donderdag 26 maart 2015

Some things are worth doing

Recent events have taught me, again, that life is too short to worry about everything (and accomplishes nothing). To quote Yoda, "Do or do not. There is no try."





Last week something happend to my wife that made me rush back home as fast as my scooter could carry me, only to walk into a house swarming with police and paramedics, and no kids, and a crying and screaming sister-in-law. I'm a "think of the worst, then it can only get better" kind of guy (coping mechanism from highschool) but the things my mind conjured up then really dug into the darkest part of my mind. Let's just say I could see headlines in the national papers, and leave it at that.

The wife is ok now, still shaken with a minor bruise on her forehead, she passed out from stress and hit her head against the wall, falling unconcious in the hallway, the kids are fine (it turned out they were at her fathers, thank God) and I even managed to fix the front door more or less (that the police kicked in). But I will never forget the 30 minute drive during which my thoughts became more troubled with every mile travelled, and the 15 minutes in which no one knew where my kids were, a real living hell. :(

So, what does this have to do with my hobby? Well, I need my hobby. I need my hobby badly. I work 40+ hours a week, do most of the work with the kids in the weekend to relieve the wife, and when she is not feeling well (which is rather often these days) I cook, clean and take the kids to bed, before going downstairs and taking care of her with a chat, a cuddle and a hot cup of tea. But with all of that time helping others I need to relieve the days stress by doing things for me, myself and I. And that is were the hobby comes in. I don't go out, don't partcularly like television and never made new friends here since moving in 3 years ago so can't just hang out for an hour or so, and most people who I call good mates are usually not even in Holland anyway and only available online. So hobby time it is.

I surf, I read, I watch tutorials, I learn and if I stay up late enough I buy stuff too (which I shouldn't), all centered around the hobby. And after a hour or 2-3 I'm fully relaxed, full of ideas and am usually asleep minutes after my head hits the pillow.

After the event with my wife I spent a lot more time behind the pc, speaking in detail to a few of you, and looking at what I want to do Hobby wise. What I really want to do.

Turns out, I'm mostly already doing what I want to do. I want to play games with local friends (Mordheim, Inquisitor and Necromunda) and get to know new gamer ones (working on it, want to visit the wargamesclub Glory soon). I want to expand my German army and build a British army, but feel i have enough time for that once I get back into painting, so no rush. I really, really want to paint again (it has been over 18 months now) but I will not untill I cleared most of the for sale stuff from my desk and actually have the space again to move freely. I want to get back into converting a lot of things (bring on the Tau) and making and painting quirky stuff (Objectives!). I need to stop worrying about scenery and scales. Yes, the bigger ones take up more room, but you need less of it as I will be skirmishing mostly. And scenery will be stored in the attic, as promised to my wife. Cause there will be space when I sell more of the things I will never game with, like all of my Epic and stuff. In light of this I have told myself to buy a second hand (but still packed) 15mm AK-47 army off The Lead Adventure Forum as soon as I have sold enough stuff to finance it. And then, other then maybe a tool or paint, I'm done with buying stuff for a while. I know I will keep an eye on second hand stuff, but if I want to expand what I have I can use what I have in stock or buy second hand stuff.

And what I really should do, and I know this sounds corny, is to have more fun. Paint what I like not because the army list demands it, but because I will enjoy doing it. Painting is a great way to have fun without spending money (bonus!)

Time for bed.

vrijdag 20 maart 2015

100 euro Tau

Did I ever mention I am easily distracted? :)

Planning the Kroot made me realise I could use them as henchmen for a Inquisitor, as henchmen for Tau, as henchmen for another Alien or Rogue Trader or as a stand alone force. Nothing wrong there. But while googling I found this PDF again.

Years ago, before it came out, Modhail (Erik) had shown me a link to a Al'Yon'Kor'Vesa.

A what? Well, this (the drone in the centre):
As I love robots, drones and cyborgs I wanted to make a few, so I contacted the maker, Sebastian Stuart, for details about the build. He was very quick to respond, sent me a complete parts list used and wished me the best of luck. I then managed to find enough parts to make 2 drones minus the small antenna and even painted 1 in police colours.. I tried to find pics but I have nothing left from the era, sadly. I tried making new ones last year to get back into the hobby, but found getting parts (by trading) to be very difficult and abandoned the project.

