29 May 2010

Having Fun Isn't Hard, When You've Got a Library Card!

I've been trying to do some painting today, but I've got a headache that brings with it tunnel vision and a bit of the shakes. So I keep putting blue paint where I don't want blue paint. Then I get mad and clench up, which makes the shakes worse, which leads to more blue paint where I don't want it...

So I went to Hobbytown. The first time I went there I didn't know what I wanted. So I wandered around and looked at the model trains. I even flipped through a model train book or two. I've been thinking about model railroads for about 20 years now, but have never taken the plunge into owning a train of my own. To do it right would take space, money, time, and a working knowledge of railroads that I don't have at the moment. I would eventually like to do an N-scale layout based on the freight trains I see here in town. The overpass I drive over to get to the interstate crosses a train yard that always has interesting graffiti-covered rolling stock in it. Sometime I am lucky enough to see a train rolling by. I thought about buying a train book, but I didn't. I went home instead.

Then I got to thinking that I would need some Enchanted Blue soon, as I changed my Empire color scheme a bit and my pot of Enchanted Blue was looking dangerously low. So I went back to Hobbytown to get some paint. I looked at the trains some more and wondered if the public library had any books about model trains. So I texted my wife to find out where the library here is located. I went to the library and found some books, but most of the books predate the introduction of N-scale trains (sometime in the 1960s). I chose a couple of the most modern books and went to the counter with my books and my library card application. My application was accepted and I was free to take the books home. The kid behind the counter saw my Reaper shirt and asked if there was a hobby shop in town, so I told him about Hobbytown. I think he is into 40k. Most libraries have some sort of request form, so maybe I will request that they update their hobby section a little bit. I know there are three or four model railroad societies in the valley, so those books would theoretically get some use. We'll see.

28 May 2010

Customizable Shoes?

I am the type of person who likes to investigate a hobby or interest a little bit once I am aware it exists. I've been doing a little digging into various shoe blogs and websites and whatnot, and was reminded of a pair of shoes I had in high school, the Reebok Kamikaze II. They were Shawn Kemp's signature shoe, and I think the blue ones I had were what he wore in the All-Star game. They are certainly striking and I recall being quite pleased with them, but I also recall that the other kids in my school didn't share the same appreciation for the look. They had a little window in the bottom so you could see the honeycomb cushioning technology inside the sole. I'd forgotten all about these.

Oh, and now we get to the title of the post. I've noticed that several shoe companies are offering customizable shoes. Adidas was the first brand I was aware of that did this with their mi adidas shoes. Now I see that Nike offers custom shoes as well. You can see a little creation of mine below. Not sure if I like yellow accents or white better. Either way, it's a fun little tool to play with if you've got some time. You can make shoes that look fairly normal or you can go all out and build the most horrific rainbow monstrosities ever imagined. The sky is the limit (as long as you stay within the available colors and materials for each section of the shoe).

Get a total customization experience at NIKEiD.com. You can customize colors and materials for a totally unique take on kicks, T-shirts and more. Start customizing now at www.nikeid.com.
Check out the
Air Jordan Alpha 1 iD Basketball Shoe
I designed at NIKEiD.com

And here's an example of something hideous you could create using the same program. Depending on your tastes, the first shoe might look bad, but it is wearable. The shoe below would probably get you kidnapped by the circus.

Get a total customization experience at NIKEiD.com. You can customize colors and materials for a totally unique take on kicks, T-shirts and more. Start customizing now at www.nikeid.com.
Check out the
Air Jordan Alpha 1 iD Basketball Shoe
I designed at NIKEiD.com

27 May 2010

I tried to watch the Suns-Lakers game tonight, but my high-speed internet wouldn't keep up with the video stream. It would play for a few seconds, then stall out, usually just as something was about to happen. It made me mad. Then some other stuff happened that made me mad and I spent the evening wallowing in my impotent rage, which really just is bad for my head and my digestive system. It gets all knotted up.

I was kind of hoping the Suns would pull off a win and put the Lakers down by one, but from what I could gather from the play-by-play, the Lakers came away with a shot at the end to win. My frustration at not being able to watch the game highlights a dilemma I have. I don't watch television. I think that, for the most part, it's a waste of time. But when it comes to sporting events I feel like I'm missing out by not being able to watch them. The few that are broadcast online for free are unwatchable because of my internet issues. I am not willing to buy a cable package and then buy a sports package on top of that just so I can watch games. I don't think there is enough value there to justify it. But sometimes I get angry and complain about it a little.

