dinsdag 18 oktober 2016

It's been an interesting week to say the least!

...with today sofar being mildly annoying as a spammer had targetted my Blog and added quite a few comments with links to cheap sigarettes, cheap hosting sites and other assorted crap. But I just finished swatting all of them. Nothing compared to yesterday, reinstalling driver software for my printer that has been acting up (and I need that to print packing labels) and after 3 hours it still would not connect via USB.....untill I got so mad that I hit it hard. After which it started to connect.

Go figure.

The rest of the day was nice. Turned 40. Some lovely drawings from Emma and Nikki. I got the small minitower I had been looking for for quite some time.

I need to put down some cable channels to hide the cables a bit, and other then the speaker cables only being 1 metre long (or better: short) it's doing what it is supoosed to. DAB+ works sort of, but the USB function is what I really have it for. Already downloaded some podcasts to listen to, mostly historical stuff. Nothing special otherwise as the real party is on Saturday.

Anyhoo, I've been spending some time thinking about the past 10 years. Life, hobby, work, etc. Some thing's I'm happy with, others not so much. I won't bore you with other stuff then the hobby though :)

As I mentioned before, 20mm used to be my mainstay and if I'm having my way it will be the mainstay again. I've been way too diverse in the last few years, buying 100's of euros of stuff for new periods or scales, then painted only a handful of bits and things died again. It's not something I can or want to keep up. Or should :)

So, after giving it a good deal of thought, I'll be keeping my 1/3000 ships (as they make good targets for 1/600 aircraft), I will sell the 3mm ruins, houses and vehicles (I'll keep SAM's and AAA guns and some other targets) but not the aircraft, I will sell my 6mm and15mm SciFi (after 3 attempts it's pretty clear that is going nowhere), and will have a good rummage through my (mostly GW) 28mm stuff. Cause I don't really need 7 Necromunda gangs...... I'll keep some skirmish related stuff for later.

I've also cancelled my TNT demo for upcoming Poldercon. With the time remaining, and with family and future work having a higher priority, I don't feel I can do it justice and make it look good enough for my standards.

This means about 30% off my attic stash will be axed in the coming months.....the more space I can create there, thus happier Kim will be, and a happy Kim is good for all of us.

Does this mean 20mm is the one and only again? Surely not. Will I be able to hold my focus? Well, I'm only human and there will be plenty of temptations. I don't know what the future has in store for me. At the moment I'm trying to create the right environment for me to be creative again. Which in my case means everythings sorted and easy accessible, the pc turned off and having a clear goal.

Of course, soon I'll need to put an end to this endless clearing and cleaning and just get painting again, it's been too long already. But today is not that day! :)

donderdag 13 oktober 2016

Breaking the bank, breaking my back

Well, not literally, on both accounts.

I want to sell 200 euros worth of stuff to cover the preorders and have cash in hand when I get there, with any stuff people pay me for at the day just going in the wallet for later. Sofar I'm 75 euros in with 3 weeks to go. Some stuff has sold blisteringly fast, while others are slow like molasses. In the Arctic. At wintertime. I can never get books to sell, so it's a good thing I gave up RPGs back in the day (no, not the exploding types) cause they don't seem to be worth the paper they are printed on.

Anyway, I got the cabinet in place :)

(Yes, I need to vacuum)

I grabbed the first few boxes I knew had kits in them and put them in the cabinet. Top shelf is all 1/72 armour and aircraft from various plastic producers. 2nd shelf is all PSC. 3rd shelf is 50% PSC, 50% other manufacturers. There's another box with a shelfs worth of PSC kits inthere somewhere. Also there are 3 or 4 crates with nothing but plastic kits in baggies. As soon as all the crates have been checked over (bag them and tag them, Sir!) I'll do a spreadsheet of what I actually have, and then see if I can sell some of it off. Or as Chris said tonight, why don't you sell your surplus of PSC off now?

Well, here's the catch. I don't really have a surplus of kits? Work with me here. I bought a lot of this stuff new when I had a solid job. I might hope, but I'm not expecting those days to come back. Sure, we will get by, but nothing more then that. Kids, house, car will come first and if there is anything left it will (and should) go into the savingsaccount (or under the matress seeing as interest rates are almost 0) so we can actually pay off our house before we turn 70. Long term planning much? Once all my surplus stuff has been sold, that will be it. Heck, I even sold the doors off the cabinet today cause with so many kits in there the doors can't close anyway and hey, it's another 30 euros in the bank. Wanted to sell the cabinet top too as I didn't think it would fit. Kim asked me to give it a try and it fits (barely) so that is staying (not in that pic btw). When she came home today, I dragged her up in the attic to show the progress, and she was so happy with it. So happy in fact she started clearing out her boxes into her cabinets straight away. Had to drag her down at 17:15 cause she forgot about the time (she is almost done now). Anyway, the kits. Long term planning. They are all stuff I want to build, convert or adapt for my forces. So I'm not selling (most of them).

