Thursday, May 30, 2019

Teaching an old dog new tricks

This year was a biggie for me, I hit one of those milestone birthdays.  To celebrate I did something I've been a bit nervous of doing, I entered a bike race.

TBH, I'm not a shredder on the bike, I'm more of an 'enjoy the ride' kind of rider.  Because of this, I told Mrs OA that my goal was a modest one: ride the course cleanly, finish it and not be too slow.  I even managed to get in a bit of practice in the area, just as well as there are some tricky sections on the course. Like this:

(photo is not me, its from Roots and Rain's coverage of the race)

I opted to enter a (relatively local) first race, the ESC Enduro race at Diamond Hill in RI.  Over the winter I put in base miles and interval training on the cyclocross bike, then as soon as the snow finally left I started on the mountain bike.  The weather here was cold but not too wet, then it all changed...

...the rain started and didn't stop.  Come race day it was a sloppy mudfest very quickly churned to peanut butter like consistency.  The rock feature above was slick as snot and had quite the high pucker factor to enter it.  Here's me in about the same position as the guy above, there's no going back at this point.

Folks were sliding all over and falling off everywhere.  I managed to ride most of it cleanly, I only went down once.  I hit a muddy berm too quickly and lost my front wheel  right before the end of a timed section.  After dropping a liberal spray of F-bombs I looked up to see spectators staring at me aghast.  I immediately apologized and got back into the race.

This is me a bit later:

So, how did I do on my goal?  Well, time to come clean, my REAL goal was: ride the course and not to be last!  Given the conditions on the day I was happy with my day out, the course was great, the race was fun, the other riders a decent bunch.  And the icing on the cake, I was NOT last in my age bracket !  OK, I was third from last out of 11, but that's OK with me.

A bit of data nerdery:  I used my GPS and Strava on the day.  In riding for practice I had ridden 5 of the 6 sections, in practice timing I was about the middle of the pack of 'all time' riders on those sections.  On race day,  even though we were riding in peanut butter mud, I ended up getting  'Personal bests' on 4 of the 5 sections.  It turned out that approx. 100  other riders were also using Strava on race day (numbers varied a bit due to "did not finish" drop outs over the day). Of those hundred or so riders it looks like they are the quicker Strava users as I was way off the pace, instead of middle pack I was down in the last 10% (92-95) of the slowest for 5 of 6 timed sections.  One section I really enjoyed, I had a great bit of banter at the top with another rider so we were pushing it and it showed, I ended up 65th on that section!

Pinkbike has a decent summary and video up:
(I'm on it! no, not riding, I'm standing in the  rain getting wet at the briefing at around 28s)

 Phew, so what's next?  Well I'm still not fast.  But I really enjoyed the race day atmosphere and camaraderie, so I would like to do another this summer.  The Family schedule is filling fast but I think I can pull it off.  

Friday, March 29, 2019

Prepping Forces for GZG ECC XXII - where'd it go?

It didn't, I forgot to take pics.  Instead, here's two shots from my Dr Who and the Daleks game. All done in 20mm.
The set-up, Daleks invading from the destroyed human colony and humans trying to flee in the dropships
As one of the players said... ...AMBULATE!

Stompy-Bot Mecha Goodness

Mmmmmm... ...crunchy

I blame Netflix.  Mini-Me Minor and I have a new obsession.  We started watching a Gundam series on Netflix and now we are hooked.  On a trip to the hobby store we saw a 1/144 kit and bought it, and Man are those things BIG.  Even in 1/144 its 5 inches tall.  There was no way we could build a collection in that size.  Fortunately, the interwebs came to our rescue.  DreamPod 9 make some super 1/1000 mecha for their Jovian Chronicles range, they make enough different types to add a nice variety too.  Most importently, as its DP9 here, there are surprisingly not crazy prices.  Sooooo, some mecha late we painted some up and had to set up a game ASAP.

We setup a pretty typical encounter game, two sets of mobile suits: Mini-Me Minor had the blue/white Pathfinders (EF, Gundams), I had the green Wyverns (Zeon).  Rules are our simple 'kids rules' modded for Gundam.

