31 August 2007

Twenty-one Space Marines arrived in the mail for me today! Yay!
I went to Wal-Mart last night to purchase an Optimus Prime Transformer. I've wanted one ever since I was a kid, but I've never actually had one. Most of the Optimus Prime figures they've released recently have been too pricey for me, but a couple of weeks ago Wal-Mart put one on the shelf for only $20. So yesterday I went to get one and the display they had been on the day before that was covered in tiny plush dogs and cats. I looked in the toy aisles and found every Transformer except the $20 Optimus Prime. They had a $40 Optimus Prime and a $70 Optimus Prime and a $90 Optimus Prime, but no $20 Optimus Prime. That was disappointing. So I bought this instead. It doesn't make up for the fact that after 20-some years I still don't have an Optimus Prime figure, but at least it's a tribute to one of the greatest non-animated (although he did have a cartoon, as well) pop culture heroes my generation has ever seen. I also picked up some more WoW cards and a couple of steaks. My wife woke up while I was cooking the steaks, so I had to share them with her.
I am having a hard time getting into painting these Orcs. I'll get over the painting slump at some point. I think my biggest problem is that the sculpts are not very distinct at certain points as to where the armor ends and the skin begins. I end up having to draw a line where I think it looks okay. Actually, I think my real biggest problem is laziness.
I've been looking through the latest issue of White Dwarf. I'm not too big on the whole Chaos Space Marines thing that's going on right now with the release of the new army book and miniatures, but I usually find something interesting in every issue. I like the battle reports and I often go back through my old issues to find painting tips. They've had some good articles on skin tones, corroded metals, and a whole section devoted to painting the Giant that really helped me out when I was painting mine.
Depending on how late I work tonight I'm going to start rebuilding the list of figures I need for my WWII project. I'm still pretty sure I want to do the 6mm thing, but sometimes I look at those tiny figures and wonder how the heck I'm going to paint them. I could go with 15mm, but space is an issue. With 6mm the largest space I would need for the Skirmish Campaigns scenarios is 2' x 4'. If I go with 15mm, I'll need to find a 4' x 8' space to play, and there really aren't a lot of spaces that large in our trailer.

30 August 2007

I did a very little bit more painting on the Orcs tonight, and I should be done with the skin basecoat by early October at the earliest. Then I can move on to highlighting the skin and painting everything else.
My wife is getting a sewing machine for her birthday, and tonight she asked me what I want for my birthday. There is a world of possibility opening up to me as I think about all of the possibilities. Assuming that my birthday budget is roughly equal to her sewing machine budget, there are a number of things I could ask for. I could finish my Skaven army off and have some money left over for a few more Orcs. I could buy a fair number of Space Marines. I could buy a Foundry Horde (Pirates, Old West, or maybe Gladiators). Or I could purchase most, if not all, of the miniatures I need for my WWII Eastern Front 6mm Skirmish project. At the moment the WWII project seems most exciting, as I can pick up Games Workshop stuff pretty much any time I have a little cash. The Foundry Hordes are neat, but I should really wait for a big sale where I can hopefully get two Hordes for the price of one or some such.
The WWII minis excite me on several levels. Part of it is nostalgia. My first exposure to the world of miniature wargaming was in third grade when I checked a book out of the school library entitled "Miniature Wargaming." It was part of one of those series for kids that feature a variety of short books detailing different hobbies. I have tried with no success to locate this book, and I suspect it is long out of print and forgotten. In the back of the book was the address for GHQ Miniatures, and I sent them a letter requesting a catalog. The catalog was a booklet containing several pages of product codes and short descriptions divided up by time period and country. At the top of each page there were pictures of some of the models. I went through the catalog and highlighted all of the miniatures I wanted to buy. As I read history books or came across photos of vehicles that looked neat, I would go back to my catalog to see if GHQ produced them. Soon there were very few models in the catalog that weren't highlighted. I ordered another catalog, and this new catalog was the same format as the last, but featured new pictures at the top of the pages and several new vehicle listings, which I promptly highlighted. Over the next several years I repeated the process of ordering and highlighting the GHQ catalogs.
At some point in my teens I went to the local Hobbytown and saw some Micro Armour packs hanging on the pegs. I ran over with great excitement to find a bunch of M113s and engineer vehicles. What a letdown. Those packs are still hanging on the pegs at Hobbytown, in a forgotten corner by the model rockets.
What all this leads up to is that I have a long personal history with GHQ, even though I have never actually made a miniatures purchase from them. I would like to change that by purchasing the forces for my WWII project. My only problem with that is that I will have the minis, but lack the reference materials for painting the figures and the terrain materials for playing the scenarios. I suspect that I can find decent enough painting references online and make due with makeshift terrain until I build up my collection, but as I am playing the WWII games solo with no real time constraints I want to make it all look very nice and polished, perhaps going to the extreme of building an individual terrain board for each scenario.
Unofficially I am quite attached to the WWII skirmish idea as my birthday gift, but officially I am still thinking about it.
The Spectral Tiger Epic Mount loot card has dropped from the $500-800 range to something in the $315-460 range. Still too rich for my blood, but getting to the point where I can dream of my Dwarf Hunter perched on a ghostly steed, charging across the landscape of Outland. Of course, if I actually pull the card I will feel extreme guilt if I do not either sell it on eBay or give the loot code to my wife. It is extremely likely that the loot card in our box of cards will simply be a Tabard or the Fishing Chair. And it is even more likely that our box of cards will be defective and not contain any loot cards at all. But I can dream, and in my happy place all three loot cards will be pulled from our foil packages and we will enter the codes and receive the loots that make nerd mouths water.

