Thursday, February 16, 2017

Riders in the sky

While the Enforcer Jetbikes actually came out with the Deadzone 2 kickstarter, a lot more people are getting them with their Warpath kickstarter, and expect even more once Warpath hits retail shelves in the next few months.
Pair of Enforcer Jetbikes
I'm one that had not really looked at them for Deadzone, so finally put a couple together once I got them.  And I pretty much managed to screw up assembling them in just about every way possible. Since they don't come with assembly instructions (unfortunately), here is my guide to assembling the Enforcer Jetbikes.

The jetbikes are hard plastic, but they have already been removed from the sprues.  You get two to a bag (and they sell them in a box of 4 - so 2 bags to a box).
Jetbike parts
The first and most obvious place to start is putting the two halves of the bikes together.  As I've often said at work, for every problem there is a solution that is simple, elegant and wrong.  Putting the bodies together first is such a solution.
Jetbike body halves
First there is a big piece of flash that must be trimmed from inside of the bodies - toward the back. This seems consistent on all four I have done (two to screw up, two take pictures of and hopefully not screw up).  After this bit of minor cleanup, the halves fit together easily.  However there are two pieces that need to be assembled first - or else you will end up trying to pry these halves apart after you have glued them together (as I learned from experience).

These are the engine housing and the instrument panel.
body halves, instrument panels, engine housing
The engine housing fits in the back, there is a rectangular cutout in the back end of the body that fits the tab.  The instrument panel fits in the front.  It doesn't fit fully flat, as it needs to leave a small gap on either side to allow for the riders hands (something else I finally learned).
engine housing and instrument panel in place
Once you have glued these two pieces in place, you can then glue the two halves together.
halved together without these pieces, and with them
Once you have the halves together, then it is fairly simple to glue on the various fins.  The long front fins are actually marked left and right.  There is a small stabilizer that attaches to each of these - the angled side goes toward the lower fin at the front of the bike.
stabilizer on the front fins
front fins attached
The foot rests go in the lower, forward slot in the back end.  The attach from the bottom of the foot rest (I kept wanting to put them in upside down).
foot rests attached
The tail fins point toward the back and go in the upper slots.  The rest of the engine goes into the housing - it only fits one way.
rear fins and engine attached
vie of top and bottom of the jet bike
The jet bike has an option for its weaponry.  These attach to the bottom of the bike.  There are two of the Twin Laser Assault Rifles (as this is the cheapest build), as well as a single Heavy Burst laser and Missile Launcher.
Twin Laser Assault Rifles (left), Missile Launcher (top right) and Heavy Burst Laser (bottom right)
The weapons all fit into a slot in the bottom of the bike, between the main fins.  If you aren't sure if this is the option you want, this slot would make a good place for a magnet - as well as on each weapon.
Weapon placement
The only thing left is the rider.  The heads are obvious, and the arms simply fit into place around a low round nub.
body, head & handles, arms
Next are the arms.  The trick here is getting the correct angle, which controls the posture of the rider.  I struggled when I first put mine together to see where the bike handles went, and as such my first two riders have their heads down touching the instrument panels.
rider assembled
The handles actually go on the sides of the instrument panel, with the hands going into the small gap that was left when this was put in.  So I recommend that you position the arms on the body by fitting them with the driver sitting on the bike.  You should be able to rotate the arms until the hands fit into the gap, then hold the arms in place until they set at that angle.
rider in place
Once the arms are set in place and the glue has dried, you should be able to lift the rider off, apply glue to his hands, butt and feet, and then glue him back into place, now properly riding the bike (or you can wait to glue him on until AFTER you have painted everything, to make it easier)..

There are two flying bases provided, with two different height pieces.
flying base bits
I personally think it is better to use one of each - so that your bikes are at alternating levels.  I think is is visually more interesting, and when you put these into a team tray for Warpath, will help to assure they can both fit.
flying bases, two different heights
And thus you have your jetbikes assembled.
Team of Enforcer Jetbikes
I hope this helps you avoid the errors I made first assembling mine (prying the body halves apart to put a missing part in is quite a pain in the butt - even more so when you have to do it AGAIN because you found another part that must go in first.)

