Sunday, 30 January 2011
Yesterday we hunted dinosaurs! As I forgot to take any pictures at the time, I earlier sought to recreate some of the events of yesterday. There were three groups of blood-crazed hunters with scant respect for re-eradicating terrible lizards so long as they got a nice head to mount on the wall of the old family pile! We used the Saurian Safari rules, which took a bit of time, as I was rather rusty. Still, in the end we all had a good time! The action began with three Deinoychi appearing. Nathan's hunters (Stig, Hastings, hale and Clarke) immediately shot them up, killing one, and the other two fled the table. Then a Terror Bird turned up and Blind Willie McTell (my character with the worst shooting skill and awareness) loosed a flurry of harmless shots at it from his Winchester Carbine. Sir William Charles Armitage-Shanks blew the poor bird into the grave with his .577" Express.
The death of the over-sized avian attracted an adult Tyrannosaur, which bore down on my party with alarming speed. Blind Willie couldn't see a thing, wondering what the growling was. Leaving him to delay the beast, the rest of my party backed off a bit in a show of thoroughly ungentlemanly good sense. George Quaterstrength and Sir William blasted away with their rifles, and Lord Deerstalker took a useless pop with his Paradox Rifle Shotgun. The dread beast, bloodied but unbowed, lumbered on! Was this the end for our band of idiots?Suddenly the crack of a ridiculosuly powerful gun rent the air, and the tyrant lizard sank to the ground. Niall's Mr Tiggles had knocked the last of the fight out of the beast with his 20mm Dinosaur Gun.
Relieved, my party drew back a bit, reloaded and awaited the next onslaught. Soon it appeared. Two Nanotyranni, perhaps offspring of the slain giant, bounded toward my plucky little band. With military precision and profligacy of ammunition the hunters smashed the foolish children to bloody pulp.
Niall's party (Messrs. Nibbles, Tibbles, Niggles and Tiggles) were now approached by a third Nanotyrannus. But they blasted him into so much goo in short order.
Nathan's chaps had been rather left out of things, so we fudged it so that a dinosaur would come on where his chaps were, so he'd have something to shoot at. Niall nudged the table, so Nathan quipped that was a sign of something big coming. A brachiosaur was what appeared! Niall left at this point as he had things to attend to downstairs.
The model's not of a brachiosaur, so keep your suspension of disbelief running. Anyway, towering above his party, one of his hunters failed to discern the giant herbivore. The others managed to see it and let loose with their full firepower. Then my party members fired what they could at the looming green monster. No dice. Alarmed by these pinpricks, it tore off to the right, smashing into a copse of trees.
We kept firing! We had to get that beast before it ran off the table. The damage started to add up. It screamed and tore off closer to escape!
Our firepower couldn't take this brute down. Then for reasons inexplicable, it turned right round and raced back towards nathan's party. Would it crush them beneath its cyclopean feet before we could stop it? Would the Stig be out for the count?
Nope, it changed its mind and tore off toward the board edge again. But our hunters were too proud to accept its cowardly good sense, and pumped our remaining rounds into the creature's back, slaughtering it. Nathan's final round ensured a prize specimen for the museum of his choice back in dear old Blighty!
On another note, I see I'm up to ten followers. Double digits at last! Thank you, everyone!
Saturday, 29 January 2011
I present to you Doctor John Watson, Doctor James Watson, Mr Sherlock Holmes, Mr Sherlock Holmes, Mr Sherlock Holmes and Her Royal and Imperial Majesty, the Queen Empress Victoria. Several years ago I saw some models of Holmes and Watson made by Foundry, but my memory is that when I had money to look, they had been discontinued. I was chatting to a friend the other day and idly looked them up. When I say chatting, I mean online. I try not to break off real conversations by excusing myself to hunt down miniatures on the web. Anyway, there on the Lead Adventure forums was a link to the very Holmes model I'd wanted. Oh, and then there were more bits. Foundry's £8 flat shipping fee is painful, but they arrived the very next day, so I was delighted! A friend and I once had the short-lived Holmes reference that when one of us bellowed "WATSON!" the other would reply "Holmes!" He then put a stop to it by leaving the country. As dismissals of my sense of humour go, that one was pretty good! I may see if I can get together some friends for a silly game of Holmesian intrigue.
