zondag 30 augustus 2015

End of times or a new beginning?

We had a lovely week, great weather, visits to the pool, the zoo and a fabulous bird of prey show (now I finally know what Johnny Rook means, as I had one race between my legs!) and are now calming down :) 1 more week with chores in and around the house and trying to grab some time for myself. Well, I can try :)

On a different but related event, just before we left, we received word that City Council will help with  daycare for the twins. Great news as we can't otherwise afford it and Kim needs the downtime badly. It does mean we lose all spending money, period. All money left over after the basics like rent, food, gas and insurance goes to the council.

What does this mean?

Well, no money for at least a year, for starters.

Is that a bad thing? Well, as long as the car and other expensive things don't break down, we have little savings and family willing to help out.

Sounds bad, but it isn't. (eternal optimist speaking)

A. Good for the kids, as they get to spend time with other kids their age and they can learn from them
B. Good for Kim, as she gets time off to help herself and as soon as therapy starts, get more help.
C. Good for me. Really? Yes, really.

Let's face it, one of my hobby problems is that I have too much stuff. Way too much. My other problem is that I spend too easily. Yes, I've cut down a lot in the last year, but still. So, lets turn this into something beneficial. I mean, no money means no soda or snacks, and that can only be good! I even ate a apple today :)

I can still sell stuff, and will continue to do so. Proceeds can only go 2 ways, either in my Paypal or straight to my bank account. Since I'm in the red, bank account is good. Paypal will only be used after  agreement with Kim for items that can fill out current and active projects only. Seems simple enough.

So, with that in mind, how does it go from now?

Well, there is plenty of stuff to do. While I was on holiday I received several packages. 1 was a bag of second hand Liberation miniatures (US Army Rangers) from Rob at the Guild that will be perfect for  for my Black Hawk Down project (I did buy them for that) after I finish the Delta's. I also received 2 motivators, a Ssh40 Russian helmet from the fifties for when I start the WW2 Russians that went for way less then militaria sites charge you, and it is practically brand new. I also received a Dutch Royal Navy sailors cap from the Eighties (not that they have changed) from a former Dutch sailor as a motivation  for my 1/3000 naval stuff.

I have enough projects to cover me for a year, so I don't see any problems, and my wife and kids will be better for it :) What is not to like? ;)

I just means that conquering the lead mountain challenge has become indefinite.

zondag 23 augustus 2015

Project management and a brief holiday

I'll be leaving for a short holiday tomorrow with the wife and kids to get away from it all. It will be nice to be a week without internet and just a good book in the evening. Can't wait.

Meanwhile, at home..... I had a brainwave earlier this week in that the boxes I use to send out stuff actually make good project boxes. A bit on the big side (a bit bigger then A4 size) but very suitable, as as I can get them from work for free (we only get these from one customer who packs all of his motherboards in the same standard box, and we don't use them for shipping as they are single layer cardboard, so we just throw them out) I have a unlimited supply.

So, 5 minutes with my trusty labelwriter gives me this:

All of my current projects, (not so) neatly stacked and labelled. I plan to repack my older projects in the same manner and store them in the attic for now. Anything on my desk now (that does not belong into any of the Ikea sorting boxes I have) should be put in bags and boxes asap and stored in the attic.

Of the 7 projects you see (3x 20mm and 4x 28mm) the Bandit Buntai box is a future one cause I feel my skills are not up to that task yet. The EW Germans have the problem that with half the army missing in the post, and not sufficient funds to buy replacements, this has stalled before it has started. The other 5 I can work on now.

In other depressing news, the manager of the local GW and a dear friend of mine got fired. As a result, I will no longer be using the friday night hobby club at the GW (and many more people with me) as we all support the manager (and not GW for this insane move).

As my wife does like to see me go out once a week to preserve my sanity, I've contacted my old gaming buddy Modhail to do a weekly/bi-weekly friday night hobby and/or gaming session. In a few weeks time this will start and we'll see how it will work. One week at his place, one week at mine seems to be the idea. And mutually motivating to get things done, I like that :) Even his wife approves! Just brilliant :)

woensdag 19 augustus 2015

Welcome to Nelengele! A overview.