29 August 2007

I am nerdier than 80% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!
I worked overtime today, which has been pretty rare lately. Generally I'm lucky if I get six hours a day at work. Getting more time is good for the pocketbook, but not so good for hobbies.
Today after work all I managed to do is write down the color list for my Space Marines and start basecoating some of my Orcs. I can already see that the Orcs will take much longer than Skaven. It mostly comes down to the difference between painting fur and painting skin. For the Skaven, I could slap on a coat of brown paint, follow that with an ink wash, and I'd be done with the fur. With Orcs, I have to build up layers of various green colors, a time-consuming process. I am beginning to find the problem areas for painting the Orcs after they've already been assembled. Fortunately most of these problem areas are difficult to see unless you've got the mini at an extremely odd angle and held right up to your eye. If someone is holding one of my Orcs in that manner, I am likely to become agitated and snatch it from them before they can notice that I have not completely highlighted the small patch of skin between the Orc's arm and his side.
This Fiction Writing class that my wife and I are taking has got me a little more agitated than I would like to be. I am not a big fan of the teacher, and the students seem to be the usual mix of people that I don't care to hang around with. The scheduled reading assignments range from uninteresting to death via brain hemorrhage. But all of that is to be expected from a University English class. I am agitated by my inability to come up with an idea for my first short story. Most of the stories that I feel like telling are chopped up bits from my own life mingled with dialogue that is better-than-original because I've had time to come up with witty remarks for myself and the other people in the scene. I think my real deep-down issue is that I like to tell stories that are humorous and from the reading assignments and the attitude of the teacher, this class is more about writing "meaningful" stories about sex and substance abuse than about writing humor with no other intention than to make people smile. My initial story involved a communication breakdown between a squad of Galactic Explorers and some aliens that look very similar to bipedal llamas. Although the aliens look like South American beasts of burden, they do not speak Spanish or Portuguese, especially when these languages are butchered by a redneck NCO. But I can't come up with a good ending, so I'm trying to come up with another story idea.

28 August 2007

Painted Rat Ogre

I finished painting the Rat Ogre. He looks decent. He'd probably look a lot better if I had some real camera skills. But another box is checked, and that's what really matters here.

27 August 2007

This video was linked on The Miniatures Page the other day, and I can't stop laughing at it. It's amazing.

I started working on the partially finished Rat Ogre again. I painted some details and started repainting the bandages that cover most of his torso. The first time I painted them, they came out a little too brown and blended in with the rest of the model. Probably more realistic, but not very exciting visually. This time around I'm using the same method I used for the purity seals on the Space Marines. The bandages will probably end up looking a bit too clean, but they'll "pop" a little more on the tabletop and add some color and variety to the figure.

I also sprayed some primer on my unit of Orcs, as I am going to start working on them once this Rat Ogre is done. Once I finish all that up I'll only need 4 more figures to meet my Pledge goal. Given my variable painting speeds that could take a couple of weeks or half a year.

My wife and I had our first class back at college today. It was pretty much as I expected it to be. I think that the hours from 6 to 9 in the evening on Mondays are my new least favorite part of the week. The good news is that we only have to have twenty pages of short stories written by the end of the semester. My History class doesn't have any work this week, and the work for next week doesn't count toward a grade, so in theory thast gives me enough time to get ahead on my fiction writing. I suppose we'll see how it goes. I've got an idea that I'm working out in my mind, but I don't know if it'll write out on the paper as wonderfully as it flows in my imagination. I often seem to be lacking the words to get my ideas out in the open.

My wife unwittingly set me straight the other day. I got all excited about the WoW TCG (World of Warcraft Trading Card Game) and started looking up various championship decks online and then began to make lists and agonize over which set was the best value as far as power cards. When I went to discuss the pros and cons of the various sets with her, she said, "Well, can't we just play with whatever cards we buy?" I muttered something about competitive decks and equipment:ability:ally ratios while realizing that she was correct. You can just play with whatever cards you get from the packs. And I imagine that if everyone in our small group plays with having fun as the goal, power cards and combos don't matter all that much. I had fallen into the same attitude that I find so annoying in the Boise Warhammer group, that of the power-gamer. So I have resolved to literally play the hand I am dealt and be happy with whatever Hunter cards I get. Although I may have to buy a few Venomstrike cards, just because Scorpid pets are awesome and no Hunter should be without one.