I've spent the rest of the day listing stuff and fixing things in and around the house. If Kim gives me chores like that I try and do them straight away. My heavy handedness cause me to rip off the button in front of my labelwriter (though I blame the shoddy lowest bidder construction, naturally!) but it was a clean break. Lacking a soldering iron I can't just fix that, but I noticed it made contact when I put it down on the broken connectors so I just hotglued it in place. 50 euros for new one saved, thank you very much. Everything else on the list was done in the morning.

Busy day tomorrow, including a meeting to discuss my reintegration plans, and want to get some more stuff down from the attic, sorted and listed, plus the desks cleaned...too much clutter from small stuff that needs to be listed and sold. I'm designating Friday as an off day though. I only have a Social Services meeting, but thats here at home, and I'll wow her with the major progress that has been made in the attic (in no small thanks to Ywan I might add) and that be it.

Part of me thinks this is all going way too fast, and part of me feels it's not going fast enough. Then there is part of me that is running in circles yelling: "Weeeeee!" but we ignore that part.

Finally, meet Ed. He's coming to visit in a few weeks time. I'm so looking forward to meet him :)
(No, I have not gone completely bonkers. I found an Sales topic on the LAF offering 2 of these in 28mm for sale. I really like ED-209 (even if it is a bipedal clusterfuck) and when the seller offered to split the trans Atlantic shipping cost I could not say no. Just don't remind me of how much they cost me. Look on the bright side, they will be great for Pulp, TNT and anything else they can make a cameo in)

zondag 9 oktober 2016

A day well spent

On friday, after Kim left for therapy, I did the usual fridayroutine of going to the market, and on the way back swing by the 2nd hand stores. They had a few interesting things but nothing that felt really useful so I came back hoem early for a change. I did some more sorting and labelling in the room, and then decided to go up in the attic. To make a headstart.

Yikes! I could not remember it being this crowded, with a huge pile of crap in the middle and no room to maneuvre. Well, working counter clockwise coming into the room, I just started opening all the boxes and stacking them on my end of the attic. Repeat ad nauseum.

After a solid 2 hours and some proper weightlifting I managed to put almost everything on one side, clear the centre and the back end too, so I can get the cabinet up there on monday I guess. While clearing, I managed to find tons of stuff I didn't even remember I had, plus tons of stuff that can go really. I was also surprised to find I actually have a lot of painted stuff. I was very productive once :)

In the end, it now looks like this:
 Centre cleared, on the right there are boxes 3 rows deep and behind that is a lot of loose stuff.

In the back end there is space for the next cabinet (granted, you would not say it now, but those boxes there are easily moved out of the way when it comes up next week)

Christ, so much shite.

I did everything way too rushed, so my knee said "Fuck it" and it's still reminding me of it. Also, I had forgotten about my dust allergy and when I came down to wash my hands the water actually got black, and the same when I blew my nose. Haven''t stopped blowing it since, so I have really overexterted myself. But hey, I got the hard part done! The rest of the week is cramming as much kits in that cabinet as possible so I can see what I have, and get sorting on the crates, sorting it into Wargames Stuff and Other, which will make the final culling a bit easier. Technically, I have 4 weeks to get more stuff sold. Why this is important I'll explain a bit further down.

I also managed to find all my Battlegroup books! Well, can't find the bleeding mini rulebook but that is bound to turn up eventually. Cleared the cabinet on my right properly, removed more junk and made a nice shelf for the books plus some of my reference books for my neck of the woods during WW2.