Now that I'm done with my little tantrum it is way past my bedtime and I am liable to be even more cranky if I don't get enough sleep, which just goes to show that developmentally I'm not really that far ahead of my 1 1/2-year old son. Hopefully tomorrow I will have something more pleasant to say, hopefully some WIP photos of my Greatswords. Or, if I stay up really late I might have them finished (aside from the battle standard).

This One's for You, Uncle Mike!

Someone must have given him some peanut butter.


26 May 2010

Empire Greatswords WIP 2

I slapped a little more paint on the Greatswords unit tonight. You might be able to notice some progress in the photos. I'd probably put in another hour or so on them, but I need a haircut and I've got a new issue of White Dwarf to browse through before I go to sleep for the night. I think the army will look pretty good once I get them all painted and on the table, at least from a distance. I still don't know what to do with the banners.

Visiting Grandma and Empire Worries

Yesterday I had to put some gas in the car after work, and I got to thinking that I should visit my Grandma, since she lives right down the street and I hadn't visited for a while. A couple of my aunts and cousins were there and I wound up staying for dinner. My aunts spent a lot of the visit telling me how awesome and cute my son is, which is the kind of talk I like to hear. I didn't get home until late, so I pretty much just fed the dogs and went to bed. I'm hoping to get a lot fininshed on the Greatswords this evening.

I got an e-mail from Games Workshop this morning about the Countdown Clock to Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition which now appears on their site. This got me worrying a little about my Empire army list, as the list fits in the current system's framework, but I think the points I spent on my characters might extend a little past the 25% mark supposedly on the way under the new system. I'd hate for my list to be obsolete before it's even painted. I suppose I could probably just shuffle the points around a little bit, but I need to dig around in the rumor mill and see what all is expected to change. There have also been rumors that the changes are so big that the new rulebook will contain all-new army lists. I think this is unlikely, so I'll just concentrate on making my points fit in the new percentage-based system. I think I'm only over by 50 or so points on characters for a 1000-point list.

25 May 2010

Just for Fun

I'm not really working on my Ork army at the moment, but I wanted to put together a Killa Kan just for fun. The latest kit includes a Grotzooka option, which is what I chose to arm this guy with. A Grotzooka is basically a big blunderbuss that fires big gobs of wrenches, scrap metal, nuts, bolts, wire, and whatever else the Gretchin can find to stick in the hopper and send through the air. These photos are not entirely accurate, as after I took them I reposed the legs to lift the airborne one up a little higher. But the general idea is the same.

24 May 2010

Quick Greatsword WIP 1

Got some base colors blocked in today. Nothing too exciting, but I can see the unit coming together a bit now. A few more decent blocks of painting time should see me on to the next unit. I really want to push and get this army painted this summer. I'm still not sure what I'll do for the Battle Standards. My skills at freehand are not that good, which is part of the reason I choose a lot of primitive, tribal armies. When you're painting your standard with the blood of your enemies, the emphasis doesn't tend to be on composition and perspective.

Space Marine Kill Team Idea

While I was away with the National Guard I finished reading my copy of The Ultramarines Omnibus, a collection of short stories and novels following a Space Marine Captain named Uriel Ventris. You can read an excerpt from the book at the second link I've provided.

Without going too far into spoiler territory, the last novel deals with some Space Marines who, for one reason or another, have been dishonored and booted from their respective chapters. Some of them have given up on being part of a Chapter, but some of them have undertaken a death oath to complete some impossible mission and regain their honor. I lent the book out to another soldier, so I can't remember specifically which chapters. I think there were a couple of Ultramarines, a Blood Raven, a White Scar, and a couple of others mentioned.

