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.