Sunday, March 29, 2009

Moving on in several ways

On Thursday my wife and I got the long anticipated news that the house we had put in an offer for had finally cleared the lenders hurdles (it is a short sale - the two banks are probably taking about a $250K loss on the sale). It's exhilarating and a little stressful - we want to close by April 10th so we can move over Spring Break. We've got to budget our time in the next couple of weeks very careful as a result.

One thing that we're doing is "pre-moving", or staging a bunch of stuff that isn't vital to daily operation into a storage unit we've rented. Naturally, this includes almost all of my miniatures stuff. For one thing, I don't trust movers with it, and it also gives us a chance to look at all of the things that we don't regularly use and make the decision as to whether or not we actually want to bring it into our new house.

Stacking up all of the miniatures and related material that I possess is a truly daunting task. I've already moved about half of my stuff (that which is still in the original packaging for one reason or another) and I've still got a pile that blocks the doorway. While I'm fortunate enough to have a room in the new house that will be a dedicated "hobby room", which I'll be using more than my wife, I'm committed to keeping the volume of stuff I have in there under control.

When I left the Army, I went to work for a company that, prior to employment, gave their prospects a personality test. It was a pretty intense test - I take tests fast and it took me about 90 minutes to finish this thing. Later, I had a chance to look at the results. It pegged me pretty much exactly - I look at the big picture, seek to understand how things work and then apply those concepts to the execution of tasks. But I have a focus problem - I tend to get really excited about a particular project and dive into it, but completion is a real problem - sometimes I can get so caught up in my desire to understand the task that I don't actually DO the task. I also have a bit of "ooh, shiny!" syndrome, where if something else catches my attention I will jump onto that, abandoning the earlier project(s). Thus one of my biggest challenges is actually FINISHING what I start.

That is one of the reasons I started this blog. Taking stock of a project, publicly committing to completing it, and feeling a compulsion to post SOME progress is a very good thing. Of course, sometimes life intervenes, and I need to try to keep my motivation going to actually FINISH the projects.

For the time being, I'm going to have to put pretty much all of my projects on hold. The only minis I'll keep out of storage for the next few weeks are the Trafalgar minis, since I only have five of them and they are really easy to move, plus I'm finding that painting them goes really quick - when I actually do it. Everything else goes into storage.

When they come out of storage, I'm going to try a new tactic - giving myself a self-imposed deadline to complete projects. The idea is to encourage myself to finish my projects while eliminating projects that just aren't that important to me. When I pull these models out, I'm going to inventory them. ALL of them. I'm then going to divide them up into projects of about 20 hours each. I'll then prioritize my projects. That's going to be a heck of a project in itself. But once I've done that, I can get started. Each month, I'll try to FINISH one of those projects, from cleaning and building to table ready, including basing. If I do manage to finish a project, great - I move on to the next one.

If I DON'T finish, though, I get rid of the project at the bottom of the list. eBay, Bartertown, give it to a friend, whatever, that project goes. To deal with my problem of taking on additional projects, if I add another project to my list, then the project at the bottom of the list goes. While eventually I'm hoping to be able to avoid that and just add it to my list without dropping others, I know that with the volume of projects I have right now it will be a long time. Maybe once I get down to less than a year of projects.

Another problem is actually being able to PLAY with these projects. So I'll include terrain projects, and if I don't have the terrain I need to play the game, then I can't do any of the minis for that project until I finish the terrain. This way I'll be able to play any of the games for which I'm actually painting.

All in all, this should be a real eye-opener for me. It is way too easy to just shove all of the extra models I have into a closet and forget about them. If I have them all on a spreadsheet with a running total of how long I think it will take to finish them, I think it will help me to keep my hobby sane without turning it into a job. After all, a hobby is supposed to be fun, and if I'm feeling obliged to do it because of the ridiculous quantity of minis that I have on hand, I need to do something about it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ah... report cards behind me

I have finally sent off all of my report cards, so the mass of grading is behind me. That means I can spend more time on my hobby! Well, not really, since I'm juggling trying to buy a new house for my wife and unborn child, buying rehab projects to fund said family and house, and preparing for the move, not to mention other business related things (you mean I need to have bookkeeping?!? And pay taxes?!?!?).

However, I am taking some time out today to help plan a Indy GT for the Bay Area, which we're looking at holding on the USS Hornet, an aircraft carrier turned museum in Alameda (that's in the East San Francisco Bay Area). We've got some great ideas, and having experienced the GitD, I have some other insights into GT organization.

Anyway, I've also got some more work done on my Trafalgar fleet, though it's not photo ready yet. Once I've graded my tests that I gave on Friday I'll get some work done there.

Time to fly!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

First ship for Trafalgar!

I am really excited! On Thursday, I received my shipment of four 1:1200 Age of Sail ships from Langton Miniatures, and I could hardly wait. Well, school was interfering, and so today I finally got a chance to put one together. Here is a French built 36 gun frigate that will be used to represent HMS Guerriere, the first British frigate that .

