Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Not a creature was stirring

We had mice again this year. We haven’t heard anything or seen any sign for over two weeks now, so we are calling this year’s invasion done. The end count was another six, with three being really small ones.

We didn’t catch any using the regular spring traps. All were caught using the sticky traps. They didn't get into as much as they did last year. But they did get into the end of a box of After Eight mints.

We’re going to have to spend some time this summer checking the foundation carefully to see where they are getting in. I thought I had blocked everything last year, but there must be more places that I have missed.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Danger zone!

When the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie came out they had miniature toy figures that were a bit bigger than 1/35. They also had some ships that were actually closer in scale to 28mm figures. They had also brought out an Avengers Quinn Jet that fired heroes on motorbikes that were also about the same scale.

People have picked up both the Milano and the Quinn Jet to use as scatter terrain in Marvel Universe Miniature game. I had it on my list when I went to the States and have been looking for them spring but have not been able to find either. I see them on ebay but haven’t been able to pull the trigger due to the shipping costs.

But I was in Save On Foods at the end of November, and they had some toys out on their Christmas section, and they had a Quinn Jet. It looked like it had been opened, but was on sale for half price from $30 down to $15, so I snapped it up.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Light the Batsignal

I had already picked up a Bat-Signal at Chapters already, but I ended up getting the official one from Knight Models from FunAgain when they were on sale.

The one from Chapters is already made in a grey plastic. It looks okay out of the box. A simple wash would make it look better but you would have to be careful of the electronics. It has a working light, and is slightly bigger than official one.

The one from Knight Models has to be built and painted. Like most of their kits, it goes together pretty well without trouble. You could add a light to it, but it does not come with one. It costs about $10.

There are also two Heroclix Batsignals. The larger one was an object from the Streets of Gotham set. It is a bit bigger than the others. There was also a small one with the Commissioner Gordon. It is the smallest one but also probably closer to actual scale. Both are already assembled and prepainted. Lighting either would be a major alteration. They go for about $12 and $2 right now respectively.

The cost for them is all within the same range so it really depends on which one would be easier for you to buy. If you can’t buy one locally, shipping would skew the cost significantly. Unless you want to make one from scratch.
Which one is better for you? If you only play with friends it really doesn’t matter. But if you are playing in official events, you should get the official one.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Figure Painting Total - Oct 2017

Miniature Market had a sale last month and I picked up the Justice League and Secret Society of Supervillians sets for the DC Universe/Batman Miniature game as well.

BM/DCU – Black Manta – 1
BM/DCU – Flash – 1
BM/DCU – Green Arrow – 1
BM/DCU – Hawkman – 1
BM/DCU – Killer Frost – 1
BM/DCU – Professor Zoom – 1

Oct figures bought - 6, figures painted – 0

Running total 2017 – figures bought 131, figures painted 0

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Passport to adventure - renewed!

We used to be able to travel across the border to the states with only a driver’s license for ID. In the last two decades they tightened up security – needing a passport to fly to the U.S., but we were still able to drive across the border with just a license.

Then they tightened up the border as well and we came out with an enhanced ID that you could get instead of getting a passport. Since I don’t fly a lot, I got that instead. It was a bit cheaper, but you had to go for an interview to get it done.

When it was came up to expire in 2012, I was told that I had to interview again. Since we were travelling too soon and their office hours were not good, I was unable to get an appointment before we had to travel so I rushed a 5 year passport.
I then got a renewed enhanced license in the mail.
On the upside, when we went to Disney World last year, my passport was still valid so I didn’t have to get one.

This summer, I kept mentioning that I should probably check to see if I needed to renew it. When I finally got around to digging it out and checking, it turns out that my instincts were right. So I had to scramble to get it renewed before it expired.
The office close at 4:30 pm but I was able to squeak in and get it done in time. I ended up getting a 10 year renewal. This should cover most of my remaining travelling days. It works out to under $20 a year, which I consider a bargain for the ability to go anywhere at a moment’s notice.

Not that I often get a chance to do that. But I could.

Monday, October 9, 2017

State of the Marvel Universe - miniature game

With a bit more searching, I was able to get more figures for the Marvel Universe Miniature game. I think I’m good now. I have all 5 starters, 13 of the 19 single figures, the 3 sets of markers, and the spray template. Of the Spider-Man game figures, that work with the Batman Miniature game but also have cards to use with the Marvel Universe game, I don’t have any of the 3 starters, but do have 4 of the 5 figures.

I have all the key figures I had wanted. There are still two figures that I am interested in, Loki and Elektra, but those both seem to be rare and expensive, so I will substitute Heroclix figures. I would also substitute for the rest of the figures I need unless the price drops on them significantly. These are Thanos, Doctor Octopus, Incredible Hulk, Venom, Hulkbuster MK44, and the other sculpt of Black Widow. If I run across the Spider-Man starters at a good price, I would get them as well – Superior Spider-Man, Spider Robots, and Goblin Cult.

Now I just have to paint them.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Figure Painting Total - September 2017

I was finally able to get a Jean Grey for Marvel Universe as well as another Emma Frost. The one I already owned had a casting issue with one of her legs. I will see if I can use some green stuff to fix it, and modify her to be a Scarlet Witch.
FunAgain had another sale, so I picked up some of the bigger figures to use with both Batman Miniatures and DC Universe.

BM/DCU – Clayface – 1
BM/DCU – Deathstroke – 1
BM/DCU – Harley Quinn – 1
BM/DCU – Soloman Grundy – 1
MU – Emma Frost – 1
MU – Jean Grey – 1

Oct figures bought - 6, figures painted – 0

Running total 2017 – figures bought 125, figures painted 0

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Cerebus - final thoughts

I have finally finished the last collection of the Cerebus series - The Last Day.

  While it was good to have read the whole series, I still feel that where I had originally stopped was probably a good spot for me.  I had originally read Cerebus, High Society, and Church & State 1 + 2.  I stopped before Jaka’s story.

I liked the parody parts in the first two, and loved the supporting characters of Lord Julius, Elrod, the Roach, and even Red Sophia.  I feel that he had nailed the look and character of Groucho Marx for Julius.  I hadn’t read Elric but knew of him, and thought he was sufficiently mocked as an overly serious character by giving him the speech pattern of Foghorn Leghorn for Elrod.  The Roach was the parody of the then-current comic industry, and Red Sophia was Cerebus’ Red Sonja.
Even though everyone raves about Jaka’s Story, when I finally read it, I wasn’t as impressed.  Heroes are defined by their struggles.  When they have achieved their goals, their story becomes less interesting.  I was never as smitten with Jaka as most of the readers seemed to be.
Cerebus becomes a series where the footnotes are as important as the regular story.  The research clearly shows.  I can’t compare the Oscar Wilde, Hemmingway, or Fitzgerald likenesses, but the Stooges, Woody Allen, and Marty Feldman are spot on, and even the young Mick and Keith are recognizable.
  Sim’s outlook and views have changed during the course of the series and it spills into the series.  Some people lose their minds about Sim writing the character Dave into the series and espousing ‘his’ views, but Sim is very meta about it, Dave is clearly a character.  Any resemblance to the views held by the character are carefully controlled by the author.  Some people have trouble separating the character Dave from the author Dave Sim.
Granted, I read these all after the fact, collected safely into tradebacks.  On a month-by-month basis, Sim was very interactive with his readers through the letters’ column.  Remember, this was in the pre- and early-internet days, and being able to speak and argue directly with the writer was an oddity.
The writing was often daring.  In the midst of the stories, with it spinning off on a tangent, the readers weren’t sure where it was going.  Collected, you can flip ahead to see where the threads lead, but as issues, the monthly wait must have been both exciting and frustrating.  I mean, we knew how it would end as that was foretold to Cerebus back in but the path to that destination left a lot of room for wandering.

My final thought on the series?  I’m good with it.  Even though I didn’t enjoy it as much after the Church & State storyline, I don’t mind buying and reading through the rest of the series.  At the very least, to help support a Canadian artist who was at the forefront of creator owned, and published books.  He may not have always been likeable but he was a champion for creator rights.
A 300 issue epic, written and drawn by the same creative team is not something that we are likely to see repeated often, if again.  To publish it as well, and keep all of it in print, is a milestone that will not often be passed.  The entire series fits nicely onto a shelf or into a short box if you’re tight for space. You can follow along with what he’s currently doing, like the Cerebus In Hell project or the , on the website A Moment of Cerebus.

