29 September 2009

27 September 2009

Today I went out to the garage to look for my collection of Reaper swag points and I stumbled upon a couple boxes of figures I'd forgotten about, mostly some Skaven and a few Space Marines. As I looked for a place in the hobby room to put them I was disheartened by the number of partially-painted units I had as well as the realization that I've only finished one army since I started in on this whole business. Here is my own personal Hall of Shame:

First up is the most recent project, some Space Marine Scouts. They don't really need a lot of work to be finished, a common thread among these figures.

Next up is an Assault on Black Reach Dreadnought. I think he got written out of my army list, so I stopped painting him.

A unit of Orcs that has been half-finished for a long time, longer than I can remember.

Here we've got a Klingon ship for Star Fleet Battles, a Reaper barmaid for pirate games, and a 40k Priest whose power sword never looked very good to me. I saw an article recently on painting a convincing power weapon so I'm going to give it another shot.

And here we've got some Easterlings for The Lord of the Rings. They are pretty close to being done. It's been so long since I stopped working on them that I can't recall the reason for stopping.

This is just the stuff that has been assembled and has some paint on it. I've got a boatload of other stuff in various stages of assembly that needs done, but that's next on the list. My current goal is to finish all of these half-painted projects.

After that I should probably work on the stuff that is assembled and then decide what to do after that. Maybe at some point I will have some forces I can actually use in a game. And for the family members who just read this blog to see what the kid looks like, here's a picture of him moments before he bites my leg. You can see his trail of destruction in the background. His favorite thing to do is ignore his toys and instead pull everything off of tables, down from shelves, and out of boxes.

One thing I really hate is when I go to the hobby shop and the new issue of White Dwarf is out but I haven't received my subscriber copy in the mail. I know it will arrive in another day or two and it will probably take me a week or two to get through reading all the articles, but I am a rather impatient person. I want it now.

In honor of the new Hobbytown in the city I live in, both locations here had a sale. Unfortunately the new location (2.1 miles from my house) is just a small satellite store and has very little selection compared to the larger shop (19.8 miles from my house). So if I want anything in particular I will probably have to either have the smaller shop order it in from the larger one or just do what I did before and stop at the larger store on my way home from work. Maybe if I keep ordering stuff in the shop will adjust their stock to suit me. I think their main target at the new place is R/C cars and things of that nature, as the gaming and model train sections were tiny.

I went to the larger store and used the sale combined with a 50% discount on much of their Reaper stock to flesh out some Warlord armies. The second edition rulebook came out recently and it looks like a pretty simple game system with a lot of the confusion of the last version cleared up. Having everything accessible in one book is a lot easier than trying to find data cards strewn across the website, an outdated rulebook, a couple of faction books, and several update documents. There are rumors of regular expansions to fill in the stuff from last time that didn't make this book and eventually new factions. I think the undead pirate faction will continue to be an internet-only document as most of the other armies represent a full-on nation or large city military while the undead pirates are just Captain Razig and his ship's crew.

25 September 2009

I don't have any hobby updates yet as I am still just trying to keep up with real life stuff. School is keeping me pretty busy, but at least I'm not working extra weekends at the day job anymore. I'm growing to like the new motorcycle more, although I still miss the ability to be pretty much instantly traveling at the speed of traffic. I also was reminded today that hot-rodding through curves is likely to leave my footpegs grinding on the pavement. I don't quite have the ground clearance that I once did. One good thing about this bike is that with the lower amount of power I actually have to shift occasionally. I actually feel like I am using what the bike has to offer rather than going illegal speeds while still in first or second gear. It is still very nice to have the roomy saddlebags and the improved wind protection offered by a full windshield as well, especially with mornings getting pretty cold.

We were going to have some friends over for dinner tomorrow, but I think those plans fell through. I had hoped to break out my copy of Space Hulk and try it out. I guess that will wait for another day. I didn't really have time to assemble the components anyway. It does seem to be a very substantial game. The box is heavy and the miniatures are nice, which I think helps to justify the sticker price. It has sold out at the Games Workshop website, but stores seem to have plenty of stock, at least my local shop has ten or fifteen copies available. I guess that may not be true in larger markets with larger hobbyist populations.

My assembly of 40k miniatures pretty much came to a standstill when I stabbed my finger with the hobby knife. It wasn't a fear of injury that kept me away, it was just that I got busy at that point. The finger is still healing and I'm still trying to decide if I did some structural or nerve damage to it.

17 September 2009

I finally got all the paperwork done and brought my motorcycle home today. I like the bike; it is certainly a lot more user-friendly than the FZ1 was, but there is a downside to that as well. Ultimately there really isn't much comparison because the two bikes are designed for completely different markets.

The fuel injection is nice as the bike starts right up without me having to fiddle with a choke, something that was occasionally frustrating on the FZ1. The seat and seating position are a lot more comfortable, and the windshield actually keeps the wind off of me pretty well. There is a lot less power and acceleration which is to be expected with a smaller motor that is tuned differently. This bike hits redline in first gear at about 40 mph as opposed to the old bike that could hit about 80 mph in first. It is also a lot quieter, but that can be solved with an aftermarket pipe, which is something I had on the FZ1. Cargo capacity is greatly increased due to the saddlebags. I could actually stop at Hobbytown on the way home if I wanted to and bring home some figures even if I didn't have my backpack.

On a side note, I consider myself to be pretty trustworthy, but going into any store with my backpack makes me feel like all of the staff are watching me and waiting for me to try to put something in my bag.

