Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Alphaville Vs. Hardware

The Bones finally came. That’s right the giant 11.3 lbs box of PVC little ‘guys’ finally arrived at my doorstep after patient waiting. It was everything I had hoped and SO much more. So the first thing I feel the need to do is thank Reaper. I haven’t been painting minis that long, but what I’ve discovered in that time period is that by and large Reaper is the most consistent miniature producing companies out there. They don’t price gouge like Games Workshop, they aren’t difficult to find, they have a MASSIVE back catalogue of items to choose from, and they are always looking for ways to expand their consumer base.

Don’t get me wrong there are a TON of tiny companies like Hardwood Hobbies, Anvil Industries, Mantic Games, Black Scorpion, Brother Vinni, Scribor, MaxMinis, etc. that deserve your attention, but none of them have the reach or scope that Reaper does. The Bones Kickstarter earned over 4 Million dollars. Let that sink in for a second. A company in Texas that makes little metal and plastic ‘guys’ made 4 Million dollars from a rabid fan base that was dying for a cheap, resistant, plastic alternative to metal. Then they delivered.

Sure it was a little late, but if you had that many orders to ship and you had to deal with production in China you might find yourself a bit late as well. The fact is it arrived, and it arrived as advertised. No let down, no disappointment, no excuses. Couple this with the “Hey if there are any problems with your order let us know and we’ll make it right” and their history of ‘making it right’ makes me feel like Reaper is a company that gives a crap about me as a customer. They are a company that had my loyalty before this, and now after getting this entire incredible product for such a dirt cheap rate I’m encouraging you to do the same.

Sunday night Cassandra, Mick, and myself watched Real Steel (*** ½ out of 5).
I learned two very important things watching that flick. Number one is that I’ll watch Hugh Jackman in anything and he will be fantastic. Secondly, the man can’t play a ‘bad guy’ no matter how hard he tries. He just can’t, he’s too damn likable. Even at his dead beat dad, slimy washed up boxer best he was still just too damn charismatic to hate. Let’s get one thing straight about this flick, I dug it. I really did, it was a nice family type flick that was fun and heartwarming. However it isn’t breaking any new ground. It’s really just Over The Top mixed with Rocky full of robot fights, and I’m TOTALLY ok with that. In fact I’m more than ok with it; I really enjoyed it to the point of being more than willing to watch it again. The special effects are good, the robot fights fun and the ending while being cliché is reasonably satisfying. So if you are looking for a decent little flick and want to watch some robot punching then give this one a go, it’s worth it.

I also finished Henry Kuttner’s Elak Of Atlantis (*** ½ out of 5).
I wasn’t overly familiar with Kuttner beyond him being C.L. Moore’s husband so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this collection. I was pleasantly surprised as Kuttner mixed the Hyborian Age of Howard and the Mythos of Lovecraft to give a bit of a new spin on the genre. While Conan faced down the menace of things man was not meant to know he did it with far less frequency than Elak. The other thing that sets Elak apart is his chubby, drunken, nasty buddy Lycon. Conan is the lone wolf, while Elak has a bit of comedy relief, even if that comic relief will stick a knife in your eye. Also we get two tales of another o Kuttner’s characters Prince Raynor, and while they are good they just aren’t as fun to me. None of these stories are re-inventing the wheel and from what I understand these early works of Kuttner are not as refined or as well written as this early work, but they are a damn fine romp. So if you enjoy Conan than give Elak a try.

A few weeks ago I watched a trailer for The Wrestling Road Diaries (***** out of 5).
I enjoyed what I saw and decided to send Colt Cabana some of my hard earned cash and bought it. It came and I watched this documentary. It is absolutely wonderful. It follows a ten day road trip on the Independent Wrestling circuit with Bryan Danielson, now known as WWE’s Daniel Bryan, Colt Cabana, & Sal Rinauro. Danielson is headed towards the WWE, but is having problems passing their rigorous physicals due to some health issues. It is touching to see a guy who wants it that badly, but that also is just enjoying what he’s doing. Watching his anxiety over these hidden health issues is less about it affecting his ability to sign a contract and more about his actual health. It humanizes him greatly. The thing is I was already a fan for this guy for his in-ring work, his out of ring charity work, and his down to Earth attitude. This documentary made me a MEGA FAN, he just seems like a guy you’d want to hang out with and could. Cabana is just coming off being terminated by WWE. He isn’t bitter, but he’s definitely frustrated and motivated by it. The thing is Cabana getting dropped by the WWE could be one of the best things that ever happened to him. He started and still does one of the BEST Podcasts on the Internet in The Art Of Wrestling, he’s become a self-marketing machine, and without that we wouldn’t have gotten this documentary. He’s a funny guy, who seems to always try to look on the bright side. Much like Danielson, Cabana just seems like a regular guy living the dream. He seems like the guy you’d want at your BBQ, and that makes this and every other project he does, I’m looking at you MST3K inspired ‘$5 Wrestling’, something I want to support. Their co-star is a relative unknown, Sal Rinauro. He makes NO bones about his position in the Wrestling world as an “Enhancement Talent”, dude is a Jobber and proud of it. Together these three travel from show to show to show on Danielson’s ‘farewell tour’. You get to see behind the curtain at ROH shows, CHIKARA shows, and a few other smaller organizations which is cool. What is better is these three outside the shows just living this strange life on the road, having fun, travelling, joking, and getting into trouble. It’s not for everyone, but I would say if you enjoy documentaries, and especially ones that will make you laugh than this one is for you. It is fantastic.

