26 December 2009

Some new Battletech items!

Been a while, here's a 2nd Night Stalker company I finished over the weekend!





22 December 2009

A Decision has been made...

Well, it seems Baltimore is no more for Historicon 2010.

It's now at Valley Forge

I am left with more than a bit of a bad taste in my mouth over this. And I for one, do not plan to attend. In my opinion, and it's my opinion alone, this matter was handled badly probably from the start. Let's not bring up the fact that politics probably reared it's ugly head.

Honestly, having gone to the location in Baltimore, I didn't think that it was that bad a venue, and from what I have heard as to what the proposed venue in Valley Forge will be, I am less than pleased as to the prospects. Supposedly, it's an even worse venue than the Host. Historicon was growing by leaps and bounds, and the Host, as venerable as it was, was straining to hold the con. So, HMGS-East has decided not to make changes and instead, took a step backward.

I wish them well, but I won't be there to see this debacle.

20 December 2009

New Pictures for more stuff I did, WWII this time!







Some Twilight 2000 Soviets are done!

Here's a Mars T-72 and a Brittania BMP-1 that I did up over the weekend.










13 December 2009

Season's greetings and a review of the new Plastic 'Mechs from Catalyst Games.

The long promised review is here. Sorry it took so long. But I have been busy with changes at work and a bit of the insanity associated with the holidays. But onto the review.

First off, I waited a month to get my order. When a website says "5-10 days to process an order", that's kind of what I expect. I didn't get a single email or explanation as to why the delay. And I sent two of them, but no matter, the items I sent for arrived.

So, onto the photos and product. The items (one assembled mech and one unassembled 'Mech per each design) came in small boxes and wrapped in cellophane bags, The plastic was gray and the same type of material IMHO that one's finding in the newer releases from Wargames Foundry and Valiant. Quality and sculpting was good, and the parts were easy to figure out, well, with one exception. The knee joints. I had to really futz with the damn things to get them to fit right. The good news was that when you consult the assembled version, you can figure it out, but seeing as how this was a proof of concept, and if this a success, other designs might be given the same treatment, one wonders if one might be well versed to include an instruction sheet?

Price was also something of an issue, but at $17.95 per two 'Mechs (works out to $8.98 a 'Mech), it doesn't sound like the cost is THAT much cheaper than the current prices for the lead 'Mechs currently in release.

Overall, considering the pricing, the minor assembly issues and the delivery delays, I give this 4 out of 5 stars.


Assembled Thor


Parts for Unassembled Thor


Assembled Loki (Best shot I could manage)


Parts for unassembled Loki

Merry Christmas, Happy Chaunkah and/or Happy Holidays to all, and a good 2010!

11 November 2009

Pete Panzeri Resigns...MIght Historicon be moving again?


My reaction to this on The Miniatures Page is one of shock, as I didn't know Pete was sick..Get well, sir. And, wondering if the BoD is about to anger the other half of HMGS who supported the move. I'm not saying anything will change before 2011. More than likely, it won't. The convention center contracts are usually iron-clad, and getting out of them usually include lots of money, and remembering the bad old days when HMGS always seemed on the edge of financial "dear god, dear god, we're all gonna die." land, I would hope any decision is made with due deliberation.

The following facts, however, need to be addressed.

1) The Host is running out of room and for many, is neither easy to get to, or easy to get around at. Hell, the last time I was there, I remember con organizers were limiting how many folks entered the Flea Market at one time because the Fire Marshal had been less than pleased.

2) Lancaster PA is not near major transportation hubs. Baltimore is. Are you going to pay a little more? Sure. But methinks it all comes out in the wash.

3) We need a facility that can grow with the con..From what I'm hearing, Historicon attendance is actually increasing by leaps and bounds. We need a facility that can grow with that.

That said, if there are financial matters that require review...then by all means, review. I simply ask that folks take a deep breath and not say Baltimore/Lancaster or Fight!

And, in an unrelated story! It's POST # 50! WHOOOOHOOO!!!!

09 November 2009

It's been 20 years?

I thought I'd post on this today because it's an event that really colored my gaming and young adulthood. I'm a child of the 1980s. I may have come of age in the 1990s, but the 1980s really were my formative years. Most of my favorite games are from the 1980s. I miss a lot of TV shows from the 1980s, even if they didn't always age well, and well, I still judge Presidents by Reagan.

The Berlin Wall coming down was to me, the end of an era. An era that could have ended another way, with missile trails and the crack-boom of high velocity tank rounds flying in both directions across the plains of North Germany and in the confines of the Fulda Gap. That would have ended one way in my mind..bright flashes and loud booms over the world's cities. I would have died faster than most. From 1981-1983, the years of maximum danger, as it turned out, I was a navy brat at NAS Rota, Spain. There was an SS-20 with our names on it. Every time I go to the Smithsonian Air and Space on the Mall, I make a point to stop and take a quick look at the SS-20 they have on display. It was a practice model. Never was aimed at anyone...but one just like it was. Sobers you a little. I still game the period. I always did..but gone, thankfully, was the prospect of this kid from Albany crossing swords with some kid from Kiev. Even with what's going on now, we're still better off the Cold War's done. I may miss it tongue and cheek, but miscalculation then had far larger consequences. To all the military professionals on both sides, thanks for doing your duty...and not allowing deterrence to fail.

