Saturday, 9 December 2017

November Loot

For various reasons I won't go into now, November was a complete write-off hobby-wise.  I've just checked and it was one of only two months since August 2012 when I haven't even made a single blog post.  But I'm not here to beat myself up about it...

With the prep underway for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge 'Ate, hopefully this will change, but I thought I'd start the ball rolling with the old stalwart - 'What I've Bought Recently'.  As regular readers will know, I don't spend much money on hobbies, so it's not a large haul.

With the relative successes of Zomtober and 'Go Sober!' I thought I'd treat myself to some of the money the latter saved me so went out and got me a survivor's gang.

These, of course, are Hasslefree Miniatures post-apoc version of Mystery Inc - hopefully should be fun to paint. 

While in this self-congratulatory mood I also treated myself to David Manley's White Bear, Red Sun - his mini campaign covering the Russo-Japanese War, which I blogged about when they were published back in early October

Since then, Topside Minis have released their Tsushima range and David announced yesterday that his supplement covering the naval side of the Spanish American War is now available.  Both are high on my list for my next splurge of retail therapy.

For some years now Bob Murch at Pulp Figures has been producing a figure to raise money for Movember (his giving page is still open).  For the first time these have been easily available in the UK , with North Star carrying masses of Bob's ranges, so I took the opportunity to pick up previous years' figures (this year's didn't appeal to me).  As you can see, these are really great figures, full of character.

Misc Stuff

28mm  mini for scale

A really lucky find was this semi-flat Doughboy that I picked up very cheaply in a charity shop.

Yesterday, I went for a mooch around some of the 'antique' shops in town (as a antidote to Christmas shopping).  I was lucky enough to find this:-

Seems to be complete...
For those interested, the write-up on BoardGame Geek can be seen here.  A few months ago I'd seen a copy of L'Attaque, the land equivalent, and had been half kicking myself for not picking one up. 

Friday, 27 October 2017

Sober for October!

Well, I'm in the final stretch of my sober for October challenge, raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support   Thank you everyone for your support.   If you feel able to, please give me a boost by making a donation - the price of a pint of beer sounds reasonable. 

Donations can be made at my giving page.  Cheers!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

No Zomtober This Week - But Noggin!

I doubt very much whether I'll be posting anything for Zomtober this weekend. 

I have done any painting this week, and I'm feeling so awful at the moment I can see any being done over the weekend.

On the bright side, there is a rather nice Kickstarter going on, which may warm the cockles of the heart of anyone who was in the UK during the late 60s and 70s.

Yes, it's Noggin the Nog!

Sadly, given the above-stated 'feeling so awful' situation, my immediate thoughts were on the grumpy side of negative:

  • There's no mention of the IP rights in the 'Risks' section.  Edit:  I've just re-read the preamble, and is says they've got a licence from the Postgate sons.  So - Yay!
  • At £20.00 for a blister of four figures or £60.00 for all 16 figures, it is very expensive

If you aren''t as grumpy as I am, go and have a look at it here - a month left to run and already fully-funded.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Zomtober '17 - Week 3 (in Week 4!)

To comply with the not-very-demanding Zomtober rules, these should really have been posted yesterday.  I'm sorry about that - they just weren't ready.

As a bit of compensation, I can offer no less that four (yes, that's right, four!) Zeds instead of the one-a-week I'm managed so far during the month.

And what a bunch they are.  Warlord Miniatures' again, and I'm beginning to warm to them a little. 

It's hard to tell from these photos (or on the table really), but I've attempted my first lady zombie.  This was done by the simple expedience of sticking a head from the female sprue onto one of the male torsos.  It's an interesting head - half the face has been eaten away to reveal the skull, but I don't know if you can see that from the photo.

As promised , I thought I'd try blue scrubs rather than last week's green ones.  I prefer the blue as they stand out more on the table: what do you think?  It is. of course the same body.  As with all these zombies, I've perhaps gone OTT on grunging her up. 

Halloween Sale!