With the announcement of D & D 4th Edition, books from 3.5 Edition are starting to pop up on auction sites at low rates. At some point I may start picking up some of the more interesting ones. From what I've heard 4th Edition sounds very interesting, but there are also rumors that the online components will be on some sort of subscription program with a monthly fee. I don't play D & D often enough to justify paying every month for the privilege of using the online tools, and it appears to me that much of the 4.0 content will be released through the various online utilities. I use the D & D books mostly for reading material, so I'll be fine with the older stuff that I can pick up on the cheap.
I meant to do some sort of painting today, but I didn't get to it. As I've only got 15 minutes before bedtime, I don't see any painting happening for the rest of the night, either. I think I'll paint up some more Skaven next, starting with a partially-done Rat Ogre. I'd like to paint up my unit of Orcs, but I haven't primed them and I haven't done much research on the painting of green skin. I planned out the Heavy Weapons for several of the Companies in my Space Marine Chapter. I'm trying to make sure I have a squad or two with each possible weapons configuration.
The rats went back to the pet store yesterday. My allergies have begun to calm down and I have regained a couple square feet of desk space where the cage used to be.
We had the TMP Fantasy Football League draft today. It went pretty well (for everyone else). I chose Peyton Manning in the first round and I think it might cause some trouble for me. Because I took him in the first round, my Running Backs aren't as good as they could be and my Wide Receivers aren't that great either. Choosing a Quarterback in the first round really messed up my drafting mojo. It could be a long season for my team. I am sitting in first place in the TMP Fantasy Baseball League standings, though, so it's not all bad. The playoffs start next week, so hopefully my regular-season success will transfer over. In last year's football league I went into the playoffs in first place and left the playoffs in sixth place, so I have a history of burning out when it really matters.

24 August 2007

As promised, here are some photos of my Space Marine half-squad. I discussed my thoughts on the painting of these figures in my last post, so I won't say much more about that.

In other news, I had a several minute brain fart today during which I could not remember if it was August 23rd or September 23rd. Normally this wouldn't matter much, but as my wife's birthday is on September 20th I was concerned that maybe her birthday had come and gone without me noticing at all. This was a very grave thought indeed, and I was glad to discover that it is still August and I have not yet missed her birthday.
Our dog Buddy has a foot fetish. He loves feet, socks, shoes, and anything that smells or tastes like a foot. All of my socks have holes in them, as Buddy is a sneaky little beggar. He will steal socks and stash them, often for days, until he feels that we are not watching him. Then he'll go to his secret hiding place, retrieve his prize, and get on with the eating of it. My wife has lost several pairs of flip-flops to his obsession. He can sense when someone nearby has exposed their foot to the air and will rush into the room to lick their toes and sniff around inside their shoes. He also eats poop. Buddy is a disturbing creature.
I am once again excited about the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. I know I am setting myself up for disappointment, but I cannot help feeling enthusiastic about the loot cards and the building of my Beast Mastery Hunter deck. There is even a card called Venomstrike that features my in-game Scorpid pet. I don't think anything could be more awesome than that, aside from being married of course (my wife reads my blog).
I pushed through the pain and finished off the Space Marines. Of course, when I grabbed the camera to take pictures the battery was dead. The spare battery, once located, was also dead. I've got a battery in the charger right now, so by the end of tonight there will be photos. The paint job on these figures is not extremely awesome, but it will do. For whatever reason I had a severe case of the shakes tonight and my paintbrush was not going exactly where I wanted it all the time. But if I really want to model a full Chapter of Space Marines I need to put off the showmanship and increase my output of boots on the ground. Quality is secondary. I need boots on the ground and checklists with checkmarks on them.
The rats are soon to be removed from the family, as my allergies have manifested themselves in a severe fashion. It is getting to the point that I can't sleep at night because of them, and no creature, especially those of the vermin type, is worth the pain and suffering. Hopefully the pet store will take them back.
I suppose I will go play some World of Warcraft while I wait on my camera battery.

