Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Robotech RPG Tactics: My Field Trip to Palladium

I got an email from Palladium Books that my Robotech RPG Tactics kickstart rewards were ready, and since I was in Michigan I was able to go and just pick them up. Their office in Westland is only about 20 minutes from my house, so today I drove out there. They had all my rewards boxed up and ready to roll for me, but invited me into the warehouse to see things.

Here is a giant pile of game boxes waiting to go to their new homes...

A little further in they had glass display cabinets filled with painted models from the game. (The buildings are apparently from Dropship Commander.)
MAKURO no sora o tsuranuite ...
There were also unpainted versions of some of the other models, including the Monster.
Chikyuu o utta ikazuchi wa ...
 The Zentraedi looked especially nice, all decked out and ready to be shot up.
Warera osanai jinrui ni ...
Some of the models were still resin versions. I got a chance to hold the Miria-type Queadluun Rau. It was surprisingly heavy, but the PVC should be much lighter.
Mezamete kure to hanatareta

What a great bunch of people! Everyone seemed genuinely happy that I was there to pick up my stuff. I talked to Jeff at length about the kickstart, issues with manufacturing, Macross canon, etc. It was huge fun. Here's another great thing... I hadn't planned on doing this today since it's my 20th wedding anniversary. My wife insisted, and said it would be fun. She's a gamer/nerd/geek/whatever so it's not terribly out of domain for her, but miniatures are not really her thing and she wasn't a huge Macross fan. Nevertheless she wanted for us to go and didn't once make me feel like she was doing it under duress. I love that woman!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Recognize Everyone and Communicate Hope

The people from our relatively smallish church got together with friends around the country and world to create this song and video. The goal is to get enough downloads (through CD Baby or other means) to fund our new building with no debt. We've been meeting in school gymnasiums for a decade, and while we actually own land we want to build so that we can continue supporting causes around the community and missions around the world.

So check it out. Share it if that's your sort of thing and if you like what we're doing buy the song for a buck.

The title of this post is our church's motto: REACH (Recognize Everyone and Communicate Hope.) Thanks!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Snow Basing Materials Reference

Inspired by the most recent issue of The Weathering Magazine, I have sought some other solutions for creating snow bases. I had been happy with my techniques, for the most part, but over a few years anything I did with baking soda yellowed. To find something that appeared the way I want and would (hopefully) retain its color over time, I created this reference.


High resolution version available here.

The products are fairly easy to get. The Microballoon filler is commonly used to cut resin to make lighter casts, and it is a very fine powder. Try not to kick it into the air and inhale! The Snow Base is part of a Woodland Scenics "Scene-a-rama" set that includes base, snow flock and some icicle making lacquer in a little paint jar (the kind GW includes with their starter paint sets.)

Interestingly enough, some of the samples changed dramatically in the 24 or so hours between creation and this photograph. The Vallejo Foam Snow sample shrunk, and the Woodland Scenics Snow Base cracked and separated more, although the snow base might not have been adequately mixed for that sample. Some of the microballoon samples lost volume as well. 

Overall, I was most pleased with the simple and cheap mixture of PVA and Woodland Scenics Soft Flake Snow, either just mixed together or mixed and topped with more Flake Snow. The PVA + microballoon mix probably looked the most like a fresh fall of snow at a small scale. The simple PVA topped with Flake Snow would make a good frost cover. Some of the later samples were topped with a mixture of Flake Snow and microballoons to see if the surface texture was dramatically different than using just one or the other, but I don't think the results warranted the trouble. The mixture of all the products led to some different textures, and I would assume that those could to roughened/smoothed with the addition of more of the wet component. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Bruno! Gobbos! Cupcakes!

You may recall that I was a little miffed recently that I never received my Pirate Gobbos from an IndieGogo campaign a while back. On July 1, I received an unexpected email from the campaign originator, Bruno Galice.
Hi Mike,
The Post Office did return me a whole shipping I did last year (that's more than 90 miniatures sets in more than 60 parcel/letters...) that was somehow lost by them, yours was in, I just resend it to you this morning. I hope you'll receive it !
Keep me posted !
Could it be? Will I finally receive my gobbos? I was cautiously optimistic, but after all the prior near-misses I wasn't exactly excited. A mere six days later I received a padded envelope!
The infamous "box from France" wasn't a box at all!

Inside was the promised two sets of gobbos, along with three sets of gobbo dice (one more than expected!)

The figures themselves look great, and the resin bases are perfectly suited to them.

And now, as promised on the comments of the last post, here is an original illustration of Bruno Galice being wonderful. He is delivering cupcakes to orphans. Spread that joy, Bruno.

