Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reaper Miniatures 25mm Mermaid

This mermaid is a 25mm miniature from Reaper Miniatures#03608: Aquatic Familiars II. I have had this miniature for some time. This photo is from the third photo shoot of this miniature. I haven’t been satisfied with the results up to this point.

I first heard her call on a misty early dawn of morning in June. I didn’t know what to make of the sounds that I heard on this June morning. At first I thought I was hearing things. The sound had a dreamy and hypnotizing quality to it and it drew me too its source. Like I said, I didn’t what to make of it, but all the same I was enticed to pull my rowboat toward these memorizing sounds.

I rowed toward these sounds, which seemed to be coming from somewhere around Crook Island. The Island stood off about two miles from the channel leeward of the sea. Not having a water source the island was not inhabited. The island was one of the many Channel Islands that stood off from the mainland. Crook Island was once the haunt of criminals. The island was roughly 1.5 miles wide, at its widest, and 7 miles long. Some say that there is treasure buried on the Island, but no one as yet has found even a clue of its where-a- bout’s.

The closer I pulled toward the island the more these sounds sounded like someone singing. Singing in a most delightful language, one all its own. I rowed to a little cove, to where I thought I had heard this very particular singing, and pulled my boat up to the beach. I landed the boat and commenced to investigate the beach. Not finding anything there, I walked the full length and width of the island. Still not seeing anything that would explain these strange sounds I walked back to my boat and sat on its gunwhale and I pondered as what to do next. I reached down for my sea bag that sat on the floor boards of the boat and pulled out a beaker of water and some sea biscuits.

While I sat there I pondered on what I had heard and wondered where the song could have come from. After finishing my meager meal I pushed my boat out beyond the surf and started to row back to the main land. It was then I heard a splash off to my right. I rowed toward were the sound had come from and then off in the distance I heard a louder splash.  I rowed to the point of the splash, and not seeing anything unusual I stopped and rested on my oars. It was then I saw a very large tail come-up out of the water. Coming down it created another splash. This time I was close enough to get a good soaking. The creature, whatever it was, took off toward the open water. I heard another splash. I looked intently toward the spot of the last splash and saw a shock of red hair and then the face of what I reconvened to be a mermaid. It was a most beautiful face; one with the most alluring aspects. Was she was trying to lure me out to the open sea?

I had heard tell of stories, where the mermaids had lured the un-expecting out to the open sea with their womanly charms only to have that person never to be heard of again. I started to row back to the main land. I swear I heard a moan-full cry as I rowed back. I didn't look back until I had safely reached the mainland.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ratio HO Trackside Buildings

Although I model US prototypes I have purchased several Ratio kits. These plastic kits are of European prototypes and have been purchased for dioramas, while other kits have been purchased for small trackside or industrial buildings. With some minor modifications these kits will easily pass for American prototypes.

Ratio is now an affiliate of Peco, but still offers the majority of the listed models I found listed on the back of packaging from one of these kits. I will be posting more information about these kits and my plans for a diorama in upcoming posts.

Ratio HO-Gauge Trackside Buildings

500 G.W.R. Signal Box
501 Grounded Coach Body
502 Cattle Dock
503 Platform/Ground Level Signal Box
504 Station Building
505 Coaling Stage
506 Water Tower
507 Grounded Van Body
508 Pump House/Boiler House
509 Occupation Crossing
510 Industrial Fittings
511 Lineside Huts(2)
512 Skylights
513 Provender (Goods) Store
514 Pack of Assorted Pallets, Sacks, Barrels
515 Platform Canopy
516 Station Valancing, Notice Boards
517 Concrete Footbridge
518 Concrete Platelayer's Hunt (2)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Eight Minute Empire-Battle Report #1

My wife and I played our first game of Eight Minute Empire last night and contrary to the inference of the games title, it took us around thirty minutes to complete the game. Although the game is card driven you get to choose the card from the six cards that are always available. Cards indicate a good, a move action, acquiring or removing (your opponents) armies. Points are gained by controlling regions, continents, and goods. Our scores were close 17 to 19. I won by strategically acquiring goods cards that  were worth a bit more than the others.