Later today I had intended to play a game of Shako, but I realised that getting the models up to scratch in time really isn't possible, so instead my friend, my brother and I shall be hunting dinosaurs (and some more contemporary fauna) with some energetic Victorian gents. I hope to remember to take some pictures during the game. Shako has not gone away; the Emperor will return!
Friday, 28 January 2011
Thursday, 27 January 2011
This blog is so chill that my man, Si, is shiverin', man! And you know that's chilled. And relaxed. So let's say chill-axed, which is a totally awesome and certainly not risible construct of the two. Hell, yeah.
Well, I promised you a third post today, and by golly, here it is! Now, I also promised you some false enthusiasm, and if there's one thing I can fake it's that. You wouldn't believe how exciting today has been. First off, after my last post I knocked up some bases for my artillery (2" by 4") and my cavalry (3" by 2"), dawgs! i think you'll love 'em when i post a few snaps I took with my banging camera. That's a camera which is top hole, you know, not that I use for drumming. Speaking of drumming, I think we need a rimshot over here! Hoo-yah! Let nobody say I couldn't be an over-excited Radio DJ, baby! Funky.
Right, then I got onto perhaps the best part of the day, I undercoated some models and then - BAM! - decided I would take a nap. Take a nap like a bad-donkey! Hell, yes. Man, you wouldn't believe how I napped. It was from about 2 till 8. That's just how I roll, friend. Then I got up, showered, grabbed myself some pumping Cornflakes and soya milk. Oh, yeah, I'm vegan, you remember? Sorted! Word. Then I took my paints and some models downstairs and watched an interesting and amusing show on Channel Four about builders recreating a Roman villa in Shropshire or somewhere else nearby. Nearby by American standards, not by reasonable ones. While I'm doing that what else is up, blood? You know it, baby. I'm sat down there, painting away at my little toy soldiers like a madman, fool! I kept doing that through The Ten O'Clock Show, the presenters of which are settling nicely into their roles. Excellent! Then I came up here and pottered about the internet before writing this. Rad, baby.
This track will be released on Virgin Media's The Best of Feigned Enthusiasm: Volume IV, available from all good newsagents now. Only on iTunes.
From The Wonder Book of the Navy, which an acquaintance in Germany kindly sent me some time ago. It's one of those joyful pieces of Imperial propaganda from those days people like to be nostalgic about. Perhaps because we didn't have bananas or tofu or the other essentials of civilised society. But they did have jolly big guns, which are splendid, on jolly big warships, and they are yet more marvellous. It's a lovely book, and very enjoyable. I already had its RAF and Empire sisters. The Empire one is from the tail end of the Great War, and is even more delightfully outdated!
Anyway, photography. This topic keeps popping into my head. For one thing there's the question of photographs for this blog. I was skimming FTW earlier, and realised I'd slid past a few blogs since they lacked a picture. Mm, advertising. It's also intruding into the offline world because I have been moving furniture around my room again. So a chest of drawers which once was to my left is now to my right as I type. It may be perfectly placed for photography. I embedded some screws in the bookcase last night with that in mind.
Returning to advertising for a minute, I am toying with enthusing these rather dreary (I feel) didactic (or perhaps expository is apter) entries of mine with some false extravaganza of emotion. Over the years I've got rather used to adopting a self-deprecatory tone about wargaming, the better to blend in with non-gamers or, to use an accurate term, normal people. Lest anyone start to froth, let me set your mind at ease by iterating that I mean what I say: normal, not better, nor worse. Although normal people do enjoy football matches, so maybe they are a little worse. I'd far rather play something like that than watch it. That said, good luck getting a Ronaldo-esque display of athleticism from my formless shape. Erm, I have wandered off the track. Inane enthusiasm: keep your eyes open for it in my next entry. I shall try my hardest. And then try harder, since such things always seem to be a case of people trying too hard. That is never a good idea when weight-lifting, and is only mildly less perilous when advertising. Falsely? Over-exuberance seems a reasonable thing with which to associate falsehood, yes. Toodle-oo for now, snookumses!