I've still got three more ships, incuding the USS Essex, a ship-sloop, and an oceangoing schooner. But I am thinking that I'll paint the Guerriere before I get rolling on other models.

I'm really excited about playing Trafalgar, so I'm going to getting to work on these ASAP.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Crazy insane-o list idea

I was really happy to get Gandalf the White as a prize for getting 2nd General (is that like 2nd breakfast?) at the Gathering, and I've been vaguely considering how to actually use him in a list. Well, my wife and I were watching The Two Towers tonight, and I had an idea hit me - what if I were to take all of my pre-existing notions of what makes a good army and just throw them out the window? Go with an entirely themed army with a completely different philosophy - mobile destruction!

So here is a random possibility - "Dawn of the Fifth Day"

Gandalf the White on Shadowfax

Erkenbrand on horse
Captain of Rohan with heavy armor, shield, and horse

4 mounted Rohan Royal Guard (3 w/throwing spears)
9 Riders of Rohan (4 can shoot bows)
1 Rider of Rohan with banner

600 Points
Total models: 17
Total Might: 8
Bows: 4/14 29%

I have absolutely no idea if this list would work in the least, but damn I think it would be fun. Screw all this surrounding your opponent, outnumbering him and outmaneuvering him - this list is all about charge into the teeth of his line, blow the Horn of the Hammerhand, break through with a Heroic Combat and lay waste to his squishy bits! With a horse mounted Gandalf-bazooka! The only thing I'm really tempted to do is put in ANOTHER mounted Captain of Rohan instead of some riders.

This will require some thought...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sigh - so much for Adepticon

I'm sad. I was lining everything up for Adepticon - I had a partner for the Team Tournament, I had a reservation for the hotel, I knew which flights I could buy, and I was planning my list. The one thing that I thought was a sure thing, though, bit me - I couldn't get the time off of work. That is the week of standardized testing, and it was seen as too important to have me miss proctoring one segment of the test out of about fourteen. Well, crap. So no A-Con for me.

I did manage to get everything set for The Necronomicon, though. My hotel is paid for, I've gotten my frequent flyer mile ticket out there (first class! - ironically the cheapest seats available), and I've registered and paid for the con itself, which as always is the cheapest part. I've even sent in my list, which is the same one I used for the Gathering. It served me pretty well there.

So now I need to improve my paint jobs. Some of the highlights - I'll need to get all of the details painted and then highlighted. I'll improve the level of overall highlighting, particularly on the rangers and Guards of the Fountain Court. After all of that, I'll probably do some extra details, like edging on the Guards cloaks and battle damage on the shields.

So now the clock is reset, with the countdown ending on July 24th. I'll get myself a paint plan going in a few weeks, after I've finished my grading.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The year ahead in gaming

I've got some serious thinking to do. First off, with a strong performance at the Gathering, it makes sense for me to get some other LOTR Circuit events in. With some extra time, I can definitely improve my paint scores, the low part of my performance at the Gathering. The bigger question is how I can work in actually attending given some of the challenges I'm facing.

The first challenge is this - my wife and I are expecting our first child this year. Hooray! I'm definitely looking forward to being a daddy, and I know that though my life will forever change, I seriously doubt I'll be getting out of the toy soldier hobby. However, the due date is September 18th. No problem, right? Oh, other than the anticipated date for the Vegas GT being a week ahead of that day... With the accuracy of due dates being in the 5% range, my wife is NOT excited at the prospect of me leaving town that close to birth. Her fear is that I fly out, she goes into labor, and then has no support at the hospital. OK, a small possibility, but a very valid concern. The consequences of hitting those low percentage possibilities is awfully high. OK, it is now clarified - there is no way in hell I am going to Vegas. I don't know if my wife as ever actually kicked me before this... Ah, well.

So this leaves other options. One possibility that I might be able to swing is going to Adepticon. Of course, if I do that, I'll need to find a partner for the team event... Second, I can go to The Necronomicon in Orlando. The cool thing about both of these is I can probably weedle out free hotel stays with my parents' time share through Starwood. So those are relatively inexpensive for me. I may even be able to swing a trip to one of the other official GTs, probably Baltimore. So those are all possibilities.

Birth of child also means we're going to get a house, which we will be moving into in April as well. The really cool thing about this is that I'm going to be able to get enough space for a gaming table. Now I can get some terrain built for the house, and I'll never have to leave home to game again! OK, maybe that's a little extreme, but it does open some options. One of those options is for playing Trafalgar, the new Warhammer Historicals game. The models, Langton Miniatures 1:1200 scale ships, are totally awesome, and with my own gaming table I can make a seascape pretty easily and game in my house.

So those are all things on my mind... I'll need to make some decisions pretty quick about those.