Tuesday 31 July 2012

Pete Paints!

A likely story! That's what I can hear some of you saying, but it's true! I was lurking over at the Ammobunker the other day, and saw some nifty little Guardsmen. Moreover, the colour scheme was broken down into so many simple steps even I could not muck it up too dreadfully. I have adapted the scheme slightly, as I lacked all the recommended paints and washes. It remains a reasonable facsimile of the superior original. My sincere thanks to the author! Now behold the status of the troops so far.

Monday 30 July 2012

Terrain: Ramshackle Buildings

I was inspired by this blog the other day ( http://remotepresence.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/terrain-on-budget.html ) to dust off some half-worked on pieces of scenery, and have another go at finishing them off. It reminded me how simple and easy terrain construction can be. I got a couple of shapes (a block and an inverted tub), and glued them to a spare bit of wood. I wanted an untidy look of variety to them, so one has a half-wood, half-corrugated steel look to it, and the other is just wooden planks. A couple of fence posts have been added, and later on they'll get some trailing barbed wire to give them a bit more depth and realism. Barbed wire is really easy to make, depending just what sort you want. I have been making sci-fi terrain lately, using vinyl-mesh. This needs cutting to size, and some of the offcuts are perfect for barbed wire. Use the ones that have a central spine of vinyl and "tines" sticking out on either side. Once added to the rest of the scenery, painted and weathered, they look just right!

Sunday 29 July 2012

For the Federation!

The other day I ordered myself a box of reinforcements for my Star Fleet forces. They have arrived! I had a chat with a friend, and we agreed that these boxes are a little top-heavy, so to speak. That is to say that I had the first squadron box for the Federation, and now I have the Reinforcements, and both have a Battlecruiser and a Dreadnought. At this rate, by the time I have a balanced fleet in every other respect, I shall have more miniatures for the largest ships than one can canonically use! Anyway, there has been a change in the materials used for the models. I had heard that Mongoose were going to shift over to metal, indeed, I had read them so aver on their site. But they seem to have forgotten to update their product description, which still suggests the ships are made of resin with small metal parts. Nope, everything in this box is metal. I imagine those "cloaked" Romulan models will be resin still! I hurry to say that I am not annoyed by this, and before I opened the box its heft made me suspect the truth.

As well as these little fellows, I have also been poking about at pieces of plasticard, intent on knocking up a Mobile Base and a few small merchantmen for my Klingons and Federals to harry or help. After all, this is a fundamentally 2-D naval game, so there is no shortage of historical inspiration! For instance, a Klingon battleship and an attendant cruiser are attempting to break out to the North Atlant- er, to attack the Vulcan shipping lanes, and a hastily thrown-together Federation force of ever-growing strength is attempting to stop them. Or how about something in the Russian Convoy vein or the Battle of the River Plate? Battle of the Plate Nebula, perhaps! More on that later. For now here is the situation at the Utopia Planitia Yards (sub-Sector Pete).

Saturday 28 July 2012


What else could I call a baby Shadowsword? Yesterday I spoke of a wee baby human and baby ducks. Today I speak of something more appealing to many wargamers: a baby Shadowsword. I had a spare main gun left over from some mostly forgotten construction project, and I had some sides left over from making tank road-wheels from Lego heads. So what I joined together let no man put asunder! I am divided between finishing it off as a Valdor tank hunter ( http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Warhammer-40000/Imperial_Guard/Imperial_Guard_Super_Heavy_Tanks/VALDOR-TANK-HUNTER.html ) or coming up with some rather better rules that marry a Malcador hull to a Volcano Cannon. I believe I correctly recall that the Valdor rules were the cause of much lamentation at the time of their release. Anyway, here is where I am up to so far with the Valdor. Any thoughts appreciated - well, within reason: do not say that Audrey Hepburn was not gorgeous or I shall have to write you off as some wretched lunatic!

