22 March 2008

We went and saw the baby today, or at least we saw something that the nurse said was a baby. To me it looked a lot like an x-ray of a chicken nugget. Since I couldn't make out any of the details I have labeled the photo below as it was explained to me. The good news is that everything seems to be going well.

Edit: On second read, it appears that the red label doesn't appear very well on the photo. The red label says: BABY. So the blob in the red square is the actual baby. The umbilical cord is not actually visible in this picture, but it's in the general area indicated by the blue line. The yolk sack is apparently a food source for the nugget baby until the umbilical cord and the p-word that rhymes with magenta complete the formation process. And that, my friends, is how babby is formed.

Not much else to post about at the moment, so I'm off to bed. I've got my final Fantasy Baseball draft of the year tomorrow and I don't want to sleep through it.

21 March 2008

Plastic Soldiers

I thought I had a pretty good handle on the inventory of the local Hobbytown, but I found something new there this week. To be honest, I haven't spent a lot of time in the plastic model section of the store, as many of the models are civilian vehicles. Well, I happened to wander through that section and on one of the back shelves I found a pile of boxes containing 1:72 scale (from what I can tell, it's a little smaller than true 25mm figures) plastic soldiers from various periods in history, including Vikings and the American Civil War. What really grabbed me was the price point for the figures. Each box contained 40-50 figures for $8.00-9.00. That's a pretty good value. I'd read about some of the virtues of plastic figures in my copy of Battlegames #5, but hadn't really made any connection with my own hobby plans.

My initial excitement centered around the Vikings, but after spending some time thinking about my plans and going over the pictures on the Plastic Soldier Review website I decided that I'm really set on using Foundry's figures for my Dark Ages armies. But there are projects that I don't have figures chosen for that I may use plastics for. The American Civil War is one of those periods that I don't have figures chosen for, and plastics would be a great way to get into the period without breaking the bank, leaving cash in the budget for higher-priority projects. It may be an option for WWII gaming as well, but I'd have to do some research. I like the potential for plastics to act as a cheap way for me to build armies outside of my "core" interests, but I still need to look around before making any final decisions.

16 March 2008

The Weekend

It's been a busy weekend, with a lot going on. My wife's grandmother passed away after struggling with Alzheimer's and a bout of pneumonia, so my wife is on her way to Georgia for the funeral. It's sad that she died, but her quality of life was getting worse as time went on and she seemed ready to get on with things.

I finally sorted through all the Orcs & Goblins. I technically have enough figures on-hand to go right up to 3000 points, but there are still a few units I want to buy because I like the figures. I still need a unit of Black Orcs, some Squig Hoppers, and a few Stone Trolls. I'm not sure when I'll actually start in on the project, though, as I've got a boatload of Lord of the Rings figures to wade through first. At least I'm that much closer to having all the Warhammer Fantasy figures I need to play 3000 points in two different armies (Skaven and Orcs & Goblins).

I had two Fantasy Baseball drafts this weekend. I slept through half of one of them and ran to my computer to find that the auto-pick feature had overvalued Stolen Bases and ignored pitching entirely. I should still have a decent team, but I don't think it will win the league. At least the computer didn't auto-draft anyone who is injured. As for the draft I didn't sleep through, I think I did pretty well. I'm a little worried about my pitching staff and my batting averages, but the team should hold its own in most categories. So far I've had three drafts and each one has been a little worse than the others. Hopefully I'll be able to pick my game back up for the final draft, which sees me trying to do a little better in this year's edition of the TMP Fantasy Baseball League.

In addition to working on army lists and playing at Fantasy Baseball, I did some house-cleaning and spent some time with the wife before she left on her trip. I've been able to hold off on re-opening my World of Warcraft account, and I think after a few more months I could be at a point where I'll stop thinking about it altogether. It is a dreadful time dump.

For the next week my plan is to switch my schedule around so I go to bed a little earlier at night and have more time to do things in the morning before work. We'll see how that goes. Hopefuly now that I've got the Orcs & Goblins all sorted out I can push forward and get some figures painted up.

