woensdag 28 september 2016

The Quest for Dirt (Roads), the finale.

Back in November 2014 I blogged about the need for dirt roads for my table. >> The Quest for Dirt (Roads). 2 years in, still no roads. I had drawn up a shortlist of stuff I need for my table a while back. Trees/woods, dirt roads, a river, swamps, fences. All of these I have kit for or know how to make already. Except dirt roads.

Well, screw it, I thought. I've got money in my Paypal, and buying scenery is a wise investment for me. So out comes the Google search, a quick peek at Ebay for prices and then the more difficult task of browsing for local shops.I'm still not enamoured by latex roads, depending where you go they can be a decent price, or really expensive. Not doing wood or cork. I basically asked myself, what would make more sense, spend a whole weekend or more (being a perfectionist sucks sometimes) building roads, so 8-10 hours of building and painting, or find something that I've seen in battle reports and I like the look of and is available. On Ebay, you can buy caulked, latex or resin roads. And there is actually not a whole lot of difference in cost? 15 Pounds per metre of road is about it. I calculated I will need roughly 4 metres in 30cm pieces to make a varied road on a 4x4 table. Some crossings would be nice too.

In the end I narrowed it down to the Battlefront Rural Road set (BB117) and Expansion kit (BB144). 2 boxes of the first and 1 box of the latter should suffice. Why this set? Well, Piers uses it and it looks really nice in his battlereports. It's prepainted, durable, and as it turned out, I can get it locally.

Going off Ebay UK Prices, 3 boxes of the stuff from 2 different suppliers (no seller sells both boxes) would have set me back 110-115 euros including shipping. Locally, I only found 2 (online)shops that sold both boxes, both with free shipping over 50 euros. One for 108, the other for 105 euros. I had never heard of the first shop but I knew the second. But that shop had burned me in the past with stuff in backorder for months on end, so a quick email was sent to ask if they had stock, and if not, how long would I have to wait? 5 minutes later I had my answer, 1 was in the stock, the others could be delivered in a week. Then a friend reminded me that he gave 10% discount to members of the Dutch FoW forum if they used the code he had listed there. And I actually have a, be it ancient, account there. Well, that was sorted then, order made, code entered and for 94,50 I'm the happy owner for enough roads for my table. It's quite a bit of money but I feel it's a solid investment.

With that out of the way, the next things to tackle are:
  1. Forest - rebasing, this year if possible.
  2. River and swamps - start collecting scrap hardboard for that, this and next year.
  3. Fences and gardens - next year.
 ...and get some games in of course :)

maandag 26 september 2016

Come on Eileen!

I survived a week of sunny Dutch weather, a couple of trips to the beach, and living in a small bungalow. I can check that off my bucket list :P Pity my knee started to act up thursday-ish (all that soft sand) and my depression decided it would be a good time to rear it's ugly head again. So instead of me cuddling the kids, the kids were cuddling daddy to cheer him up. Helped a bit, it did. All in all we had fun though, we learned a few lessons for next time, and took a lot of pictures :)

Us having a drink at the restaurant next to Sea Life in Scheveningen. The kids loved seeing all the fish and other aquatic animals. Sadly, they had locked the door behind us when we wanted to continue the tour (granted, it was 17:30) so the girls never got to see the penguins or complete their booklet with a stamp for the last part and a free sticker. (We went back to the entrance after this but this too was closed shut.....a shame).

In the evenings Kim and I chatted while she was making a puzzle and I managed to blow trough 1 Gig of data in a week, keeping up to date with the world and everything. Just couldn't log into most places as I don't keep codes in my phone :D Did manage to find a nice kit for a few euros to go with my P-51, and no shipping costs either as my brother picked it up for me on the way over for a visit.

For a later date, but should be a fun build :)

I spent my evenings plus a afternoon on the beach reading this book, The Forgotten Battle.
I've always been interested in reading up about the war affecting my birthplace, Deurne, but the few local books that I had never mentioned much other then the occasional crash of bombers, and then troops liberating Deurne, and then not much else. This book has changed that. I now know that Deurne was very lucky in that the front lines during Market Garden were very fluid and only solidified again after the Germans had retreated to the Peel area (Deurne lies on the Eastern edge of the Peel area). Also, it was interesting to read about the particular hardships suffered by both sides during one of the most miserbale weather imaginable. I know the Peel area quite well, so reading about tanks having to drive single file to get anywhere, and almost immediately bogging down when they got off the road, and the many, many close assaults with Flailtanks and the dreaded Shu mines and many, many other little details. To my surprise I learned The Americans and the Btits both took turns in defending the area, with the Americans being a lot less professional then the British. New to me was that especially the Allies stole everything they could get their hands on, and the destruction of quite a few landmarks like castles and windmills by extensive use of artillery and fighter bomber support. Mind you, the Germans did that too.

