Ups and Downs…

As you can see yet again we did not get as much finished as I had hoped we would. Unfortunately my son, my wife and I all caught a nasty cold. Sniffling, sneezing and coughing does not make for the best painting conditions. But at least we managed to finish a few things and thankfully it was just a cold and not Covid.

I did manage to slip and fall just before catching that cold… and as I laid their, more in shock than pain, I thought wouldn’t it be grand to break my hand or hip now. Thankfully nothing was broken, just bruises, aches and pains.

So that was some of the downs….what about the ups?

I am pretty pleased by how the pieces we did finish came out. The objective marker took much longer than I expected but it took me ages to get it just right, rummaging around my bits boxes. Originally I wanted a chalice on the stone altar but could not find one amongst all the bits in my bits boxes so decided to skip it and leave room for one of the various altar decoration bits we have from Dwarven Forge. The

The moss flock on the altar top is there to cover the superglue remnants, as this was once a figure base that I removed the figure from.


Another up was that I had my 51st birthday last week, although I consider myself more a child of the 80’s than 70’s. Despite being sick herself my amazing wife (with much appreciated assistance from my in-laws and mother) spoiled me rotten.

As you can see, I had quite a haul of birthday loot. We basically have all of 7th Sea, Second Edition (at least all of what is currently in print) now. Most of the minis were chosen due to their limited painted demands…. so translucent!

The windmill is our latest addition to our Tabletop World collection and I was surprised at first by what I thought were sweets. A few months back I was diagnosed with diabetes and have been trying to improve my eating habits. I have lost around 20 kilos but would like to lose another 20. It has been challenging as I have a real sweet tooth and despite my military/police background I hate doing PT. So that salted caramel really surprised me until I notice it was actually scented candle wax! I am a bit of a softy for nicely scented candles… when my nose is not all stuffed up.

So despite us being sick I had a great birthday…. in part because my wife also made a small salted caramel birthday cake which my son kindly allowed me to have a portion of.

Whilst not part of my birthday gifts, we also followed the advice of Dinah from Kabalor

https://kabalor.wordpress.com/2020/08/23/ikea-tjena-dwarven-forge-pieces-easy-and-cheap-elevation/

We got two sets of Alex drawers and some “GRÅSIDAN” from IKEA.

https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/grasidan-box-set-of-5-black-80402442/

The Grasidan pieces help organize the drawers but can also do double duty as elevation stilts. Clever idea, thanks Dinah!

Another up was a real surprise. I am not normally much of a gambler but sometimes the mood strikes me…

While searching for Dwarven Forge pieces on EBay.com I came across some amazingly painted terrain scatter bits from a pair of artists in the Russian Federation. However they had zero feedback, the estimated delivery time was quite long and the price seemed too good to be true. I did some online research on them and they seemed legit so I convinced my wife to buy one of their lots. She originally suggested we order a single piece but with postage being the same either way and the long shipping time I convinced her to gamble for the big one.

It arrived the day after my birthday., far earlier than estimated.. and the gamble paid off big style!

I really did not expect to get the pieces painted to the same standard as was shown in the auction because the price was more than fair. Guesses on the price down in the comments please!

The pieces are wonderfully charming and quirky. Some might say they are too cartoonish for them but we like the sculpts as they seem to fit the Froud/Henson vibe of Hagglethorn Hollow. They are much more colorful than I would normally paint but that will lend some individuality and diversity among our pieces. They are glossy, so I will try a mat clear coat and perhaps make some small, personal modifications.

The painting is just incredible. Needless to say as soon as we got this we went and ordered more from them.

Who are they? Gabrigame-Workshop.

You can find them online in general as well as specifically on YouTube and on eBay. And I can not recommend them highly enough. They are so good I almost feel like I should keep them secret so I do not have to fight with others to get their products!

