Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hill Fort Acquisition

(A front gate view of my new hill fort)

Several months ago, I purchased a set of Dark Ages Welsh figures from my friend Dan.  

This motivated me to raise a warband, so I could compete in this year's SAGA Tournament at Enfilade.  And thus, the contemptible actions legendary exploits of my warlord became known to all who read the The Chronicles of Culhwch y Drewllyd.  

All has been quiet on the Dark Ages front since the sad business valiant stand against the Viking raiders.

Then, a couple weeks ago, Mike posted on NHMGS's Facebook page that he was selling a 28 mm (millimeter)-scaled hill fort.

I thought this would be perfect for Culhwch and his warband, so I put in an immediate offer to buy it.

Since the fort was too big to ship, I met Mike for the first time at a strip mall half-way between our residences.  After getting the hill fort into my Jeep before it rained, we chatting for a bit about gaming, painting, and some mutual gamer friends, before parting company.

With just two days before Thanksgiving, and before I went back to work, I managed to snap some photos:

(A front gate view with Culhwch's entire warband manning the fort)

(A view facing the left wall)

(A view of the rear gate)

(A view facing the right wall)

Now, what to call the place?

Well, since Culhwch is the lord of Biswail Swp Tyno (Dung Heap Dale), I figured his new fort should be similarly named.

Using the University of Wales' English-to-Welsh on-line translator, I came up with two Welsh words for castle:  Caer and castell (or cestyll).  

Yes calling a hill fort a castle will fit-in with Culhwch's delusions of mediocrity.  I'm rather partial to "caer," unless anyone fluent in Welsh has a better suggestion.

So now Culhwch can boast that his fiefdom's new bastion of power is:  

Biswail Swp Caer (Dung Heap Castle). 

(The Biswail Swp Caer's "PR Tapestry")

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Micro-Terraforming 2/3rds Complete

(Anyone remember this at "American Eagles," Tacoma, WA?)

I've resumed a project I started--gads!--four years ago.

Back then, my friend Adrian gave me a great deal on the micro scale terrain board.  He acquired it from a silent auction when the game store American Eagles went out of business.  Apparently, this board was a fixture in the store's upstairs game room for as long as most gamers remember.

The board is divided into six sections.  Just before my divorce from my second ex-wife, I managed to finish "terraforming" the first two sections.

After the divorce, I moved, met my new bride, and then moved again.  The terrain board moved with me and now resides in the backyard shed.  In the interim years I didn't have the space in my interim house to do anything constructive with any part of the board.

Finally, this year in the late spring, I began work on the two middle sections, Boards # 3 &  4.  I finished the flocking just before our first cold snap.  Now all I have to do is cut out some appropriate cloth to make "river fillers" in case I want to set up a game without a waterway running through it.

Here's the results so far:

(A full view of Board #3)

I painted and flocked Boards # 3 & 4 in the same "alpine valley scheme" as I did the first two boards.  

(A close-up of the river on Board #3)

Before I started I had to obtain more flocking material. 

(Board #3's cross roads)

This set me on a quest.  When I first started this project, I purchased a bunch of terrain stuff from The Game Matrix.

(A full view of Board #4)

However, they no longer carry the flocking in same brand, nor in the bulk quantity I needed.  

(The plains of Board #4)

The cashier on-duty was very helpful and recommended Hobby Lobby.  But during my phone call to them, I was referred to Tacoma Trains & Hobbies.  

(Board #4's snowy ridge line)

Fortunately this was the last leg of my local voyage of discovery.  Not only did I find a new hobby store, but I bought the flocking I needed, along with additional terrain material as well.  (Gamers always walk out of a game store with more than they intended to buy--or even budget for).

During these winter months, I'll finish cutting out cloth, "river filler" pieces, in the warmth of my home.  My "cunning plan" then, is to resume work on the final boards when Spring returns to the Pacific Northwest.

Board #6 contains the large mountain piece and promises to be the most challenging terraforming project yet.  
Hopefully, it won't take another four years to finish, especially since I have have plenty of other unfinished projects--like painting figures...

