Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Aviator Vs. Shutter Island

I’ve become much more of a sporadic blogger due to the place that pays me getting really busy, more Podcasting, and frankly not a lot I felt was worth talking about into the ether of the Internet. And let’s face it, the folks who do read this now just wait for the Podcast to hear all my ranting and raving. It isn’t that I’m giving up on my blog, in fact I’m not. I’m still committed to blogging once per week even if it is just Random Crap. It just might be more miniatures review and the type of stuff that doesn’t translate well into audio.

Today though, today is different. You see yesterday I received some alarming news at the place that pays me that might drastically affect not only my employment, but the employment of a LOT of other people. Due to some odd decision making, and in my opinion hubris, on the part of the people who rubber stamp my check they have made some significant enemies among the people we do business with and it is finally coming back to possibly bite them in their collective asses.

The thing is though it won’t bite them. It will bite those beneath them. And if we are being completely honest it might not even bite me, at least not severely, however if it goes badly it will cause a lot of folks to lose their jobs. That bothers me. It bothers me almost as much as the thought of what it will do to the folks we serve. To know that so many people’s lives will drastically change over the decisions of a group of people whose decisions led us to this point doesn’t set well with me.

There is no consequence for the people who put us in this spot. They will not lose their employment, they won’t lose any salary, and they most likely will not even really be admonished. Therein lays the hubris. There is no threat in failure; there is no consequence, and therefore no incentive to be innovative or to push for being better. There is no money in doing worse or doing better, only the status quo fills the coffers. I’m sick to my stomach over it.

All I’ve poured into this, all the hard work, all the energy and it will be for nothing. My loyalty in the face of insults was for nothing. I fluctuate between being sad to anger to apathy and none of it takes the sting out of this. It may finally be time to rethink the field I’ve chosen to ply my trade in. I’m not sure it has room for my optimism in the face of cold capitalism. I suppose it was a good run and I helped some people. At least I’ll be able to take that with me.

Anywho, I’m not going to dwell on things I can’t control the outcome of. Instead I’m going to crush your brain with some amazing miniatures. A week ago we didn’t get our normal Pathfinder preview instead we received a preview of new product they’ve cooked up with Wizkids. It’s an Evolution set. So the concept is they take a monster and give you a series of different iterations of the beast as it grows in power.
First up is the dreaded White Dragon at Medium version. This would be a young wyrm, who makes an interesting low level boss or an ally of a nastier overall enemy. I think White Dragons are hard to pull off because you need them to white, but no so much so that they lose the details. This does a decent job of keeping this in mind. I’ve often thought that a light or even wash of light blue would give a White Dragon a nice pop of color; they didn’t go that route here. And honestly I can’t see much because of the angle of the photo, but I do like what I can see. The sculpt feels like the wyrm is firing its breath weapon and that’s pretty sweet.
Second up is the Large White Dragon. I love this miniature. There is a dynamic action to the sculpt that’s wonderful. The colors meet and match with the earlier incarnation. More than anything else though is the sheer size. This is a Large miniature, but look at the massive amount of wing overhang! It looks to be pushing the size limitations of that classification of miniatures. This thing is going to look intimidating to players. That pose with the claws up preparing to strike is fantastic as well. Of the three this is my favorite.
Which brings me to the final miniature in the Evolution, the Huge version. This is the White Dragon at its most devastating an old wyrm. The miniature is based off the art of Wayne Reynolds, one of my favorite D&D artists. It looks to have translucent wings, and the paint job looks solid, but for whatever reason I’m just not blown away by this miniature. It looks good and it meets the art it’s based on, but it just doesn’t capture my attention the same way. Perhaps it’s because I have a lot of Dragon sculpts in this similar pose that it just feels ‘samey’. Overall I like this product, I like it a lot. I’m just not sure that this first version of it does much for me. I already have a handful of White Dragons, including the MASSIVE Icingdeath. So I’ll have to wait and see what I think when it’s released as well as the price point, but for now this is a PASS for me.
We did get some Skull & Shackles previews last week as well, this time it was all Devils. First up is the Sentinel Devil, or in D&D vernacular the Barbed Devil. This is a Medium Common, which is SUPER cool because it will hopefully allow you to field a mass of these guys. Let me say up front that the paint job is very ‘meh’. Let me follow up that compliant with a hearty, IT DOESN’T MATTER! The sculpt is fantastic. It’s sinister, dynamic, and perfectly devilish. I think this may end up being one of those miniatures that ends up being far cooler in hand than in a picture as well. It is a great miniature that fits a huge need in a big way. This is a MUST BUY for me.
We follow up that tasty treat with the Greater Host Devil who is also a Medium Common miniature. I’m not as big on this one; it’s good but seems a bit busy. The face has a lot of spikes coming out of it, those wings are pretty big, and you couple that with a long pole arm and it feels cluttered on a Medium base. All that being said it again fills a vastly needed niche in the pre-painted miniatures world of Devilish foot soldiers. I can see fielding a host of these in any of my campaigns as a set of high level minions. That makes this one sort of a reluctant MUST BUY for me.
The last preview of the week is my overall favorite. It is the Large Uncommon Drowning Devil. Just look at that beauty. First off it is MASSIVE for a Large miniature, I’m thinking it’s going to be the size of the Troll Champion. Secondly the design and paint job are truly inspired. The shading is perfect and that strange pink and light blue coloring seems other worldly. I’m not sure if there is a D&D equivalent of this monstrosity, but there should be, and in my games there will be. All this and it is an Uncommon! That means I might be able to afford getting a few of these if that’s the route I choose to go. This is one of my favorite miniatures to come out of Paizo and Wizkids relationship, it’s just amazing. If you can’t tell this is a MUST BUY for me.