I realised that I haven't been taking many photographs of this project. I suspect because the painting quality still embarrasses me and also because I'm just rushing through it. However, here's a few shots of some Royal Artillerymen atop their new base.
I aim to have a game against my brother on Friday, then on Saturday show a friend the ropes. I've itemised what I need for the French (31 assorted infantry units, 5 cavalry units and 5 artillery units) and for the British army (26 infantry units, 4 cavalry and 3 artillery units). I feel that the artillery bases look better with two guns on as opposed to one, but I haven't enough guns for the French. So some of them will be under-strength until such time as I can deploy reinforcements to the Peninsular. Vive l'Empreur!
Monday, 24 January 2011
I'm going to take a count in a while of the strength of French infantry not yet based and painted. That which has been amounts to three lots of Bavarian skirmishers (3 stands apiece), which is possibly ahistorically numerous, and almost certainly ahistorically geographical for the Peninsular; two battalions of Guard (which are definitely out of time and place!); a battalion of French skirmishers (using Line figures - whoops!); and eleven full battalions of Line. The Brits amount to a mere formed battalion and skirmishing force (3 stands) of 95th Rifles. The Brits are far worse off on the Divisional Commanders front, as I've barely anything in the way of mounted Brit officers. A quick google turns up just a load of dismounted chaps, and my squinting eyes discern a bagpiper. How apt for this time of year. For those not of the cognoscenti, a certain poet's birthday approaches.
Sunday, 23 January 2011
On a non-wargaming note, I've been mildly miffed this week. I started getting back to exercising, after far too long a "weekend", only for my right shoulder to get a twinge, and then my left leg to develop two. This put the kaibosh on things, so I've been going a bit stir-crazy at my desk. Fingers crossed that's all gone this week.
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Sunday, 16 January 2011
We went into the cave, and for once my carrying a torch proved useful. For some reason, Nathan and Si and I had all brought torches, but the dog of the family which had just left was as drawn to torchlight on stone as cats are to laser pointers! Si saw the dog, halfway down the slope, catch sight of our lights, and race back up again. Nathan and I had gone quite a way in when suddenly a small creature scurried eagerly about our legs, nearly tripping us! So lights off, and the disappointed doggy departed. We trundled back out of the cave, and carefully descended the boggy area, helping poor Tammy, whose legs weren't quite up to leaping from dry stone to dry stone like her husband. Then we set off in search of the "Round Rock". After a few minutes we discovered a large boulder, with steps carved into the side. Needless to say, after the boathouse that wasn't and the cave that wasn't, neither was this Round Rock round! Still, we climbed up the stairs and I took a snap of the others atop it.
Then down we came by way of the Himalayan Walk. You've guessed it: no yetis were in evidence, just a runner and a couple with a dog. We came up against the edge of the park, and headed back, following the brook that leads to the visitor centre (closed at this soggy time of year, but with toilets open!). Back home by car for a moment, where Si checked out Nathan's suggestion about acquiring a better 'net connection. Si and Tammy are really being screwed by their provider at the minute. Anyway, we headed on down to the local 'Spoons (as they victual vegans) to meet Mawbs and Berni. We then had meals arrive at sporadic intervals - mine first, but half of it missing! - which rather irked Nathan. He's a bit of a stickler for competence on the part of staff. But finally everything arrive and we noshed down. Well, I'd been chomping away for a while by then to avoid cold curry. Afterwards, we nearly left, but instead ended up spending maybe two hours on the quiz machine! I don't think we can have lost more than a fiver between the six of us, so it didn't turn out too ill. Someone had the bright idea that we should buy a quiz machine, memorise all the answers, and then use that knowledge to win in pubs. This time next year, Rodney, we'll be millionaires!
