Thursday, April 22, 2004

Catch up time

OK, yet another update-style post after a long fallow period

Just came back from attending a 3 day conference. The conference itself was rather non-descript, ineffectual, and interesting only in spurts (sounds like a description of most people in Singapore). All I can say is that it was a welcome break from the routine of work. Surely someone has done a study of workplace fatigue - the US Army in the Second World War figured out that soldiers could serve in frontline conditions for something like 70-90 days, after which combat efficiency dropped to such low levels that they might as well not be there. Even a week or two off the line could restore a unit to close to starting condition - perhaps a lesson that we could learn in planning work schedules and timetables for ourselves. It seems logical that the higher the intensity of work (or activity in general) the shorter the period that it can be sustained without some sort of break.

On the wargaming front, I've been rushing two projects simultaneously - the first to refurbish my 20mm Persians for the coming grudge match with my old buddy's Carthaginians, and the second to complete my line of scratchbuilt Gear Krieg walkers. I haven't touched my Persian army for more than a year, since I retired them in disgust after a horrendous losing streak in the Warhammer Ancients Battle tournament. Retired is perhaps too gentle a term: they were banished in disgrace to the storeroom, where they suffered in darkness and there was much gnashing of teeth. Having just recalled them from exile, I discovered that keeping plastic miniatures in a dark, dank storeroom for more than a year results in

1. Slimy miniatures. Can't explain why, but something in there - the paint, the glue, whatever - must be hygroscopic, and happily absorbing the humidity in there.
2. Rusted metal - I based most of them with a metal washer underneath, so they could stick to magnetic movement trays. The humidity caused quite a few of them to rust badly.
(I have since reversed my policy: now I base figures with magnasheet underneath, and transport them in metal boxes. It's convenient, secure, and neat ... even if my armies now go to battle in several Girl Guide Cookie boxes).
3. Warped movement trays - I had stuck magnasheet to Games Workshop movement trays with UHU glue. I can now reliably report that UHU glue shrinks when it dries. UHU is now uh-uh as far as I'm concerned.

Besides these, the usual gamut of broken plastic spears, loose shields etc had to be fixed. Over the past two weeks I've been re-basing, re-painting, and generally getting everyone back to battle condition.

My second major project has been the scratch-building of walkers for the Gear Krieg game, and the latest of the new platoon I've been building are up on the Gallery. These are probably the most complex shapes I've tried to build with plasticard - my first attempt at complete scratchbuilding (previously I'd only modified existing kits) was basically a variation on a box, for ease of construction. This current model has sloping slides and odd angles, and I built it with modular side armour, so the same model could be used for North Africa as well as ETO campaigns. I'll post a picture of the forest camouflage (for which I did a ton of research on dazzle camouflage patterns, but more about that later) once I get that done, for comparison.

On the personal front:

I report my continued failure to go jogging in preparation for my IPPT test. I hope there's a very strong tailwind that day ...

Wife and I have been planning our trip to Angkor Wat in June. Nothing confirmed yet, but already have visions of us wandering, explorer style, through romantic ruins and temples. I've been reading and reading, getting the flavour of names like Bantay Srei, Bayon, Angkor Thom, and Bantay Chhmar, adding them to the mental list of Places I Must Go To. Along with the Lara Croft Tombraider Temple, of course.

Real life will probably be more prosaic - peddlers selling you Pepsi in bottles and tourists tramping all over the place most likely, but i shall endeavour to photograph the place as if it were still a pristine archetypal lost-city-in-the-jungle.

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