Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Weekly Update - Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 - It's Only Getting Busier!

Celebrating the Tsolyani New Year

This has been a very, very busy time, here at The Workbench; I have two in-house game sessions on hand for the next two weekend, then I'll be at Free RPG Day at The Source Comics and Games on June 17th showing people what we used to get up to at the meetings of the Conflict Simulation Association at Coffman Student Union back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The "Legend of Cleopatra" Indiegogo campaign being run by Dr. M. Burns of Dark Fable Miniatures is steaming along nicely, with - at last look - over 225% funding achieved.

It's also been very busy at work, so I'm more then a little tired out by it all.

Be that as it may, it's also the time of the year when the Tsolyani year clicks over into a new one; I'll have to look, but I think we just passed out of the intercalenary days of 2,395 A.S. and are now in 2,396 A. S., using Prof Barker's custom of adding 379 to the present year to get the Tsolyani year.

Projects are moving along slowly, as I've been repacking a lot of what's stored in the shed and in the game room  and simply finding everything that I own; in some cases, I've simply lost track over the years of where something was packed in all the various rushes to get off to some event happened. Case in point: I went looking for the beige tablecloths that I use for my game table when I'm out and about - they match the table cloth for the smaller of my two Skyline display sets - and I looked everywhere for them. They were, of course, packing in the 'show set' bag with the other table cloths. Right on top of the smaller (four foot high) Skyline display.

Honestly; I'd lose my nose, if it wasn't so firmly attached to my face.

The first batch of Cleopatra's guards are now assembled. These are some of the Victrix plastic infantry, the 'Macedonian Hypastist' (spelling is poor, I suspect.) I have to assemble the two packs of phalanx troops, and then I'll do the second set of Numidian lights; these will use the unarmored / helmetless heads, and I'll give them wicker shields from Foundry - I have a lot of this sort of thing in the parts bins - so that they can also be used alongside my XVIII Dynasty figures and my Tekumelyani. Multi-tasking, in a way, and perhaps getting more for my money. Once everybody is built - they are like little model kits! - then I'll wait for a nice day and apply my usual flat white primer.

I am also going to decorate their shields with decals; they have blank shields, and I thought that this would look a little boring, so I'm reaching back into the parts bins for some decal sheets I got over five years ago and never found a use for. When I did the Old Guard Sea People figures that I got quite a while back, I decorated their plain shields with some nice and fierce-looking decals, and I am very pleased with the effect. (And it does save a lot of fiddly painting, too!) So, we'll try this out; worst comes to worst, I'll have to paint the decals over and start fresh.

I have one other news item; my third daughter and her husband are now financially secure enough to hold a big splashy wedding party - they never had the chance to have one, originally - so I will have the chance to be a Proud Father and a Doting Grandfather, all at once. Hurrah!!!

More news and photos, as I get them!



Monday, May 15, 2017

The Weekly Update - Monday, May 15, 2017 - A Month Of Gaming Ahead!




Two large with low roofing, one small with high...

Two small, one large, all with high roofing...

As promised, here are the photos of the foam cooler buildings I've had in the project waiting list for quite a long while. The roof sections are simply solid foam blocks, cut to shape on the band saw, and glued up and glued to the coolers' lids. The blocks will get sanded and filled, and then painted to represent tiles or slates - probably tiles, as that's what Phil liked.

We don't have a lot of drawings or artwork by Phil of buildings, which is a little odd; but then, I suspect that since he knew his beloved South Asia so well, he assumed that we'd be able to get the idea from his descriptions. So, these are a synthesis of his descriptions and what we have, and I think they'll be fine.

I'd also like to suggest the superb 'Temple City Set" from Stonehouse Miniatures; I have one of these, and it's done yeoman service in our games for years. Please have a look, if you would:


It's going to be a very busy month of gaming for me; two sessions have been booked here at the house, and I've been asked to run some games for Free RPG Day at the FLGS. Barsoom is on the slate, as well as Ancient Egypt; Tekumel is being catered for by John Till and his 'FATE for Tekumel' game; we'll see what else shows up, and we'll have a good time with old friends and new.

