Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 in Review or lets get this year over with already!


Its that time again for the end of year review, you can see the original post here. So lets see how we did: 

Kill Team – Well this was a success as I got my GSC cult finished, we played a bunch of games and had a good time with it. Necromunda also crept into the mix this year which once we started playing that Kill Team was left behind. Drunken Samurai and I struggle with using either Kill Team or Necromunda for I-munda, we still have not decided which is a better system to use! LOL

FoW – Well I started a Mid War Russian Tank army, got it painted up and played a few games. Then I switched to a Mod war German force and built and painted up a whole new force for that, got in more games with that. Then Drunken and I took the leap into Team Yankee, I took Russians and he took USA, split the starter box and played one game. Part of the reason for the stall was waiting for BF to get the new rules and expansion pack out for the Russians, I was able to get the new Russian cards, but that was about all I did with it.

Gaslands – Wow, Mike and I had huge plans for Gaslands, then Covid hit and squashed all those plans. I built cars (now have about 50!) and built a nice Canyon to race in, but as the Covid kept getting worse, the games became less. I think I got only one game in after Covid hit. The lack of games is really bumming me out about the game, I still love it, but agter building 50 cars and terrain, I can't do much with it.

Other Games - Well I did work on a few new things that I had not planned, Warlords of Erehwon saw my LotR orcs getting some new units and new/old figures. Played a few games, really like the system and how it plays and hope to get it back on the table.

Worked on Pulp stuff this year for Pulp Alley, got a lot of models painted, got new terrain but no games played. Also worked on stuff for Fistful of Lead, old west, gothic horror but once again could not play anything. I had planned on doing another Halloween game, but the scary monster called Covid stopped that dead.

I also finally decided to put my paint brushes down with Saguaro Painting Service, was a nice run of almost 10 years, but life made me realize that I am not getting any younger and its time I paint up my own toys. So I had one commission sitting completed for about 4 months but due to Covid, I could not get it to the owner locally. Another part was that most of my commission work was historical and Vallejo paints got hard to get and I did not want to try to match paint colors I used for years.

I have been on again off again working on my Model Railroad layout, but back in October a friend gave me his huge collection of locomotives and rolling stock. With this huge gift, I was back into Model Raillroading again and had no excuse to not be working on my stuff. I have found enjoyment working on it and even coaxed a fried, Drunken Samurai back into the hobby (wasn't hard to do). 

Lastly, I had set a goal to be more active with the blog last year I barely got through 13 post for all of 2019, which was a post a month, I wanted to do a better job and with this post it will be 68 for 2020. Part of the reason was I left Twitter and tried to stay focused on doing my own thing. Twitter became a a horrible place with politics creeping in to the tweats, I had to leave it behind. I am still on Fakebook, but trying to limit my time there as well. At least with my blog I can not worry about the negativity and just keep it to my interests.

So all I can say is get the F@$k Out 2020, here is hoping and praying that 2021 gets back to normal!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Tiki, Tiki, Tiki bar!


Not a Hobby thing yet, but will soon be! Many folks know that I used to work at Disneyland and I was an attraction host in Adventureland. This meant I worked Jungle Cruise, Tree House, Indian Jones and the Enchanted Tiki room. I loved the tropical vide and it did really feel like Hawaii, which I visted a couple of times.

So for the last year I had a bucket list to go start checking out Tiki bars and there are a few here in Phoenix, but then Covid hit and bars closed down. The thought of visiting a few places was placed on the back burner. 

Then about a month ago while scrolling through my Youtube I found The Hula Girls channel featering one of the guys, Spike talking about his Tiki Bar he built and the Breezeway Cocktail Hour show on Tiki Drinks. i was hooked and now watch pretty regularly. 

Then it dawned on me, if I can not vist Tiki Bars, why not bring the Tiki Bar to me? So now I am seriously thinking of building a Tiki Bar in my backyard to host friends and family. But were do I start?

Two Awesome books!

First step is to research and get my drinks going, so after watching Spike on his channel, I ordered the Smugglers Cove book and my wife got me Trader Vic's book. So now I am diving into the Tiki drinks and planning to pull of a great looking outdoor bar for my back yard. I am still in the planning step, but hopefully will have a tropical oasis soon springing up in my back yard.

So stay tuned friends, more will come on this daring adventure into the world of Tiki!



Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Games?, what games!


Its been almost a month now of no work on anything game related, no games have been played and no urge to work on anything. It seems that the Covid Lockdown is playing havoc with my gaming interest. I know I am not alone  with this as some of my friends are feeling the same way. And just last week, someone at our local store came down with it causing the store to shut down and clean and get everyone tested.

I wonder if this is going to have a longer lasting effect on me as well as others. I have switched to doing Model Railroading to keep me busy as there is nothing new out there that I am reall excited about. I have not given up on gaming, just put it on the back burner for now.

For some, this is going to be a game breaker, I am sure of it. For others its a chance to catch up on their painting and assembly. I have been painting most of the time during lock down, I closed my Commission painting service to focus on painting my own stuff. But even now I am bored with that and it seems pointless to keep painting for something that may not ever come back.

Sorry if this sounds so negative, but its depression that is kicking in and I just need to vent about it here. I have not crossed the path yet of selling my stuff off, just have no real interest in it right now. Although at Christmas I got the awesome Ghost of Tushima and that is making me look at Samurai scenery and models.

But the reality is why buy and work on stuff for a game that I may never get to play on the table, I already have it virtually so I should be content with that.

So to all of you out there feeling the same way, I get it, I really do get it. Try to focus on another part of the hobby or look at something else that you can enjoy solo. Now maybe I need to get off my butt and get to designing my Tiki Bar for the backyard during the lockdown.


Friday, December 18, 2020

Track gang at it again!


