Thursday, August 28, 2014

Native Son


Things are starting to shake down here in Monkeyland.  Finished up the orientation for Newjob yesterday, and while I'm a little sad that Cub goes back to his mom's today, the upside is that now that we're in Halifax, we'll see him again in just over a week, rather than in several months.

On the geek front, I've spent some time modelling and priming up most of 1000 points of 40k orks.  The Cub has shown some interest, so I figured we'd take him down to the local for a few trial games.  He's also been painting a few old space marines I've got kicking around.  Three cheers for GW, gateway to the hobby ;)  I helped him a little with the eyes, but the rest is his work.  Not bad for an 8-year old, and a far sight better than his efforts of a few years ago.



For myself, I've managed to paint up a few more Natives for M&T. I like how they turned out, and feel better about these than the last batch of French.  Less rush, less feel of "work".  One thing that's pretty clear about how things will operate here; in the absence of any regular gaming, my painting is less instrumental.  With no pressure to get stuff on the table, I might get less done, but will also be painting for the joy of it, which comes with it's own advantages.


I also had a chance the other night to sit down and plan out the Acadian project a little.  Historically, this is one of those "margins of empire" struggles.  It bears a similar relationship to the F&IW as that bears to the 7YW proper.  While the bulk of the literature I've seen focuses on the Ohio / Champlain corridor / St. Lawrence theatres, there was a long-running guerrilla conflict, preceding the formal outbreak of war by several years.  French marines, militia and provincials, Abenaki and Mik'maq, Massachusetts colonial militia, mercenary ranger companies, and more, along with shifting identities, and mounting violence and atrocity.  The Acadians, with close kinship ties to the Mik'maq, cultural and religious ones to the French, and economic ones to Boston and Massachusetts, were torn apart, and eventually forcibly relocated.


Before we came out here, I picked up a mess of the 18mm Blue Moon figures.  The more I paint these, the more I like them.  I think, given the often metis nature of the Acadian community, and the sometimes haphazard equipment of the informal combatants, I might try my hand at some conversions.  I've done head swaps in this scale before, when I was putting with FoW cossacks, so I'm kind of interested to see what I can cook up here.


Another thing I'm looking forward to is making some terrain.  In addition to several 4Ground buildings, I'm going to need some terrain basics - hills, trees, etc.  I've been purusing some websites out there, and will see what I can cook up.


To help get me in the mood, I've been reading Faragher's "A Great and Noble Scheme" on the morning commute.  It's a sympathetic history of the Acadians from the earliest settlements to expulsion, and stresses the various connections that both pushed the Acadians towards neutrality, and eventually made that position untenable.  I've been finding some interesting similarities to recent histories of the US RevWar and 1812.  The Acadians comprised a nativist and North American culture, distinct from the imperial cultures that fought over Acadia territory.  In many ways, they were ahead of their time, foreshadowing some of the issues that would drive later conflicts to different ends.  If you get a chance, I'd recommend reading it.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Catching up


We seem to have gotten past the hump of moving in.  Lots of scattered boxes etc. still about, but all the necessary day-to-day stuff is unpacked, furniture is set up, and we're getting back into something of a routine.  Sanity, bit-by-bit, is being restored.


With all the disruption, geek continues to be somewhat interrupted, but I've manged to get my little hobby corner set up, and my painted stuff is back in it's usual home, along with a few "on deck" projects.




In terms of gaming, the Cub and I (with a little dice-throwing assistance from the Puddin') managed to get in a couple of X-Wing games, including one crazy game where the little monkey out-manoevred me twice, getting into the blind spot of my Firespray.  Hairball antics included this mess:


We tried out the new ships picked up just prior to leaving TO, and I've been impressed by all three.  The HWK adds some nice support to the Rebs, as does the cheaper option of the Z95, and the Firespray is just fun.

We've also scouted out some the the geek shops in the area, including a comic store downtown that carries some X-Wing ( Strange Adventures ), and the local GW, and found customer service at both to be excellent.  The GW, in particular, was impressive, with both manager and staff showing enormous patience with the kids and their questions.  I'm used to a store environment that's a little more  . . . agressive, not to mention awkward, but these guys went a long way towards making me think GW's a place I might want to take the kids and share my hobby.  Cub's shown a little interest, and we may get down for a casual trial game on a weekend, and see how it goes.

