Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cat Bone Yard

Rusty Rail is offering a new HO Scale Cat Bone Yard scene (RRMS-H-24). The casting, cast in resin, measures 5 and 1/5 inches long by 3 and ½ inches wide and is 1 inch tall. Like all of Rusty Rails other products, this scene is full of detail and ready to paint.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Count of Monte Christo

I finally have completed Alexander Dumas’s The Count of Monte Christo a story of several French elitists family’s and the revenge the Count of Monte Christo takes upon three characters because of an old grudge.

The Count of Monte Christo is, as far as I can recollect, the second novel by Alexander Dumas I have read; the first being The Three Musketeers. The Count of Monte Christo was the only novel that I have read with over one hundred chapters; however the plot never once lost my interest. I was amazed at the many twists and turns the story took and depths of the Counts personality that the author expressed.

Great novel. I look forward to reading something else from Alexander Dumas. Any suggestions?

Looking Back and Forward. Miniatures I Would Still Like to Purchase in 2013

It was several months ago that I post: “Miniature Categories for 2013”, where I mention the type of miniatures that I was interested in obtaining in 2013. Here are those categories I mentioned:

  • Pulp
  • Steampunk
  • Fantasy
  • Prehistoric
  • Historic
  • Period Pieces (Victorian, Edwardian)

Now that we are half way through the year it is time to take inventory of how far I have progressed in my procurement. I haven’t gotten to all of the individual categories, but have made some purchases from the following:

  • Fantasy: 2 miniatures
  • Pulp: 9 miniatures

For the second half of the year I have decided to changed my focus a bit and would like to add some of the following miniatures to my collection:

  • 1/1200 scale sail and other types of sea going vessels (I have my eye on a few civil war era vessels from Histrofigs)
  • Woman (Some of the next category might work)
  • Steampunk and Victorian SCFI
  • Pulp (additional Sky Pirates, Rocketmen)
  • Prehistoric(Cavemen, girls (Reaper), beasts)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Little Green Army Men

When I was a boy I remember watching many World War Two movies with my folks. I was too young to understand the reality of what I was watching, but I do remember enjoying the action; the firefights, the bursting bombs, the enemy being ousted from their positions, and the gun hoe GI’s gaining ground and pushing the enemies of civilization back to hell (I didn’t think about this aspect back then, I just added it now to be dramatic).

My very first experience with army men, that I remember, was when I was about five year old. I had seen an ad in some magazine and remember cutting the ad out and keeping it under my pillow. (This is what I did with things that meant something to me back then.) The ad advertised what I thought was a large chest of army men. I don’t remember, exactly, but I believe it contained something like a 100 toy soldiers, and it was advertised for something like $2.50; a princely sum, for a boy, back in the early sixties.

I saved my birthday money and whatever change I could scrounge off of my parents and when I had enough for the package, It was sent for. When the package arrived, I remember being sorely disappointed. The chest was a cardboard chest and didn’t look anything like the supposed large chest I was expecting.

The box contained 100 smaller than normal arm men, who usually were between two and three inches high. There are cast in a hard plastic and were about an inch high (As far as I can remember). I wish I still had these, they might be worth something now, however at the time I was let down, and although they got some play time, the soldiers did not get all that much attention being inferior in every way to the normal green army men.

I always had green plastic army men in my toy chest and they were often were employed in skirmishes and battles with the enemy. Most of the fun was had outside, outside of my bedroom window, where there was a mound of ground that refused to sprout grass. This is where my army dug their fox holes and where the battles were fought.

After viewing a war movie that included a scene with paratroopers exiting an airplane I set up my own regiment of paratroopers, with small parachutes made of tissue paper that was tied to each toy solider with four pieces of string (or was it thread). I remember issuing my paratroopers, after issuing the order to “gear-up”, from my second story the window, and to my fright watched them fall straight to the ground; the parachutes failed to deploy. When I got down stairs I found all was well. No one suffered any broken bones and more importantly none of my green army men were mangled in any way.

Oh, the hours that were spent using my imagination, being in my own little world, and inventing new scenarios for battles that would ultimately win the war. Oh, if it was that simple, the mind of a child in all its simplicity could change the world. We should all play more and hate less.

All of that said just because I visited the Army Men Homepage. The Army Men page which describes the low cost green army men that many of us played with when we were boys. (Could I venture to say, girls too?) It would be interesting to see how many women could comment on this, did you play with green army men as a girl?