So, very busy, and I'll try to keep everyone updated as best as I can. More to come, I hope!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Weekly Update - Sunday, May 7th, 2017 - Betting On Horses, Dormant Projects, And Raising An Army

Styrofoam cooler or bowl, suitably redone
Foam cups, redone as little towers
Foam picnic coolers, redone as large towers
It was asked, in a comment on last week's update, what the idea was with the foam coolers. Back in the middle 1980s, the wonderfully talented and skillful artist Ken Fletcher use a variety of foam objects to make buildings that we used in our games. Commercial products were both rare and expensive, and so we used these for may years. They eventually would wind up at the local FLGS, and I was eventually able to salvage some of them for my archives.

I also got started on a new set of them; I found that the larger coolers come in several sizes, so I got three or four of each - wanting some spares to cove for 'issues' - and got to work making them roof sections. I'll get a photo of them later today, once the sun comes up, and you can see what I did. I used the usual pink extruded poly styrene foam, cut to size on the band saw at a 15 degree (or so) angle to make the roofing. It was a slow, patient process, but quite fun and I thought pretty easy. A little glue, a little time, and there we are.

This was one of my projects that went dormant for some years; I've been storing the buildings for almost a decade, but I'm now finally getting back to them. I am very pleased with all this movement on old things; I like making things, and this has been a fun project to get back to.

A new project, on the other hand, stems from the Missus and her love of horses. She does a little betting every year on the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders' Cup, and her betting yesterday netted her a tidy sum; she has her own little savings account for this, and occasionally gives me grants from it to do projects that she wants to see. In this particular case, we're backing the latest Dark Fable Indiegogo, "The Legend of Cleopatra", and the Missus wanted to have some palace guards to deal with those pesky Romans camping out in the palace. I was given a budget, and the FLGS provided the Victrix plastic figures.

These will be the first historical troops I've done since the early 1980s, and I'm really looking forward to building this small but nice-looking army. The plastic figures allow for a lot of customization, and we'll be using them in other games, both miniatures and RPGs as needed. You never have enough palace guards, I feel.

In other news, the renovations and reorganization of the basement in both the workshop and the game room - with additional changes in the laundry room - continue. Lots more shelves, lots more project boxes, and it's pretty nice to have everything to hand once again. Things are picking up, and I'm pretty happy about that.

Took Fifth Daughter to the FLGS yesterday as well, so she could stock up on her comics - it's her birthday, and it was Free Comic Day - and had a simply wonderful day out. I've also been asked to run some game sessions for their Free RPG Day on June 17th, which will be fun; John Till is running his excellent FATE for Tekumel game, and I've been asked to run game set in Barsoom and the Ancient Egypt of the Lord Meren series of mystery novels. I think it'll be a fine day out, myself!

Lots more to come!!!


Monday, May 1, 2017

The Weekly Update - May 1st, 2017 - Productivity And Plastic


Urban buildings by Ken Fletcher, circa 1985, in the raw
I seem to be getting my sea legs back under me, as I continue to recover from the various illnesses that have stalked the household for most of the past six months, and stuff is finally getting done. I've been doing a lot of digging in the midden heap that's my work shop, and I'm down to the 1990s layers. All sorts pf wonderful treasures have been rediscovered and put on the shelves, and heaps of debris have been getting shoveled out the door - scrap lumber, the remains of old projects that other people started but never finished, that kind of thing. The Missus and I have been trying help people make their dreams come true for the past twenty-five years, and now we're working on making ours come true.

Her set of the RAFM "Dr. Who" miniatures have been found - I'm replacing the shelving where they've been sitting since 1988 with storage bins for my scale lumber (I make it myself, he said modestly) and will get based and into primer as soon as we get some decent weather; I'm still trying to work out what bases to use for her Elfquest figures. Wasn't there an Elfquest RPG, back in the day, or am I confusing it with something else?

Played in another D&D session yesterday; we're in Jackport, east of Blackmoor, getting trashed by some goblins. I have, I am pleased to report, now up to Second Level, and hugely enjoying myself. looking forward to the next game session, too!

In other news, Rob Kuntz has a book about Dave Arneson available, and there's a graphic novel about Gary Gygax also coming out this week. I may get both; we shall see what the reviews are like.