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

And so we enter the Terrible Twos

Happy Blogiversary to me
Happy Blogiversary to me
Happy Blogiversary to Until Somebody Loses an Eye
Happy Blogiversary to me.

So it was two years ago now that I started this 'grand adventure', and I'm no were near ready to stop. Thank you to all my regular readers (both of you).  Yes, I know I have more than that, though not as many regular ones as I'd like (I would really love to NOT have to spam every single post across several Facebook groups - but when I don't do that (like with this post, as it isn't related to Mantic or any of their games, so will only get posted to the Ohio War Kings) I struggle to get more than a few dozen views (while when I do copy the link to several groups, I often hit more than a hundred in less than an hour)).

No one has asked "Why do you do this?" but I'll answer anyway.  (Hey, this is my Blogiversary, so I get to be a little more self indulgent than usual.  And if you don't want to read it - well I've already registered your view (that will earn me something like $0.00001 from Google AdSense (so far I manage to earn a whopping average of $3 or so a month - which means in another 3 or 4 years I may finally be up to $100 and actually get a check from them.  Definitely not retirement income.))) (You know, I sometimes need to write these in a LISP editor so it can automagically add all the closing parenthesis (a reference for all those geeks of a different sort)).

So obviously I don't do this for the money.  In fact the blog actually costs me money even though blogger is free, as I did purchase the domain because I couldn't get the actual blog name I wanted ( Someone else has it.  She is named Carly and she made ONE empty post back on May 18, 2005 at 9:14 pm which garnered two spam comments and hasn't apparently done ANYTHING at all with it sense then EXCEPT hold the name that I want and have actively been using for two years now.  Not that I'm bothered at all by Carly (who has no profile either) and her complete and utter lack of posting anything on the blog name I wanted.  Not at all.
Yep - that is the entirety of her blog.  I bet that more people see this screenshot of her blog than have ever visited it up to this point in time :-)  You are welcome Carly.
(as an aside (not that I do that much at all) it is a whole lot harder to find any pictures to put up on a post about, well posting).

As I mentioned when I started this so long ago I found myself posting a lot of hobby related "stuff" on various places across the web, so decided to consolidate here.  As a pathfinder for Mantic Games, I volunteer to run demos and support their products (and in return, they feed my growing addiction yet still get more and more of my money), though at times I've managed to step on a few toes (and they will say it is not related at all, but it seems all the places where I was getting new information to share have pretty much dried up - so I end up putting my own opinions on the pictures that Mantic posts to Facebook) I think that Mantic feels I do a decent job promoting their games., even if   At least they haven't fired me (yet).

In the two years since I've started this little endeavor, I've managed to post 225 times (which is 224 times more than Carly posted on her blog, not that I'm counting or anything) (and not including any of the backdated posts from before I actually started writing this (which are old hobby forum posts, and a few of the newsletters I send out each month).  (Someday I'll get the rest of my old Mantic forum blog copied over - but that is unbelievably dull and tedious, and no one reads them anyway.  (So there is another question - why bring them over.  That is where my writer ADD kicks in, and want to have everything available in one place.)

I do appreciate everyone who takes the time to come and be subjected to my silly ramblings about plastic army men (or ugly little monsters as my wife likes to call them) and other hobby interests. Without you this would be nothing but me spewing my thoughts out into the nothings of the internet void, instead of your warm, fertile minds (you are welcome for that image).

So thanks for reading.  I've managed to keep up with the twice weekly updates (Monday and Thursdays at 6:00 pm EST/EDT) and that appears to be a good enough pace (with the occasional extra when I have something completely new  (because if I can be the first to put it out there then I get more people reading it)).


Because it is all fun and games . . .

Monday, February 13, 2017

a league of their own

Month two of the Kings of War Historical Escalation League is now in the books.  This month we had 300 pt battles, while participants were supposed to build and paint 400 more points.

So how did it go?

Well 300 pt games are extremely quick and tend to be fairly bloody.  Everyone only has a couple of units and maybe a character .  Still fast and fun, we did get several people to get games in last month.