Bruno Galice delivering cupcakes to orphans. 1/1

Thursday, May 08, 2014

A Reasonable Comparison

The label may be there but the level of interaction is roughly the same.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Whoa-oh Take The Money And Run

I don't know why, but this just galls me today. Way back in Summer 2012 I was just starting to jump on the crowd-funding bandwagon, and a fellow named Bruno Galice had a campaign on Indiegogo running to produce a small band of pirate goblins sculpted by renowned gobbo sculptor Kev Adams. I pledged, the project funded, and I looked forward to my new gobbos.

Cool concept art! 
The problem is that nothing arrived. In fact, many of the backers reported receiving nothing. I held out hope. Things happen. It's not like nothing had been done on the project, since we had been shown supposed evidence of the sculpting WIP and manufacturing.

First there were sculpts

Then there were more sculpts.

Teasers of what we would be receiving.
Then there were bins of pewter!
Months passed, and still nothing arrived. Multiple emails went unanswered. The Indiegogo message area for the project was filled with people wanting answers for their non-delivery. There were claims that things had been sent but somehow not received. There were claims of illness and accusations of lying and all sorts of drama. All the while I held out hope. It wasn't a huge monetary investment on my part, so I was more than willing to wait however long it took.

The last update from Bruno Galice to backers came in February 2013, in which he claimed that he was sending out another 25 parcels that day. Speculation on the Indiegogo campaign messages ran rampant until the campaign was suddenly missing. I contacted Indiegogo about the sudden disappearance and received this response:
Unfortunately, at this time, the Indiegogo campaign, “Pirate Goblins Box Set”, has been discontinued.
Campaigns may be removed from Indiegogo if the campaign is found in violation of our ToU or at the campaign owner’s request during the review process. You can see our full Terms of Use here:
We have asked the campaign owner, to contact his contributors. Unfortunately, at this point we have not heard back from him and have frozen his account and campaign(s) so that he can no longer use Indiegogo again.
Additionally, you can try reaching out them through their other social media sites.
Okay, then. I continued to attempt to contact Bruno through email. I remained positive, if less so than before. I even offered to pay for shipping if that was a problem (he responded that money was not a problem.) Email after email went unanswered after that. Every day I would get home from work and ritually ask my family, "Box from France?" Every day the answer was no.

Eventually I sent him this email.

Hi Bruno, 
   I just saw a few pictures someone posted on their blog about getting the Pirate Gobbos. I don't really know what's going on with you personally, but I saw that the indiegogo project had been pulled. I would still like to get a set of the goblins when you are able to send them. No hard feelings, no questions asked. Just please don't forget the people waiting on those wonderful little gobbos. 

Soon after, I received this unexpected photo.

For me?!!? Really!!?
What better evidence could I hope for than a photo of my gobbos and an envelope with my name and address? So I waited. And waited. And nothing arrived. 

My final email to Bruno, in my typical non-confrontational manner:
More than three months have gone by since you sent me a photo of the package with my name on it. I never received the goblins. I think I finally believe that I'm never going to get these. Whatever is stopping packages traveling from France to U.S. is impossible to overcome. Thanks for trying.
There was still a part of me that thought staying congenial would lead to me eventually getting the gobbos. It didn't. I will never get them. I have, as they say, been had. 

Maybe a great guy, but don't entrust
him with your money.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Weathering Magazine

There are pros and cons to having your local hobby store being a scale-model store that sells gaming stuff rather than a game store. They don't have any tables to play on but I get exposure to things wouldn't otherwise find. "The Weathering Magazine" is one of those great finds. It was created by Mig Jimenez, who previously make a fantastic 2010 video on painting weathered tanks for Vallejo using water based acrylics.

The production values on this magazine are fantastic. The pages are thick and color glossy. The tutorials are excruciatingly well detailed and the end results are absolutely amazing. Check out this asphalt paver by Rick Lawler.

I've seen plenty of scale models that were beautiful and pristine, but as a game-painteer that didn't really inspire me much. Things like this paver make me want to paint dreadnoughts and stompas to look like this.

The magazine is published quarterly, and all of the six issues are available at the website. I only have issues 3 and 4, with the others on order.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Macross: Do You Remember Scale?

A few days ago on my Hako Software video blog I ranted a bit about scale of Macross models, and the fact that nothing seemed to come in a common scale. I specifically have been trying to create a diorama of a Queadluun Rau and a Valkyrie, but finding those two models in scale has proven difficult. Bandai (or anyone else) only ever made a 1/144 scale Queadluun Rau kit. For reasons I did not understand at the time, there are no Valkyrie 1/144 kits available. I did find some Gashapon toys online that seemed about the right size.
The one on the far left was assumed to be 1:200. The toys have no scale, but they math out to be about 1:160, and a bit taller than the Zentraedi (ok, Meltraedi to be specific) pilot. Thinking... thinking... wait a minute. Aren't the Valkyrie battroids supposed to be about the same size as a Zentraedi? Need evidence....

