Saturday, August 19, 2017

My workbench: More industrial terrain built and painted

I recently painted up some industrial terrain (as discussed here). I don't have the energy just yet for GW's complex Shadow War terrain, so I'm just sticking with the quick wins and continuing on with some more easy terrain..

Speaking of Shadow War, I hear Necromunda is coming back (and the new Star Wars miniature game Legion), so that is a plus with all this terrain I'm building.

I was not going to go crazy on the paint job just like last time, but just continue do something good enough for the tabletop. Industrial terrain, I hate to say it, is boring to paint and I can't get enthused about pipe-fittings and such. However, if one wants to play Shadow War and Necromunda, it's gotta be done.

Last time, I built up Laser Cut Architect's Iron Gulch building #2, so now I built up their building # 1 and sci-fi ish diner.

Assembling was pretty easy for the most part..

However, I did not glue the metal-ribbed something or other to the building for now as I don't really like it..

and I did not glue the Diner sign to the building as it might not be appropriate for things like Star Wars or Necromunda.. However, I will use it for post-apoc..

I was not paying attention reading the directions and accidentally glued the opening to put the back ladder in the front part of the building, but it still works.

Like last time, I copied the paint job from the company's website and painted the buildings a metallic rusting look. These buildings can be used from modern to far future..

For the rest of the pieces painted, I decided to go with a light blue theme because why-the-hell-not as I never painted up blue terrain before, and sci fi is the only avenue I can do so.

I continued on with the metallic rusty look on  sci-fi processing plant buildings from Micro Arts Studios, with a touch of blue..

I could have went crazy with these pieces, and made this an intricate paint job, but I just couldn't generate any enthusiasm into painting a processing plant and kept with the simple dirty rusting look.

So, now I have the outlines of a metallic district of sci fi buildings, perhaps in a dirty part of town or a ramshackle colony..

Continuing on with blue-themed terrain, this time I wanted to paint clean; give it that whole utopia look and all that.

I bought this landing pad in mdf from ebay. It came in the mail, but there were no instructions, just pieces.

I just had to go with this ebay picture to figure out what to do..

 It looked like the legs of this thing was a series of smaller and smaller pieces glued I organized them from smallest to biggest first and put them on the legs..

However, like I always do with mdf, my stubby fingers broke off one of the supports by accident..

So now, at least one side was not going to have the landing pad extensions (circled in red)

I decided to cut off the other three extensions, as I thought to hell with it, the landing pad can do without it.

I painted it up in blue with some landing lights colour in the middle using inks..

Continuing on with the clean blue sci fi theme, I had these Micro Arts studio battlefield hardfoam small city highground pieces..

I am not sure what they are, but maybe LOS blockers for playing in cyberpunk type cities.
The top part has a hexagram pattern, so I thought, maybe it's light from an energy source. So, I put on blue primer with grey on top, followed by yellow inks for the top part to show "light" from the hexagon roof..

Lastly, I had this Micro Arts Taucity habitat that I painted in various shades of blue..

I now have 4 pieces of clean blue themed sci-fi terrain, as well..

For now, I'm done with my dirty and clean blue-themed experiment, and with sci-fi terrain at the moment. Will work on some fantasy next, for a change.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Books that give a historical overview of tabletop RPGs

I am too old to now enjoy tabletop RPGs. I don't have it in me anymore to suspend disbelief and or even have the time and interest to devote to it. However, I remain interested in the hobby from a distance and can be, when I'm in the right mood, nostalgic about the good old days in the early 80s when RPGs were new and exciting.  

A generation later, enough time has passed for more books out there that are giving the hobby an historical overview and not just "let's celebrate 40 years of D&D" coffee table book kind-of-thing.

I have several books in physical hardcopy that are not yet on Kindle..

as well as one on my Kindle.

Lawrence Schick's Heroic Worlds

My first foray into these types of books was back in the mid 1990s, with Lawrence Schick's encyclopedic-ish Heroic Worlds.

While there was some discussion by key players, what I loved about this book when it came out was the listing of every 1980s RPG and supplement (and every edition of such) with a brief description for each.

A typical page in Heroic Worlds:

What was great about this when I got this in the 1990s was it was a perfect source at the time for my collection mania of getting 1980s RPGs that I never owned. It was very synchronistic for my collection phase as when I got this book, being the late 1990s, it was also a time for the brand new ebay service to come along where people started to post their stuff on line.

For 1970s and 1980s collectors, I can't emphasize how useful Heroic Worlds is.

Rick Swan's The Complete Guide to Role Playing Games 

was less encyclopedic and certainly a lot less meat-on-the-bones than Heroic Worlds. It is more light as it is a brief romp through major 1980s RPGs. However, this sort of book, along with Heroic Worlds, was the only book of it's kind in the 1990s that I came across that gave an overview of the hobby. For what it was, and though dated now, I found it enjoyable reading it in the 1990s and made me nostalgic for the previous decade's more care-free days.

A typical page:

Fast forward to the current time, I am seeing more and more meatier books on the history of RPGs, which I have not had time to read, but will do so soon, and hopefully, give a book review.

What I am not really interested in however, are the current spate of books that deal with the history of just D&D and AD&D..

I own those mid-1970s D&D books, and to be honest, they leave me cold and uninspired. They are even more plain than my 1980s games, which were plain with crude drawings to start with.

Besides, I personally was more of a sci fi RPGer in the 1980s, and not really into D&D and I really disliked TSR back then

Jon Peterson's Playing the World

Playing the World is the fist meatier history of RPGs that I've come across.

My D&D and TSR curiosity itch, if any, was scratched in Peterson, as he describes how insurance salesman Gygax modified Chainmail and traces the step by step inspiration for D&D back in 1974. He goes into depth about Gygax and how it all came about. I highly recommend this book to those interested in the history of the tabletop RPG hobby.

If I ever have time to read this again, I will give a more in-depth book review.

Shannon Appelcline Designers and Dragons.

On my reading list is Designers and Dragons, by Shannon Appelcline. It seems to be a series of four volumes, focusing each on RPGs of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s.

I might get the 1970s volume, if it comes out in Kindle, and if there is some discussion about GDW and Traveller, but I am primarily interested in my heyday in the 1980s.
I remember in the 1990s being dismayed at the bizarre titles that were coming out like Vampire the Masquerade and such, and have no desire to read up on that.

This grumpy old man also can't relate to RPGing in the 2000s as well, so I'll pass on that volume.

Anyways, I got the 1980s volume and it looks as interesting as Peterson's book.

Some of the titles in the book seem to echo my observations back in the 1980s about the RPG. Flipping the book just now to take a photo for instance, I see there is a sub heading called "The End of TV RPGS: 1986-1989"...

Being a big FASA Star Trek fan, as well as playing WEG's Star Wars, precisely in those years, I too noticed there were not many TV based RPGs after that. Like I said, it got less TV based and more weird after that. Already I am impressed and I haven't even read it yet.

Anyways, I look forward to reading the 1980s volume of Designers and Dragons and will give a book review hopefully in the near future.