Between the positive vibes of the visit, and the recent release of the Ork codex, I even cracked open some of the boys, and did some modelling.


They won't be a primary painting focus, I think, but I enjoy the ork models enough that they'll make a nice break from whatever historical stuff I have on the go, and GW's "painted" policy is lax enough that I might even get in a game.

The plan is to take the kids down to the Citadel this weekend, so hopefully I'll get a post out of that, and we'll see what can be done about getting a few figures painted.  Work's keeping me busy though, so progress, while incremental, is likely to be slow.  So far, we're really enjoying Halifax, and taking the time to explore the city and get to know the place a little better.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

We made it!


Clan Monkey arrived safe in Halifax yesterday around lunch, and stage one of move in is complete.  Today will likely include the Great Grocery Shop, and hopefully a good run around for Cub and Puddin', as they've spent the last several days cooped up in the van, miraculously not killing each other.

Painted minis traveled with us, and arrived safely.  The lead pile (along with other, less important household goods) is due to arrive mid-week.  Tuesday I go in to the new job, to be duly processed as another cog in the machine.

Now I just have to talk the Beloved into the 5 hr drive to Louisburg ;)


Sunday, July 27, 2014

From the depths of packing, I post at thee.


Ye gods.  The moving truck comes on Wednesday morning, and we are at that finely balanced moment  where one regularly goes to find something, only to discover it is packed up, while at the same time still having a horrifying amount of stuff to pack up.  Yesterday I invoked the awesome power of Paterfamilius, and the whole bunch of us got out of the house and went down to Kensington market.  A good long walk, some excellent Pho, and a supper of fresh bread, good cheese, and assorted farm veggies later, sanity has been restored.

Good soup is a mighty thing.

Geek progress (I think understandably) has been limited, but I have managed to pick up  bunch of stuff for the Acadian project.  I had an order come in from Skip at Legends in Time, and am now well-supplied with Brits, provincials, and a variety of militia and civilians.  I also picked up some 4Ground buildings (log cabins and New England settler homes), and a tidy little cordouroy bridge.  I'll need some (i.e., lots) of trees), but I've got plenty of stuff to keep me busy.

Terrorist, or freedom fighter? You decide.

I also took the Cub down to the game store, and we splurged on a few X-Wing ships.  He had a little cash, and bought himself a blister each of the HWK-290 and Z-95 Headhunter.  The latter has a bit of a history with us, as he's also got the LEGO set ;)  With the Rebels expanding their fleet, it was obviously necessary for the Imperials to match them, and I picked up a Firespray, because Boba Fett.  Sadly, these will get packed up until we get out to Halifax, but I'm looking forward to getting them on the table.

Yes, Lando, he's cooler than you.

Probably going to be at least a week or so before my next post.  Our stuff, as I mentioned, moves out Wednesday, and we'll probably take a few days to drive out; with kids and cats in the car, power-driving seems like a poor idea.  Next post will be from Hali.  Wish us luck!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Hold the Line

Yesterday saw the Cub and I out to the TMHG's first run at an annual convention, Hold the Line.  It was a fantastic day, and I had enough fun that I pretty much forgot to take pictures ;)  Turn out was good - maybe 80-90, which for a first-time convention was pretty good, I think, and everyone I saw seemed to be having a good time.

We got there around 11, about half-way through the morning sessions, but managed to budge in on a new-style Battletech game being enjoyed by Foxlington and his boy (about the same age as Cub), and G-man was kind enough to let the Cub and I play with his Deathstar Trench Run set-up once the morning game had concluded.  That was pretty impressive, as he had not only constructed an actual trench for the fighters to fly around in (and over!), but had also put together a pretty impressive sound board for audio SFX throughout the game (the Cub's been making Millenium Falcon "pew pew" noises most of the day).