Nelengele is a former British colony in a area we in the real world call Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso. It gained its independence on the 8th of August 1966. Compared to other countries in Africa it is a large country with many tribes and ranging from desert to tropical conditions, covering almost 2.5 million square kilometers, although there are more then a few contested areas with the neighbouring countries.

The national flag of Nelengele as we know it today was instituted in 1968 when General-for-Life Emmanuel Nwude took over the country in a coup. He wanted the flag to symbolize the patriotism of the Eastern and Western tribes entering an era of peace (completely ignoring the Northern tribes, of which later more) hence the blue-white-blue flag.

The official language is English, but in the North a large part of the population speaks French. Several dialects are spoken by the various tribes.

Agriculture dominates the country (coconuts, corn and sugar for export), with uranium, salt and tungsten mining in the sparsely populated north. Oil is found in the south and at sea. Iron and tin is also found in the south but barely developed and the same goes for deposits of gold, coal, lead and bauxite. Large foreign companies dominate what little mining there is, and the oil industry is dominated by CLAM (Colonial Liquid Assets Monopoly)

By the time of the last census it was found the country just tipped at 100 million citizens, mostly in the South. Illiteracy has dropped by 27% since General-for-Life Emmanuel Nwude took power and his wife Adele Nwunde-Darling instituted a program to get kids into school. Infant mortality dropped by a mere 7%, though this is to be attributed to rebel activity and large areas suffering from Nelengele fever which targets mostly the young, sick and elderly, and for which no cure is found yet. The average family has 5,7 children, and men are expected to live for 51 years. Women however have a life-expectancy of about 55 years. Despite a extensive hospital building program the country still ranks low on the doctor- patient ratio, 0,025 per 1000 patients.

The army is conscripted, and over 150.000 strong, on paper. In reality corruption is rife and recruiters can be bought off by the wealthy, and commissions in the officer corps bought. Some units only exist on paper or are severely understaffed. The Lifeguard (or Finyezi) is the best equipped unit in the army and fiercely loyal, easily recognized by their yellow berets. But in the Northern regions the army barely rises above militia status. Equipment wise it is a hodge podge of WW2 vintage equipment mixed with modern items mixed with prototypes from various companies. Also, simmering conflict with their neighbours and rebel activity means the army is stretched thin resource wise in those areas.

Foreign influences include the USA, USSR and China. The UN has a resolution in place to help and protect refugees in rebel contested areas, though in reality they are powerless as no support is given by the government.

(Oh, and where did I get the name Nelengele from? Well, before my girl could say the word water or drink she just pointed and said Nelengele (or something sounding like that!))

dinsdag 18 augustus 2015

Turning spam into something useful

Received a email in my spambox last night from a chap called Nkuku Nnekwu, if I'd like to sign for 25 million in 5000 dollar deposits on my account. Western Union of course.

Enterprising fella. Let's give him a job. :)

Nkuku Nnekwu has been the Finance Minister and the head of the First National Bank of Nelengele since before General-for-Life Emmanuel Nwude rise to power. Highly regarded in the upper ranks of the regime, Nnekwu skill in balancing the books and keeping the Nelengele Pound stable has made him a favourite of Nwude. This was cemented when one of Nwudes elder sons married Nnekwus daughter a few years ago.

Nkuku Nnekwu, a small and stocky man, hails from the northern tribes, where Nelengele skirts the great desert. Fiercely independent, this area caused the former colonial rulers much trouble until they instituted a large literacy program as well as the industrialization of the local salt lakes, bringing moderate wealth to the area and calming the tribes. His father managed the production of salts from the Agala lake, greatly improving the output by diverting river water with a canal program. His success led to great personal wealth and made it possible for a young Nnekwu to study Corporate Finance in Switzerland.

His estate is in the south, near the Capital. He owns a large game reserve as well as several canning factories (fish and corn) which export around Africa. A rumour that just won't die is that he also deals in diamonds, making frequent trips to Belgium. As Nelengele has no known diamond mines, it is a bit of a mistery where these would come from. Others say he had a mistress in Belgium.

maandag 17 augustus 2015

Clean up of dead links - I could use your assistance!

