Saturday, 24 December 2011

We take two steps forward, and two steps back

Things were just starting to settle down on the "Family Duty" front.  I'd even booked a day off between Xmas and New Year to try and organise a game of some sort.  Then two days ago my mother had another fall, this time in the bathroom where she hit her head on the way down.  Given the hard floor surface and her existing spinal damage this could have been very serious.

I'm not going to give you the blow-by-blow battle report of that day.  But credit to all the NHS staff who took great care of Mum that day, from the paramedic and ambulance crew who worked for an hour to get her safely out of the awkward position in which she'd fallen, to the A&E nurses who helped a frail and at times uncooperative patient get through five hours of tests and waiting.  Special credit has to go to the Macmillan community nurse who by a stroke of fate arrived unexpectedly for an routine visit to check up on how my parents were doing.  She jumped straight into the unexpected situation and took great care of Mum till the paramedic arrived, then split her time between helping there and keeping my distressed father distracted and calm.  She truly did a spectacular job, fully upholding the Macmillan nurses' well deserved reputation.

So now my mother is in hospital for Christmas, having been judged too frail to discharge.  I've spent the last two days campaigning heavily for her to receive full-time hospice care, speaking to anyone and everyone with a potential stake in the issue.  Needless to say, I've had no time for wargaming or any associated crafting, and all upcoming leave has necessarily been cancelled while I deal with the matter of Mum's ongoing care.

Which is not to say that I'm pushing Wargaming completely off the radar.  I've made the point on various other people's blogs that it's at times like these when we most need our hobbies in order to distract us from our troubles and help us to unwind a little.  I'm still sweeping through the usual round of wargaming blogs each day.  I'm looking at the newly stocked storage room and all the accumulated Stuff(tm) and working out how best to get some some of the unpainted lead mountain into use.  The painting table is still sitting here ready for when the urge to paint strikes again.  And since it's a still, relatively dry day, after finishing this blog entry I think I might go outside and spray some Sarissa Precision window pieces for the Victorian city project.  

If you're going through troubled times, don't feel that you have to "put away childish things"  in order to face your troubles with suitably dour and grown-up expression.  Truthfully that's absolutely the worst thing you can do.  Instead, pick up that paintbrush.  Pick up those dice.  Give yourself an hour or so to switch off from mundane matters and focus on the important question of whether to paint that unit's facings in blue or green.  Delve into that cupboard... you know the one where you shove all the odd Stuff(tm) and open up some boxes to see what you have.  Allow yourself to imagine the games you could have with those figures when you get around to painting them.  Trust me.  It'll help.

I'm going to try to post one final review of 2011, but apart from that I don't expect to have anything worth blogging about until the current family situation settles down.  Don't go away though.  The Axis of Naughtiness will rise again in 2012 with more battle reports, thoughts on ways to keep the hobby alive against all the odds and of course, most importantly of all, hats.

If it be your custom, then have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
If your faith leans otherwise, or if the very thought of a Big Beard in the Sky sends you into spasms of atheistic nerdrage, then accept my best wishes for you and yours to be safe and well over this winter solstice season.

Dr Vesuvius

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The best things in life are free

Work continues on the ongoing process of sorting through the Huge Piles of Stuff that used to be loosely referred to as my wargaming collection and finding new homes on the shelves for the Good Stuff.  I've now reached the inescapable conclusion that I've got Too Much Stuff.

So, would you like some Stuff(tm)?  Free, gratis and fer nowt?

I've got four small bundles of Stuff, all bought for mini projects that either never took off the ground or are naturally played out.

1) Several packs of Heroics & Ros 1/300 English Civil War miniatures, horse, foot and guns.  Unpainted, though many figures have been fixed to temporary card bases.  Enough for two sides of a decent sized battle.

2) Several MicroMachines Star Trek capital ships, mostly Next-Gen era.

3) Several Star Wars MicroMachines - 3 each of X-Wing, B-Wing, TIE Fighter, Millenium Falcon, Star Destroyer & desert skiff (last two not to scale)

4) Two Heroclix maps (3x3 double sided) and seven assorted Marvel figures.

Cost to you will be nothing,. though I would ask you to make a small donation, at least equal to the postage cost, to CALL, a local charity that supports people with life-limiting illnesses and their carers. CALL have been a massive help to my parents throughout their illnesses.

Since none of these packages will be particularly big, I don't mind shipping internationally, though obviously the postage/donation may be higher.  Given how close we are to Christmas, I won't be doing any posting until the new year.