 Mini-Me Minor advances his Pathfinders
 Zooom, dodging space debris
 Zeon Wyvers fly a tight pattern
 Pathfinders spot a Wyvern ,guns blaze, missiles fly
 Zeon responds in kind
 Armour shrugs off hits and point defenses knock down the missiles
 A Pathfinder closes to point blank
 Kaboom, that one got through the armour
 A Wyvern tries a sneak attack
 Closing into hand-to-hand
 The Wyvern leader activates a Plasma Axe, yup, plasma Axe, you read it right.
 Boom, the Wyvern Leader takes down a Pathfinder
 Gratuitous shot of the victory
 Kapow, Kapow, Vrooosh
 My turn!
 No, MY turn.
 Oh Oh, we know what's coming now...
 The Pathfinder kick some Wyvern bum
 Over on the other side more hand-to-hand
 The Wyvern Leader takes down another Pathfinder
 The Pathfinder Leader activates a plasma sword
Sizzzle, slice, stab.
 Booom!  The Pathfinder Leader takes down the Wyvern Leader, that last of the Zeon mobile suits
Mini-Me Minor made me take TWO shots of his victory...

...Zeon will have it's revenge

Pew Pew Kablewie!

Woah! Its spring already (sort of...).  So, why no new posts?  Simple, I'm a slacker and forgot to do it...

So here's a game we played a while ago.  Mini-Me Minor got a U-wing for Xmas and wanted to kick it tires. Out came the X-wing and he faced off against my Tie fighter horde.  His goal was to escort a secret agent (he wrote in secret which of the two U-wings had the agent) off the other table edge.

More Pew-Pew later and I got lucky and Kablewie-d both U-wing.  Turns out Mini-Me Minor had forgot he had the agent and instead was just focusing on blowing up Tie fighters...

No worries, he was a champ and took it in his stride.
 Meanwhile, new ship day happened, he also got a Hotwheels Milano which he's very proud of.

 My personal ship is an old plastic model of a Babylon 5 Starfury

As a birthday present the kids got me a U-wing X-wing set, they are painted in a cool scheme.  What was a surprise is the new X-wings now have moveable wings, Mini-Me Minor had a fun time opening and closing these as we played

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Houston we have a problem...

I like playing soldiers with the kids but Mini-Me Minor can be a little 'accident-prone'.  The problem is he loves playing with my Aliens drop-ships from Galoob (who doesn't!).  Anyhoo, as these are about as rare as hen's teeth and twice as expensive I've had a search running on Ebay for a while for an inexpensive one for him to play with.

The search got a hit not long ago, I managed to be the only bidder on an inexpensive one in great "played with" condition.  Mini-Me Minor was overjoyed.

While looking at the results of the search one day I saw a new manufacturer of drop-ships.  The blurb and pics looked promising so I went ahead and bought one (OK, I bought two, I do need to drop a platoon at a time after all)

The manufacturer is EagleMoss Collectibles:

I'd never heard of these before, turns out they are into making movie-based collectible figures.  Enough preamble, onto the dropship!

The EagleMoss (EM) ship is slightly larger than the Galoob one.  The EM one is also better scaled than the Galoob toy.
The toy has overly large joints and cockpit and is kind of squashed in length.  It is clearly built to withstand play.  Despite this, this has been the go-to standard for many years, its painted and decalled well and fits reasonably well for a 15mm dropship. Unlike Galoob, EM modeled their ship in a static manner, the wings, rocket pods and landing struts do not fold.  It is also painted in a brighter green than it should be.  Regardless, its painted well, with weathering and extensive decals.  Befitting its nature as a model, detail and scaling is far superior to the Galoob toy.

 On a one-inch grid its clear this is a big model

 Painting and decals are neat and well done
 Even though its modeled in 'open' configuration that should be no problem for gaming purposes

 Top decals

 3/4 aspect
 But is it big enough for an APC?  This is Konami M577 under it (its the same size as the FATC resin ones)
 From the front its a close fit, but a clear fit

There is enough clearance for the APC to deploy

From the top, the APC is just a bit too big, so its not 1:100, but its close enough for wargaming!

 The EM dropship comes with a short flight stand and base

 Its way larger then the NECA ships.  3/4 aspect

 EM vs NECA front

 but its still tiny compared to a 1:100 Halo Pelican (Revell)

Here's the rub.  EM are into collectibles, so it looks like this is a limited run kit with, as this certificate shows, a run of 3000.  As this looks like its a worldwide limit then these will end up harder to find than the old Galoob ones.  

If you have a 15mm Colonial Marine army I think these EM dropships make an excellent add-on, but given the limited run it may be worth checking them out sooner than later.