Then we popped into the off-licence down the street, where everyone collected a few beers, and then back to mine. we chatted for a bit, discussed watching a film, but settled on a game of Cranium. Mawbs was wary at first, but after the first game he was most enthusiastic for a rematch. The game has won another convert! Both games were a little odd insofar as whenever we played a Club Cranium (in which one player from either team attempts to get his teammates to guess the answer) we had simultaneous exclamations of knowledge from both sides. Naturally, this reminded me of Fortean TV (a show from the '90s produced by the same company which made Eurotrash), and I brought down an old video for everyone to watch. I was a little wary that they might not enjoy it at first, but I don't think I've seen an audience laugh more heartily at people eating fish (an alleged asthma cure). An excellent day, and one I hope to repeat before too long! I'm very happy to have seen everyone.
Thursday, 13 January 2011
I'm going to search the house for a box in a moment. I should have found it back before Christmas, but I tend to put off things I don't need to do. Obviously, it's for a Christmas present. I have plans to marry this to a birthday present, if it's well-received. Revelation of the specifics will not be for a while, so you can safely forget I said anything.
One of the reasons I am on this fitness kick is a friend inviting several of us to a half marathon at the Silverstone racetrack in March. Mired in penury as I always am these days, I put off entry. I just had a look at the page, and I've left it too late, unless I run for a charity. I certainly could do that, I suppose. Ooh, I'm going to wait until I hear back from the two guys who are doing it. Nonetheless, that was more an excuse than anything. I shall keep with my current training schedule. Hm, and on that note I think I'll try to set up a pool party in March. No, actually, I shan't. I'm too tired right now to attempt the Herculean task which is aligning the schedules of a dozen people. Maybe tomorrow.
Written last night before I slept.I live in the past. Would someone please send me a history book so I know what to expect? Today I almost talked to a fellow I used to know at school, a friend of my brother. I say “talked”, but I mean contacted via Facebook. I say “say”, but I mean “think” or “type”. I didn't because it would be a cumbersome conversation – and not because I'd stop every sentence to redefine terms. It would be awkward and brief and upsetting for us both. Why? Because while he has doubtless done well, I have proved incapable of dealing with the world. That sort of thing gets people down. They can't feel happy for your successes; they have to feel sorry for your failures.
So I didn't do that. What did I do? I took the car to the garage to have a light replaced. Do I hear mechanically-minded readers gasp across the internet? You try replacing the front right sidelight of a Peugeot 206. One needs either a specialised device or the hands of a bodybuilding child, supreme confidence that one won't drop the strip of metal wire which locks the light in place, and some pliers, preferably shaped like the bill of one of those birds that plod along the seashore, jimmying their cock-eyed beaks sideways into shells. Yeah.
So I walked home, dropping in on the health-food shop in Biddulph and picking up some things. I had a salad, dawdled online, did some pressups, had a protein shake . . . after many years, I eventually picked up the ability to notice when I was boring people, and my alarm just pinged. Tomorrow I'll spend less time online, and more reading. I watched Midsomer Murders with the family. It's a little ritual. Although these days Niall wanders off to look at shares and stockmarkets online.
I'm going to go for a run tomorrow. It's hard to drag oneself out of bed for a run in the rain, or at least the cold. Still, I'm keeping to the diet well, and the exercise is all falling into place. I'm not yet recovering fast enough for my tastes, but no doubt that will improve. Friends are coming up Saturday, and we'll go for a walk in a local park. I must take my camera. Come Sunday and I have to drive to Sheffield to check on a friend. I and many others hope he's ok. Fingers crossed. With that cheery thought I shall close my weary eyes.
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
I'm finally reading Neil Gaiman, American Gods. It's entertaining and interesting. I can appreciate literary artifice, but what has always appealed to me most is the story itself. Likewise, I'm reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude. I have been delaying finishing it. I think I don't want to let it do. I have done that many times in the last few years. I don't want to let go of something I am enjoying; I fear I'll lose it for good.