Here's exhibit 1. The end of episode 2 has Roy and Hikaru encountering a Zentraedi soldier. It is not explicitly evident, but he sure looks about one battroid tall.

tonight, on DWTS
 Next we have the graceful dance of Commander Breetai and a VF-1J from episode 11. Breetai is supposed to be a bit taller than your average soldier, and I think that fits the picture.

wicked cosplay dude
 In episode 12, Max disguises his Valkyrie as a Zentraedi soldier. The uniform does not look ridiculously sized, and if anything is a little big on him.

Okay, so maybe the Gashapon battroids would be appropriately sized to the Queadluun Rau. All the same, this whole crazy plan came about because I found a 1:100 15th Anniversary Macross kit of a VF-1S Strike Valkyrie at Model Cave and had to buy it. Maybe if I build it and compare it to the QR it will make a better looking opponent, even if the scales aren't quite right.

Aren't you a little short to be an alien killing machine?
Nope. The VF-1S is crazy big next to the Zentraedi. Imagine the first scene above with the giant metallic battroid and the tiny Zentraedi pilot. No. As strange as it seems, the Gashapon toys are the closest to correct scale as I can find. For reference I also put a 15mm fig in the photo. He would be a little large for 1:144, but imagining him a little smaller I can really see him with the Gashapon toy and not the giant metallic guy. The choice of Bandai not to produce Valkyrie's in 1:144 makes sense now, since it would be a really insignificant little kit. Likewise, a 1:100 Queadluun Rau would be pretty huge kit. I understand there is a 1:100 Glaug kit to be had. That should be fun to build.

maybe something more dramatic...
The toys are actually detailed enough that I can cut/reposition/paint them and they will likely look pretty good. The only thing that worries me is that the Valkyrie will look comically small. Maybe the Strike VF-1S's added bulk will mitigate that.

The topic of Zentraedi height in canon/anime was covered on in this article.

The upcoming Robotech RPG Tactics game will be 1:285 scale, so imagine the QR suit half that size. It will be interesting to see the comparative Valkyrie/QR size when that hits the street.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Stonecutters Are Victorious!

After an entire first season of losses and draws (in equal measure) the Stonecutters pulled off an actual bon-a-fide "W" in last night's season 2 opener. Slayers Skalf and Dumin both leveled after the match. In keeping with their appearance, Skalf now has "stand firm" and Dumin now has "mighty blow".

My opponent was new league member Rick. His team of humans, the "Marburg Septics", were each named after a disease. Aspiring Nurgle team? Who knows. With three catchers on the field I was expecting a lot more passing. The dice did not go Rick's way, including an interception at a key moment in the second half. On the plus side he hired a wandering apothecary as an inducement, and so managed to reduce a casualty result of "killed" (6-8... maximum killage) to merely MNG. Whew.

This game was also a test run of my recently injured player. Blocker Thorek had leveled and gotten the skill "guard" but had been injured in Dungeonbowl and lost a point of movement. Blockers only start at M4, so going down to 3 seemed pretty harsh. He actually performed quite well, and so I will keep him instead of firing him and hiring a new player. He is also the first miniature I painted for the team, so for reasons I can't quite understand I was reluctant to fire/re-hire, even if it just meant a new name and stat line for the same miniature.

Ok, off to get me a Big Moot Sandwich(tm)!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Little Treat from Blackwater Gulch

These came in the mail earlier this week. It was a bit of a surprise since I had completely forgotten about pre-ordering them in April '13. These figures immediately appealed to me since they fill in the gaps of the Sedition Wars "Calamity Crew" figure set by including a not-Simon, a not-Kaylee and a not-Book. I put a wash on them so they would photograph better, which helped and hurt. They are not as bug-eyed as they appear in the photo.

The sculpts are nice enough. Not-Mal is the only figure in one piece. All the others required one added piece, except not-Simon who required both hands to be glued on. The proportions are a bit more "heroic" than McVey's figures, so they are an imperfect but reasonable fit together.

Now all I need is someone to make a not-Wash and not-Inara figure and the set will be complete.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Pegasus Gothic Building Combo

Despite my attentions tending toward the digital lately, I took a little time to assemble and dry-brush a combination of two Pegasus Hobbies kits.

sometimes one front door isn't enough

I had originally bought the large set to assemble as ruins, but the regular line and attachment pegs across the top of each wall really killed the aesthetic. When Jimmy bought me the small set for Christmas, I decided to see what sort of building it can make combined. A little balsa for the roof and it makes a nice little scenery piece. The extra pieces made a neat little tomb, which I will need to roof in some way. It certainly looks like it would be at home in a fantasy or grimdark sci-fi setting.

This assembly uses the following:
#4923 Gothic City Buildings Large Set
#4924 Gothic City Buildings Small Set #1