Tuesday, July 31, 2012

100,000 Hits

Like everything that ages, the numbers seem to go faster and faster.  The Lab hit 50,000 hits last year, Feb 29th, just a bit after the first year of the blog, and now the hits have doubled their tally in the next 5 months.

100,000 seems like a good number to pause to reflect.

100,000 miles is the point where most consider a car to be 'well on old'.  My own car has passed that and 60,000 more besides, and I hope it keeps going for that many more at least: can't afford another car and don't want a different one.

100,000 years ago Mammoths walked the earth and our species was half the age it is now.
We also shared the earth with at least one other cousin-species of ours who are now gone.
So much has changed in a period that is ten times the history of civilization. I'd have liked to seen that earth.

100,000 is the number of toothpicks used to create this model of my favorite city in North America:
San Francisco:
Seeing this effort reveals how insignificant 100,000 blog hits is. 
That is a lot of toothpicks and patience.  Check out more on it here

But I'm not about to attempt something like that toothpick sculpture, so I thank everyone who's contributed to the 100,000 views, who have visited to see the minis and read my ranting madness.  Much appreciated!

When I hit 50,000 I showed the 50k ruble note of Belarus and my own pictures of Mir castle which is on it. 
So it seems right to keep with the tradition.  

This shows Nesvizh Castle in Belarus.  Which I was lucky enough to get to as well.
This was the largest note of currency at the time, then worth about $33. But with the economic tanking, the real worth, which is much less than the official, is below half that.  Despite that I see someone selling these on Ebay for $30. Yikes.  Bad bargain there.  There is now a 200,000 Ruble note because of the decline.

Here are a few pictures I took of the real Nesvizh:
A grey day, very windy. But that didn't keep the mosquitoes from feasting on my blood.
I couldn't get inside- it was closed for renovating.

Inside the church on the grounds:

In one of the ponds... this reminded me of Copenhagen.  Which brings us to the tally:

At 50k, the score for the most visits per capita went to : 1. U.K.  2. Australia.  3. Denmark.
I was curious if there would be a change.  I happened to be checking email at the time of the 100,000th visit, and it was from Germany, I couldn't identify the city or town, since the function didn't, but it looked like maybe a bit south west of Hanover.

In raw numbers, the top 5 most visiting countries are: USA, UK, France, Germany & Australia.
But that isn't a fair contest.  Populations are widely different.  Something the Olympics should take into account by the way... which country wins the most gold?  How about which wins the most gold per capita: base it on population? I'd find that much more interesting.  A vast population and wealth can have a big impact, I'm more interested to see what the less represented countries accomplish.

Anyway, the top three:

#1. United Kingdom 

#2. Australia

#3. Denmark

No change since the 50,000 mark!  The positions have remained constant.  I did notice however, that New Zealand was very close to Denmark's rating and if it had been just the last month New Zealand would have been 3rd.  Maybe something to do with all the Flight of the Conchords videos I post? I don't know..  It would have been a 'Commonwealth Sweep', but the Danes hold on for now.  We'll see what happens when it gets to 200,000! 

Whatever your country, thank you for your visits and contributing! 

And thanks for pausing with me in my self-indulgent congratulations and we'll get back to the minis in short order.  

Looking at the Belarus pictures made me miss my 'second home' even more.  Hard to believe it's only been 5 months since reflecting, it feels like years.  While this band is Russian, not Belarusian, this song will always make me think of my flat there, the early evening brief rain showers and being very happy.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Most Feared Weapon of All: Board with a Nail in It.

Powder can get wet.  A bowstring can break. A lightsaber's battery can drain.  A high-velocity gatling rail-gun can jam.  A solar-converter can overheat.

But nothing is as reliably deadly as the trusted-for-centuries Board With A Nail In It.  From Revolutionaries to Zombie Apocalypse Survivalists, all respect the great-equalizer: Board With A Nail In It.

Just listen to what Alien Invader Kodos has to say on it:

" They constructed a board with a nail in it, but they won't stop there.  They'll construct bigger boards, with bigger nails, and they'll construct a board with a nail in it so large, it will destroy them all..."

Inspiring words.

And so, on a recent project for a client who wants a Skaven Mordheim warband, with two skaven with clubs, I had to give him a club to be feared.  Nothing but the best.

So here is a Skaven with the most dreaded weapon of the galaxy:

See my board with a nail in it, and squeek in terror! 

Stay tuned to see more of this warband soon!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Aliens vs. Dinosaurs: Which Side Are You On?

Two of my favorite things going back as far as I can remember: Dinosaurs & Aliens.
What's not to like?
Apparently, each other!

I ran across this recently and it sounds awesome:  Aliens vs. Dinosaurs.

Follow that link for more details, but the pedigree looks impressive and the idea has a lot of meat to it.
Despite the name, which sounds like a low-budget movie for the Sci Fi channel (which changed to 'SyFy' in solidarity with Illiterates United), it is a lot more than aliens blasting dinos who in turn rip aliens in half.

