What should I work on next?

28 December 2007

28 December, 2007

Obviously, I am running out of pithy titles for my journal entries, so let's try simple dates.

Yesterday marked the twelfth anniversary of my eldest child's birth. Hard to believe I have been "Daddy" for twelve whole years now. Gadzooks, but they grow quickly! The boy is already wearing a shoe two sizes larger than mine and shall probably surpass my height (a rather meager 5 feet and seven inches) within the next six months or so. Add to that eating like a starving bear... its a miracle we've managed to keep him fed. And a younger brother to care for as well!

Not too much progress has been made on the painting fronts, in mind of all the festivities lately. I have managed to get a few of the Martian askaris dipped. They came out rather dark, so i may be touching up some more once they are good and solid dried. That Minwax takes a while to dry. Maybe its time I bought some Future floor wax and tried that version of the Magic Dip?

I've also been working on some Battlemechs for my son, in a sort of generic Lyran blue and white divided scheme. That'll give his light lance of Kurita Mechs that he already has (bought them painted off eBay) something to fight against.

What I have NOT been getting any work done on is Her Majesty's soldiery. I have the bare start of a pair of 15mm lancers sitting there. The minis themselves are Old Glory, and quite nice.

Update - I got called away from the computer while writing this and just now got back, a day later!

My last Christmas gifts arrived in the post finally! Some Martian chappies from RAFM in Canada. Better late than never and very nice miniatures too.

26 December 2007

New Alternate History File Available

Dear readers,

I have included another piece of the astonishing history of the Republic of Texas for your perusal. This time, the entry focuses on two of the more famous battles fought by the Republic's naval forces. Great tales of heroism, I assure you. As more of these fascinating battles are recorded, they shall be added to this same file. I, of course, will be posting notice of this sort of thing here in my journal.

I do hope you enjoy the battle reports.


Just popping in, chaps!

A Happy Boxing Day to you all!

The wife and I have survived another Christmas, wallets thinner and bank accounts less-well-padded, but children ecstatically happy with their new toys. I am as well, with a unit of RAFM Martian troops on their way to me (the Post has not been running swiftly, as usual, the blackguards!).

Christmas dinner was a nightmare, but the services were nice.

Just checked the poll, and so far it looks like a landslide for Yes!, although one person has chided me for the over-commercialization of a sacred holiday. While I understand the point - after all, I did add it as an option on the poll - I personally think that so long as the reason for the holiday isn't forgotten in all the fun, there's no real harm in all the fun.

And besides, it is so fun watching your kids' faces light up as they come down the stairs and see all the goodies Santa has brought for them. If you don't have kids, you are truly missing out on the best part of Christmas morning.

Anyway, must be off. Rubbish doesn't remove itself, and all the servants have the holiday off. I know, too kind of me, but there it is. Where are those boys of mine? Don't they realize they've rubbish to remove to the curb?

20 December 2007

New Photostatic Prints in the Scrapbook


A bit later than originally thought, I know, but a few more photostats are now available for you to peruse and comment upon.

I am particularly fond of the images of the tranquil Martian oasis. Pools of crystal clear water like this are rare on the thirsty red sands of Mars. So rare that the stuff is more precious than gold and rubies! Oases such as this one have seen so much bloodshed it would little shock me if science were to prove the reason for the red coloring of the Martian soil was due to the blood shed upon it so frequently! It seems only a matter of time before the quiet oasis in this photostat shall be visited with violent struggle again. This particular pool is near an ancient temple. Local legend holds that the eternally upflowing spring which so swiftly drains into the sand was the original reason behind the temple's location.

Also, we have our first photos (in the 15mm section) of Texican troops of the late 1800s in progress on the paint table. Martian Askaris can be found in the 15mm album as well. These stout chaps are garbed in the nearly universal kharkee of colonial troops. In fact, the differences between Imperial Germany's askari levy and Her Majesty's are so slight as to be invisible at any battlefield distance. my advice: watch for their officers, sergeants and bannermen.

In the 25mm album, you may also see two new figures as well. One is the partually completed Imperial German (mislabeled as Prussian, though I doubt not that this particular lad is of Junker ancestry) special artillery weapons trooper. The other is an Egyptian man, quite mysterious and finished but for a suitable base and clear protective coating. Finally, I believe you can see a shot of my painting area. Quite a mess, and in dire need of reorganization. The completion of a project or two would help immensely.