I dare say we'll get quite a few of these as the month comes on, but Hasslefree Miniatures has beaten the rush by announcing 20% off orders for the rest of the month (which won't be shipped until the beginning of November).  They of course do some rather nice zombies and survivors.

Friday, 13 October 2017

"Chap(s) With the Wings" and Dwarves

Jenkins is going to need more than five rounds!
I saw these the other day in a charity shop and, although I haven't got an immediate use for them, they must be useful for something.  Right?  Statues, living or otherwise.

It a set from Past Times, apparently a 'Gothic form' of noughts and crosses (tic-tac-toe for those of you on t'other side of Atlantic) made of resin.  It provides ten gargoyles of two slightly different designs.  Only one is broken.


In other news, Northstar Miniatures are taking pre-orders from today for their 'Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age' dwarves (with goblins, men and elves to come and a promise of other races).  You probably know all about this, as they have been trailing their coat for some months, but
Oathmark is a mass-battle fantasy wargame in which players command armies of dwarves, elves, goblins, and men, and campaign to expand their realms and secure the loyalty of those they conquer. Oathmark allows players to field the fantasy army they have always wanted, whether a company of stalwart dwarves or a mixed force with proud elves and wild goblins standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the battle line.
The rules are being written by Joe McCullough, of Frostgrave fame, and published by Osprey Games.  The miniatures (which we are told will be compatible with Frostgrave minis) are sculpted by Bob Naismith.

Joe McC's post
Review of Dwarves
Preview of Goblins
Northstar's Oathmark page

Metal Dwarf Wizard (or Frostgrave Raven Master?)
I doubt whether I'll go for the game, but I do have a soft spot nicely sculpted dwarves.  Northstar has done the rank-and-file in plastic (a box gives you enough to build 30) with 'character figures' in metal.  Sounds a good approach.  Pre-orders are a bit cheaper and come with bonus figures.

Metal Dwarf King

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Hobbit on the Shelf

OK, before I start I'll admit that this is really a) a post about nothing and, b) a very First World Problem.  Be prepared to snort in disgust and think "What is he complaining about?!".  But you should have realised before now that I prefer to blog about trivia rather than the real problems of the world!

This is why I frequent charity shops!
A lucky find last week of a couple of Christopher Tolkien's books in a charity shop caused something of a storage crisis.

First some context.  When My Wife and I moved in to live together we faced the problem of how to merge our books.  I'm led to believe that this isn't an uncommon stumbling-block - rather akin to the shock at finding one's wife squeezes the toothpaste tube from the middle(!)  or the fact that I eat my boiled egg from the wrong end.*  The problem was that I like to arrange fiction alphabetically and non-fiction by subject, whereas My Wife prefers the serendipity of the 'as found' approach.**  I won't bother going into the story of how we resolved this (partly because it's so trivial that I can't remember).  Enough to stay that we have a storage problem when it comes to books.  Shelves are double- or triple-staked and have volumes lying flat upon the tops of the standing ones.

*As we all know, literary wars have been fought over such things.
**Paradoxically, She trained as a librarian and I as an archivist. 

Occasionally, we try to rationalise things (and sometimes even get rid of books!), and the purchase of the volumes of 'The History of Middle Earth' prompted me to do so with the Tolkiens.  Since the last sort-out, some Tolkien and books about Tolkien have been downstairs on the fiction shelves (between Thynne and Tolstoy obviously) and others have been on my bedside pile (apparently bookshelves in the bedroom spoil 'sleep hygiene', so we compromise by having books piled around instead).

This was not satisfactory!  

Tolkien is now consolidated on has his own shelf (except for his writings on Middle English, which are wherever My Love keeps her books on Medieval Lit).

Not much room for expansion...

See?  I told you this was a blog post about nowt.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Zomtober '17: Week 3 - WIP

A WIP post for Zombtober. Not for today - because today has been crap - but for yesterday.

So, I spent a little time de-spruing and assembling some Zombs.  I got a half-dozen done before the inevitable meeting between craft knife and index finger.  Fortunately, I had some superglue on hand.

Tomorrow they *might* get primed, which would give me a dozen to play with before the end of Week 3 on Sunday.  What's the betting I only have one complete yet again?