The premise is more of an exodus than an invasion.  An alien race on the edge of extinction with no choice left but to make a life on Earth, 65 million years ago, must either eliminate the dinosaurs or be eliminated themselves.  I assume it will be explained why there couldn't have been coexistence. The dinosaurs in the story are more than what we believe: they have a higher intelligence than we would expect and have a rudimentary culture.

This opens up a lot of moral grey-areas that is pretty rare in the genre for movies.  Already it is a lot more philosophically complex than the likes of Avatar. It also opens up the door to question assumptions we have about the long past of our planet.  A billion years plus is a very long time for complex life, and it is a guarantee that we don't know the extent of the species that existed and everything that happened.
Makes for some interesting questions.

When I was in 5th grade, I remember we had an assignment, to write and illustrate a children's book, which would be given to one of the first grade classes.  The book I wrote was about an alien in a spaceship who came to Earth at the time of the Dinosaurs. Lost & not knowing how to get back, he had to make friends with a dinosaur, which wasn't easy since they terrified him.  Not the exact plot, but I think someone should cut me a royalty check.

Apparently there will be a series of movies as well as graphic novels.
The first of the graphic novels is already available. Amazon has it here.

Of course this got my gaming-mind going into overdrive.  
This is rich for the tabletop and mixing genres of miniatures.  

Check out the first episode of the animated movie below.

(Sorry about the dang ad- Yahoo's fault- but the version on YouTube doesn't have the credits and art at the end, so I figured it was worth it, just tune out for the first 11 seconds)

So Aliens vs. Dinosaurs:Which Side Are You On?  Which Side Are You On?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pterodactyls of Mars

So I'm realizing I didn't give the Archidon of Skorne his own update, so I'm rectifying that now.
Painting has been slow this past week or more, a combination of the brutal heat wave and that somehow at some point, though it's hard to see how I wouldn't have noticed it at the time, an elephant came into my bedroom while I was sleeping, grabbed me by the right wrist with his trunk and swung me around and around, over his head to the tune of 8-G's.  My shoulder felt dislocated and in constant pain for a good long time, so the brushes were silent.  Damn ninja elephants.

But I have a Pterodactyl of Mars to show, so let's get back to the point of this.

I am crazy about this sculpt.  He's just great in my opinion.  Not overly detailed with details for the sake of details. I could also see him making a great monsterous mount for a Goblin. I'd love to have a goblin warlord riding this guy.  Unfortunately the Mantic Kings of War Goblin army doesn't have a flying monster, but doesn't mean he couldn't sub in for a giant or something like that.
Coming at you!
The height of the rock formation helped out a lot- it gets his wingspan away from the other minis on the table.

He was a surprisingly fast paint job, after a base coat, the blending went very fast.
The traditional light underneath and darker above: nature's fighter planes.
Somewhere below is his target.

In the game, he's more of a 'medium' beast than a true heavy.  He only get's one attack, but he's cheap, and the chance to have a good 'critical pitch' to throw your victim across the battlefield is very fun.

He should find a lot of use for Skorne, fantasy skirmish, or VSF Mars.

Who says there can't be Pterodactyls of Mars?  If there are spiders, there can be pterodactyls.


Monday, July 23, 2012

The People Have Spoken and a New Leader is Chosen

The Poll I put up for voting on which mini I'd use for 'Baldur' for my Circle army in the next Journeyman League closed and the winner is clear.

The Enigma mini was selected with over 50% of the votes cast: a clear mandate.

Ready to put the enemies of nature between a Rock and a Hard Face. 

I did like the suggestion about giving him a hammer, but I think I'll keep the weapon as it is, more of a slightly-modified chunk of nature, like the Wold-constructs he creates.  This army is going to be so far from 'tournament legal' I am not going to even worry that he has a staff instead of a great sword: both look like they have reach, so good enough. 

I do like the other miniatures too, so they'll find a home in Baldur's administration. 

The Celtos druid will be used if I include a 'Blackclad Wayfarer':

I think he's a good fit.  The official mini is too 'over the top' for my taste. A druid doesn't seem like he'd be loaded down with armor or have a 500 pound stone double bladed, double ended great axe.  The Celtos mini's weapon is formidable without being unfathomable, but it makes a good approximation to the concept.

The Rock-elemental-creature from Relics could find a home in the army too. 
I guess I just don't like the big bulky armor plates over robes & lose clothing. It doesn't make sense for one, and seems very 'un-druid-like' as well. I picked up several smaller rock-creatures from Relics to use as Druids- though I may not run them in the army if I go with the tier list, since at 35 pts you can't squeeze them in unless you go very beast light, which kind of defeats the purpose of this army for me. But if they see play this guy will be their unit attachment (a special leader). 
What better magic wielder unit for a rock-army than a unit of rock-people? 

Thanks again to those who voted in the Poll, and I'll be letting you know how Baldur's Boulders get on.  

And if you followed over to the Stonehaven Dwarves Kickstarter I liked to a few days ago, they've been going strong and just cleared the latest $95,000 stretch goal, they'll be making a nice troll for the dwarves to fight, and not a bad price at $12 to add on.  
Did I add one to mine?  Me? A big fan of Trolls? Well... I couldn't say no.