I noticed some pictures on my Blog no longer seemed to work.

I am taking steps to relink all of the missing items, starting with my popular Shapeway post.

I you see any of my posts that have missing pictures, let me know and I will get right on it getting them back up online. I of course will spend a few evenings checking the lot myself.

vrijdag 14 augustus 2015

Pulping in 20mm - brainstorming

I've been looking on and off for Pulp in 20mm ever since I discovered Pulp Alley 2-3 years ago. But 1 hobbyist doesn't make a crowd so I've kept myself buy looking at possible options (plane, car, miniature) and there is actually quite a lot to be had.

Rewind now to a few weeks ago, and I was chatting to Evin about Pulp Alley and Pulp in general and how no one does it in 20mm. He was quite enthousiastic about the idea and getting back into 20mm, so we said, let's do this. So, what did we plan?

For both of us, a floatplane is the quintessential Pulp aircraft, so we will both starting from that. He likes the German army as a pulp force, but didn't want to do something like SS, so he asked me to order him some Britannia Gebirgsjager as a start for his pulp team. All dressed in field caps and carrying back packs, these chaps are quite characterful indeed, and weapon wise they don't look out of place in 1935-1938. For his aircraft, he is thinking big, he is looking at a Ju-52 with floats... a big bird indeed! He's looking around for characters to lead his team right now. As he's quite busy with Inquisimunda as well, it might be some time before we see something from him.

Now for me....as the Germans are taken, but I do want a "bad guy", what options are there for me? Well, after about 2 minutes of brainstorming I had that figured out. (Evil) scientist of course, finally a use for some of the Hydra robots that I have (tiny ones) as well as some headswaps on other figures. I have a Do-18 that looks the part, but I'm looking at something sleeker and more befitting a science team, so I have cast my gaze towards a Bv-138 Flying Clog. It can fit more people (crew of 6 plus 10) and could be a advanced prototype (which was built in 1937). I haven't got one though (yet). Robots and toys are no problem, and scientists are to be had from various companies. A great artifact hunting team!

Second option is back to the BUF. I already have men painted up, and finding troops and characters for it is no problem. A Supermarine Walrus would be nice, or a Stanraer, if I can find one, though there is nothing wrong with the Do-18 in black colours. I thought about a Catalina, but that is too modern for my tastes and this team. Everything would be useful for the VBCW. In bigger games they could buddy up to the Germans or the Scientists.

Third option would be the Church of England guys cause I really like their colour scheme. The Do-18 could be theirs as well, and again finding people for it is not a problem. A Church of England team would be perfect for hunting (and destroying) mysterious artefacts, and fits in with the VBCW.

No hurry for any of this, long term plans and simple, small plans at that. 5 Men and 1 aircraft (waterlined) is enough for what we have planned.

donderdag 13 augustus 2015

Operation Springcleaning revisited

Or would that be End-of-Summer cleaning?

Decided this week would be about clearing and selling and closing open cases, so started cleaning last night, and sorting out the first of my BFG stuff for sale online later that night. Also bagged a few trade items and got them ready for shipping, and finally sent out my 20mm sci-fi doors off to someone who wanted to try and cast them. More on that later.

It took me a good 30 minutes to find those items though....which is a good indicator I need to clean up. Which brings me to a discussion....no, more of a chat really with Kim after dinner. As some of you may know she's not a fan of the hobby, but condones it as long as it all has its place. During her stay in the hospital however stuff had drifted into the livingroom and even the bedroom. Also, in the attic stuff is piled to the roof. So, she'd been thinking. First, I need to get the stuff out of any room other then the hobby room and the attic (fair enough) and we need to find a solution for the mess in the attic. Kim was kind enough to explain slowly and with care that the girls will need their own room eventually. They maybe twins but even they have a limit how much they want to be together. So, we need a new master bedroom, so that will be the attic.So we need new storage space. The one I have in Tilburg is not suitable for me, she says, I need something minutes away, not 45 minutes. So we are going to look for a garage or storage box locally, preferably in our own neighbourhood. Then we can transport what we need from Tilburg to there and what we don't need in the attic there as well. From that point on my gaming stuff will only be in the hobby room and the storage unit. And the hobby room will be 100% mine.

