Thursday, September 25, 2014

Peter Watts Rifter Trilogy

Watts Rifter Trilogy are some of the finest science fiction novels I have read in a while. I have followed each volume with the next in the series without a break. The story keeps your attention and keeps you coming back for more.

Starfish is the first in the series and depicts a time in future where corporate interests control the world and deep water vents are being harnessed for energy. Humans are unable to survive at these depths so people are generically, mechanically, and psychologically altered to prepare them for these extreme environments.

Malelstrom is the second in the series.  Malelstrom is actually the name given to their “Internet”. In some aspects Malelstrom is much more than our Internet. It would be very hard to conceive of Malelstrom’s nature at this time. If you have read any of the “Sprawl” series by William Gibson, another trilogy, by the way, Malelstrom approaches the idea of Cyberspace, which is mentioned and alluded to in sprawl series, and other work of Gibson’s. Malelstrom is a resource, but also a source of what we call malware today, however in the Rifter Trilogy it so much more. Software evolves and some of what evolves is not healthy to be around.

ßehemoth is the last in the series and like the other volumes in this series it is full of grit. ßehemoth tells of a post-apocalyptic America. The first two novels of this trilogy had their dark moments, but ßehemoth has more than its share of grit and these dark moments. A good novel should provoke you and this volume has done that on multiple occasions.

ßehemoth is a microbe from an oceans deep sea trench that is brought back to civilization by the Antagonist, Lene Clark.  ßehemoth competes with the established microbes and is superior to other live giving microbes. People start to die in masses.

ßehemoth, first mentioned in Malelstrom tells of North America being decimated with the onslaught of ßehemoth. Now a new microbe has been introduced to kill ßehemoth. Factions from around the world are coping with the possible of genocide in their own countries and are doing what they can to contain the virus and to impede it from reaching their shores. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Put Critters in their Place

I have reached several mile stones with my Blog and have reached another rather important one with this post. This is the 500th post to this blog. Now on to my 1000th

Suppliers of HO Gauge White Metal (Pewter) Animal Figures

It is that time again, when I start thinking about working on scenes for my model train layout. Although animals often go unnoticed they are all around us. Adding animal figures to our model train layouts will add realism to your scenes and the layout, overall. There are literally hundreds of animal figures to choose from in HO scale, I only listed those that are cast in metal.

I haven’t ordered any of Selley Finishing Touches figures as of yet, except maybe their #163 (6 horses). I am unsure where the five horse castings came from of those that recently completed painting (see post for details). From list, Selley does offer a nice collection of animal figure castings with a few unique pieces.

6571 Prospector & burro
6572 Prospector & 2 burro
160 Cowboy & 2 horses
457 Giraffe
456 Elephant
458 Camel
161 Cows (6)
459 Elk
163 Horses (6)
164 Work horses (2)
455 Mule and colt
454 Horse and colt
162 Bull, cow, and calf
159 Sow and litter
158 6 pigs and trough
569 Lambs (6)
520 Lion
297 Chickens (12)
568 Geese (6)
178 Dog and hydrant
179 Dogs (4)

Musket Miniatures offers an extensive list of animal figures with quite a few unique pieces. I haven’t ordered any of Musket Miniatures animal figures as per say, but have ordered a couple of their horse drawn wagons that come with a horse or two and I must say, as with their other casting,s they are clean and crisp in their detail.

HOC3000  Pasture horses (8)
HOC3001  Mares (2) and young horses (2)
HOC3005  Draft horses (2 not harnessed) 
HOC3006  Draft horses (2 harnessed)
HOC3010  Harnessed horses (4) 
HOC3011  Harnessed mules (4)
HOC3100  Dairy cows (8)
HOC3101  Calves (8)
HOC3115  Beef cattle (8)
HOC3150  Longhorn cattle (8)
HOC3200  Barnyard Set(4 pigs, mule, 12 chickens, rooster, 2 dogs)
HOC3205  Dogs and Cats (Dog with 2 puppies, cat with 2 kittens)
HOC3210  Mature pigs (8)
HOC3211  Young pigs (8)
HOC3250  Sheep (10)
HOC3500  Horse drinking from water trough, hand pump
HOC3501  Cow drinking from water trough, hand pump 
HOC3515  Ducks (12)
HOC3520  Geese (12)
HOC3700  Pigeons (12) 
HOC3765  Rabbits and bunnies (4 each)
HOC3700  Pigeons (12)
HOC3750  Coyotes (6)
HOC3760  Prairie dog town
HOC3775  Buffalo
HOC3820  Bighorn mountain sheep
HOC3830  Deer family
HOC3835  Pronghorn Antelope
HOC3840  Bull elk 
HOC3845  Cow elk
HOC3850  Bull moose
HOC3855  Cow moose (2) 
HOC3860  Bear with 2 cubs
HOC3861  Bear family
HOC3870  Seagulls (10 standing)
HOC3871  Seagulls (6 in flight)
HOC3875  Eagles
HOC3885  Beavers (6)
HOC3886  Beaver Pond   (Resin pond, lodge, and 3 beavers)
HOC3890  Varmints! (Raccoon, skunk, fox, 4 squirrels)