That’s a lot of miniatures. Between this new Evolution product, the mini ‘We Be Goblins’ release, and Skull & Shackles Paizo & Wizkids are putting a hit out on my wallet. I’ll have to be judicious and smart in my purchases especially if I’m unemployed.

Speaking of Paizo my Pathfinder Tales newest selection came in the mail last week and I already devoured it. Chris A. Jackson’s ‘Pirate’s Honor’ (**** out of 5) may be the first Pirate book set in a fantasy world I’ve ever read.
I have to admit if this is what I’ve been missing then I’ve got some serious ground to make up. While many of the Pathfinder Tales books have been built around shady characters who do good, this tale’s protagonist Captain Vin is good. Sure he’ll rob you, sure he might even kill you, but he won’t do it for no reason and he’ll try like the devil not to do it all. In fact his entire crew is in the same boat, pun intended. This is also a ‘caper’ story which surprised me as I sort of thought I might get a rollicking sea adventure and instead I got a tale of revenge wrapped in a robbery, which was a blast. Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of action, in fact the opening sequence has given me all sorts of idea fodder for the 2nd D&D Group, but this book is more built upon intrigue and intricate plots. All this coupled with Captain Vin’s strange relationship with his navigator, the sexual tension he has with an informant, betrayal most foul, the ideal of love, and the ideas of ‘normalcy’ for a Pirate keep this book from being one or even two notes. I also applaud the author for NOT going with a twist. I kept dreading one of those ‘I knew it all along’ moments that happen far too often in fiction now. Instead we were treated to heroes and villains who were all too fallible and therefor all the more enjoyable. I haven’t read any of Mr. Jackson’s other works, but now I’m going to. I’m also going to keep my eyes out for any further tales of Torius Vin, his love Celeste, and the rest of the intrepid crew of the Stargazer.

See it isn’t all bad, in fact there is enough good stuff in my live to constitute a helping of…


- When did it become ok to just talk on your cellphone at work? When?

- I thought this week’s Podcast was a solid effort. Even with the ‘restart’ I thought we captured some
momentum and hit on a number of topics with like zero prep. And it was fun. Seriously, doing the Podcast with David is fun. It is basically the same damn conversations he and I have all the time just recorded with extra crap thrown in. If you aren’t a listener then you should give it a try, if you are thank you. Next Monday our significant others are on, it’s a ‘four-way’!

- Holy crap, 11 inches of snow possible today and tomorrow? It is May 1st. DIE WINTER, DIE!

- The car had to have another $600 in repairs. As an adult who now has a house and a car I’m starting to understand why my parents were always strugglin’. Having all this stuff that seems to only breakdown at the most inopportune moments is frustrating. Every time we get our head above the water and start to really get things done circumstance conspire against us. I’m beginning to think that Ernie Cline’s thoughts on life being like an 8bit video game are true.

- If you don’t like Iron Maiden I don’t know how we are even friends.

- Hardwood Hobbies is at it again with two some cultists who I’m thinking of purchasing if I’m still gainfully employed. The pieces that I’ve already bought are in line to be painted and I have to say I was blown away by the sculpt detail and the clean casts. So go give these guys your money, because first off you can NEVER have enough cultists and you ALWAYS need female cultists.

- We’re having a yet to be determined Movie-A-Thon on Friday night, to say my excitement as waned over the last 24 hours would be an understatement.

You know, I think I’m done today…

“All American, an evil game of extortion
A sick old man, and who would guess
He was once S.S.
A deadly fascination, of a madman's solution
Six million dead, poison tales pollute his head

Tell me a story - Will ya, Will ya
A real good story, I won't leave till ya
Spill your guts old man
Leave out any secrets, Hiding in the ...

Any skeletons, and all your other sins
Any skeletons in the closet
Any skeletons, any misfortunes
Any skeletons, Hiding in the closet
Any skeletons, Any skeletons
In the closet

It's insanity, puppet master boy or Nazi
Apt pupil, he hears the screams
Nightmares turn into wet dreams
Hatret lives, boiling inside, dealing death it's bumicide
In too deep, their secret stands but it won't keep

The truth comes out, conspiracy there is no doubt
His life is ruined, but no not yet
He's still got one card in the deck
A loaded gun, a happy smile, he'll scope the freeway for a while
King of the world, four hundred rounds it took five hours to bring him down”

* = If 'The Giant' is my job then I am definetly The Great Muta!

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