The bike will be a lot cheaper to own than my last bike, which was pretty high on my priority list while shopping around. And to stroke my vanity a bit, it has been received well by the folks at work. Most people guess that it's bigger than it really is, something that will probably be all too evident when I putt-putt into the parking lot rather than a more muscular sound. That can be fixed on the aftermarket, though. All in all I'd say that I'm probably better off on this bike than I was on the last one. The only factor that I can really rate the FZ1 higher on than the Boulevard is the ability to go really fast. Most other things seem to swing the Boulevard's way.

15 September 2009

A Spike in Visits Explained

I noticed that my hobby knife post got a lot of comments, but today I looked at the stats on my hit counter and noticed a somewhat inexplicable surge in visits immediately after I posted it. That led me to the referrals page, where I discovered that I had made a spot on From the Warp's Tuesday Top Ten list. From the Warp is a rather popular 40k-centric blog and from what I understand the Top Ten is a pretty prestigious list to make, so thanks for the bump in visits, FTW. It's too bad my schedule and general apathy regarding the hobby is keeping the hobby-related posts to a minimum here on my blog. I've got a couple of things to post about, though. It may just take a little while to get around to it.

14 September 2009

My post about my tragic finger injury got a lot of attention; it probably ranks as my most-commented post of all time. It seems that most of us can relate to the damage caused by an errant blade. My finger is healing, although even now the wound is pretty deep. It will be interesting to see if I have a divot in my finger even after it's completely healed. The finger went through several phases of discoloration and irregular periods of numbness that led me to believe I had suffered nerve damage of some sort, but that seems to have gone away. All in all a rather exciting event that I hope not to repeat.

I spent the weekend with the National Guard throwing grenades. It was rather hot outside. That pretty much sums it up. I must have been tired because I got home, went straight to bed and didn't wake up really until rather late the next morning.

I think I have found the replacement for my fallen motorcycle. The purchase isn't entirely in the bag yet, but it should be confirmed tomorrow. I didn't get a huge bike this time, and if everything goes as planned this bike will cost about $80/month less than the last one. It also rates about 10 miles per gallon higher on fuel economy. I will just have to get used to the cruiser seating position. It's got a bright yellow stripe so hopefully people will be able to see it when they're backing up and avoid knocking it over. Here's what it looks like:

I've already begun thinking about customizing it. Nothing extreme, but I do want some blacked-out aftermarket pipes. Not much to talk about aside from what I've covered. Between school and the Army it looks like the next year or two is going to be pretty busy, so I may not have much to post about when it comes to painting or playing with miniatures.

06 September 2009

Be Careful With Your Hobby Knife

If you're not careful you wind up with a desk that looks like this. With the aid of my wife I was able to get things patched up before I passed out from seeing my own blood. The last few years I've been very squeamish about the sight of my own blood. My ears start to ring, my forehead gets sweaty, my vision fades, my hands start shaking and my knees get wobbly. Pretty exciting stuff. I think I'll wait to work on my Orks until I get some newer X-Acto blades.

04 September 2009

Goodbye Motorcycle!

After talking to the lender and the insurance company it looks like the only viable option for me is to sell the bike to the insurance company and not have a bike anymore. It's a shame because the bike was still completely functional aside from the cosmetic blemishes, but there's not much for me do in this situation. I realize that the banks and insurance companies have to protect their investments but it sucks to be on this end of it. My loan is paid off and I won't have an insurance payment anymore, but it's not especially feasible for me to get another bike right now and I think I'd much rather have a bike and some payments than not have a bike at all. Especially since my commute is much longer than before and the truck goes through fuel three or four times faster than the bike did. And the bike is more fun to drive than the truck or the station wagon. Anyway, that's that. I don't have much else to say about it at the moment.

03 September 2009

Your Bike is a Total Loss

A couple of days ago I was sitting at my desk at the end of the day (I stay late because there's not enough time between work and school to get home and make it to class on time) when one of the ladies from work knocked on my window and motioned for me to come outside. I went outside and she told me that she'd knocked my motorcycle over. It is a sad thing for a guy when he sees his bike laid over on its side with the kickstand up in the air. I guess she had backed up into the spot where I was parked and the bike tipped over when her car bumped it. There were some fluids leaking out and the handlebar and muffler were banged up as well as some scrapes on the plastic and a bent mirror. The good news was that my frame sliders (plastic pegs that stick out from the bike and protect important mechanical and structural parts) had acted as a tripod along with the handlebar and muffler to keep the damage localized. We got it picked back up, she called her insurance, and I waited. The insurance company called me and set me up to have it towed to the bike shop, and then I waited a little more to see what they would say.

Because of the cost of labor and parts from the manufacturer, even a tip-over like that totaled the bike, mostly cosmetically. So the insurance company could buy the bike from me and I could pay off much of what I owe on it but not have a bike or I could keep the bike with a salvage title and a smaller payment, have the handlebar and maybe the exhaust fixed/replaced, and have a still-functional but cosmetically-damaged bike to commute on. If I took the first option I would not have a bike payment or an insurance payment every month, but I also would likely not be able to purchase another motorcycle. Under the second option I would still have a motorcycle, but the resale value would be nil. Which is somewhat irrelevant to me because I planned on riding this bike until the end of its service life anyway.

The thing that surprised me is how little anger I feel about the whole situation. By now word has gotten around the office and I get a lot of people telling me how angry I should be and that I should really hold it against her for hitting my bike. I think that's a little unprofessional, especially as the insurance company is taking care of things and bad things like that happens to everyone. She apologized and made things right by owning up to it and taking the insurance hit, so why waste time being bitter about it? I don't claim to be a Zen Master, but some stuff you just have to let go because fuming and resentment really only serve to give you headaches and ulcers. I do have to admit that seeing my bike on the ground made me seize up a bit inside, though. Thank goodness for frame sliders; without that extra couple inches of support all the plastic on my bike could have been much worse.