Archive for August, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

Interesting local news story.
As a side note: the man behind the podium here is Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah, a REAL republican who beat out a 12-year incumbent in the primary by TWENTY points.
It’s time for the republicans to clean house.

Posted on August 31st, 2009 at 11:42am by Shawn

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Picture of Misery

Another long and relaxing Sunday is past. I’m chomping at the bit to get started on Monday.

My wife spent most of the afternoon making home-made salsa, a monstrous batch of it from local produce. I hope she makes it Mild. That’s about all I can handle.

I left my laundry in the washer all day yesterday and it smells mildewy. I had to wash it again.

My eldest daughter is the family neat-nick. She keeps her room orderly, cleaning it nearly every day without being asked. She lays her clothes out the night before and sets her alarm. Often, she is the first one up. I am ever so proud of her.

I got to the end of “The Myth of the Rational Market”. It was a long, dull read, but had a surpise ending. I almost fell out of my chair. More on that later.

I was not feeling well today, a terrible stuffy nose and sinus headache. The Tylenol allergy medicine I took left me feeling like a zombie.

Willow has been down with a cold. The poor darling doesn’t know what to do with herself. She’s so good tempered and mild-mannered. She’s trying to be happy, but just starts crying. She likes to suck her thumb, but can’t because her nose is stuffed up. She starts to plurt it in but then stops, remembering “oh, I have to breathe”, looks at the digit in dismay, and starts to wail. She doesn’t understand what is happening to her. My heart goes out to the pitiable creature. She doesn’t want daddy. She wants mommy. All the time.

We took her to the pediatrician. She just has a common virus. Apparently.

Posted on August 31st, 2009 at 2:41am by Shawn

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Consider the Lilies

Yesterday I picked up a box of “golden” Oreos. This is a bad thing. I like them so much that I won’t stop eating them. Blergh!
I must preface this post by saying that it is a rough draft. It’s a collage of various thoughts, unsorted. I recently came across these two passages of scripture which have given me pause. The second of the two I have often passed over as unrealistic, hyperbolic advice. Much like Homer Simpson, I had written them off as “That book that has advice that doesn’t work out in real life.” I present them here as fodder for the thoughts to follow.
The first is from 1 Timothy 5:
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
A few weeks back, while reading the scriptures with my darling family, I came upon this passage, that I must have read twenty times, and passed over, but I broke apart entirely into tears because it dissolved a black knot of worry that has been forming in my mind:
This next is from the beloved Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), which to my mind forms the core of Christian behavior.
Matthew 6
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
I don’t think this is an admonition to run around in the forest wearing only a loincloth. It’s recognized that I have need of these things. I just shouldn’t worry so much about them. From my perspective it seems like I’m working my butt off and therefore I have the necessities of life. But if I pull back a little bit I can see how events unfold to help me. Kind friends and neighbors deliver sacks of clothing to our doorstep. I was sitting in my living room the other day and I realized that all the furniture was either given to us, or we bought it second-hand for less than 10% of regular price. I eat tomatoes from my back yard. They grow there spontaneously. The bishop showed up the other day to see if we wanted a quarter hog that some local folk had butchered up.
This process is reversed as well. My wife and I serve wherever called, and give of our resources wherever we are able. I don’t like to talk much about this a la the left hand/right hand provision.
I have been thinking recently over my policy of divestment. This is to live contentedly within my means, and to not pursue the accumulation of wealth. The whole system seems set up to either prey on or protect the interests of those that have assets.


The bums are on to something. Now, the trick is to live providently, with an abundance of resources to be used (by self, family, and to enrich the community), but without an accumulation of resources (and the attendant worries). By the time I’m fifty I’ll be back to where I was when I was a teenger– back at a zero net worth! (from negative net worth).


How can this be done with a wife and four children?


