Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year! 2015 is now done with, and it was a pretty decent year.  Summer was a little rough, my wife had surgery on her ankle and was basically immobile and stuck in the house for one of the hottest summers we have had in a long time.  But the surgery went well and has healed up nicely.  She was off the crutches and mobile by September when she started school at SAIT.  She’s been doing very well, the first semester is done, second semester is coming up and then a six week practicum.  Then another two semesters next year and an eight week practicum at the end.

As for me, I’m still gainfully employed and enjoying my job as a Data Analyst at Calgary Lab Services.  It doesn’t look like I’m in danger of getting laid off, which is more than I can say for many of my friends and relatives.  The downturn in oil prices has had a huge negative effect on the Alberta economy.  Alberta also kicked out the long reigning Progressive Conservative party and elected a NDP government in as the provincial party.  At the Federal level, the PC’s got replaced by the Liberal party, which could make politics kind of interesting for the next few years. I think I’ve paid more attention to politics this year than most of my life put together.

As for my projects, I’ve done next to nothing related to ICE or my ICE Webring site other than updating a few products that I was missing.  I’m still kicking around the idea of doing a revamp of that site to get rid of the custom code that I use for the database, but it’s not high on my project list. ICE had a couple of small releases but still only beta versions of a new Rolemaster.  Frankly, I’ve pretty much lost interest in them, and it’s more the technical challenge of changing the website that interests me than the products themselves.

My main focus for RPG projects has been working on a D6 version of Battlestar Galactica based on the Star Wars rules.  I’ve done some work on the Space Combat portion of the rules, the skills section and character generation.  I’ve also picked up a bunch of ship miniatures and, just recently, some character miniatures.  The plan is to document some of the work that I’m doing with the miniatures, which I have already done for a few of them.  I did enter a bunch of the information into the Realm Works software, but haven’t done much else with it.  I gave up on creating Star Wars D6 in Hero Lab, it just wasn’t worth the effort that would be required.

Related to Battlestar Galactica roleplaying, I did start a BSG Roleplaying Community on Google+ late in September, which, after three months, has 40 members, around 10 of which are reasonably active.  I’m still the one that posts most of the content, which usually gets some responses from the other members, but they seldom start anything new.  I’m hoping that someone will get an online game going, but that isn’t something I’m willing to take on right now.

Looking back at last years New Years posting, I still haven’t photographed my concert tee shirts or my old cabaret posters from University.  I’m guessing that won’t get done this year either.

I have been working on cleaning up my library of ebooks which are in Calibre, fixing up titles and authors and the other information for all the books I’ve accumulated.  This will let me downsize my library of physical books substantially.  My shelves are overflowing and I’d like to get rid of a lot of the books I have.  I’m thinking the CBC book drive is going to get a large donation from me this year since two of the used book stores that used to be near me have closed in the last year.  There are of course some sets that I just won’t be able to part with, such as my Discworld novels and my Star Trek, V, and Battlestar Galactica novels.

The harder part will be when I get to my Roleplaying games.  I have a lot of books that I’m sure I’ll never use, such as my GURPS sourcebooks, but they would be hard to part with even though I have most of them as PDF files as well.

I’m doing a similar cleanup on my music.  I got started on moving my CDs out of the plastic cases and into sleeves, only made it to the “C’s” and then haven’t touched it in months, but now I know someone that can make use of the empty cases, so we may spend some time on that and get more of them done.  iTunes match also finally raised the limit of songs that can be matched from 25,000 to 100,000 which means I can start moving my collection of “extra music” into iTunes instead of storing it separately.  I don’t want to just mass import it though as there are a lot of duplicate items and some albums that I accumulated along with other stuff that I’ve never listened to and don’t even know if I will like.  So it will be a slow process of weeding through things and listening to them, but I’m not in a rush.

The biggest challenge for this year will be my ongoing struggle with trying to lose weight.  I have all the tools and knowledge I need to make it work, I just need to find the right balance and lifestyle adjustments to make it work.  I also know that I can’t have vague goals such as “lose 25 lbs”.  It’s got to be things that are attainable.  I know that logging meals in “My Fitness Pal” helps, so I’ll try and stick to that regularly.  My biggest challenges are portion size and getting in enough vegetables, so I think focusing on making the vegetables the main item in my dinners rather than the protein will help.  I have a few vegetable dishes I know I like, so I need to find a few more, and also find some that can be made in larger quantities ahead of time and be brought for lunches.  Things like bean salads would work well.  If I can do that and keep the sugar and carbs to a minimum, then I should be able to see some success.  I have been stuck at about 263 lbs (give or take a couple pounds) for about 6 months now, which is actually a gain from where I was a year ago when I was slightly under 260.  The lowest I hit last year was 255, but I think that was after a bout of the flu and didn’t stick.  I’ll be starting this year around 268, after the holidays, Hopefully the vacation gain will come off quickly and I can get focused on making some real progress.