Thanks, Dave Sim, for Cerebus, and letting us get to know you on this journey.  And thanks again for the sketch from 1994 at the Central City Distributors trade show in St. Louis.  I wish you good things on your way.

The ‘phone books’ are:
Cerebus – covers issues 1 - 25
High Society – covers issues 26-50
Church & State volume 1 – covers issues 52-80
Church & State volume 2 – covers issues 81-111

Jaka’s Story – covers issues 114-136
Melmoth – covers issues 139-150 (Oscar Wilde)

There is also a comic Cerebus Zero which collects the ‘missing’ issues which are not collected above – 51, 112-113, 137-138.

The Mothers and Daughters storyline is broken up into four smaller books.
Flight – covers issues 151-162
Women – covers issues 163-174
Reads – covers issues 175-186
Minds – covers issues 187-200

Guys – covers issues 201-219
Rick’s Story – covers issues 220-231

Going Home – covers issues 232-250 (Fitzgerald)
Form and Void – covers issues 251-265 (Hemingway)

Latter Days – covers issues 266-288 (Stooges, Woody Allen)
The Last Day – covers issues 289-300

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Batman Miniatures Game second edition

The Second Edition rules are up on the Knight Models site. They have already been updated. Part of this is due to correcting the translation from Spanish. They do not have a new book yet but they say that the Flash and Arrow book and the Arkham Campaign book are still compatible.

With this update, a lot of the figures have been moved to the Legends category. They are still usable, but are no longer being made in quantities. They have changed some of the gangs, and released a few new sets in resin.
Of the 30 figures I currently have, 20 of them are still current if you count the Suicide Squad box. Otherwise only 6 of them are current.

There have been some changes in the gangs. The Joker, Bane, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Court of Owls, and the new Amazons of Themyscira are all still there and basically unchanged. The Poison Ivy gang has been renamed the Gotham Sirens, the League of Shadows has been renamed the League of Assassins, and the Scarecrow gang is now called Militia. They have created a new gang called the Central City Villains and moved Grodd into it. The Watchmen were already gone prior to this update.

The bigger changes in the gangs is the combining of Batman, Law Forces, and Arrow into the new Brave and Bold. The Organized Crime now includes Black Mask, Lexcorp, and parts of the Wonderland Gang. They are starting with 5 resin starter sets to add to the Grodd and Shaman sets. They are Batman, Joker and Clowns, Bane and Mercenaries, Gotham Sirens, and Blackgate Prisioners. They are a bit cheaper than the metal figures and they look great. We’ll have to see how easy they are to work with.

Friday, September 15, 2017

FunAgain again

I’m ‘saving up’ to get more of the Games Workshop big game boxes, like Deathwatch: Overkill, The Horus Heresy: Burning of Prospero, Gangs of Commorragh, and the new Blood Bowl. However, FunAgain had another sale, so I picked up a few more figures for the Batman Miniature Game. I didn’t get too many – there is the pending second edition coming, and they have been grouping older figures into sets.

I ended up ordering two of the larger figures, Solomon Grundy and Clayface, and two regular figures, Deathstroke and Harley Quinn. On sale, the larger figures were hard to pass up. All four are figures that already have cards for the DC Universe game as well so that gives me a fair amount of villains to use.

The Court of Owls set and the Gotham Butcher are also on sale and are tempting in that they are a pretty small crew. I’ll probably pass for now and see what becomes of the Court of Owls crew with the new edition.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Figure Painting total - August 2017

Not much this month. I actually started putting together the Bat Signal and the Construction Set pieces. Painting could theoretically happen. If they aren’t too much trouble, I’m looking forward to doing one of the vans or even the billboards.

BM Bat Signal – 1
BM Construction Set 2 – 11
BM GCPD van – 1

Aug figures bought - 13, figures painted – 0

Running total 2017 – figures bought 119, figures painted 0

I think the biggest part of the weight of inertia behind not painting is the pressure to do a good job. That and the mass of figures to be painted. Because the Marvel and DC Universe games are much smaller sets, that takes a bit of the pressure off having to paint an army but because there are fewer figures, each one becomes more important, and the pressure to not screw it up increases as each figure then becomes a hero figure and can’t be lost in a squad.

Helping this, I now have a few figures that I don’t really care about (Gambit, Toad, Ares, and most of the figures from the Suicide Squad boxed set – especially Joker’s crew), and some of the heroes have a really easy costume scheme (Black Widow, Black Panther, Groot, and The Thing).

Plus, I now have enough buildings, cars, and scatter terrain that I can use to fill enough of a board to play a game. The ability to paint a few figures and then play with them helps. Games which have a larger painting requirement can be more daunting, as the reward for painting figures gets delayed until you have amassed enough painted figures for a game.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Books Read - May to August 2017

Codex Eldar (6th edition) by Phil Kelly & Adam Troke
Frontiers of Space by Andrew Wilson
Codex Space Marine (6th edition) by Robin Cruddace
Iyanden by Mat Ward
Codex Imperial Knights (6th) by the Games Workshop Design Team
Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly
The Pictorial History of World Spacecraft by Bill Yenre

Warhammer 40,000 (7th edition) Book III: Rules by the Games Workshop Design Studio
Warhammer 40,000 (7th edition) Book I: A Galaxy of War by the Games Workshop Design Studio
Time Life Books: The Old West: The End and the Myth by Paul O’Neil
Warhammer 40,000 (7th edition) Book III: Dark Millennium by the Games Workshop Design Studio
Warhammer 40,000: Angels of Death by Games Workshop in Nottingham
Codex Chaos Space Marines (6th edition) by Phil Kelly
Time: Inside the Red Border by Time Books
The Tick Mighty Blue Justice by Greg Hyland
Codex Chaos Daemons (6th edition) by Robin Cruddace & Phil Kelly
Codex Tyranids (6th edition) by The Games Workshop Design Studio

Codex Astra Militarum (6th edition) by The Games Workshop Design Studio
The Farsight Enclaves (6th edition) by The Games Workshop Design Studio
Model Soldiers – Armies in Miniature by Massimo Alberini
Codex Orks (7th edition) by The Games Workshop Design Studio
Waaagh! Gzaghkull by the Games Workshop Design Studio
Codex Grey Knights (7th edition) by the Games Workshop Design Studio
Codex Space Wolves (7th edition) by the Games Workshop Design Studio
Codex Dark Eldar (7th edition) by the Games Workshop Design Studio
Haemonculus Covens (7th edition) by the Games Workshop Design Studio

Codex Blood Angels (7th edition) by the Games Workshop Design Studio
Codex Necrons (7th edition) by the Games Workshop Design Studio
Codex Harlequins (7th edition) by Games Workshop in Nottingham
Codex Skitarii (7th edition) by Games Workshop in Nottingham
The Science of Dune: An Unauthorized Exploration into the Real Science Behind Frank Herbert’s Fiction Universe Edited by Kevin R. Grazier, PhD
Codex Khorne (7th edition) by Games Workshop in Nottingham
Codex Craftworlds (7th edition) by Games Workshop in Nottingham
Codex Cult Mechanicus (7th edition) by Games Workshop in Nottingham
War Zone Fenris:Curse of the Wolfen by Games Workshop in Nottingham
Mad Dogs with Guns by Howard Whitehouse & Roderick Robertson
Deco Devolution: The Art of BioShock 2 by 2K Games

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Batman Miniature Game second edition announced

Knight Models has announced a second edition of the Batman Miniature game to be released in September. As well, they have announced that they will be moving to colored resin figures. The older metal figures are still supposed to be compatible, as would the Flash/Arrow expansion and Arkham Knights campaign books.

A lot of the metal figures have been moved into their Legends area, which means that they don’t make them as often and will become harder to get.

Since I haven’t gotten too deep into getting the gangs, I’m okay with this. I was waiting to get the Arkham Knights Campaign book to see if there was any figures/affiliations to focus on first. I will get the figures that work for both the BMG and DCU. Now that they have made convenient sets to collect them. A lot of the gangs did not appeal to me.