(An aerial view of a German armored car section)
(A ground's-eye view of German armored cars)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Webcomic Chapter 9 Posted

Breakout from Bongolaan's Chapter 9 is available for viewing (pages 243-273).

While looking for a suitable Soundtrack Interlude for this chapter, I stumbled across the impressive music from Two Steps from Hell.

I felt their song Juggernaut best expresses the relentless advance of the battle droids.

As I start my work on Chapter 10, I'll be exploring new format options for this webcomic.  I've been getting the feeling that using a blog format for this webcomic is becoming unwieldy, if it isn't already.

Normally, webcomics are formatted like Christopher Mills and Gene Gonzales' Perils on Planet X, with the most recent page displayed and an archive section, along with a cast of characters and other interesting side-sections.

I'd like to reformat Breakout from Bongolaan in this way, but I want to do it right--and only once.  So for now, I'll be researching webcomic set-ups and templates.

Webcomic writers usually post 1-3 new pages per week.  Due to the nature of my job, with its rotating shift, I won't  be able to duplicate this kind of schedule.  I'd rather continue my updates in chapter-sized chunks.

Your patience is appreciated and I hope you enjoy the story.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Breakout from Bongolaan Book Trailer II

For the past several weeks I've been working on Chapter 9 of my webcomic Breakout from Bongolaan, which I hope to post within the next couple of weeks.

During this time I also took a look at Breakout from Bongolaan's "book trailer," and decided some renovation was in order.

After spending more time tweaking it than I originally planned to, I posted it on my YouTube Channel.

Thank you for watching.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Review: Alan Moore's Writing for Comics

I can't recall reading stories by Alan Moore, one of the leading writers in the comic book industry. 

So I must confess that I picked up his 48-page booklet, Writing for Comics, because it was an inexpensive addition to my order. 

Hey, I've spent $5.95 on worse things. 

It's not that I think I wasted my money--but the booklet didn't exactly wow me either.  I guess my review will fit in with the eight other 3-star ratings other readers gave it.

The chapter titles make it sound like the aspiring comic book writer will be treated to detailed instructions on how to create a successful comic.  Instead, what you get are generic narratives that go off on tangents about the tepid state of the comic book industry. 

Chapter Four is an exception.  In this section, Alan Moore discusses at-length how he fit a Superman story into a 40 page comic. 

But then there's the Afterwards, written 18 years after the original articles.  This parting shot pretty much says:  Forget-everything-I-wrote-earlier-on-this-subject-and-write-whatever-you-want-any-way-you-want.


Anyway, the cover art, along with the 22 black and white illustrations by Jacen Burrows, are top-notch and eye-catching.  Unfortunately, they're not enough in quantity to elevate the booklet--originally articles published in a British fanzine--from decent to great.

Keep in mind, my feelings about Writing for Comic is in the minority.  Out of the 42 other reviewers commenting on, 28 of them rate the booklet 4-stars or higher.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Author Appearance: Patricia Cornwell

If you're a fan of crime fiction in general, and Patricia Cornwell in particular, and you happen to be in the Seattle area tomorrow (Friday, 14 November), then you're in luck.

She'll be appearing at the University Bookstore to give a reading from her latest book, Flesh and Blood, followed by a book signing afterwards.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

New Title Page for Webcomic

After attending the How to Be A Nerd for a Living panel discussion at last month's GeekGirlCon, and my chat with Rebecca Hicks about webcomics, I'm exploring the idea of changing Breakout from Bongolaan's format.  

While I like Blogspot/Blogger, I think this template is becoming too unwieldy for a "space opera-sized" story of 242 pages--and counting.  

At this point I'm in the Research Phase, because I want any changes I make to be long lasting.

In the meantime, I'm making some minor improvements, like replacing the old title page with a better picture and font.  Since I have a stock of better pictures, another improvement I'm working on is revamping Breakout from Bongolaan's webcomic trailer.

These adjustments are being made while I continue working on the story itself.  Right now I'm in the process of arranging photos for Chapter 9.

More improvements and content to follow, so stay tuned!