Thursday, June 30, 2011

40k with lego

This is a bit more advance than when I played with legos as a kid...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Embedded - Dan Abnett

Embedded (Angry Robot)
Note that this gun is completely wrong

Last night, I finished Embedded by Dan Abnett. I turned to my wife and said "well that was annoying", so yes, typical Abnett end.  However, let us start at the beginning.

Dan Abnett is well known to many as a writer for Black Library, the Games Workshop imprint, in particular for his Gaunt's Ghosts series of books, which follow a particular regiment of Imperial Guardsmen around a lengthy crusade.  This is a near future book, or at least appears to be at first.  Set on a colony world, this story has a burnt out and jaded reporter arrive on planet with an interest in stirring the pot for more stories.  There is a small insurgency underway on the planet, and after a few disappointing inquiries in to the real cause of the conflict, Falk (the reporter) has his consciousness placed in the mind of a soldier about to go in to the conflict zone.  The soldier gets shot in an ambush, and Falk must blend his skills and knowledge with those of the grunt he is stuck in to get home.

Overall the book is interesting (aside from the abrupt end), and has several situations suitable for gaming, as well as technologies which are interesting. Soldiers are armed in a manner easily accommodated by most skirmish games, and infantry tactics, when seen, are similar to modern warfare.  Several of the scenarios would be interesting for, say, platoon level games like StarGrunt, and others would work better as skirmish games with individual reactions (Eyeburn ridge).  So for gaming purposes, this book is good, even if it is not great for endings.

Next up is Knight and Knave of Swords, the last of the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser books.  Hobby wise, I am working on a scratch build, which is actually going rather well.  More on that as it gets closer to completion.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Maps the Carmen way

Carmen's Fun Painty Time! has a nice little tutorial on making a map using Photoshop elements.  Often I struggle with various open sourced software, and here is a little tutorial that makes the comerical products seem so much easier...  I assume having artistic skill helps a bit too (you no doubt recall my crude efforts in this area)

Anyway, here is his very fetching final product, a wastelands area map, which would be perfectly servicable for a miniatures campaign, or a roleplaying exploration map. Throw on a hex grid, and you are good to go.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Empires of the Sea: Renaissance Galleys

I finally finished reading Empires of the Sea, by Roger Crowley yesterday.  I own this book, so I have been interspersing it with library books, as it has no due date.  This book is a cracking read about the very narrow period starting with the Siege of Rhodes (1522) and concluding with Lepanto (1571).  During this period, the Ottoman Empire attempted to conquer the whole of the Mediterranean, and was apposed at times by a Holy League comprised of Spain, Venice, and the Papal State.  Each of the three main Christian powers had their own interests, and the League fell apart several times before successfully defeating the Ottomans at Lepanto.  This battle cost the Ottoman empire nearly its whole battle fleet, and most importantly, all of its experienced sailors (nearly 30,000 men were lost).

The book itself is very gripping.  Mr. Crowley describes the various battles in detail, using letters and memoirs of those involved to get the feel of combat.  You can feel the exhaustion and elation of the sides during skirmishes, and the horror of  battlefields awash in blood.  Mr. Crowley also describes the political machinations of the various League partners and the Ottoman court, so you get a feel of why certain outcomes were achieved. I highly recommend this book. (it also has 83 reviews of 4 stars or better on Amazon)

Reading this book has really stoked my interest in naval battles for this period, and I looked first at Langton miniatures, which are truly lovely (and exacting).  However, at £7 for a single 1/1200 galley, it would be extremely costly to do much more than a few ships per side for a skirmish.  Lepanto had over 200 ships just on the Christian side... so another direction will have to be taken.

First rate galleys of this period were fast narrow ships made solely for combat, with 24 or so oars per side, each pulled by three men (mainly slaves).  These 144 men were the motor that moved the ships in combat, as sails were rarely used. Ships had an array of heavy prow cannon, and were also armed with smaller guns on the bow, then were packed with missile armed troops (mainly arquebusers, archers for Turkish Ottomans), and further packed with heavily armored infantrymen.  The goal in battle was to ram another galley, and send infantry over to capture it, meanwhile pouring on the supporting fire from the missile troops.  Don Juan's flagship, the Real, had many hundreds of men on board, and during the battle of Lepanto, both flagships had constant reinforcements from the embarked infantry of other galleys.

Here are some links I found surfing around:  

Next up is Embeded by Dan Abnett, which ought to be interesting.  I wonder if he can avoid having his usual ending in a non-GW book.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mongoose and Star Fleet Battles

Now that is a teaser poster.
You may have already read about this, but Mongoose and ADB have a new agreement for Mongoose to produce miniatures and an ACTA variation for the Star Fleet Battles universe.  Much like Klingon Armada, this new game will use the Star Fleet Battles background and ships with a different "engine" to handle the actual game play and fleet construction. The new ships will form Starline 2500, and will be computer designed 1/3125 instead of the 1/3700 scale used by the existing (rather poor looking) hand sculpted ADB ships. Ships will be cast in resin.