This is a simple and quick game to play and is quite enjoyable. It is nice just to get to play an enjoyable game without having to reed through pages of complicated rules and scenarios. Good job Red Raven Games.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Eastern Dragons: Chinese Lung

The Chinese Lung has many of the same characteristics as the Asian Lung. Here are some of its more prominent features:

  • Long, whiskery feelers
  • Stag like horns
  • Mane
  • Five toes on each claw
  • Large scales
  • Feathery tail
  • Fire breather
  • Females carry their egg, usually in its fore claw

Friday, February 20, 2015

Books that Mention Books

I have read three books that mention books. These are not ordinary books. These books provide the reader with special abilities. The three titles that I have read that mention these special books are The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis, and The Book of Dragons, which is written by Edith Nesbit.

These titles were read in the in the order in which they were mentioned. I will start with my current reading, the mention of the book in The Book of Dragons.

Lionel, the boy King had wandered in a library that was full of books, not realizing that all the books in this library were his (Lionel had just became king). These books were purchased by his great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, grandfather. His ministers insisted that he not touch or read any the books in this library in that they supposed the books to be magic in some way.

Lionel insisted that he wouldn’t touch any of the books in the library, except one he had spied his eyes upon. It was a great brown book that lay on the study table. “It had gold patterns on brown leather, and gold clasps with turquoises and rubies in the twists of them, and gold corners, so that the leather should not wear too quickly.”

The book was entitled “The Book of Beasts” and inside the book were images of all types of creatures. Some of the creatures were common creatures like the butterfly with its “many-colored wings on the yellow old page of the book”, or the shining bird with its blue feathers; while others were creatures that might have been found in some fantasy story, like the red dragon, the Manticora the sworn enemy of the dragon, and the Hippogrith with its pure white mane and kindly eyes.

This book was special and held magical qualities. As one opened the book to these creatures the creatures would become animated and alive and fly out of the book to cause delight as was the case of the blue bird, butterfly, and the Hippogrith; or as with the red dragon and Manticora trouble and desolation.

I shall like to know of other books that mention books.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Similar Games, Expansions and Sequels to Eight Minute Empire

Although Eight Minute Empire is a simple game and quick game to play it is fun. Since my first experience with Red Raven Games was positive I wondered what other games they had published. I came up with the following three games from Red Raven Games that looked interesting.

Eight-Minute Empire: Legends

Eight-Minute Empire: Legends is a sequel stand alone game to Red Raven’s Eight Minute Empire. Instead of the goods that Eight Minute Empire featured the games cards now give the holder special abilities. These special abilities give the player unique advantages and ways for the player to bend the rules for their benefit.

Eight-Minute Empire: Legends make use of a modular game board for more verity, instead of Eight Minute Empire’s two sided board.

Eight-Minute Empire: Lost Lands

Eight-Minute Empire: Lost Lands is an expansion for Eight-Minute Empire: Legends. This expansion adds components for a fifth player, a new two-sided island board, new playing mechanics, a “lost” faction, and new heroes. The last time I checked retailers were taking

The Ancient World

This is another stand-alone game where players take turns sending citizens to attack titans. The game board is quite large and includes some very nice art work. The game also includes a rule book, two sets of double-sided cardboard game pieces, a set of special dice, two sets of cards, and several other player aids.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

More Strange Critters from some Elder Race, Specimen B

The contradictions between the two descriptions of these creatures stems from the fact, that while protagonist of this story was doing some preliminary investigation into sightings of these creatures he had read the descriptions from multiple sources and locations.

“The creatures were sort of huge, light-red and crab like with many pairs of legs and with two great bats like wings in the middle of the back. They sometimes walked on all of their legs, and sometimes on the hindmost pair only, using the others to convey large objects of indeterminate nature.”

Chapter 1 Whisperer in Darkness, H.P. Lovecraft

More Strange Critters from some Elder Race, Specimen A

Here is another description of Lovecraft’s freakish and garish creatures. These as the rest of his monsters would be best to have been found on a shelve and in some specimen bottle, at least in part, and not upon a page of a book or otherwise.