A good 15 minute chat with no arguments about the hobby, just looking at what we can do and what we can afford, not trying to change my ways, or hers. I wish we had more of those!

Well, I cleaned the stuff from the bedroom (Necrons that are not selling, so I will give them away for free, and I removed the Scrabs from their bases and into paint stripper so I can base them as singles and add them to my droid army), listed the BFG stuff and 3/4 of it sold in under an hour, then traded a Su-7 for a MiG-29 for my Serbs and a stack of Skaven sprues for a lot of 5 helicopters (of which I only need 1 for Mogadishu, the rest is trade fodder) and bought a cheap 2nd hand unused decalsheet for the NF-5 which has Dutch squadron markings on it so I can finally do a NF-5A for my Cold War Dutch army.....maybe. (The F-5's I got are from Airfix and lack the typical wingtiptanks for the Dutch....I need to find them from somewhere or look for the old Esci/Italeri kit but that sells for a fortune :( )

Tonight I will be cleaning again (and removing the stuff from the living room), and listing more stuff. I will repeat that on Friday, I cancelled my trip to the club this week. I hope to have the entire floor cleaned by the end of the week so I can get cracking on my table, but there is a awfully lot of second hand stuff that needs to be sorted.

Next week I hope to get started on basing a lot of stuff and printing off some rosters so I can keep track of who goes where and what....got 28mm Germans and 20mm Russians and Taliban to base up, as well as some character and pilot figures for my mercenaries.

And then I need to find time to clean my desk and get started with laying the keel for my next Guild challenge, this time the theme is Ambulance (aka a vehicle that transports wounded) and I've selected to scratchbuild the USNS Mercy, a hospital ship, in 1/3000th so she can sail with a Cold War convoy. I'll either scratch her completely or refurbish a oil tanker from the Navwar spares box (like the real thing). While cleaning I also found another scratchbuilt ship from years ago, the barge carrier Julius Fučík , semi finished. I'll try and finish that too, its been worked on on and off since 2009 I think.

Lots of plans!

dinsdag 11 augustus 2015


Cleaning up means going through the stash and finding projects started a long time ago and projects that never went beyond the "Buy stuff" phase (it also slows cleaning down a lot). I've used a lot of Chinese take-away boxes to store small projects, with some in bigger storage boxes or (in the case of my Yugoslavia and British Normandy forces projects, a moving storage box).

As it stands now, I will thrown out or sell nothing of those. They are almost exclusively 20mm projects and I mean to get them finished someday. For now, I'm more then happy just to check the box, slap a label on it and put it back in storage, noting down what projects I have.

I've been keeping my eye on the forums as well, looking at bits I could (not "must" or "want" but "could" !) buy at Crisis, with these projects in mind. 3 Months to go till the show, but having a list of stuff way in advance makes it easier to see if I need to come up with more funds, or, more likely, be realistic and remind myself there will be a Crisis next year.

Today this meant noting down a lot of stuff from Thormarillion. A poster on the LAF was looking for suitable statues for Frostgrave and the company was linked as having good stuff. And they sure do. For my Mordheim graveyard I have a wanted list of 4 statues on plinths, a fountain and more graves which they filled in nicely. They also do very nice and affordable Crypts. Going over the rest of the site I found a nice piano and a gramophone player that should be nice and suitable for the 28mm I will start on soon. Whether I will add them to my list depends on how far that project will be when I need to order stuff.

I also found a small box of 20mm contractors for the 2012 Afrika project (the boys from Zwartwater). Since these will fit very well in AK-47 I will revive that project and put everything I have in a single box (vehicles, helos and troops). I might even get some headgear for them as a motivator. <grin> I'll restart them as plain Blackwater though, easier. Just need to clear out my old Photobucket and get the pics listed in the new one properly.

Fortunately, there is plenty of stuff that can go, which makes Kim happy, and she was kind enough to drop all of my 2 cent pieces off at the bank today to trade them in for a few rolls of shiney new 5ct pieces/ That means I will have more then enough bases to start the 28mm Germans with. Which still have not arrived yet..... not that it matters, the room isn't nearly clean enough to get started.

