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.


Plus



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 scifigeeks.com) 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!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Somer going this way, somer going that way


I finally got my Bayou Boss set of gremlins for Malifaux. It's got Som'er Teeth Jones, Lenny, four Bayou Gremlins and two Skeeters. 

Thankfully I live in an area which again has a wonderful brick-and-mortar game store, (Moxie Games, which I've mentioned before) so I was able to get hold of one of the sets heading to physical stores first, which contains the bonus Johana mini, a Rule 63 version of the renegade steamfitter Johan. Here's her card:


And here she is on the sprue. Malifaux continues with its "fiddly bits" obsession. Johana's face and the front of her head are one piece, and her hair and the back of her head are another. Huh?


Here's Som'er Teeth, the big hatted bossman of the Bayou Gremlins:


And now Lenny, the one with the glandular problem:


The four Bayou gremlins:


And the Skeeters. I've heard these can be very frustrating to build. Don't know particulars as to why, so I can't agree or disagree; as you see mine are still lying here unsevered from their home on the sprue. I'd imagine those legs fall under the "fiddly bits" category:


Here's what the whole sprue looks like. The Skeeters bit is separate:



Now, we all know that aquarium decorations make great terrain. I have a crumbling church wall that I plan to use as a photo background for my Church-aligned companies for IHMN, but I recently ran across something that I just had to have, even though I knew of no immediate use for it. I know I have a couple of steampunk divers, including one of Patrick Keith's Bombshell Babes, that might could use it. But I don't have a large collection for Antimatter's Deepwars or anything where it's an obvious fit. Maybe an object of veneration for Lovecraftian Deep Ones? Anyway, here it is:

"Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?"

They also make Squidward's moai house, too. Those two are easy to find at most places that sell aquarium supplies. Online you can find a whole range of other buildings if you wanted to recreate all of Bikini Bottom, including Patrick's rock, the Krusty Krab, the Chum Bucket, the bus, and even the Bikini Bottom Towers (although I think it's out of scale to the others, not sure.)

The opening is slightly over an inch high, so it won't look too weird with 28 mm minis, or even 35mm. Now I just need to pick up some inch-high SpongeBob and Squidward figures!

Well, that's it for today, cats and kittens. Thanks to those of you who were posting photos of all the goodies at Gencon this weekend.

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






Monday, August 4, 2014

More minis, steampunk accessories and generic rambling

Hello all.

My recent convalescence has not prevented my continued acquisition of miniatures. I have two to showcase now, ones I have long coveted.

From Vesper-On for their game Carnevale, I managed to obtain their Plague Doctor. He seems to be in short supply at many online vendors, who are apparently expecting imminent restocks. Although the game is set in Venice at the end of the 18th century, I believe this costume/disguise/uniform works just as effectively for the end of the 19th. Reaper also has a Plague Doctor figure, but to me it looks practically modern in its dress.


The painted plague doctor from Vesper-On's website.

Also long on my must-haves list was Ingrid Rangvaldottir and her Mirror Golems, for Wolsung from Micro Art Studios. Despite the fact that she's depicted as elven but will be human in my Brass and Blood setting, I had to have her. I mean, look at those boots! And her automata are as adorable as can be. A little filing of those pointed eartips should do the trick.

The picture from Micro Art Studio's website.
 (Ingrid's the second one from the left.)

My unpainted (as usual!) minis for Ingrid and her golems.

I also recently bought a piece of steampunk jewelry. I ordered my wife one of ThinkGeek's new Con Edition Bags of Holding and added this while I was shopping their site. It's their exclusive Capt. Jules' Extraordinary Telescope Ring. Here's a set of photos I took showing it in action.






Three different sizes of ring on which to mount the telescope. I don't know the actual sizes,
 but the largest fits my index finger. It's too big for my ring finger, which is a size 11 (U.S.).




Additionally, I have made some further steps in cementing my place on the Interwebz for Brass and Blood. "Establishing my brand" as it were. Sorry that none of it has yet appeared on the site, but that's next.

I first ordered some of the cards from Vistaprint that use their free templates. I got this nice vintage-looking card for Dispatches from the Rim, and a box of 500 cost me a little over $12 including shipping.



So this time I ordered a "premium" set from them. Several nice little touches -- the different background, the printed reverse side, a matte finish and a leather business card case -- added up to about $50, including shipping. Well worth it, and I think they turned out beautifully.



If you can't make out the text in my amatuer picture there, It says "www.brassandblood.com / Dark denizens vie for power in a steampunk London beset by the preternatural." The back of the card lists the main divisions of the storyline I've envisioned so far. You can think of them as novels in a trilogy or stages in a campaign, whichever -- because they're both. The "Tales of Brass and Blood" I have planned so far are "Black Blessings," "Bleak Beatitudes" and "Red Rapture." For more details, check the Brass and Blood website later this week.

Oh, and I also got my FLGS, Moxie Games, to order a Hordes Circle Orboros P3 paint set for me. So I promise, some painted minis soon! Or eventually! Or at least someday!


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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Big doings and a companion blog

Hello, good gentles. 

For those of you who missed my posts on Facebook, I'm recovering well from my June heart attack. I'm down more than 22 pounds and have lost nearly two pants sizes in the waist. I'm staying home from work until August 1, not just to recuperate but also to help my loving wife Tracey, who needed emergency surgery and six units of blood two weeks ago. (She's fine but weak as a kitten, and all this rain is giving her extra joint pain.)


I've long had a desire to start a separate blog to gather everything I'm creating for my steampunk London setting. That way I can put the stories, character sketches and world-building research in one convenient place. I can also better organize game stats and content to bring the characters alive in "In Her Majesty's Name," which has been such an impetus in my setting's creation. 

I can now announce that the thing is begun and viewable, although there's little content there as yet. You can read the intro to the "For Your Table" section about gaming with the characters and setting. I'll start copying some existing content from "Dispatches" this week. 

The new blog bears the overarching name I've created for this saga: Brass and Blood. I envision it as a series of novels, with three books planned so far. Well, for certain weak values of "planned." More like "loosely sketched out."

I even purchased a unique domain name. To indulge in business parlance, I want to "build my brand" under the Brass and Blood name. So you can get to it at www.brassandblood.com or brassandblood.blogspot.com.

Don't worry, though. Things won't change much here at "Dispatches." I still intend to cover my gaming purchases and experiences, kickstarters and unboxings, and I plan to increase the number of out-and-out reviews I do.

Ye gods, I can't believe I've written so much at one go. I'm a little tired now, so I'll see you all later. 

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