17 December 2007

Additional New Feature!

I have, with a certain amount of dread, allowed anyone to post comments on the blog. Not being entirely out of my mind, I have also chosen to moderate comment postings for content prior to allowing them to appear in print.

This is not to stifle anyone. I will allow negative comments to appear, but I am somewhat justifiably concerned about unwanted advertising and inappropriate language appearing on my telephonic difference machine. My kids read this on occassion, and I hope other children do as well. I want to keep it a rather suitable environment for them and myself.

Ten Days! Good Heavens!

Tempus fugit, eh gentlemen?

I am sure that you have all been waiting with baited breath for another exciting and stimulating post from yours truly. Well, ten days seems far too long to have made you, my loyal readers, to wait.

And so, I post again. Really, I do feel a bit slothful in regards to this journal in the past few weeks. And considering the relative youth of the blasted thing, I am doubly abashed. Quite simply, I have not been doing what I set out to do when I began the journal.

Never fear, good reader! I am trying to take this as a way to renew my commitment to properly journaling. I have been quite busy on other fronts. To wit:

I have started and almost finished my first water effect terrain project. I used a very nice product mainly utilized by model railroaders for the water effect. I promise a few photos of the completed Martian oasis when they are available. Its possible that I might even add a description of the steps I took in creating it. I am rather pleased with it so far.

Work on the Martian askaris has proceeded as well. Given a few hours (which I shan't have until the weekend, if then, and possibly not until Boxing Day) I can get them finished and ready for The Dip. Again, photos need to be taken and posted. Think red Martians in khaki uniforms. I am very happy with the sculpts, from Black Hat, via Scale Creep here in the States.

I haven't heard many comments on the bit of Republic of Texas Army lore I posted ten days ago, other than from my co-conspirator. I have patched up a bit of a narrative regarding a battle fought between elements of the ROT Army and Imperial Mexican troops at a place called Paquime Walls during what we have labeled the Maximillian War. I am going to post that tonight, as well as perhaps the first ten or twenty years of the timeline, just as a taste. Please recall that it is a work in progress, and any sort of constructive criticism would be appreciated. One can never find enough good editors, though critics are tuppence a dozen.

Well, the bed she sings her siren call, and I must away. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the memsahib and my nuptials. Fourteen years she's tolerated me - we have far exceeded even the most wildly optimistic of our friends' and families' expectations for our continued marriage. So, hurray for us!

Until next time, ladies and gents, I remain your affectionate and somewhat re-dedicated,

J Womack

07 December 2007

New Paint Pots by Post

Got new paints in today, so Herr Professor Otto Maton's colckwork soldiers in 28mm will most likely see paint this weekend. had to get some of that yummy Vallejo Brass. Also got some Prussian Blues in, so I may start work on the Mordian to Imperial German Special Weapons Group paint conversion, again in 28mm.

Need to dip a few Martians tomorrow too, just to see how they come out. I am hoping to get a good look so I can really start mass painting them. I have sixty or so Imperial Guard Martians from Black Hat to get done before January, as well as about 20 Askaris and I need to finish the British as well. I would like to have a game with them all nice and pretty like in paint in January at Little Wars in Houston. Just have to see.

06 December 2007

Another New Feature for the Journal! Huzzah!

Well, I have found at least one way for the work of myself and my best chum to finally see the light of day: the Telephonic Difference Engine Web! I have saved a snippet of our work on the Web and made it available to you, my readers, via a link on the left hand side of this journal.

Strictly speaking, the timeline and other information we have developed are an alternate history project, and not (shudder) Victorian Science Fiction. However, much of the most interesting bit does take place during Her Imperial Majesty's long reign, so I felt inclined to include it here. I think many of you will find it fun.

The first installment of the original 58 page long (and yet to be near completed!) document is a Table of Organization and Equipage for the Army of the Republic of Texas. The Texicans, though a bit rough about the edges, have been staunch allies of the British Empire for many years. I hope you appreciate the work in progress and enjoy it.

Please note that the authors of this material are reserving their intellectual property rights in the creation of all the documents that I am planning to post, and they are related to solicitors (something we usually keep quiet about!). Also note that in future posts there will be political and military events included. In America, we are entitled to our own political views, and we expect that right to be respected. We have no real agenda involved, we certainly don't want to promote real wars(!), but we felt that the events we describe make an enjoyable setting for some of our planned wargames, and perhaps even for a book or two (or more). But first I shall have to do something in regards to my overusage of parenthetical commentary.

