in the game supplies for this kind of thing.)

In the spirit of these games, it occurred to me that small laser pointers are cheap, and with a little tubing added along with magnets and some hardware would do nicely as radium cannon. The idea is that if one is tired of tapes and tables, one aims the radium cannon at the intended target, locks up the mounting, and then - on the shooting phase - pushes the button to see if a hit is made. I can even get various lenses to make individual patterns for each separate beam, so one can determine ' fall of shot' more easily.

Is this all silly? And not 'serious gaming'? Yes, I think so; and I think I like it that way. It does add a little whimsey to the game - one can always fall back on tapes and tables, of course - and I like going back to the roots of our hobby. And people seem to enjoy it, so why not?

Photos of the arsenal, as soon as I get the guns painted...

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Weekly Update - Monday, April 17th, 2017 - This And That From The Sick Bay

Yes, it has been That Weekend, and the White Star Line's house flag has been flying all weekend as is our custom. We are both still pretty sick; I am better, the Missus was worse, but she is on the mend this morning. Lots of fluids, lots of sleep. Since I am the primary caregiver around the house, as well as the primary caretaker of the place, this past weekend has been spent largely in getting the place back to normal after the past month's illnesses. It takes a while, but it is getting done.

It was also Easter weekend, and as sometimes happens my Easter falls on the same dates as does most peoples' holiday; so, it was quiet here and I frankly liked it that way.

It's also the usual weekend for MiniCon, one of the local SF conventions; we didn't go. Besides being sick, and not wanting to share, we were some of the people 'disinvited' during the Great Purge that the convention went through - getting rid of costumers, gamers, media fans, and literary fans was supposed to get the convention back to the fannish roots of "sex and drugs and rock and roll" as one of the Gang Of Ten announced at the time. Maybe it has; we don't go, and save a lot of energy and money in the process.

I've been asked why we don't go back; I gather that the Gang Of Ten is long gone, and the current convention committee is looking to regain the lost numbers of people who used to go - and who went off and founded their own convention, Convergence. I do think about it, but then things like the current controversy over Odyssey Con happen. I get pretty annoyed with things like this, as regular readers are aware, and so we stay away from F/SF fandom.

You can do a Google search about this, or have a look at:

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to take my blood pressure medications...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Weekly Update - Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 - Still Sick, But There is Progress!

The ultimate video accessory?

I am still here, I am happy to be able to report. The bronchial infection is on the wane, under the effect of powerful antibiotics and even more powerful cough syrup. My lungs seem to be clear, the doctors say, so getting control of the muscle spasms form the coughing has been the big issue. The Missus is also now sick with this, or a related bug, so the little house has been resounding with coughing and sneezing. I'm running at about 75% to 80%, which is better then the 25% to 30% I was at last week.

Things still move, as Galileo pointed out, and we had a very nice thing happen this past weekend. As I've noted here in the past, I do a lot of my purchasing through the local surplus outlets; I've been looking for an LCD screen to experiment with in miniatures games - ideally, I'd love to lay one down on the table, bring up a floor plan, and move miniatures around on the thing. I thought that this might be fun, but it does require a cheap LCD screen to experiment with.

Suffice it to say that I wound up with a very nice LCD for a very good price - that is, until I got the thing home and discovered that I had bought a 40" high end plasma screen. The picture looks great, and it is now in the game room as the official viewing screen. I did have to mount it on a pair of after-market legs, though, and this is where my drill press comes into the picture; the mounting holes, as might be guess, did not line up, so I drilled new ones in about five minutes and had the big screen up and running in another five.

What really pleased me is that I can still make things. And do it easily, quickly, and effciently.

Now, this does leave me with a 'spare' 42" LCD screen, which is the unit I got three years ago in response to the requirement for an active display at 'off-site' games. It'll revert to that role, and get a new shipping crate on casters as well.

Fortune smiles on the brave... :)

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Weekly Update - April 3rd, 2017 - Catching Up With Google+

Yes, that's still me!

No I hadn't forgotten; I'm still recovering from the road trip to Ohio, which should not surprise me as it too most of a month to recover from the last long drive I took some three years ago.

Anyway; your comments will all appear here, as soon as I can figure out how to do a cut-and-paste.

In other news, my case of bronchial infection is making me cough a lot, and I'm pretty exhausted. More to come; I just need some warm, moist air in my lungs...