Friday, 8 September 2017

Reflections & Musings


 

The last couple of months I've been out and about, mostly doing archery, and having fun in the sun.  I know, I know, not the typical wargamer pursuit.  I've also been taking the time to read a bunch of books from my to be read pile.  I've been putting up reviews over on my writing blog.

I picked-up a golden oldie, Larry Bond's Cauldron, which I've just finished reading, a story that runs to nearly 700 pages, which has given me lots of ideas.  But, more importantly as a writer, it gave me pause for thought about story presentation.  Things like staring in media res, in the middle of the action, or in this case not so much.  Cauldron is definitely a slow burn novel with occasional flashes of action to spice up the plot.

Of course the book is a bit dated, being written in 1993, set in 1997.  It's a yesterday's future of tomorrow, which despite being wildly out on its predictions, still manages to be relevant to today's political turmoil.  And by that I mean Brexit, and what that means for the future of Europe.

If you haven't read Cauldron I can recommend it, there are some nice ideas for post Cold War gone hot scenarios with Franco-German attackers facing Polish and Hungarian defenders, with the aid of American and British forces.  Maybe not totally plausible, as I find it hard to imagine the Germans going on the offensive with the French, but if you roll with it there's a lot of fun to be had.

Besides reading, I've been thinking.

Mostly around what needs to be done to lick my novels into shape.  This has been a bit of a slog, and at one point I was pretty sick and tired of my trilogy.  However, as I get closer to finishing the third book to go out to Beta readers, revise the second after been through the Beta readers, I have found myself looking forward to starting the next book in the series.

Shock, horror, probe I was lying in my bath listening to the soundtrack to the first Conan movie and ideas for two scenes just came to me.  Just like that.  Ideas for a mission to set the characters against formed, but whilst I have a theme, or more correctly I have some themes I can choose from, the plot as such remains elusive.

Got to have a plot, so I'm thinking about that.

This is long way of saying that post here will be a bit thin until I find some time between tapping on the keyboard to paint stuff.  Don't worry I'm not abandoning the blog, if for the simple reason my own setting generates ideas for making forces, which I then have to make and paint.  And I have so much stuff to make and paint.
  

Friday, 25 August 2017

Spartan Games: Game Over Man

  
 

Shocking news, Spartan Games are going out of business.  As an outsider they always seemed to be doing so well, what with the Halo game and all.  But reading the announcement here, it's obvious they over extended themselves.  I quote what I  think is the relevant section:
However, despite this it continued to encounter challenging trading conditions and it became clear this month that the company could not continue to service its liabilities, particularly given the burden imposed by the amounts owing to finance companies.
So that's three of their lines going down plus the 15mm Halo game.  And I was only looking at the Halo stuff the other week thinking about what might be useful to buy for my own gaming needs.

I wish all the staff the  very best in this difficult time for them.
  

Friday, 18 August 2017

Gencon BattleTech

  

Over on the BattleTech Facebook page there is announcement about new products from Catalyst Games.  I pulled these four pictures from their post to spread the word.  The one above shows the new box set that will have eight mechs; new plastic designs.  What is of interest to me is the return of William H. Keith to the BattleTech fold with fiction by him called the Golden Rule.

Colour me impressed, as he's my favourite BattleTech author because he had a vision of the universe that resonated with me.  In fact at one point I seriously thought about writing a fan fiction novel based on his Gray Death trilogy, but based from the other side, seeing the story through the eyes of Duke Ricol and his subordinates.

You can read a scene I wrote here.

The back of the box lists the contents.


Next up is a beginners box set with only two mechs at slightly less that half the price of the big box.


I think this is a pretty astute marketing move as $60 is a pretty big chunk of change to slap down for a game.

And the last shot is of the contents.


I'm not quite sure where I stand on buying these for myself, because truly I have more mechs stacked away for a rainy day than you can shake a big stick at.  But I hope I can get a copy of the fiction book, because I'm a big fan of Keith's writing.
  

Friday, 11 August 2017

On My Work Bench



When I'm not out shooting pointy sticks at round things (you've seen the post on archery I did earlier) I've been using Milliput to make a new part for my RAFM Cheetah.  While waiting for the Milliput to harden I thought to distract myself with something else, as I just wanted to sit at my bench and fiddle with stuff. 

I could've done some painting, but conditions are not ideal as the summer heat makes the paint dry faster, which I find rather annoying.  My excuse, and I'm sticking to it!

Anyway, I delved into my stash of Heavy Gear miniatures, and sorted out all the pieces to convert them into combat armour for use in my own Bad Dog universe setting.  So, the above picture shows two combat armour suits nearly finished being assembles, and five more with all the parts sorted out for me to proceed to the next stage.

It was fun, even if it was a distraction from finishing other projects.  A wargamers curse of unfinished projects that build up from being distracted by shiny things.
  