Someday, I hope to use this book and a few others to write some Battlegroup scenario's for it, maybe even a small linked campaign.

And now some serious news. I've been getting worked up over this meeting for a while, but today I got to plead my case to the UWV for referral (at their cost) to Werkmans, a agency that specializes in finding fitting jobs for highre IQ autistic people. After a mere 10 minutes (I guess my enthusiasm did it?) he said they would approve it, but they would need a proposal from Werkmans in 2 weeks starting now, and that they would only fund it for 6 months max (new government rules just in effect)
and all of it has to be started before my physical exam somewhere end of October/mid November. Tomorrow I have another meeting with my psychiatrist (whom I will tell I want no more medication) and after that I will email and phone Werkmans to get the ball rolling. The rest of the week is cleared and I will do more cleaning and selling of stuff and resting my knee cause right now it really, really hurts.

maandag 19 september 2016

See you next week!!

Saturdays BFG battle was highly entertaining, with higs, lows and OMGs! During set up I suggested the 2x2 Cruiser clash would be more interesting with reserves coming on from random table edges. So we split our forces into pieces, shuffled the blips and rolled for reinforcements each turn.

First up we had 2 Imperial groups warping in, surrounding a small Chaos force. Eriks opening shot (Novacannon) had a long lasting effect on the Styx as it lost several hullpoints in one go. That was a high.

In the next turn a Ork Battlkroozer dropped in next to Modhails Battleship that was navigating a passageway through a asteroid field. He went all ahead full. Surely he won't make that? Well, he managed to exactly land his ship in base to base, barging through the astroid field like it wasn't there, slamming into the Battleship and oblitterating it in a single go. I believe it was 30 damage vs 1? That was pretty much rock bottom low.

With ships arriving piecemeal it was very hard to support each other and get enough hits on enemy ships to take them out, though we where wittling each other down slowly but surely.

Around 5 we called it a day, did the math, and the Ork/Chaos team beat us by a bit over a 100 points, making it a narrow, if costly, win. (Not for the Orks though, barely a scratch on those. The Chaos force came off much, much worse)

Really motivates me to get a start on my 2 cruisers and then work my way up from there.

Today, besides packing, I've been reading up on some early notes on scenario's Piers is writing for the 44 drive through Belgium and Holland, and picked 2 that are good frameworks to build a force around. I find this to be much easier then just randomly tacking stuff to your army. Choosing a scenario, building and finishing the rquired forces is a nice goal in itself. Also, not much is needed to finish the (German) army needed for the scenario.

I've checked out my stash of Britannia figs and found that while I have kilo's of the stuff, I don't have the men needed to round off the remaining bits so I put in a order with Grubby tanks today....my first in 3-4 years I think? I've also been hunting actively for 2 Jagdpanthers for the scenario, but found the available plasic models to be quite varied. I'll never build a rubber band track tank for instance, unless I can replace that with plastic ones from another tank. That narrowed it down to the S-Model one, but that is 19 euros for a box plus 7 euros shipping, and it has no tools on the sides so I would have to buy those plus tuned brass barrels. I'll keep an eye out on Crisis if anyone has them for sale, but till then I went over the second hand groups with a fine tooth comb and found 2 Hasegawa Panzer IV Lang including brass barrels at 8 euros a piece (though no reply yet from the seller) I hope to mate those (with some surgery) to PSC Panzer IV lower hulls like I did with the Brumbar and have that sorted and ready for paint maybe even this year?

Anyway, enough about all that. Off to bed and tomorrow a relaxing drive to the sea for a weeks vacation.

Yeah :)

zaterdag 17 september 2016

Counting down

On Monday my little family will take a small holiday on the beach. We have plans for a week, but if the girls decide we had enough we will just go home.....the little house by the sea for a week is a birthday gift from my aunt, so as long as we turn off the gas and lock up when we leave, all is good.

Since we have no wifi there, and I'm not lugging a bunch of electronics with me, just a couple of books, and no Blog for a week :P Should be interesting :)

Hopefully an improvement over the past few days as well, feeling rather down, not helped by my latest purchase of Ikea Moppe cabinets.

The white ones I picked up on Thursday, the cabinet underneath the 2 arrived by mail today. I was incredibly pissed to find out that the white ones are more recent (?) and are a bloody different size! They are both bigger, they look like 110% enlarged versions of the ones I already had! I had no idea! I put them up today but it just doesn't look right. Luckily, I found the perfect place for the 3 drawer cabinet as it has space for A4 sized stuff plus a bit of room for your fingers.