This gave me an idea for my Space Marines Kill Team. Instead of doing something boring like a Tactical Squad made up of Marines from a single Chapter, why not do some dishonored Space Marines who have been exiled, stripped of their Chapter markings (but not their Chapter armor colors), and sent off to regain their honor and/or die in the attempt? Then I started thinking that a standard Tactical Squad was a little too limiting. In the book one of the guys has a Jump Pack, another has Lightning Claws, there is a guy with a Flamer, a guy with a Power Sword, and a few other different weapons. Luckily, the Space Wolves Codex allows such a unit, the Wolf Guard. Given the points restriction you will only be able to fit about five Wolf Guard into a Kill Team squad, but it is really something that you could run with on the hobby side of things. Even if you don't have armies for every Chapter, this would be a fun way to paint up one or two figures in different colors from your usual force. And it's also a good chance to go crazy with bitz and conversions.

I haven't quite made the points work yet for my planned Space Marine Kill Team squad, but I'm getting closer. Just wanted to share the idea, since it comes straight out of the GW canon and seems like something some of the really good modelers out in blogland could do something amazing with.

23 May 2010

Quick and Dirty Greatsword

I decided to paint one of my Greatswords up as a test model for my Empire army. I am hoping to get the army painted within a couple of months, so there are no four-step highlights or any of that. I wanted a relatively quick table-top quality job that I could easily replicate. I think it was a success. The reason I chose to paint the Greatswords first is that they feature the blue of my basic Halberdiers, the white of my elite units, and metal breastplates that I could practice painting for my Knights' armor. Looking at the pictures I can see a few things that I might touch up, but from arm's length he looks pretty much the way I wanted him to. Now I've just got to get through the other 73 models.

Knights and Wizard Assembled

I put together my Empire Knights and Battle Wizard, which pushes the army out to 1000 points. Now they just need some paint. I do not have a shot of the full army yet, as the Knights are a complete pain to pose. They are not attached to the horses yet, and have a tendency to fall off their horses in ranks. I was barely able to get them lined up for this photo. Once I acquire some poster putty I will be better able to pose them without losing my mind. They were very frustrating models to put together. The parts wanted to fall off all the time, things wouldn't line up with the horse, models wouldn't stay on the horses long enough to get parts posed, and getting the horses' tails to fit in the little slot while simultaneously putting the two halves of the horse together required at least one more hand than I've got. They look all right in person, though. The army General is hidden behind his rearing horse in this shot, but you can see his hat and his sword poking out.

The Wizard was pretty easy to put together. He's not the actual Wizard I want to run with the army, but the other Wizard's parts fit together in such a way that I may have to paint the parts and then stick him together. So this guy will stand in for the moment. To me he's got a bit of a Moses feel to him.

22 May 2010

Back from Training

Yesterday I returned home after a couple weeks away with the National Guard. I can't say that it was a great time, but I survived and I got paid for it, so it's not all bad. About a week ago my wife called and let me know that the boy had busted into the hobby room and climbed onto my desk. I am somewhat proud to report that my first concern was for his health, as there are plenty of hobby knives, glues, and paints all over the desk. Only after being assured of his safety did I ask about the models. She wasn't sure what was supposed to be there or how it was supposed to look, so there was no way to know. Yesterday I looked it over and found nothing missing. The worst of it was some epoxy spread out over an unused portion of the table and some models and parts moved around or knocked off of the table. I cleaned up the epoxy, collected the various parts up from around the desk, and put my Dwarves back in formation, so everything is right again.

My task for this evening is to put together the Knights for my Empire army. I had to drop off the wife and boy at the airport as my wife's uncle died last week and they are flying back east to attend the funeral. The house is rather quiet with just me and the dogs in attendance. I am looking forward to spending some time with my family now that school is out for the summer and I've got a couple of months left before I depart to the Middle East. Speaking of school, I took four classes this semester and came away with 3 As and an A-. That's not too bad, although admittedly I took a rather soft schedule this time around as I knew there would be a lot going on in real life.

I had a bit of a scare regarding the Kill Team mission from the Battle Missions book for 40k. While I was away for training I read on a blog somewhere that Troops choices were still compulsory for the mission, which would mean no Terminator Kill Teams and would probably have messed with some of my Ork ideas. I look in the book today and confirmed that the Troop choices for Kill Team are 0-2 rather than 1-2. My Terminators can breathe a sigh of relief.