Woodland Scenic’s offers many animal castings. Most seem to be casted in plastic and these are the only two castings that I found were casted in metal. I was quite surprised in that Woodland Scenic’s does produce a large number of metal products. I added the chicken coop to this list, because even though it is considered a structure, it does contain quite a few chickens. I have a copy of both of these kits, and I must say that the castings are finely cast with crisp details and with very little flash.

D226 Cats and Dogs
D227 Bare Hunter
Chicken Coop D215

B.T.S. offers a small collection of animal figures, but also produces many other metal detail parts and cast metal figures.  They do offer, as from the list, a few unique pieces: Rats, Skunk, and Pigeon.

20618    Rat (5)  
20651    Dog (2)
20682    Skunk (2)                             
20736    Small Bird (4)                      
20750    Pigeon (6)                           
20752    Chicken (4)        

Neal's N-Gauging Trains features mostly painted figures, but does offer a couple castings that are unpainted. Judging from the list here I do notice a few unique pieces here.

NEA224R Red Squirrels (5)
NEA219 Wild Birds - Heron, Owl, Woodpecker & More (5)
NEA221 Seagulls 6)
NEA220 Swans (2)
NEA224 Squirrels (gray)(5)
NEA232 Assorted Wild Animals (5)
NEA223 Rabbits (6)
NEA229 Chickens (5)
NEA230 Rooster
NEA225 Cats (6)

Although I do not own any of Scale Figure’s animal figures I do process quite a few of other figures and I must say that they are pretty nice castings.

3079 BURRO
3089 SEAL
3090 LION
3091 PIG
3092 CALF
3096 CAT
3097 DOG
MF24 OLD JAKE (the mule)         

Although Sequoia Scale offers only two animal figures, their offerings are unique.

SEQ1123 Large Eagle (2)
EQ1112 Fish (3)

A Recollected Conversion of Gandalf

Gandalf thought the Bilbo Baggins, to be a suitable companion for Thorin and his Dwarves for their quest to Lonely Mountain, for a number of reasons, however the Dwarves needed some persuasion.

“The Hobbit that I have in mind has ornaments of gold, and eats with silver tools, and drinks wine out of shapely crystal. ‘Ah! I see your drift at last’, said Balin. ‘He is a thief, then? That is why you recommend him?’ At than I fear I lost my temper and my caution. The Dwarvish conceit that one can have or make anything of value save themselves, and that all the fine things in other hands must have been got, if not stolen, from the Dwarfs at some time, was more than I could stand at the moment…the Dwarfs must bend their stiff necks.”

The Quest of Erebor, Unfinished Tales.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Unternehmunger 25

Unternehmunger 25 was the code name for the German invasion of Yugoslavia, it was also known as the April War or Operation 25. Germany and her Italian and Hungarian allies invaded Yugoslavia on the April 6, 1941. With superior air power and forces from Germany and her allies, Yugoslavia capitulated and signed an armistice on the 17 of April 1941. Can your Yugoslavian forces hold on to Yugoslavia and break the vice grip hold of the Axis powers? This print and play game gives you six turns to do just that.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Malaya- The Malayan Campaign

The main belligerents of the Malayan Campaign were the British Commonwealth army units, and the Imperial Japanese Army. The Japanese were out-manned by nearly 70,000, but had superior numbers in aircraft and tanks. The Malayan Campaign was a complete disaster for commonwealth forces. The Malaya V post card game pits the commonwealth units against the invading Imperial Japanese Army. Can you out maneuver the Japanese forces and hold onto Malaya?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Upcoming Print and Play Game Reviews

Many of these games are of the print and play verity, some require miniatures, and one of the games is a RPG. I am amazed on how many free games there are available for download. The print and play verity include everything that is needed to play, that is a playing board, game tokens, and rules.