With the new edition, they are changing some of the affiliations of the crewss that are in the system. They have joined the Batman/Green Arrow/Law Forces into the Brave and the Bold. They have done away with the Wonderland Gang affiliation – which only had 4 figures anyways. They have changed the Poison Ivy crew to Gotham Sirens. I already had Suicide Squad and Joker squads, thanks to the boxed set, and the entire Watchmen set. I was interested in getting more figures to round out the Batman/Green Arrow before. I was interested in the Law Forces and the Bane crew, and was thinking about the Poison Ivy, and Organized Crime crews. Because they were smaller sets, I was also thinking about the Court of Owls, Wonderland Gang, and even the League of Shadows.

Since the resin is supposed to be cheaper than the metals, even though I prefer working with metals, I’m cautiously okay with this as well. It really depends on the quality of the resins. Unfortunately, they are not quite a big enough company yet to be able to afford plastic figures, which I like best.

They are also changing from Metric to Imperial measurements. This doesn’t affect me either way. I still find myself thinking in inches by default, but metric is so much easier to do calculations.

They are changing the design of the cards again. But they had already done this a few times. The Watchmen cards don't match the current style and the new format is different again. But they have been really good about having the updated stat cards on their website.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

GenCon or GenCan't?

I was at GenCon in 1992 for the GenCon/Origins and the 25th anniversary. Back then, it was in Milwaukee, at MECCA. I was there the next year in 1993 when Magic was released. We were there when Wizards of the Coast bought TSR in 1997 and after Hasbro bought WOTC. We were there in 1998 when they left MECCA (we saved a brick from the demolition site) and when the new WOTC castle replaced the old TSR castle (we saved a piece of the old castle too). We were there when Cardhalla first debuted in 1999 as a sometime people did with the discarded Magic cards left lying around before it became a big thing.
I went almost every year in that period, except the year my sister scheduled her wedding on GenCon Saturday.

When GenCon made the move to Indianapolis in 2003, we did not go and we have not been since. A logistical combination of a second child, a poor exchange on the dollar, the extra distance, and not having the knowledge of the downtown in the new city all factored in against us.

This year is the 50th anniversary of GenCon. It has been sold out for a while. One of the friends that we had gone with is making the trip this year with his son. We are still not going.

Shan and I talked about it, but the logistics still work against us. While our kids are old enough to leave behind and our dollar is doing better, the travel, new city, and having to book time off for it in advance work against us. Plus, the uncertainty of hotels, and even how quickly the memberships sold out would have made this one tricky.

It might be sour grapes, but I’m not even sure how much I would enjoy it anymore. I would still try to get in a Diplomacy game, and check in with the Highlander CCG crowd. I would spend a lot of time in the Dealers Room, looking at the new products, trying to find a few old items (like Jean Grey), and looking for some familiar faces – like GW/AoG Dave Frank, and TSR Brian Mitchel. I believe I would find the crowds overwhelming. Plus, not knowing the area, not likely to get a hotel near the convention, and the travel would all be challenging.
Most of the designers can now be reached online. A lot of the new games I can wait and buy locally or online. A lot of the older items I ‘could’ buy online, if I was willing to pay those rates. Even the promos aren’t as big a draw anymore. I’ve done without so many of the Heroclix promos now that I have passed beyond filling them. A lot of the other promos, I would still have the ability to buy online albeit at an inflated price.

That said, I do have my friend looking for a Bat-Mite promo for me this year, if he gets a chance.
I’m sure I would enjoy it if I was there. I really can’t see us making it down though, unless finances change significantly, like lottery-scale.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

DC Universe - new collections for old BMG figs

Knight Models has started repackaging some of their older BMG figures with the Universe cards as well. Luckily, I hadn’t bought them yet so I will be able to take advantage of this. They had created a bunch of cards for the figures that you were able to print off yourself in the PDF of the rules.

The first two they released were the Justice League and the Secret Society of Supervillains. The Justice League contains Flash, Green Arrow, and Hawkman. The Secret Society contains Black Manta, Killer Frost, and Professor Zoom. In putting together the new sets they updated a few of the cards.

They just released the remaining three sets that they had preorders for - Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad, and Teen Titans. We had speculated which figures that they would contain. We were right about the Teen Titans in guessing that it would contain Cyborg, Kid Flash, and Starfire.

We thought that the Birds of Prey would contain Batgirl, Black Canary, and Hawkgirl but they substituted Huntress for Batgirl even though Huntress did not yet have a card.

The Suicide Squad was a bit of a mix. We thought it could have Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and the Joker. Alternatively, it could have contained Deadshot, Deathstroke, and Joker, leaving Harley to add to Ivy and a Catwoman for a Gotham Sirens. These were based on the figures that already had cards listed. I had hoped that it could possibly include the comic sculpt of Boomerang (which did not have a card yet, but I really prefer this figure to the one from the movie).
In the end, they only used the Deadshot figure which had previously had a card, and added the comic figures of Katanna and Captain Boomerang, both of which did not have cards.

This is great as I don’t have any of those figures yet. I had only started filling in these figures with Ravager, and Lobo. It would also save me the trouble of printing the cards.

From the cards, that would leave Batgirl, Ravager, Deathstroke, Harley Quinn, Joker, Lobo, Poison Ivy, and Ra’s Al Ghul as the last regular-sized figures and Bane, Clayface, Solomon Grundy, and Swamp Thing as larger figures. A League of Assassins set could still be made from Ravager, Deathstroke, and Ra’s Al Ghul. Gothem Sirens could also be made with Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Figure Painting Total - July 2017

I picked up the Kill Team and DCU Trinity on our trip to Thunder Bay. The other few I picked up online.

BM – The Dynamic Duo – 2
BM/DCU – Lobo – 1
BM/DCU – Ravager – 1
DCU – Trinity – 3
GW – Kill Team – Space Marines – 10
GW – Kill Team – Tau Fire – 10
GW – Kill Team – Tau drones – 2
GW – Kill Team – Tau gun emplacement – 1
MU – Emma Frost – 1

July figures bought - 31, figures painted – 0

Running total 2017 – figures bought 106, figures painted 0

Friday, July 28, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - Day 10 - Polynesian/Travel

On Tuesday, August 30, we got up, showered, and packed the last of our items away. We had accumulated a lot of snacks that would not make the trip back.

We stored our bags at the front desk and took the bus to the Magic Kingdom. We were early, so we took the train around the park and checked that off our list. Knowing that Stitch made an appearance at the front, we saw him as we were starting our train ride and he was still there when we got off - but the line was too long.

We took the monorail to the Polynesian Resort and had our Aloha Character Breakfast. It was a beautiful breakfast - we started with fresh fruit and pastries, then had an all-you-can-eat, family-style breakfast - scrambled eggs, biscuits, waffles, hash browns, sausage, and bacon. There was also this mango/guava/orange juice that was wonderful.
They had the following characters there - Pluto, holiday Mickey, Lilo, and of course Stitch. It cost about $35 a person - which I consider a bargain for what you received. We were there early but they sat us early. We did have a long wait for Stitch but, when he finally came around, my daughter had tears again.

We took a cab back to our resort. Gaby when to the arcade again. We got our bags from holding, and waited for the bus back to the airport.
As we got to the airport it rained very heavily. We unloaded under the canopy and made our way over to our terminal for our flights back. We waited. The desk did not open until 3:45.
We were in the front third of the line but we got held up. Our tickets back for David3 and I did not have our middle names and the computer did not want to board two people with the same name. So we had to wait while the agent was on hold and could fix it for us.
Our bags were a bit over - 54, 51, and 53 pounds but he let them go through without overcharges. My bag, even with all the heavy liquids and extra stuff, was still only 47 pounds.

We got split up at customs by an agent that looked like an older Daniel Cook. Gaby and Shan went though as pre-checked, and David3 and I had to go through the regular line. They brought the dog out to run up an down the line but no incidence.

We picked up some burgers from Burger King and waited for our flight.

We got to Toronto with no problems. We didn't have to transfer our bags, which was a big help as our connection was tight.
Or it would have been if the connecting plane was on time. There was an issue with the plane so they had to bring a replacement in from New York.

We did a lot of walking through the Toronto terminal, and Shan and Gaby had picked up some Timbits for the wait. The kids were happy to be back in Canada and were looking forward to getting home.

My folks picked us up in Winnipeg. We were supposed to be in at 12:30 am but with the delay we were a bit late.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Why do Cosplayers wait until the last moment?

Because there is always more that can be done to the costume if there is more time.

Because I’ve been able to finish costumes for my daughter with little notice, she feels that I always can. Lucky for her, I’ve mostly had the week off during costume crunch time and can working into the night by stealing sleep during the day.