15 March 2008

I think I need to send a letter of appreciation to the local post office. When I arrived home yesterday the mail van was parked in front of my house. It was raining off and on, and the mailman had hauled the massive box containing my Orcs and Goblins over our gate and had obviously been struggling to cover it up with cardboard so it would be protected from the elements. As I pulled in he was climbing back over the gate to go back to his vehicle; my arrival pretty much negated all the work he had done to protect my parcel from the elements.

I still need to go through and make up an army list out of all these figures to see what else I am in need of. I think I should be close to 3000 points as it is, but there are a few units I still want to have in my army. I need to have at least one unit of Black Orcs, some Stone Trolls, a few Squig Hoppers, and maybe a few other odds and ends. I'll probably work on the list tomorrow. I've got a Fantasy Baseball draft first thing in the morning, then the wife and I will probably take the dogs to the dog park. After that I'll have to clean my desk area up quite a bit so I can spread Orcs and Goblins out everywhere and take stock of what I have. I'm looking forward to having a weekend.

11 March 2008

Good Service from Games Workshop Part II

The replacements for my broken Easterlings arrived in the mail today. Games Workshop even sent a whole box of Easterling infantry rather than just replacing the one sprue that had the broken figures on it. They weren't in danger of losing me as a customer, but they went above and beyond in making sure I was taken care of.

06 March 2008

I've gone and done it now...

I suppose the biggest hobby news of the week for me this week is the awesome deal I found on the TMP Marketplace. Someone posted an ad for about $540 in Orcs and Goblins at a 75% discount, so I was able to take advantage of the offer. I entered the lot into Army Builder and it comes out to around 2000 points, although according to the rules I can't actually take all the options together in the same game. I probably come away with 1800 points that I can use together with a couple of options I can swap out. If I adjust my original Orcs and Goblins list to reflect the figures in this purchase I should be able to make big cuts in my "To Buy" list, which is a good thing. I feel a little guilty about buying a huge lot of figures when I haven't really painted much this year, but the huge discount helps to ease that feeling somewhat. I had my National Guard weekend this weekend so I didn't get any painting done. Hopefully this week I'll find a little time to at least get some Easterlings basecoated.

04 March 2008

Will Chuck Norris blend?

Oh, and here's something I thought about as I was flipping through the Storm of Arrows army book for Field of Glory. How do they paint all that heraldry on those figures? I am lucky if I can get solid colors to look decent across a bit of uniform, let alone a bunch of symbols and stripes and whatnot. Some of them look almost like cleverly-applied transfers, but there are plenty that are obviously hand-painted symbols.
I wasn't expecting them until the 8th, but my Field of Glory books arrived in the mail today. They look very nice, and I've read through them a little. Not enough to really understand them, but enough that I think I'd like to try them out. Of course, there's the little matter of about 750 million figures backlogged in front of my historical projects. And I've got at least until early 2009 before the Early Medieval army lists come out anyway. I am excited to give them a more thorough reading in the next week or two.

On the Lord of the Rings front, I basecoated a few shields and helmets on my Easterlings today while watching a movie on my computer. I did some housecleaning earlier in the day that led to an allergy attack, so with the medication I took for the allergies I didn't feel steady enough to paint the little scales on the armor with any accuracy. Hopefully I'll have this first batch of 20 done soon. I also picked up a box of Wood Elves at the hobby shop today, so that's one item off my checklist.