I grew up poor. I didn’t realize it at the time because I was having such a good time. I was eating blackberry cobbler made from blackberries picked down by the railroad tracks. I was eating crabapples off a tree at the start point of my paper route. My point is that the abundance of a good life comes from simplicity.
It comes down to the nature of life. This life is important, but transitory. A hundred years from now, every human now living, all six billion, will be in the ground and their spirit selves formed into new societies in the spirit world. What will matter then?
We are here today and gone tomorrow. That is not a cause of sadness to me, but a cause of happiness. It helps me keep things in perspective. Material things are there to be used for the joy of man. A thing can give joy by keeping it, but often even more joy by giving it away.
PS- as usual I make my usual disclaimer. I always wince a little when quoting scripture because that’s really obnoxious. I have the usual foibles of mankind. I don’t advertise my struggles with those things here. Just don’t be surprised if ever my faults come to light.


PPS- Naturally, I have not fully developed these ideas. I don’t plan on lazing about all day. I plan on working hard, but working with a different aim: for the joy of working, and to provide for my family, and to benefit others (and to have a few armies to play wargames! Again for the joy of life).

Posted on August 30th, 2009 at 5:14pm by Shawn

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Dire Avenger Redux

The Eldar codex is quickly losing steam. With the advent of the “power four” codexes (SM, CSM, IG, and Orks) the Eldar truly are a dying race. But they are a proud race, and those that play them have adapted.

This is the general strength of the Eldar. They have a TON of army entries and a vast array of weaponry to deal neatly with precise threats; from the four-shot scatter laser (up from d6 shots) to the armor piercing Bright Lance.

Eldar are a specialist race. What they do, they do well. So, it’s important to have each unit doing what they do best.

This leads us to the Dire Avenger. In previous editions, he was an Elite fighter, but now finds himself as a Troop Choice. This changed everything. Before, the guardian was on the front line. But Guardians had a major issue, once within their spindly 12″ range for shooting they could also be charged. Oh, how for years I longed for 18″ shuriken catapults. That dream came true with the Dire Avenger.

One model can be upgraded to an Exarch, the Eldar version of a sergeant. And he can be given various equipment. Puzzlingly, all except one of these is close combat oriented. This opens up the danger of splitting function as explained above.

I have not tried them with any of their Exarch powers besides Bladestorm. They should fill one role, and they are definitely not close combat specialists. Their best use is as mid-range shredders. They have no special weapons, unlike marines who can tote along a lascannon for emergency situations. Suckers. They have not learned the lesson of staying focused.

For the same reason, I give my Exarch an extra Avenger gun. it doesn’t look as cool as a sword, but definitely gives some extra punch in the shooting department.

A full unit of ten Dire Avengers, equipped as described will have 27 shots for the regular guys, and four shots for the Exarch, and that at BS5. That is enough to give almost any unit that is vulnerable at all to their shots a run for their money.

Two units bladestorming will evaporate even Terminators. Let’s do the math-hammer on that: 62 shots will give about 41 hits, which will be about 20 wounds. Even on a 2+ save that’s 3-4 Termies down. And a solid 6-7 regular Marines.

Hmmmm… Maybe I was wrong. Since the Avenger gun is an Assault weapon, the Dire Avengers can really have the possibility of mopping up a vastly weakened unit.

That same run of 62 shots against a T3 unit, like Termagants, will blend them into a fine puree.

I have a dream of running sixty Dire Avengers on one end of the board and seeing how much carnage they can inflict. Just once I’d like to blow somthing up with nearly 200 shots. Well, that’s noob-think for you.

Now enter the Wave Serpent. This cuts down on the number of troops to be fielded since the Wave Serpent nearly doubles the cost of the unit of Dire Avengers. However, they are the beans to the Dire Avenger’s rice: it can be mounted with an anti-armor twin-linked Bright Lance which can shoot at a different target. This is an especially effective combo in the now transport-rich environment of 5th edition.

Come to think of it, maybe TL Scatter Lasers might do better against transports just from sheer number of shots.

The Wave Serpents, when deployed in a pair or trio, can form an effective shield for your Dire Avengers. They can deploy, bladestorm, then the next turn get back on board for their turn spent reloading. And since they are right next to the entry ramp, the Wave Serpent can still move.