First Felix's Vikings faced off against my Romans in a Dominate scenario.  The first several turns were all spent maneuvering, with the Romans taking the center and the Vikings moving around to attempt to flank them. After several turns of maneuvering, the battle was finally joined and both sides suffered casualties, with me losing a unit of Legionnaires and Felix losing his unit of Huscarls.  This left me with a single unit, and Felix with a unit and a general - but the points were close enough that the result was a tie.

Next Felix's Vikings took on Jon's Celts (Barbarians) in a Loot! scenario.  I didn't pay attention to most of the game, but Jon ended up with the win.

Finally Jon and I faced off - giving a test to what are planned to be my two demo armies for historicals, with Romans vs Celts in a Kill & Pillage game.  At such a small point value, all Jon had to do was sit on the three objectives nearest him and he could win, because he had three units and I only had two.  The Romans were not going to put up with that nonsense however, and rushed to take out the pesky barbarians.  The elite Romans were able to overcome the barbarian hordes due to some unfortunate dice rolls (Jon really should have taken out one unit) and ended up winning this small skirmish.  (I find it very common that one side is tabled in this small of a game, as happened here).

Not only did we get in some games, but some people even finished the 400 pts due last month!

I do have some pictures of some of the new units.

First Jim's Crusaders.  These are using the Basilean miniature range.  I am continuing to paint these up, and eventually will actually finish this Christmas present to him - if only about 15 months late. This month I added a mounted general to bolster the morale of the troops and a horde of spear-men to center the battle line.
General on Horse
Horde of spearmen
For my Roman army, I added a regiment of Praetorian Guard and a regiment of Praetorian Cavalry.  I was very glad to get the cavalry finally done - these are all metal minis, and the bases on the horses are a bit narrow, meaning every time I so much as looked at them sideways on my paint table they would fall over, and like dominoes knock over all the other models as well.

Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Cavalry
Felix added to his vikings by adding a horde of warriors, a regiments of Huscarls and a musician w/ Yew Longbow
horde of warriors
regiment of Huscarls
musician w/ yew longbow
Several of the other players have fallen behind.  Jon finally finished assembling his first 300 points of barbarians, but they are still only primed.

So the current standings at the end of January are:

Jon Carter
Barbarians (Celts)

Mike Carter
Keith Ambrose

Alex Ambrose

Beth Hill

Felix Castro
Kara Brown

Jim Schwerdtfeger

While I still encourage people to build and play, it does appear that we are down to only two players left - Felix and myself.  I believe Felix is working on finishing his army, and both my Roman's and Jim's Crusaders are nearly complete.  It might mean however that Felix and I will have to play twice in a row this month and next.

So what has happened?  A couple of factors I believe have affected this.  First was delays both getting started as people had to order in miniatures, so we had to postpone the start for a month.  Then the holidays meant we lost the entire month of December.  The other big issue, I believe, is the number of Kings of War fantasy tournaments in February and March which had most people focusing on their fantasy armies.  Daycon on Feb 18th is a 14 person tournament at a new game day, though I don't think this really had any effect.  What did have an effect was the Kings of War Masters Championship coming up on Feb 25th & 26th.  Three of our more serious players in the league, (Jon, Kara and myself) all have been working on our masters lists (as well as Kara's wife Amy, who didn't even start the league).  Jon and Kara simply didn't have the time to both work on the new units for their masters army as well as build a historical one.

I still hope that Felix and I can continue on to the end, and with April a make-up month maybe some people might come back to get some games in.

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Friday, February 10, 2017

just to keep you excited

The Star Saga kickstarter is in the least interesting (as a backer) phase - the actual production.  The pledge manager is currently open (about 75% of the backers have filled theirs out) at BackerKit, and even allows for late pledging if you missed the kickstarter the first time and still want to get in on the deal.  The pledge manager closes on February 28th, so don't wait too long.

And to get you interested, Mantic has snuck out some concept art from the design studio.  Some of these can be identified by referring back to the original campaign, but not all (I have no idea what the severed eyeball is for, and if there is actually going to be a huge severed eyeball miniature).