Next to my monitor, I just put my printer on top, and put my spare paper, laminating pouches/photo paper, whiteboard stuff and labels right in one place. Several loose boxes cleared in one go, so they can go back in the attic, and I created about 1 shelf of empty space in the cabinet next to me.

Left wall looks better now too. Kit boxes in the back I posted to Scotland shortly after this picture was taken.
The 2x2 grey cabinet is from the same current family as the new white one. They are not as deep as the others, the right edge is actually 1 straight line all the way down. But I feel that is too tall for me, so those cabinets will go into my scenery cabinet (still following me?) to sort in my hedges, barbed wire etc in one place instead of several loose boxes. Might even sell the 2x2 again. Everything above the 4 boxes now will become shelving....I want to display my army helmets somewhere. Top shelf will be a Pappis shelf again.

I'm done searching for Moppe cabinets now (well, maybe a couple of wide drawer only ones, if I can find them) and all I have left to find now is a cabinet with wheels for underneath my painting desk.

I'm actually realising now that my favourite drawer cabinet, the Alex, of which I have 3 already, would be an ideal size to roll underneath the desk and not be in the way when using the room for games. (this because I just sold my 2nd desk chair....it was getting a bit ridiculous hopping from one chair to the other while I can just roll from left to right with a single chair.). Having wheels I can just roll it out when I want to work there.

That's sorted then, after my vacation I'll:
-Hunt down an Alex (high priority) and a 3 drawer Moppe (low priority).
-Add rails for shelves on 3 walls.

If I do that, there will be enough space to store scenery and miniatures into the far future, with much more room then I should currently need. Better to plan ahead, right? Then clear out the next 2 cabinets (and sell stuff), clear out the Alexes (and sell stuff) and by then it should be November (Crisis time!) and I can get cracking on clearning the attic.

I'm actually supposed to turn 40 in a month time, too! As Kim will never buy me toys for my birthday, I decided to ask for a small Minitower with USB connector. Download some podcasts/music, keep the PC turned off, less distractions, more painting.

With the recent sales I now have 200 in the Paypal bank, but I haven't even bothered to look at the Crisis traders list yet....I honestly don't feel like buying anything or justifying it, which is really unusual for me as the 2 months before Crisis are always a busy time with lots of sales and planning pre orders for pick up. This year I seem unable to make that commitment, as I already have loads of stuff and I'm better off trying to build and paint that. Weird, using logic on hobby purchases. But that is just the way I feel right now. I'm unsure if there's work for me at the PSC stand. If there is, my 20mm purchases are covered. If there isn't, I'll scoot the Bring & Buy, talk to everyone I know, look at the tables for insipration, spend some cash at PSC anyway for Blitzes and Marders and call it day early. There is always so much (too much) to see at Crisis so that it gives me sensory overload unless I work at one spot for most of the day.

Now off to bed, tomorrow a full day of nothing but BFG battles at Modhails place. He made me a nice list, but I'm very rusty so we'll see how my 1000 pts Imperial fleet will handle itself. Almost nothing but Range 30 weapons batteries so real Gunboats supported by a light Carrier and escorts. Yup, will be fun.

dinsdag 13 september 2016

In with the old, out with the new.....

Wait, what?

Currently it's:
1. TNT
2. 3mm Ruins
3. Rhino wreck
4. 3mm armies

Nothing wrong with TNT. Loving it. With the help of my buddy Alex I even added a new scenic piece to my collection. He was kind enough to make a detour from his trip home to pick it up from a seller who refused to ship. And he just dropped it off. Didn't want anything for the help. Love that guy :)

Flo's Diner from Cars. 12,50 euros. That's my filling station sorted in go, though I will do some dissasembling on it and rework it a bit to make it more fitting. Not now though, trailerpark first, this is for later.

3mm Ruins - going at it. Too much fun making them. But it does not have any priority so I just do a Block when I feel like it.

3mm Armies - what I need to do now is photograph all of the infantry models so I know what is in each bag, so future orders can be made accordingly. I'll be mixing the infantry you see. Also not a priority.

Rhino Wreck - intended to do just for fun, but can go back in the cabinet, as it is being replaced by something else.

Replaced by what? Well, this Blog is called 20mmandthensome for a reason. 20mm used to be my main focus, but it kinda dropped in priority as all the locals game in 28mm or in 15mm. In my relax time I've been reading up on the Battlegroup FB page, the Blitzkrieg book (as the rest is still packed up) and having small discussions with Piers. And in league with my new found enthusiasm, I realised I'm better off going back to my roots and paint what gave me so much joy, and that is 20mm. Don't worry, I'll alternate with the rest, but the time has come to dig up my 20mm stuff, do some small repairs, and start to finish units to a gameable standard.