This didn’t work out for her last time when she wanted to do Princess Mononoke. We got a good start, and still pulled off enough for a costume but, because she was too busy to put effort in to it, did not finish the mask.

This time she came back from Thunder Bay wanting to do three costumes for Aikon, a local anime convention. But she didn’t work on them over the weekend, Monday we went shopping at Michaels for supplies but did no work, and she was away camping with a friend Tuesday to Wednesday. That left yesterday night to work on them.

She wanted a Sudoh-Bucks apron, a Wolf Children dress, and Rin Okumora from Blue Exorcist. She traced an apron on her fabric and we used hem tape to seal the edges. She used ribbon for the straps and glued it on. If we would have had more time, or were making more, I would have done the design with fabric paint but instead we did it out of felt. I was making one with glued felt and one with adhesive-backed felt but only completed the adhesive-backed one due to time. She also printed off the logo and glued it to a coffee cup that she had painted white.

While we were working on that, Shan was cutting out appliques from felt that Gee glued down on a blue dress for Wolf Children. She would also have to tack the sleeves in as it doesn't have doesn’t have sleeves. We didn’t have time for Rin Okumora so she didn’t get to do that one. We worked late into the night. I was the last one up working away on the logo, finishing at 2 am. It still needed to have the backing peeled off and then stuck to the apron but was basically finished.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

BMG - more figures.

I was going to stop buying miniatures for the Batman Miniature Game and save up for some of the Games Workshop boxed sets. But then Fun Again Games had a summer sale so I ordered a few more.

I ordered the Modern Batman as it comes with a Robin. I already have the Ben Affleck Batman, and now the Armored Batman from the DC Universe Trinity set. This one goes with the World’s Finest card in the DC Universe and is supposed to be the best Batman for the points in the Batman Miniature game.

I also got a Ravager, who is a Free Agent, so she can work with any team. She also used to be one of the best figures in the DC Universe game. In addition, as a Justice League Grey, she will work with either team.

I also picked up a Lobo, another Free Agent who can also be used in DC Universe. I don’t know if he is good, and I wasn’t a huge fan of him in the day, but I’m looking forward to painting him.

I am pretty sure this will be the game that gets me to start painting again.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Marvel Universe status update.

With a bit more searching, I was able to get more figures for the Marvel Universe Miniature game. I think I’m good now. I have all 5 starters, 13 of the 20 single figures, the 3 sets of markers, and the spray template. Of the Spider-Man game figures, that work with the Batman Miniature game but also have cards to use with the Marvel Universe game, I don’t have any of the 3 starters, but do have 4 of the 5 individual figures.

I was even able to pick up a figure that I can use for the Incredible Hulk. It seems a bit big to me – closer to 1/32 scale, but that matches pretty close to how big the Knight Models figure is. I had been looking for one from the Dollar Store or Dollar Tree but hadn’t been able to find one. This one was about $10- more than I had wanted to spend, but still much less than the actual figure. At that price I have to think about if I really want to rebase or repaint him.

I have all the key figures I had wanted except Jean Grey. There are still two other figures that I am interested in, Loki and Elektra, but those both seem to be rare and expensive, so I will substitute Heroclix figures. I would also substitute for the rest of the figures I need unless the price drops on them significantly. These are Thanos, Doctor Octopus, Incredible Hulk, Venom, Hulkbuster MK44, and the other sculpt of Black Widow. If I run across the Spider-Man starters at a good price, I would get them as well – Superior Spider-Man, Spider Robots, and Goblin Cult.

Now I just have to paint them.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Shopping in Thunder Bay - or not-so-local FGS

We did a trip to Thunder Bay to visit relatives for the Canada Day long weekend. It’s a bit of a drive – with the Ontario part being mostly one lane each way and only 90 km/h. I’ve done it once in the early spring and it was harrowing.
As the semis would pass, they would splash slush on your windshield and you could not see for 3 – 4 seconds. You had to hope there wasn’t a turn or a drifting cars until you could see again.

Thunder Bay has two great gaming stores. Thunder Games is located underneath a strip mall. It mainly focuses on miniature games, and has a large Games Workshop section, including many older books and games. This time I was able to get a copy of Kill Team, and the hardcover Imperial Agents codex. They also had the revised Dark Angels and Tau but I passed on them for now.
I did pick up a Season One for Blood Bowl. I don’t have the newest version of Blood Bowl yet, but I know that I’ll end up getting it eventually.

The other good store is The Game Shelf – which is attached to a used book store called The Book Shelf. It reminds me of a Sentry Box-lite. They had a bunch of Warhammer books that I could have picked up at the Book Shelf but I left them this time. I did find a hardcover Farsight Enclaves for $6.95 so I grabbed it.
Going through to the Game Shelf part I picked up some Heroclix starters. I also got another Dust building, and I picked up the Trinity set for DC Universe Miniature game.

I’ll probably have to pop back to Thunder Bay next year for a wedding, so I’m already looking forward to going back to these two stores to fill in more gaps from my lists.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Figure Painting Total - June 2017

I was able to pick up the remainders of the Knight Models Watchmen as well as a Rick Flag to complete my Suicide Squad team.

BM – Watchmen – Nite Owl – 1
BM – Watchmen – Ozymandius – 1
BM – Rick Flag - 1

June figures bought - 3, figures painted – 0
Running total 2017 – figures bought 78, figures painted 0

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - day 9 - Epcot/Hollywood Studios - part 2

At Epcot, Cheryl went to ride the Test Track. I went to buy my Figment shirt and would catch up with Shan and the kids by the China pavilion.

The cast members really seem to have a fondness for Figment. I got a lot of compliments about my hat and shirt when I wore it on Tuesday.

I popped into the Mexican pavilion and rushed over to China to meet them. They weren't there yet so I worked my way back. We met and got a picture with fiesta Donald.

We went over to China. Shan finally got to see two of her terracotta warriors. We got pictures with Mulan and saw some displays for Disney Shanghai.

We had lunch at the Chinese Pavilion and I picked up some coins at the gift shop.

At Germany, I got some daytime pictures of the outdoor train set, took a couple shots at Italy, and then we made it back to Japan for Gabrielle.

While waiting, we sat by the kids area listening to Aoi welcome the kids. She had a lovely Australian accent due to going to school in Oz.

We took a water express over to Hollywood Studios, where I was again randomly chosen for the metal detector. That was three-for-three today. I think that I was only not chosen once during all our visits.

D3 parted from us and went back to the room while we went in. Gaby and Cheryl went off to ride the Aerosmith Rocking Roller Coaster as single riders while Shan an I found a spot for the fireworks display. They made it back in time.
The show jumped around a bit but was awesome - with fire, lasers, as well as projection and fireworks.

On the bus back to the resort we were packed in pretty tight. We were up at the front with some British kids and we all sang along to the music on the ride back. The bus driver encouraged us and even flashed the lights.

Getting drinks at the resort, after being at the arcade, Gaby overheard some kids talking about meeting Stitch the next day. We went to the concierge and checked - there are character meets with Stitch - including a breakfast at the Polynesian.

Back to the room we went with my daughter in tears that she had missed Stitch. We rushed back to the office to book it but it was too late. It was after 11pm and the concierge desk was closed.
On a mission, Gaby rushed back to the room so that Shan could book it, and then we packed as much as we could in preparation for heading home. In packing, I found my pool shoes which I thought that I hadn't packed, but I did.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - day 9 - Magic Kingdom - part 1

On the Monday we went back to the Magic Kingdom.

We had a character meeting with Tink, who was adorable.

Then we went through to Cinderella's Castle Royal Table for our big character breakfast. We got to meet Cinderella in her throne room before brunch, and saw Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, and Jasmine during the breakfast. Shan and I had the beef tenderloin and egg frittatas - it was amazing.
It's a pricey experience - the princesses were also available to meet next door where Cheryl saw them. Outside the castle they have the sword in the stone so we tried our luck.

We made our way around to meet Merida - being stuck outside by the rain before finally meeting her. I had some concerns. They swapped out the one with the crazy eyes just before us, but the one that we met was lovely.

All of us but D3 used Cheryl's Fast Pass and rode the 7 Dwarfs' Mine Car roller coaster. Shannon always closes her eyes on the coasters, so to her they are all dark rides.

We then finally rode the carousel. It's a big one - 5 horses deep. Shan had worries that the belt might not fit but adults didn't need to wear them.

