Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Writing: The Battle of the T'nar'o, Part 2

Continuing on from the previous entry, what follows is Part 2 of my short story, The Battle of the T'nar'o.

Here is a link to Part 1.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Movie Review: The Hobbit

This past weekend I went to see The Hobbit. These days I don't get out to the movies much, so I really have to want to see it in order to make the effort.

 Prior to seeing The Hobbit I had heard that critics were saying "it's too long, unless you're a Tolkien geek." That made me think that Peter Jackson got it right. While naturally making the movies is a money-making venture, I also think that a good part of Jackson's motivations is to do Tolkien's work justice, and to make the movies something that will last decades, rather than a film that will start strong and flame out in a few weeks to be forgotten and/or forever reviled as trash (q.v., anything made by Michael Bay).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Writing: The Battle of the T'nar'o, Part 1

Back in 2010 I made several submissions to Black Library, including one short story and two novels, all depicting parts of a large scale war between the Imperium (featuring the Imperial Guard and Navy) and the Tau Empire.

Needless to say they were all rejected--if they weren't, trust me, I'd be blabbing about it.  

Yet, since they were rejected, that means I can post my submissions here.  So over the next several posts I intend to serialize my short story of a battle between Tau and Imperial forces, The Battle of the T'nar'o, and I will subsequently serialize the first three chapters of each of my novel submissions.   Only War chronicles with the political maneuverings that spark a massive war between the Imperium and the Tau, while The Charge of the Danoans focuses on a specific campaign in the early stages of the war.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Realms of Battle Gameboard Unboxing

I haven't bought many miniatures this year, for various reasons, but one of them was to save up so I could buy a Realm of Battle Gameboard.  These days I don't get much time to game, and I am not always able to play in my garage using my using gaming table--frequently I have to travel.  So I found the portability of the Realm of Battle Gameboard very appealing.  So I thought I'd give this thing a try and see how it works out.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sherman Armoured Platoon

Following up from my recent post of a Sherman from the new Flames of War Boxed Set Open Fire!, I've finished my first armoured platoon consisting of three Shermans and one Sherman Firefly.  As with the first Sherman, I painted them up as Canadian tanks, forming a platoon in C Squadron, 10th Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse), which was part of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance Unboxing

Originally I wasn't going to buy the boxed set of 6th Edition Warhammer 40,000, Dark Vengeance.  The Dark Angels are a little too angsty, goth, and arrogant for my tastes, and while the chaos models are cool, my Word Bearers army is still in its infancy, and has been on the back burner for ages now.  But then I thought, I do want to get the rulebook.  I did find the small rulebook in 5th edition to be very useful, and far less cumbersome than the full size rulebook.  So I thought a bit, and decided that if I spent a little bit more money than for the big rulebook, I'd get a boatload of great minis too.  If I didn't want to ever paint the Dark Angels, I could always trade them or something.  In the end that put me over the edge.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Pirates of Alnari

It has been a long road, but my first novel, The Pirates of Alnari is now live on the Amazon Kindle StoreThe Pirates of Alnari is a hard fantasy novel that involves revenge, intrigue, lots of swordfights, and yes, pirates. So if any of that sounds interesting to you, run on over to Amazon and buy it! And tell your friends!  :)

To quote the Amazon description:

Martyn and Arycke are two young nobles forced into hiding after experiencing an act of unspeakable violence. They buy passage on the Isalian frigate Selene, but after a bloody battle against two pirate vessels, Martyn and Arycke find themselves shipwrecked castaways along with a beautiful young woman, her ever-watchful grandfather, and the rest of the Selene's crew.
Unfortunately for the survivors, they now find themselves stranded within reach of the pirate city of Alnari. In short order, Martyn and Arycke find themselves fighting for their lives, not only against marauding bands of savage pirates, but mutinous elements within the
Selene's own crew.

The shipwrecked survivors are dragged into a maelstrom of vengeance and intrigue, as rival pirate lords maneuver against each other for dominance over Alnari. Martyn, Arycke, and the rest of the
Selene's crew will need every ounce of courage, cunning, and strength they possess if they hope to escape alive...

The Pirates of Alnari is a gritty fantasy adventure story filled with bloody naval battles and vicious sword fights, combining the cutthroat political intrigue of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire with the dashing nautical adventures of Patrick O’Brian.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Open Fire! Sherman

Since I recently picked up the new Flames of War starter box set, Open Fire!, I've slowly been assembling the models.  The first model I completed and painted was one of the Sherman tanks.

First, I will complain a little bit about the model itself.  While I have been impressed with most of the products produced by Battlefront, specifically the quality of their books (except for the bindings of the paperback books--read through them once and pages fall out), the models kits range, while extensive, still leave a lot to be desired in terms of quality.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Painting ABU Tutorial

Here is a step by step guide to paint the United States Air Force's Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) camouflage pattern.

