Sunday, December 16, 2018

Whisperings From Beyond Tartarus

Okay. I kind of fell off the face of earth this year. Or . . . maybe I fell onto it. The real world kind of got in the way of 28mm fictions. Some of this is fairly mundane. Some of it is honestly slightly grim. But some of it is almost exiting. I have a concert announcement. (You might recall I live a dual life as science-fiction gamer wannabe and super-serious musician man.) Early this year I started playing with the Town and Country Symphony Orchestra. This has been fantastic for a couple of reasons. First, and not least, I get to play music. Which . . . might actually be what I love most. Maybe. Don't quote me on that. I really like pushing lead around a table, but . . . Beethoven. Verdi. Richard Rogers. There's this music stuff. Even better? The TCSO has agreed to play my piano concert at their annual chamber concert at Parkway United Church of Christ. On Sunday February 10th David Peek will conduct the TCSO and Andreas Boelcke in a performance of a keyboard concerto by Bach, Gabriel's Oboe from The Mission, and my first (and so far only) piano concerto.

Again, this will be Sunday, February 10th 2019 at 2:30 pm.
Parkway United Church of Christ
2841 N. Ballas Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63131

Which brings me to the second part: Kickstarter is good for more than just spin-casting startups. You can also make other spinning things. Like CDs, for instance. I'm running a small fundraising drive on Kickstarter to offset my own expenses related to the concert.(Most prominently a plane ticket to get the pianist from Berlin to St. Louis and back.) Please feel free to take a peek at my musical bake sale. You can buy a handcrafted CD there, a bespoke score, or a few other nifty things. And anything we raise beyond expenses will go to support the TCSO in their mission to bring great free music to the community in western and northern St. Louis county.

Either way, if you're in St. Louis please come to the show. I hope that you will enjoy it. There will be a little bit of something for everyone. And . . . it's free. (Best price ever.) And if you're not in St. Louis . . . there is always YouTube and it will be there. Not quite the same, but . . . not too shabby for all that.

The Composer.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Carnival House

I've long been of the opinion that every good story needs a seedy side. Star Wars has Mos Eisely. War and Peace has Pierre. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock has . . . well . . . everything. It's probably not too subtle that Logansport is the border boomtown of my little space western, but so far all the buildings had been pretty pedestrian. Nothing too flashy. A couple nondescript houses, a greenhouse, a factory shed, some shacks, heck, even a church. I still need more seedy, but at least this was a start.

To say I'm a bit late talking about this is an understatement. It's a project I did nearly a year ago. I've been aware of Plast Craft Games scenery for a while, having seen Cheetor's review of their ColorED line. I decided I should give them a go and picked up a two story building from their Designed for Carnevale range. The model itself was fairly simple. The structure was mostly a fomacore material with a plastic coating of some kind. The major pieces were provided in pre-cut sheets and you just punched them as necessary and glued. The windows, doors, and railings were separate details. The build should have been easy enough, seeing as the kit had maybe a couple dozen parts at most, but it was slightly complicated by the fit. the resin windows and doors did not fit the cutouts terribly well and there was much gap filling to be done. A second minor issue was the spacing of the front door an eighth of an inch or so above the bottom of the model with no provision made for a step. To deal with the gap I fabricated one out of a couple pieces of leftover foamcore.

And of course I added a little spackle detailing to make the building look a little more worn and weary. All that said, it painted up rather nicely and the price wasn't too bad, so I can't really complain.

While my review is a little mixed, it would be well to keep in mind that these are quite a bit less expensive than some of the other options out there, and this was stock from a local hobby store that might have sat too long in a hot car on the way to a convention. (One or two things seemed a touch warped.) If everything had been a little more square it's possible things would have fit better. And for the price it's really not too bad at all.

Anyway, thanks for reading along.

The Composer

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2017 in Review

From the perspective of this blog you might get the impression 2017 was a rather slow year. While that wouldn't be entirely incorrect, it would be at least a little misleading. I didn't get the biggest pile of work done, but I wrote about a much smaller proportion of it than usual, so the quantity was, perhaps, not so startlingly low as one might think. So in the annual act of summary, here's what actually happened . . .

2017 started off slowly, but in a fairly large way with a solid few set pieces and some good adventuring.

The MB-1210 Starshuttle.

The Shrike Light Fighter

And the Carnival House

All of which made appearances in the first story arc of the year. That's about all the scenery I managed to finish all year, but I got a start on some other things and painted a few 28 mm miniatures. To wit:

Cowboys on Commission made 1 and 2.

Mr. Bishop was 3.

4 and 5 were an octopus and his handler.

6, 7, and 8 were something of an odd lot.

9 through 19 fleshed out a small army unit.
(Ignoring the more conventional field piece and the two people on the far right.)

20 and 21 were hardened veterans.

22 was a croc I call "Killface."

23 and 24 were two more ogre brothers.
(The pail blonde fellow and the gent in the breastplate.)

25, 26, 27, and 28 started a second Hexapodal Messianic congregation.

29 and 30 were a warrior missionary and a bone-fide Messiah.

31 and 32 were guards, both human and mechanical.

33 though 37 were repaints of  Marines from the legendary 32nd Legion.

and 38 was a rainbow ganger for a miniature exchange.

. . . . .

I did get a few other things started, but let's consign them to 2018. Here's how it relates to my goals of last year.

A. Please do try to get a little more done in 1/2400.

Nope. Not happening.

B. Some non-human civilians would be mighty nice.

Sort of? Do armed demi-bugs count? Or a cheerful demi-bug schoolteacher? They're only part human. And maybe a couple of weekend warrior ogres. They're mostly civilians now. Let's call this a qualified success.

C. Moab needs "entertainment." And maybe more religion.

I suppose the carnival house counts for entertainment. It doesn't completely scratch the itch, but it's a clear start. A partial success.

D. Ships. Multiple now, and not just one. For the Lace Rock kinder and others. You have materials. Ues them.

I got two done and started not one, but two others. The Gang's ship is still on the ways, but we'll count that another qualified success.

E. Additional Space Port facilities.

Not really, no.

F. Some more dense urban stuff might be a nice change.

Mm, no, not really. Not unless you count the brothel. It's supposed to be "Venetian" in its inspiration, and I suppose that counts as a dense, if small city. We'll give this another half hearted sure.

G. A rock. The gang really does need their hidey-hole.

I've done a little more thinking on this one, but it's been pushed off another year.

So that's four partial successes and a little "Whoops! Where did the year go?" Four out of seven isn't too bad by my own standards. Hopefully 2018 will be a little better, but . . . it wasn't a terrible year. 38 miniatures, a couple of spaceships, and a modest building.

And I did get more gaming done than showed up here as well. I suppose I got in several local games, a solo or two, some Space Hulk (that counts, right?), and not one, but two conventions: Cornhammer and Oldhammer in the Jerz, which was the primary US Oldhammer event this year, I do believe. That might have even been as many as ten events pushing lead around tables with friends. For me, that's a pretty substantial year. Helps to move back to civilization, I suppose.

So where to next year?

Well . . .

A. Let's get those other two ships finished off, at the very least.
B. It would be nice if all my spaceports didn't look quite so similar, so more spaceport buildings.
C. A temple and a bar for the city.
D. A hideout for the gang.
E. The interior of a Gubernatorial palace, I think. Oddly. More on that later.
F. Some desert road tiles. More on that later as well.

Thanks for coming along.

And Happy New Year!

The Composer