Tuesday 30 August 2011

Saloon furniture done

That's a grandiose way of saying that I made the other three tables! I've been a bit wiped out this afternoon. I swam half a mile this morning, went for a four-mile walk, and then seem to have lapsed into a sleepy-headed afternoon-cum-evening. We'll see if I can do better tomorrow! Anyway, let me remind you of my current Ebaying. Right, tomorrow I'm going to head over to a local town where there's a wee model shop, and pick myself up some more balsa and superglue. I'm near out of both, and can't really get much work done on the saloon floor without either. The pics give a good idea of how the layout will appear once it's all completed. Until next time, dear readers! P.S. A few more pics added somewhat later display what I have thus far done on the floor, and a totally minor building I'm working on as an aside. It's just going to represent a storehouse or something, so it's got almost no detailing.

Monday 29 August 2011

Saloon furniture

Before I start, I want to acknowledge that this is a weird time for me to be posting an update. I had a chat with a guy last night who's stuck in that teenage rut we all go through, and in the process of encouraging him to talk to people so he can understand what he wants out of life, I planted the seed of epiphany in my own head. Back in February my depression got its head lopped off, but I have of late been in a rut because I haven't known what I want. Well, that seed grew in my mind last night, and I woke up today for the first time in a while knowing precisely what I want. More on that at some later date. For now, saloon furniture!

Every good Wild West saloon needs a bar, and every bar needs a counter to slam sippin' whisky along and a load of shelves to hold bottles. All this is balsa. The length is c.150mm, but the countertop is designed to overhang slightly at one end, and the ends of the shelves are probably a bit off. I've no pictures of shelf construction, but I'll walk you through it in words. I cut four strips of thin balsa 10mm wide and 150mm long. I got twelve thicker balsa pieces, gluing them at the ends and dividing the shelves into thirds. They looked a bit rough - there's only so much control you can have over balsa with a Stanley knife! - so I cut some more thin strips of balsa and glued them over the front to hide the worst of it. I toyed with leaving the back open, decided against it, and cut a piece of balsa that covered it. Then I got a couple of other bits and blocked in the ends. Voila!

Cowboys and not-quite aliens? The bar itself is simplicity reified: a thin strip of balsa 20mm wide by about 150mm long atop a thicker chunk of balsa about 148 mm long and 14mm by 14mm in its other dimensions. Realistically, it wouldn't be all timber, as that's a waste of wood and space for storing bar stuff. But for wargaming purposes it'll do, I think! The table was pretty simple. I took the ever-useful circle-scribing tool I bought off Ebay aeons ago, and set it to 50mm. I cut out some balsa, then a slightly smaller circle of 0.5mm plasticard. I glued the plasticard disc to one side of the table. Then I took some plasticard tube and cut some 15mm lengths of it. Don't worry about absolute precision. Haven't you ever sat down at some cafe where not a single table has perfect stability? I then glued them to the plasticard disc beneath the table, one at 12 o'clock, and then at 3, 6 and 9. I chose plasticard over balsa because a) it's sturdier and b) it's going to be invisible to casual glances when gaming. Don't worry about the hole in the centre of the table. I'll cover that later on: miniature playing cards, a pistol, money, a bit of cloth - there are many options. The chair is that same on from the Perry's farmhouse.

I need to make another two or three tables, then I'm done. I am vaguely thinking about where to get more chairs, but that isn't essential at this stage of construction. As well as all this small-scale stuff I've got the back-/store-room to block off. Things are looking good. Until next time, dear reader!

Saturday 27 August 2011

Ebaying yet once more

I had a funny old day today. In certain respects it was purposeful: I swam a quarter of a mile, I made a very tasty mushroom, walnut and parsley soup, I finished reading Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space, I made some walnut brownies, then I made a good old stir-fry. But then again, large parts of the day just seem to have been sitting or lying down. Of course, there's a wee link there with the whole reading a book thing! Great piece of writing, that book: thoroughly engaging. I have little idea how it has managed to sit on my shelf for about a decade (or so the publication date suggests). Maybe I used to get intimidated by books 500 pages long? However, this lackadaisical approach has its benefit: I can now plunge headlong into the other books in what looks to be a great series! It always amuses me when indolence pays off in some way.