I hope you enjoy it!

04 December 2007

Martian Paint scheme

Gadzooks! I've found it! At long, long last!

Astoundingly, I believe I have finally developed a paint scheme that I actually like for my Black Hat Martians. I have fretted for months over the color of their reddish flesh, and finally have found something I like for it: Ceramcote Terra Cotta. Highlight with a touch of Vallejo Medium Flesh mixed into it, then Kel's Magic in brown (Now it's Didi's Magic, I hear. Way to go Didi! And thanks for helping my son out at Paint N Take back at Historicon, by the by.).

So finally I can really get moving on that project. I'm rather backlogged with the askaris and the Imperial Guard types. I have yet to get any regular Imperial Martians, though I have requested some for Christmas.

Another Martian project is one step closer to fruition as well: I have purchased 7 large Stingray toys with which to make the deadly Martian Flying Devil Ray. One or two will be left in a wild state, the remainder shall be transformed into one of many forms of flying cavalry. I obtained the idea through careful reconaissance of the VSF games at Historicon '07.

Other projects on the boil, and at least partially purchased include many Mage Knight critters being used as mounts for other nations: chatte du vapeur for the French, some dragonflies and both steam horses and rams (the beast, not the siege weapon, though usable as such!).

Well, that's it for tonight. I will do my best to finally update the photos on the Photobucket as well.

Remember, they call it golf because all of the other four letter words were already taken.

01 December 2007

Colonel Sir Mimsey Popinjay, III

Having noticed the rather lifeless (not to say dull!) nature of the posts to this journal as of late, I have decided to include today a catalog of names I frequently have found in use on my table when VSF'ing or colonial wargaming. I do hope that this entry meets with higher approval than the last few, or we shall simply have to have the copywriter sacked [ulp!]. Or perhaps put to the question as to why his efforts seem so lackluster and then sacked [double ulp!]. His writing has become about as exciting as an Amish Kama Sutra.

Nothing against the Amish, naturally, but then, those Luddites would almost assuredly never know I said anything derogatory about their love lives in this format. At any rate, on with the names:

Popinjay is the main British officer, used many times. Somehow, he has survived repeated military disasters and not been cashiered for incompetence! Influence at the Horse Guards, I am sure.

He is often bedeviled in the dry hills of Afghanistan and the Northwestern Frontier by the wily Pathan leader Chief Wherda Hecawee, or his twin brother, Hooda.

Herr Kolonel Waldo von Grossnarbe leads the Imperial Germans.

Capitaine l'Phideaux leads the French usually.

Finally tonight, a request of you, my good friends and faithful readers of this sad little chronicle.

I am in need of a good Martian name or two and some Venusian names as well for those leaders. Martians are red men as Master Burroughs indicated in his excellent works about the life of his 'uncle,' John Carter. Yet I hate to merely repeat names from those novels. The Venusian lizardman chieftain [GW Saurus on Cold One] needs a grand but lizard-y sounding name. I thought Slee Stak might be good, but haven't decided. I also need a better name for the leader of my yet-to-be-assembled Venusian Highland Parrotmen than P'all Ewannacr'ka.

Mars has Landed!

I finally did it. I finally went ahead and sprayed some paint onto my plain old tan felt cloth and I think it came out well. It is much redder, sort of a rusty red, with some terracotta added as well. I think it came out well. I'll post pictures later. The other side will have some terracotta and brown sprayed upon it to make it kind of Earth/Desert.

I'm also going to do the same thing (in different colors, of course) to a large green felt I have. I'm going to try and double side it, one side sort of Earth/Meadows and Fields, the other kind of Venus/Jungle

On a seperate note, I have managed to get about a dozen 15mm figures mostly painted over the course of the last week. I got a lot of minor scenic items done except for clear coat, and primed 24 plastic Battletech minis for my 9 year old to paint.

17 November 2007

New Terrain and Poll Results

Good evening, Gents. A general update this time.

Purchased a few pieces of Egyptian-y terrain today. A ruined temple wall which put me in mind of the time the Colonel and I... er, never mind that. Also a pair of statues, which will look suitably gargantuan on the table. Photos will be posted sometime in the near future.

