Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hunted down some minis

I have finally had a bit of success finding some elusive items to fill out some of my forces. I scored two boxes of  Dragon Models HMMWV M1114 off Ebay over the last couple of days at only $10 a box, that will give me the four HMMWVs I need for my modern USMC force. In addition a GW LoTR Erkenbrand model showed up on eBay at a reasonable price and I was able to grab that as well. It was listed as new but it has been primed black and the shields are missing all of which can be dealt with. Right now that means that my Rohan force for September is just missing Eomer to complete and he seems relatively easy to find on a regular basis.

Dragon Coming Home

I have been going through a bit of a painting block, nothing seems to be coming out the way I want it. So the Rohan Helmingas that I started still only have a skintone on them and there are no pictures yet since I'm currently unhappy with them. However, today the Dragon capsule was swung away from the International Space Station and is headed home to Earth. Assuming everything goes well on the recovery side this will complete the first commercial delivery of supplies to the International Space Station and hopefully opens up a new era for man's presence in space. Space exploration is the one area I have a serious problem with the way the current administration is handling it. I don't have much hope that it will be any better handled by the next administration. After leading the way with landings on the moon and the development of the space shuttle the US space program has been pretty darn stagnant. I'm hoping that this will be the kick in the pants that the administration needs to get our space program back into shape. Anyway here are a couple of images of the Dragon capsule at the International space station.

Dragon being prepped
May 22, 2012 Dragon on the Falcon 9 Launches (Quite the birthday present)
 Dragon after being captured by the International Space Station's robotic arm

Dragon Docked At Dawn

Dragon being released today for return to Earth.

The Dragon has landed, May 31, 2012 off of Baja California

Friday, May 25, 2012

Here there be Dragons

The Dragon capsule approaching the International Space Station. My sister-in-law is so cool.
Dragon's thermal imager sees the space station about 820 feet away.

Review - Armored Thunderbolt by Steven Zaloga

Armored Thunderbolt by Steven Zaloga
Stackpole Books, 2008

First off this is not a detailed discussion of the technical aspects of the Sherman tank. Hunnicutt's book is still the bible as far as Sherman technical detail is concerned. However, this is an excellent book on the history of the Sherman and how it was shaped by the lessons learned (or ignored) early in the war and by internal army politics. This looks at the Sherman from both the American and British point of view. How it was used, how it evolved as the war moved forward as well as dispelling some myths and verifying others. There are plenty of pictures (although not nearly as many as in his other two books Armored Victory and Armored Attack) including old favorites and many new ones (at least to me). The focus is primarily on the ETO although there is a chapter on the Pacific theater and during the Cold War. If you are Sherman enthusiast or just a tank enthusiast in general this is a must have book. The retail price is $34.95 but I was able to find a really good used copy on Amazon for about $20.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Home Again

I landed safely back in Denver yesterday afternoon and promptly collapsed from exhaustion. Here is the vista I have been missing during my stay in TX.

For those who are interested the tallest peak you see in the picture is Longs Peak and it is about 50 miles away from where I took this picture. Longs Peak is part of the Front Range and rises to 14,259 feet (4,346 meters). 

Monday, May 21, 2012

ReaperCon - Back to Work - The Day After

Its Monday and I'm hanging out with all the freelance painters and sculptors today, folks that I didn't get to spend much time with during the convention between running games and helping judge the painting competition. So here are a few shots of the warehouse and what it looks like the day after ReaperCon comes to and end. A pretty impressive make over.
Blister Carded Miniature storage back in place. You can still see the warlord tournament tables setup down there.

 The paint department is back in full production and paint is being poured.
 The blister card machines and their racks are back in place, shipping department is back up and ready for operation.
 Where there was gaming, painting and sculpting tables are now filled back up with miniatures waiting to be pulled to fill orders. This was by about 10am this morning.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

ReaperCon - Sunday - Day 4

Day 4 is still pretty busy, busier than most other conventions by this point. For me the day is all about getting ready for the auction and making sure that I have enough stuff to sell off to the crowd. At ReaperCon I only take ReaperBucks which you get from participating in games and taking classes. Everybody has something to buy stuff with, essentially for free. Obviously I didn't take any pictures of my self auctioning things off, maybe there are some out there but I was a little busy to do it. This is also the day that things start coming down. Its amazing how fast things can get changed back to a productive factory. Tomorrow they will be up pouring pewter again.

The new sign for the breakroom
 Frontline Games Alien Invasion game. Check out the flying saucers.

 Sunday Gaming

 ReaperBryan holding court towards the end of the show
 The aftermath, tables and chairs are rapidly heading back into storage for next year

ReaperCon - Saturday - Day Three

Saturday sees the biggest attendance of the weekend. Along with that means that there will be another round of  miniature judging. Just a single team of three to handle that entries that come in from the Saturday only people. Of course there are still plenty of games going on and fortunately Steve has been more than willing to help run Kraken's Revenge since I got pulled into helping do a lot more of the miniature judging this year. Early Saturday evening are the painting awards along with the first five inductees into the Masters Painting Hall of Fame. Five well deserving painters went in this first year; Jen Haley, Derek Schubert, Laszlo J., Anne Foerster and Doug Cohen. The evening ends very late with the Reaper version of Hollywood Squares.

The beginning of the awards ceremony, Ron Hawkins, Ed Pugh and Matt Clarke start things off.
Matt Clark making the first annoucements

At the end of the awards ceremony, Laszlo and Michael preparing to wrestle to break a tie for Best in Show

 Derek Schubert picks up a Gold Sophie
 Michael Procter picks up a Silver Sophie
 Cowboy Shootout guns down some more cowboys
 Saturday gaming
 Kraken's Revenge; some tasty morsels for lunch
 A row of production molds in the Reaper Facility. These rows are about 24 feet long, with six shelves on either side. Each four feet of shelf holds 39 molds (more or less) That's about 234 molds per four foot section for approximately 1404 molds per 24' long shelf. There are 9 of these shelves so that's about 12,636 molds. These are the molds for all the active numbers in the catalog, meaning you can order any number currently in the catalog as well as any number that has been removed from the active catalog except for licensed lines that are no longer in production (Doom, L5R, etc).

 Speed Painting; one mini, two brushes, a dozen paints and 45 minutes

VCR Challenge entries
 Saturday Warlord Tournament

Hollywood Squares

Saturday, May 19, 2012

ReaperCon - Friday - Day Two

Despite the title of day two its actually day three for me. Had a great time yesterday although all the pictures I'm editing are starting to look the same. So today I'll try and post something different. Over the course of a four day convention, even a small one, things start to blur together a bit.
Yet another shot of Kraken's Revenge

 A very intent VCR Challenge competitor
 Painting Competition Medals
 The infamous Sophie Trophies
 The Russian ICBM ductwork
Painting Competition Judges
 Serious Discussion - Michael Proctor
 Intent Contemplation - Ali Scheirman
 A Full Judging team with an alternate judge - Jon Bonnot, Jen Haley, Anne Foerster, Derek Schubert
 Attention Judges
 Heavy Gear running demos
Mario at Frontline Games
 Where old minis go to be melted down
 The Friday Warlord Tourny squeezes into their space