The walnut brownies were a great idea, too. My friend, Berni, had reminded me that I need to eat more nuts, and her daughter had made some brownies with nuts (possibly even walnuts) in, so the seeds (boom-boom!) were sown. I went on a bit of a shopping run yesterday, aghast at the expense of petrol. "You spent money because you were upset at spending money, Pete?" Yes, I am totally sane, officer. Ahem. I picked up some more mushrooms - I don't know I could date someone who disliked mushrooms. Not because I have any sort of moral, ethical, intellectual or other objection to those who don't favour fungi, but because I suspect that the amount of fridge-space I give over to the fibrous foodstuffs would occasion more arguments than even my hatred of reality TV and soap operas. :-D Anyway, I grabbed nuts, too, and some stir-fry ingredients, and fresh parsley, basil and coriander. If there's anything that really makes me recognise how lucky I am, it's got to be the scent of fresh basil. Said the guy using a computer nobody could have imagined a century ago, living in a place where famine's unimaginable, supplied with about 6,000 volumes to read in the flesh, and the whole of Project Gutenberg (et alii) online, and so on, and so on. I really like fresh basil.

Anyway, I said this was going to be about Ebay, and so it is. I mentioned a few things that I put up yesterday, but without pictures, and I've added some more things, so here's a little rundown. At #6 is another in my supply of Griffons, revelling in that green-yellow paint-scheme I keep thinking someone else must like! At #5 is a Chimera in a more subdued and old-fashioned chipped khaki scheme, which I painted and modified so long ago I couldn't put a date on it. Some time after 2000 and before 2005, o honoured archaeologist! #4 is a Forgeworld Conqueror turret on a Mars Alpha pattern hull - a rather pretty configuration, if you ask me. The hull and body don't quite match up, but it was becoming clear I can't keep selling FW turrets without any hulls or I'd just have hulls left! #3, likewise, is an Executioner turret on a regular Leman Russ hull. I keep forgetting the name of those plasma turrets, frankly. I wish those guys at GW had more imagination. When you've got Exterminator, Eradicator and Executioner all as variant turrets for one basic design, you get fuzzy about what's what. Anyway, #2 is a squadron of scratchbuilt tanks suitable for representing basic Leman Russes. Three of 'em for thirty quid - so less than for a single GW Russ. Granted, you probably can't use 'em in a store, but they're fine for other sci-fi systems, too. And three for thirty quid, did I say? Lord, I sound like a used-car salesman. Finally, at #1 we have a Thunderer. The flanks and dozer-blade from the old Russ kit, and the main body and gun scratchbuilt. Click on the picture below for a larger version, dear reader.

I'll be doing my best to get some more work done on the saloon-cum-hotel. I got a bit distracted, as I am running low on Westerns . . . except for ones which I think are a bit downbeat. But I have been thinking that I should have some wallpaper in the hotel. My initial inclination is towards something red, as this is a colour common to all these films I've been watching. If it's historical, maybe that explains all those saloon fights: not the alcohol making men aggressive but the rage-inducing colour! Hm! Anyway, until next time, dear reader!

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Saloon-cum-Hotel planning advances

The Post Office have yet to deliver that Bombard to Germany, so my first order of business today is to pop up two pictures of my reserve Bombard, which is probably going to be on its way to Germany shortly. I think I might tear a strip off whoever's in charge of sending stuff to Germany. Come to think of it, I know a fella who works for the Royal Mail, so maybe I can wave a metaphorical fist more effectively than most people. We'll see. Needless to say, losing about three score quid isn't the happiest thing I've heard of! I'll grouse at someone, even if it's only you, dear reader! ;-)

Having put up those pics (and praying that the formating will work), here's what I've been working on today for the hotel-cum-saloon. The floor plans are a little off, as I decided to change the location of the staircase, but have yet to alter the plans to reflect this. It's not a big problem, but when looking at the plans for the first and second floors, please note that the stairs are in the wrong place. The ground floor plans are just about right, I fancy. Pardney. Goldurnit. Ah done thunk! Today I watched Hang 'em High and am now engaged on The Sheepman. We sure do have a load of Westerns in this house, don't we? Farewell, dear reader!