Friday 27 July 2012

Return of the Duck

We have lately been receiving the visits of a duck with her wee ducklings. They are adorable. By chance this happened just as two friends of mine had their first wee baby. It has been a lovely, wonderful time! Nick the Bunny has been visiting us lately, too, taking advantage of the fact that we leave out bread for the ducks. I chose the name Nick as the rabbit has a piece missing from his or her right ear. Do not expect to see me on the stand-up circuit any time soon. The ducklings are too small to use the big tub we leave out for the ducks to wash in and drink from (if they would use different ones, we would put out different ones!), so we put out a shallow tray (which formerly stored mushrooms) and a spare butter dish, and then a paint tray, since we aren't using that at the minute. Apologies for the lack of blogging lately. I have mislaid my mask, so when I popped into Dad's room to use his PC the other day, I ended up hacking like a man dying of tuberculosis. I had a good look for that mask, and managed to unearth it. Anyway, enjoy these wildlife shots.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Masked Crimefighter? The Owlman!

If you can see the picture below, having seen repeated trailers for The Dark Knight Rises, and not think "That guy's trying to look like a supercriminal/crime-fighter", then you're endowed with special skills. Or you think I look like a slightly blue SAS dude. Why am I so attired? Well, there are two reasons. First, I realised why I have lately been coughing like a machine specially designed to cough. It's because I have been spending too much time in Dad's room. This EeePC is now so outdated that I can't add photos. The photo below will have been added after the post was written on the EeePC. Second, I have been painting my bedroom window. So today I picked up one of those masks - from a Jewson's about twenty miles away - to protect one from particulate matter in the air.

However, it would not have been Friday the Thirteenth without a little comedy. A little while ago I looked closely at the stickers on the two big circular bits. When I bought these they were in a plastic bag. I read it. It said they were the right bits. I didn't trust myself. I asked the guy at the desk. He thought so, but asked another guy to confirm it. He did so. I bought the stuff. Several hours later I saw the stickers: "Batch 98040 Use by May 2009". I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that nobody ever buys anything from that DIY place. I thought the container was dusty, but there was a wood workshop through an open door! Aiaiai!

The Dreaded Thirteenth began well, as I lay in bed outside, wondering what the hell that noise was. I had heard it some nights before, and written it off as a rusty bicycle that some jerk was pushing slowly up the road. It had recurred since then, and from about half past midnight on the "morning" of the Thirteenth, it had been intermittently preventing me from sleep. As time went on it changed location, and I could tell it was coming from about thirty feet away, in the very garden I was sleeping in. I hadn't heard anyone drag a dying bicycle through a hedge, so it had to be an animal. But what? The only novelty we'd had lately was the hedgehog, and why the hey-diddle-diddle would he be impersonating a rusty bike? Moreover, who taught him to do it?

So after enduring half an hour of this, I got up, and went to find out just what was making this distinctly un-soporific racket. The noise stopped. I stepped down the stairs into the Side Garden. I swung my torch below the steps, before me, to the left, to the right. The Hokey-Cokey failed, and I saw no creatures. I flailed about again with my under-powered lightsabre, and saw only the guinea pigs' enclosure. Nothing stirred save the stereotypical branches in the breeze. All was still. Then the bicycle squeaked! It was behind me. I turned. I'd like to be cinematic and say I spun round, but let's be honest. If you're half-asleep and looking for a mysterious animal, you'd turn round sluggishly. I did. Nothing. It squeaked again. Above and before me it squeaked again, demanding oil like some tiny, rusty demon. I aimed the torch up and espied an owl in a fir tree. He didn't take kindly to my pointing a torch at him, and so he squeaked all the more rustily.

Simultaneously grumpy at being kept up and with my thirst for knowledge slaked, I sloped off to bed. The young Long Eared Owl sloped off to a different tree where jerks would not point torches at him. It sounded as though he sat right outside a neighbour's window. Apologies to that neighbour if that's true. I then managed a fairly consistent sleep until five minutes before my alarm was supposed to wake me. I find alarms never wake me up. I either oversleep or I wake up before they go off, my unconscious mind being a slightly poor timekeeper.

Monday 16 July 2012

Space Thingy: more boards!