  • 8-bit Inc Games
  • Just a Delivery
  • Galaxy Conquest v-1-0
  • Pulp Alley
  • Sword & Sail
  • SkyPirates

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ten Facts about Pirates

As the title implies, Ten Facts about Pirates, lists ten interesting facts about pirates. Did you know that pirates had rules and regulations that had to be adhered to, that there were some woman that became pirates and that piracy did not just take place on the Spanish Main? Whether fact or lore the page expounds on those I mentioned, and lists seven other interesting facts about pirates.

Monday, September 15, 2014

15mm Miniatures-With a Scene in Mind

After visiting the Splintered Light Minis site and viewing their selection of 15/18mm Animals and Creatures I have an idea for a scene. The scene would include their 15mm Boars #MISC03 and Dire Wolves #MISC08. Each set includes six miniatures. The boars are casted in three poses, while the wolves are cast in six different poses. The scene would be set-up like this. The base would include some low brush, some small rocks, and a well worn run that the boars use to traverse back and forth rooting for food.

The boars are doing what they always do-rooting for food, when they are scented out by the pack of wolfs. Two boars are left to face off two wolves, while four of the other boars take off in flight being followed closely by the four remaining wolfs. So far it looks like the situation is even up, at least with the two on two, however with the running Boars, it only takes one of the wolves to pounce on one the boars from behind it looks like it may happen at any minute) and then it is time for a pork barbecue. That is, if the wolves will wait until the meat is cooked.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Critters and Other Miniatures have arrived from Bombshell Miniatures

I have been looking forward to ordering miniatures from Bombshell Miniatures ever since I first laid my eyes on them. I can blame a fellow blogger for turning me on to these unique sculpts. My order is as follows:

Bombshell Miniatures Sizes, & Description

Dusty Paige       


Paige is the only human in the mix. Paige is in western attire and is carrying a rifle.     

Monkey First Mate


The first mate is my first “pirate” miniature and will be the smallest that I have painted yet. He carries a short rifle.

Belphegor Winged Monkey


Don’t have a definite place for this piece yet, but he could be used in some fantasy or pulp adventure

Doom Bunny


My post- apocalyptic bunny.

Buckshot the Jack-a-lope


A cross between a Jack rabbit and an Antelope, Buckshot is my first mutant. Buckshot is attired in western grab and is carrying a revolver. Buckshot will most likely be pared up with Paige.

MInE Bot


MInE Bot is my first robot.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Comparative Review of 15mm Figures

Although I am considering purchasing a few 15mm miniatures for a diorama I am planning, up to this moment, I haven’t really given this sized miniature too much consideration. 15mm miniatures seem too small to handle. That is not just their physical size, but will be very hard to detail without some type of magnifier. I will let you know what my thoughts on this subject after I give them a try. However, a lot of war-gamers like this size because you can put large armies afield in a small space. Another benefit of 15mm is that they are readily available and they are usually more economical to purchase than miniatures in larger sizes.

David Kuijt’s has written a comparative review of the following 15mm miniature manufacturers: Essex, Irregular, Gladiator, Corvus Belli , Grumpy, AB, Battle Honors, Chariot, Falcon, Old Glory, Pass of the North, Mirliton, and Museum miniatures. All sorts of 15mm miniatures are reviewed and displayed.

There are lots of pictures; however some of the links for these images and some of other resource links are dead. Some prices are mentioned, but prices probably will have changed since author wrote the article back in 1998. However, even with the few dead links I still found the article informative. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Print and Play Games

This post is being made to institute a new policy concerning my Print and Play label. In the past I have used this label to identify games ranging from print and play board games to RPG games. RPG’s will no longer be identified as print and play games, unless that RPG includes printable game tokens or some other types of components for the RPG.

V Mail Post Card Games

Malaya and Unternehmunger 25 are two Print and Play games that are formatted to fit on both sides of 5.5 x 4.25 postcard. Both games include a map, player tokens representing military units and instructions on how to play.