03 March 2008

Good Service from Games Workshop

In my last post I mentioned the broken figures in my Easterlings boxed set. I e-mailed Games Workshop customer service about it last night. This morning I got an e-mail for me to call them and get it fixed. They were very helpful, and I should be getting replacement figures in the mail soon.
Tonight I expanded my checklist to include everything needed for my current partially-finished projects. Yesterday I filled out everything I need for the Lord of the Rings game and today I added all the Skaven I need to finish my 3000-point army (plus a unit of Plague Monks to swap out with the Giant), the Orcs and Goblins I need to finish that list out to 3000 points, various sourcebooks for many different game systems, some Reaper Warlord figures, and some Mechs and vehicles for Reaper's CAV 2 game. I've already got all the Mordheim figures I need, so I had nothing to add to that list. I don't know what I need for DBA, so I'm not building that list yet. And I don't know whether to go for Warhammer Ancient Battles or Field of Glory, but I don't anticipate getting to that before the end of the decade anyway. I also could use a couple of the Foundry Horde deals to get me all set for Pirates, Old West, and maybe Gladiators. I can't buy everything I want, and I can't paint everything I buy. It seems to be a common condition among wargamers.

I think tomorrow I will get to work on finishing the last 9 Easterlings I have assembled and primed. I got a bit discouraged when I popped open the Easterling Invaders army box, as upon closer inspection one of the sprues of plastic figures is missing two swords and half of a bow, in addition to the cavalry figure with the broken sword. There is also a ton of flash and mold lines on the metal figures, and I don't know how I'll get their weapons all straightened out. I've certainly got my work cut out for me there.

02 March 2008

Today was a pretty laid-back day. We took the dogs to the dog park and threw the ball for Annie for a while. Buddy ran around and met all the other dogs and people. We left a little earlier than we wanted to, as there were a lot of really aggressive dogs there today running in a pack. They beat up someone's Lab while we were there and we didn't really want any of that. No blood was drawn, but they kept knocking it over and swarming it. If the owners of the Lab hadn't waded in and stopped it I think it was on the way to becoming a dogfight. I tried to think of a good way to work Michael Vick into this story, but I'm not feeling very witty today.

After the dog park we gave the dogs a bath, as they were filthy. That's always an experience. I don't know why but every time Buddy gets done with his bath he runs full-tilt around the house for about thirty minutes. I don't know if he's trying to run away from the clean feeling or what, but it's fun to watch.

My copy of Battlegames #11 came in today, so I'll probably sit down and read that tonight before bed. The super-secret subscription offer doesn't really strike me as irresistible, especially at a cost of around $140 for two years. That's a pretty penny for me and none of the free gift offers are extremely appealing to me, so I'll probably pass on it and either continue buying individual issues or spring for a one-year subscription. They've got the subscription deal listed on their website for anyone who wants to check it out for themselves.

I went through all 11 of my Lord of the Rings 500-points lists and figured out every box and blister pack I'd need to buy to build those forces. It's a fairly large number, about the same price as a 3000-point Warhammer army. I may cut a couple of armies from my list, as nearly half of the total cost is tied up in 3 of the armies. They are the forces without many plastic figures. After looking at the numbers, I may stop at 500 points for each army. I'd really like to build them all up to 1000 points, but maybe I'll go for 500 and see what happens. I'm relatively close to having all the figures I need for Dwarves, Easterlings, and Moria. I only need about $40 in figures to have all I need for those. The Wood Elf list is very cheap, as I've already got a Legolas and the troops are almost exclusively plastic figures. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but I guess I could start with painting the figures I've already got.

I guess that's about all I have to write about tonight. Not an extremely exciting post, but that's how it goes.

Oh, actually I've got one more thing to talk about. I cruised by the Wizards of the Coast website yesterday and read their little D & D 4th Edition document. The new edition sounds really cool, even though I will more than likely never play the game, much like the 15 or so sourcebooks I've got for the 3.5 Edition of the game. From what I can tell, they simplified everything so that there's a lot less flipping through books studying the rules, leaving more time for playing. I'm a fan of simplification, so the idea appeals to me. The online subscription component is a little off-putting, but I guess it would be akin to subscribing to an MMO, as the virtual tabletop allows you to group up and play with people who may not be located anywhere in your immediate vicinity. As I understand it, you also get access to two online magazines as part of the subscription. The value of the subscription seems to hinge on how often you actually get to play the game. If you could find a good group and play a game every week it'd be a decent value, especially if you don't have much of a local scene to participate in.