We didn't see Gaston's statue, but went back around and rode the Haunted Mansion again. The gift shop is across the street from the mansion but we never did make it inside this trip.

We just missed the paddlewheel and almost went on the Bear Country Jamboree but decided to get the Riverboat first.
After finally riding the Riverboat, we waited about 10 minutes and watched the Bear Country Jamboree.

We made it around in time to catch the parade again, before making it around to the Tiki Room, which only had a 10 minute wait.

We were going to do Splash Mountain, but we were Cheryl-ed again, as all outside rides were shut down due to lightning within 7 miles. We couldn't even finish our train ride around the park.

We made it back to the front of the park and took the Monorail over to Epcot.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Figure Painting Total - May 2017

Knight Models also seems to have stopped selling their Watchmen figures for the Batman Miniature Game so I picked up some of those.
A few more of the figures from the Marvel Universe miniature game came in.

BM – Watchmen – The Comedian – 1
BM – Watchmen – Rorschach – 1
BM – Watchmen – Silk Spectre – 1

May figures bought - 3, figures painted – 0
Running total 2017 – figures bought 75, figures painted 0

Friday, May 19, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - day 8 - Disney Springs

On Sunday we had a slower day. We had breakfast at the resort and then took the ferry to Disney Springs - a shopping mall/street. They have boat/cars that you can rent but it was too wet for the hot air balloon, so Shan missed her chance.

We popped into a few stores, D3 got some Star Wars books, a Boba Fett overshirt, as well as some Lego at the Lego store. I got an Imperial soldier hat, but was unable to find any Tron cycles.

D3 and I went to the Coke store while the girls shopped and they joined us at the Coke Experience restaurant to try an International tray - 16 beverages from around the world. Some were quite vile.

We did make it to the arcade but didn't do the whole experience. They did have a Mario Brothers game that I was able to play by myself, with my daughter, and again with my son. I was able to put up a decent high score.

We went to Blaze Pizza for supper. You could order a personal pizza with a variety of individual toppings. We went back to the resort on the ferry.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Marvel Universe buyer issues and buying short list

One of the sellers that I had bought the Emma and Jean figures from flaked on me so I still need to get those two to complete my key figures for the Marvel Universe miniature game. I need others as well, but the rest are much more pricey.

Knight Models also seems to no longer be producing their Watchmen figures for the Batman Miniature Game so I picked up some of those as well. I got the Comedian, Rorschach, and Silk Spectre figures. The first two are the main ones I had wanted from the Watchmen and the third will be harder to get later. I’ll probably try to get Nite Owl and Ozymandias to complete the set if I don’t have to chase them down.

On the top of my list right now is the Kill Team set from Warhammer 40K, and the last three codices I need in hardcover. I’m particularly looking for Imperial Agents in hardcover, but also need the revised Tau, and Dark Angels to complete my set and might settle for those in sofcover.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Figure Painting Total April 2017

A few more of the figures from the Marvel Universe miniature game came in.

SM/MU – Punisher – 1
MU – Nightcrawler – 1
MU – Deadpool – 1
MU – Nova – 1
MU – The Thing – 1

Apr figures bought - 5, figures painted – 0

Running total 2017 – figures bought 72, figures painted 0

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Books read - January to April 2017

Silver Screens on the Prairie by Russ Gourluck
Doctor Who Miniatures Game 2nd edition by Graeme Dawson
In Her Majesty’s Name – Steampunk Skirmish Wargaming Rules by Craig Cartmell & Charles Murton
Heroes, Villains and Fiends by Charles Murton & Craig Cartmell
Sleeping Dragon, Rising Sun by Craig Cartmell & Charles Murton
The World’s Great Religions: Volume 1: Religions of the East by The Editors of Life
The Smart Approach to Kid’s Rooms by Megan Connelly
John Hughes: A Life in Film by Kirk Honeycutt
The World’s Great Religions: Volume 2: Religions of the West by the Editors of Life
The Flash and the Arrow by Knight Models
Honours of War by Keith Flint

The World’s Great Religions: Volume 3: The Glories of Christendom by the Editors of Life
Tabletop Wargames by Rick Priestley & John Lambshead
Time/Life Books: The Epic of Flight: Knights of the Air by Ezra Bowen
No Strings Attached: The Inside Story of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop by Matt Bacon
Always Fresh: The Untold Story of Tim Hortons by the Man Who Created a Canadian Empire by Ron Joyce with Robert Thompson

Codex Dark Angels (6th edition) by Jeremy Vetock
The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution by Dougal Dixon
Assassin’s Creed Unity: Abstergo Entertainment Employee Handbook by Christie Golden
The Making of Dune by Ed Naha
Walt Disney Imagineering – A behind the Dreams Look at Making MORE Magic Real by the Imagineers

Walt Disney World: The First Decade
Watchmen – The Art of the Film by Peter Aperlo
Watching the Watchmen by Dave Gibbens, Chip Kidd, Mike Esel
DK Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded by Simon Beecroft and Pablo Hidalgo
The Disney Book: A Celebration of the World of Disney by Jim Fanning
Beautiful Creatures: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Mark Cotla Vaz
Kirby: King of Comics by Mark Evanier
Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong by Rod L. Evans, Ph.D.
Codex Tau Empire (6th edition) by Jeremy Vetock

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Disney trip 2016 - day 7 - The Animal Kingdom - part 2

Cheryl, Gee, and I rode the Expedition Everest. It way very cool. The Wilderness Explorer badge station near there was very hard to find.

Cheryl and the kids left before us. They got lost for a bit on the way out. Shan waited around for me and I finished up a few more badges.
We checked in at the Wilderness Explorer Station on the way out. I guess they had seen me working away at them. I didn't get them all but they made me an honorary Senior Explorer.

We had supper back at the resort and made it back to the pack for the night show. It was the Jungle Book - partially projected on water sprays and singing and dancing Bollywood-style, followed by fire dancers,

It could have been due to the rain, but we didn't think that it was as good as Fantasmic,

On the way out, we caught a few vignettes projected on the giant Tree of Life. We would have stayed a bit longer and watched more of them but the kids were getting tired.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - day 7 - The Animal Kingdom - part 1

On the Saturday we got up early for the ride to The Animated Kingdom. I took the new camera that we got from cashing in Air Miles points. We had just got it before we left but the safari was a rare chance to use it. Even though I haven't really got comfortable with it.
Gee used my regular camera on the safari while I used the new one.

We started in Africa at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. It wasn't high on my list of attractions but it was quite good.

Finishing that, we went on the Gorilla Walk. During the walk I picked up a Wilderness Explorer book from Jocelynne, a Troop Leader. There were many spots along the park to answer questions or do events to get stickers. While the kids weren't interested, it harkened back to my Boy Scout days and I did as many as I could throughout the day, much to my wife's chagrin.

We had lunch at the Yak & Yeti - a mix of Indian and Asian foods.

Next on our visit was the Maharajah Jungle Trek to see the tigers. The bats and the komodo dragons were away at the vet.

We did the It's Not Easy to be a Bug Show. Again, the large spiders were not announced with enough warning for Gee. It was hard to find the badge coming out of that one. It was tucked in on the path out from the show.

We worked our way around Dinoland USA. It's built up like an old-time Dino-themed amusement park. We didn't do any of the rides but I had to go into the Dig area to get the badge.
It rained heavily a few times that day. We did remember to bring the Dollarama ponchos. A few people asked if we were Canadians - seeing the maple leafs. Our response - "Maybe".

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New 40K

Games Workshop just announced that there will soon be a new edition of Warhammer 40,000 released and that it will be incompatible with the current codices.
I only need three current codices – Imperial Agents, Dark Angels, and Tau. I am missing several of the supplements though. I am currently reading through the old codices – having just finished Dark Angles, and Tau from the sixth edition.

It sounds very similar to what they did with the Warhammer game, where they had a big ‘end of days’ event spread across a few books, coinciding with large figure releases, and then wiped out the old ruleset and army books and started fresh with Age of Sigmar.
I wasn’t active in Warhammer at the time, so I didn’t get the end times books or models, and didn’t make the jump to the new system. I would have to chase down the end times books and a lot of the army lists from the last few editions to complete the sets.
I had liked the narrative that had been building in the old Warhammer world and don’t really have any ties to the new one. For me, it was a very good point to make a clean break.