I've always struggled a little with using new things, especially things that could be considered collectible. I used to keep action figures in their packages, there were some comics in my collection that I wouldn't read because they might suffer damage, pens that were too nice to actually use, things like that. A few years ago I forced myself to make a bit of a mental shift from that mindset. I opened up all of my remaining action figures and played with them. I actually read my comics and sometimes didn't box them away for several months. Part of that process involved cutting way back on how many titles I ordered every month and ignoring the new comic listings so I could avoid jumping onto any big events or collectible issues. Now I just get a few titles once a month and set them by my bed to read one or two at a time when I've got a few minutes. I mention all of this because I went through a little relapse of collector-itis with the shoes my uncle gave to me recently. I (un-)reasoned that if I put my feet in them, the little Bo Jackson photos inside would wear off. Over a short period of time the stark white of the soles would dull, and the new shoe smell would give way to old foot smell. It was raining when I left the house this morning, and for a moment I considered wearing my old shoes to go outside. Then I realized that I was being silly, and that I got new shoes because the old ones were worn out. These shoes were meant to be worn and enjoyed. I recall a story told about my grandfather, who grew up with Depression-era values. For Christmas one year he received an orange, and it was such a treat that he decided to save it to be enjoyed later. After a period of time the orange rotted and was no longer suitable for eating. By not using it for its intended purpose, he had missed out on the joy of eating it. So today I wore my new shoes out into the rain and enjoyed using them for their intended purpose. I did make sure to avoid puddles and walk around muddy spots, though.

15 May 2010

Kill Team Rosters

I probably won't go into wargear details very much, but I've been shuffling my Kill Team lists around, trying to come up with a strong theme. I am trying to go with small teams of each army's sneaky scout-type troops, to represent actions forward of the main bodies as recon elements run into and engage each other or small raiding elements make contact.

For the Orks I've got a small unit of Kommandos and a small unit of Stormboyz. Not sure how it would work in-game, but in my mind's eye I see the Kommandos tracking down the enemy, calling in the Stormboyz for an assault, and then supporting the Stormboyz with an assault on the flanks or the rear.

My Imperial Guard Kill team features some veterans with various special weapons and a Sentinel, all modeled with parts from the Elysian range. I have grav chutes for the Veterans and am contemplating getting some of the helmets and Elysian weapon packs from Forge World. These are squads that get dropped in behind enemy lines to disrupt supply lines, reap confusion, and in general cause the most trouble possible with the least amount of manpower.

For Space Marines I am still not sure. I contemplated a Scout Squad with a Land Speeder Storm transport, but I may tweak that idea some. It is certainly the most appropriate choice given my theme, but with only five guys I could see them dying rather quickly.

Anyway, those are my ideas for now. I'm going to need to build some terrain one of these days, as I don't have any terrain at all in my collection. Regular games aren't any fun without terrain, and from what I've heard Kill Team really requires dense terrain to maximize the fun of small teams hunting each other down. There's a reason exciting gunfights/chase scenes in the movies are often set in warehouses, factories, jungles, and crowded commercial districts.

14 May 2010

Forge World 'Chinork' Chopper

I just saw this little model on the Forge World site. In name and design it pays a fair homage to the real-life CH-47 Chinook twin-rotor helicopter, also pictured below. But for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on the model looks a bit off to me. It sort of looks like they slapped an over-sized platform onto the back of a Deffkopta, added another rotor, and called it good. Which is probably what real Orks would do, but I think I would prefer to see something a little more enclosed, like a Battlewagon stripped of armor or a looted Valkyrie. Any, here it is. You can follow the above link to see pictures of it from other angles.

13 May 2010

Free at Last

I took my last final exam of the semester this afternoon. I'm not sure how it went. We had to write a paper based on a question from the reading we'd done all semester. Depending on how much my instructor likes the paper I will hopefully get an A in the class. If that is the case I will have four A's, but if it falls short I should still have 3 A's and 1 B. I am satisfied with that, and I am looking forward to having a little bit of free time this summer to see my family and work on some projects.

I've been toying with Army Builder a bit in an attempt to decide what sort of Ork and Space Marine Kill Teams I want to build. I've got a pretty characterful Imperial Guard Kill Team planned out with a Veteran Squad of Elysian Drop Troops with an Elysian Drop Sentinel in support. I'm not sure what direction to take for my Orks. Space Marines seem somewhat limited by the 200-point cap. You can barely tool out a ten-man Tactical Squad for that price. I may have to look at Space Wolves or Blood Angels to see if their force org charts are more flexible.