23 August 2007

I made very little progress on the Space Marines tonight, as I am easily distracted and my eyes and hands were going all wonky on me. Those Claritin commercials are a joke, unless being "Claritin clear" means having a numb face and a tendency to wander around aimlessly while trying to remember what you set out to do in the first place. My wife might say that sounds pretty normal for me, but I blame the drugs. At my current pace I should be able to finish this batch of Marines by late September. There's really not a lot left to do to them, but I'm having trouble getting into it enough to go to my painting happy place and make a lot of progress. Maybe it's time for a break from painting while I spend more time on some other hobby.
My tuition assistance came through, so I guess I have to go to school this semester. I'm not especially looking forward to it. I have a hard time with school. I am taking an English writing class this semester. I enjoy writing and I used to be moderately good at it, but sometimes English classes make me want to stab myself in the face with the leg of my chair. The students and the teacher try to squeeze every last drop of meaning out of every word in a piece of literature until it becomes a contest of one-upmanship and some meaningless line about a guy who picks up an interesting-looking rock while hiking becomes a metaphor for the eternal struggle of man to sort through the mountains of knowledge and find the true pebbles of enlightenment that line the path to nirvana. Sometimes people just pick up rocks because they like rocks. Maybe I just have a poor attitude.
There are also a lot of conspiracy nuts and paranoids in your average English program. I spent all of English 102 learning nothing about English and everything about how my English teacher didn't want to check her e-mail because the government looks at you through your computer screen to find out if you're having revolutionary thoughts. In fact, there is a satellite pointed directly at the University of Idaho and it is reading all of the thoughts that go on there. I guess now the government knows that the average male at the University of Idaho spends approximately 83% of his time thinking about females. What they are going to do with that knowledge is beyond me, but they're watching all of us and brainwashing us with their "laser beams" and their internets. I love it when these folks make their crazy faces and tell you that you can't trust the man but you can trust them because they know the truth about what's going on.
Anyway, school should be interesting. I hope my English class is not too stupid and I hope I pass my History class. I'm sure excited to learn all about how the fluctuating price of bread affected the common man in the early 1800s. I was just wondering about that the other day, so I'm glad that in week 6 I'll finally have my answer.
I meant to write about something worthwhile today, but I got distracted by my English teacher's anti-government rants.

22 August 2007

I am hoping to finish my Space Marines tonight. It'll probably depend on my mood after work. My back has been acting up on me all morning, so hopefully I don't hurt it at work. I made a checklist of all 146 unpainted minis in my lead pile so I can track my progress on The Pledge. It can even be expanded to accomodate future purchases. Sometimes I think I like making lists about things even more than I like doing the things the lists are made for.

The Guard Dog

Yesterday I arrived home a little earlier than usual and didn't make a lot of noise coming into the house. When I got through the front door I was met by the sight of our Lab charging around the corner, baring her teeth and barking aggressively. She calmed down once she realized it was me, but I think that if I'd been an intruder she would have taken my leg off. It's the first time we've seen her do that, and I'm glad to see that her instinct to protect my wife has kicked in. She has been feeling much better now that we've hopefully found out what her allergy is. I have extremely bad allergies, so I know what a relief it is to be free of them even temporarily.
I have decided to do my own version of The Pledge. The Pledge is something the folks on The Miniatures Page do to help them shrink their piles of unpainted figures. While my lead pile barely makes it into the triple digits, there are folks out there with tens of thousands of unpainted figures. Anyway, for this protion of my Pledge, I plan to paint 20% of my figures before I buy anymore (unless of course a deal comes up which I cannot pass on, but that only happens every few months anyway). For me that is 29.2 figures, so I'll round it up to 30. I'll probably finish up these Space Marines and the Rat Ogre I started, then I'll move on to my unit of Orcs and a few other figures.
I went out to Wal-Mart last night looking for a couple packs of WoW cards, and for the first time since I can remember they didn't have any aside from Starter Decks. So I saved a few dollars due to Wal-Mart being sold out. I think the wife and I are going to buy some cards online this weekend and hopefully learn how to play the game passably well.
In the computer game, I only need to collect some 840 Obsidian Warbeads to get my shiny new dagger. That should probably take me up until the time the next expansion comes out and the dagger is obsolete.