Basking in the low afternoon sun - I must find a proper place for those CD's or just turn them into MP3's and sell em. Bit of a waste of space on top, I'd like to add another Moppe on top (another one?! Yes, I confess, I'm a Moppe hoarder. But they are so bloody useful!) Anybody want to buy Spank the Monkey? Fun game, all cards sleeved and as new, in a Crystal Case. Kim doesn't like the game, it's too violent, like Robo Rally. Sadly :(

But I bless her too :) When I mentioned yesterday that I miss my times in Ireland and painting with deadlines, she said that that time will come again. We just need to ride this out, find proper jobs so we can actually start saving money again and when the girls are a bit bigger ther's nothing wrong with Daddy going to Ireland for a long weekend. Till then, why not just paint so that when that time comes, you can just pick stuff off the shelf and not be stressed out by deadlines? I propably don't mention it enough but I love this woman more then anyone before her. :)

I've already made my mind up about painting. In my head it's been either option A: Build a infantry core and work from there, option B: Build a 500 point army and work from there or C: Build for a scenario.

Tbh, I'll be pretty much painting for King and Country cause whatever local interest there is in WW2, those people all play Bolt Action in 28mm cause that is what you can buy in the shop (FOW 15mm has gone extinct here) and I would have to be pretty convincing to get them to try 20mm and actually make an effort to get stuff. Yeah, ain't gonna happen. Also, I'm not forcing Modhail into this. Once, he painted up some very nice 20mm Afrika Korps but that interest died a long time ago. And he has plenty of other issues atm so no.

Leaves me with A,B and C. Well actually, it doesn't. If I choose C, A is already included 9 out of 10 times. It's a small step from completed scenario forces to B. And yes, that involves painting for both sides, but Modhail has already mentioned that while he is not interested in painting them, he is in playing with them.

So, what scenario? After helping Piers out on his previous scenario's for the WSS magazine (mostly fact checking, help with streetnames and Google Maps and stuff, he has kindly given me 2 more complete dscenario's for the next WSS (the November 2016 issue I think)

I've taken the first scenario as my lead for what I have to do in the coming months.

Hunting in pairs - Geel, September 10th 1944

It's not a very big scenario, the BR are low and it's a simple table with some roads, crossroads, a couple of houses and woodlines, but there is one difference; it is a night game. I'll leave the details for the scenario in the magazine, but it looks to be very interesting. No table size is mentioned so I'll have to ask Piers about that (I'm guessing a 4x4 though?)

Germans - BR 20

FHQ – Jagdpanther of Leutnant Gerhard Kossack (Senior Officer, Regular)
Jagdpanther (Regular)
German Infantry Platoon (Regular);
                Platoon HQ – Five Men
                3 x Rifle Teams – Five men and Panzerfaust
                3 x LMG Teams – Three men and MG42

British - BR 29

FHQ - Brigadier Gordon and two staff in jeep (Senior Officer, Artillery Spotter, Regular)
Infantry Section (Regular - Close Protection for Brigadier) – 8 men with Bren in truck
Sherman Tank Squadron, Sherwood Rangers (Regular) – 3 x Sherman (1 x Officer), 1 x Firefly
Two Carrier Sections (Regular);
                1 x Carrier with three men and Bren
                1 x Carrier with three men and 2” Mortar
                1 x Carrier with three men and PIAT

Pretty compact, isn't it?

For the Germans, I have painted almost all the infantry, but I was missing a 3rd MG team - my recent Grubby order sorted that out. I have no Jagdpanthers though. That is now one of my planned Crisis purchases. And some additional bits fro it from EWM as the S-Models Jagdpanthers have bare sides.

For the British, I have nothing painted. I have enough infantry, but no truck. I hear Airfix do a nice set with the QLD in it, so I will keep my eye open for it. I have plastic jeeps from Academy, but no British crew. I have a couple of boxes of PSC British M4A4 and Firefely so that is sorted. As far as I know I only have 1 box of Carriers but again, no crews. And I need 6 of them. And I'm assuming dismounts too. Most of these can be covered by Britannia carrier crews and seperate infantry. I'll need to find a source for seperate Piats, Brens and 2 inch mortar ammo to properly model them, but I think Sgts Mess has that covered (I might even have them already). EWM and SandS both supply extra tat for British shermans so I will google that as well.

After the weekend I will do a final check and sort out the wish list for this force. At times like these it's pretty handy all of my stash is labelled and I can quickly sort through the boxes.