In other news, the final episode of Season 2 of Snowpiercer was slightly underwhelming. It was not as depressing as I was expecting but it also did not have as big of an emotional impact as I was expecting. The off screen “implied” death (I suspect they may not be really dead yet) of a major character felt hollow. The on screen “implied” death of a minor character also felt hollow, but I think that may be because I did not like the character very much. The unclear possible death of another minor character I do like also felt strangely hollow. I cared more about the deaths of various irreplaceable animals. Still, I hope there is a third season. Sean Bean makes for a surprisingly creepy villain.

I watched an entertaining but somewhat predictable alien invasion movie called Captive State. My wife only watched a couple of minutes and decided it was not for her.

A decent cast, good production values, ok plot but for some reason I found it overall depressing. Have you seen it? What did you think?

I did convince my wife to watch Love and Monsters, which is basically Zombieland but replace Zombies with giant mutant bugs. This is not my wife’s kind of movie and she really struggled to stay immersed because the science of it all makes no sense but she enjoyed elements of it.

It was hokey. It needed some tighter editing to resolve plot and continuity issues. My wife kept pointing out plot holes as they appeared, which was a bit challenging at first for me but then I kept telling myself that at least she is engaging in the movie. And she was right about a lot of those plot holes.

I liked the comedy in the show more than she did. I was surprised by how much she liked the monster design. We both felt the ending was dissatisfying and we spent some talking about how we might have ended it instead.

The isolation of the survivors in their colonies reminded me of the isolation of the Covid lockdowns. My wife, son and I were playing catch in our dining room and I thought to myself, “I feel like Family Robinson on Mars” or something. Maybe I am finally going a bit stir crazy.

Anyway, did you watch it? What did you think? Have you seen Zombieland 2?

The Lost Pirate Kingdom is a tv series on Netflix that we finished. It is one of the dramatized documentaries that are so popular right now.

The talking heads were not as annoying as I have seen in similar shows but also rather forgettable unfortunately. We learned a few new things but could not help thinking of Black Sails as we watched the same names being brought up. The idea that Blackbeard never personally killed anyone did not sound right to me and he seemed like a somewhat likable fellow until he sold some of his own crew into slavery.

At the risk of getting political, which I try to avoid on this blog… which I am sure surprises folks who remember how political I used to get on Facebook…. I hate race based slavery. Slavery is bad enough, I empathize with Spartacus and the slaves that revolted with him but race based slavery triggers something in me which I find unimaginably abhorrent. I can not help but wonder if I would have been an abolitionist had I lived in the past.

Lieutenant Maynard, the man credited with killing Blackbeard (Edward Teach/Thatch) is not portrayed very kindly in the documentary. Quite the opposite, in fact I used to identify with him (very often offending pirate larpers around me with my desire to instead play a pirate hunter). So you can say I had a very different image of him previously and I wonder which is closer to the truth. Being “one of the oldest Lieutenants in the Royal Navy at the time” (according to the documentary) can mean he was very experienced for his rank or that he was not viewed competent enough for promotion. Considering he was not promoted following his defeat of such an infamous pirate it seems likely he was not well regarded by the Admiralty.

One thing the documentary did was make me wonder if I would have turned pirate in order to free slaves. Or been like “Black” Sam Bellamy, fighting something of a class war. His views on trying to help the common person instead of the rich runs along a similar path as mine in this time of wealth inequality and exploitation. If only he and his crew had applied that democratic, egalitarian philosophy to be free traders rather than thieves.

It is true that despite a somewhat conservative upbringing (my Father, much as I loved him was at times very similar to Archie Bunker) and early life (yeah, I was a Republican back in the day)…. I am actually quite socially liberal these days. That said, just to be clear, I still hold the Democratic Party in contempt.

Some have called me a social justice warrior.

I have joking referred to myself as more of a social justice paladin but that does not seem quite right when I really think about it as I am not a person of faith. Although I do find the Knights Templar fascinating… and cool looking. *wink*

Can you be an atheist paladin? Opinions in the comments please!

