Thursday, 26 May 2016

Star Wars Rebel Squadrons

My collection of Star Wars miniatures has been growing slowly mostly down to me being broke.  However, now I'm working I feel I can treat myself to adding to my force because why have one of something when two is better and three or more is better still.  This probably counts as a wargamers mantra, along with oh look shiny!

Besides, this is a game I actually get to play, so I have actual motivation to keep adding to my force.  Though my recent X-wing purchases have been for my Godson and his sister who are both big Star Wars fans and who enjoy playing the game when I go and visit them.  We fly around the board making pew-pew noises and complaining about Dodgey Luke getting all the luck.

Anyway, my plan is get another two more X-wings and then re-touch the paint to make them look like the six main Red squadron craft at the Battle of Yavin.  I have compiled shots of the studio models and will do just enough re-touching to hint at each of the named pilots.

While we don't see A- and B-wings in the original film they are, I believe, canonically supposed to have been there, just off screen, lurking or something.

The Y-wings are of course for my Gold squadron.  Again some minor paint changes will be made to make them look more like what we see on screen.  It took me forever to realize that the markings on the top of the cockpit meant: one stripe for Gold Two and two stripes for Gold Three – dividing the band into two and three stripes and the Y-wing without a stripe was Gold leader.

At some future point, when finances allow, the Fantasy Flight Games Rebel Aces set with the different paint schemes for the A-wing and B-wing will be acquired.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Some More Thoughts on Archery

Left to right: Rowan, Richard, Kevin, Vicky, Susan and me.

On the Bank Holiday Monday I shot in my first one day event at my club's St George's Day Shoot.

On Saturday we had gone to practice as usual, and the weather was perfect.  I had a new set of limbs and arrow heads (heavier to make my arrows flex more the riser and then fly straighter).  I changed my sight settings to compensate for all the changes and was shooting really well during the morning's practice session.

I was optimistic that on Monday I would rock.

Admire my awesome carbon limbs.

On Sunday I lovingly hand waxed my new string for Monday's shoot. Monday the weather forecast was for rain later and the day was cloudy with lots of wind.

I'm shooting what is called a short Western, this is where one shoots three dozen at arrows at 50 yards, then move the target to 40 yards and repeat, and finally pulling it back to 30 yards for  shooting the final three dozen arrows.

Not allowed to wear combats during a competition, so leggings and a skirt.

Before we began the competition we got to shoot six sighting arrows.  All mine fly over the target and I have to reset my sight based on nothing more than my best guess, which isn't much to go on.  The wind is making the arrows fly all over the place and my dream of rocking in the competition disappeared in a gust of wind.

Then the sun came out to play.

So I took layers off as I was getting hot and bothered.  Then the sun went back in and the wind chill cut in.  Just look at those grey clouds in the picture below.

Look at my pigtails flying in the wind.

I was shooting at one butt with Susan and Rowan, a new archery friend, and here's our arrows at the end of the tournament.

By this point the target was 30 yards.

My score sheet is below.

That poor first round killed my chances of coming anything but last.  I had fun, but I was a bit disappointed.

The following Saturday the day was glorious and I had to take my leggings and extra layers off because I was so hot.  If only the competition shoot could have been so nice.  However, I still didn't manage to match my shooting consistency with that of the first Saturday with the new limbs, partly down to having to reset the sight and the change from the new high performance string affecting everything.

Me trying out Susan's 24 lb bow, which I could barely manage to draw only a month or so ago.

What I learnt, and this is the RPG/wargaming relevant content part of the post, is that wind will bugger your chances of making a shot, and that even small changes to your bow and arrows can have a big impact on your shooting.

Monday, 9 May 2016

An Update

I had planned on doing a late May the Fourth post last week but...

I meant to post a piece last week but on Friday I started having problems saving off some pictures I had processed and was unable to compile the image stack.  So, it wasn't until Saturday morning, after leaving said images to be processed on the computer overnight that I realized what the problem was.  I'd run out of space on my hard drive, which given I have 500GBs came as a bit of a shock.

However, the problem was that I had been saving images off onto my smaller partition, which I keep for my work, rather than the random stuff I decide to download off the net.

Given that each RAW file is approximately 16 MBs and each process TIFF file is 48MBs, and a stack consists of 25 images you can see how a partition might fill up.  I also realized that saving off the process TIFF images was taking up too much storage space.  So Sunday I spent the majority of the day reorganizing my hard drive, deleting extraneous TIFF files and doing a complete new back-up of my system.

Normal service will now be resumed.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Snowshill Manor: Additional Picture Added

We were away last weekend visiting the delightful Bourton-on-the-Water, which my friends described as a town, but it felt more like a village to me given that I've lived in London now for twenty years.  Among the other things we did while there we visited Snowshill Manor, which houses the collection of the late Charles Paget Wade.

Of interest for wargamers is the rather nice collection of Samurai armour, suits and weapons ranging from 1500 up to 1800 that were bought for the collection (allegedly larger than the British Museum's collection).  Be warned though there's only one room and it is almost pitch black, which makes it challenging to take pictures as flash is not allowed.