The page goes on to define and describe these little green army men and clarifies the differences between miniatures and the mass produced green army men. The page goes further and describes the accessories that might have come with these army men. Like the soft plastic military vehicles, (The green army men might have been pretty rugged, but the vehicles were not. They were often cast very thinly and were very flimsy) and the alternative types of army men like the cow boys and Indians and the roman warriors. Each toy soldier type was produced in a different color, but pretty much in the same height of the green army men.

You will find a great deal of links at the end of the page that you might find interesting. Check them out. If you haven’t visited this site yet, it offers a basic treatise on the subject and is worth the visit. If nothing else the page will bring back memories.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pirates of the Spanish Main

Each packet of the Pirates of the Spanish Main includes two ships, one island, about nine gold pieces, several crew and or special treasure tokens. The packet, about the size of a credit card, also contains assembly instructions, and quick and complete rules to play the game.

This is not a multifaceted war game, but a skirmish game, where players attempt to travel from their home islands (not included) to islands containing treasure to obtain as many treasure pieces before their opponents does. Whoever collects the most treasure pieces or sinks their opponent’s ships wins the game.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pirates of the Spanish Main

I have completed my Pirates of the Spanish Main miniatures. Like I mentioned in my last post on this topic, I accidentally broke one of the miniatures while assembling it. They are made of some type of laminated material or are they plastic, I am not sure; at any rate they are easily broken; even the assembly instructions mentions this.

It seems that the double decked ships were the most challenging for me to assemble. The instructions, which are anything but explicit, don’t explain the best way to go about assembling these miniatures and each ship is a bit different. I did have to use brown and black markers to cover-up a few places where the finish came off during assembly.

I will be uploading a few more images of the miniatures along with some additional information about each ship in the very near future. These miniatures are cool and I look forward to the skirmish.

Friday, June 21, 2013

An Interesting Timeline of the Historical Miniatures Wargaming Hobby

The Courier, a Wargaming magazine has an interesting time-line of the war-gaming hobby. The time-line starts at 1890 with a mention of a Thoe. Svensen of having played with paper soldiers and firing cannons as a child, and ends with an entries of “Beginning of The Third Age of Wargaming” and “The Age of the Glossy Magazine”, in 1979. There are plenty of hyperlinks to some vintage sources within the text that are well worth a visit. There is a link to a page for the 1980’s, which is still under construction, at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Battle of Berezina

The WarGamer site has published an interesting and informative article on the Battle of Berezina. The article presents a special scenario for war-gamers that celebrate’ s Napoleon’s 1812 final victory over the Russians. The article gives the reader the historic background and then the scenario that could be used for the battle. By the way, The WarGamer site features many interesting and useful articles for the war-gamer.

1/72 Space Men and Star War Walkers

I haven’t written about space men since my “The Impetus for Spacemen Figures” and “Marx Spacemen Gallery” posts, so I thought it might be time for another go on this topic. Recently, I came across the following posts-“Space Battles Wargame- Coming Soon” and “Science Fiction Figures in HO Scale”. Both of these articles make mention Dark Dream Studio’s Space Battles sets one and two.

The Plastic Soldier Review wrote a review on set 1 and a member of Airfix’s forum wrote a review on the same set that includes quite a few images of this set. What caught my attention about these sets is that these sets include figures and a few Star Wars type walkers.

Although I could not obtain information about the Dark Dream Studio Company I did learn that Dark Dream Studio is an affiliate of Orion scale models and that both sets can be found on Ebay. If you know of another source, please let us know.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Axis and Allies 1941-First Impressions

This is the second Axis and Allies game I have purchased, the first years ago was an old Milton Bradley Company edition. It was left at a friend’s house and because of my having to relocate several times, I never returned for the game. Years later when I asked about the game I was told that his sons had gotten a hold of it and had played with its miniatures. Meaning-the game was probably missing pieces and who knows what shape it was in.

The Axis and Allies 1941 edition seems to be quite different than I remember Axis and Allies being. The board is different, the Industrial complexes are now printed on the board and there are no industrial complexes pieces available, In addition there are no longer any anti-aircraft guns.

There are many differences between the original and this 1941 edition. The 1941 edition has an additional sea unit the destroyer, but fewer pieces. The old edition had a lot of pieces, this edition uses of cardboard chips to replace units. IPC’s are no longer offered and all commerce is officiated via pen and paper. In addition, each player receives fewer IPC’s to start off with and there are fewer territories that allow a player to gain additional IPC’s easily. (I remember playing one game as Great Britain and having picked up several unoccupied territories in Africa, which increased my total IPC’s to extent as to make the game considerably more challenging for the Japanese player.)