Also, purchased via difference engine some bits of creatures that rhyme with 'brutes' and are produced by a major manufacturer of overpriced plastic and metal toys based out of England. While I am all for free trade and supporting the British economy (hear hear!), $2+ per multi-part plastic is a bit hard on the finances. And I need them to model up the parrotmen of the Venusian Highlands. Naturally, they are in the grander scale of 28 mm rather than the One True Scale, which as we all know, is 15 mm.

And speaking of the Great Scale Schism, brethren, it seems the advocates of the 25/28mm Scale have won out on the polling here. Poor benighted fools that they are, they have chosen the path of least resistance. Still, I suppose its not all bad. I'm not ashamed to say I dabble in both scales.

No painting done today, as the memsahib hosted a Ladies' Gathering today to celebrate the forthcoming nuptials of a young friend. Had to close up shop, take my two impressionable young sons and flee as if the hounds of Hades were after us. An afternoon at the kinetoscope provided entertainment for the three of us.

Finally, I am preparing an additional section of my journal in which to place certain interesting documents and photographs, so that they take less space in this area. When this task is completed, you Ladies and Gents shall of course be the first to know.

Now then, where's that tea cart gone off to?

16 November 2007

Caloric Ray Emitter Statistics

The Caloric Ray Emitter has been patented (RP No. 1888-07-034621) by Professor K. Blooie, FRS, of the Smitterdown Technical Institute, North Whinging. It emits a previously unknown ray with the ability to rapidly heat whatever material it is shone upon. The ray itself is invisible to the human eye.

The CRE is still undergoing trial at this time in Her Majesty's forces prior to a decision on issuance to the lads. There is a "rather vexing tendency for the Teslatronic Coil to vaporize, causing a suboptimal [and often fatal, ed.] discharge of stored voltage into the operator and rendering the wepon itself useless," according to the Professor.

In G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. terms, it is worth 2 points and possesses the following attributes:

Name: Caloric Ray Emitter
Short Range: <12">Shoot # Modifier: 0

A Minor Correction

I hate to report it, but it sems that the facts of the incident leading to the death of Corporal Fanningshire have strayed from the true course of veracity. Apparently, the wepon he was reported to be carrying in the photostat was not the Portable Flamegun as originally reported.

Apparently, Flameguns are doctrinally limited to use as anti-materiel weapons, and certainly not anti-personnel. Such a thing as roasting a man alive in a burning stream of naptha would be barbaric, and best left to the Hun!

No, the intriguing device carried by the late Corporal Fanningshire prior to his demise is properly known as a Caloric Ray Emitter. I am not sure just what those Royal Artillery and Royal Society chaps have created, but apparently it makes whatever or whomever it is used against very hot, very quickly, causing "extreme thermal blooms." Though what flowers have to do with this, I've no idea. In living things, these "blooms" cause the water within the body to boil away to steam, a sort of organic boiler explosion, I suppose. Sounds bloody dreadful.

15 November 2007

Not much today, Gents!

To be honest, I have not been diligent in the workload in front of me, Gentlemen. Absolutely no painting got done other than a truly awful flag for some 15/18mm Black Hat Martians which I have already decided is simply rubbish.

I did a bit of work on an Inventor character for my good friend Jim S., who is going to play in a Steampunk GURPS game with my children and I late last night after the memsahib and the progeny had retired.

I also began to dig through a pile of boxes I received over the summer via numerous auctions-by-post. I found many interesting items therein, including some giant dragonflies, a steam-powered ram (the animal, not the siege engine), and a few large steam golems (all MK toys, I think). Just the thing when I eventually purchase some more 25mm riders to mount upon them. Also found no fewer than 5 Mordian Iron Guard Mortar teams, two painted a nice kharkee and three sets unpainted. These will eventually be used by the Kaiserlich Forshcungsanstalt fur Geheimewaffen (KFG), or German Imperial Research Institute for Secret Weapons, the Hunnish answer to Her Majesty's Royal Artillery Field Testing Platoon.

In addition, have been going over supplies and creating shopping lists. The gentlemen at Litko Aerosystems should be receiving an order soon, as I am in dire need of basing materials. I'll probably also be contacting the London War Room for a few trial pieces of Martian cavalrymen. Perhaps the Martian Johnnies will wait for my Christmas list to the memsahib.

Well, that's all for now. Off to the grocer's and a restaurant.

