Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kickstarter Loot 4 - Meeples for Tiny Epic Western by Meeple Source

I haven't done a Kickstarter providing supporting material for another Kickstarter since I backed Traveller 5th Edition. That was a mistake when I backed a Kickstarter featuring the first starship booklet designed specifically for 5th Edition. It took several years to get any rewards, although I did get the booklets eventually. I never did receive the 15mm scaled ship layouts to use with my miniatures.

However, this time its a different story. Meeple Source has a number of successful kickstarters and they teamed up with Gamelyn Games to produce a set of Meeples for the Tiny Epic Western game. There are actually two sets; the first set is to replace the player's own pieces and the second set represents the 12 Bosses (you don't actually need pieces for the bosses but it adds a lot of flavor) that eventually ended up in the Kickstarter version of TEW. I opted for both sets. This allows you to swap out the blue, yellow, green and red player pieces with full color character versions.

I received these on Monday and I think they are fabulous. A great job by Meeple Source which delivered only a week or so late because of a printing error created by the printer. An excellent Kickstarter and a high quality reward. Now I really need to play TEW!

All of the TEW Meeples as depicted in the Kickstarter artwork

I would happily buy stuff from Meeple Source again. Meeple Source

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Family Business - New Machines

In the last series of pictures there were two empty workstations. Those have now been filled by the two new machines. I'm of two minds on these. First I think they are over designed in some ways. They are built from an extruded aluminum instead of steel and feature some nice safety features that you won't find on the other machines. However, they also have a new setup for the wire trays and the electric eye and the compressed air "puffer" are now an integral part of the wire tray and while they look good and are a bit more space efficient they are much harder to adjust properly. 

They are producing acceptable good quality wire but we are having a hard time getting to that point and its really hard to produce the quality of wire that we strive to produce. It may be that the breaking in period is just going to take some time. All of the machines in the shop have their own quirks and we will just have to learn the quirks for these two new machines as well. Personally I wish they had just repeated the design of machines 11, 12 & 13, which are the best runners in the shop.

A look at machine 14. the extruded aluminum material plus the blue safety gates in front of the electric motors (there are two electric motors one for each head, I think all the vintage WWII motors are gone now). There is a new design for the plastic that covers the heads as well. It does look good!

Also not entirely happy with the new design of the feeder wheels. They are almost to heavy and are hard to adjust.

Here you can see the whole machine. Note the extruded aluminum extension to support the wire receiving tray. The posts for the electric eye and the puffer are attached directly to the inner aluminum rail. 

We moved machine 13 into the machine 15 spot. Here you can see how we support the wire receiving tray and the electric eye and puffer on tripod stands. Adjustment is easy, you just kick it with your foot!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Carousel Horses - Coming Up - The Chicken a Menagerie Animal

Its time to get ready to paint up one of the remaining unpainted carousel "horses" that were carved by my Dad. My Dad past away at the end of October in 2015 and he left one fully armored horse about 70% finished and another horse about 90% finished (known as the patriot because of the eagle and flag design on the romance side). there are three pieces that are pretty much ready to paint at this point; a small ostrich that stands about two feet tall, a decorative figure that would have been part of the carousel itself, probably on the organ, that also stands about two feet tall and the chicken that you see here. There is also a lion that needs to have its paint redone so at some point I'll need to strip and repaint that one. The lion is just tough to work with its really big weighing in between 400 and 500 pounds. The chicken was requested specifically by my Mom. Chickens are a long standing family joke but a Rooster was requested and carved just for her.

We have sat down and sorted through rooster pictures and have decided on a color scheme so I need to buy the paints that will get us close. I'll be using alkaloid enamel paints for this one which are getting a little hard to find now but there are still a couple of local sources for it.  It still needs some sanding work and a bit of carving. Mostly to reemphasize some of the detail in the feathers which has become obscured by sanding. That kind of carving I can handle. I'm hoping to at least get the sanding done this weekend during the garage sale since we will be out there for a couple of days.