No Real Desire to Play

I have this feeling off and on, and I wonder how common it is. Sometimes I think I'd really rather stay home and paint than go out and play a game. In theory I could make time once a week or so to find a Warhammer opponent and play. In fact, there is a campaign being set up in the area right now with two-week intervals between turns. But I have no real desire to go out and play a game. I've been considering my reasons for feeling that way and I've come up with a few so far.
The first reason is my general lack of social skills and really, my lack of need for companionship outside of my own little world. I am extremely self-contained as far as my ability to entertain myself as long as I've got my hobbies and internet connection.
Secondly, I don't really feel much camaraderie with the local crowd of gamers. There is a lot of emphasis on power-gaming and killer combos, which is fine if you're into that sort of thing. I'm not into that sort of thing. I ran into the same problem with the Heroclix crowd when I was buying Heroclix and playing in the weekly tournaments. I liked to put together themed teams (Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and his allies, X-Men, Animal-themed superheroes, etc.) and the other guys brought various versions of the latest power-combo team with no goal other than to win the Limited Edition figure. There wasn't much in the way of banter or commentary, just a strong focus on winning. Playing to win isn't a bad thing, but without any sort of social benefit I might as well be playing chess against a computer. So far I've experienced a similar feel to the Warhammer group.
There seems to be a very visible divide between the "old-timers" and the new guys, sort of an attitude of, "You noobs play each other and someday you can come play with the real men." No one seems to care about anything but Victory Points and building the strongest army list possible.
There is also an overabundance of Chaos armies. I can't stand Chaos armies. I don't understand the fixation on all of the intestines, mutations, and weird colors. That's just personal preference, but Chaos armies bother me on an aesthetic level.
I didn't think I would be bothered by playing against unpainted armies, but it's difficult for me to get excited about playing an unpainted (and often only partially assembled) force. I guess it goes back to focusing on the mechanics of the game rather than the aesthetics of the game. So far I have not seen a single fully painted army besides my own. Even worse is playing against units that are half bare-metal figures and half empty bases representing more figures in the unit. And these are the same guys who spend all their time on the message board bragging about how they've got four armies of 3000+ points each. Ten blocks of empty slotta-bases do not add up to many points at all in my book.
I am also concerned that if I post a challenge to the message board that the local Dwarf player will answer it. He matches much of the profiles above, but there are other reasons I am loathe to play him.
First, in every game I've ever heard of him playing, he sets up his army in the exact same way. He places all of his infantry as far back behind cover as he can and leaves them there for the duration of the game. He places all of his shooting stuff on a hill, preferably one with a cliff facing his opponent so infantry cannot get up to fight his ranged fighters. The opposing army has to move all the way across the table to the corner where his infantry is, all the while being shot at by the firing line. None of his figures ever moves. It is effective, but it is incredibly boring to play against.
Second, he is a fellow veteran in the Idaho National Guard. While we were overseas he served in the Engineer Battalion under my father in some capacity. When we played against each other, he recognized my name and couldn't wait to tell me all about the blog he wrote while he was overseas in which he personally badmouthed my dad and the other people in the Engineer Battalion's command group. I guess he was unhappy with the internet usage policy and some other policies that were in place. He then wanted to know if I'd had internet access overseas and if my dad knew about it. I told him that it was really irrelevant as we were in entirely different command chains with different policies. I don't know why he felt the need to share all of that with me. Maybe I'm socially backwards, but I don't usually start relationships by mentioning that I dislike someone's father and all of his friends.
I suppose I have been spoiled by tales on the internets of various gaming groups that get together and play games for the fun of the story and the spectacle of a table covered in fully-painted miniatures. Playing to win is important, but I don't think the win-loss column should be the main reason to get together and roll some dice. I hope that at some point I will have the opportunity to live in an area with a strong gaming group made up of like-minded individuals, whether they play Historical, Fantasy, Science Fiction, or some mix of all three with a little Pulp thrown in for good measure.
That was a bit of a rant. I probably came off a bit more harsh and judgemental than I really feel, but the power-gaming mentality really gets to me sometimes and I wanted to highlight the things that I think are important as opposed to what seems to be the emphasis locally. Aside from the dude who doesn't like my dad I tried to avoid mentioning names as I don't know these guys very well outside of their message board posts. Until I find it in my dark heart to look for a game I've got plenty of bare plastic and lead to paint, and many many armies to plan.