P.S. Here, too, are a few more things I just popped up on Ebay, a Griffon, a Chimera and a Thunderer.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Saloon/Hotel begins

On the advice of Oink, I've adulterated my design. I think I was a bit unclear with my last description, though. I meant to have the front of the building shaped thus: / \ but it looked more like I was designing the roof to look that way. But that front's ahistorical, too, so Oink's advice is well-made! For those of you who haven't seen his site yet, his work is a pleasure on the eye! He's just put up a couple of stand-ins for Imperial Armour's Tauros vehicles (new models are by way of Ramshackle Games). Take a look!

Over here I had a go at the start of the hotel-cum-saloon, and have pinned in place the general frame. I mean to add a few more windows at the back, at least, and then I need to start work on the inner and outer walls. I'm pretty happy with the idea of clothing the ground floor with plasticard embossed with bricks. As you can see from the background here, I'm a-watching a suitable Western film. Er, well, I'm having a silly day. So far I've watched Support your Local Sheriff, and now Support your Local Gunfighter. I've stacked up a load of others to keep my tubes warm. :-D Anyway, enjoy these pics and I'll see you again!

Monday 22 August 2011

Saloon/Hotel planning and construction underway

I've got a basic floor-plan scribbled out, a set-up for the front of the building and have started work on the main staircase. I was having trouble with planning this out, but this cardboard thing at 1:1 scale is really helping. I've general idea of the downstairs right now: a bar, several tables, a staircase (with landings about halfway between each floor) and either a back room (Dodge City &c) or a stage (The Great Race, Blazing Saddles &c) or both. I want nice big windows on every floor (The Magnificent Seven), so models can shoot in and out. Something I'm not sure of right now is names for stuff. I'm inclining toward naming bits of this artificial community after folks on this here artificial community, pardner: Vitor's General Store, Sheriff Wolf, and so on. So good news for cowpokes who like to jaw a while: you might get a place named after you on this here wild frontier!

Here's how the planning is right now. You can see I've got a plan for three front bedrooms on the first floor and four on the second. Add one to those ordinals (not cardinals - I'm not increasing the number of rooms!) if you're American, as I understand America's ground floor is the first floor, and so on. I can't fault that logic, but that just demonstrates how far American has moved away from English. But then you guys say "I could care less" when you couldn't, which is a lot less logical and thus more English than our English version. :-D Anyway, fellas and fellarinas, enjoy these pics.

Sunday 21 August 2011

General Store: completed!

She's done, o beloved readers. I'm leaving the windows for the time being, and
I can't do the ground around the building without some PVA with which to glue sand to it. I've been having a think about the saloon-cum-hotel, making measurements, scribbling ideas, and even going so far as to make a scaled-down model of what will be a scale model. Yeah. Having done that, I've decided that I actually need to make a 1:1 scale model of the model before I make the model. Yes. Anyway, all that I've done now is spray the floor grey, apply a layer of cream, wash that with Burnt Sienna a few times, dry-brush that with cream, and then pop the building over the top of that, and add the internal fittings. It yet needs the chair, which I've yet to paint, but it's done. I'm leaving the fittings free so I can redecorate as appropriate for the particular game. Until next time, dear reader. Behold!

Thursday 18 August 2011

One of those hours!

You know those days when argh? Well, I just had an hour like that. A chap I'd posted a Bombard to on 25/7/11, he having paid on 24/7/11 (ooh, what a peculiar date), dropped me a message on Ebay to ask what was going on, as he still hasn't received the model these sevral weeks later! Now, that's bad news in anyone's books. We have to rely on postal services, as hand-delivering items internationally is liable to put up the postal charges! Second, it's thoroughly embarrassing when someone doesn't get their order, as one feels it's in some way one's fault. As I say, I could have gone over the Channel to do so . . . if I were a millionaire.