The track gang came along last night and made some changes to my layout last night, it seems that management was not happy about the progress this past weekend. So this past Saturday Robert and I went out doing some lite rail fanning here in Phoenix and I realized how spread out things are on the real railroads. I have always know this, but in my effort to try to cram more industries into my track plan I got a little carried away. I was more in Model Operations mode then trying to model the real thing.

Also another layout has really brought the idea of Less is more is this great layout Red Dirt & Rails which is a nice little railroad. I heard about this layout from Robert who found it on Youtube, and I binged his videos and was very impressed at just how well he captured the Oklahoma area. I knew I had to change mine as it was bothering me.

So last night I took out the middle set of tracks which I was calling the switch back track, when I put it in I made it easier to switch out the trailing and following industry tracks, in reality the real railroad would never have done this and it looked to cluttered.

Before, middle track is just a switch back.

Here is the track after removing the switches, much more simpler plan and feels right. Another thing that removing the track, it gave me more area for modeling the industry along this section. I was going to use just facades but now I can add more depth to this section of the layout.

After, removed the switch back track

Less track makes it tougher to operate, thats a good thing!

More space for the industry as well!

I am happy with the plan now and it does capture the feel of the real railroad to me and it gives me an opportunity to do more modeling with the industries along this section of the railroad. So I will lock down the rest of the track later today or tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

To Game or not to game...who cares anymore?


That title seems a bit disheartening now doesn't it? Sorry to sound depressing, but thats how I am starting to feeling with my gaming of late. With the state of the world right now and having to be in lock down I am starting to really wonder if gaming will ever get back to normal. What started out as "Flatten the Curve" has turned into life being turned upside down and I am wondering why do I still collect stuff for games.

They say that it takes the brain 21 days to form a new habit, for some things a tad longer, what about months of doing the same thing? Up until about 3 weeks ago I was still working on my own projects and still had hope of possible games, but maybe its the holidays or maybe I have just tired of all of this but my interest in games is falling into a dont give a crap attitude. I have been watching lots of videos on Youtube about games and projects, but those are getting old and I am finding it hard to be excited about gaming.

Of late, I have been getting more involved in Model Railroading as this tends to be more of a solo project and may be turning my attention to this more then gaming. Buying, building, painting models is just not very exciting anymore with out the opportunity to use them in a game, maybe thats what I am getting from model railroading, I am getting a sense of satisfaction from using it unlike gaming right now.

Sorry for the rant, just needed to get this off my chest and putting it here helps with that.


Monday, December 14, 2020

Track Down

 So quick update,

This past weekend finally was able to secure some flex track to finish laying the track on my switching layout, I still need to add cork roadbed, but now I can actually start moving along with wiring and operation. 

West End of Layout

Main line with industries in the back on the west end.

Middle of the layout

East End corner as main line curves around the corner.

Next up after the cork will be to add the feeder wires and then I will be laying down the track using caulk. I am pretty excited to be finally moving along with this and look forward to seeing operations of the system I am guessing right at the new year begins.

So stay tuned, more progress coming soon.


Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Weathering Time


Time to get started on some model railroading projects, last night I decided I wanted to work on doing some light weathering on a ready to run car, so I picked out this Athearn Roundhouse 50'FMC Box which was a faded paint and re lettered from Golden West to SP. I love that Athearn has made a few cars like this, already faded and re patched in SP markings. So all I needed to do was add some dirt to it. 

Athearn Roundhouse 50' FMC pre faded

Now, many people seem to go extremely crazy with weathering, while yes you can see some really beat up cars for real, most cars are not that bad. After all if a car is that beat up from the weather, its either something that is now going out of service or is headed to be repainted, not all the time, but I am guessing most of the time anyway. So I wanted to not filth this one up too much as I also will be using this for operations on my layout, I still need to see the car numbers.

So the first thing I did was add some weight to the car as it was a little light, just added a few 1" 1/8' hole washers (I uses these for metal basing for wargaming figures). I then took the car body off and shot it with a flat clear coat to knock down the shine of the factory paint, I also did this on the trucks minus the wheels.

The main culprits for the filth 

Next up came the Vallejo colors, on the roof I used Vallejo Environmental Rust, its a great paint as it adds some grit to the rust, I applied it with a brush then streaked it while still wet with a sponge (or in my case leftover pieces of foam packaging from a Flames of war blister!).

I then took the Vallejo Black Wash and some water and lined all the raised areas on the model like the ribs on the side of the car. I start with a thinned down wash and slowly add more black to it. I added some of the wash to the whole panels in some areas just too mix it up and add variety. 

Once this dried, I came back with Vallejo Brown Engine Soot and with the trucks and under carriage and lower part of the car body with a dry brushing/stipple effect, once again using my sponge to streak some areas. And as the black wash, I applied it to areas on the roof and some other areas of the car panels. I also applied this color to the inside of the wheels making sure to not get paint on the points of the wheel sets.

Last color was Vallejo Engine Grime which is a grayish color that I applied as a dry brush on the underside and lower area of the car body as well as the trucks. I also once again applied some to car panels and streaked with a sponge.

And here below is the finished product, took me about an hour to do the whole car as I had to wait for some of the wash to dry between coats of paint.

Finished dirty car!

I really like how this one came out, its not overdone with grime and filth and it looks very realistic and right. I now have about 60 more cars to work on, but I will vary it up and work on other projects. Also you will notice I did not use my airbrush on this project, I have seem many airbrushed cars, and to my eye they look a little too perfectly weathered, almost cartoony to me. Dont get me wrong, they do look great, but they tend to all look similar and not real. I feel I can get a better natural effect with a regular brush instead of busting out my airbrush, now i may on other cars, but right now I will continue with a regular brush.