Tonight I'll have another lot of kits to list, plus I need to find the sci-fi doors I made for Elhiem....kind of misplaced the envelope for him, and those should have left last week!

Also tonight, I will go on a small detour and trade a modern Hind-D kit for a Hind-A kit. I like the glasshouse on that one and I have plenty of Hinds as it is. I'll put the a into the AK-47 box for the Communist Block.

Finally, I have added a new Blog to my listing, Dad's Guys. It is a new Blog but he posts well painted Liberation Miniatures and labels each picture with the correct codes so you can finally see what you are ordering. God bless him.

maandag 3 augustus 2015

Shipping costs, logic and temptation

Went over some or my recent trades and purchases and I think I will lay off buying stuff in the UK for a while. With the average cost of 5 pounds or more for a small package or envelope from the UK I'm paying as much for one of those as I am locally for a couple of kilogram box. As I have what I want (for now), and have no money, I will focus on the local e-shops. Prices for the items compared to the UK tend to be the same at the moment anyway, and since I'm only looking for tools and paints now I'll stick to the Netherlands for the time being, and save up for Crisis to get stuff from the UK at a discount and minus shipping costs.

It is a bit ridiculous how much money is lost on shipping. I always make 20-30 Pound orders and pay 5-8 Pounds in shipping for that. In the current (Paypal) conversion that is a good 7,50 to 12,50 euros.

A single limited mini might sell for 5 pounds, have a shipping cost of 3 pounds minimum and might end up costing me 12,50 for a single 28mm mini.

Moral of the story, buy in bulk?

Buying in bulk means planning ahead and making a big purchase in one go. I keep lists of stuff I want from companies so I can make a order when they have a 10-20% off sale, technically saving me on shipping costs, but not all companies do that and planning ahead isn't always possible. Plus I have to shift stuff first to actually have money to buy stuff. Some sales only last a day or a weekend so I miss out. (Is that a bad thing? No, it is not, I already try to stay in line with the "2 weeks rule"...if I want something I note it down. If I still want it 2 weeks later it goes on the list. If I go over the list at a later date and the enthusiasm isn't there or the order is getting too big, stuff gets cut. Simple as that)

Simple example.

I got the Storm Talon for free but would like a Heavy Bolter or Assault Cannon turret to go with it. A single sprue of that goes for 12-14 Pounds on Ebay.co.uk  plus 4 pounds shipping. That's a good 24 euros. For 10 euros more I can buy a Razorback in the local GW shop and sell on the Rhino and the rest of the sprue for 20-25 euros to friends or Marktplaats (Ignoring buying it online locally as the 20% savings is not enough to cover local postage). A friend of mine was kind enough to point out last Friday, at the GW club, that the assault cannon is a 16 euro sprue with other bits like Hurricane bolters and hatches etc. As he gave me a advance payment for other stuff I used that to get the sprue, and I will pass on the rest to Marktplaats or clubmembers who want to trade bits. So now I have a assault cannon and unless I can trade one, a heavy Bolter is on the horizon too in the near future.

Having no money makes you creative, having a big circle of people to trade with helps to cut costs down even more.

I want this month to end again with a big plus (last month saw added expenses for the garden renovation and stuff that needed to be paid even with Kim in the hospital) so I will try not to trade anything and focus on filling my Paypal coffer with UK Pounds (to beat Paypals exchange rate if I eventually do need to get stuff in Pounds from producers) and euros, the latter going straight into my bankaccount to pay for the shipping costs and to put me further towards a healthy plus number.

Not spending a dime would be even better, but temptation, temptation......

WSS Great Wargaming Survey 2015

Just a little promotion. Currently over 7500 wargamers world wide have filled in the short questionnaire, I'd say feel free to have a go at it. At the end you get a 10% off coupon to be used on WS&S products, including subscriptions.


I don't get paid to tell you this, but I do subscribe to the WS&S which I like a lot and Jasper kindly asked us at the Dutch Wargamers FB Group to have a shout out to see if we can get more people to join in and help out. So there.