Anyway, having had a bit of an argh, I realised there wasn't any reason to panic. I have been shovelling these receipts away into a plastic bag all this time for precisely this sort of eventuality, so I can prove I did send what I say I did. Ok, so where's the bag? Mm, it's not over there. Oh, well, it's got to be there. Hm, that's bad. It isn't. Rush downstairs and interrupt Mum on the 'phone, and thus discover that she threw it out, thinking it rubbish, when we had some relatives over last weekend (when I was away in Wales). Aw, shucks. OK, I think it's in an orange Sainsbury's bag. To the place where we keep the bin bags! Slash, slash, slash, slash, slash, slash. I don't see it. I don't see any plastic bag - wait! That's . . . not it. Shucks. Then my brother comes out to help me go through the rubbish in the rain. "Do you ever get the feeling we're in Dragnet?" It's a Dan Aykroyd/Tom Hanks '80s comedy which includes a scene in which they meticulously go through rubbish in a park. My brother finds the bag! Not orange, but a white Tesco one.

Back inside, tip out the contents, peel a soggy teabag off my bed. Awesome. Flick, flick, flick, shuffle, rustle, rustle, there it is! I have the receipt. OK, tension is now decreased, but I smell like half a dozen bags of rotting vegetables and teabags. Hello, ladies! Yeah. I shall add this to the list of reasons I need to move out. I love Mum, but she does like throwing things out. My brother told me that it's quite by chance that he hasn't got rid of the rubbish in the last few days, as well. I have dodged a bullet here. perhaps I shall abscond with one of Mum's cushions to teach her a lesson. ;-)

Funnily enough, I'd had a heart in mouth experience the other day. Ebay's default title for messages sent after an auction has been won is "Where is my item?" So although the sender was only interested in learning the origins of my old Stormblade, now his, I had a small eek of alarm! :-D Anyway, to the Post Office tomorrow to find out what I can find out about this. I know things do go missing in the post, but I defy anyone not to be irritated when it's something they sent and onto which they plastered the recipient's address with feet of sellotape! until next time, people!

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Beware escaped dinosaurs at airports

It says something about the connections my brain makes that my first thought on learning that a renowned actor, Gérard Depardieu, had urinated on the carpet of a delayed aeroplane was of the film Jurassic Park. Hat tip to ing this to my attention. Let me refresh your memory more pleasantly than M. Depardieu did the carpet. The power to the fences has gone out, and the tyrannosaurus is about to escape. The dastardly lawyer (are they ever nice outside John Grisham books? Actually, I haven't read any Grisham, so they may all be evil in them, too, for all I know. Oh, hang on, John Mortimer has good lawyers, and there's always Perry Mason. Disregard!) - anyway, the dastardly lawyer flees in terror to the toilet, abandoning two children in the car. Unaware of the soon-to-be-dining dinosaur, one of the characters in the car behind remarks on the lawyer's precipitate dash thus: "When ya gotta go, ya gotta go."

Needless to say, that reminds me of a story about me: the best kind of story. Some friends wanted to go to Alton Towers. They had learned from a fellow pupil at our school (it was a long time ago), that the attached hotel frequently had spare rooms, and would let them go for rock-bottom prices if one turned up Friday night and had a haggle. I wasn't told of this, as it wasn't relevant. You see, I wasn't particularly interested in rides (and lacked their shared incentive of girlfriends), but agreed to chauffeur them so they could drink. However, Nathan's map-reading skills were atrocious. At one point we crossed a bridge over what appeared to be a motorway, of which none exist in the region in which we were driving. I think we later pinned it down as the A50 - still damnably far off course, but not so bad as if we'd hit the M25!

After several false flags and missed turns, I got a little exasperated. Seeing a road ahead, "Nathan, do we need to take this turning on the left? Nathan? Tell me. It's in several hundred yards. Tell me. Is it this road?" "No, Pete, it's not this one." Thus reassure, I accelerated past the turning, only to hear the somewhat sheepish and belated remark that it had indeed been the correct turning. Really, eighteen-year-old Pete should have been less excitable while driving. In his defence, his bladder was full to bursting. Hence the connection to M. Depardieu above. Don't have horrific visions (let alone clammy sensations) of soggy car seats. No such disaster befell me. I am a stronger man that M. Depardieu. A rather different misfortune struck my passengers.