43 hours left at time of posting!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

More Fun Pre-Orders From Warploque! Few Days Left

Alex is at it again, and has some fun minis for pre-order up on his store site.

The Deadline is July 25th, at England time- so that cuts off a third of a day for anyone on the western edge of the North American continent like me, and I think it means it ended 3 days ago for those in time-warped Australia which exists in the future. I'm still waiting for the winning lottery numbers from someone there.

If you pre-order and they don't meet the numbers you get a reversal on the charge, so no money lost.
Hope they can be made, there are some very fun ones here!

Possibly my favorite of them, the Barrow Wight:
Amazing sculpt.  Looks ideal for Lord of the Rings, but good for any setting with some undead.
Details of the extras:

I also love this guy:

he reminds me of this fellow:

Two more he's got for offer, a halfling hedge-wizard:

& a Wild Elf Druidess:

Only a few days left and they are still shy of the target, so if you fancy any of them, the only chance you'll likely have is to help with the pre-orders and spread the word.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dejah Thoris Rasheth: Mixing Skorne & Barsoom

One of the things that appealed to me about collecting Skorne for Hordes was the idea of doing them in a 'Barsoomian Desert' theme.  Skorne are clearly not human, and the baroque armor, flowing robes and cool & funky reiver guns all made me think that a lot of them would make for good material for a VSF Martian army.  Why not double-dip minis across genres when able to?

So with this in mind I was thinking Makeda would make a great 'Barsoomian' style Warlock/Warlord.  I'd probably just trim one of her two swords so that she has both the 'Martian Longsword' and the 'Martian Shortsword'. That is for the future... I had hoped to use in the final 35pt list of the tournament a couple weeks ago, the Warlock, Rasheth, who specializes in breeding warbeasts, doesn't fight himself, just reclines on a palanquin, directing his forces and lobbing spells.  The problems were:

1. I had very little time to get a mini & paint it.
2. It is a very expensive kit
3. I don't much care for it.

So what to do? Check the minis I had on-hand that'd I'd previously bought, and found something very fun.
A good candidate for a Barsoomian Princess or Queen, though less human-looking, and so would work just fine in a VSF setting someday. Simpler & quicker to paint, much cheaper ($9.50 compared to $38 no complaints there), and I like the mini better, and also fits the dual theme better too. Perfect!

Ever inspired and influenced by Frazetta, in my mind was his Dejah Thoris:

Not Rasheth:
Who reminds me more of Baron Harkonen:
No thanks. I'll stick with a Dejah Thoris feel...

So here's the mini I selected:
Reaper's Empress Messalina of the Andromedans.
This was a speed-paint, and I'll want to go back to give attention to her eyes and some highlights for the hair, maybe some brighter highlights on the metal, but for a fast job I'm pretty happy with this.  

She is a lot like the Rasheth mini in the ways that matter: no apparent combat ability, a floating throne is similar to the palanquin: no knock-down for game-terms, and works on the right size base.  
She can be 'Domina Rasheth' instead of Dominar. Rasheth is a collector and trainer of other species, so perhaps he's married a woman of an unknown species, and so she has the same authority and abilities.
And for a VSF Martian setting I think she'll work nicely. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Vast Variety of Dwarves: Can Be Yours!

A large party of Dwarves.. looking for a home...

No, not the plot of The Hobbit, a Kickstarter project with just a handful of days left.

It seems Kickstarter is getting ever more productive with gaming projects, and it can be hard to decide which to jump in on and which to let pass by. Stonehaven Miniatures' Dwarf Adventurers is one I had to jump in on.    -- Click the dwarf to go check it out:

Stonehaven has come up with concepts for a set of 15 dwarves, each unique in a different adventuring archetype. In addition, they have added several more dwarves as they continue to reach stretch goals.
I found the rewards a bit difficult to grasp compared to some, but they have a nice check-chart to help out.
The $40 reward gets you the full set of 15 dwarves!  You can also add on the further Dwarves at $4 each.

There are some really great Dwarf characters here- things not often seen, like a mage, witch, monk, even a necromancer.  Also, several of the dwarves are female- also pretty rare to find. There are the standard iconic dwarves as well: fighter, berzerker, miner, brewer and more.  These would make great additions to an RPG or as characters for a miniatures army.  I'm thinking they'd make a good source for a skirmish warband for games like Songs of Blades & Heroes, Mordheim or other fantasy skirmish game.

I'm a sucker for characterful minis, and I especially love Dwarves.  And I can't find fault with the price.
They look very fun to paint.

Some of the Greens are shown now, and that's probably the best way to judge them for yourself:
-I love that paladin's maul!

Concept Art:

If you like characterful Dwarves, go check them out, there's still 5 more days to get in.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Genestealer Cult Army: Arrayed For Battle

The Genestealer Cult has been finished for a couple months, and I'd promised to take a complete group picture, but I was waiting as the client was discussing adding to the project- which would have been great, some very fun conversion ideas- but it seems the changes to the new edition has put that on hold, so likely this is a complete project, at least for now.

So here is the army when all together.  Click for larger views.

Front View in Full

Right Flank


Left Flank


There is something very satisfying about doing a very large scale army project! 
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