The rules seemed to be have been simplified and do not seem to be as complicated. The game, according to the rule book can now be played in about ninety minutes, compared to the original Axis and Allies, four or five hour time span. Technological advances have also been omitted from this edition, but I suppose you could add whatever house rules you wanted.

All differences aside I am still looking forward to playing this new edition of Axis and Allies. I have already started to think about different starting strategies for each country and will post my ideas as soon as I get them formulated.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Miniature Bohemian World

The A Miniature Bohemian World page features several of Roan-Jim Sevellec’s bohemian miniatures. I don’t know of their scale, but they are full of detail and make a fabulous study. The author of the page mentions that the miniatures are beautifully bohemian (and slightly mad), but isn’t that what living a bohemian life is all about? Living without limits, mad if you will; where would the artistic esthetic or the impetus for life originate, if not from being a bit nonconventional or “mad”?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Risk Game #004

I participated in a game of Risk last weekend. There were three of us playing. We used the following colored pieces: yellow, blue, and green. The person playing blue was new to the game.

I was dealt four of territories in Africa and held the continent for some of the game. Yellow was dealt most of Australia and easily conquered the rest of this continent. She held on to this continent for the entire game. The Yellow player also was dealt quite a few territories in Asia and she took full advantage of this.

Most of the blue player’s territories were in close proximity to mine, so she considered me her greatest threat and pursued her attacks on my continents and territories. The blue player did conquer the hold South America for several turns, but chose to focus on my territories rather than on the Yellow player (she could have, if she chose to, put some pressure on Yellow), who took all of Asia.

With my constantly having to defend myself from the Blue player, and to recapture my territories I could not keep the pressure on the Yellow player effectively. Yellow had Australia, the whole of Asia, and Europe. With her other territories, continents and her card turn-in’s, she over whelmed us easily with her numerous armies and took the world.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Game of Five Hundred Rummy

Well, we were bored and continued to play until 1000. Five Hundred Rummy is not a bad game to play when you have nothing else to do. I won for a change. Here are our scores for the eleven hands we played:

Hand # Fran Jan
1 115 190
2 50 50
3 150 80
4 45 160
5 60 55
6 80 200
7 140 25
8 45 150
9 -10 80
10 50 60
11 75 145
Totals 790 1095

Friday, June 14, 2013

My First Pirates of the Spanish Main Miniature

I have a few more of these miniatures to build. They can be a bit challenging to assemble and can be easily broken. I broke one on my second attempt. I had hoped to build a small fleet of these and to put them into their paces. Well, maybe at another time.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Lost World, Michael Crichton

I finished reading Michael Crichton’s The Lost World a few days ago. Crichton’s Lost World is a technology thriller. It is a sequel to his Jurassic Park. This is the second novel that I have read with this title, the first being The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, that was released in 1912. Both novels were good reads.

Crichton’s The Lost World is probably best read after reading his Jurassic Park. The Lost World turns out to be a search and rescue mission to rescue the scientist Richard Levine, which after learning about Site B, the site where the animals for InGen’s Jurassic Park were manufactured, visits the site and runs into problems.

Some of Levine’s colleagues here of Levine’s problems through a distress call that Levine makes and go to rescue Levine. After arriving, the party made of several scientists and other characters, including Malcolm, a scientist that assisted with consulting at Jurassic Park, start running into to all sorts of problems.

There are many run-ins with predatory dinosaurs and with the addition of another party from InGen’s rival firm Biosyn, circumstances turn from bad to worse. Lewis Dodgson, a geneticist, the leader of this group will put aside all caution and takes all types of risks to obtain eggs from a couple of dinosaur’s nests, which brings trouble down on both groups.

The 403 page hard cover book took me about a week of evening readings to complete, and to be quite honest at the exclusion of everything else. As is the case with most of what I have read of Crichton’s work, the story line is intelligent and spell-bounding.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Products from Rusty Rail

Rusty Rail offers craftsmen kits and castings in HO and O gauges. Rusty Rails castings are very finely detailed and are cast in resin. The two new products being featured in the recent newsletter are displayed here: The Moonshine still in 1/48 and the cabin cruiser in 1/87. Rusty Rail offers many fine castings, scenes, and kits. You really have to visit the site to see for yourself.

Are these Texts Steampunk or Not?

At the time of my readings of “The Difference Engine”, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, “The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, Neal Stephenson”, and “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman Journal”, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, I didn’t realize their true genre.

It wasn’t until recent readings in the Steampunk Bible that their true genre was relieved to me. The subject matter within these three texts is defiantly taken place in the Victorian period. And there is definitely a lot of mention of fabulous contraptions being purported. But I am still unsure that all of these texts can be considered Strempunk literature.