Along with diet, I need to focus on getting at least 23 minutes of cardio in each day, at least five out of seven days a week.  I was being pretty successful with that before Christmas by treating it as a prescription from my Doctor, which is basically what it is.  I rarely miss taking any medications that I’m ever prescribed, and I need to treat the exercise the same way.  Fortunately 23 minutes is conveniently the length of an episode of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and we have a treadmill and a recumbent bike in the basement with a view of the TV for the days that I don’t want to be outside.  I do want to do more hiking and walking outside this year as well and have been kicking around the idea of starting an informal group on Facebook for it.  I’m also considering posting my progress and setbacks with diet and exercise on Facebook more regularly to see if peer support helps keep me on track.  Despite claims by the gyms and other fitness folks, most recent studies show that exercise, while offering many benefits, doesn’t really help with weight loss.  It should help with other things such as cholesterol level, blood pressure and overall well being.

The other items on the agenda for this year are getting the sink in the kitchen replaced, which should happen fairly soon, and get the sinks in the bathroom fixed so they stop dripping.  That should be easy, probably just changing the washers, but nothing in our house ever ends up being as easy as it should be. There’s a few other minor projects around the house that I’d like to get done too, but it’s not worth listing them all here.

That’s it for my annual brain dump, have a Happy New Year, wishing everyone the best for 2016.

Corsec Bases and Rods with tweaks

Over the years I’ve tried out several different types of stands and bases for my miniatures, but I think I’ve finally settled on the using the Omni-Stand system from Corsec Engineering.  What I like about it is that it is very versatile, especially when combined with a few accessories from a fine tool store like Lee Valley.

There are three main parts to the Omni-Stand system, the base, the supporting rod, and the mount, all of which are interchangable, which means you can use the same miniature for multiple games and just swap out the base, going from a round base with 30 degree firing arcs for something like Full Thrust, to square bases customized for use with the X-Wing Miniatures Game. Continue reading ‘Corsec Bases and Rods with tweaks’ »

Shapeways 3D Printed Miniatures

I decided to give 3D printing a try via Shapeways, so I ordered two batches of ships from them, mostly in the cheapest format, “White, Strong, Flexible”.  This post is a listing of the ships that I ordered for reference, I’ll describe how they worked out with painting in future posts. The “1/270” scale is the scale used in the X-Wing game. I ordered most of the Fighter ships I could find for Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers, with a couple Space 1999 ships thrown in for the second order.

This is the first order:

007 Continue reading ‘Shapeways 3D Printed Miniatures’ »

Battlestar Galactica Starfighter Shipyards Miniatures – Part 2

I did some more work on my very tiny Battlestar Galactica miniatures.  I primed the rest of the ships and got the TOS Vipers and both sets of Cylons painted.   I used Tamiya Fine Surface Primer on them, which worked very well, and then I used some Sharpie Extra Fine Paint pens to do the black parts on all the ships and the red stripes on the vipers:

002002aThe next challenge was to get the decals onto the Cylons.  Once again, very big hands trying to work with very small objects. Continue reading ‘Battlestar Galactica Starfighter Shipyards Miniatures – Part 2’ »

D6 Space Combat Example

I have been working on adapting West End Games Star Wars Revised and Expanded Roleplaying game, along with D6 Space and a few other D6 related materials into a Battlestar Galactica Roleplaying game.

The fan based “Star Wars Revised, Expanded, Updated” project has been very helpful in this as it’s pulled in a lot of the D6 Space and other rules into the Star Wars game already.

One of the areas that I’ve always had a little trouble with is the Space Combat for Star Wars/D6.  It is fairly loosely designed and not really geared towards the use of miniatures or larger combats.  I’ve started work on a few enhancements and clarifications.  It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’ve got it to the point that I was able to run a test combat with a couple of Battlestar Galactica ships.

This is still a draft, I’ve used it primarily to highlight areas where I’m still unclear of the rules, or need to decide on some additional clarifications.  However, I decided to post it anyway in case it might be useful to others and to pick up any suggestions people might have.  I’ll be doing some additional clean up on the post later.

Sample Combat

Rules

The combat takes place in clear space, so there are no modifiers for Terrain. Continue reading ‘D6 Space Combat Example’ »

Battlestar Galactica Starfighter Shipyards Miniatures

I recently ordered some very tiny Battlestar Galactica Fighter Minatures from Starfighter Shipyards.