I am closely tied to the Warhammer 40,000 narrative, from the early days of Rouge Trader, all the way through the grim dark present future, with the additions of the Tyranids, Dark Eldar, Tau, and Necrons, as well as the loss of the Dwarves along the way. A lot of fine details have modified along the way, examples being the Genestealers/Tyranids, the Space Wolves/Dark Angels history, the Chaos gods. A lot of the big picture has stayed the same.
Depending on how much it changes, this could be the last of my placeholder sets. It remains seen to see if that is because we part ways or if the new set will be a clean start.
The nice thing about having all the sets along way is that I can always go back and play with the rules from my favorite edition.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Figure Painting total - March 2017

With the line being discontinued, I made a mad scramble to pick up a bunch of Marvel Universe miniatures as well as some of the Spider-Man version of the Batman Miniatures game that could also be used in Marvel Universe.

SM/MU Spider-Man – 1
SM/MU Daredevil – 1
SM/MU – Green Goblin -1
MU – Avengers starter – 4
MU – X-Men starter – 4
MU – Brotherhood of Evil Mutants starter – 4
MU – Guardians starter – 4
MU – Dark Avengers starter – 4
MU – Black Panther - 1
MU – Groot – 1
MU – Sabretooth – 1
MU – Hawkeye – 1
MU – Vision – 1
MU – Dr. Doom – 1
MU – Gambit – 1
BM – Objectives Game Markers - 4

Mar figures bought - 34, figures painted – 0

Running total 2017 – figures bought 67, figures painted 0

Friday, March 31, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - day 6 - Hollywood Studios - part 2

The kids and I posed in the handprints in front of Mann's Chinese Theatre.

We were unable to get seats for the Sci-Fi Drive In theatre.

We did take pictures with the speederbike and then caught some of the Jedi training before riding the Star Tours. It was good to finally ride it after all these years.
I'm the gift shop I picked up a Medal of Yavin. It's not the Master Replica's one, but it's the closest I will come to having one.

Next we popped into the Launch Bay to see Star Wars props and reproductions. I took many photos of a reproduction Rey outfit and a Dejerik table.

We walked around some more and then made it over to the Fantasmic show. They project images on water/mist as well as have live action - including a wonderful Malificent dragon.

We took a few more shots on the way out and then headed back to the room early. The park closes early. It's timed so you can either see Fantasmic or the park's fireworks.

We looked around the arcade back at the resort and got to bed early for the early day tomorrow.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - day 6 - Hollywood Studios - part 1

On the Friday we went to Hollywood Studios. I was randomly selected again to go through the metal detectors. We made our way around to the Muppet side.
We had breakfast tickets to Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano. The brunch was the grouper for D3 and I with a lovely desert. The meal here was $45 each and gave us tickets to the Fantasmic fireworks show.

We had killed some time in the Muppet gift shop already and, after the brunch we went to Muppet Vision 3D. The wait was about 10 minutes.

We had a fast pass for the Indiana Jones Stunt Show.

We made our way back to the main stage in time for the March of The First Order.

We then walked in to see Walt Disney - One Man's Dream. They had a bunch of props and displays to see before the show and we saw the rest of them afterward. I took shots of the Rocketeer jetpack, a helmet from Tron, as well as the dioramas.

We then made our way over to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Cheryl, Gaby, and I rode. It was good. At the gift shop I bought a door sign and a robe.

We went in to the Pixar section but did not go on any rides.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Marvel Universe Miniature Game

I’m late to the party with this one. I had been looking at it but hadn’t bought any when it was cancelled. Since then, there has been a mad flurry on the figures and I have been able to order a bunch of the figures I wanted but there are still about half of the figures from the line that I haven’t been able to get.

It doesn’t help that the figures are about $25-$30 each with the exchange. Since I play Games Workshop games though, the price doesn’t shock me as much as it should. For that price, it would be cheaper to get action figures and upscale the game to fit. The scale wouldn’t be too outrageous as it’s supposed to fit on a 3 foot by 3 foot board so a 9’ by 9’ or 10’ by 10’ area would work. It could probably be a tighter game on an 8’ by 8’ board. Not too bad for a convention but a much too big for my game room.

I had been looking at trying the system by getting the DC Universe Trinity set but the news of the cancellation changed my timeline on that. With a flurry of purchases from four different online stores, I was able to get all 5 of the Marvel Universe starter sets and a bunch of the individual figures I wanted.
I am still missing 3 key figures, 5 figures that I’m interested in, and 9 figures that I don’t care as much about but would finish the sets. There would also be 3 sets of Marvel Legends – which would be the Superior Spider-Man, Goblin Cult, and Spider Robots gangs for use with the Batman Miniature Game rules. I am not overly looking to get those but would pick them up if found cheaply.

So, after spending about $500, I have 28 of the 53 figures total ordered – but that total includes 12 from the Legends starters that I’m not really interested in. I also have ordered all three token sets but have not been able to get the spray template. There are also some unreleased figures that have cards but not miniatures. For those, and the ones I cannot find, I can always use Heroclix figures.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Figure painting total - February 2017

I bought the Suicide Squad Starter for Batman Miniature Game. In addition to the Joker team and Suicide Squad team it came with the extra Ben Affleck Batman figure.

BM Suicide Squad Starter – 13
BM Affleck Batman – 1

Feb figures bought - 14, figures painted – 0

Running total 2017 – figures bought 33, figures painted 0

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - day 5 - part 2 - Universal - Islands of Adventure/Seuss Landing

In Toon Lagoon, Gaby, Cheryl, and Shan went on Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges. It was a raft ride where you can get very wet - and they did. There was also places where the crown can fire water jets on the riders. It was only a 20 minute wait.

Back at Super Hero Island, after a 10 to 20 minute wait, Gaby went as a single rider on The Incredible Hulk ride. I did not.

Then we crossed over into Suess Landing to finish up our day.

We started on the Caro-Suess-el. Shan loves carousels and was worried about not fitting on this due to the lap belts but she had no problem. It was a quick wait - less than 10 minutes, but Cheryl sat out.

After a brief 5 minute wait we all did the Cat in the Hat ride. You ride a "couch" through the Cat in the hat story - with animatronic characters. We bought some shirts in the gift shop.

We were able to make it to the High in the Sky Suess Trolley Train Ride! It was a longer 30 minute wait for a slow trolley ride through Suess Landing on an elevated track. This went through the top of Circus McGurkus restaurant, the Café Stoo-Penduous, and closed out the gift shop afterwards.

Gaby got an Ash Katchem Pokémon hat on the way out and we ended up getting snagged by a gypsy cab for the ride home. It worked out okay and still cost the same.

We had another late dinner back at the Resort - pasta. I had the chicken alfredo with a fruit cup for the next day. We finished up the day at the pool. David3 did not come to the pool.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - day 5 - part 1 - Universal - Islands of Adventure/Hogwarts.

On the Thursday, we got up and had breakfast at the resort. I had the special - eggs, bacon, sausage, and a small Mickey waffle.

We took the taxi back to Universal - another $40 after tip. Today we are staying in the Islands of Adventure. We went clockwise this time, through Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, and headed straight for Skull Island, stopping for the occasional picture.

We went on the Reign of Kong ride, and David3 sat out. The wait was about 40 minutes. The holding areas were well decorated but the ride was not nearly as good - being video screens again.

Next was the Jurassic Park section. We all went on the Jurassic Park River Adventure. It was great. We all got quite wet - which was good on a hot day. It was only a 20 to 30 minute wait.
Afterwards we had lunch. My son and I had the meatball sub and caesar salad and we bought two refillable mugs. They were a bit pricey at about $12 each but they turned out to be well worth it.
We popped in briefly to the Discovery Center but didn't go downstairs as we had to make it to the Lost Continent for the Sinbad Stunt Show. We zipped through Hogsmeade and made it to the show on time.
It was good. We ended up sitting in the splash zone and got a bit damp again. D3 thought that the final fire effect was a bit much for the small children.

Next was Poseidon's Fury - another interactive show - this one was a walk through. I thought it was pretty well acted but Shan was a bit disappointed in the effects.

We went back anti-clockwise, heading back through Hogsmeade. Gaby, Cheryl, and I rode the Dragon Challenge - first the Blue Dragon, and then the Red. About half-way back you get a chance to re-ride so we did and tried the other. The wait was only about 20 minutes for the first ride and we were able to walk on for the second.