If you're interested in any of these, or know someone who you think would like them, add a comment below.  First come, first served.  Then email me your postal address to drvesuvius70 AT yahoo.  co.  uk (remember to replace AT with @ and remove any spaces)

Friday, 16 December 2011

The history book on the shelf, is always repeating itself

I've managed little or no direct gaming activity in the last couple of days.  By day I've been working on turning a box room at my parents' house into a proper storage room, which mainly involved hours of assembling Ikea heavy duty shelving.  I've annexed this room as recompense for having cleared out my old room a couple of months ago and it'll mainly be used for war-gaming material.

One possible prize from this endeavour - the box room contained a 6'x'3' piece of 10mm MDF that had previously been used  to reinforce a bed.  If I can work out a good place to stow it in my flat, it may provide a larger playing area when placed atop my current 4'x2.75' coffee table.

Plans last night to clear off said coffee table and play an actual wargame (gasp!) had to be put on hold when my home media server developed a glitch that took all evening to sort out.  Next opportunity to do something is Saturday night.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Here we are, here we are, here we are again.

With real life finally starting to settle down properly, I've been able to sit down and assess the currently active gaming projects and actually make some small progress on some of them.

For the City terrain, I've now undercoated all of the Sarissa Precision buildings.  I haven't yet decided whether I'm just going to drybrush them and pick out some details, or apply some of the stone texture paint to them (or a mix).

I've also started painting the Amera Plastic Mouldings church, which will be a series of grey and brown drybrush layers to build up the stonework, followed by a quicker drybrushing on the roof tiles.  The windows will then be painted black and the doorway filled up with a door made from balsa and plasticard.  The ground immediately around the church will be painted and drybrushed a sandy colour to look like gravel, with a little grass flock around the edges.  I've also picked up some Army Painter Poison Ivy which I'll try to use on this model.  Incidentally I've also picked up the larger Ministry building, which is absolutely huge and will make a stunning centerpiece for the cityscape when completed.

Another order from PMC brought me the Factory and the Town Gasworks, which mix and match nicely together to form a generic set of industrial buildings.  And to complete the cityscape I've also bought the two Tenement buildings from Warbases.  These were a little disappointing, as the brick patterning is 2-3 times bigger than the terraced homes, leaving me wondering whether I should paint these brick coloured or stone grey.  They are however quite huge, dwarfing most of the other buildings.

On the vehicle front, I've made some good progress.  The Prussian Armoured Pullman from Scheltrum is completed, although I'm not terribly happy with the paint job, it's good enough for play.  I've also completed the build of the Black Pyramid Heavy Landship, using their own add-on parts to add wing sponsons and a smokestack.  It's now primed and ready for painting.  I'm not sure how I'm going to paint this - it's going to join the German landship squadron, which were done with a simple grey primer followed by AP Quickshade.  But the landships were my first experiment with Quickshade and the results were very messy, so I'm not sure whether to try to emulate that look or try to go for something a little cleaner looking.

The two Leman Russ tanks I bought at Britcon are now nearing the completion of their conversion to VSF landships.  I've fitted the new Ramshackle turrets, re-assembled the wing and forward sponsons and added a boiler and smokestack from Black Pyramid to each.  All that remains is to scratchbuild the gatling guns for the three sponsons and paint.  I think I'm going to put these into British service, which will make the paintjob nice and simple (I'm painting them in sea-going ironclad colours, so black hulls, white turrets and upper works)

 Finally I've actually started painting the modified Brass Coffin from Ramshackle, and the Iron Drake from Grendel.  Both of these have been on and off the painting table for months, but I'm finally making some progress with them.  They'll be joining the Thunderhammer tank in the service of the Evil Genius forces, so they'll be sporting the same natty Gold & Burgundy colour scheme.

Having previously shifted my figure painting setup to my parents house for use during quiet periods of family duty, I've now setup a second painting station back at my flat, so that I can paint wherever I happen to be.  This has proven to be a very productive idea, as after only a couple of days I've managed to paint 13 character figures.  I've started painting some of the more steampunky figures I've been picking up , from Lead Adventure Miniatures, Ironclad and the old Eureka Pax Limpopo range.  In keeping with their more fanciful nature, I've been using a more varied colour palette than the usual Victorian greys, browns and black.

But I've found myself making virtually no progress on the Fenian army for GASLIGHT.  The boys in green have been primed and half of them have been sitting on my painting table for weeks, but for some reason the emerald muse has abandoned me.  I'm probably going to shelve them for now and focus on painting characters and finishing off the remaining three units of British (one regular, one in glengarries, one Guards)

Right now though, I've really got the urge to put the painting aside for one night and actually play a wargame of some sort, whether it's the next battle in the Novembre Civil War or a small VSF skirmish.