The new Dark Fable Indiegogo is live, and doing well; we're already past the $4,000 mark, and so some of the stretch goals are now being unlocked. Have a look, if you will:


I am now dithering over getting some Victrix "Successor Phalangites" to serve as palace guards; this is a very slippery slope, as I think I'd then have to get some Late Republican Romans to cause them fits. Suggeestions sought; I find that I can turn out plastic figures in very quick time, so getting some of both done for a game I have in mind would be easy...


And yes, I am working on a truly gigantic project for the game, worthy of Rex Harrison and Elizabeth Taylor. You could, I think, only do this one in plastics; it'd take forever to get enough old figures to do this one...

Barsoon hasn't been forgotten; the plastic for the Eighth Ray Collectors I need for the two sky ships has been dug out and will see the band saw this coming weekend. Luckily, this one will be a floor game. A very big floor game...

And Tim over at TRE games has done some 28mm Japanese buildings, which look to be scaled up versions of his 15mm line; the kits are astonishing, and I may have to invest in them. Please see his website - link on the other column,  as I recall, but:


Photos of all this, as soon as I can shoot them. And yes, I have a batch of those coolers in the shop, with roofing added, just like Ken did for our games thirty years ago...

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Weekly Update - Monday, April 24th, 2017 - News From The Workbench...

Simple Green at work...


First off, I've been able to read your comments on Google+. But, I can't reply to them; something about my browser and computers. We're working on it, but I fear an eventual migration to something like Wordpress may be in order. We shall see.

I'd like to thank everyone who sent the Missus their best wishes; she's doing a lot better now, and was actually able to get out a bit this past weekend. I'm also in good shape, and may be finally recovered from the road trip. So, good news all round, and we're pretty happy campers.

Speaking of the Missus, her six sets of the Ral Partha "Elfquest" figures have all been run through the bath (Simple Green, straight up, for a week) and are now back to their pristine state of raw metal. The Armory brush-on primer she'd used on these back in the late 1980s had not aged well, so off it came and will be replaced by my usual spray-on flat white primer. Much thinner, and you'll be able to see the details on these; they still look good, and I think they'll be fun to paint. Her collection of RAFM 'Dr. Who' figures will also get done at the same time, and they'll see the light of day after almost three decades. Basing will, I think, be our usual 25mm rounds as these are mostly going to get used in RPGs.

Also in the bath, but this time in acetone, have been my fleet of Valiant Miniatures ships. All of the masts and sails have been gently removed, and I'll get the ships put back to their former glory. The soft-metal masts have suffered greatly from the passage of time, so these will get brass wire behind them to make them that much sturdier, and then I'll get the ships back into their paint schemes. In the meantime, the flotilla of laser-cut galleys from TRE Games will be our mainstay for naval games.

The big news around here this week is that the new Indiegogo campaign by Dark Fable Miniatures is up and running:


I'm very pleased with what I'm seeing, and the Missus has announced that we'll be backing this campaign as we have all of the previous ones. I can think of uses for all the figures - while the Macedonians are a wee bit too late for 'Ancient Egypt', my local FLGS has a bunch of Macedonians that they have been 'suggesting' I look into. My thought is being able to play out some of the possible game scenarios from "Cleopatra", like the defense of the Moon Gate of the palace, and as I have some Romans on the shelves it's very doable.

Let's see, what else...

We've had some very fine weather this past weekend, and I managed to get the garden sheds cleaned out and the van unloaded. I've trimmed down our stock of trade show booth items, keeping the two Skyline sets (the table top and the full booth) and disposing of the rest to people who can use them. I'm in the process of organizing up my stocks of scale lumber - the Missus has pointed out that both she and the Daughter-in-residence need to use the laundry room too, and it would be nice if the miniature lumber yard moved into the workshop and onto my shelves.

To hear is to obey.

The plasma screen continues to amaze and astound me with the superb quality of the picture; it's making sorting the lumber very enjoyable - I love those Techicolor epics, and having them on the big screen is a delight. I am still dithering over what to do with the 40" Sony LCD; I'd like to keep it in stock for gaming use, but I do have a potential buyer for the thing. Decisions, decisions!

I and the game room have also been booked for some game sessions, which I am pleased with, and I'm looking forward to hosting guests. Dates are May 27th and June 3rd, starting at one pm; e-mail me if you might want to drop by and see the mayhem.

I think that's everything, for now; much more to come, as I get all caught up with life...