Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Greatcoat Troopers and the May wrap-up

It's a day or two early to be doing an end-of-the-month thing, but I had a quiet evening and thought I'd go ahead and let everyone know what I'm up to.

First, I spent an additional $15 this week on a can of Army Painter's Desert Yellow.  It's really a great khaki color, and I thought would have loads of uses, especially because I've been challenged by a friend to a few games of Tomorrow's War.  I thought about just using my Brazen Claws, but he will be using a Space Marines army in the battle, so I went another route. I own three or four boxes of Wargames Factory's Greatcoat Troopers (bought in a spur of "ooh shiny!" hysteria) as well as one of their box sets of heavy weapons.  I'll get a workable army out of them and, since I'm a bit of a painting snob who doesn't like to field bare plastic armies, thought I'd speed paint the lot of them.  So a quick primer of Desert Yellow, some basic painting on the details, and a fast splash by Minwax's Bombay Mahogany.  For the test I used five guys that had already been assembled, but I had used the snowtrooper helmets which I don't like as much now.  Moreover they had already been primed white even thought I hadn't textured the bases before priming like a usually do.  That meant having to come up with some sort of basing material after the fact.  Here's the final result--you can let me know what you think.


This means I have five more miniatures for the monthly total, bringing it up to eleven: four gangers from my zombie game (featured on that blog), the owlbear, and these five guys.  Eleven is a little under what I need in terms of a monthly average, but between the other months (which oscillate between highly productive and highly unproductive) I'm actually halfway to my goal, but only five months in.  So there's a little wiggle room, but not much.

As I said earlier, I spent $54.50 this month out of a possible $60.00, leaving me $5.50 to roll over into next month.  I considered taking the leftover money and putting it towards some charitable institution as a way of making me ask "do I really need this" but my charitable giving isn't bad, and besides then I could never buy anything over $60 all year long.  So it rolls over, not a lot, but it rolls over.

So, let's review the past month:
Painting Pledge: On track
Frugality Pledge: Still in the black
Play One Wargame a Month Pledge: Played ATZ earlier this month
Play One RPG session a Month: My sandbox D&D campaign started up and is looking good

May, you've been a solid month.



Monday, May 28, 2012

My annual story about Memorial Day

My great grandmother had three sons who lived to adulthood (several died as children in a car accident, as did her husband).  In World War II, my great uncle David joined the Marines, my great uncle Fred joined the Coast Guard and served on a hospital ship, and my grandfather Ralph joined the Army Air Corps as a pilot.
The marine, my great-uncle David, fought at Iwo Jima.  For those who just know the statue, it was a long siege.  David was in the trenches for some time.  One day he was sitting there when he noticed an empty can of peaches a couple of yards from him.  He had been instructed to bury empty cans so that they wouldn't reflect light and serve as a point of reference for mortars.  He crawled over to bury the can and a second later a shell fell right where he had been sitting before.  The can of peaches saved his life.

However the shrapnel from the mortar injured his leg and he was transferred to a hospital ship.  It just happened to be the one that his brother, Fred was serving on.  When Fred saw on the list of patients aboard the ship that his brother was one of them, he requested to be assigned to his care, which was granted.  He also arranged to have a message sent to his mother that his brother had been hurt, but was going to be okay.  Fred tended to David every day until he recovered.  Fred went on to work for NASA and the Apollo moon program.  David became a professional woodcarver whose work was featured in the Smithsonian.

Brothers caring for brothers, though, that's what today is all about for me.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

An Owlbear

Owlbear from the Chainmail Game, Wizards of the Coast
Owlbears are so iconic a D&D creature they made it onto the cover of the Monster's Vault.  This one is from their late lamented Chainmail game.  I almost wish I went with the "snowy owl" look from the cover of the Vault.  Maybe with the next one.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My first backing of a Kickstarter project

Click here for the Kickstarter page
I'm a sucker for fantasy heartbreakers.  I'm also a sucker for fantasy games that prominently feature humans, rather than the upteen hundred PC races (my son, on the other hand, is the exact opposite).  I'm also a fan of unique game worlds, rather than yet another place filled with elves, orcs, etc.  Blade Raiders promises to have all of those things, plus the artwork looks outstanding.  

Go over and take a look, then pledge if you're interested.  $25 gets you both a softcover and pdf of the book.  He's only halfway to his goal, and it ends June 14th, so there's still time.  This is my first shot at a Kickstarter, so we'll see how it goes (and if, for some reason, I get burned).

By the way, I'm not counting this against my May total, because I haven't actually spent money.  That won't happen until June.




What Frugality is forcing me to do (or not do)

So, I went ahead and purchased another item for the month of May: the Cavern Mold (#281) from Hirst Arts.

I have owned the Cavern Floor Accessories Mold (#282) for years after Mrs. Q bought it for me for Christmas one year not realizing it doesn't do a lot of good without #281.  So I borrowed #281 from a friend for several months and created a Descent game board with the intent of using it for various fantasy RPG's.  When I moved from my previous home to my current home, the board didn't come with me, in fact I sold it to a friend.

Now I'm running a D&D game again, one that might feature a substantial subterranean element, so I decided to pick up the mold for myself.  This purchase was based on a couple of reasons: first, I'd use the mold extensively (you have to cast it 36 times to create a Descent set by itself) and two, it complemented something I already owned rather than be some sort of hobby out-lier.

But, that's $36 ($29 for the mold plus $7 shipping) towards my May budget, which only leaves me with $20.50 left for May.  I could go out and spend the rest of it, but I'm thinking of banking it towards next month.

What the frugal pledge has kept me from doing is running out and picking up another RPG, namely Leverage.  I've really begun to appreciate the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game with its funky Cortex mechanics and all over the internet people have been saying how great Leverage is, which uses a similar mechanic only it has stats (my one big beef with MHR).  What's more, even though I don't watch the television show, I'm a huge fan of Burn Notice, and it seems like it would be easy to run a game of that ilk using the Leverage RPG.



But hey, Leverage is like $40, which is more than I have right now in the budget.  I'm also forced to deal with the fact that I don't have a group for this game, I've got a group running D&D.  There was a day where I'd just buy the game and read it on my nightstand for a few days and then shelve it forever, but not now.  I'm thinking that if I really want this game, I should put together a group and a date to play first, then buy the game.

Holding off means I can save the money for next month, since there are a couple of things I'd also like to get, including maybe filling out the cavern mold series with #85, the Cavern Accessories mold, which has loads of potential, and maybe either the root or water cavern molds.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Quick May Frugality Check-in

May is my first month on my "frugal gaming" discipline, and so far it is off to a pretty slow, I mean frugal start.  Having to constantly think and weigh options is keeping me from making snap decisions regarding purchases.  I did however make one small purchase: a set of foam sheets to use as pads on the bottom of some scratchbuilt terrain I have started.  What's more, they were 30% off at Hobby Lobby, making the pack a whalloping $3.50.


Why do I even bother counting that?  Because it is the little things that add up.

Amongst things I have been considering purchasing this month is another Hirst Arts mold, some figures for my zombie campaign, or starting a new Warhammer army.  Knowing that I can't do all of those things is actually keeping me from doing any of them at the moment.

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