21 August 2007

I haven't been playing World of Warcraft much at all the last couple of months. I log in every now and then to run my Ogre-killing route and gather items to trade in for a dagger I want, but that's about it. There have been a couple of interesting announcements recently in the WoW universe. First off, Blizzard has announced the next expansion, which will bump up the level cap another ten levels and introduce a new type of character class, as well as a bunch of other new additions to the game. I would be more excited about the expansion, but I am having a hard time wanting to play. I think it's because I don't really have the time or the skills to play all of the content and rise above a certain plateau. I don't even really have the time or resources to do many 5-man or 10-man dungeons, let alone raids and whatnot. Anyway, there is a new expansion coming out in the future (no release date has been announced yet) and for the first time I'm not sure if it's even worth getting.
The second announcement involves the WoW Trading Card Game. They've finally released a loot card that is useful in the game itself. Loot cards are basically a redemption card in the game packs that lets you enter a code online to receive a special item in the computer game itself. This particular card is an epic mount called the Spectral Tiger. Basically, it's a really fast ghostly Tiger that your character can ride. It must be pretty rare, though, because the card is fetching $500-800 on eBay at the moment. But it's cool that there is an actual useful loot card in the TCG now. The screenshot of the mount on the website is awesome. Probably the land-based equivalent to a Nether Drake. It's that awesome.
I intended to finish painting my Space Marines tonight as they just need a few details and some highlighting to be finished. But I haven't felt moved to pick up the brush yet.
I've been bothered recently by a tidbit I read on a website about the daily schedule of Space Marines. I forget what website it was, but it essentially went through every little detail of the Space Marine canon, with footnotes linking to specific GW documents and the whole shebang. Anyway, the first part I read was about all of the extra organs and implants a Space Marine gets as he's being raised up in the system. One of the organs filters out poisons and basically makes the Space Marine immune to drugs and venoms. A bunch of different implants basically give the Space Marine a super-healing factor, sort of like the Wolverine character in Marvel comic books. So that's one part of the canon. Next I read through the daily schedule, which is full of battle training, reflections on the greatness of the Emperor, weapons and armor cleaning, pretty much all the usual stuff you'd expect from the superhuman soldiers of an Inquisition-type regime. But in one portion of the schedule it mentions that they receive a little free time each day during which some Chapter Masters allow the use of alcohol. How do the Space Marines get the alcohol into their systems enough to make it worthwhile? In the comics it is pretty much impossible for Wolverine to get intoxicated as his mutant healing factor filters out and neutralizes the alcohol too quickly for it to affect him. The Space Marines have the same essential system set up in their bodies, so what exactly does the alcohol do for them? Probably nothing. I know it's an obscure little factoid in an entirely fictional universe, but it's been bothering me that Games Workshop's editors let that one get through. Now it's off my chest and I can sleep easier knowing that I've shared my concerns with the world.
I've begun putting my binder together with my artwork and checklists for each squad in the Chapter. I may have to get some index tabs so I can really get this thing organized. I know it's extremely nerdy, but I go crazy over office supplies. I can't have enough. I hate writing on legal pads, but I can't buy enough of them. I'm like a junkie every time Pentel comes out with a new pen design. I have to get my fix of the new stuff. If the pocket clip on a pen or pencil gets bent out or broken off I can't use it anymore. I have to actually remove it from my home and get a new one.
Last night I purchased a binder and some paper specifically to contain the paperwork for my Space Marines. I had plenty of sheet protectors at home already, as I stockpile them when the wife isn't looking. I printed out the pictures from the Space Marine Painter and put them in the binder. At some point I will write out the paint colors I use for each unit so I don't get two years down the line and forget what colors were used for the boots. I am having that specific problem with my Skaven Plague Monks right now. I need to add an extra rank to my existing unit, and I have no idea what colors I was using in February 2006.
I came across a pretty good deal on some Space Marines on the Surplus Wargaming Yahoo! Group. I'll be getting two squads for the price of one, so soon I will have a full 1/4 of 2nd Company sitting on my desk.
I've been slowly painting away on the five Space Marines I've currently got. I've determined that yellow-colored paints hate me. It doesn't matter what I do, they always come out looking cracked and globby.
I really want to get started on my WWII Skirmish project, but at the moment I lack the startup cost to do so. Individual packs of miniatures for the project only cost around $10, whuch would be fine if a local store carried historicals, but when you have to rely on mail-order the shipping costs eat you alive unless you buy in bulk. So at the moment I'm stuck on the planning stage. There is a local shop that carries Flames of War figures, but that would require me to bump the project from Micro Armour to 15mm scale, and I really don't have room for a table that large. If played in Micro Armour scale I could fit most of the scenarios on my desktop.
I suppose I should comment a bit more on the camping trip, as generally the comment "worst trip ever" begs for some exposition. We had a hard time finding any sort of open campground in Northern Idaho, so we made a reservation for a tent site at the Wolf Lodge Campground and headed out on our vacation. The drive up was quite nice, and we stopped in Moscow for a while to see how much it's changed since we lived up there. I was sad to see that the comic shop and the local Hobbytown were both closed down. They probably went bankrupt after I moved away and took a good portion of their incomes with me.
After a perilous journey down a trail recommended by Google Maps we arrived on a road about ten feet from the Interstate. The campground was just off this road and it was crowded with RVs and an unruly mob of noisy children. The lady in the office gave us a map to our "campsite" and we drove down to see that the occupants on either side of our assigned site were crowded so far into our site that our tent wouldn't even fit there. We went back to the office and asked for another site. After a lot of persuading the lady finally gave us a different spot, which had someone's car parked on it. We angrily set up our tent on the tiny patch of lawn and went out to find some food. When we got back we went to sleep listening to the soothing sounds of the Interstate and the drunk people whose campsite was approximately 15 inches from our own.
In the morning we woke up and had breakfast, which was certainly flavorful, just not in a very good way. Apparently our camp stove has only two settings, OFF and NUCLEAR REACTOR.
We had plans to go fishing at a lake that looked fairly secluded on the map, so we threw some stuff in the car and headed out. We got stuck in the traffic jam of people lined up to go to the Silverwood theme park, but eventually got to the lake. The guy on the dock gave up on his fishing trip just as we drove up, and we didn't get so much as a nibble for the brief period of time that we fished. About an hour into it a family with a few dogs showed up and most of them started jumping around in the water which pretty much ruled out fishing. Some other guy showed up and started telling us stories about when he was 14 and caught a big fish in some other part of the state. We finally left and decided that there wasn't much going right in this trip, so maybe we'd go back to the tent parking lot and regroup. Eventually we decided to cut the trip off early and head home, with the stipulation that we would still act as though we were on vacation for the rest of the weekend. The drive back home was nice, even though we drove in the middle of the night and missed out on the scenery.
When we woke up we went out to pick up the dogs from the kennel and watched a movie together. Today we had the veterinarian experience, and after paying them $200 and being used as a doggie toilet I was in a foul mood. We had planned on going to Hobbytown today so I could pick up some more Space Marines, but I was too grouchy to make the trip and took a nap while my wife knitted. We went to dinner with my sister and her husband, and I admit that I was not very sociable.
I guess looking at it from the outside it may not appear to be an extremely bad trip, but with the anticipation going into the trip and frustration of the individual events building on each other, there wasn't a lot of relaxing and recharging going on.