It was another week so we were given another round of Paizo/Wizkids, however we only received one look at Skull & Shackles. We were however given some interesting news and the first look at the next set Legends Of Golarian. I’m not sure how I feel about Paizo/Wizkids trying to hammer out four full sets plus all their extra items in a year it seems like it’s a bit of the old oversaturation, but I’m guessing they know their market well enough not to bleed them dry. I’m hoping that this is just a one-time deal though as I’m already going to cut down on my purchasing and extra sets a year is going to make me FAR more selective. Alright enough speculation onto the Minis!
First up is the big group Con shot of the Skull & Shackles set. You’ll notice that Brinebones, the giant Dracolich, is front and center as it should be. It’s a fantastic looking miniature that seems like something straight out of an Elmore painting. I didn’t realize how many BIG miniatures were in this set, but if you look at this group shot there are quite a few. The nautical theme is extremely obvious in this picture and I’m really excited to add a lot of these guys to my collection for 2nd Group’s adventures. I think the other thing that is striking me when looking at this set is that it seems small in number. I’m hoping that what I want out of this set won’t cost me that much.
Next is our first gander at the Legends Of Golarian set, and it’s the Small Common Goblin Pyros. The Pathfinder miniatures sets have done a great job of giving us not just Goblins, but Goblins with a TON of character to them, which is something that I felt the DDM line failed to do. I adore both of the poses they gave these two; there is a maniacal menace there that is perfect. The paint jobs are perfectly in line with what they’ve established for their Goblins and they will look fantastic in a horde with their earlier brethren. These are a MUST BUY for me.
The second look at the new set is Medium Rare versions of Queen Ileosa from the Curse Of The Crimson Throne Adventure Path and King Irovetti from the Kingmaker Adventure Path. Queen Ileosa is a PERFECT 3D translation of the art, literally perfect. She’ll make a great NPC miniature, but only if I can get her at a reasonable cost. There is a dynamic flow to the dress as well as imperiousness nature in that stance that screams royalty. King Irovetti is equally great. While he has a relatively static pose it has regal feel to it, and I love the paintjob. It reminds me of a King Conan type. These two are MUST BUYs for me IF they are reasonable on the secondary market.
You want to have your mind blown, then feast your eyes upon the Efreeti here. This Large Rare might be the best looking miniature that Wizkids and Paizo have produced in any set. This thing is just gorgeous. It’s based off a cover from the Legacy Of Fire Adventure Path, which by the by is chock full of awesome Gnolls, and is again stellar translation of art to sculpt to finished product. The pose is perfect, it screams power. The colors are bright without being obnoxious and are perfect when set again the dark cloth kilt type garment. The thing is this miniature would be a PERFECT stand in for ANY high ranking Devil and no one would bat an eye. How could you? This thing is right up there with the Troll Champion as miniatures to come out of this partnership that haven’t just met expectations but shattered them. Kudos to those involved. Oh and if you couldn’t guess this is a MUST BUY for me.
Last but not least is Gargantuan Green Dragon. This is one of the Chromatics who has never gotten the Gargantuan treatment and here it is in all its glory. I like this miniature quite a bit, but I think the thing that really keeps it from hitting that Efreeti type level of ‘SQUEE’ is the pose. Maybe it’s just the camera angle, but the pose doesn’t really do anything for me, which is a shame because that paint job is flippin’ amazing. I think this thing is going to retail for around $40, which isn’t bad, but I’m not sure I’m willing to plunk that much down for this bad boy. I’m just not sure. Hopefully we’ll get a better picture at some point. Otherwise this one is most likely a PASS for me.