We looked around at some of the shops - less on tis side of the park. We tried the seats for the Forbidden Journey. I would fit modified but Shan would not. We all got the tour - the walk-in part - but Shan and David3 did not ride. Because we had a mixed group like this, we got to skip ahead a bit and only had about a 20 minute wait.
It was another motion and screen ride - pretty good. Gaby thinks that they should warn about the large spiders though.
The Dragons and then this accelerated Cheryl's motion sickness. But she was able to hold it together until after the ride ended.

After a 15 minute wait, Gaby and I rode the Flight of the Hippogriff. It was a rather simple roller coaster. Then we left Hogsmeade and headed back to Jurassic Pack. It was just after 5pm and the visitor center had just closed but we took a rest with the drink refills.
We skipped over the Pteranodon Flyers - which seem to be a swing coaster - but alas more for the kids. Adults were not allowed on without one.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Knight Models update - Batman Miniatures, Marvel/DC Universe, Suicide Squad

I did pick up the Flash and Arrow expansion on sale from Miniature Market in January. It has the rules for speedsters, new teams, and vehicles. It only give I got the Black Flash model as a bonus and also purchased a Heath Ledger Joker. The other Jokers look too skinny and I’m not a big fan of the Jared Leto Joker.

I was going to wait to get the Suicide Squad box but Knight Models posted that purchases from them or retailers until Feb 15 would also include a Ben Affleck Batman figure as well as a Bombshell Harley Quinn figure. So I ordered one from a MeepleMart at the end of January. The shipping was super fast – it came within a week but it did not have the extra Harley. There was a bunch of finger pointing between both companies. Knight Models said that MeepleMart should have received a box of the extra figures to send and MeepleMart said that they did not get them and that I should check with Knight Models.
So as a result, even though I bought the set they said during the time they said, Knight Models isn't honoring what they said it would include. I'm disappointed in their customer service in this regard.
Aside from that, the set is great. In contains thirteen figures – enough for two teams – Joker and Task Force X. It also includes a streamlined rulebook, counters, dice, and two stand-up buildings that can be combined into one taller building.

Knight Models also just announced that they are stopping their Marvel Universe line. They are still keeping the DC Universe line which has the same rules. It allows you to use a lot of the major figures from the Batman Miniature game in an easier skirmish game. The Marvel version was on my list to get some teams and try but now it is going to be harder to get so I may have to rethink that. The nice thing was that if I was building scenery for the Batman Miniatures game anyways, I could also use it for the Universe games.
I was going to get the DC Universe Starter for the rules (which are also available online from their site). I put that aside to get the Suicide Squad set first due to the promos. I might still get some starters of the Marvel set, and a few of the figures if they are still available in a few months.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Figure painting total - January 2017

I picked up a copy of The Flash and The Arrow expansion book for the Batman Miniatures game. It was on sale and still included the Black Flash figure. At the same time I picked up a Heath Ledger Joker figure. I picked up the Suicide Squad set but am not a big fan of the Jared Leto Joker so I can always use the Heath as a replacement.
I also bought the new version of The Lost Patrol. It comes with 5 Space Marine Scouts and 12 Genestealers. I don't have the original version but I do already have figures painted that I can use for this.

Batman Miniatures - Heath Ledger Joker
Batman Miniatures - Black Flash
5 Space Maine Scouts
12 Genestealers

Jan figures bought - 19, figures painted – 0

Running total 2017 – figures bought 19, figures painted - 0

Monday, January 30, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - day 4 - part 2 - Universal - Hollywood Studio Florida

After Diagon Alley, we moved on to the Men-in-Black shooter ride. We all went on it. It was about a 30 minute wait and we liked it better than the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney. In the gift shop afterwards, I was able to buy a Noisy Cricket, which was the one item on my list to buy at Universal.

Universal is pretty tight about letting you take bags on the rides. They do have lockers by the rides that you can use for free - as long as you claim your items within an hour. Having done a bunch of shopping at Diagon Alley we had a lot of bags to store. Note that some of the wand boxes are too long for the lockers but will fit diagonally if there is not much else in them. Coming out we found that the lockers were not working and had to get someone to override them for us. Luckily we were able to describe the contents well enough to get our items back.

We walked through Springfield and took a bunch of pictures but didn't stop. The same at Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone.

We were at the right time to catch the minions for Shan and then stopped in to see the Horror Make-Up show. There were lots of good props in the lobby and I took a lot of photos. Even though we tell them to hang on to each other in the crowds, D3 got separated from us in getting to our seats and sat on the other side of the theatre.
The show was good - nice and funny. Nothing really new to anyone with even a passing interest in make up but enough humor and crowd participation to keep it moving. It emptied into the gift shop, as they all do. I was trying on the Terminator Leather Jacket ($165 US) when the Terminator show let out into the same gift shop and we had to wait until they cleared before we could get a picture. I did not get the jacket but D3 got a Fallout shirt and hat.

We got outside in time to catch the parade, and took a few shots of the stars on the sidewalk. Then we had burgers and fries, with chocolate shakes at Mel's Diner across the street. We took some shots of the kids with the old cars outside the diner.

Up the street we heard a commotion, and Shan was able to get a picture with Megatron. The actor was very good - very animated, We all went on the Transformers ride. There was a lot of good theming inside the waiting line - with knobs to turn and switches to flip. We sat in a Bumblebee and got moved from scene to scene to watch the 3D show. Afterwards, there was an actor outside in a Megatron suit, but he wasn't as good.

On the way out we got some photos with the Shark from Jaws (Bruce) and then caught the Hogwart's Express back to the Islands of Adventure to leave. The parks closed at 8pm and 8:30pm this week so we had an early night back home. We took a taxi back but now believe it was one of the unregistered ones.

Back at Riverside, we picked up our sent items from Monday at the store. I got some chicken nuggets for a snack and had some of Gaby's pasta. We all went for a swim in the pool. The water was very warm and very relaxing.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Disney Trip 2016 - day 4 - part 1 - Universal - Diagon Alley

Wednesday August 24. We got up and breakfast here at Riverside. I again had the omelette.
We took a checkered cab/van to Universal Studio Parks. On the way there, Cheryl realized that she had forgotten her tickets so we got off and she had another trip back to the resort for them and back to Universal. She would meet us at Diagon Alley. Our trip only cost $40 after tip.

At Universal, they have nice moving sidewalks to get the people in, and the first section is all restaurants and shops before you even get in to the ticketed place. All of which are very nicely themed.

We started in the Islands of Adventure and walked through Suess Landing, past the Lost Continent and Sinbad, and popped into Hogsmede long enough to take the Hogwart's Express train over to Universal Studios Florida, getting there just as it started to rain.
We waited it out a bit but it didn't stop so we went on to Diagon Alley. We looked around and went into Ollivander's. We were able to get into the wand demo and Gee was able to have a wand selected for her. We were the only ones in that showing.
The kids picked out interactive wands - Gaby got Hermione's and D3 got the generic one with the skull end. The rain was still coming down so we bought four ponchos as well. We had brought eight ones from the Dollar Store to Florida but had none with us that day.

Gaby and Cheryl had gone on the Escape from Gringot's tour by the time I got out. I went on the single rider line which had a wait of 40 minutes and was done before them. Shan and D3 had taken the tour part of the ride while waiting. I also picked up a key at the Gringot's Money Exchange.

By the time they finally got out the rain had mostly stopped. We looked around some more and Cheryl and the kids tried out their interactive wands at the fountain, and by the blacksmith.
We got Butterbeers for Gaby and D3, Butterbeer ice cream for me, and Shan had the lemonade and got some meat pastries.

We looked around a bit more. I bought some Bertie's Beans for the boxes. I keep hoping Gaby will do a Harry Potter-themed party one year.
While waiting for the Dragon to spout fire, I caught some wizards fighting a Dementor. After a longer wait than had been up to that point, I finally got another flame picture - head-on this time - and joined the rest out by the Knight Bus.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Heroclix overview 2016

I had another year of keeping up with the Fast Forces/Starter sets. I was even able to pick up the few sets that I had missed along the way. The only new set I picked up was the TMNT gravity feed – of which I got most of the set. While the dollar wasn’t great, I was mostly caught up with Warhammer 40K codices so I filled in some gaps from Troll and Toad. I was able to complete three more old sets – Sinister, Supernova, and Batman Alpha. I picked up some maps, and filled in a few more gaps.