20 August 2007

We went camping this weekend and it was probably the worst vacation ever. We came home early from the camping trip because we were having a terrible time. There were some plusses to the weekend, but I was in such a terrible mood that the vacation weekend wasn't very relaxing or fun at all. I think from now on I'll just save up my vacation days to cash them in every year at the spring deadline.
We took our Lab to the vet today because she's been having a recurring skin issue. Our Basset Hound got so worked up about all of us leaving without him that we decided to let him tag along and sit with me while Annie went in to get checked out by the vet. He got really nervous and started pacing back and forth and climbing up on the bench to sit in my lap. After a couple rounds of that he climbed up on my lap and stayed there. A few seconds later I felt an extremely warm, wet feeling all over my lap. Buddy had lost control of his bladder and peed all over me. I had to go sit with him in the back of our wagon until my wife and Annie were done. It probably wouldn't have been such a big deal if Buddy was a small dog, but when big dogs pee they can move some large amounts of liquid in a short period of time. If that wasn't bad enough, Annie has a food allergy and we're going to have to give her food that will pretty much double the cost of feeding our dogs.

17 August 2007

I was thinking about the idea of a miniature wargame featuring ninjas today, but I decided that it wouldn't be very fun. Ninjas are just too good at killing. There wouldn't be any sort of random table for wounds because if a ninja attacks someone, that someone will die. If a ninja is sneaking up on someone, the ninja will be invisible to that person.
Maybe if all of the ninjas in the game were equal in level to each other you could play a game that lasted more than a couple of seconds, but the ninjas would eventually fight to a stalemate and go their separate ways after exchanging respectful remarks.
If you played with ninjas of different skill levels against each other, the lower-level ninjas would all die. They might see a flicker of movement as the higher-skilled ninja began his attack from the shadows, but that would be all they saw before they were decapitated in various painful, yet silent, ways. You could argue that a large group of ninjas could take out one high-level ninja, but we've all seen the movies in which a single skilled martial artist beats up 40,000 lesser fighters without even breaking a sweat.

16 August 2007

I am still making extremely slow progress on my four Space Marines. Painting the parts on the sprue is definitely the way to go, as I've started getting wrist pain and eye fatigue trying to get to all the little spots that are clearly visible but impossible to get at with a paintbrush.
I got my G. I. Bill confirmation letter today, and hopefully my tuition assistance request goes through soon or I won't be going to school this semester.

15 August 2007

I very slowly got started on the rest of my Space Marines half-squad today. They are assembled and primed, and one of them even has a bit of basecoat on him. I am seriously considering painting the rest of the army on the sprue, as painting these guys when they're assembled is a real bear. I am still quite pleased with the way the color scheme is turning out. The main colors on the figures are (all paints are Games Workshop paints) Scorched Brown (torso, backpack, upper legs, and feet) and Catachan Green (head, shoulders, arms, and legs). I think it gives them a little more of a military feel than the bright-colored marines that seem to dominate the scene. The Command Squads will be a little more colorful as the company colors replace the browns on those figures, but the bulk of the army will be in the brown and green colors. I'm looking at using some WWII symbols from Dom's Decals for markings on the shoulders and knees, but I haven't really had a good look at what they've got yet. I'll probably have to e-mail them and see what size the various symbols are.
The wife and I are planning on going camping and fishing this weekend, but we're still not sure about the timeline and destination. If we do end up going it will be a nice break from the routine. We work different shifts, so it's not extremely often that we see each other more than two days a week. I think we're both a little burned out at the moment. Maybe upon my return I'll be energized and ready to paint some miniatures. School is starting soon as well, so I've got that to look forward to.

14 August 2007

Today between games of NCAA 08 I painted up my first Space Marine. He stands up decently to the arms-length rule, not quite so much when you look at him close up. I'm pretty happy with the way he turned out, and now I've only got some 1100 more to purchase and paint.
This particular figure is a member of 2nd Company, 2nd Squad. I've decided to start with 2nd Company, as it is the first real line unit in the Chapter. I'll end up painting some Terminator squads from 1st Company and some Scouts from 10th Company while I work on 2nd Company, but for the most part I'm going to try building up one Company at a time. As far as identification goes, the yellow on his shoulder pads, knee, and Boltgun signifies that he is in 2nd Company, and at some point I'll designate squad number and type via decals on the shoulder and knees. I had planned to buy the molded shoulderpads from Games Workshop, but at $1 apiece, I was looking at spending $2000 on shoulderpads alone. Decals are much cheaper.