Speaking of what I have done in the past and what I do now…

I have been, amongst other things, an Infantry NCO in the US Army, a security guard (armed and unarmed), a bail enforcement officer (ie bounty hunter), a bodyguard, a Washington State certified law enforcement firearms instructor, and a British Constable.

These days I am a househusband…. and when I saw this trailer on Netflix it really struck a chord….

I have decided to add something to the blog that I used to have on my Facebook page… my Doppelgänger photos. To help give you an idea of what I look like I will put up various photos that remind me of myself… since I seem to really get around. And so to begin…

Apparently I was in “Pets 2”!

16 comments

  1. You might also like the Age of Samurai series on Netflix as well. It has the same 6 episode style and talking heads” although you likely have to have CC on since some of them only speak in Japanese.

    https://www.netflix.com/title/80237990

    We watched that after the Pirates one last month. My wife enjoyed the Samurai one a lot more (except for the obligatory ritual suicides all the time. (It was Bloodier than Pirates, but usually in the context of the times.) Was kind of interesting to get another perspective in the Pirates series about the Whydah ship after having seen the museums in Charleton and Savvanah a few years back. Also learned a bit about some of the politics of the Privateers and the European countries that backed them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey mate, thanks for the suggestion.

      We had started that series before the Pirates one but got distracted by other shows so we need to finish it. We certainly preferred the talking heads in the Pirate one. Having been a long time fan of Stephen Turnbull I was disappointed with some of his comments, as well as some of his colleagues. The typical, “best swords, greatest warriors” lines that were a lot more believable to me in my youth, before I learned more about other cultures. Not to mention some of the armor was shockingly obvious fantasy armor. But we learned a few things and found the dramatization entertaining enough so we will finish it at some point.

      It is great to hear what you are your wife took away from these shows. I love hearing the opinion of folks on things like this.

      Like

  2. Oof. Sorry to hear about the slip and the colds. Hope everyone is well mended now.

    Those fences make me happy and take me back to some plastic ones I had to go with my Britains plastic sheep and cows. 🙂

    I’m ~5 years old so I slide over into the 70s upbringing, but I watched a lot of early 80s Nickelodeon so it gets kinda blurry.

    Glad you liked the sneaky elevation block / Marie Kondo organizer trick. 🤣

    That Househusband trailer is pretty dang great. Not sure I’ll actually escape the happy vortex of classic Time Team videos and commentary they’ve been uploading to watch it, but it does my heart good to know it exists.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gabrigame Workshop is on the US version of ebay, but only unpainted pieces. The pieces look good, and those paint jobs that you got outstanding. No way for me to guess, but the unpainted version of that camping lot was about 40 bucks, plus shipping (which I forgot to look for).
    I’m skeptical of those claims in the pirate series (which I haven’t seen), I’d be very interested in seeing the sources. Unless, those are solid, it sounds like standard-issue revisionist history. Not opposed to revising history with solid facts and research, but there is too much now based on other things.
    I don’t see your opposition to slavery as political, it’s a clear moral stance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Their asking price was just under 80 Euros (100 Dollars) with shipping! A very reasonable price given the obvious amount of time and effort that went into it.

      The talking heads were the usual run of various authors, none of the names stood out to me but then I am not sure who are leading experts in that field.

      Moral stances are inherently political.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We certainly see things differently concerning the political/morality mechanic, even if we see things pretty similarly overall. Might be interesting to explore someday, as I see a bright distinction between the two. At any rate, I agree with your stances above.

    I used to be pretty well read on piracy, but that was a few decades and brain cells ago. This may prompt me to get back into it. Maynard was a hero of mine growing up. Blackbeard’s head was displayed about two miles from where I live, at least according to legend. There is a counter legend that it remained in North Carolina, and was made into a silvered drinking chalice.

    I also meant to say earlier, thanks for your service!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It has been quite awhile since someone said, “thank you for your service” to me. It always makes me feel odd. I mean it feels good but then I instantly feel guilty for feeling good. I have conflicted opinions on some of what I have served but I am in general proud of my actions within that service. Watching The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, I see a lot of my mixed feelings on display with Sam, Bucky and Isaiah… although from a different perspective.