So fast forward to 6 weeks ago, when I wondered if it would not be nice to have a Tau force for Inquisitor as well. They would work for other Sci-fi games too, and if I would stick to drones and infantry it should not have to cost much. So I gave that some thought for 2-3 weeks and then several Tau lots popped up on Marktplaats. Most were already made up, basecoated or partially painted, and while cheap, made me say no due to the amount of work involved in stripping and cutting them apart for reposing. But one was selling boxes of them, as new, for around 60% retail, so I made a bid on (too many) boxes. I was told no, as the price was the minimum price, so I settled for a box of Tau Fire Warriors and a box of 3 XV-8 Crisis suits, which gives me a good solid core to base a force on for Inquisitor or Kill Team. I then managed to win a lot of sprues with left over Crisis bits on them (which I have just finished picking clean), a large lot of made and unmade drones plus some other bits and pieces to make Tau scenery from, directly copied from the COD PDF linked above. Added to that I won another 12 unmade Tau Firewarriors and I had spent 100 euros getting it (excluding shipping)

Now what? Well, the beauty of Sebastians Tau is that he has website for them, eastern-empire.com and on that website he details how he painted his Urban Tau using mostly Vallejo colours. Excellent!
I like his scheme an he has a tutorial too, what is not to like? :) I do feel his orange may be a bit brighter, bu the rest is nicely subdued and perfect for my painting style. Purple lenses? Love em!
Conversions made? They bring out the copycat in me, which is a feeling I have not had for more then a year now.

I have also copied a ton of pictures of Tau Drone conversions, enough to keep me happy till the end of the year. I have even managed to find parts for most of them.

I think I have found the perfect force to get me back into painting stuff, after a 18 month hiatus :) And I can even paint them at a GW store, how about that :D

dinsdag 10 maart 2015

A bird on a wire (cable)

Today, while waiting for the couriers to arrive at work (I started at 9, first one showed up at 12:30!) I was googling a bit for Inq28mm and found a conversion of some model, with lots of wires and cables on it. He mentioned he made them using a tentacle tool.

Well, that peaked my interest. I want to do some conversions with cables and I've been making the ones on my servoskull by winding solder wire over a brass wire base, and that takes time. When I ordered from Zinge Industries I noticed they also sold flexible cables and ammo feeds, but getting all of the cables from them would get a tad pricey (though I will get some mixed cables in the future), so how did he do it?

As it turns out, a tentacle tool (or tentacle maker as it is called) is the one sold by Greenstuff Industries and this is actually a set of 3 forms that create 2 different cables, one in 2 sizes, which costs $24,99. Sadly you need to add $24,99 shipping on top for basically 6 small pieces of resin plastic. 50 dollars atm is 45 euros, wow there! I can buy a lot of cable for that.

So, are there any other options outthere? Well, as it turns out, there are. I found a company in Germany, Bees Putty, who sell their own brand of backeable scultping compound, and this tool. Looks awfully alike (but as far as I read, this company made them first, USA was a few months later). But again, 20 euros for 6 pieces of plastic resin. I know you will ever only buy one set, and it is rather cheap compared to the punch die's I have, but still that is a lot of money. 10 euro shipping no less too. I found it in 2 more shops in Germany, but they all sell at the same price and at the same shipping cost.

I also found Forge Planet for 12 dolars for a set, with 10 dollars Worldwide shipping, but they assume you know what you are buying cause there is as good as no info. Also, non transparant. But 20,50 euro, the cheapest sofar.

Would that be an issue? Well, I see 2 issues. If it is transparant you would be able to see how thin you are rolling it, which is a plus compared to a non transparant one. Secondly, how do you line these things up? I see no guidelines along the sides to make sure you are getting it right every time.

Beesputty has a handy Youtube video that shows how it is done, using a block of wood and a clean desk:

Looks simple enough, doesn't it?

Leaves me with the last one I found sofar while doing nothing at work :)

ROLL-MAKER (this takes you to Ebay) Looks like an improvement over the other ones (in one way only). Yes, it is non transparant, but comes with 2 bits that help you align the 2 parts, so I see correct roll every time, and even let you align it 45 degrees perfectly as well as 90 degrees. 12 Pounds for a set of 3 sizes (all round cable) and 2,50 Pounds shipping to me from Spain. So 20,50 euros.

