Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ahoy, we've got new followers aboard

After months of going along with a steady state of affairs, we suddenly have a burst of growth. That this happens in a month when I've been singularly inactive, does this mean people like it more when I say NOTHING? Really? Well, forget it! I'm gonna speak my mind ... what I have left of it, anyway.

Janice and Pirate Percy aboard the Laughingstock
from "Candle Cove," as interpreted by Ominous-Artist on deviantart

There are three new followers here, so I want to introduce everyone around. Here they are, in a random order:

  • Herbert West, author of the Critical Failure blog, is a former gaming industry professional who is now a teacher. His blog began back in September and already seems to be going great guns. Give this fellow fan of Victorian SF a look and a follow, if you please.
  • Malifaux Ve is also a new follower here. I'm a friend of Malifaux Ve on Facebook and a follower on Twitter. There's a shortage of information on the person actually running the account, so it may be several users sharing moderator duties, I don't know, but MalifauxVe is all over social media. I believe the person handling (at least some of) the accounts is an (or the) official Malifaux Henchman for Venezuela. All I can say is I first starting looking at the painted models on his/their Twitter feed and was way impressed. Always nice looking stuff there.
  • Gingerbhoy is our third new addition. Gingerbhoy appears to have had a couple of blogs but the links on his blogger profile are dead now. If there's a new link, let me know in the comments please!

(Regarding the above choice of illustration: Yes, I'm a creepypasta fan, and I think Kris Straub's "Candle Cove" is the greatest creepypasta ever written. And yes, I know, if there's any pirate ship you'd NOT want to be press-ganged onto, it would be the Laughingstock.)

So, this is a big con week with Blizzcon just wrapping up for the videogamers and Fall In taking place for the tabletop wargamers, and innumerable others also going on. Like 'Mater in Disney's "Cars," I'd give my left two lugnuts to be at a convention instead of working this weekend. So all of you attending cons, have fun, take plenty of pictures, and I expect a full report when you get back. If you want to hook a brother up with some swag, I won't say no.

I've got more planned for the coming week, none of which involves explaining my complete failure to produce anything for Zomtober. I'm batting a perfect .000 over two years now. Feel the cool breeze of Failvember. Yup. And then right into pine-scented Decembust.

In the pipeline I've got a look at some recent acquisitions: more Patrick Keith shinies from Bombshell, a couple of gorgeous ladies from Hasslefree and some Cephalyx creepiness I snagged.

Today my copy of Ravage Issue 15 (English edition) came in, so I plan to do something I've never done before: an item-by-item review of the contents of a magazine.

That's it for now. Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the table soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Airship Pirates need you!

I don't normally post such time-sensitive information, but RAFM is seeking to hit a new goal for their Airship Pirates kickstarter. We've got (checks clock) ONE HOUR left from the time of this posting (until approximately 6 p.m. EDT) to push their total to $3,500 or to get nine more backers for the project. They're only a few hundred dollars away!

If that goal is reached, they'll add one free mini to the crew pledge level in addition to the previously announced second stretch goal (a robot Peeler). So c'mon, if you've been on the fence about this steampunky goodness modelled largely on the band Abney Park, now's the time to jump in.

The widget about the project is embedded on my page below, if you need a little more information.

And here's the link:

Back to the boards, everybody, after you go pledge! And I'll see you across the table soon.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Zomtober is almost upon us

I have thrown my hat in with those who will participate in Zomtober 2014. Basically, those involved pledge to paint one zombie or survivor each week during October, posting photos on the appropriate Sunday.

The Eclectic Gentleman says it much better than I, so I direct you to this post on the Eclectic Gentleman, Tabletop Gamer's blog. 

While we're talking about October— excuse me, Zomtober — the word around the Aethervox is that Wyrd is going to release a plastic version of the Carver for Malifaux. His metal incarnation was extremely limited, so it will be nice to get my hands on this Jack-o-Lantern-headed homicidal maniac. There's a story encounter with him on the last page of "Crossroads," the newest Malifaux book. Here's his card and art:

His metal figure came with a choice of heads, I'm told, either the Jack-o-Lantern or a burlap sack. I hope that will be the case with the new one, not because I plan on gaming "The Town that Dreaded Sundown" anytime soon, but because I enjoy a bit of variety in my seasonally themed supernatural menaces. 