Again, these are Zombs from Warlord Game's Project Z.   I must admit to being somewhat disappointed that the Zombie Horde expansion pack merely duplicates the sprues in the core box.  Am I naive in this?  I'm not terribly fond of the female figures (both Zombs and survivors), who are all a bit tits and ass for my liking - but again, that's probably just me being picky.

Blogging Schedule

If things go to plan, you should see the following posts this week.  But who knows, something exciting might happen to mix everything up!

Thursday - JRRT books
Friday - Dwarves and gargoyles
Saturday - Paint table
Sunday - Zomtober

Monday, 9 October 2017

Royals in Medals Update: The Wessexes (Again)

The main 'Royals in Medals' page for the Earl and Countess of Wessex is here.

As the Wessexes are currently the Queen's go-to couple for foreign engagements, they are picking up several foreign commemoratives that may prove tricky to identify in future - though most will only have permission to wear at functions relating to appropriate nation.

We have already covered one such, which turned out to be either commemorative for enthronement  of Prince Albert of Monaco in  2005, or his July 2011 wedding.

Another appears to have been awarded to both the Earl and Countess last week, when they attended the celebrations of the Sultan of Brunei's Golden Jubilee. 

The Earl attended the Silver Jubilee ceremonies 25 years ago, and wears the Silver Jubilee Medal at the end of his rack.  As some stage (which I missed), he was also awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration, as was the Countess.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Zomtober '17: Week 2

Slow progress this Zomtober, but I've met the criteria of having at least one zombie or survivor to show each Sunday.

I'm not sure whether it's clear given the poor quality of the photos, but this chap (another of Warlord's) is wearing medical scrubs.  They're not as shiny in real life as the photos, but I still think that the next one I do will be in blue rather than this green.

More zombs next week...

Friday, 6 October 2017

Russo-Japanese War

This just received from Long Face Games (AKA David Manley)
Released today from Long Face Games, White Bear, Red Sun is a mini campaign covering the Russo Japanese War from the initial surprise attack on Port Arthur through to Tsushima and beyond. 
Also included is a brief history of the naval campaign and the “Broadside and Salvo” fast play pre-dreadnought rules and a complete set of ship data for the rules allowing the campaign to be fought out over a weekend or a few club nights. As well as the main 48 page book in PDF format there are additional files with A4 and A3 versions of the campaign map, sea area control counters and ship record counters for both sides for use with the campaign system. 
All for the princely sum of £7.50
This seems an excellent bargain, especially as the promised release of Topside Minis Tsushima Set is soon..

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Zomtober '17: Week 1

 Well, the Zomtober rules requiring submissions on Sundays in the month, Week 1 is already on us!

I therefore present Patient Zero.... 

A businessman just back from a inspection tour of a new Asian facility for the cloning of GM battery chickens.  He developed a snuffle on the flight home...

He's one of the Warlord Project Z figures.  His other arm's somewhere between the shed (where I primed him) and my painting table.

My first bash at a Zombie - quick and dirty.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Going Sober for October!

October is for more than painting Zombies - Macmillan Cancer Support are having a campaign to raise funds by having social drinkers think about stopping drinking.  There's some good reasons for doing this.  First, it raises money for a damn cause and, secondly, because drinking alcohol is a major cause of cancers in the general population.

Now, please excuse me while I go into "Testify!" mode.

Like most people, I know too many people who have had cancer.  In my case, both my elder brother and my mother died far too young because of it.  Macmillan Cancer Support provides help and advice to those with cancer and their dear ones.  It is a charity that campaigns for better cancer care in the UK.

I have had problems with drinking.  Although these days I would classify myself as a social drinker, in the past it has caused me a great deal of trouble.  It has cost me a degree, a job and several friendships.  I have had health problems, both physical and mental, because of it, culminating in a suicide attempt that left me in a coma for two weeks.  Breaking the habit for this month will help me stop entirely.  If I can raise awareness and money along the way, that's a good thing.

I ask for your support.  If you wish to donate to Macmillan though my giving page, I would be grateful.

