Thursday 30 April 2009
Wednesday 29 April 2009
Tuesday 28 April 2009
After The Hobbit and its follow-up, Del Toro is scheduled to direct four films for Universal; Frankenstein; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; a remake of Slaughterhouse-Five; and Drood, an adaptation of a Dan Simmons novel due for publication in February 2009. He still has his sights set on filming At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft... Part of the Universal deal entails continuing research and development for the creatures in At the Mountains of Madness.
Sunday 26 April 2009
Most non-gamers would associate plastics miniatures with companies like Revel or Airfix. Within the hobby (or within my limited view of it anyway) I have long been aware of Games Workshops wide plastics ranges. The quality of these has seemed to get better year after year but of course their ranges have been limited to their core games Warhammer, LoTR and WH40K. But this year I have seen a number of excellent ranges from companies like Victrix, Warlord Games and Perry Miniatures that have used this technology to create high quality plastics ranges for Historical periods. Primary amongst these are Napoleonic, ECW, ACW and Ancients (Imperial Roman/Celts). There are probably more available but these are the ones that I have noticed.
Blogging is also about to become a lot easier for me because my lovely wife bought me a new laptop for my 40th Birthday. I'm expecting delivery in the next few days and I can't wait. My current computer is coming up for 7 years old and has become woefully inadequate for my needs. In particular it struggles with downloads or graphics intensive websites. Part of the problem was my Internet connection, which I got updated last year, but mostly its just my computer not being powerful enough to handle my needs. It's served me well but its time to move on.
Thursday 23 April 2009
During my recent brief holiday I was lucky enough to visit the Tank Museum at Bovington in Dorset. I came here with my Parents back in the 70's and I have very fond memories of that particular day out. Now it was my turn to drag my own family around the much changed and enlarged museum.
There are three main exhibitions within the museum; The Trench Experience; The Discovery Centre; and the new exhibition The Tank Story which opened earlier in April. Before you enter the site, facing the car park there are two memorials to the men of the Royal Tank Regiment. This sculpture perfectly captures the closeness of a Tank Crew. There is also a memorial wall of crew killed in action, right up to and including the current conflict in Afghanistan.
Inside the first section you are encouraged to pass through is the Trench Experience. This briefly explains the deadlock that gripped the battlefields of Europe and the relentless dangers of trench warfare. Then you exit into a German trench being breached by a Mark I tank.
Past this section you are into the main display halls and a bewildering array of tanks and armoured vehicles. Each is meticulously labeled and there is lots of information on hand. There are also a few surprises. I had never seen this vehicle before. This was a Mark IX and was twice the size of the Mk I but was used as an armoured personnel carrier or support vehicle.
Tuesday 21 April 2009
The Journey is filled with intrigue, sabotage, a journey beneath the polar ice and a cold war standoff above it. This film has it all as far as I am concerned; iconic actors; a tense tightly written script; kick-ass special effects that still look good in the CGI age; and a really simple but strong story.
So what sort of games could be derived from this iconic film? Here are a few ideas:
- Find the Saboteur. The players characters are on board the submarine Tigerfish and must discover which one is the saboteur before he destroys the vessel. (RPG)
- Beat the Russians to the Pole. Playing on a map of the arctic can you get your Submarine to the Ice Station before the Russians can exploit the weather fronts and land Paratroopers? (Strategic Wargame)
- Outnumbered on the Ice. 100 Russian paratroopers V's 20 Marines and a dozen ships crew. The marines have better weapons and the advantage of cover, but would it be enough to win? (Skirmish Wargame)
If you haven't seen this film before I implore you to keep an eye out for it on TV or buy a copy on DVD. You won't be sorry and you may even get a few game ideas from it yourself.
Sunday 19 April 2009
The short version is that I developed Cellulitis, an infection that causes "severe inflammation of the dermal and subcutaneous layers of the skin". In short my leg (from just below the left knee down to the toes) puffed up to twice its size and went red as a lobster. Very painful with accompanied by a whole army of 'fun' side effects. I'm now on antibiotics and recovering but for a couple of days I was a bit delirious and we had to cut the holiday short and came home early.
Long story short, I've got to keep my leg up for a few days making sitting at my desk writing difficult. So the daily posting schedule may slip a bit this week... unless my new Laptop gets delivered early!
Saturday 18 April 2009
I'm back from my Holiday today so hopefully I'll be back to my regular ramblings tomorrow.
Friday 17 April 2009
I think of all my character model this is probably one of the few that I might replace with a fresh model. That's not because I was particularly unhappy with this mini at the time but because I enjoyed the character so much I'd like to do it Justice with a new model.
Thursday 16 April 2009
I used a metal rod to represent the characters quarterstaff and give the model more ridgidity when completed.
Wednesday 15 April 2009
Tuesday 14 April 2009
I made this model from an old Games Workshop plastic goblin. It didn't take much conversion work to fit an extra set of arms on this model and I was quite happy with the way it looked when finished.
Monday 13 April 2009
Although never destined for the game table I was looking at it yesterday and a few 'nasty' ideas came into my head. I think this old fella has life in him yet!
Sunday 12 April 2009
Saturday 11 April 2009
Oh OK, maybe not. I've scheduled a series of blog entries while I'm away with pictures of past painting projects. Many of the models featured are old Character models from D&D campaigns of yesteryear. There are also a few 'display' models that I have recently rediscovered and photographed. Of course if I can get near a computer while I'm away I will try and fire off a blog entry but in all likelihood I'll be too busy to even think about it (pesky kids)... :)
Thursday 9 April 2009
- You will need to go to the AddThis site and register in order to get the code you need to insert to get the button.
- Follow the steps on the AddThis webpage to select the type and syle of button you want to add to your blog.