“They were pinkish things about five feet long, with crustacean bodies bearing vast pairs of dorsal fins or membranous wings and several sets of articulated limbs, and with a sort of convoluted ellipsoid, covered with multitudes of very short antennae, where a head should be.”

Chapter 1 Whisperer in Darkness, H.P. Lovecraft

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Eight Minute Empire-Odds and Ends

Here are few reviews and other sites that offer a description of the Eight Minute Empire game.

Boardgame Geek

Before I make a purchase Boardgame Geek is always the first place I go to read-up on a game. You will find all sorts of information about a game, including reviews, prices, images of game and its components, related forums, fan created files, like alternative game boards, card sleeves,

Red Raven Games

This is the home page of Red Raven Games where you can find information about the Eight Minute Empire and the other games and expansions created by Red Raven Games. Many of these games look pretty interesting and deserve some more research.

Board Game Quest

Nice review of Eight Minute Empire, its components, and basic play instructions.

Dads Gaming Addiction: Eight Minute Empire Review

This is another nice review of the game. I especially liked the two videos at the bottom of the page. One of the videos walks you through a round of the game between the author and his son. It is nice to see fathers doing something constructive with their sons.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Eastern Dragons: Asian Lung

The Asian Lung can be found in Eastern China and throughout South East Asia. The Asian Lung can also be found in the coastal regions of NE Australia. These dragons are most often found near rivers, streams and lakes were they like to hide there lairs in underwater caves or grotto’s.

The Asian Lung can reach sizes between 12 and 15 feet high and up to 40 feet long. They are similar in appearance to the Tibetan dragon in that they sport a set of whiskers and a set of horns on the top of their heads. The Asian Lung also has four feet, but depending on the subspecies may have four or five toes on each foot.

The Asian Lung can be found in the following coloration: black, blue, white, red or yellow. And like the Chinese Lung the females carry their eggs for safety's sake. These eggs have often been mistaken for huge pearls.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Game Boards as Works of Art

As you know I have made more than a few posts on maps. I love maps, especially old maps and those of made-up places. In the previous post I reviewed Red Raven Games, Eight Minute Empire were I mentioned that the game board is double-sided and depicts two fantasy worlds. These maps are beautiful in their own right, but I wondered what could be done to give them a more ancient look and feel. Here is the outcome of my experimentation with various processes and solutions.

Map A

Map B

Eight-Minute Empire

Eight-Minute Empire, published by Red Raven Games, is a beautifully simple game. It comes in a 6 x 9 inch box with some very nice box art on the cover. Inside the sturdy box you will find five sets of 14 small wooden cubes and wooden disks, 1 double-sided board, 42 cards, 44 coin tokens, 10 goods tokens and the rule book. All the components of the game, including the cardboard ones are of good quality.

The board folds out to 10.5 by 8.5 inch map of two fantasy lands. Like was mentioned above the map is double sided so you can try your hand at controlling two separate worlds. There is a third map, a map of Europe that can be downloaded from Board Game Geek for even more verity.

The title of the game is a bit misleading, unless the authors meant that you could read through the rulebook in about eight minutes, which seems about right. One round of the game will take you between twenty and thirty minutes and for longer play, it is recommended that you play through the game three times and add up your “victory” points from each round.

The game is card driven. Cards are chosen by the player form the six cards, placed at the top of the game board and are always available. Once one is chosen by a player the remaining cards are shifted toward the left and a new card is added to those that are available. Cards are chose by each player according to what they are willing to pay or the player’s individual needs or strategies.

The object of the game is too tally-up as many victory points by the end of the game. A game is ended when player‘s accumulate a set of cards, that depending on the number of players that are playing. For a two player that is 13 cards. You gain victory points by the number of continents, territories, and goods you control by the play of the thirteenth card.

It looks like it should be fun game to play and I hope to get a try at it over the weekend.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Impetus for H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu?