If drinking ins't your vice, there's also Stoptober - the NHS campaign to encourage people to stop smoking.

Paint Table Saturday: Zom 1

Nothing terribly exciting here - just a little proof of life [sic].

A handful of Warlord zombies ready to be primed.  I'll talk more about them tomorrow in what should be my first Zomtober post.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Zomtober is Nigh!

With November almost upon us I've decided to participate in Zomtober - basically a joint effort by painting bloggers to get some Zombies or Survivors painted.  Details and a role-call can be found here.

I had thought that I'd leave the Project Z figures I picked up (way back in March) until this winter's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, but there's no harm in getting a head start on them.  For the Zomtober challenge I only need to do a minimum of one a week, which even I should manage!

And last night I found a tutorial on painting Z's...

Who knows, I might get a Halloween game in!

Monday, 25 September 2017

Killer AIs, Misogynists and Old Salts

I've recently been listening to a couple of Geeklyinc podcasts.

The first is then deliciously darkly comic SAYER - as the blurb says:-
SAYER is a narrative fiction podcast set on Earth’s man-made second moon, Typhon. The eponymous SAYER is a highly advanced, self-aware AI created to help acclimate new residents to their new lives, and their new employment with Ærolith Dynamics. 
I'm enjoying it a lot - witness the fact that I zoomed through 50 episodes in a couple of days (and nights!) and have been eagerly awaiting new ones.

Second, is Cthulhu & Friends.
actual play of the Call of Cthulhu tabletop roleplaying game using a modified version of the d20 ruleset.
This I'm more ambiguous about.  I want to listen to some Call of Cthulhu play or some Mythos-inspired Pulp Fiction, but the truth is that I don't find the cast very engaging.

I've thought about it, and it comes down to the fact that They Are Dicks.  I don't mind the swearing (they make a feature of it, keeping a "fuck count" which brings a penalty.  No, what it comes down to is that (despite the GM and one of the three players being women) it's deeply misogynistic.  That might be acceptable in the role-play - set in the 1950s after all - but it's in their personal interaction.  I don't like hearing women referred to as 'bitches' and all the references to 'pussy'.

So, if anyone has any recommendations for other Pulp listening, I'd be grateful.  It doesn't have to be as pure as the driven snow, but Dicks need not apply.

Salty Types

On the dead tree front I've been buying and reading some WWI naval books lately.

It's good to reignite old interests.

It's been making me think I should make some more Old Salts posts.  Last night in reading a chapter I thought on four different occasions 'Now his story would make and interesting post".

Monday, 11 September 2017

Gary Gygax, JRR Tolkien and Sid James Walk Into a Bar...

Another week, another Kickstarter...

Philip Hynes, one of the most talented sculptors in 28mm, has  launched a Kickstarter to fund the manufacture of some of his miscellaneous minis.  As the blurb says, it's an eclectic mix - figures that Phil seems to have scultpted just for the fun of it.  Despite the lack of theme (don't worry, there are more Undead Spartans promised!), they are lovely pieces and the Kickstarter is already funded.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Doctor Who Wednesday #21

Tenth Series (NS)

I really should say something about the recent series.  I don't have the energy to write a full critique (and I'm sure if you wanted one you'd be reading a different blog).  Suffice it to say that I disagree with those who say that the writers have run out of steam.  I thought that this series put up a good showing.

A few highlights:-

Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts.
A very short-lived companion it has to be said, but she made a big impression.  She acted the socks off recent companions - showing that Jenna Coleman (despite the guff about Clara Oswald being 'the impossible girl') was merely decorative.  I hope to see more of her.

Michelle Gomez as Missy.
It will be no secret to regular readers of Doctor Who Wednesdays that I am a follower of the Master.  Equally, they will not be surprised that I wasn't very impressed by John Simm's portrayal of him.  Now, I've been a fan of Michelle Gomez since 'The Book Club', and was wondering how Missy would develop with her in the role.  I wasn't disappointed.  Yes, there was comedy, but there was also menace and some ambiguity.  The interaction with the Doctor and John Simm's Master was done very well.