The Difference Engine, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

The Difference Engine is an alternate history novel in Britain during the Victorian era. The premise is that Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine (Analytical Engine) was completed and the social changes that followed. The Difference Engine does take place in Victorian England and the story does make use of steam, so in this case I will agree with its being from the Steampunk genre.

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, Neal Stephenson

In my first reading of this novel I mistook this novel as being in the cyberpunk genre. It mixes nano-technology with Victorian morals. I don’t remember and mention of steam, what so ever. I am unsure if this novel should be considered Steampunk.

The League of Extraordinary Gentleman Journal, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill

I don’t remember this graphic novel being quotes as being from the Steampunk genre, but having read about its use of steam air ships and other Victorian forms of transportation this novel is definitely Steampunk.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Summer Reading List

The summer season is less than two weeks away and I still have so many books from my Spring Reading List that I have yet to read. I keep getting sidetracked with other books and forms of media. I did not get through my spring list.

I am almost finished with one of the titles on my spring list “The Count of Monte Cristo”, a novel by the French author Alexander Dumas. I will be bringing a couple of titles from the spring list forward; the rest will have to wait for another time. Because there is always so much going on in the summer, I am going to keep this list short.

  • Anthem, 1937, Ayn Rand
  • Barnaby Rudge, 1841, Charles Dickens
  • The Most Dangerous Game, 1924, Richard Cornell
  • The Steam Man of the Prairies, 1868, Edward S. Ellis
  • The Land of Mysteries, 1840, Edward S. Ellis

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Blog Management-Labels

Looking at my growing list of labels I wonder how I might best limit this list. One thought was to combine two categories into one. For instance:

Sky Pirates and Rocket Men would become Sky Pirates and Rocket Men, mentioned as one category instead of two separate categories. Another thought was to combine Steampunk with Victorian SCIFI. I might be able to combine other labels like this as well.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Three Do It Yourself Articles for the Miniaturist

The first two articles will walk you through the process of creating your own arrows, spears, and barbed wire. The third article will present some ideas on how to make and modify clothing on your miniatures. The concepts presented are easy to follow and the materials are readily available.

A Defunct Product Line-PewterCraft

Recently, I found what seems to be a defunct line of products. At one time PewterCraft produced an extensive line of pewter castings. The site has been hosted on Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science and has been left up for reference purposes.

I would visit the site, while it is still available. There are some nice castings here. Let us hope the molds will be purchased by someone and these castings will someday be produced again. Has anyone purchased any of these castings? What was their quality like? Does anyone know if any of these castings have been picked up by other manufactures?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Airships: The Hindenburg and other Zeppelins

The Airships site offers historical flights and information, passenger experiences, statistics, and technical information about all types of airships from the past. The site offers insight to a gone-by era.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Girl Genius

The Girl Genius site offers comics, short stories, a podcast, airship cut-outs, and some other freebees. Since my last post about airships I was especially drawn to the collection of airships that can be downloaded and used for personal and non-commercial use.

The airships prints are those that graced the backs of the original comics. The airships could be used to create a mobile for your child’s room, or reduced and perhaps used in some skirmish.

Plastic Corrosion of Collectible Miniatures

If you are a collector of plastic figures you should read this article: “Plastic Corrosion of Collectible Miniatures”, is an interesting article that describes the many different aspects of plastic corrosion and how to combat them. It seems that painted figures seem to fair better from these affects that non-painted figures.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Three Links to Information about Airships (and some submarines)

I have been searching for fantasy ships and came across these links for airships. I have found three sources about Airships. I became more intrigued with the fanciful Steampunk variety. Airships are one the favorite forms of transportation for the Steampunk. I hope you can make use of them.

  • SteamPunk Wikia Airship
  • Provides a short introduction to the airship and provides some images of early airship designs.
  • Final Fantasy Wikia List of Airships
  • Describes and displays the many airships that have been featured in the Final Fantasy.
  • Printerest Steampunk Airships & Submarines
  • Printerest features a large collection of images of Steampunk airships and submarines. There are some very creative airships displayed here for inspiration and for your viewing pleasure. Most of the airships depicted here are of balloon type, but there are a few that use other forms of propulsion.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Marauding Cossacks on Looting Rampage

For the second day all propriety has been lost, to this one time, tranquil and peaceful region. Drunkenness, looting, and rampage now prevail and for how long? “One of my Men Became Restless”, a blog by Peter, features several vignettes of Eureka 28mm figures. The painting and photography of these figures is superb and inspiring.