You see, by the time we got to the hotel, I had been holding it in for a couple of hours, and I rather torpedoed the intended haggling. "Pay him! Pay him! I don't care what, just get me a toilet!" Desperately screeched words such as these from a prospective guest rather undermine the would-be bidder's sangfroid and ability to pretend he would happily walk away. So they paid full price, and my discomfort was subsequently diminished. My friend, Nathan, reminded me of this story the other week, and I fancy he rather holds my indiscretion against me. I was too tactful at the time - but too playful (some would say wicked!) to fail now - to remark that there would have been no indiscreet words if the trip had not taken two or three times the length of time it ought to have done.

I can't recall much else that happened that weekend. My friends were very taken with the Oblivion Cocktails, recently released to aid in publicising the ride of that name. I think they involved vodka, and liquorice and orange ice cream. I did not partake. Alcohol never was my thing as a young man. Somehow I seem to have ended up with a double-bed to myself, despite the fact that the two friends I brought had their other halves with them. I don't know at this distance whether to think I was very rude and greedy or inconsiderate or if some other forgotten happenstance led to that peculiarity. I think I recall noting that the Oblivion ride was rather relaxing, but I'm not sure. I remember at some point I decided I didn't want to embarrass myself by being afraid on rollercoasters, so I relaxed myself quite deliberately. I find these days that they can almost put me to sleep. I began this entry with an odd thing my brain does, so here seems a tidy point to end it. Pictures of work soon, dear readers!

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Can't blog. Too hot.

I have previously mentioned my distaste for the temperatures of summer. My dislike of summer's hellish heat has yet to abate. Funnily enough, I just spent the last couple of hours feeling too sickly to do anything more than lie on my bed and read some more Gibbon. "Pete, it's cooler outside. Why didn't you go outside?" My cognitive capacity has been so reduced by the heat that I honestly didn't think of that possibility before now. Sadly, it's now late enough that a man sat outside with a book and a drink will be blind without a torch. A man with a torch will provide a, aha, beacon to all the multitudinous forms of insect life out there. I returned from the Post Office earlier and saw some hitherto unknown black insect crawling about on my windscreen. A flying ant or somesuch summer commonplace, no doubt. I don't have an animus against insects, but I do feel rather put out, both selfishly and with due kindness to wee winged thingies, when they drown themselves in my orange juice or silently secrete themselves on a page of a book. If they are lucky, I note and carefully remove them. If they are unlucky, then years later I find their pressed, dessicated corpses providing additional and unsought punctuation to my favourite authors. Or perhaps the image is that of a mediaeval manuscript, save this time illuminated with work similar to that of that plastination fellow, Gunther von Hagens.

Casting my mind back a few days, though, the situation was far merrier. For a start, I was in Wales, which is blessed with a damper climate than oppressively sunny Cheshire. Second, I was seeing several old friends from university, one of whom I haven't seen for years, as she's forever secluding herself in Saudi Arabia, where she lives and works. It was a delightful long weekend, and we managed to fit in a trip to the cinema, where we watched The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It's a pleasing film, and dispatched my pre-viewing contention that the conceit did not give sufficient ammunition for the apes to overwhelm humanity. I tend to be the sort of chap who recognises actors based on their previous work, so the heroic human remains for me the second Green Goblin, or rather the son of Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, that way I can lie to myself that Spiderman 3 never was. There were some amusingly well-done references to the original film, both in dialogue and imagery. I shan't bore you by an enumeration, since my heat-addled brain can't recall 'em. Oh, and because it'd be tedious. One of the central messages of the film is that there are certain things scientists should not mess with. I am finding this message a little tedious now, and wonder how deeply it's permeated our entire culture. I think I first noticed it back when I read Jurassic Park. New theme, please, people.