It is a while since I posted on this subject, but I'm pleased to report substantial progress. As you may imagine, it is tedious to be forever cutting up vinyl, and filing superglue off one's fingers. Nonetheless, the last few nights have seen a lot of work done on the three other 18" by 18" boards I plan to make. For those who missed the opening stages of this project, here's a quick recap. I have made loads of walls and doors for the purpose of the sort of sci-fi games inside a space hulk or scientific research outpost and the like. I started off making small bits of flooring, with 1.5" squares, and then decided to expand things by making a square board 18" on each side. Then my ambition ran away with me, and I decided I'd make three more so I could have a 3' by 3' battlefield, if I fancied. I'm stopping now, I promise. No need to send me to the psychiatrist! So I cut up the vinyl I had left, marked out 2mm thick plasticard boards, pencilling in where the lines would go, and then adding 0.5mm strips of plasticard to serve as a support structure for the 1.5" squares that will sit over the vinyl mesh. It's nearly done! Nearly!

Saturday 14 July 2012

Best Laid Plans!

I posted a piece of scenery I was working on the other day - a vegetable drawer or some garden planter, to which I had glued a load of 0.5mm plasticard. As it turned out, over the course of the next few days the sheets all peeled off. Shucks! Well, that's the end of that plan. The funny-looking tall fan, however, is fine. It's had its undercoat, and will shortly get a spot of paint. I'm planning a more restrained look for this one. Whereas the floors and walls of most of these Space Thingy pieces have sponged on metallics, this will probably get just some delicate edge-highlighting for the panels. I'm going to cut this shrot as I'm hacking and spluttering like someone with delicate lungs spending too much time in a smoker's room. Exactly like that, in fact. Until next time, folks!

Thursday 12 July 2012

My folks' anniversary

This was just the other day. We had a load of relatives, two girlfriends and a friend round. You might correctly surmise from the sheer number of people that we're Catholic. This is not the whole family by any means! This is mainly Mum's side of the family. Dad's side (being Anglican) is far less numerous. It was rather a nice day. Mum had laid on lashings of food, and the weather behaved itself until about 7pm, letting us all sit and chat on the lawn. We had almost enough chairs for everyone, which surprised me, for one! Everyone had a nice time, and there was a game of hide-and-seek played by some of the younger folk, which they all enjoyed immensely. I participated in that just so far as to mislead hunters into heading in the wrong direction, "She went thataway!"

Monday 2 July 2012

The evils of technology!

If you're reading this, then you're either doing so on your (or a mate's or a library's) computer or you're hiding behind me, in which case I don't own any valuables, and would love you to leave without hurting me or me screaming in terror. On Saturday we had a storm hereabouts, and my internet connection went out. It happens. It didn't come back on, so I had a poke at the computer, turned things off and on, unplugged wires, left them for a bit, then reconnected them. Nope. So yesterday (Sunday) I asked Dad to have a look at it tonight (Monday). So he had a look at it yesterday (Sunday). I have an EeePC, and so that I can see stuff I have connected it to a big monitor. At the time this was plugged into an ancient PC, the only thing I can play games on.

I was playing a game. I may have been misleading when I said "games" because what I can play amounts to Civ 2. That's not a bad game. Don't misunderstand me. But it isn't exactly contemporary. Anyway, I unplugged the monitor and plugged it into the EeePC so Dad could see the screen. The monitor at this point decided I had committed an unspeakable monstrosity; it went blue with rage. It is still blue now. I have waggled stuff, unplugged things, turned them off and on again. Maybe it's holding its breath. Many of you reading this are wargamers. You're wargamers on the internet. You use your computers to go to different sites and see pictures of other folks' work. Imagine everything is a blue, except for red, which is black. Imagine blue as black, and then imagine peering myopically at an Ultramarine, say. My PC use is now like some '80s sci-fi flick in that period when they stopped using green and black all the time. Tsk.

On the plus side, I have got the blasted internet working again. The magic required this time was the following. Write this down in case you suffer the same. Unplug the box with an aerial that interposes between the PC and the wall socket. Then leave it unplugged for about twelve hours, believing it to be broken. Don't be tempted to disconnected it for the usually efficacious half hour. That won't work. Plug it back in, and the best of luck to you! Until next time, folks, this is Sarky Pete saying goodnight!
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