I still need to finish Stephen King, On Writing. It's strange that many of the things King advises are at odds with what I learned in school. For King "he said" is perfect, but in school it was banned, bland. For King adverbs are poison. In school they were near mandatory. I'm sure there are many reasons (I can think of one) for the discrepancy, but it's the difference itself which catches my eye.
I hope this fitness programme works. I still don't know what I'll do afterwards, but maybe I should just keep putting one foot in front of the other for now. If I look at the horizon I might trip and land in the mud. I had a good walk today. I went up along the canal, then took a ramble though some boggy fields. The public footpaths hereabouts are puzzling. They start and stop without reason, and they curl all over themselves like Spaghetti Junction. There's mud all over, on the canal path as well as the fields. There was ice still in the water.
A pair of ducks swam warily away from me as I walked back, the female pushing a lump of ice before her. "Silly ducks," I said. I do like ducks. There's a pond near my home, and the people who live nearby have been overfeeding the ducks. So now we get as many as twenty-seven ducks of several species coming to our front door, mendicants for food. Well, time to sleep, I think.
Monday, 10 January 2011
- the Inuit hunters -
- and an American Adventurer, whom I have painted three times or so already. I never can quite fix on the right colours for the chap. But taking my thinking from a John Wayne/Dean Martin Western (you know the one), I'm quite happy with his colours this time.
Now onward and upward to the . . . RN? And the elephant, a few cavalrymen lacking some important component of their calling, and some alleged - but quite innocent - criminals.
Addendum: I have no explanation for the superior quality of the first image. Perhaps the camera got tired? Its position was the same, as was the lighting and the backdrop. I think I shall have to accept that I simply require more lighting.
Sunday, 9 January 2011
I woke up and it was half past nine, with warm sunlight filling the room. I was shocked! How could I have slept so long? Then I woke up and it was half past one in the morning, pitch black. I heard a noise outside, and went to my window. I looked down into the yard and there was an alligator eating the food we'd left out for the badger. I moved back cautiously, not wanting to disturb him, and hurried to Mum and Dad's room, where I hissed the news at them. I then went to tell Niall. Everyone crowded into my room to see. I made some wry observation about them getting into the house, and lo! There was a baby one sat on the landing outside my bedroom. I picked him up by the tail to avoid bites. I took him into my room and asked the family for somewhere to put him. He was about two foot long and quite chunky, so I didn't think we had a good place to keep him. We ended up dropping him into an old fish tank. Unfortunately, I held his tail too long, and the last few inches came off just as I was putting him in the box. Then I left the room to observe the alligators from the kitchen window. But as I passed the downstairs toilet I descried the door open in the gloom. I'd just the whole family in the TVs room! I pressed myself against the wall as a green laser swung about on the wall opposite the toilet door. A figure all in black came out of the toilet, seemingly holding a gun. I leapt for him, bashing him into a door, and crunching him down on the stairs.
It turned out to be a friend, and I'd forgotten that I had agreed that he and his girlfriend could use the house as a meeting place for some Guides they were taking on a trip. That sorted out, I went to the kitchen window and saw carsful of people pulling up, getting out in fancy dress - Great Auks, various other improbable animals, they walked unharmed past the alligators (a second had arrived) and a large buzzard or bustard, which were eating the badgers' food, still. I went to let them in, and got confused because there were several glasses of orange juice on the cupboard by the front door. I picked some up and went through to the Dining Room, where I tried to give them to the Guides - although they seemed young enough to be Rainbows. I needed more orange juice, so I went to get some from the larder. This had moved about eight feet and altered its configuration, so I ended up stuck in there with an exhausted and pretty Guide Leader's tricep pressed into my face as more people pushed in.
Then the scene shifted and we were in Liverpool. My two friends and I were going into a dismal building, evocative of Soviet Russia. We had to go up three flights of stairs to get to my mother's mother's house so we could pack away her things. We gathered some things, went down, came back up, went down with more, and by now the bottom of the building was a railway station. The lady at the kiosk asked us when and where we were going, and enthused about the superior quality of that service on this day as opposed to any other. So the bus driver (of this station which became a train and then a bus) asked me to go upstairs to talk to the passengers up there. I climbed the three flights again, and the rowdy passengers up there were irritated that he hadn't done something they'd asked.