We also watched Your Highness, which I commend to any of you who are fans of very silly films with puerile jokes. We laughed ourselves silly. Funnily enough, it's another film with James Franco (Green Goblin Mk II, scientist dude in TROTPOTA) in it. We had a delightful excursion to the Penderyn whiskey distillery, where Peter (not to be confused with me), whose birthday it was, received a bevy of samples of their various products (whiskey in Madeira barrels, in sherry barrels and in Laphroaig barrels, gin and vodka). My estimable friends then did me the great kindness, on seeing my delighted expression on tasting the Laphroaig'd Penderyn, of buying me a bottle of that delectable spirit. I do recommend that to any whiskey-drinkers out there. While it has, of course, a delectable peaty quality to it, it is not so strong as the original Laphroaig, and so will appeal to those who find the Scotch too strong in flavour.

Right, that's three paragraphs that show my title is false. I think that's probably almost enough. I intend to put up some more things in a day or two, and to show the completed General Store, as well as my sketches for the Hotel/Saloon. If I remember, I shall try to spend all tomorrow out of doors. I hope that the heat doesn't sabotage my brain again, causing me to lose the capacity to reason. Right, until next time, dear readers, I wish you whichever brand of weather you most enjoy, and the beverage of your choice with which to enjoy it in the company of friends! Au revoir.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

General Store: painting

Righto, so I took the building and painted on by hand some light grey paint, covering the exposed foamcard (on the upper and lower portions of the building) lest it should have been destroyed by the spraypaint.
I made from plastic tube some hinges for the two doors. I cut the tube into three parts for the front, and grew in confidence with regard to the latter door, cutting it into five parts, which is much more stable. A pin unites the parts. Then I twisted a staple into an approximation of a door-ring, and pushed it into one side of one door before gluing it in place. I repeated this on the other three door-sides, then took the whole outside to undercoat with Halford's grey primer.

Having laid down the undercoat, I brought the totality back within, and hand-painted the roof black. I then dry-brushed that with a light grey, then atop that a cream mixed with light grey, then atop that just a cream. The walls I dry-brushed with a cream, washed with a diluted Burnt Sienna, then dry-brushed again. They yet look a little too grey to me, so I may do some more work on them. However, the building's certainly useful in games as it stands. Windows/shutters need doing, and I must secure it to its base. But all in all . . .

I am away in Wales from tomorrow, so I shall not update again before Monday at the very earliest. I wish you all a lovely (and riot-free) weekend!

Friday 5 August 2011

General Store all but complete

The last post has the Ebay links in it. If you don't fancy a Baneblade company for £110 inc. postage, you're probably bonkers. There's other stuff. On to more important things, like the General Store. Am I the only one who has gradually come to think I must paint a model up as General Store, C.S.A. (ret.)? He probably won't run the store. That would be very slightly too silly. Maybe General Store should own the Saloon, while Mr Saloon should run the General Store. "Ahem. Shut up, Pete." Yes, right, er, I've finished the roof. It wasn't a travail. The roof framework of 2mm plasticard is 6" wide, so I cut some cardboard strips to a width of 6.5" and a height of 10mm. Then I snipped some lines (not quite all the way) through them with scissors. I glued them to the roof as you can see in the pictures below.

I also cut some bits of balsa wood to frame the windows and doors, as you can see. I am honestly uncertain where to take the windows right now. I have utter faith in my ability to come up with a fix for the doors. Yet when it comes to the windows I know that while I can come up with "glass", I am not quite sure if I can make up metal frames to hold it in place. I could use staples, but it would have been much easier to put them in place ere now. Yeah, so maybe shutters would be best. Or maybe I can manage something with "glass". Mm, I'll be thinking about this, dear readers. For now, please enjoy these pictures. I'm a bit lame when it comes to detailed one-post "how tos", but these quick-fire posts may serve a similar purpose. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, Bat-fans!