- Copy the code AddThis provides for use later in the process.
- Open blogger dashboard
- Click on Layout
- Select Edit HTML tab
- Save a copy of your code by hitting the Download Full Template (You'll need this if you need to restore your original settings)
- Check the box Expand Widget Templates
- Then click in the code box and use the search function (Ctrl+F) to look for the code div class='post-footer'
- Insert the AddThis code immediately after the above code line.
- DON’T SAVE YET!!!!!
- Hit the Preview button to see what your blog looks like. Your blog will open in a new window and you should now see the AddThis button at the bottom of each post.
- If you’re happy with the way this looks click on Save Template
- If you’re not happy click the Clear Edits button to return your code to its original state.
I hope this is useful. I'm not an expert at HTML (not even close) and most of the above has been gleaned from other, better informed, bloggers and websites. However I have tried to cut through all the 'techno babble' and explain the step-by-step process as simply as possible.
Wednesday 8 April 2009
Since painting it this model has sat gathering dust in a display cabinet. I 'rediscovered' it at the weekend and will be finding a better place to show it off in future.
Tuesday 7 April 2009
If I learn anything new I will post it here.
Monday 6 April 2009
"Most kids are brought up being taught how to kick a football, but I was brought up painting my first model!"Us gamers are often stereotyped as middle aged, fat balding geeks with no life. While some of this may be true (time marches on etc) this fails to take into account the fact that a whole new generation of players are entering the ranks. I recently asked my daughter to put down a few words about her experience of playing D&D from her perspective as a 'young' player. This is what she wrote:
"My dad got me interested in D&D when I was little, and since then I’m hooked! I enjoy all the game shows he takes me to, (even after the 100th time at the same stall) and even read his geeky comic book's (Order of the stick and Dork tower). I know that I’m not the only young person that enjoys D&D, as my cousins have enjoyed playing the dungeons and dragons board game I got for Christmas."
"Young people can enjoy D&D as much as anyone else, and I believe my little sister is next in line to be moulded into a skilled role player. My friends give me weird looks when I say anything to do with role-playing or models, so I suppose [most] people my age won't get into D&D popularly for a while... Whenever I’m taken to game shows, I usually find the majority of [kids] there are boys, so I find it rather likely that it will be a while till girls my age start taking any form of role-playing seriously. To be honest, I think gaming should be for kids of any age, as it’s a good way to spend your time and get you thinking"I'd add to that last observation that role playing games in general involve a whole range of skills that benefit those that play. Communication skills, listening skills, basic math, probability, strategy, planning, teamwork and creativity are all exercised playing and running role playing games. I can think of few other activities that can benefit a growing mind in so many ways at the same time.
Sunday 5 April 2009
By the way... did I mention my fabulous daughter on TV? Last summer she took part in the Twenty Twenty production of The Sorcerers Apprentice. The format is a Magic School for 12 children who are competing for the title of, you guessed it, The Sorcerers Apprentice. Sarah (pictured below in the centre of the group standing on the steps) made it to the final and had two great weeks learning magic in a country house in Worcestershire.
I haven't mentioned it until now because we were sworn to secrecy by the production company but the series has just ended so I'm not giving away any secrets now. Anyway I just wanted to say well done to Sarah for doing so well.
Saturday 4 April 2009
After the battle we had a little chat with a long dead King, looted his desk and pocketed a few trinkets. Strangely we were not interested in looting the 200 year old silk bedclothes from the kings room.
The game ended with us standing before a large set of double doors and realising that an entirely new set of enemies lay beyond it...enemies that are almost certainly going to be badder than the Kolbolds, and enemies that were unlocking the door as we stood around wondering what to do.
Friday 3 April 2009
Despite the pessimism it seems Salute was a roaring success from a traders point of view. Some traders reported their takings up by as much as a third which is very reassuring. And when I talked to retailers at the show I got the impression they were having a good days trade. Indeed much of the anecdotal evidence I have read or heard from Salute seems to suggest spending was generally 'up' on last year. Certainly visitor numbers seemed strong, especially while standing in the scrum that was the queue before the show started!
This anecdotal evidence seems to be backed up by a survey in Miniature Wargames magazine (Issue 312) which reported that 65% of respondents expected their hobby spending to increase this year with only 19% saying they expected spending to drop. I think my own spending at Saulte was on par with last year but I have spent more online and at other events in the past year. So I expect my spending will go up, credit crunch or not.Even that much maligned behemoth of the industry, Games Workshop, seemed to have no shortage of visitors to its display tables and trade stand. Incidentally I saw a LOT more children at this years show, and not all of them were clustered round the GW stand. This is a trend I have seen develop over many years and it is a strong indicator of a mature and healthy hobby.Overall I was reassured by Salute that our hobby is not about to collapse. No doubt there will be casualties but (and i'll stick my neck out with a prediction here) no more than in a normal year. And when you consider the cost of playing a tabletop game compared to say boozing it up down the pub on a weekend, then our hobby is positively cheep. And maybe (trying to find a positive spin in the midst of economic Armageddon) the credit crunch will actually benefit our hobby.. forcing people to find cheaper pursuits at home rather than down the pub or at a nightclub? Maybe, maybe not...but it whatever happens its going to be an interesting year in tabletop games.
Thursday 2 April 2009
This table was the The Siege of Okamoto-Jo by Oshiro Model Terrain. This was a 28mm fictional battle set in the Japanese Warring States Period (戦国時代 , Sengoku Jidal). This was a time of political intrigue, social change and constant military conflict in Japan that lasted from the middle of the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century. Another impressive display table that caught my eye was Siege of Tenochtitlan. This was another 28mm battle this time run by La Grande Armee and based on the 16th Century Conquistador siege of an Aztec town.