The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Cold wars report

| March 12, 2010

I haven’t been blogging much, because I’ve been keeping pretty busy. High points so far:

  • Played in a 5150 (by Two Hour Wargames) game. As the name suggests, it is a pretty quick system, but I’d argue that it was only so quick because half the people knew how to play, and it is very bloody. We played two games in two hours. The mechanic which makes it so bloody is that every time you take fire, you roll a check. If you pass, you get to return fire… and then the other guy gets to make the same check. This continues until someone routs, runs out of ammo, dies, or fails the check. The system is about as complex as battletech or 40k, which is acceptable for most folks, but I’m not really interested in picking up another set of reasonably complex rules unless they really speak to me. These don’t.
  • As always, there’s lots of stuff in the dealer’s area, including a few lines of 15mm modern. I’m finding I like the smaller scales as opposed to the large ones. For fantasy or small squad or team-based games, 15-30mm is nice. However, when doing armies, the ground scale gets stupid (my 6″ long tank can only shoot 48″!!!) and the armies get expensive. I think it’s better to buy 15mm figures, base them individually, and just play with the 25mm scale rules. For smaller stuff (6mm), base in groups and run like that.
  • I also found some guys selling micro armor for about $1 per mini, new, which is considerably less than GHQ. The quality seems decent too, but the modern selection seems limited to US and Russian. However, since SO many countries use Russian equipment, this is not as bad as it sounds.
  • I also spent some time with the bored people at the painting university (well, I shouldn’t say bored per se – they were painting or otherwise working on things, but they weren’t teaching them). A very nice lady named Dorothy from [ The War Store] sat with me for about an hour, and cleared up a lot of what I’ve been doing wrong all these years.
    • There is a DEMONSTRABLE difference between cheap brushes and good brushes. Good brushes end up being more expensive, but they last longer, so it is a wash in the end.
    • There is also a similar difference between paints. Craft paints work well at the thicknesses at which they come, maybe a little thinner. However, the size of the individual bits of pigment is quite large, so they end up not thinning out as well – they get chunky and grainy.
    • Liz and I quickly realized the above things (quality mattering) when it comes to house paint – I don’t know why we thought differently when it came to model paint.
    • Gloss paints seal the model, so that will TOTALLY mess up any washes you’re trying to do.
    • She also introduced me to a wonderful idea, the wet palette. The idea is that it is a plastic box, with a wet sponge in the bottom, and a special paper (somewhat like wax paper or butcher paper) above that. Paints go on the paper, and the sponge keeps it moist for hours. Seal up the box, and it will last for days or weeks – no more mixing a color only to have it dry out too fast!

And now, some pictures…

Gameenk stuff

| September 27, 2008

  • My copy of D20 Call of Cthulhu came in. Rawk. Of course, since I tend to read multiple things at a time (and gaming books are no different), my nightstand (I usually read in bed) has Monte Cook's World of Darkness, D20 Call of Cthulhu (written by Monte Cook and John Tynes), octaNe, and a variety of Wushu stuff.

  • I painted minis tonight. Socks stepped on my palette and I grabbed her so that she wouldn't get it all over. However, while trying to wipe it off, she decided to paint my shirt. So, I've got streaky paw prints across the front of my shirt. (It's okay, it had a bleached out spot on it anyway).

Impressive paint jobs

| February 9, 2008

I wish I could paint this well.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen

| May 16, 2005

Tonight I made Tuna Noodle Casserole. Yes, with the peas, and cream of mushroom soup and crushed potato chips on the top.

What's next? Green bean casserole with the fried onion bits?

Seriously, Liz is feeling a little under the weather and this is a comfort food for her.

And, this weekend I'm going to learn how to cast resin and metal figures and stuff. My friend Leo (who owns a gaming supply company as a side business) is having a casting day. We cast up a bunch of stuff and get to keep what we want at cost. The rest of the stuff is used for his inventory. So, in prep for this, I went to a local tire shop and took about 100lbs of used lead tire weights off their hands. Not bad. They got twice what their scrap metal buyer pays them, and I got them for about 1/4 of retail. (Kind of lets you know what the markup is, doesn't it?) So, there is a bucket of tire weights sitting in my bathroom.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to it – I've always thought that the casting stuff was cool, and while it's kind of expensive to do metal at home (good ones require a spin casting machine, which can be a few hundred to a few thousand dollars), it's much cheaper to do resin casting at home, though the raw materials are more expensive. (Resin costs more than lead; although if you want to use lead-free pewter, it starts to get pretty pricey ($8/lb in quantities of 100lb)). Plus, I'll learn to make molds with RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanizing) rubber.

Oops, looks like dinner is ready. Have a nice night all.