In preparation for the Great Pumpkin's arrival, I ordered two of the delightful new Field of Screams bases from Secret Weapon in 50mm. (The card for the Carver specifies that size base.) I'll probably order a set of 30mm bases later to go along with some Crooked Dice corn dolls, too. These bases are splendid sculpts. In the size I ordered, there are four different bases. They are also producing a "sack o' pumpkins" for sale, I hear. The bases are thus:

Aware of the glacial rate at which I paint, I knew to have a snowball's chance of having it ready by Samhain I'd need to get my order in early. Justin and the gang at Secret Weapon got them to me super fast, too. Order early and often, and tell them I sent you. That and a crisp $5 bill will get you a pumpkin spice latte in most reputable coffee shops, and in a few of the disreputable ones, too. 

Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you (and zombies!) across the table soon. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Counterblast has touched down

Counterblast has touched down in a cloud of pulpy scifi goodness. My kickstarter rewards arrived the other day, and they are, as I expected of anything sculpted by Patrick Keith, things of beauty and of exquisite quality. (Kevin Williams also svulpted figures for the line, and they, too, are wonderful.)

I opted for the starter sets for the Lancers faction and the Neiran Empire. The Lancers are your typical ragtag space mercs, while the Neiran forces are beautiful, two-toed, extremely tall alien female warriors. Think Zoe Saldana's Na'vi character from "Avatar" crossed with a Klingon.


The minis for the Neirans stand about a head taller than standard humanoids. Here's the size comparison photo Patrick and Vicky posted on the kickstarter project page.

The rulebook is finely produced as well, with the cover art by Matt Dixon recalling all those great pulp magazines of yesteryear. If you have old copies of Amazing or Astounding on your shelves, this book will fit right in.

The only tiny complaint I have is the grey screen behind the text and art on every page of the rulebook. It's not excessively dark, but as my eyes get older (seemingly faster than the rest of me) it adds a degree of difficulty to reading the rulebook that dampens my enjoyment. But realize I'm picking nits here. I love this product and am looking forward to picking up more Neirans and Lancers as they become available.

On to the pictures, I hear you cry. Well here they are, and may God have mercy on your souls. I took these with my new Android tablet in unsuitable lighting. I hope like hell you can see anything at all of these wonderful minis.

A Neiran Acolyte, top left, two Scythe Sisters and,
bottom row, two Clan Sisters and a Jamad.

The Lancers faction. Top left are the gun arms and jump packs of the two HOpR bots,
whose heads and bodies are top center. Second row are an Illyrian Plugger, the Shrinaar Captain, and an Alanti Lanceguard with a Gamma Ray rifle. Bottom row from left are the human Brute, another Illyrian Plugger, and a human plugger. Then two sets of alternate arms for the HOpR bots, which are actually supposed to go with the upcoming HLpR Bot designs.

A pleasant surprise! A bronze Bombardier pin in thanks for supporting Bombshell.
I'm proud to display it now on my Bag of Holding.

These are the arms for those oh-so-sexy Neiran ladies.

OK, I need to tell you about something Bombshell does with their kickstarters that I wish more companies did. Once they've collected for the kickstarter, rather than run a pledge manager, they issue you credit in their webstore in the amount you pledged. Then you can choose from the various rewards or, if you want, pick up other things they make, like the wonderful Bombshell Babes. This is a recent addition to that line, Blake Russell, a Rule 63 version of Snake Plissken from "Escape from New York."

I supported Counterblast at Pulsar level, which would normally be for three factions. Instead, I chose two factions and then picked up other items from the store, like these MiniBots, who will be painted with yellow upper bodies and blue lower bodies, naturally. Oh, I'm despicable! Then there's a Rottweiler. I always need more dogs.

Another Bombshell Babe, Andrea, the Vampire Hunter.
I'll be finding a place for her in Brass and Blood, you can be sure of that.

OK, that's it for now, cats and kittens. Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the table soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The migration has begun.

Hi everybody. Just a quick post to let you know that I've updated my other blog, Brass and Blood. I've put two of the short fiction pieces that appeared here on "Dispatches from the Rim" over there. Rather than embed them in the posts, I've put links to each piece as a Google doc and as a pdf. Others will follow shortly, then I turn my efforts toward additional original content.

Don't worry, "Dispatches" will continue in its present form, with reviews, unboxings, discussions, and all the other meanderings you're accustomed to from me. It's just that character descriptions, worldbuilding pieces, and fiction for my Brass and Blood steampunk/Gothic horror setting will now be over there, gathered under one convenient roof, as it were.