Was there a Koris mercenary?  I can't seem to find a reference to him on the kickstarter page

I've got my eye on you

I'm guessing this is Orion

Brute - Simian boss from "The Devil's Betrayal" expansion

I'm not sure who this is.  The gun is Grogan sized, but other than that

The new Veer-myn Brood Mother from the "Retake the Blackstar Station" expansion

So something to help you endure the long wait until next fall.

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Thursday, February 9, 2017

out with the old, in with the new

Mantic has made a few announcements that, while not exciting themselves, do imply something much better.  Of course I'm not going to talk about that first, that would spoil all the fun.  No, just like all those stupid news teasers, you have to sit through local updates and boring recaps of local sports teams before they get to the actual weather you care about.  And even then, they split it into two segments just to make you stay up even later to see what the weather will be (well what they predict, and seem to miss so often) when you have to drag your tired butt out of bed before even the sun is up.

Ok, where was I?  Oh yeah, new announcements.

Mantic is redoing some of their boxed army sets.  They have done this before, and will continue to do it (I remember ordering a new orc army from the War Store a few years back, and they shipped me the old one instead.  When I contacted customer service they shipped me out the new trolls (the new box had a regiment of trolls and 10 fewer orcs) to make up for the mistake).

First off are new starter and mega armies for goblins.  First off is the £59.99 / €79.99 / $84.99 starter army.
old vs new goblin starter
The old starter (which is no longer available) had a
  • regiment of fleabag riders
  • regiment of spitters
  • regiment of sharpsticks
  • regiment of rabble
  • goblin mincer.
The new starter set has
  • 2 regiments of spitters
  • regiment of trolls
  • regiment of fleabag riders
  • goblin mincer
  • goblin biggit
So you are trading in 20 goblins and the metal bits for sharpsticks and rabble for three trolls and a hero.  Comparing the prices on the mantic site, rabble and trolls are both $29.99, and the biggit is $12.99.  The new upgrade packs for goblins are $17.99 - so it unfortunately looks like the old set was $5.00 better value.

Then there is the new £99.99 / €129.99 / $149.99 mega army
old vs new goblin mega army
This, unfortunately, looks like the deal goes down a bit more.  The old mega army (still avalaible until stock runs out) contains:
  • horde of spitters (or 2 regiments)
  • 2 regiments of rabble
  • 2 regiments of sharpsticks
  • 2 regiments of fleabag riders
  • 2 regiments of trolls
  • 2 goblin minces
  • 3 goblin heroes (I love these sculpts by the way)
The new set is a bit less
  • 4 regiments of spitters
  • 1 regiment of fleabag riders
  • 2 regiments of trolls
  • 1 goblin mincer
  • 3 goblin heroes
So the new set has 40 fewer goblins, 10 fewer fleabag riders and only one mincer.  The difference then between the sets comes to $162 - so if you are looking for a goblin army get the old one before it sells out.

Now I don't want to say that any of these new sets are not a deal - the mega army, if bought separately, would be $238 - a savings of $88.

In addition to the new army sets, Mantic is also releasing smaller reinforcement packs ( £39.99 / €54.99 / $64.99) for when you need a few more troops, but not an army box worth.  The goblins get a raiding party, consisting of a regiment of spitters, a regiment of fleabag riders, and a goblin biggit.
goblin raiding party 
For a goblin player, it seems better to spend $20 more for a starter army (with $80 more stuff in it) than this set, however this set is perfect if you want to add some red goblins into your Ogre force. And speaking of Ogres, they get new army sets as well.

The ogre starter army box
old vs new Ogre starter army
The old box comes with
  • 9 warriors
  • 6 shooters / boomers
  • 3 Ogre command (I so love the bagpipes, though I have found that over time they end up bending the model due to the weight).
  • Grokagamok
The new box comes with
  • 12 warriors
  • 6 shooters / boomers
  • Grokagamok
  • Ogre Warlock
So you are trading in the command group (3 ogres + metal bits) for a warlock - $19.99 for $17.99. Since the release of 2nd edition when standards and musicians were removed as paid for upgrades to units, I have been seeing fewer and fewer new armies with command for their units, which I think is a bit of a shame.  I have always thought units look better with command.  So while you technically lose a little value, the new set is better for playing the game, as the warlock is MUCH more useful than the now purely decorative command.