Let’s wrap up this clown show with some…


- Cassandra made insane pico de gallo last night. Seriously awesome. The last year she has taken her already good cooking skills and has become far more inventive, instinctive, and daring. She makes amazing food routinely, and I would say has surpassed me in many ways. She never ceases to blow my mind with what she makes.
- It’s only 15 days until NFL Training Camp starts, the abyss is almost over.
- Them Damn Wheeler Boyz were over to watch RAW on Monday and we witnessed the arrival of The Wyatt Family. Most of the time in wrestling the hype is better than what we actually get.
They build things up to a point where there is no Earthly way they can deliver. This was not one of those moments. Before it happened James, Dave, & I agreed that the best course of action would be to have them do a run-in on or two established stars, decimate them, and turn up the creep factor. As Kane & Christian came out for their match we said THIS is the spot. Lo and behold it was. See it doesn’t hurt Kane to put these guys over. He’s on the tail end of his run; he’s a solid worker, and currently a face. Having him get crushed only serves to make the Wyatts look dangerous, and that’s a good thing. Brutal, unsettling, and nasty was the best way I can think to describe the attack, but that was secondary to the entrance. Coming down in only lantern light with that disturbing song, blowing out the lantern only to have the house lights come up, and having Erik Rowan in that creepy sheep mask were all strokes of genius. Having Bray Wyatt sit out the attack and just watch from his rocking chair was perfect. The head smashing with the steel steps also was a great spot setting up how dangerous these guys are. It was just a great WWE moment. I’m very intrigued to see where they take these guys and who they menace next. They are walking upright, they are raging against the Machine, and they have followed the buzzards. The Wyatt Family is HERE.
- I’m thinking of grilling some chicken for D&D 1st Group on Sat. Possibly spiced and then sauced to caramelize. Something to think about.
- After wrestling James, Dave, and I sat down and knocked out James’ show on WWE ’13. He has assembled The Wyatt Family, The Shield, The Briscoes, Big E Langston, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Wade Barrett, & Drew McIntyre to name just a few. It’s very much a NXT type roster, which is very cool. Now we just have to wait and see if Cordell is going to join us and if so what sort of roster he is going to put together between what’s left and a possible supplementary draft. I realized that as much as I dug my Gentleman’s Club faction it wasn’t what I wanted.
I wanted Team F.I.S.T., NAY I NEEDED Team F.I.S.T. So I went about finding Icarus and Johnny Gargano, teamed them with a better version of “Sexy Chucky T” Chuck Taylor AND kept Paul Wight in there. They are the Most Dangerous Trio on the game AND possibly the best faction. Yes, that’s just my opinion, but c’mon you know it’s true. It could only be better IF I could free up one more spot and find a sweet Gran Akuma. But that might cause the world to implode under the weight of its sheer awesome sauce.
- Tonight I’ve got to wash them Bones. I’m hoping to start gluing on Friday before DREAD.
- Speaking of DREAD, Friday night El Bobert-O is running a Sci-Fi game in which I will be playing a greenhorn Engineering Cadet. I’m going to play him like a scared kid who is in WAY over his head. I’m thinking of saying things like, “Good Gravy!” whenever confronted with the strange. Also NO cursing for me with this one. I am not going default Southern though, I do that too often. Smart and scared I think is the way to go. If I can keep from being a stereotype and instead be an archetype I’ll have achieved my goal. I think this game has the potential to be amazing.
- You know Little Caesar’s dip dish pizza wasn’t bad.

I think that’s all I got today…

“With the merging of the races
In this lost society
We will claim the Spinward Marches
We will rule the galaxy
We are free!

Though they once were our creators
Now we curse Humanity
From the race manipulations
To this dark obscurity
We'll be free!

Cast out of a world, once we owned
Lust got in the way, race dethroned

From ancient major races
To the old Genetic Wars
Came the carnivores and chasers
Now they're scattered though the stars
Near and far!

Now the secret is discovered

To our lost identity
We will infiltrate the cosmos
Our generic prophesy
We'll be free!

Cast out of a world, once we owned
Once out in the fray, we'll be cloned

It's a God-given right
So we choose to defy you
The professor was right
It's a God-given right
Ceremonial gene-splicing
Into the master race

Under a Vargr moon fires still glistening
Back on the skywalks I'm not even listening

Cronor! Mora! Firgr! Glisten!

Bouncing off the stairs in the Querion Subsector
Armed and escaping this unholy vector I'm

Human! Vargr! Wretched! Doctor!

Into my body you've brought this disease
Master of adamite discoveries
Stronger than ever you thought I'd be

Now that you've forced me to live out your fantasies
I will deliver your test-tube and prophesy

Mutant! Hybrid! Canine! Biped!
Into your human blood, penance for all your sins
Now I'll give you a taste of your own medicine

Human! Vargr! Wretched! Doctor!

Stalking the world as this monstrosity
Mutated messenger, alien genes
Stronger than ever you thought I'd be

Of what can you accuse me?
Your anger test my patience
I did not wish this on you
Your madness is quite blatant

In all your anguish I can see you are an ideal patient
My work is not yet wasted, wait and see

My countenance disfigured
My human genes are latent
You brought this fate upon me
And all your work is wasted

In all this world I only wanted to be independent
Clearly your madness brought this curse on me
Wait and see!”

* = YES!  YES!  YES!  That's for you and your Mighty beard Jammin' James...

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