I'm also filling out the Dramatis Personae page as characters are mentioned, and the links will become live as I add the description documents.

Each addition over there will be announced over here, in case you want to keep only one blog in your blogroll.

Thanks for your patience!

Back to the boards, everybody, and I'll see you across the table soon.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bag it and tag it

This isn't my usual kind of acquisition, but it's one I felt needed sharing. I recently ordered ThinkGeek's newest addition to their "Bag of Holding" line, the Bag of Holding Con-Survival edition.

My new Con-Survival Edition Bag of Holding from ThinkGeek.

Considering the crowded trade floor at most cons, they made this bag slightly smaller than their original. Other geekcentric features include the mesh pockets on the side. You could carry a water bottle in each, but one of them has drawstrings at top and bottom, so you can carry longer items, say a poster tube, a spyglass, a lightsaber, what have you.

Please note that's not a puddle of Wite-Out,
it's the glare from the overhead lights.

Yes, that's 1:08 a.m., and I was still at the office.

Additionally, the front zippered compartment drops like a drawbridge, giving you access to a pocket covered in clear, thick, flexible plastic with a Velcro closure. Its ingenious design gives you access to your iPad or other tablet without having to drag it out of the bag. I will say it works for quick things, like say checking your schedule or scanning your email. I've found that if I have to do much typing or clicking of icons, though, I go ahead and remove my tablet. That clear cover requires just that extra "oomph" of effort to make haptic contact with the touchscreen that my fingers tired quickly. But it is, as they say on their site, ideal for checking the Hall H schedule from the dealers' room at Comic-Con.

Those are three-month prescription bottles, folks, to give you a sense of scale.
Also, you can barely see some of the side pockets lining the inside.

 This thing is chockablock full of little pockets and compartments, just as you'd expect. The main interior section is roomy while maintaining the bag's convenient size. I'd wager you could carry three, maybe four, hardback gaming books in there with no problem. For me, this is going to be my daily carry bag, so it is, of course, filled with all my meds. I used to carry them in a black leather shaving bag, so this definitely puts that bag to shame.

Rue Morgue, in my opinion the best magazine covering the horror genre.

One feature I appreciate is that, on the back, there's a document pocket. It's sized to hold letter-sized sheets (8.5 x 11 if you're in the U.S. In Britain it's what, A4?) My one tiny, nitpicky complaint is that, if you do put full-size sheets of paper or, say, a magazine, or a manila folder in there, it blocks the Velcro tab that's about an inch down inside the pocket. A flap would've been too much and spoiled the bag's aesthetics, but I wish the designers had thought of something else. I seek closure, dammit.

For customization, ThinkGeek has provided a fuzzy front panel, actually the "loop" half of "hook-and-loop" fasteners, i.e. Velcro. All those faction patches you have? That Viper pilot unit patch from BSG? Bring it on. If they don't already have Velcro backing, just iron on some hook material (available at most craft stores or from and customize to your heart's content. They even get you started with rubberized patches of their logo and their little monkey mascot.

The Skorne Privateer Press pin is much bigger than I expected,
and the quality of the cloisonne is exceptional.

As you can see, I've added my Skorne faction logo pin from Privateer's Hordes. They do include a shoulder strap, which would be a great place for pins as well, but I'm not using it. In fact, my wife and I each have these bags, and that's the quickest way to tell them apart. She uses the shoulder strap so she can more easily hang the bag on her wheelchair.

These bags are popular, so expect some delays if you order one, as they go out of stock quickly. As of this writing, it looks like they're expecting more next week. I bought Tracey's the day they came out. I ordered one for myself a few days later and they were already gone.

OK, enough of me wearing my reviewer hat. Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the table soon.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, c'mon in ...

For the first time in a long time, I have a new blog follower to welcome!

Welcome aboard, Ken Reilly, scribe behind the excellent Yarkshire Gamer blog. If you're into steampunk gaming, you really need to see his painted Empire of the Dead figures. Excellent!

I haven't pushed for readers to join the blog as followers lately. I know it's an extra step if you're used to reading these entries in a feed reader or through Google+ or the Blogger desktop or other means. Plus I know many of you (more of you in fact) have added me to your Google+ circles. For that I thank you.

But following the blog is a real measure for me of how many people find the blog interesting, so if you like what you're reading, please consider plunking your name down in the follower list on the right. It only takes a second.

Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the table soon. Especially you, Ken!