Then I was in a Victorian-esque street, wrapped in fallen snow, where an angry industrialist was ranting to his secretary that "I used to run this town!" and complaining about the mayor, who then walked into view. The two exchanged angry greetings, then the mayor said to his staff "This never would have happened in the old days! I used to be in charge here!" I then realised that I had somehow got very far from home, and night suddenly fell. I hailed an open-topped horse-drawn carriage to take me home. I soon realised this wasn't actually a Victorian place as a modern motorcycle zoomed past us. My carriage then drove into a pub which stood in our way. The carriage slipped out of existence, and I continued floating on my own through a door into the back of the pub. This rear area was a strip club, and a number of women lounged about in various states of undress. The bouncer would only let me leave through the back window if I let him write something in red marker on my shaved head, so I hovered in the air, admiring the women, and joking with him, as he stood on a stool to write, that "You'd better not just put tits on there!" He grinned, and soon finished, opening a half-window, half corrugated-aluminium construction on the back wall. I floated out, and remembering I was nineteen miles from home, decided I had better hurry.
I jumped to a tall red-brick wall on the left of the street, running along it, then leaping off to land on the next wall. A man, his wife and two small boys were hurrying across the street in front of me, and I think one of the little boys wanted to catch me, because I was flying. I stopped on a part of the wall which was damaged at the top, and I found a rough paper document proclaiming itself to be someone's (I forget whose) passport. It was only the outer sheath, the inner documents were gone. The man, who was Peter Serafinowicz with a moustache, was comforting with his wife one of their children because the other had disappeared. I leapt off the wall, and into a large square. I saw that the buildings were too high for me to leap over, so I went to the far right corner to see if I could get through. Instead oriental female martial artists flung throwing stars at me in silence, and I had to jerk myself out of the way and retire. An important British government official (I just knew he was) in a suit, bowler, with umbrella and briefcase (come to think of it, he resembled George Darling in the film Mary Poppins) told me that it was imperative that I go through the building, as these people were a terrible threat (to national security?)
So I went into the ground floor of a building. It was a shop with an open lay-out, rather like a mobile-'phone or gadget shop. I tried to get to the far end, but the lights went out, and the shop dummies, which were made of a shiny dark grey clay, came to life and tried to attack me. I kicked one over and he smashed. Then the lights came on just as one was about to attack me. He was frozen in place, and after an agony of conscience I knocked him down with a large plate made of the same material as he was. Both smashed on the floor. I flew back into the square where I saw a round swimming pool filled with happy people. I think about this point I briefly became Bart Simpson. I recognised some foe on a walkway high above the pool, and flew up to engage him. After a brief struggle on the walkway, I knocked him off, and he landed beside the pool, his limbs tangled round his corpse. His three friends were remarkably phlegmatic about this, being only a bit surly when I decided to take over their gang. I was no longer Bart Simpson. I prodded the leader, a tall, muscled fella with dark hair, in his chest, and my sidekick (where'd he come from?) backed me up.
Then over to my right I could see what I recognised as the bridge over the Mersey, and I flew toward it, knowing I could follow that route home. it looked nothing like the real bridge, and it didn't even cross a river. There were just acres of futuristic cityscape beneath me. But I knew I'd get home this way. Then I really woke up and it was 5:59. I sat down almost at once to write.
The spirits had done their work all in one night! It's Christmas Day, Mr Scrooge! I don't think I've remembered that much of a dream ever before.
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
Monday, 3 January 2011
Anyway, here's the fella.
I have noted that his earlier scarlet coat is evident on that edging, and have coloured over it with Mithril Silver.
While here are the Lewis Men (I feel old Endeavour should be saying something here! If you don't know what this means, you probably didn't watch the UK's third channel, ITV, when it showed things worth watching):