Players place there units in pre-assigned hex’s; each unit token includes placement, movement, and battle statistics. In addition to the print outs you will need several dice per person. The games are pretty straight forward and are played in turns. Six turns are played and victory is ascertained by the number of objectives a player obtains by the end of the sixth turn.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Treasure Islands

Painting my Dreadfleet Leviathan Island got me thinking about my Pirates at Ocean's Edge’s game and its rules. The standard way to distribute treasure is to distribute treasure pieces evenly to all the islands. In real life, who knows for sure, unless you had some kind of lead or you were in procession of a treasure map, whether the island you were visiting contained any treasure at all?  Might you be stopping at island just for water and or provisions? So looking for treasure would not normally be on one’s mind.

House Rule ##?

Before performing a explore action the player must roll a die. On a roll of a 1 or 6 the player will pick one treasure if they roll a 1 or may pick up to 3 treasure pieces if they roll a 6. Players may overload their ships holds, but will be acceptable to storms and from running aground on reefs. Any other die roll would exclude the player from “finding” gold on that island. This die roll would be in addition to the die roll to that was cast for an Explore situation card. Players may revisit islands to “search” for gold after discharging their gold at their home island. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Gonff’s Wuddshipp Song

I am not going to say that I won’t sneak another post labeled Redwall-Mossflower in, but this the last post in this series of posts featuring content from the Mossflower novel.

Gonff’s song is song that sang as he watched the Wuddshipp sink below the surface of the River Moss. The ship was scuttled in order to flood the castle Kotir and put an end to the diabolical wildcat, Verdauga Greeneyes and her forces.

“You carried use safe o’er the water,
So proudly you sailed the blue sea,
Now lie on the bed of a river,
To help make Mossflower free.
But here in our hearts we will keep you, Wuddshipp.
Like a great bird of freedom upon that last trip,
With the wind in my whiskers,
Surrounded by friends.
Sleep deeply, old Wuddshipp,
Your voyaging ends."

(Mossflower, 387)

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Wikipedia Article on Fictional Hare and Rabbits

Wikipedia has an interesting compilation of fictional rabbits and hares, albeit they seem to have missed more than a few hares that are mentioned in Brian Jacques, Mossflower. How could they have missed such a cast of hares with the likes of Trubbs, Wother, Ffring, Harebell, Honeydew, Willow, Buffheart, his wife, Lupin, and their two children, Starbuck and Breeze? This is a shameful outrage. What will these hares think?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

10 Greatest Shipwreck Treasures Ever Found

Even though it has been a while since I have made a post on this topic, I do find the topic of lost treasure fascinating. 10 Greatest Shipwreck Treasures Ever Found describes ten cases where treasures were found, lost, and some cases are being found again.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Badgers of Redwall and Mossflower: Finding Purpose for my Splintered Light Miniatures

I am in the process of completing my Splintered Light Miniatures 20mm badger and am looking for his purpose in life. My badger could be a female badger, but I am assuming that one carrying a battle axe would be a male. I have yet to name this miniature, but I will most likely use one of the characters from the Redwall series. So far in my reading I have come across the following badgers.



Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Salamanastron Ruse

Salamanastron, "mountain of the fire lizard" is a ruse.  There are neither fire-breathing dragons nor volcanos.  The mountain was one great hall. At its center was huge furnace like forge. The forge was used to manufacture weapons of all description and was kept lit at all the times. From afar, the seafarer imagined the island having an active volcano.  

In a chamber above the forge sat a dragon that had been carved out of rock, which, from time to time was hoisted into a window. A fire was started in an opening in the back of its mouth and smoke and fire would emerge from its mouth, thus causing those passing nearby to see what they thought was a real fire breathing dragon. These activities were initiated to keep the wayward traveler away, far away from Salamanastron.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Late Summer and Early Fall Reading List

Starfish, Peter Watts
Maelstrom, Peter Watts
Behemoth, Peter Watts
Michael Strogoff or Curer for the Czar, Jules Verne
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hossini
Across the Spanish Main, Harry Collingwood
The Great Stone of Sardis, Frank R. Stockton

Aqua colored titles are those that I am currently reading.

Projects for September

Houston, we have a problem here. I should have known that I wouldn’t get to all those projects I had planned for the month of August. Last month I aimed a bit too high, so I am going to be a bit more conservative with my estimates this month.
  1. Finish painting Dreadfleet Leviathan Island (Scenery piece)
  2. Finish painting my SplinteredLight Badger (20mm)
  3. Create and paint a three detail pieces for the base, (the one I completed last month) gears, slab of steal, and rusty spring.