Which is best? I dunno, I have never used these. If you do use these, tell me how you feel about them so I can make my choice.

zondag 8 maart 2015

In with the old.

Years ago, before I discovered Wikkywokks excellent photorealistic scenery, I had high hopes of doing things like that myself. Nothing came of it back then.

What did happen was that it grew a love for the old, the decrepit, the overgrown, the used and discarded stuff of yesteryear, and in particular machines and buildings. That and I needed examples of how to paint my stuff. So I started taking pictures. This has created some tension with me and past and current girlfriends as I could spend holidays taking pics of nothing other then old buildings and rusting wrecks instead of her in bikini or against some landmark.

Anyway, most of those pics have been lost after a harddiskcrash and I had not paid much attention to it cause I started buying Wikkywokk stuff. So there I was driving back home on my scooter, taking an alternate route then usual, straight through Maaskantje, when I spotted something down an alleyway. Passed by it, thought, what the heck, and turned around.

By chance, what I assumed was the owner, was parked on the side of the building so I asked if he objected if I took some shots of his building. He agreed, and told me he was going to renovate it, replace the broken stone, new door, new fitting and a new roof soon (what you don't see in the pics is the left part of the house that has already been restored) in the near future, so if I want better shots, I'd better bring my camera on a sunny day soon.

Anyway, here are, the future reference, the pics I took:

The renovated part is on the left.

Just out of shot are the totally rotted remains of the roofs edge.

The faded INRIT (meaning entry way) and the faded colours, as well as the extra planking on top.

Paint is almost completely gone, love the curtain showing by the broken window.

One way to paint broken glass is to paint it black, and not gloss coat it like you would normally paint glass (that or blue)

Love the boarded up section!






woensdag 4 maart 2015

Two Minute Tutorial - Making Tiny Trash Bags


Two Minute Tutorial - Making Tiny Trash Bags  (for some reason I can't get the video to show in my Blogpost, so forgive me for linking to Youtube)

I tried this tonight, having watched the video yesterday and thinking "Gosh, this looks so easy!"

Well, I tried the 2 types of trashbag we use at home and created a big molten mess every time, it melted quicker then I could react and not a straight seam in sight. So my Gf comes in and hands me some plastic trash from our recylcing bag, some old plastic bags of various colours, a empty pack of huggies babytissues, more of that stuff, all thicker plastic. One of them was a black plastic shopping bag, so I tried a piece of that. But again, it melted very irregularly. Dammit. What to do?

Eureka moment. What if I use a pair of tweezers to protect most of the plastic and only leave 1 tiny sliver available to melt? Tried it, and it works brilliantly every time sofar, it is even quicker then the method shown, so I'm now sitting here processing plastic bags ready to be filled.

My GF actually kirred and found it to be "so damn cute!" :D

I'm tying them down with a piece of string as I simply don't have wire thin enough for it (well, I do, but it is solder and it keeps breaking) and it looks just fine. I've made a few 28mm scaled ones now, and I think I will start doing a few 20mm ones tomorrow, as this is just so damn easy! (now that I know how)



Top tip, this one :)

maandag 2 maart 2015

My trip to Poldercon

With a bit of a delay, it seemed everything was more importantly then this for some reason....but here it is.

I had been looking forward to Poldercon for quite some time, as the concept gripped me from the onset. I only go to a few cons each year (Crisis is a must, and Impact because it is local (sadly it won't be done this year) and Figz because it is all about the figures. I pass on Ducosim as it is not really a show but more of a get together to game) and most are about planning purchases and meeting friends. So usually by 12 I've met everyone and I'm out of money. Granted, the Crisis show has changed for me since Will from PSC lets me work for him as Sales so he can take a breather and talk to other companies and customers, limiting my Crisis time to one hour off, but I actually like that as I can make a run past the shops I have pre orders with, make a single trip past the Bring and Buy and eye all of the tables once, which stops my impulse buys dead in the water. Will is responsible for saving me so much money! And all my mates and people who know me visit me at the shop at their own leasure. But back to Poldercon....