I'm not in the USAF, but from what I understand, it's not exactly the most popular uniform with airmen.  The tiger-stripe pattern has been criticized for being ineffective in tactical environments - complaints similar to those about the US Army's Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP).  The Warhammer 40,000 universe, however, has many more types of environment than Terra does.  The ABU tiger-stripe camouflage still looks cool.  So somewhere in the vast but grim darkness of the far future, surely there is a place for the ABU.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Open Fire! Unboxing

I received my copy of the new Flames of War starter boxed set, Open Fire!, today in the mail.  It seems that Battlefront has taken a page from the Games Workshop's playbook, in that a starter set with two viable forces is a great way to get people into the game.  Along with that, it seems that Open Fire! can stand on its own as a game as well, so it can attract both the beginner and the veteran gamer.

Monday, October 22, 2012

That Elusive Coyote

A while back I put up a tutorial on how to paint the USMC Woodland MARPAT camouflage.  Here is the image of a swatch I made--my attempt at matching the colors using mostly GW paints:

The colors are Chaos Black, Khemri Brown, Snakebite Leather, and the green is an odd blend of Vallejo's Gunship Green mixed with a few GW colors.  It was an imperfect solution at best.  Clearly the weakest match in the mix is the Snakebite Leather masquerading as Coyote 476 (FS20150), which in a way has become the USMC's signature color.  In addition to the color being prominent in the MARPAT pattern itself, it also is the color of their boots and body armor.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oral Cancer Awareness

I have not been blogging for a while now, and there's a good reason for it. My wife is currently undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments for oral cancer.  I could have stayed off the radar until life gets back to normal, never having mentioned it here.  But one of the primary causes of deaths due to oral cancer is due to late diagnosis, and at least part of that is due to lack of awareness.  So rather than keep quiet, I'm going to talk about it a bit.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

COMMANDO: Operation Arrowhead

I thought I would take a moment to plug my prolific friend Jack Badelaire's latest publication, a novella entitled:  COMMANDO:  Operation Arrowhead.  It is first in a series of adventures chronicling the career of Thomas Lynch, a british soldier in World War II who joins No. 3 Commando and goes on covert missions in Nazi occupied territory. If you want to read about doughty Brits wasting Nazis by the hundreds, this is a story for you.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

...oft go awry.  Or at least delayed.

Since early May of this year I've been neglecting 40k.  Or rather, its priority has been downgraded, temporarily. I haven't been painting, modeling, gaming, anything...and it is frustrating because there is so much I want to do. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Painting MultiCam Tutorial

Following up on my tutorials for ACUPAT, MARPAT, and Desert MARPAT, this is my fourth camouflage tutorial, focusing on Crye Precision's popular "MultiCam".

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dire Wolves

The new Space Wolf Fenrisian Wolves are just what I needed, but not for what you think...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Raven Guard Captain

Here is my latest creation, a Raven Guard Captain.  Arguably he could also serve as a decent Chapter Master for the Raven Guard, and I'm thinking I might field him that way.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Brazen Claws: Completed!

It took me far, far too long to paint them, but here they are.  It is with a sense of accomplishment and no small amount of relief that I present them:  the Brazen Claws 2nd Company, a detachment of support units and the Chapter Master his retinue.  I think it is fitting that this is also my 300th post to Arcadia Prime.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Brazen Claws Chapter Master

And here he is, Chapter Master Aeneus, the last miniature left in my Brazen Claws Army. I thought it was fitting that the chapter master of the Brazen Claws be armed with a pair of actual Brazen Lightning Claws. So I got the bitz of a pair of Lightning Claws for a Terminator Sergeant and put them on a converted a Terminator Captain model. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Brazen Claws Land Raider

My Chapter Master and his Command Group needed a suitable ride, so a Land Raider Redeemer fit the bill.  I took these pictures before I did any weathering, but they'll do for now.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Inspired by Art (2)

A while back (yipe, almost two years ago!) I made a post called Inspired by Art, where I showed a bunch of pictures of models that I had converted that was inspired by 40k artwork.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gotta Do My Research...

Getting into a game like Flames of War is not for the faint hearted.  Not if you're as crazy as I am, that is...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flames of War. I finally caved...

So I finally caved.  With 3rd Edition of Flames of War coming out, I decided it was time to join the fray.  I picked up the Flames of War 3rd Edition mini-rulebook and have started to dig in, and so far I like what I see.  It will probably be a while before I actually get to play a game, but when I do, look for the battle report here! 

My adversary will undoubtedly be Badelaire, my usual opponent.  After some discussion of what theater and time period that interests us, we've settled on the North Africa campaign.  The mystique of Rommel the Desert Fox has always appealed to me, so I will be building a Afrikakorps force modeled after the 21st Panzer Division.  Badelaire will be taking command of the Brits, for as he said "their tanks were always outgunned by the Germans, so whenever you managed to kill a Panzer, you know you earned it."

I think we're in for some interesting games in our future!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Matter of Scale... (Part 2)

In the last post I talked a little bit about scale of 40k miniatures, and I used the calculated scale (1/57) to scratchbuild a rudimentary M1 Abrams tank.  But how does this hold up to the scale of the miniatures themselves?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Battle Report: The Lord of the Rings: The Long Night

A small band of men and their dwarf allies desperately defend a their village against rampaging orcs.  Will they hold out long enough for help to arrive, or will their children and womenfolk be left to the mercy of bloodthirsty orcs?