14 November 2007

The Royal Artillery Research and Development Field Platoon

Gentlemen, I present to you incontrivertible photo-static evidence that Her Majesty's Government has begun experimentation with weapons of fantastic power... the Royal Artillery's Research and Development Field Testing Platoon. Or, at the very least, Lieutenant Hiram Goswalding and four members of his platoon. Can you hear the Hun tremble? As well he might!

These fine young men are sporting an array of new weapons currently being tested for safety for operator and effectiveness against the enemies of our beloved Sovereign. Only in Britain can the likes of these fine brave lads be found, willing to test Electrorifles, Voltaic pistols, Chainswords, and Portable Flameguns with nothing but "very nearly certain its safe" assurances from the mad scientists who have created these weapons.

A round of applause for the lads, gentlemen!

Oh, and please drop a few quid into the hat as it passes. The photostat of young Corporal Fanningshire (pictured above, carrying the flamegun) was taken only moments before a catastrophic failure of the Bening Patent Igniter. He leaves behind a widow and three small children.

13 November 2007

To Tank or Not to Tank?

I am torn on the final bit to be added (or perhaps not) to the ASA Mk. II. The old girl is kitted up with a bit of a torch, you know, the better to fling fiery death upon Her Majesty's enemies. Serves the blackguards right, you ask me.

At any point, the final question is whether or not to mount external fuel tanks on the weapon itself. In a suitable fiery red enamel, and bronze fittings - no sparks, you know. That might set things off prematurely, don't you know old boy!

I could simply leave the old girl the way she is, sans tanks, of course. But I have the bits just sitting there... Oh dilemma! The travails of Odysseus when confronted with Scylla and Charybdis spring to mind! Oh, the blessings of an Eton education, to bring up a classical reference at the most useless of times.

12 November 2007

Port and Cigars all around!

Another first for this journal, we have been electro-statically linked with another 'blog.' Still hate that deuced word, but there it is.

I am proud to announce that one of My favorite co-journalists has thought well enough of my humble efforts here to merit a posting on his journal, which is quite well read. It also has possibly the greatest title going "Yours In a White Wine Sauce."

If you haven't checked it out, good Heavens man, you should do so at once! You may reach it at the following difference engine address: http://pauljamesog.blogspot.com.

This Blogspot neighborhood seems to be quite the fashionable part of town. It's no St James or Regency Park (or even Lincoln Fields), but then, what is?

My thanks again to Paul for helping out with my little project here.

10 November 2007

ASA Scale Comparison

Okay, so here it is... ASAs put against both 15mm and 25mm figures for scale comparison. Obviously, the ASAs are much more terrifying for the 15mm Pathan (Stone Mountain) than the 25mm Tommy (GFI/Minifigs).

The ASAs started life as D&D Minis "Hammerer" prior to a bit of cutting and the addition of a few bits from GW. I can post a series of photos and instructions on this very simple conversion if there's any interest.

To the left: A Pathan chieftain between two towering ASAs (Mk. II on the left, Mk. I on the right).

On the right: Private Jones 3421 of the 24th between two ASAs. The pose is in front of a recently captured French tower (note the tricolour).

Presenting, the ASA

One of my first conversions for VSF, this Mk. I Armored Steam Automaton ("Asa") terrifies the wogs something horrible, it does. Well, at least as long as it keeps up pressure.

Do you know, it occurs to me that it would seem more terrifying if the pictures had a human in scale. Perhaps I shall pit it against a luckless squad of French Foreign Legionnaires or some Pathan Johnnies for the next photo. Should probably adjust the image to a more appropriate 'sepia' print too... Oh well, still just getting the hang of this thing, I suppose, so you will just have to wait and see what happens next.


Greetings all!

Welcome to my brand-new foray into the realm of telephonic difference engineering. Here you will find my journal of attempts to recreate Her Imperial Majesty's Invincible Armies and their triumphs (and defeats - not that there were many, mind you!).

In essence, this 'blog' (Barbaric word, that. Must be an American term. Wholly unsuited for the Queen's English, but there you have it) is a record of my forays into miniatures wargaming of the VSF variety. I have spent years talking about VSF gaming, and precious little time actually doing it... NO MORE!

I have dropped the chink on these little lead men, both in the One True Scale and their larger cousins. It's time I got some use out of them. It is hoped that by publicly posting my progress (or lack thereof) I will be forced to get some painting and modelling done and some games played or suffer eternal scorn from my fellow wargamers.

At all accounts, please enjoy my journal. I shall endeavour to keep it up to date and entertaining as well.