As I already have a micro machine based fleet of feds, Klinks, and Romulans (in the usual varying stages of construction), I am not particularly interested in their replacements.  I am however interested in remodeled versions of Kzinti or Gorn ships, which should be far sharper and more attractive.  Yet another rule set for this setting is puzzling, but it may be more playable, and anything that drives interest would be great. [this would make four official rule sets using this background]

On a blogging note, you may not have noticed this on your own blog, but my site views have exploded in the last week or so.  While I would like to think I am just that popular, I suspect that it is some sort of counting error... in any case I am already over 1200 views for this month, double my previous high.

Friday, June 10, 2011

1/285 Cityscape

This morning on TGN, I saw GameCraft, a company I had previously never heard of, has released a new set of laser cut mat board building ruins in 1/285. [which, along with 1/300,  is often called 6mm]

I must admit, they look pretty attractive:
They do have the issue of course of being pre-contemporary ruins, but that might not matter if you are doing WWII, or some sort of primitive sci-fi future (such as 40k, where all technologies that are not weapons related seem to be 1940s standard).  I have used heavy card stock terrain before, which is similar to mat board, and it worked pretty well.  I think that if you based these models that they could last quite a while.  However, $20 does seem a bit much for card, even in this quantity.  Their resin kit for $13 seems like a better deal in some regards, and the resin would be more durable as well. Still, more terrain options is good.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The cost of figures

Inso had an interesting post this morning [his evening] talking about the cost of the hobby, which is something that I think many are thinking about lately, with price rises and the shift to resin as metal prices increase.  Games Workshop figures seem to have yearly price rises of at least 10%, and single figures are now well into the double digit price range.

As I mentioned in a comment on Inso's post, I could never buy figures again, and still paint for years and years, but higher prices do prevent me from starting new things, and in some cases filling in old projects.

Here are some comparisons, prices in USD, converted at £1.645 per when necessary (VAT inclusive, since I can not remember which companies are too small to be listed).

10 GW Space Marines (plastic): $37.25
10 GW Imperial Guardsmen (plastic): $29
10 GW Wyches (plastic): $29
10 GW Firewarriors (plastic): $29.13
10 GW State troops (plastic): $24.75
10 GW Free Company (plastic): $17.50 [if this box is ever canceled, I am buying five more]
10 GW Iron Breakers (metal): $49.50
10 em4 troopers (metal): $21.06
10 Copplestone Neo-Soviets (metal): $27.97
10 Perry Crusaders (metal): $17.82
10 Perry Mercenaries (plastic): $7.40
10 Hasslefree Adventurers (metal): $69.91
10 Hasslefree Grymm (metal): $57.58
10 Old Glory Pikemen (metal): $11.66

Building a full platoon or a full regiment, of around 25-35 figures, is going to be expensive going with anyone other than Perry.  Better detailing is going to cost more, particularly from some of the smaller, more "boutique" companies (Hasslefree in particular). Also, looking over this list, one begins to see the appeal of going to 10-15mm. (10 GZG figures cost a mere £5, £5.75 for a full unit of 10mm Copplestone Fantasy).

In a bit of amusing news, while reading about the Tomb Kings in the latest White Dwarf magazine, my wife stated that she would play Tomb Kings if she ever had an army.  She then proceeded to suggest that I sell all my Eldar (as of yet unbuilt, mind) in order to finance this project.  I think that is both good news (interest in collecting an army), and amusing, as it shows her continuing hatred of the "big helmets".

Monday, June 6, 2011

Welcome news

Dropship Horizons, the emanate closure of which I reported in my last blog post, has been saved by a crew of new authors.  I think it is a measure of the original author that it took seven people to replace him.

Also, I got the check from the county for Jury Duty, and now I just need to figure out where to spend it all...

Friday, June 3, 2011


Well, May is over now, and with hardly a post from me.  I went from the A-Z challenge of posting six days a week to, well, to just posting six times. Sort of shameful really.  I guess to a certain extent I was a bit burnt out on the blogging thing.  Despite the lack of new posts, I still had 469 views in May, which is somewhat astounding, although lower than April.  Hopefully June will be better in terms of posting content.

In other blogging news, Dropship Horizon, the premier source of news for 15/18mm scifi figures and gaming is going dark, due to shifting interests of its author.  This is a real shame, as the site was seen by many as a driving force for them getting into 15mm, and was in more recent times breaking news about new figures and games.  Hopefully this will alliveate my interests in getting a couple of platoons of 15mm figures from GZG... or not. Those second edition NAC and UNSC figures really are great, and I will get that jury pay check sometime soon.

As mentioned recently, I have been working on the Baneblade, and have also been researching what sort of detailing could be added to the base model.  This is probably why it has taken me so long to build the darn thing, but I want my model to be unique, since it is a centerpiece model (that is until I get three more super heavies and make a full company of them).  More on that as it is built.