12 May 2010

A Surprisingly Good Day

I am on orders for military training for the next couple of weeks, which usually means being away from home for the duration. But due to some schedule manipulation I was able to come home for the night tonight. It probably means I'll be on the all-night shift tomorrow night, but I'd really rather have the night shift over the day shift because nothing happens at night. Everyone is asleep.

Yesterday my wife informed me that a package had arrived in the mail for me, from a company I had not purchased anything from. I am a rather impatient person, so I had her open it over the phone and describe the contents. Lo and behold, the box contained a pair of the very shoes I drooled over earlier this month, very generously sent to my home by my Uncle Clair. She informed me that they smelled very good.

When I arrived home today I removed my army boots and inspected them carefully (they certainly do smell very good) before putting them on. The shoes have a lot of little details, like a little picture of Bo Jackson printed inside the left shoe and his jersey number printed around the plastic ends of the laces. I even did a little research, and the man who designed this iteration of the Nike Trainer SC 2010 shares the same last name as me. Funny that a Rasmussen would unknowingly fancy a shoe designed by another Rasmussen. These are probably the nicest new shoes I have ever owned, and I am a little lost as far as how to properly show my gratitude. I've been wearing them around the house feeling like a new man. I've always felt inadequate in the face of generosity, and that's how I feel now. It is nice to finally relegate my old holey (not to be confused with holy) shoes to chore duty. When my youngest sister was little, she had a favorite Batman outfit that she would wear every day and even sleep in. My mom had to practically tie her down in order to remove it and wash it. I feel a bit like I want to sleep in these shoes.

I also discovered today that I am a contest winner. Over at the Raven's March blog there was a little anniversary fountain pen giveaway. Basically anyone who commented on the anniversary post would be put in a random drawing for a fountain pen from the blog author's collection. Out of the two commenters I was selected. I don't know if I've mentioned fountain pens on this blog, but I am a little fascinated by these writing instruments and the rituals of caring for and writing with them. I have two fountain pens on my desk, and use them occasionally. I should use them more, but often find little opportunity for properly going through the procedures of maintenance required. Perhaps I will be able to change that.

09 May 2010


I spent a couple of hours at the Bodybuilding.com Fitness Expo. We went a couple of years ago, but skipped last year's event. One of the new guys in my National Guard unit does web content for Bodybuilding.com, so he invited me to come out and see it. I always feel a bit weird going to those shows because I am not anywhere near what you might call fit or built. I have been working out a bit lately, though. I'm tired of being a weakling girly-man. But it's a slow process. I met Branch Warren, who is one of the bigger names in bodybuilding at the moment. He's kind of a big dude:

I also saw a Strongman demonstration that included Brian Shaw, who is like the world's third-strongest man right now. He lifted a car 15 times in a row, which is sort of a crazy thing to do. That demonstration was pretty neat.

I haven't really done anything with my Empire army the last couple of days. I'm a little bogged down on getting the Knights put together. I have one horse assembled and one Knight partially put together, but I haven't had the inclination to work on miniatures at all really. I did get a book of Warhammer short stories in the mail alongside my wife's Mother's Day present, which thankfully arrived on time. I also worked up a couple of Kill Team rosters for Orks and Imperial Guard. The Orks are already assembled, but not yet painted. The Guardsmen haven't been put together yet.

06 May 2010

Kill Team and Calculus

Even as I've worked feverishly on my Warhammer Fantasy Empire army, I've been thinking about it's futuristic sibling, Warhammer 40k. Specifically, I've been thinking about the Kill Team variant in the recently-released Battle Missions book.

For those unfamiliar with the mission, it is essentially a 200-point game of 40k with a slightly altered force organization chart and a few special rules. It's designed to be a relatively quick game, so you could theoretically get a game in during a lunch break or play four or five games in a couple of hours during the evening.

I've already got some stuff I could use for a Space Marine Kill Team force, and I've probably got enough Orks assembled (not painted) to put a list together for them. I could probably bash something together for my Imperial Guard, too. I think running those small lists against each other would be motivation to keep building and painting what I've got on my shelves.