Planning is what I must do a lot, so to have a convention with 4 slots to plan plus some time for lunch is ideal for me in more then 1 way. I have my day planned (pro), I know what to expect (big pro) and I can play the games I'm actually interested in and not worry about rushing them or playing them with 4-6 new players at the same time (which my brain just cannot compute, I'm a 1 on 1 kind of guy)(again pro). Cost seemed a bit high from the onset, 17.50 euro for a convention while my expensive one to date (Crisis) is 10 euros, but look at it this way:

4 games/workshops at 2,50 euro each plus a 7,50 euro lunch

Really, try beating those prices if you eat at a convention (ok, you can bring your own lunch but let's pretend you don't) and then still complain "it is too expensive". There, I said it.

So I had 4 games/workshops planned,
  1. Chain of Command
  2. Speech by Clarke How to do a Demo
  3. Saga
  4. Pijlie's Scenery Workshop
 This was the plan up to a week till the convention, when I was eyeing Facebook and a small notice passed by mentioning Pulp Alley had a opening in the first slot. As I have been eyeing the game for possible use with Inquistor I jumped at the chance and was very happy when I got it. For my WW2 needs I'll stick to Battlegroup.

Convention day! I picked up a mate of mine in Tilburg and went to the location. I found it very easy to get to, directions from Tom Tom were spot on. There was plenty of parking at the venue and the venue looked excellent from the outside. Upon entering we said our names and were marked off the list, and got a counter for the lunch. Twas still early so we had a stroll to look at the tables. This was some high quality stuff, in a well lit room, and even a couple of shops (not that I had any money other then 5 euros my mate gave me for gas). Since my day was booked and my mates wasn't we went around looking for slots for him to fill, and after a while I said goodbye and went to my first table.

First date: Pulp Alley

Wow, I have not had so much fun at a game I never played from the start, it was dead easy to pick up, the host was excellent, the scenery lovely and the figures well painted. We, the players, even got a goodybag with a card, 2 dice, a special grenade template and free Pulp Alley figure, and the mentioned card was actually usable in the game.

Malebolgia drew up a excellent battlereport you can find here, Game 1

And yes, I lost. Hey, I played Nazi's, of course I lost :P But I had so much fun!


By the end of the gameI shook hands and when I got up I felt really drained, I had been paying attention for almost 90 minutes and it had left me drained. Not having breakfast (I overslept) didn't help either and I felt a huge headache coming on. Because so, I emptied my waterbottle, refilled it, and emptied it again, and then wondered what to do. Next up was Clark with his How to do a Demo but I wasn't sure if I was up to the task of listening again for 90 minutes, so I passed. I hope no one was upset with me passing up the event.

So...do nothing for 90 minutes or find a open slot at something simple? Well, as it was, the styrodur tutorial had a set open and I set myself down to see if it would be interesting. Well, the guy leading it alternated time between mee and other chap, making sure we did it step by step. And you know what? This is dead simple to do! It just takes some time, a sharp and blunt pencil and a ruler, plus a sharp knife. I looked at this stuff before, during my first stint with Mordheim when it came out, but back then I could not afford the cutting machine. Now I can (but I don't have any money). I did spend my 5 euros on a starter kit of foam so I can experiment some more at home, and that was another 90 minutes well spent.

Lunch. Not much I can say about it, it was very good, but due to a misunderstanding (the drinks were labeled as 1,50 each) me and many others took no drinks. But they were included! As lunch was 1 hour, I went back to the Styrpor/dur table to do some more work and learn more tricks.

My 2nd game of the day was Saga, the Crusades edition. I was curious for this game as quite a few people I know play it. I'm interested in the periods. But I never really got how it worked from reading all of those batreports. Due to the fact my headache was really bad right now Ican't tell you too much about it, other then that my Crusaders won combat by a landslide, then won again with massive casualties, and then got impaled on Saracen infantry. I didnt have the idea I was able to command an army with the dice given me (something I don't mind in Battlegroup cause I'm used to it)'cause you could do all of those funny combos with your dice or get fatigued, and while fatigues you couldn't do much. Sort of. For my troubles, I got a free miniature to choose from a lot, and I chose a Norman with a spear, neat!

Anyway, game over in under an hour (later I heard in all 4 games the Crusaders lost big time!) so back to the styropor table. More cutting ensued, now with added glazing.