Monday, 31 July 2017

Archery Update


Me with members of my club shooting at a competition together, and clearly we are the rabble because none of us are wearing club shirts (left-to-right, Reg, Tom, me, and Lazlo).

It has been a year since I did the last post here on archery, and it has been an interesting year of shooting that would probably bore you all to tears if I went into the finer details of how to shoot an arrow.

I have not only achieved my first class archery award, but also bowman, which is as high as I can go unless I start attending record status shoots.  Quite frankly I'm not sure I have the energy and commitment to do this.  For a start it would mean travelling around the country to get to enough events to be able to shoot three or more rounds, while getting enough points to qualify, and then having to do it all again the next year.

Also, I have had to change my arrows again because my draw length increased.  The nice arrows I had borrowed from my beloved had become too short for me, and as a consequence hazardous to use–accidents can happen if you pull the arrow off the rest and let it loose. The longer arrows we had to hand are too stiff for me, and as a result my scores have dropped precipitously because I've lost confidence in them.

After much deliberation and worry an order was placed with Merlin Archery, and in due course the package arrived with the parts to make up a  set of ten arrows.  My first ever set of brand new arrows that I've bought, which are not hand-me-downs or secondhand acquisitions.

Thirty inches long, they're like rails that go on forever.
  
Having now used them, and with help from Sailesh, my club coach, I've been able to tune my bow to match them and I'm hopeful I will be able to improve my scores.
   

Friday, 21 July 2017

RAFM Cheetah WIP



This is picture is of the pre-loved and slightly tatty Cheetah I got off eBay, which was sans butt-plate.  As luck would have it I could find no pictures on the web of the Cheetah taken from the rear.  Fortunately, I have friends who have complete Cheetahs to send me pictures of what the butt-plate should look like.

However, as luck would have it–or not, as luck only involved winning an eBay listing–I managed to buy a Whitecat.  This has the same V-motor butt-plate as the Cheetah, so I am now using this as a template to fabricate a replacement for my model.


I started by bending up a bit of wire to make a frame for the Milliput butt-plate.  Then I added the Milliput and moulded it into the rough shape I needed.  Still a bit of shaping and carving yet to do, but it has been far too nice to be sitting indoors making toy soldiers to finish the job.

And here's the cleaned up Cheetah awaiting assembly.

   
So, more updates to come, but now it's time to go off and shoot pointy sticks at round things: archery being lots more fun to do when the weather is nice.
  

Friday, 14 July 2017

Hammers & Nails

  
 

I caught a link to a YouTube video, which I happened to have time to watch, which is not normally the case, where it ended by asking the following question:

"At what point do you want to become an advocate and a demo person for the game, for very little to no benefit?"

It's a good question, been there and done that too.  My answer is–it depends.

What interested me about the future of Wargaming Demo Teams piece was that any answer will also depend on where you come from.  Clearly the person who is discussing this comes from a different place from me, as do a large number of the commentators who left their opinions on the video

My impression is that most think one should be paid for hours demonstrating a manufacturers game, with the details of the payment being up to the company.  Ultimately, it's a decision the demonstrators makes if they agree to the company's offer.

A separate question of does this make the person who is demonstrating a game an employee,  is probably subject to what classes as employment under the law of the land.

My question is, when did it become an expectation to be paid to do a hobby?  Because for the life of me a hobby is something you do for fun rather than it being work, because work is not spelt F.U.N. Call me an old fogey.  And yes I've been a demo agent and got perks for demoing games for the company, but I did it not for the perks, but because I loved the game I was demoing.

And as for the perks, quite frankly not worth the time and effort I put into preparing the games, and at one level were a total insult since the terms and conditions of said perks meant I largely had nothing I wanted to use them on.

I consoled myself that it encouraged me to do something I already enjoyed.  And the the company decided that they didn't want me to demo games with the miniatures I had, I stopped.  No regrets, despite some gnashing of teeth over what I see as the shortsightedness of the decision.

But you know, not once did it even cross my mind that I was an employee of the company.
   

Friday, 23 June 2017

RAFM Mambas



Until recently I only had two Mambas.  One a brawler variant and the other was less than complete: no head and engine.  Now I have two more: a Black Mamba and a Snake Eye Mamba.  So, it looks like I have the elements of support squad.

Having taken the above pictures, because pictures are proof, you will have to take it on trust that I find I now have a shoe box size box full of Heavy Gear miniatures.  I am blessed, and clearly going to live forever, because that's how long it will take me to assemble and paint all of my acquisitions at the rate I work.

PS: It has been hot this week and I've felt drained by the heat, which must be a sign of something, like the need to be on a beach enjoying the sun, going for a swim in the cool sea, and afterwards having a cool drink.
  

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