02 November 2009

The switch to plastic, has technology improved? Is the day of the soft plastic figure over?

I'm going to speak on this because of my experience with the Valiant 20mm WWII line (they're closer to true 25mm IMHO, but that's my only complaint about these figures.) and the new plastic Battletech miniatures that have been released as a proof of concept from Catalyst Games. I am very intrigued by this development in the hobby with the advent of very high quality hard-plastic customizable miniatures for the rest of the hobby. The 40K crowd has done this for years, and I think that's where the prejudice against such things has come from. Personally, it's a development, in this era of rising commodities prices, that I can only approve of. It will also make the hobby more accessible as now teenagers can use their plastic modeling gear to work on their armies! Customizing their armies will become easier as well. For all of us conversion happy folks, this can only be a good thing.

I do wish the intermediate scales, aka 15mm, especially sci-fi got some of the same treatment. I do wonder how much cheaper this high impact plastic process is cheaper than the traditional resin and metal parts for vehicles is?

I do think the hard plastic trend for wargaming will continue, and I do think it might become the industry standard, as it looks as if the detail on these figures is captured better than the traditional soft plastic we see.

I do want to see what happens when my Battletech 'Mechs arrive. And I do promise a full review.

As for the Valiant, I found the figures to be an extremely easy build. The hard plastic took glue well, and with a little light scoring to the gluing surfaces with ye standard ol 11 blade, I couldn't have asked for an easier build. The figures scale well with the true 25s I still have left, not very many, but they're not going to fit in with either the 28mm lines on the market, or any 20mm lines I happen to be aware of. The details are excellent, and historically correct, frankly, I think the detail holds up better than on some lead I've seen out there. And, with typically 50-60 figures in a box, you can build a skirmish army in the scale with one box. So, if it's a bit pricey, it's worth it. I find that the amount of weapons and equipment found in the set are ample and in some case, more than ample, I've used some of the extra heads and gear to do some conversions with other figures and vehicles I have. Used in limited quantities, it all comes out in the wash. What flash there was, and there wasn't a lot, was easily removed with ol'number 11 and a measure of patience. My sanding was minimal and I don't recall that many, if any mold lines.

26 October 2009

Alexandria CBT went well

God what a difference a gaming group makes.

The good:
-Company was excellent, not the "arrested development" of my last bunch. I don't mind bad jokes or tomfoolery..but when the humor stopping being funny sometime around junior high...Not the case here.

-Game was loose and yet dramatic and played to a conclusion by god!

-People left wanting to do it again!

The bad:

-Not much I can think of...

21 October 2009

Gamer Drama, how much is self-inflicted?

The term Gamer Drama comes from my wife. But yeah, it's there, whether it's the group that acts like six year olds that makes you embarrassed to know them, or the internet forum where people take jokes out of context, or worse yet, make insane accusations?
Yeah, we've been there.

But is it all really necessary? Is this being part of a passionate hobby full of people who do get interested in topics great and small? We're a small hobby demographically. And, if the statistics I keep hearing are any guide, then we're not getting any younger either. And that's the sad part. Must we as a hobby turn on each other because of issues great and small? Look, I'm guilty too. There are games where it's "wind him up and let him go." But, I am trying, maybe it's the wisdom one begins to get in their 30s as one realizes, this hobby has good and bad..but must we let our experience with the bad be the deciding factors in our treatment of each other?

This isn't a "let's all get along" speech. That'll never happen, and if it did, we wouldn't have much to game. The fact really is this: We're too small a hobby to let grudges carry on for long. Don't like a game or somebody in particular? Don't game it or don't play with that person. It's a hard lesson to learn, and it can leave you lonelier in the end. But at least you have your respect. Or, as my wife puts it.."arguing on the internet is like winning the Special Olympics..you might win, but you're still retarded." Perhaps that's not the most PC way to make the point, but I like it blunt myself.

And what the hell is this hate specifically for one website or another? A twisted form of marketing? Don't like a website? Don't go there. Sorry but this one just mystifies me. Isn't the internet the limitless frontier? Lately all I've been seeing is a lot of "this town ain't big enough for the both of us."

07 October 2009

Never say Never I guess....

I was contacted by a new CBT group forming in the area, and get this, they asked me to join them..funny how that worked out. So, I'll give it a shot. Can't hurt, can it? I'm going to be getting a lot of historicals done soon as well..I have so much to do right now, it's not funny...

- Writing projects
- Putting together some kits and organizing my US force for Twilight 2000 Iran. Then, repainting my US Woodland BDU guys because frankly, I've found a better way, probably end up repainting most of my moderns.
- Painting up the remains of the WWII that needs to be done. There's a lot, but the armies are mostly done that I do have, with certain exceptions.
- Getting started on my Micro Armor moderns (getting more of that painted and done).
- Painting more 'Mechs (It seems I'll be putting them to use after all?)
- Finishing up more 15mm Sci-fi armies.
- Get the pics I took at Game Day up!

I think once I can get all this out of the way, life will be good.

29 September 2009

Pics from Modern Russian Group Build I am a part of

Well folks, I have uploaded some photos of a group build I participated in for Modern Russians in 20mm from C-P Models/Martello International. These are of the "greens" and they look phenomenal! It's pricy but the figures work well for my Twilight 2000 army.