On an entirely different note, I am nearly done with the semester. I am going to be away from school for a while, and I have been trying to decide what to do with the next couple of years educationally. I've always been worse at math than at other things. I failed College Algebra three times before I finally passed it, and when I "passed" it I didn't actually pass the class. I had a pretty solid D in the course, but my teacher graded on a huge curve and gave me a B. My major requires me to take a course in Calculus. I am not even really certain what Calculus is, but I doubt my D in College Algebra is going to cut the mustard. I think I will spend the next couple of years learning math over again, so when I get back into school I can hit the ground running with some confidence. If I get to feeling really frisky while I'm overseas, I may try to take some sort of online course and get my Calculus requirement knocked out. To that end, I've ordered a couple of "Learn Calculus" books, the Calculus textbook that Boise State uses, and a workbook full of additional problems. I guess if it starts out too tough for me I will have to go out and learn Algebra again, too. I think that if I keep my mind busy and actively pursue this goal while I'm away from school, it will feel a little less like I am just wasting time.


A week or so ago I got an e-mail from Blizzard saying something about my World of Warcraft account and me owing them fifteen dollars or I could never play World of Warcraft again. That's odd, I thought, I haven't played WoW in several months. So I looked into it. It turns out my account got hacked, and whoever hacked it used a stolen credit card to pay for their play. The owner of the card complained about the fraudulent charges, and Blizzard said to me, the rightful owner of the account (but not the credit card) that I would have to pay. So I filed a complaint.

A few days later I got an e-mail saying, "After looking into it, we've determined that you weren't playing on your account at the time, so you don't owe us fifteen dollars. Please pay us fifteen dollars so you can log in and see if the hacker stole your stuff." So I did.

The hacker deleted a few of my lower-level characters that I didn't play anyway, but my main character and my bank alt were still there. Apparently the hacker had been farming up some gold, because my character was in some cave somewhere with a bunch of spider silk in his inventory. The hacker also bought some nice big bags and upgraded a couple of my items. So I sold all of the stuff they had farmed up and made some gold. He didn't even sell my bank alt's diamond-tipped cane. He did sell my guild tabard, though, which was a bit odd.

05 May 2010

Battle Standard Bearer

After my Psychology final this evening I took a few minutes and got my Empire Battle Standard Bearer put together. I even managed to make him fit in with my unit of Halberdiers. And even with a heavy standard you've got to bump him pretty hard to make him tip over, thanks to the lead shot in his base. I'd like to thank Ryan over at From the Warp for featuring my basing tip as part of the Tuesday Top Ten this week. To make the list last time I had to stab my finger with a hobby knife and bleed all over the desk, so this is a step up for me. Anyway, back to the Battle Standard Bearer. Here's a picture:

He's sort of a grizzled old veteran. He has the stats of an Empire Captain, but I picture him as more like an old First Sergeant. He's probably crusty as heck and likes to be down in the crap with the men.

The Captain who leads my force is going to be a sort of a fop. He's got way too many plumes on his hat, wears a cape, and is too young to ever be wrong. After all, he learned everything there is to know about warfare while he was in the Academy. I imagine he's also very good with whatever passes for Excel and Powerpoint in the Empire. I think I will add a flask or bottle to this crusty old Battle Standard Bearer so he can swill a little extra motivation when the young Captain gets on his nerves. It also works in a pinch to get his troops moving in the right direction, as do a few good stories about the wenches down at The Twisted Tree Trunk, one of the less-reputable establishments in the settlement.

Turrible, turrible!

I'm formulating a post at the moment, but while you're waiting, here's a funny little video I saw this evening.

A Bit of Discouragement

This evening I planned out the rest of my degree program. Even if I am able to pull off a superhuman effort and take 9 credits of upper division classes per semester, it will take about 5 school years after the upcoming deployment to finish my degree. That would place me at about 35 years old. My day job is somewhat flexible when it comes to hours, but many of these classes are only offered in the daytime, so I may not even be able to get 9 credits per semester. Summer sessions are pretty much out since it seems I've always got my two weeks of annual training right smack dab in the middle of the shortened semester. The lesson in all of this is that if you're going to finish school, finish it while you're young and relatively free of other commitments. Otherwise you will be grouchy and not sleep for like fifteen years trying to get your degree. And you'll whine about it on your blog. I'm not cutting my hair all emo, though. You can, but I'm not.

04 May 2010

Speaking of Basketball...