Constructive use of Classic Monsters.
In recent years there has been danger of the programme turning into "Doctor Who Verses the Daleks" as the old pepper-pots were seriously overused.  Daleks are best seen when they demonstrate just how powerful they are: remember Christopher Ecclestone and Billy Piper almost loosing the Earth to a solitary, damaged Dalek?  When a whole planet of the beasties can be beaten before breakfast, something is wrong.

Hot on the tail of Daleks in the 'overused villain stakes' have been Cybermen, yet the writers brilliantly turned that on its head with the reintroduction of the Mondasian Cybermen.  "World Enough and Time" was one of the best episodes we've see for ages.

Never again will I refer to these as 'the Black-

And what can you say about the Victorian Army battling Ice Warriors on Mars?  Spiffing!

Can we have Yetis and Sea Devils next?

13th Doctor

Now, as a Doctor Who fan I know that I'm supposed to have strong views about the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.  If you believe the press, the whole world is split between people who violently approve and those who violently disapprove.  Well I'm neither.

I've not seen much of Jodie Whittaker - she was good in 'Attack the Block', but that was all I've seen her in.  But I'm sure she's a fine actress.   We'll see how she does as the Doctor.

Perhaps it's because it's my nature to avoid conflict, or because I've had enough real things to get worried about in my life.  If I'm in a forum (social media) or otherwise where people are Dicks, I leave.  I really don't see much point in getting upset about a TV programme (no matter how much I enjoy it).  The truth is, some people want to make their opinion heard, whatever the subject is, and it's in the interests of the media to facilitate them.  I'm not interested in other people's random opinions: if there's a phone-in on the radio, I will turn it off.  There was someone who wrote in to my local paper on the matter, sounded off and then said he hadn't watched the programme since William Hartnell's days!  On the other hand, some people feel that they have 'a stake' in the show because they are part of 'the fanbase' (whether they actually watch it or not!).  I suppose there's an argument for that, but, honestly, it's a story about a piratically immortal time-travelling alien - how can you say that he can't change into a woman?!

For as long as I remember the debate about the whether it was time for a black or female Doctor has been going on.  The writers had quite clearly signposted that it was going to happen.  It's been Canon for some time that an elderly, male, white Time Lord can regenerate into a younger, black female ('Day of the Doctor'), and Michelle Gomez has shown how changing the sex of a character can bring some fresh air into it.

Personally, I was secretly hoping that they would find a way for Capaldi to regenerate into Gomez!

Rant over.  I'm aware of the irony of complaining in my own personal blog about people forcing their opinions on others, but there we are!

Charity Shop Finds

I was lucky enough to find these two in the Charity Shop recently.  Although tempted to keep them, they have found their way down to Devon as my nephew's 10th birthday present.  He already had the board game (his brother pointed out that it would do for spares, good lad!), but the inflatable was put to use.

Warlord Games

In the gap between Doctor Who Wednesdays Warlord's much heralded miniatures game has come out (which just shows how long it is since I posted).  I'm sure there are plenty of the dreaded unboxing videos and on-line reviews out there, but I'm afraid I can't add anything to them.  Because I haven't been around any forums, I don't even know what kind of reception it has received.

I downloaded the free pdf rulebook, but have barely glanced at it.
Now I have a quandary.  I have a £10.00 voucher for Warlord products that expires on 6 August.  Do I buy the core set, which gives me a hard copy of the rules (which I assume I don't really need), twelve Daleks and twelve Cybermen (which I certainly don't need) and various cards, markers etc?  Even at £25.00 that seems a lot of stuff I don't need.  Or do I dip my toe in and get (say) three Sea Devils for £1.99 plus postage?  Certainly, I won't be paying £11.99 for them!
The above was written some time ago.  When I eventually attempted the use the voucher it wouldn't work on their Dr Who material.  I sent an e-mail asking whether the Who stuff was included in the offer and Warlord replied (after a week) that they it wasn't and that they weren't minded to include in in any offers.

Gratuitous Sara-Jane Smith Photo

"There's a little something on your back.."

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