Also of interest is the small amount of arms and armour that is in the main hall.  All arranged for the aesthetics rather than on the basis of showing any historical development.  I managed not to take a picture of the two rather nice rapiers hung on the wall to the left of the picture below.  Partly down to struggling to cope with the lighting levels, which were appallingly difficult.

I, unsurprisingly really, managed to flummox the attendant with my knowledge of Landsknecht swords.  Trivial for a wargamer.  Thinking about it, Mr. Wade would have fitted right in with most wargamers as he clearly was a man who went oh look shiny I must have it.

And after posting this my beloved sent me her picture of the rapiers I saw on the other wall.

This was taken with her Nikon D800.  Enjoy.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

North American Combine Infantry WIP

I took some shots of my Combine infantry that I need to finish.  The above image used my E-M5MkII focus bracketing feature, which meant the camera took 25 pictures starting at the front and moving back adjusting the focus point.  Clever huh?

A close up of my work in progress, which made me want to finish them off.  So guess what I've been doing?

Extreme close-up of the three man squad: 8mm tall don't forget.

Likewise the two man squad.

And lastly the single figure representing a six man squad in the game.  These pictures are all full size crops from original image: as in no zooming in; the picture I took was really that big.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Nihon Mark 4 Ogre WIP

I need to finish this off but here's a work in progress shot.  This is another 16 megapixel focus stack shot, which gets everything into focus and shows up every bit of dirt and defect of the work in progress.

One problem of not keeping on top of projects is that paints dry out, and in this case the blue I was using had.  I tried getting a matching colour from Vallejo in their dropper bottles but it's not quite right.  So there will have to be an order made over the internet as my local shop no longer stocks the full range of the Miniature Paints brand.

Also, since I was given those lovely sets with more Ogre/GEV miniatures I thought a Mark 3 in the same colours to match my Mark 4 would be good. Proving once gain, that tendency of wargamers to paint more armies.  Perhaps we should start Wargamers Anonymous: I am an toy soldier addict and it's been three weeks since I started a new army etc.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

16 Megapixel Wide Angle Stack

When I was out the other day with my partner shopping in the West End we happened to go in the Halls of Mammon, more commonly known as Selfridges department store.  Initially this was to have a coffee break and use their facilities, but ended up in our wandering around for a bit looking at kitchen utensils when we found the photography department.

It impressed us.  Not the prices, as they were for the most part full retail, but because they had a pretty full selection of all the major brands on cameras: Nikon, Leica, Hasselblad, Sony, Canon, Fuji, Panasonic, Tamron lenses, Manfrotto tripods and Olympus cameras plus other things like accessories.  All in all a one stop shop for the photography enthusiast.

I of course was drawn the the Olympus section while my beloved nosed around the Nikon cameras and lenses.  Afterwards we had quite a lengthy discussion on the various lenses we had seen; the Olympus ones in particular we had only seen pictures of on the internet.  My question being around wide-angles and whether one should get a prime or a zoom.  I quite fancy, as in I'm saving up for, the F2 20mm wide angle but I'm also very tempted by the 7-14mm F2.8 zoom that Olympus offer.

Today's post is a test of the assumptions we discussed on our walk.  Would a picture taken with a wide-angle zoom be of a good enough quality?  Now I don't have the 7-14mm but I do have the 14-42mm pancake zoom that Olympus make.  It's considered a kit lens: as in an all round cheap zoom, and I haven't seen a thorough review of it done by DXOMark, which is not that unsurprising really as by their standards it is cheap and cheerful.

I'll let you all be the judge but I have to say that I was surprised and impressed by the results.

The colours are slightly different because these were taken under artificial light and I obviously didn't adjust the pictures to match.

You can compare these with the shots I took with my 60mm macro here.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Archery Progress

I'm still doing the archery and I'm now shooting at 50 yards, which was a big thing as when I first tried to shoot at 40 yards I could barely hit the butt, let alone get a decent group on the target.  Not that I'm doing much better with regards to getting groups, but I am getting my arrows mostly onto the butt, except when I don't – down to inconsistent form i.e. draw length, posture, and release.

As you can see the weather was fine, which was a first and I'm really looking forward to being outdoors in the nicer weather.  I also got to try out my partner's bow and hated it.  It felt wrong in my hands, which is not that surprising when comparing the pull weights.  Mine is 18 pounds, hers 24 pounds.  It makes a big difference, and in RPG if a character were to pick up a bow for example, I would make them role at a disadvantage to hit until they got used to it (mandatory wargaming content).

This week I had a total wobble moment when Sailesh, my coach, told me to set my sight arm out to the maximum length after we finished shooting four dozen arrows at 50 yards for the next round of shooting at 40 yards.  The reason being I couldn't for the life of me understand how I was now able to reach 40 yards with the arm so far forward and the answer of, it changes your sight picture just did my noodle in.

Susan and I discussed it later and went through how the length of the arm has less effect on the angle of the shot as compared to moving the sight post up and down.  That and the fact that after four months my form has improved but I hadn't realised it until I changed my sight.  Oh well, live and learn.

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