      If we ever had the chance to discuss this stuff in person over a tasty beverage of personal choice I believe we would both enjoy it.

      Maynard taking and displaying that head being among the issues I have with him.

      Given the more recent conflicts I am a bit touchy about enemy remains…. but then plenty of military buddies have called me naive and soft in that regard. I am still one of the “win hearts and minds” crowd… which is why I think I like Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson so much these days.

      Like

  5. You are a prodigious writer, mate. This is one of your longest ones yet unless I’m mistaken! Very sorry to hear about your fall. I fell while walking my dog about two weeks ago and while I scraped my hand up pretty good, what has been worse is that I hurt one of my ribs. I haven’t been able to exercise for two weeks which is a real bummer. Hopefully your pride is the most damaged thing. I know mine took a hit!

    That terrain you got from Russia really does seem like a steal. It is perhaps cartoony but I think it looks extremely nice and I’d say you got a great product for your money there.

    That birthday haul isn’t too shabby either! A lot of good stuff to keep you busy and out of trouble in the near future I would think. I hope that you are able to kick the cold and get back to doing what you enjoy. You’ve certainly got plenty to be painting in the near future 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hopefully I am not too long winded! I have a lot of things I write to get outbox my head.

      Sorry to hear about your fall. I mended from mine quick enough. Certainly faster than the cold.

      Whilst cartoony, the precision in the painting from Gabrigames Workshop is impressive. Such meticulous work, my photos do not do them justice.

      My son being home from school is keeping me busy… once he goes back to school I am hoping to get back on schedule with my painting. I may even be able to get some solo games in!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not at all, mate. Its your site so you should share whatever you like. I obviously don’t comment on things I don’t know much about like Snowpiercer for example, but if there is stuff I feel qualified to talk about, I always do and I leave the rest for others who know more than me. So keep doing what you’re doing!

        I would think that more hobby time will be very welcome and I am excited to see how your games go with all of the new acquisitions. You’ve got me thinking about if dungeon crawling could be in my future, especially something that is more wargaming than board gaming if possible 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks again mate!

        We have high hopes for our future gaming. The potential is there.

        I think you would enjoy some dungeon time… er, that did not quite sound right.

        Like

  6. Getting back to this one – Happy belated Birthday. My wife says I usually act like the digits vs the decades part.

    I need to try and have my wife up her ante on gift giving, but that would mean I would have to too…..

    Let me say, it is your blog and you can write anything you want on it. I read a blogger from Sweden for awhile until he stopped blogging and he went on some tangents from gaming about Sweden and immigrants that I didn’t agree with but found it interesting to read. You won’t lose this reader on whatever you write.

    Regarding “Thanks for your service” I usually get it when I get a discount and show my ID and my response is always “Thanks for the discount”. I’m not a fan of the saying or the “deals” on Veterans Day, I volunteered for reasons of my own, not for the “recognition”. That said, I have used my limit of quote marks for the day.

    I like the recommendations for viewing that always happen in your blog, gives me something to search for. Zombieland and its sequel are some of my favorite movies, and they are the only zombie movies my wife will watch ( besides Pride and Preiudice and Zombies)

    I’ve been watching Band of Brothers again, mainly to watch David Schwimmer be a jerk. I enjoy the series more than the book, I’ve been focusing more on the characters this time vs the action and getting more out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks mate!

      It helps that the gifts are something we will use together.

      As you served to, you know the score. Those that have served all served for a multitude of reasons. That service can help bring people closer together but sadly does not do that as much as I would like. As a cop I had entirely too many conflicts with veterans with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. And yet the guys I served in Berlin with feel like family.

      We enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It is one of the influences on our Tarnished Splendor project.

      Band of Brothers is brilliant for its characters. Great actors and great writing brings them to life.

      Like

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