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Matter of Scale...(Part 1)

Warhammer 40,000 miniatures are described as "28mm scale". That translates into roughly 1/56 or 1/57 scale, depending on how you do the math. We all know that this is a joke--the miniatures themselves are not "true-scale".

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Master of the Arsenal

Next up for my Brazen Claws is the Master of the Arsenal, the 3rd Company Captain. I'm getting close now--just the Master of the Watch, the Chapter Master, and his Land Raider and my Brazen Claws are done!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Plans for 2012

With two kids now and a wife who works most weekends, I find I have less and less time to paint, and almost no time to game.  The lack of battle reports up on my site is testament to that.

But even so, I have ambitions for the year to come, and many painting/modelling projects running in parallel. Some of them are doable within 2012, while others are ongoing projects that will likely span years.  Making plans like this will hopefully keep me focused, and prevent me from going off the deep end and buying randomly.

So here are my plans for 2012.  I hesitate to call them goals, since I know that many of these will remain works in progress.

Warhammer 40,000
  • Brazen Claws.  I'm really close to finishing these guys now.  This one is going to happen.  Once I finally finish these guys, I'll be able to move forward and work on other things, like...
  • Blood Angels.  This is still in the planning stages, but my ambition is to field the Blood Angels 8th Company.  I figure that since the Blood Angels are the "assault" chapter, I might as well go all out and field 100+ jump packed marines.  So far I've only a tiny fraction of that number, and only six of them are painted.  So this one will take a while.
  • Raven Guard.  This force I intend to keep pretty small, and I'll mainly be building it in parallel with the Blood Angels.  Every time I get an Assault Squad, the Raven Guard will get any and all Mark 6 equipment, and the rest goes to the Blood Angels.  My intention is to make a small strike force consisting of a few assault squads and a few tactical squads in drop pods.
  • Imperial Guard.  For a while I've been itching to get back into my Imperial Guard.  I've been listening for rumors about plastic stormtroopers, but so far that's all they seem to be--rumors.  So until those come out, I'll have to wait.  But that doesn't mean I have nothing to work on--I have many ideas for scratchbuilt vehicles and a bunch of tanks that still need to be painted.
  • Orks.  My Ork army will be built around my Ork Land Battleship, which has been spending the past several months hiding in a closet.  I haven't forgotten about it, and I have plans for it, but other priorities have taken center stage.  I hope to get back to it soon.  I have a bunch of orks who will be needed to man this behemoth, and once the Brazen Claws are done I plan to work on some of them.
  • Tau.  These guys are all planned out, and when the Tau get a new codex this year, I'm sure I'm going to want to add to my army.  But for now I still have plenty of miniatures to paint--they're just stuck behind all the other projects above.
At this point I need to stay away from starting any new armies.  I had some plans a long time ago for an Eldar Army and a Word Bearers army.  But those are going to have to wait.

Warhammer Fantasy
I have two armies in Fantasy that I'm interested in right now, Vampire Counts and Wood Elves.  Both armies are still in the very early stages with only a few miniatures painted. (one Wood Elf Hero, and a unit of Skeleton Warriors)  I'm sure that these will progress very slowly, mainly as I just paint a few miniatures here and there for variety's sake.

The Lord of the Rings
I still have a ton of these miniatures hanging around, and I'll get to them someday.  I don't have any major plans for them right now, so if I do anything, it might just be a few miniatures here and there to help stave off boredom.  When The Hobbit movie comes out at the end of the year, I'm sure I may want to buy some more maybe this will wait until 2013.

Yeah, I have it.  Will I paint it?  Someday.  I'm sure this will go the way of Space Hulk, which took me two years to paint after I bought it.

Flames of War
*Gasp* A non-GW game!  This has been piquing my interest for a while now, and I might cave at some point during the year.  But not just yet.  I want the Plastic Soldiers Company to keep adding to their range!  In the meantime I'm trying to resist picking up the rulebook.  I want to check it out, but I know that if I do, I won't be able to stop myself from getting some miniatures!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Writing for Black Library

In the summer of 2010 I stumbled upon Black Library's page of submission guidelines.  Their submission window is annually from May 1st through July 31st.  I had a few ideas rumbling around in my head and decided to give it a go.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Devlan Mud

Devlan Mud.  This stuff is awesome.  It's fantastic for pulling a model together, making for a great finishing touch on a model, giving it just the right amount of dirt and grime to tone down too bright colors.

But since it's so useful, GW needs to sell this by the gallon, rather than the little pots it comes in...

So I calculated how much that would cost.  It's $3.70 for that comes to...$1,167 a gallon.  I can't help but think that GW's profit margin on their paints must be ridiculous.  But if GW offered Devlan Mud for sale by the gallon, you'd have to think they'd give you a discount for buying in bulk.  I'm sure they wouldn't charge you a penny more than $1,150 for it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Master of Recruits

A while back (ok, a long while back), I posted some pictures of the Master of the Fleet. Well, I've finally gotten around to working on my Brazen Claws again, and I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here's the Masters of Recruits, the 10th Company Captain.