At the beginning of the year I focused more on completing some of the older WizKids sets. I have decided that I will focus on completing the nine WizKids sets I have left, and a select few of Neca sets. I’ll still keep up on the starters and fast forces sets. If the dollar improves and I get a good chance, I will even try to get of the bigger figures I am missing.

I was finally able to get an AVX – X-men set, and I picked up an Avengers: Civil War set to confirm I have one. I also picked up the AVX OP kit with the Phoenix fragments. I’ll probably try to complete the rest of that set, as well as the few remaining figures I need from Batman Classic TV, and TMNT. I’ll even work away at the first few Neca sets, and maybe some of the smaller gravity feed sets.

With the figures I’ve picked up, I am now close on Ultimates (0+3), Mutant Mayhem (3+2), Legacy (0+4), Armor Wars (3+0), Origin (4+0), Mutations & Monsters (1/5), Crisis (0/5), Secret Invasion (0/1), Arkham Asylum (0/3), Hammer of Thor (3/8), Brave and Bold (8/7) and Batman Classic TV (5), and TMNT (4+3).

I still need the older larger figures - Spectre, both green Fooms, and both of the Phoenixes as well as the original Manhattan and Galactus but have been picking up a lot of the new individual bigger figures and sets. I picked up the Ant Man boxed set and have a line on the Foom (with pants).

Neca only put out another 5 sets in 2016, and another 5 Fast Forces sets. I only collected one of these sets, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was able to keep up with the Fast Forces sets – I still need to pick up the last one from December – TMNT – Heroes in a Half Shell. I did pick up the TMNT big boxed starter which was on top of the 5 sets above.

I now need 1764 heroclix figures. That still seems like an incredible amount. I now need 1020 Marvel figures and 737 DC figures. My REV total is now 1378 and my Unique/SuperRare total is 360 plus 26 Giant figures and 13 Team bases. But I have come to an acceptance of it. I am less interested in completing all the Neca sets of which I need 1730 figures (1367 REV and 337 Super rares) and am going to focus on completing the WizKids sets of which I only need 34 figures (11 REV and 23 Uniques). I will still get a few Necas as available, and then switch to some of the smaller Gravity Feed sets.

Strikezone remains a source and I have completed a lot of the older ones from Troll and Toad. My goal for this year is to complete 4 of the remaining 9 Wizkids sets and maybe 2 of the Neca sets that I am close to finishing. I will also check a few of the local places to see what I can get.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Top Ten Games - 2016

Inspired by The Dice Tower and their top 10 lists, I have put together my top 10 games for 2016 as well. Note that these are games that I have played for the first time in 2016 not necessarily games that were released in 2016. With all the games that I already have, I got another 38 games plus several expansions last year. Some were purchased at the thrift stores and conventions, and some were new.

The new games were Betrayal at House on the Hill, Black Ops, Dragon Rampant, Dust, En Garde!, Ender’s Game:Battle School, For Sale!, Geek Out!, Kings & Things, Legendary: Big Trouble in Little China, Lion Rampant, Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers: Shadows over Innistrad, Mars Attacks: 10 Minute Takedown, Mission Red Planet, OGRE: Objective 218, On the Seven Seas, Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem, Star Trek Fleet Captains, Sushi Go Party!, The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth, Timeline Challenge, TMNT HeroClix: Mouser Mayhem Starter Set, X-Men: Mutant Revolution.

The ones I picked up not new were 221B Baker Street: The Master Detective Game, Attack of the Mutants, Blood Royale, Bunco Deluxe, Clue (2-6), Cranium Ziggity, Dune, Electronic Mystery Mansion, Inner Circle, Loopin’ Louie, Monopoly Hotels, Set, Showdown Yahtzee, Uno Hearts.

A lot of these did not hit the table this year. Some games from previous years were finally played.

Games that I played for the first time that did not make my list were:
Hanabi, Loopin’ Louie, Telestrations, There’s a Moose in the House

13 – Archer – Once you Go Blackmail – Another Love Letter variation. The extra hidden card mechanism doesn’t work as smooth as the Batman variation does but it does speed up the rounds.
12 – Codenames – Basically it is like team password. I think it is okay for 4 or more players but I’m not as impressed as a lot of people seem to be with this one.
11 – Legendary: Big Trouble in Little China – a deck building game. I’ve only played the intro game a couple of times. There is a lot going on here and it seems like it has a lot of variation available. Not as easy to play as a single player even though listed as capable of such on the box. This involves a lot of set up to start.

10 – Mission Red Planet – A worker placement game that seems like it would be very complex but was actually pretty easy to pick up. It seems like there should be more to it but it’s certainly worth a few more plays to check.
9 – 13 Dead End Drive – An interesting marriage of the good elements of Clue and Mousetrap. More time spent on the set up for the board than it is worth but still a fun little game.
8 – For Sale! – A very simple auction game in two parts. In the first part you bid on properties, and in the second part you sell those properties. It is easy to explain, plays quick, and you can usually get a few games in as one game leads to another.
7 – Storage Wars – It’s not a bad game for a mass market license. I’m not a big fan of regular auction mechanics and that does form a big part of this game. Otherwise it is a quick game for up to 6 players.
6 – Inner Circle – A game from my youth that I am not sure I ever actually played but always wanted to. You maneuver your pieces to get on to the spots that remain when the boards are lifted away trying to be the only player to get to the final spot on the fourth board.
5 – OGRE: Objective 218 – A very small game in the OGRE universe. Still feels like a tight little war game even though it is more about maintaining a supply chain.
4 – Yahtzee: Free For All – An interesting variation which allows a bit more player interaction in that you get 1 round to steal points from another player before they can score them. Also pretty quick.
3 – Pandemic: Contagion – A much smaller version on Pandemic where you play as the viruses. Very tight on your resource management as you only have so many cubes and turns with which to work.
2 – Timeline Challenge – It includes 5 variations of how you can use Timeline cards built into the game. More than one player can score each round so it moves along nicely. There are two points where the bottom players get to play 1 round to get a chance to gain bonus points. It includes some new Timeline cards but you can add other Timeline decks that you already have to it.
1 – King of Tokyo – A giant monster battle contained in a quick, dice-rolling game that is both cute and brutal. I am looking forward to playing with the expansions but right now the base game is more than enough fun.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Figure painting total - 2016

I ended up not getting any more figures to paint in the last few months of 2016.

The final total for 2016 is:

Batman Miniatures Containers – 2
Police Call Box – 1
Mexican Bandits – 16
The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth – 38
40K – Ork Burnas/Lootas – 5

Running total 2016 – figures bought 62, figures painted 0

This means 2016 squeeked in as my second lightest year for buying figures in the last seven years.
I have already ordered some figures for the Batman Miniatures game, so those are on the way. Also, I'm very likely to get some Games Workshop games this year - likely the new Blood Bowl at least. So 2017 will probably be a miniature heavy year. With help from the family in reorganizing the storage locker, it's a bit easier for me to finish sorting the boxes at home to open up my workspace. Could 2017 be the year I finally put numbers in my figures painted column?

I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Books read - September to December 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Pusher Aces of World War I by Jon Guttman
Poster Art of the Disney Parks by Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt
The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic by Jason Surrell
Knightsbridge: The Art of Keith Parkinson by Keith Parkinson
Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing by Tim McCreight
Walt Disney World – Twenty-Five Years by Disney Kingdom Editions
History of Movie Musicals by Thomas G. Aylesworth
The Films of Sean Connery by Lee Pfeiffer and Philip Lisa

How to Cheat Your Friends at Poker by Penn Jillette and Mickey D. Lynn
Special Effects in Film and Television by Jake Hamilton
Don’t Shoot, It’s Only Me by Bob Hope with Melville Shavelson
King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis by Shawn Levy

Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography by Victoria Price
The Art of Superman Returns by Daniel Wallace
Stuntman!: my car-crashing, plane-jumping, bone-breaking, death-defying Hollywood life by Hal Needham
Walt Disney Imagineering: a behind the dreams look at making the magic real by the Imagineers
Leo Mol Sculpture Garden by Paul Duval
The Encyclopedia of Immaturity by the Editors of Klutz
Marvel: Absolutely Everything you need to know . . . by Adam Bray, Lorraine Cink, John Sazaklis, and Sven Wilson

Creative Play Direction by Robert Cotien and John Harrop
Star Wars Character Encyclopedia by DK Books
Maps of the Disney Parks by Kevin and Susan Neary
Canada by Mike Myers