General Store frame complete, and more blinking Ebay

I don't recall the last time I used blinking as an expletive. A while, I guess. I was going to finish off the general store today, watch the rest of Dark Skies, revel in this pretty new mobile they've sent me, but instead I get it in the neck from my brother for spending more than he thought I would last month. He is very uptight about money. So as well as the current Ebaying. I've accelerated my deployment of stuff to there. There's another home-made Leman Russ Annihilator, a funkily modified Basilisk with retractable rear ladder, 62 Steel Legion dudes (inc 7 officers/NCOs, 7 Special Weapons, 7 Heavy Weapons Teams), a Shadowsword with no side sponsons, a Shadowsword with double side sponsons and a company of three Baneblades (one without sponsons, one regular and one with double sponsons). Crazy Pete's Crazy Discount Tanks? Yeah. My main hope is I'll make enough money to shut him up for a bit. As those of you with siblings will know well: I love my brother, but sometimes grr!

Anyway, I've finished layering balsa over the internal walls. I need to do the windowframes and the doorframes next so I can get the building undercoated. I've decided to go for the saloon/hotel next, as I have a hankering to see what I can achieve in the way of carpet and multi-storey (my spellchecker would submit story, but I'm on the wrong continent to be using American spellings) buildings. I want to find a few sacks, stacks of wood and so on to drape around the interior of the store. It's coming along nicely, and I should get a lot done tomorrow. Hell, maybe even tonight! So I leave you with the images of it so far to enjoy. I'm going to go work on the roof for a little while. Er, the model's roof, not outside my house. I'm having a relaxing vodka and apple juice, so I definitely won't be going anywhere near any real roofs! Until next time, dear reader!

Thursday 4 August 2011

Panic on the streets of Congleton! Also: General Store

A shocked feeling overcame me when I saw the Ebay fees for this month amounted to slightly over £50. More fool me for not being aware that they charge you about ten per cent, I suppose. On that note, do buy something, won't you? On a less mercenary note, I popped out today and picked up some more balsa wood and foamcard. See below for the General Store's current appearance. Of perhaps more interest was an excellent arrival in the post this morning: Dark Skies is here. Needless to say, I've been exposing myself to episodes I don't really remember from half a lifetime ago. The show ran in the US in '96-7, so I expect we got it a year later when I was in the Sixth Form at school. I've mentioned it to friends, who have either a vague recollection of something or who have no idea what I'm on about, like the three friends I spoke to about it on Saturday. I think they didn't remember Babylon 5, either, and one had mysteriously missed every episode of The X-Files. Call Mulder and Scully. Everyone else really was doing homework back in the day. No wonder my A-level results were so dreadful! :-D

Did I ever tell you kids the story of How I Met Your Mother? That show's made two or three references to the mother in six series? With that sort of pedigree I can tell you a rambling tale from my childhood with as much justification that it's "how I met your mother" - except I'm not dating anyone. Mm, but I'm not a fictional character, so I'm back to level-pegging. "Story, Pete!" Oh, yeah. I was lying in bed, and it was so nice and warm and comfy, when suddenly Dad knocked apologetically at my door, peering in to let me know that he had overslept, his alarm not having gone off, and that I now had about thirty minutes to get to school for one of my German A-level exams. It's a thirty-ish minute trip in good traffic. So I threw on my clothes, bundled my brother into the car, and roared off into the distance. I can't say with any honesty that my brother was pleased with my driving that morning. I think fear is an apt adjective, and anger is another good one. I was monomaniacal. Let me reassure any policemen reading this that I'm sure I kept to the speed limits. Probably. It's more than a decade ago, officer. I couldn't say for sure.

We certainly overtook a lot of people, and it's probably the only occasion when I have ever stood a chance of making a good time round the Top Gear test track. So we reached Newcastle, and hit a traffic jam. Oh. We managed to get past it after several agonising minutes, and got to school. For some reason one of the groundsmen took exception to my driving into the Quad. It's probably because it was full of schoolchildren, and you can't drive cars there. Some minor bureaucratic detail such as that. I stopped the car outside A-block, decamped, and flew indoors. I may have thrown the keys at my shell-shocked sibling or he may have fled the madman's car at the earliest opportunity. I burst through the doors of the Memorial (for the Great War, and later the Second World War) Hall just before the papers were to be given out, my tie clutched in my fist, and my socks tucked in my pocket, a sheen of sweat on my fat, red face. I got there in time.