Since I've dropped a few things off my Crisis pre order list, and I'm rather really happy with my newly purchased roads, I've been browsing the web for cheap boxes of more road addons, to be precise railtrack and cobblestones. Getting them right from the UK is not an option. Even with the low value of the Pound, the weight adds up and only one UK shop sells all 4 of the different boxes that I want. And that's Wayland Games. And I'm never ever going to buy stuff from them as they just take your money, don't communicate and God knows when your stuff turns up, if at all. Frontline Games from Germany is attending Crisis and has all of the 4 needed boxes in their sales list (and quite a few more). They also have a nice 20% off offer for Crisis so I'm giving them a go. I've ordered another box of crossroads, a box of railway track, a box of railway track bends and Y junctions, and a box of cobblestone roads. Shy over 100 euros, no shipping costs, and I can pay at the show so I have a couple of more weeks to collect the funds - which is the reason I mentioned before. I've decided not to buy the rivers but make my own, as for the Netherlands small and wider canals are what is needed, not neccesarely big rivers (maybe later). I already picked up several sheets of hardboard from the waste wood bins to cut into 30cm strips and then work into canals, but that too is a project for next year.

The Defensiekanaal isn't terribly wide, and I can easily make 30cm wide sections with typical Dutch bridges, either simple concrete ones or the ones that actually open. But that's a project all on its own.

Closing shot of the day is the pic I found off a MG nest from the Westwall which is nothing more then some dirt and a steel plate.

If I leave the area behind the plate open I can just put up a 3 man MG team there, behind cover, for a simple and fluffy MG nest. Should be a nice in between job someday :)

vrijdag 7 oktober 2016

Change of heart

The GW mat and Battlefront Roads arrived yesterday.

I could not get the GW mat to lie straight on the table, no matter how much I pulled on any side. And then I found out it's A. Shorter then the full lenght of the table and B. Cut by someone like me as it's not even straight either, one end is noticable wider then the other. Final nail in the coffin is that it is very, very green......pooltable green. So, I'll box it up again and put it back for sale this week.

 I grabbed some boxes of scenery to see if I could tone it down a bit. Well, if I cover everything with fields etc, sure, but then why bother with a mat in the first place?

Roads are frigging perfect though :) 3 boxes suffices for a 6x4 table, no problem. When Kim asked me if I was happy now, I told her yes, but there was much work to do. I need to double or triple my fences (what you see there is 2 metres of fence), I have more then enough fields, I need to rebase my trees and repair many of the old railway ones that have completely fallen apart flock wise, and I told her I would like to look at Crisis to buy another box of crossroads and a box of cobblestone roads.

Which made her really, really mad.

She told me in no uncertain terms that I was spending too much money on the hobby, that every room in the house was being invaded by the stuff, and that in this rate the attic would never be cleared of stuff. This was countered by me, as the money I've spent recently comes purely from selling unwanted wargamesstuff, that in the past 3 months I have removed all my wargames stuff (including books etc) and consolidated it in the hobby room and attic. And that I need a clean hobbyroom before I can get sorting here, box by box.

Of course, I have this nasty trait I learned from my dad. In an argument, I raise my voice. As soon as it reaches the yelling-stage, Kim just walks away. Thx dad.

After an hour or so (actually, Kim just told me it was a mere 10 minutes!), she came back and we had a proper discussion. Today, we had our councellor over, we discussed it as mature adults, and came to conlusion we needed a goal for the attic. Not the "we'll change it to a master bedroom when the kids want their own rooms in the future" cause that is way too long term, but a short term one. So we chose to clear the attic as much as possible to give Kim a place to put up her easle and start painting again as that is good therapy too. She was all smiles when we planned that I'll be spending a couple of afternoons getting everything neatly stacked, prep the cupboard n the back and stack all my unmade kits there. Easy to see what I have, easy to see what I don't need and can be sold.

Then it's time for the semi monthly "Am I doing the right thing here?" worries. With 20mm claiming back it's (rightful) place in the limelight, I also realise I can't do everything I'd like to do, as properly as I want to do it. As I said to Modhail tonight, it's a bit pointless to paint stuff that might get on the table maybe once a year, while you'd be better off focussing on stuff that could get on the table every week or so. I'm also sick and tired of changing my bloody mind ever so often, and continually falling for the "Ooh! Shiney!" curse. One example of that being 3mm, though I don't mean the aircraft, but the land component. I've sofar bought 25 packs of tanks and assorted vehicles, made casts of loads and painted wrecks (cause I simply can't stop painting wrecks) and then everything stops. Created the 3mm Stalingrad, and thats now on hold again after spending favours and money, and it's not likely to go anywhere soon.