On another aside - I am curious as to why Mantic had the studio model Grokagamok standing on a big rock on his base - when he comes with a plain empty base?  This is a tiny bit deceptive to me - especially since the only difference between Grokagamok and a normal warrior is the left arm. Seriously - it is the 'come here' gesture that is the only new part of this model.  Ok for a regular hero, but they missed the opportunity to do so much more with this broken overpowered character.

So how does the mega army compare?
old Ogre mega army vs new
The contents of the old mega army:
  • 12 shooters / boomers
  • 21 warriors
  • 1 set of command
  • 1 regiment of Ogre Chariots
  • 20 red goblins (i.e. goblin spitters)
  • Grokagamok
The new set has:
  • 9 shooters / boomers
  • 18 warriors
  • 1 regiment of red goblin scouts (goblin fleabag riders)
  • Grokagamok
  • Ogre Warlock
So you lose a total of 9 ogres (with metal command bits), the chariots and goblins for goblin scouts and a warlock.  This is a whopping drop in value of $87 (though again the mega army saves you $56 over buying these separately).  The figures here may be a little off, as ogres are now ONLY sold as hordes, not regiments - so I'm assuming half the price of a horde for a regiment.

There is also a reinforcement pack for Nature / Neritica - the Naiad patrol
Naiad Patrol
This consists of 
  • 30 Naiads
  • 3 Water Elementals
  • Naiad Centurion/Envoy
Again, for $20 more you can get the starter army, which adds $50 more value (again assuming a troop costs half a regiment) with 10 more naiads and 10 riverguard.

So writing this up is kind of depressing me, as while Mantic still makes models that are a great value, the value is getting less.  Inflation is affecting us all.

So is there a shining light at the end of this tunnel?  Well, I think so.  See, there is one more thing they announced that I kind of glossed over previously - and that is the new Goblin sharpstick and rabble metal upgrade packs - for £9.99  /€14.99 / $17.99 each.
Goblin sharpstick upgrade pack
Goblin rabble downgrade pack
The old sharpstick packs are sold out, though the rabble regiment is currently the same price as a regiment of spitters (so again, grab them while you can).

I like having these upgrades separately, though I don't necessarily like the additional prices.  No, it isn't these that excite me, it is this line from the Mantic blog (what, you didn't think I actually had any inside information, did you?)
These metal upgrades will be the first in a new line of metal upgrades for Kings of War and Warpath. Over the coming weeks we’ll be introducing more sets, including command upgrades, different weapons options and more. So stay tuned to the blog for more details.
They specifically mention Warpath - which I am hoping means we will soon see
  • Enforcer Arbiter Interceptor upgrade pack (only available in the Kickstarter Interceptor battlegroup)
  • Strider Heavy Burst Laser
  • Enforcer 'Ajax' Siege Strider
  • Enforcer Enforcer Breach and Eradicate Team (only available as an add on in the Kickstarter) (ok, I'm a bit meh on this one)
  • Forge Father HammerFist Team
  • Forge Father Doomstorm Pattern Iron Ancestor (ok, you can make this by cutting off the Forge Hammer on the 'normal' one)
  • Forge Father Thor Pattern Iron Ancestor ( left handed Forge hammer )
  • Forge Father Hellermal Pattern Iron Ancestor (Twin Magma cannon and Dragonbreath Flamer)
  • Marauder commando w/ Ripper Talons
and other weapons / upgrades that are still unavailable if you did not happen it get them at the correct time.  This news I'm excited for.  (However if you were planning on starting or upgrading either goblins or ogres, now is the time to get the old army boxes because once they are gone only the new ones will be available.

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Monday, February 6, 2017

Down the Rabbit Hole

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll, 1872)

And now for something completely different.

While I tend to write mainly on games, there are other fun things going on. And this is one of those times.  I was recently back in Colorado to visit my Dad, and while there we ( me, my wife, my sister and my cousin ) decided to try out The Rabbit Hole in Colorado Springs.