How am I going to do that?

Back to basics. The core of each army is Infantry. The core of Battlegroup is 1 unit of Infantry, so that is what I will start painting. 1 German army for Early, Mid and Late War, tuned to the books that have been released sofar. I'll start off with Normandy (the Overlord book) as that Infantry Unit is 80% done, it is missing a 80mm mortar and a 3 man LMG team, plus some options from the Support Options.

It feels like meeting an old friend I have not seen in years, and picking up where I left off. It feels good.

zondag 11 september 2016

3 weeks in.....

Hi there again.

There have been a few changes in the past 3 weeks since I was told to stop my medication. First 2 weeks weren't fun. This week was.....different? It's like my entire outlook on life has changed, shifted in a way, from the misty lands with dark clouds to more that of a cloudless mountaintop.

This week we had a 2 monthly meeting with all of the organisations supporting my little familiy. For the first time ever I spoke more then 2 sentences, sat upright, enjoyed elaborating how I had taken the girls to the village to return our library books, and when we had done that, just sat down in the corner, both girls on my lap, and they kept giving me books to read to them. It was the most pleasurable moment I've had with my girls in what feels like ages. 2 councellors sat there with open mouths of amazement, my mom sat there almost crying that her son was back after 6 long years and I seem to have baffled everyone else (including myself).

I've taken these pills for 6 long years and never, ever again. I don't want to be like that anymore. If I feel a bit down, I'll get over it on my own terms. My depression? I'll fight that with my bare hands if I need to. I flat out refuse to go on the pills route again. I can fight this.

I've been sticking to the draw a line, clean that area rules every day now. I'm feeling now that I really can't stand clutter, and am much more active to clean up the little things around the house. I'm combining this with quality time with my girls, so I asked them if they wanted to do chores with me (which was greeted with enthusiastic cries of "Yes! Yes!") so I cleaned the gutters in the yard, and the girls both swept up the dirt into the bin. We then took a walk to the recycling centre to get rid of the glass....I carried, they put them in (mostly) the right holes. And then off for some groceries, it's a bit like herding cats with them at the shop, but they behaved really well, and when we got home Kim told me she was going to see a movie with her sister and her mom, if I would mind looking after the kids? :) After a tickle party untill they both had red cheeks, we all sat down to do some colouring. And the first time ever I gave them some potato chips (that they had picked themselves) and after that 30 minutes of telly and snoozing on the couch till Kim came back home.

I can safely say this has been my most enjoyable sunday in the 3 years that they have been born with nothing but daddy time. I'm really savouring the moments I have with them. And they apparently too, as Nikki cuddled up to me and almost fell asleep and Emma just hugged and kissed me out of nowhere.

I feel I'm getting better at not pissing off Kim too. She's in the loop about my finances, I tell her about every trade, sale and purchase, I hug her a lot, I'm doing my best to be understanding of her problems.

On top of all this, I actually did some hobby stuff tonight. Grabbed box 2 (3mm city) and built another Block.

I'll add a shelter/subway entrance or a statue  in the open area. Keeping it as generic as possible, don't worry.

Set my alarm clock to 22:00, and when that rang, cleared everything, cleaned it and now you can't see I did any hobby work. And I like it. I'll try again tomorrow and see how it goes. Might even be able to add 2 Blocks?

Feeling good. Hope you feel the same :)

dinsdag 6 september 2016

Well, that's sorted then!

Bad night (Emma has a cold so she wakes up and cries a lot at night, and I sleep light atm) so decided to go back to bed after I dropped them off at daycare. Got home, decided to check the emails for a minute and after that I just started cleaning the last bit and completely forgot about going back to bed.....

15 minutes in and it was all empty, and after some baby wipe cleaning it's dust free as well. It's not perfect, there is still some clutter, so I will keep chasing second hand Moppe drawer cabinets to sort that out.

Since I had energy left I took out the trash and cleaned the kitchen properly. Then a run to town to mail what has been sold, went for a bit of browsing and found the 40x60cm magnetic whiteboards to be on sale that would be perfect to stick to the door of my paint cabinet. Sadly, when I asked for a measuring tape (cause they might label it as a certain size, it might not actually be that size!) the shopkeeper found none so I'll be returning tomorrow with my own.

Then got home and decided it would be in my best interest to take a bit better care of myself, as I...well, seem to care all of a sudden? So a quick wash and shave :)

No 2 week beard and a smile for a change :)

Now everything is cleaned and I don't feel like painting :) Maybe I'll just start to tackle the half cabinet next to my desk and sort that out.