It is said that the stimulus for Lovercraft’s The Call of Cthulhu was found in Lord Tennyson’s 1830 poem The Kraken. He might have also been influenced by William Hope Hodgson’s The Boats of the Glen-Carrig, where a creature having some of the same characteristics as the Cthulhu creature is described. In deed Lovercraft even mentioned that he had read the work of Hodgson, although Lovercraft went a lot further in the description of his creature and even added associative mysticisms.
"The Kraken" (1830)
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Eastern Dragons-Lindworms

Lindworms can be found on the empty steppes of central Asia. Lindworms can grow up to 30 feet long and up to 8 and 10 feet tall. The Lindworm has two feet towards the top of its body, and a set of scales that runs down the middle of its slender body from its head terminating to an arrow head shaped and pointed tail. Lindworms are often found in shades of green, pale orange or a sandy yellow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Ghost Pirates

"Olden memories that shine against death's night.
Quite stars of sweet enchantments,
That are seen In Life's lost distances…"

The World of Dreams

"All along the port rails there was a queer, undulating grayness that moved downward inboard, and spread over the desks. As I looked, I found that I saw more clearly, in a most extraordinary way. And, suddenly, all the moving grayness resolved into hundreds of strange men. In the half-light, they looked unreal and impossible, as though there had come upon us the inhabitants of some fantastic dream-world. They swarmed in upon us in great wave of murderous, living shadows."

Chapter 16: The Ghost Pirates; The Ghost Pirates, William Hope Hodgson

This quote was found in the last of a trilogy by William Hope Hodgson’s, The Ghost Pirates. All three of Hodgson’s set were fabulous, but I did prefer the first and the last in the series best; their being sea yarns.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Eastern Dragons: Tibetan Dragon

There are four distinct species of eastern dragons; they are the Tibetan, Lindworms, Asian Lung, and the Chinese Lung. The first I will be reporting on is the Tibetan Dragon.

The Tibetan Dragon was found in higher elevations of central Asia. The Tibetan Dragons are mostly red in color and can grow up to ten to twelve feet high and up to forty feet long. They are long slender creatures with scales running down the length of their backs. They have four feet and with five toes. Each toe includes a razor sharp claw. They have what seems like whiskers around their mouths and sport a set of horns on the top of their heads. Their main pray is the Himalayan Yeti a large ape like creature that also abides in higher elevations of the Himalayan Mountains.

“After all, the strangest and maddest of myths are often merely symbols or allegories based upon truth.”

H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Blogger’s web editor can be quirky at times. In order to have consistent look I have taken the original post down and have hand-coded the post.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

25mm Reaper Miniatures Sea Aberration

This aberration is part man and part fish. Is it a freak of nature or a genetics experiment gone badly? Whatever the case, I would not want to meet up with this creature while out scuba diving. This 25mm miniature is from Reaper Miniatures Aquatic Familiars II pack. This was one of the miniatures on my January Projects list.

There is one more from this collection that I need to complete, but I cannot find a paint scheme that I am happy with.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Quotes from The Shadow Over Innsmouth- The Esoteric Order of Dagon

"A peculiar secret cult had gained force here (in Innsmouth) and had engulfed all the orthodox churches. It was called the 'The Esoteric Order of Dagon' and was undoubtedly a debased quasi-pagan thing imported from the East a century before."

Villains Wiki-Esoteric Order of Dagon

IMEX 1/72-25mm Eastern Friendly Indians

The Eastern Friendly Indians set is part of IMEX’s American History series and includes a combination of 43 figures and scenic pieces. The quality of the figures is not stellar, however these miniatures would work well setting up an Indian village diorama.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Astonishing Adventurers of the Handler a Graphic Novel

The four adventurers set off to a distant land, a land full of darkness, and contend with one melee after another with all types of creatures. The Astonishing Adventurers of the Handlers is a 26 page graphic novel. The publication is available through Drive-Thru-Comics for .50, that’s right, a half a dollar.

The novel is formatted as a PDF with printing and copy and paste disabled. The novel includes fine graphics and a story that kept my interest.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Attributes for the Leech Wyrm Sea Monster

I found this miniature at Hoards O’ Bits; it is from their Games Workshop Dreadfleet collection. This miniature will eventually be coupled with the set of Cogs and other ships, also from Hoards O’ Bits Dreadfleet collection. It might also be pressed into service with my Pirates of the Curse of Davy Jones game.