For Vipers I ordered the “TOS Vipers”, “Scorpion Early TOS Viper”, and I also got what looks like the “TOS Cobra Interceptor” although I don’t recall ordering that one and the page didn’t list it as being available at the time.

For Cylons I ordered the “Cylon TOS Raiders” and I also got some “Cylon Razor Raiders” which, again, I don’t think I ordered. But thanks for the extras!

The delivery showed up in a timely manner and was well packed.

The ships themselves had quite a lot of flash on them, but most of it was easy to remove.  There was however one set of Cylons where it was fairly thick and I had to use a modelling knife to get it off.

Starfighter Shipyards1

Continue reading ‘Battlestar Galactica Starfighter Shipyards Miniatures’ »

BSG Miniatures – Cloud Nine

The next miniature up for painting is Cloud Nine, which is from the Re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series.  It is a massive luxury liner that has a huge pressurized dome attached to the main ship.  The dome provides a realistic simulation of a planetary surface including an artificial holographic sky.  It is similar in concept to the Agro Ships from the original Battlestar Galactica.

It eventually gets destroyed when an atomic warhead is set off on the ship. Here’s a couple screenshots from the series:

Continue reading ‘BSG Miniatures – Cloud Nine’ »

BSG Miniatures – Battlestar Columbia

My set of miniatures included two labeled “Columbia Class Battlestar”.  It seems that this is referring to the ship in the BSG – Razor episodes.

The Columbia in that episode is similar to the Galactica but has additional armour plating where the Galactica has ribs. It also has blue strips and markings rather than red, although there is another similar battlestar in the scenes which does have red markings.

This site has a clip of video that shows the scenes with the Battlestar Columbia:  Destruction of Columbia

This shot shows the armor plating and if you look closely you can see the blue markings on the nose

BSG Razor - Battlestar Columbia Continue reading ‘BSG Miniatures – Battlestar Columbia’ »

BSG Miniatures – The Galactica (Reimagined)

I’ve now primed my fleet of miniatures and am ready to start painting. I figured I would start with a fairly easy one, and one that I had a good reference to work off of, so I picked the Galactica from the Reimagined series.

It looks like the mold was almost a direct copy of the Hasbro Titanium toys that were produced a few years ago.  Here is a picture with the Titanium toy on the left and my primed but unpainted Ravenstar Studios miniature on the right, first picture is the tops, second picture is the bottoms.

I was doing a bit of experimenting today and used Sharpie pens rather than model paint to put in the reds, yellow, and grey.  It works reasonably well on flat areas but if there is any sort of texture, it’s hard to get good coverage.  I then did a black wash to finish it up, which I may have done a little heavy but I’m happy with the result, I think it compares fairly well to the Titanium version.

 

Battlestar Galactica Ravenstar Studios Miniatures Fleet

I ordered a bunch of Battlestar Galactica Miniatures from Ravenstar Studios quite some time ago, a couple of Fleet packs and a few individual ships.  I’ve finally sorted them out and matched the miniatures to their names.  Most of them haven’t been touched yet with the exception of one of the new Cylon Baseships and the Raven Battlestar, which have been assembled and primed.  The ships are a combination of ships seen in the original Battlestar Galactica, the re-imagined series and the Blood and Chrome web series.

Today’s project will be to clean the flash off the ones that need assembling and glue them together.  I may create and individual post for each ship type as I go along, but for today, here is a picture of the whole set and a list of which ships they are, as much for my own use in keeping track of them as for anything else.  I’ve also pinned a bunch of photos to Pinterest to help me figure which ships are which and what some of them should look like when assembled and painted.

Battlestar Galactica Fleet

The ships from left to right are:

Cylon Basestar [TOS] [1]
Cylon Tanker [TOS] [3]
Nightstar EBS [1]
Nu Cylon Baseship [2]
Lightray Warcutter [4]
Raven Battlestar [1]
Crow War Tender [2]
Starweaver Tender [2]
Livery Ship / Mining Ship [2]
Astral Queen / Jail Ship [3]
Colonial Mover [3]
Gemini Freighter [5]
Celestra / Research Ship [4]
Rising Star [3]
Scorpia Salvage and Repair / Foundry Ship / Flat top [5]
Botanical Cruiser / Agro Ship [2]
Cloud 9 / Dome Ship [1]
Olympic Carrier [8]
Refueling Ship [4]
Goliath / Refinery Ship [1]
Sparrow Freighter [2]
Ring Ship [1]
Colonial One [2]
Nu Ribbed BSG [1]
Berzerk Gun ships [2]
Valkyrie Battlestar [2]
Osiris ­ Orion class [1]
Loki heavy cruiser [2]
Catamaran class [2]
Columbia class Battlestar [2]
Defender litestar [1]
Eros troop carrier [1]
Hebe support ship [1]