This is an Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant and bar that is actually beneath the streets of the city.    The entrance looks a little like a subway entrance on the street (which doesn't have subways)
side of the entrance
door leading down the rabbit hole
glass walls into the restaurant
The door opens on a stairway
looking up the stairs
some people can't be bothered to wait for the rest of the party (who is trying to get some pictures for his blog)
I eventually caught up with them, and had our waitress snap a picture.
me, Diane my wife, Norma my sister and Greg my cousin
Speaking of her, Christa did a great job of taking care of us and putting up with my bad jokes.
Christa was a real sweetie
We sat across from five young ladies that seemed to be having as much fun as we were
they even survived my jokes
Ok, back to going down the stairs.  The landing had an obligatory specials chalkboard.
The landing has a chalkboard with soup and beer of the day
Cool logo on the stairwell wall
Then you get the door.  The rabbit logo is etched on it, but I loved the sign that says "Pull Me" (and of course on the other side it says "Push Me").
etched logo

Open the door and you are in the main bar.
with small dining areas on either side

we were seated in 'the library' - next to the stairs
There is also a lot of cool 'Alice in Wonderland' themed art all over
Alice smoking the hookah

Alice falling down the rabbit hole
the mad hatter's tea party
So the ambience and atmosphere were pretty cool.  I for one, however, go to a restaurant to eat, not to just enjoy the decorating scheme, as cool as it may be.

They had a selection of Colorado craft beers, so I started with a Declaration Strawberry Wheat ale, followed by a Tommynocker Nut Brown Ale.

Norma and Diane decided to try out the martini nenu, getting three Lemon Drops, a Duchess and a Purple Drank, while Greg stayed with water as he drove and we had run into some snow on the way up.
Diane and Norma enjoying a Duchess and Purple Drank
Then we had a couple of appetizers
I ordered the duck wings, and Norma got the brussel sprouts.  The duck was simply fantastic.  I wish I didn't have to share, I wanted them all to myself.

these were soooo good
The brussel sprouts were, well they were brussel sprouts.  Sorry, but I hate brussel sprouts. Everyone else said they were great - so you can take their word for it.
For dinner we each picked something different so we could all share and taste everything.  I had a hard time choosing between the rabbit meatloaf and the buffalo short ribs ( and Christa was no help, saying they were her two favorites as well), but finally went with the ribs.  Diane got the chorizo stuffed bacon wrapped prawns, Norma had the seafood pasta and Greg ordered the scallops.
Cherry Braised Buffalo Short-Ribs
The ribs were so tender the knife was only there to cut the green beans into smaller pieces.  It more than fell off the bone and was delicious, if a little gamey (being buffalo instead of beef).
Chorizo Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Prawns
The creamy sauce perfectly complemented the spicy chorizo in the wonderful bites of yum!  If I had ordered this I would have wanted more shrimp, however it was the perfect size for Diane.
Seafood Angel Hair Pasta with Lobster, Shrimp and Scallops
And with this the idea of us all trying each others dishes went out the window, as Norma refused to share any!  I did sneak a tiny bit, and it was quite good. Norma thought it might be better with a little bacon, so she asked for some. Christa brought a bowl of bacon that was so good we kept stealing pinches from it.
I didn't think to snap a picture until it was already half gone - the bowl started almost full.
(When I got the check, the extra bacon was only $1.50.  We joked that had known it was that cheap we would have ordered eight more servings!)
Seared Scallops over Forbidden Rice Risotto
Greg's Scallops were also quite good, if the servng was also a little small for me.

We then decided to top off the meal with their carrot cake.
huge piece of carrot cake!
The slices of carrot on top were an interesting touch, though Diane thought they tasted like onions.

The prices weren't bad, ranging from $13 to $24 for the entrees, though the cocktails were a bit pricey (to me at least - though I tend to stick to beer so I'm not used to these more expensive drinks).

We had a great dinner and a lot of fun.  The food was quite good, the atmosphere was original and the service was fantastic.  Not an every day diner, but a great place for an occasional special dinner.

If you are in Colorado Springs and aren't late for a very important date, you should definitely enjoy a bit of nonsense and take a trip down The Rabbit Hole.

Because it is all fun and games . . .