Next up was Pijlie's Workshop, Making simple and cheap scenery. Pijl explained things very well, and I found that it all came back to me so went along with great ease, and made a nice ruin for Mordheim, only to have my headache do a number on me, causing me to reverse 2 wall and ruining the top floor....bloody typical. It did teach me that I can get some extra mileage from my glue gun and the stack of foamboard I still got lying around! Double bonus! With that finished, time had come for me to leave. I still had to drive for almost 2 hours with a massive headache so could not sit around for the final bit of prizes handed over to best table, game and what not.

But not so quickly, we got a goodybag at the exit! A very nice gesture, it netted me the following: A 15% off coupon from Sally 4th (if anyone wants it, let me know, it is valid till the 8th of this month), a 10% off coupn from www.sceneryworkshop.nl/ (valid till 2 days ago, bugger...), a Subcultures discount card (again, if anyone wants it, let me know, I'll mail it to you), a 10% discount at http://www.statuesqueminiatures.co.uk/ who do some interesting models as well as a free Early War German soldier sprue (28mm) and a 28mm plastic Roman sprue, both from Warlord Games. Edit: I know for sure there was also a discount coupon for Pulp Alley included, but I seem to have lost it? Damn, I want that game.

Quite nice of them to include these.

Then I took the long drive home, kissed my wife and crashed in bed only to wake up again at noon the next day, I was that beat.


So, would I do this again? Well, if I had a proper breakfast, brought plenty of water and painkillers, and picked the games I'm really interested in in, of course I would. Or even better: Hell yeah! I'm even thinking about possibly doing 20mm Battlegroup as a demo (though I am a little insecure about my own skills to build a board and demo the game right now) though that would mean not being able to see so many interesting demos myself. Dilemma :) Even though I know this would strain me to the max, I would not want to miss it!

Oh, and it was great fun meeting Malebolgia and Pijlie, 2 great gamers all round. It was nice to finally put faces to screennames I know from the LAF

woensdag 25 februari 2015

Putting things into perspective

All this doodling is fun, and I have no problem putting it into 3D in my head, but explaining my plans to my other half is a different matter, so, why not use one of the readily available online roomplanners? And so I did. I used floorplanner.com to create mine, it could be useful for you too? You have to sign up using your email, and it is a bit limited, but it lets you change quite a lot of the basic items in regards to height, width and depth. Scale wise the drawing is 100% accurate in dimensions now, so it is much easier to see how it fits in relation to each other. This made it pretty easy to drag the gaming table across the room to find the best place to park it. Anyway, see for yourself.

Looking North, the 3 sets of drawers in the left corner, and the 80cm and 40cm Billy side by side (this is the only bookcase the program has so visually it is off, but sizewise it is correct. My hobbydesk is visible in the top right corner.

Looking South-West the 2 80cm Billys are in the corner with the 80 cm moveable table base parked next to the door. There is space above it, maybe for a nice flat railway display case as those are very useful for displaying miniatures. Whiteboard in the left corner with the PC desk. There is room for a small cabinet for Kim, and possibly we can put the printer on top of that, or we'll put it on the desk and put in a slightly taller cabinet.

Top view. It is roomier then I had imagined from my earlier sketches. Btw, both table are easy to lower or raise so Kim and I can change both easily to our needs. Ours desks arent black btw, I changed the colour 3 times to beachwood but it stays black. Oh well. The 3 sets of drawers have plenty of headspace to put some boxes of scenery on and my miniatures cases.

So, how does it look with a table deployed?

Well, like this! I moved the table around and there are 2 places that give easy acces to 3 sides and use of chairs. 1. What you see here, and 2. Slided against the 2 bookcases on the South wall. There is even enough room to build the table in advance, slide it against the hobbydesk and still have easy entry and acces to the pc.

Well, those are my thoughts for today. Let me know if you like the idea, I doubt the table will be made up more then a dozen times a year, and yes, it is sort of blocking 1 bookcase, but that one will be for mutual paperwork and we won't open that very often. And even if so, the wheels should roll pretty freely as a combined set of 4 wheels can take 220 kilo's, and if my math is right it won't even come close to that (65 for the combined kitchen cabinets and around 5-10 kilo's for the 3 sheets of wood needed.)

And yes, I'm very happy with this :)

On the miniatures front no news. I'm really keen to start painting again but selling to get rid of the mess I've made in the last month is a tad higher on the priority ladder. If that means missing the end of March deadline on the Guild, so be it. I have lots more to photograph and list in the coming weeks.

Hmm, 01:30 again? I blog like a turtle, I do.