Infantry and Artillery Complete, Leadership and Cavalry Lacking

I used up some time this weekend to finish assembling my Flagellants and Handgunners. Now all that's left to put together is a unit of Knights, a General on a horse, a Battle Standard Bearer, and a Wizard. Once the 1000 points is put together it's off to the races on painting the dang things. It shouldn't be too bad, assuming I find some time most days to work on it. Here's a picture of everything that's put together so far. The Mortar and the Handgunners provide ranged support. The Greatswords and Flagellants are Stubborn and guard the flanks, the Halberdiers will house the Wizard and the Standard Bearer, who will carry banner that lets the unit reroll morale checks. And the General and the Knights will hopefully be able to charge anything that gets bogged down fighting the Stubborn units in my army. That's the plan at least. I haven't played enough Warhammer to know if it will work the way I envision it.

Here's another view of the infantry line from the front. They look mean enough, I suppose. But there sure don't seem to be enough of them.

Here we've got the Handgunners for the army. You may notice that I've got the Repeater Handgun on the left of the photo and a soldier wielding the Hochland Long Rifle on the right. I didn't actually select either of those upgrades for the Sergeant-type of the unit. I figured that by using both of them in the unit (an illegal combination) my opponent would be able to see that I used them for fluff purposes rather than actual upgrades to my list. I surmised that the Handgunners are made up of a few men who are good shots and got recruited, a couple of somewhat wealthy eccentrics with gadget fetishes who want to try out their Hochland Long Rifle and Repeater Handgun, and a few guys who think that maybe being a Handgunner would be safer than being on the battle line with the Halberdiers, especially on whatever flank is shared with the Flagellants.

I had a lot of fun putting the Flagellants together, particularly the first rank. Flagellants do not get a full command (Sergeant-type, Standard Bearer, Musician) in the rules, but I modeled my unit to have an approximation of one anyway.

The Prophet of Doom is in the center. He's the ringleader for these folks, and probably had them all will their worldly goods to him before the battle. I imagine being the leader of a Doomsday Cult could be pretty lucrative if you make sure you're the only survivor of the battle.

The musician has got a few bells and a blindfold on. I imagine his music isn't good enough to warrant any in-game bonuses, although his mates might throw themselves a bit harder against the enemy in the hope that they won't have to hear his music anymore in the afterlife. At least it's not bagpipes, right?

The Standard Bearer was a fun model to put together. He's got a pole with a book strapped to it, and on top of that is the flaming head from the Flagellants sprue. I think the head belonged to the former leader of this group. It has shown a surprising resistance to decay and the Flagellants claim that it speaks to them from time to time (the new leader of the group spent some time as a magician and ventriloquist, but they don't know that).

The guy on the far left in the stocks is a particularly sorry case. He doesn't have any weapons and doesn't really want to be here. He joined the group when it was just a discussion group. He recently expressed some misgivings about the direction things were headed and claimed that Doomsday might not be as close as the leadership was predicting. He also resisted willing his goods to the Prophet of Doom. He's being punished and re-educated at the moment by being sent into battle unarmed and restrained. If he survives, it will be proven that he is a thrall of the Gods of Chaos and the group will kill him. If he dies in battle his name will be cleared and his goods will be split up among his "friends." He is hoping to slip away unnoticed and move to a different province. Nordland is nice this time of year...

Everyone else in the unit is just your standard robe-wearing, flail-wielding, bearded, frothy-mouthed cultist. They look forward to dying in battle so that their self-fulfilling Doomsday prophesy will come true. I hope they take a few Beastmen with them.
The only good thing about the Jazz-Lakers playoff series is that one of them will lose. Since the Rockets didn't even make the playoffs this year I am reduced to rooting against Utah. I don't know if I am disillusioned enough to actually pull for an Eastern Conference team this year. But to cheer us all up, here are some Bo Jackson videos that I promised earlier. The quality on them is kind of low, but they were filmed 20 years ago, before the days of HDTV.

03 May 2010

Heavy Bases

One thing I don't like about my plastic regiments is that the figures scatter all over the place at the slightest bump. They're just not quite heavy enough. So I came up with a fairly simple solution that adds weight to the figures without costing an arm and a leg.