I don't think it helped much, though. GCSEs had been so easy that I had been dissuaded from studying much for A-levels. The fact that I was going through your basic teenage depression (with a few bells and whistles) didn't help, either. My A-levels were awfully disappointing. That said, if I'd got the good results I had expected, I'd never have ended up in Lampeter. If I had to do it all over again, I'd rather go there than anywhere else. The people I met there were wonderful, and they have become if anything even more so. The university gave me a nice degree in Classics, then I hung about for another year getting a Masters in Ancient History. I haven't put either of those to much use as yet. Translating Latin bits and bobs for friends is as far as that's gone! But the striking difference between school and university was that I realised I had to work to get results. I did work and I did get results. I could have worked harder, but I couldn't have worked much harder while dating a girl with depression - and intermittently battling my own! One needs to unwind.

After that relationship, mind, I slid into thinking "Well, I put in all that effort, and that's what I get out of it?" That's not a healthy attitude when you've had one proper relationship. You might end up thinking such is always the case: generalising from the unique. I imagine that's rather sooner got over if you can talk to people. I couldn't do that for years. Every attempt was an exercise in terror and frustration. D'oh! Well, I've mislaid my health, I have no job, and whenever I have submitted recently to friends that we should say hello to those pretty girls at the end of the bar, they have nervously declined. In those circumstances, what can one do but ignore one's comrades temporarily? Roll on tomorrow night, when I shall try to remember not to woo women with defunct '90s sci-fi shows. Maybe current comedy shows will work better? I'll report back! Until then, enjoy some images of the General Store with its new roof.

Wild West 3: General Store

The general store's walls are now pinned in place. I've been scribing sheets of balsa for the walls and floor. I'll probably pick up some glue tomorrow so I can start sticking the pieces together. The small unpainted chair you can see is from the Perrys' farmhouse. I need to get a spot more balsa of the right thickness for the rest of the walls. The roof will probably be 2mm thick plasticard, onto which I shall glue something to represent roof shingles. I came up with a list of buildings I want for a Wild West town last night before bed: General Store, Saloon/Hotel, Sheriff's Office/Jail, Blacksmith's, Stables, Homes, Schoolroom, Church, Corral, Railway Station. They aren't all necessary for initial games, of course. I've an old Playmobil train-set, which would be just grand. I may find my imagination a bit distracted today - Dark Skies finally arrived. I feel I should remark in passing that three of my contemporaries (at least) have no recollection whatsoever of its existence. Tsk, clearly doing too much homework, I told 'em. ;-) I hope this finds you well, reader!

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Wild West 2: General Store

I'd like to claim that my well-ordered mind decided that food and drink were also fundamentals of civilisation, but in truth I couldn't think earlier what else to do. Well, next, I mean. Then I suddenly realised that I had some model shelves and a desk which have been living in my drawer for (perhaps) years. I think I bought them with the intent of doing something Imperial Guardly to them, and never did. So I plucked them out, found one of those 6" square bases I made the other month, and then reined myself in. I actually made some paper templates for once for the building. They don't match exactly, nor have I decided where the rear door will go, but given my usual devil-may-care attitude to this sort of thing, an ounce of prevention is more incredible than a miracle cure! Nothing is glued in place yet, and the desk in these photos is serving to prop up the rear wall.

The last post demonstrates that again the formatting is rebelling against me. Again I have no idea why or how to fix the problem. I shall try to ignore it, and ask you to develop inhuman powers so you can do the same. I intend to add a rear door to the store, and clad the insides and outsides with scribed balsa to pretend to planking. I'll go dwell on that for a bit, decide, then sit about, unsure what building I should make next, no doubt. Is there a Muse of wargaming? Perhaps I should co-opt Clio! ;-) Until next time, dear reader!

P.S. I forgot to mention my Ebaying last time. I mustn't do it again!

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