There were some definite show-stoppers.  marke's Adwalton Moor game looked to be a success - based on the trial we played a few weeks back, but tweaked, and with updated terrain.  There was also a huge Impetus game, about 800 points a side, Late Romans against (I think?) Sassanians, and with 28mm figures.  Looked terrific.


We also got ridiculously lucky on the charity raffle (raising money for the Wounded Warrior fund).  We won not only a Corvus Belli DBA Celtiberian box, but also a box of Wargames Factory 15mm Americans (Cub got the latter - the former will act as faux Galatians in an Antigonid morph).

What made the day for me, personally, was seeing the Cub enjoying himself. He really got into both the X-Wing and Battletech game, on his own account.  While in the past, he's shown interest in what I've been doing, at the convention, it was his own fun and interest that were motivating him.  Gives me real hope that the two of us will be able to do more of this in the future.

Apparently, the raffle raised about a grand for the Wounded Warriors fund, and the three club guys who did the heavy lifting (Watts, AlexM, and Vonplutz) are actually talking about doing it again.  Don't know if we'll make it back next summer in time, but I'll be doing my best to spread the word, as I'd very much like to see the convention become an annual success.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Big news in Monkeyland.

We're moving to Halifax (in Nova Scotia, for you olde worlde types).  In less than a month.  Having rather quickly gone from having no job prospects in the Fall to having several, we've opted to move East, primarily as this puts us much closer to the Cub through his school year.  Close enough to see him most weekends, rather than once every several months.  This also, of course, has some implications for my hobby, chief among them that I'll no longer be able to game with the THMG.  This is the thing I'll miss most about Toronto, as I've had the privilege of gaming a wide variety of genres and periods with some absolutely spectacular people.  If any of you ever find yourself in Toronto, look up the THMG, they're good people.  Also, go to their convention, Hold the Line.  This weekend.  In Toronto.

In point of fact, gaming in general will likely be severely curtailed.  Work will be, I suspect, of an intensity I've not yet experienced.  On the one hand this means a degree of personal growth (and hopefully an opportunity for longer-term employment).  On the other, it means much more limited time available for my hobby.  My suspicion is that I'll have few chances for gaming itself, but should be able to still do at least a little painting.  While I'm aware of both Privateer Press and GW communities in the Halifax area, historical gaming seems a little limited (the one group I know of seems dedicated primarily to naval), and evenings and weekends will likely be devoted to family.

This, of course, has me doing a fair bit of hobby rumination and navel gazing.  One option is simply to putter along as I have, picking away at the lead pile at whatever happens to grab my interest at the time.  Another is to pick one (or two, or let's be realistic, three) projects to focus on.  If I opt for the latter, I'll want to do something where the process of painting itself gives me a degree of pleasure.

The Acadian project I mentioned in my last post is a strong contender for the "concentration" approach, not least because of where I'll be living.  On the other hand, the removal of the need to get things done to get them on the table also means I can turn my hand to any number of projects that have been languishing for want of "urgency".  The Magpie is dead, long live the Magpie.

I hope to maintain the blog despite the reductions in available time.  I've "met" dozens of people via this thing, and lived vicariously through any number of projects.  I hope, however, those of you following this will have some patience with me in the next few months, as between the arrival of Cub, the move, and the hustle of starting a new job, I suspect updates will be erratic.  Wish me the best.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Lords of the Backcountry


Finished up another unit of Compagnie Franche de la Marine today, along with some officers.


I'm not as happy with these guys as the first batch.  Not sure if it's just a darker blue, or if I rushed them a little.  They're serviceable, but they don't tickle me the way the first batch did.


With these finished, I'm within spitting distance of 400 points.  Another unit of natives, and some talents for the officers, and I'm good to go.



With that in mind, I've been poking around looking for ideas to build around.  I came across some discussion of the fighting in Acadie (modern-day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick).  This includes both the conflicts preceding the SYW (like Father Le Loutre's War), the guerrilla fighting surrounding the Acadian Expulsion, and formal campaigns like that of the Bay of Fundy.

There's plenty of unit types on both sides, lots of gaming potential, but it's a little different than the traditional "Hudson corridor" story of the conflict.  I'm going to pick up some 4ground buildings, and some more BM figs, and see what I can work up.