Atm I have:
1/3000 WW2 and Cold War ships- but mostly merchants - couple of kilos unpainted stuff
1/600 WW2 and Cold War aircraft - quite a lot painted actually - but also a couple of kilos of unpainted stuff
1/600 WW2 and Cold War vehicles - hardly anything painted, just a couple of wrecks, and a few 100 grams of unpainted lead. Also not too much scenery.
1/300 Odds and bits - needs sorting and must be sold off
15mm sci-fi - couple of packs of troops, some vehicles, assorted scenery, nothing much.
20mm WW2 and Moderns - loads and loads of stuff. Loads of painted stuff too. Tons of scenery. My one true love in wargaming tbh.
28mm.... Frostgrave, TNT, Mordheim, Necromunda, Inquisitor, Pulp Alley. I have collected a couple of kilos of lead and resin for this in the last year, as well as some scatter scenery and other tit bits.

How likely am I to enjoy painting, build forces and game with them? Not a whole lot for most of them tbh.

Shitty focus, no other local players for most of what I do, having plenty other of stuff to worry about before I'm actually able to enjoy painting or even converting. So, what to do?

Well, in the past I've been pretty well occupied with painting for meetings in Ireland. Paint X amount of stuff in Y amount of time. As you don't have that here, I have to think about why I paint. Well, for funsies mostly, I love one offs, wrecks etc. But how  little bit more focus? Well, if I could just find the bleeding Battlegroup books I've stashed somewhere I could make 500 points lists for Early, Mid and Late and get those done. The repeat for Soviets for the entire war and Brits for Overlord. It should not be as difficult (or expensive) as it sounds as certain (infantry) units can be recycled from period to period and I'm primarily want to focus on 500 points lists for now. Another potential way to focus is just to go after the scenario's in the books and build the forces for that. Or, even easier and more basic, is to just pump out infantry units with full support choices

Mind you, I'm only talking about 20mm here.

For the 28's I'm dying to play Frostgrave, but I'm sort of demanding of myself to get a band painted up first. For TNT, the scenery needs doing for Poldercon. Necromunda, Mordheim, Inquisitor? They can wait, I'm in no hurry to get that started. Pulp Alley.....I really can't find any takers here for it, lovely as the game is, so I'm not comitting to that.

So the plan for now is:
-clear the attic
-find the Battlegroup books, make the lists for 500 points OR paint for scenarios OR basic infantry cores for each army
-paint the TNT scenery in a quick but decent fashion
-paint a Frostgrave warband

And cut off the rest. Disband what I have in 3mm ground, but keep some as targets, SAM's and AAA. Sell the 15mm sci-fi stuff. Continue to clear out boxes, list stuff and fill up that Paypal for scenery or miniatures you can actually use for any of the projects that have a fighting chance.

Above all, stop wasting time behind the bloody PC. 10 more days till I'm 40, and Kim has been kind enough to buy the 1 present I want - a minitower with USB port and DAB+. I've already got tons of MP3's ready for it, and I will add as many gaming related podcasts as I can to the list. Then the PC can stay turned off, and I can just sit there not being distracted by the forums, youtube, pings, peeps and whatnots!

Well, it'a plan anyway.

Anyway, last thing for tonight, meet my new friend.

After clearing out the tobacco from the inside and a bloodsmear across the front it's now my new moveable airbrush cabinet. Compressor in the lower tray, airbrush, tools and what not in the top tray and all my air paints in the middle drawer. I've got the Warbases paint rack in there now but it is not a very good fit with wasted space in the back and side, Fortunately, I only own only 37 Vallejo AIr paints (but that is bound to increase in the future) and they fit in the rack, so no need to get a custom made one anytime soon. Since it has wheels I can just slide it underneath the painting table. Bargain price too, and local pick up.

Final word. I still have not put up the shelving. I told Kim today that I really want to, but I don't want to bother her too much or ask her to help me as she has plenty on her mind now. I'll put the shelnes on hold till I have finished the attic. Also, the wall behind me will only have 1 shelf going all across the wall , just above the door. That is enough space for 8 more Pappis boxes and by God, if that is not enough storage for the coming years then I don't know what else. The area on the back wall between the light switch and the Billy cabinets (with the door open) is space 100 cm's tall and 40 cm's wide.
What I would like is to enquire with a gentleman who lives in the next village who makes custom display cases for all sorts of models and toys, in every imaginable size, width and depth. See what the possibilities are, the costs etc.  To have a place to display 3mm aircraft, 20mm tanks and 28mm infantry. And to show offf for a bit. I've been hiding my stuff for years now, it's a bout time they get a big of stage time. But this special item is my goal for when the attic is done, I've found a new job, and the room is as good as it is going to get.

That's it, Yeah, I talk too much. I noticed that too :)