I went to a local sporting goods store and bought a 50 lb. bag of lead shot, the kind that people use when refilling shotgun shells. You want some stuff that is pretty darn small, like size 7 1/2 or 8. If you get shot that is too big it will poke out past the bottom of the slotta-bases and you'll have to file it off or something labor-intensive like that. Back when I bought it, I think the bag cost about $20.00. A single bag will probably do several thousand bases. You can pack a lot of lead into 50 pounds. I store mine in a little plastic bin in the closet.

The next thing you need is a whole lot of superglue. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just a pack of the cheap stuff from the dollar store will be just fine. Scoop up some shot from your container with the base, level it off (over the container so you're not picking up tiny BBs off the ground for the rest of your life), and lay out your bases in some sort of organized fashion. Open up your superglue and squeeze it into the bases, making sure to get a little bit on each bit of shot. Then wait for it to dry. If you flip it over too soon you'll wind up with bases stuck to your table. Today I did 35 bases for about a dollar. This will be heavy enough to keep just about any plastic figure in place, even standard bearers. It will help with metal figures, but I still have metal standard bearers that tip over even with the weighted base.

And that's really about all there is to it. If you're worried about lead poisoning you can paint over the shot and hit the bases with a coat of varnish. Also, you'll be dealing with a huge amount of superglue and the fumes can be overpowering. I'd recommend opening a window or you may experience headaches, nausea, and stinging in your eyes.

02 May 2010

Is It the Shoes?

I've been wearing the same pair of shoes for several years now. I'm pretty sure I bought them when I got home from my deployment to Iraq, so maybe in fall of 2005? My foot is starting to poke out through the side of them, so I am starting the search for a replacement. My wife always teases me because I like shoes that she calls flashy. I guess that's just one of my quirks. I've been looking at these Nike Trainer SC 2010 in the "Baseball Glove" pattern.

They are modeled after a shoe Bo Jackson wore during the "Bo Knows" ads, and are colored and patterned to look a bit like a baseball glove. They also feature stitching that says Bo Knows 1989. Why the tribute to Bo Jackson? The "Bo Knows" ads started in 1989, the same year the original Trainer SC was released. You can see the shoe from all angles at this post on the Eastbay blog.

I don't know that I will end up scoring a pair. I generally find myself somewhat reluctant to put up the kind of scratch it takes to wear "fresh kicks," but it can't hurt to window shop and dream a little. I know a couple of my uncles are die-hard shoe lovers, but I think they tend to focus more on the Jordans. It is pretty rare for footwear to ignite this sort of fire in my belly, but for whatever reason these ones hit my buttons.

Empire Army at the Moment

These aren't the best pictures, as there is a lot of background clutter, but this is what I've got put together so far. You can probably click on the photos for a larger view.

My wife has been talking about planting a small garden this year in the raised beds that the previous owners of the house built in the back yard. Today was the day that the plan went into action. I bowed out of the work as I needed to stay inside doing homework so I can pass my classes and keep my GI Bill money. But when I looked out the window and heard the sound of the shovel my sense of duty pulled me outside to help dig out the bed. Then I decided I might need to help lay down the weed barrier and fill the box up with the new soil mixture. I still was able to get some homework done at intervals, but the wife is pretty happy with her new garden bed and usually when she is happy I am happy too. I hope her garden does well.

There are some old birdhouses in the back yard, also left behind by previous owners. I peeked into one of them while we were outside and saw four little baby birds with mouths pointed upward calling for food. I hope that our activity in that corner of the yard didn't disturb the parents so much that they abandoned the nest. Some robins are building a nest in one of our trees as well, and there are plenty of ducks in the canal behind the house. Out of all the birds I think ducks are my favorite. They seem so cheerful all the time.

I've finally got my unit of Halberdiers put together. Sometimes posing them is a pain because their halberds extend a fair bit out in front of their bases, so I've got to place them in such a way that the halberd ends weave in between the other figures. The easiest thing to do would be to place them all in the exact same pose in the exact same position on their bases, but I dislike that much uniformity in a mass of troops. To hit 1000 points for my Empire list I've still got to put together a few Flagellants, some Knights, a unit of Handgunners, and three character models to represent my General, a Battle Standard Bearer, and a Battle Wizard. Hopefully I can get that done fairly soon. It's only 31 figures, so it shouldn't take too long. The hard part is that some of the characters are going into the Halberdier unit, so I will have to shuffle them around to make everything fit again. Fun stuff.