At some point I need to finish my Skaven army and start on my Orcs and Goblins, but I find I work faster if I jump from project to project based on whatever I feel most excited about. I also need to start working on my pirate tavern, but I'm not sure exactly where to start with that project.

There are rumors of a Warhammer Mighty Empires campaign locally, but I don't know if my schedule will allow me to play. I'd really like a chance to play my 2250-point Skaven army and get the Dogs of War Giant out on the table. I spent two weeks painting him so he'll probably just die in the first round of shooting, but I do want him to see some action on the table.

This week I clinched a berth in the TMP Fantasy Baseball League playoffs. A playoff spot in that league is important because there is a fair-sized pile of miniatures on the line. My team has dominated for much of the season, but I ran rampant through the TMP Football League last year and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Once the playoffs start it's anybody's game. I should get a couple of Fantasy Baseball trophies this year, and hopefully the football season will be good to me. I've been enjoying my spot as the unofficial TMP Fantasy Sports Coordinator. Everyone has been quite sporting this year, and no one has given up, whuch makes for a better season all around. Even the last place team is still making roster moves and trying to beat their opponents every week.

10 August 2007

Somewhere (I think it was on The Miniatures Page) I found a link to The Bolter and Chainsword and their Space Marine Painter program. I've been using it to get the color scheme for my Space Marine Chapter all done. Here's a link to my 5th Company colors, I hope it works.
Other than that I've just been playing NCAA 08. Madden 08 releases in the next few days, but I may have to wait a while before I go pick it up.

08 August 2007

I've been hard at work with my nose stuck in the various Space Marine books, trying to come up with an organization and color scheme for my Space Marine Chapter. So far it's going well, but I have yet to get to the composition of each squad in the army. That will be roughly 100 squads, plus various HQ figures and some Dreadnoughts. They all have to have a list of equipment made, and I'm hoping to work them out so that I always have a complete squad available with the equipment I need so I won't have to have units made up of figures from different squads. Hopefully the planning will keep me busy for several months so I have time to get my Skaven army all finished.
In my time off from playing with my Space Marine books I've been playing NCAA 08. It is unfortunate that the University of Idaho has such a terrible football team, but with my character as their new Halfback there is hope for a bowl game berth in the next season or two. I got beaten by Fresno State tonight 14-13, but I think I should be able to win a few more games this season and hopefully win the WAC.

07 August 2007

My wife told me that it's about time I wrote something on my blog, so I guess I need to put up a post. I spent the weekend drilling with my National Guard unit, which is always a great time.
We bought my wife a decent car, as her old one broke down and we didn't want to put anymore money into it. Advantages of the new car over the old one include air conditioning, a cd player, a driver's side door that opens and closes, and four windows that close all the way and stay closed as you drive. Also, there's a lot more room in the back to haul our dogs around in.
I am at least going to plan out the full Chapter of Space Marines, as the project has caught hold of my imagination. I've got some little coloring sheets and some colored pencils so I can work out a color scheme for the Chapter and the individual markings to designate Company, Squad, and type. I'm thinking that the easiest way to show who is who would be to purchase a bunch of the different shoulder sprues from Games Workshop. Perhaps the shoulder pads could designate unit type and company, and one kneepad could be color-coded to show which squad the figure belongs to. Anyway, it's a huge expensive project that really has no point beyond being extremely cool to think about. I think I'm going to have to make the attempt over the next several years.

02 August 2007

I've not been enthused about painting at all lately, so I've been passing the time prepping and assembling the various miniatures that I've got sitting around. At the moment I have 15 Skaven, 2 Pirates, 21 Orcs, and 5 Space Marines in various stages of assembly and priming. Today I figured up how much it's going to cost to finish off my Warhammer and Warhammer 40k armies. It's still a pretty big figure, but not extremely insane. Almost as insane was the price check I did at the Foundry website today. I had 3 Horde deals (Pirates, Old West, and Gladiators) as well as some packs to represent the Governor and his troops (for Pirate games) in my shopping cart, and that was quite the number. Luckily I plan on being around for a few more years, so I don't have to buy it all at once.
Today I toyed with the idea of planning out and assembling an entire Chapter of Space Marines (~1000 Space Marines divided into ten companies of ~100). I'm curious as to the math of it all and how it would all price out. I'm looking at it as an all-infantry force (with the exception of Dreadnoughts, who to me are just really large infantry) as my concept of the Space Marines is more along the lines of small outnumbered forces facing extraordinary odds and overcoming them by sheer refusal to die rather than a large army zipping around in tanks, motorcycles, and landspeeders. Leave the vehicles to the Imperial Guard. Even without the vehicles, it would be quite an undertaking to purchase and paint 1000 Space Marines. That's like painting 4-5 Skaven armies. It's fun to think about.

01 August 2007

I finished up assembling the Orcs that I've got. I hate watching the clock wind down until it's time to leave for work.