Chester the Rooster
The "Patriot" horse has been transported up to Washington and the finish work is going to be done by my Dad's carving instructor Ken Means (you can google Ken Means and find him easy enough, you can also google William Shatner with carousel horse and find Ken's work that way!). The armored horse is going to be a problem. We want to see it finished but none of the local carvers are up to the challenge. There is to much work left for Ken to be able to finish it for us so that is not an option either. My mom is currently at a carousel convention in Cleveland (an annual convention no less) and she is hoping to find someone there willing to take it on.

The armored horse in is early stages.

The head of the armored horse, those are the blanks for the legs on either side of it.

You get a better sense of the leg blanks here, in reality the legs are almost finished. These are really old pictures.

The Ostrich. My Dad was considering doing the rest of his carving at this scale and moving away from the full size carousel horses and animals.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Kickstarter Loot 3 - Tiny Epic Western boardgame by Gamelyn Games

September was supposed to be a big month Kickstarter wise, but the inevitable delays are making it look like October is going to be the big month instead. However, Tiny Epic Western did arrive on time and I had a chance to un-box it and take a look. I have Tiny Epic Galaxy by them and I really enjoy that game so I'm looking forward to getting in some play time with TEW as well. Of course this is setting the gears in motion to get moving on Calamity as well, so maybe I'll be dusting off the workbench and get some buildings built after ReaperCon this month.

Tiny Epic Western (TEW) is a combination of poker and worker placement as you vie for control of the various buildings in town. As a Kickstarter backer I have a few extras that aren't going to be found in the commercial version of the game. For instance the standard game has 8 "Boss" cards and I received 12. There are 4 bullet dice in the Kickstarter edition and only 2 in the commercial edition. The influence tokens have designs printed on them and I don't believe the commercial versions will. In addition there is a plastic version of the wanted card with a clear window in it. Quite frankly I don't know what that is for yet, but I'm sure I'll figure it out after a couple of games.

I also ordered a full deck of the playing cards as an add on and a roll up game mat as well. The game mat arrived almost a month ago I think and I, of course, forgot to take a picture of it. Think poker mat with a town layout on it and you will be close though.

Right off the bat I can see the high quality of all the components. The box walls are very thick so its going to be very resistant to typical gaming damage. The top has printing on the inside and serves as the "dice corral" and the box bottom has basic FAQs printed on it for quick reference when you don't have time to lip through the 20 page rule booklet. I'm really excited to jump into this one!

A box packed full of game components. Note the interior printing on the inside of the box top.

These are the building mats that form the game board.

One of the 12 boss cards. The backside has basic game information on it for use as a quick reference.

The two card "decks" (eraser on the right not included)

The Building cards

The poker cards and the wanted card. This is not a full deck of playing cards there are only 20 of them. However you could order a full deck as an add on purchase which I did.

The game components. The twelve meeples in four colors will be replaced with some meeples from a supporting Kickstarter project that should be arriving in the next week or so.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Garden Renovation Finished

Like any contract job the garden demolition and renovation ran into some unexpected difficulties which stretched the time it took to finish out quite a bit. The crew was back out on Monday to finally finish the work. They still have to remove all the concrete but I'm quite pleased with the final look. Right now its sitting at three blocks high but I'm contemplating going to 4 blocks high. Still unsure about it so I would do that work myself. I had them leave enough blocks to do that and I'll return them myself later depending on what I decide. But its finished! The irrigation line is in and I have to add the soakers but that's not much work and can wait till spring if I want to.

As you recall this is the problem corner, the remnants of the 2' tall concrete wall mostly buried on the west side. Just to add a twist this is where the irrigation line that we want to use cuts through the concrete.

The Bobcat finally getting a chance to just move dirt instead of breaking concrete

Checking the height of the blocks. At this point its going to be built three high. A forth row would bring it up level with the foundation of the garage though.

A closer view

And there we go! You can see the stack of blocks I asked them to leave on the right. I'll have to move them so I can get into the third garage bay back there.

The rather large pile of garden dirt. Right next to the rather large pile of mulch resulting from the removal of a dead willow tree last year.