The Leech Wyrm has the following attributes:

The Leech Wyrm can move 3 if under water and 2 if on top. When resolving a Move action the controller of this piece must roll a die. On the die roll of a 1 or 3 the sea monster is assumed to be moving under water, while on a roll of anything else it is assumed to be moving on top of the sea.

Sea monsters cannot attack while under water except when they are ramming a ship from underneath the water. If the controlling player is going to attempt a ram the creature must be moving under the water and be in the same space as the ship. The player will announce his intention and then roll a dice. If they roll a 6 the ship is sunk.

While on top the water and in the same spot as the ship the Leech Wyrm may attempt one of the following attack methods:

  • It may snatch a crew member from the ship
  • It may attempt to destroy the spars, rigging, or superstructure of the ship

These actions will be resolved using the following die rolls:

  • Snatch a crew member from the ship- 1.
  • Destroy the spars, rigging, or superstructure of the ship (one per turn) 3 or a 6. Any damage to the ship will hinder the ship from moving her basic movement action.

Whenever Leech Wyrm is attacking on the surface the defender gets to fire its cannon and any other ordnance it may have before the creature retires.

The defender will use their normal cannon die rolls, however they will have to have at least two successful shots to kill the Leech Wyrm.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New Blog Policy

Although there might some exceptions from time to time, I will endeavor not to use a name of a supplier for a label. I have too many labels already and am trying to trim these down a bit. To often these posts wind up being the only post mentioning this supplier.

Are they Pigs or Demons?

“Although it resembled a pig at first glance it had a most grotesquely human mouth and jaw, but with no chin to speak of. Its nose was prolonged into a snout and it had little eyes and queer ears which gave the creature an extra ordinary swine-like appearance. It had a very little forehead and its whole face was an unwholesome white colour. It eyes seem to glow at times with a horribly human intelligence. And its mouth jabbered inanely, and once emitted a half-swine like grunt.”

Chapter 5, The House on the Borderland, William Hope Hodgson.

After reading Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland I got to wondering whether there were any pig-demon miniatures available for purchase. So far I have come up with two pages of posts from a TMP discussion board that made a slight mention of the creatures mentioned in the House on the Borderland. Some have suggested using Orcs for these creatures. Anyone out there know of any miniatures similar to those mentioned in this novel?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Another Mention of Monsters in H.P. Lovecraft's, The Shadow Over Innsmouth

"There, (the creatures of Insmouth), predominant color was a grayish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their back were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four." If you had to quickly describe their appearance, I would say they seemed to be a cross between a frog and a fish-A fish's head on a frog's body."

Another distinctive and horrid characteristic of these creatures was their sickening and repulsive smell, they smelled of rotting fish. These odors surrounded them and permeated the surrounding spaces in which they frequent.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Projects for February

Welcome to February. We are in the dead of winter here and there is snow and more extreme weather on the way.

Tomorrow marks my blogs second year and starts my third iteration.I have been struggling with upper respiratory issues for the last two weeks and did not complete all that I had wanted to last month, thus the project under Old Projects.

The Bombshell Winged Monkey will be a stretch for me. I haven't done anything like this before.
I did complete several pieces out of the Basing Kit last month and would like to complete a few more of these. I will be displaying these as a completed set.
  1. Warhammer Orc Arachnarok Spider - Trees
  2. Bombshell Miniatures Belphegor Winged Monkey
  3. Elements from Ristuls Market Halloween Basing Kit

Old Projects
  1. Bombshell Miniatures Pumpkin Pal

Completed Projects

I do have images of my latest completed miniatures, that is the Sea Monster (Aberration) and also of Graveyard - Leech Wyrm and Mermaid, the latter two were projects back in December, which I will upload as soon as I can get the time to edit these images.

Reaper Miniatures #03608: Aquatic Familiars II
Sea Monster (Aberration)
Octopus (Aberration)

Warhammer Dreadfleet
Graveyard - Leech Wyrm