Posted on August 29th, 2009 at 9:26pm by Shawn

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Razordons Review

Razordons are a new arrival in the Rare section of the new Lizardmen army book. When considering this valuable property (two slots in a typical 2000-3000 pt game) you have to look at the competition. The first is an Ancient Stegadon, which is OK to go without since you can have Stegadons in both the Special and Hero slots, which are more open. The other choice is the rather comparatively anemic Salamander, which works on a similar premise, but has a much less reliable weapon.
The Razordon is the best Rare choice in my estimation.
And on top of that the Razordon model is incredibly cool.
The Razordons shoot barbs, an artillery dice worth every turn. On a misfire, they will eat 1d3 attendants. That means that a full complement of them will be chowing down on an average of one skink a turn. I definitely recommend getting the extra skink handlers (you can upgrade from a squad of three to a squad of four per Razordon for 5 points). To make the misfire problem even less of a drawback, the unit does not need to test for panic for spiked skinks.
There is no other downside to the event of a misfire, so your twelve skinks should last the entire game quite easily.
On average, each Razordon will belt out a machine-gun pace of six shots per turn, eighteen for the entire pack. They are S4 with armor piercing. They still need to roll to hit, and with BS3 that would be a rather un-impressive one or two wounds a turn. However, they do not suffer from penalties to hit from moving, long range, multiple shots or stand-and-shoot charge reaction. This makes their accuracy considerably greater.
They are more than a match for the typical skirmishing units, or fast cavalry that come up the flanks. They are astounding trouble-shooters as they can take out a wide variety of targets with both ranged attacks and in close combat.
In close combat they can reliably lend a hand with a flank charge. The Razordons always form the front rank, and with Toughness 4 and a 5+ save they can take a bit of a punch. Did I mention that they have three Wounds? They are shred-tastic with two S5 attacks, making a pack of three the equivalent of a cavalry charge.
Where’s the downside?
Their only limitation is a 12″ range. But that’s not a significant drawback. I’d take them even if they had a 6″ range!
If you use them right there isn’t one. Their abilities just keep adding up. If a unit charges them, they must stand-and-shoot (OK, a minor downside: they can’t flee). However, they get two dice worth of shots, on average double the number of shots. That is enough to keep most predators at bay. That would be an average of THIRTY-SIX shots at no penalty. That’s an average of eighteen HITS at S4 armor piercing.
I like to park a unit in a forest and create a zone of death in a foot radius. This makes a flank very dangerous, and flank protection is what the Lizardmen need most as many of their bulk-heavy-hitters are a bit slow. If things get dicey, they can charge out with an impressive 6″ move and lend a hand or chomp on some stray unit.
Personally, I’d like to give a go with two units. That would be razor-tastic!
PS- I think I got my math wrong. It’s five shots on average per turn per Razordon; fifteen for a group of three.

Posted on August 29th, 2009 at 8:54pm by Shawn

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Dark Sand

Today we got cracking bright and early.

We painted the new studio. It’s Vallejo Dark Sand color. It’s a beautiful earthy, skin, beige tone; Inviting and warm, not too dark.

The paint was a more expensive type, and well worth the money. That’s a lesson from miniatures painting: don’t skimp on your paint! Better to spend more and get a better result.

We tore off the tape around the white moulding and found it to be a perfect contrast.

Everything is satisfactual. I shot some footage and hope to get that up soon.

Posted on August 29th, 2009 at 12:05am by Shawn

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Now booking projects for completion in late September.

Also setting up the next round of Pandora’s Armies and Turbo Armies.

One set left for Space Hulk.

Remember the numerous specials running:

  • Tank Factory (half off on painting vehicles in runs of 6+)
  • Trade-in (roughly 25% retail as a credit for your second-hand figures)
  • Level 2 (30% off on painting for more basic quality)
  • Artistic License (10% off cost of painting if you let us do our thing, 35% if combined with L2)
  • New Clients (30% off cost of materials on your first order)

Details of all these are in previous posts. Contact me at for any matter. My Inbox is empty. I am caught up.

Posted on August 28th, 2009 at 1:13pm by Shawn

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Cast Adrift

Now that the Redjaw Orks and Oceanic Eldar are gone, I am left without a 40K army. Oh my.
I have the Tzeentch army in process. This will double as a Fantasy army. It’s more of a whimsical force, and I think it will be fun to play, but not very solid.
So, what else?
The great thing is that no one at the studio is super-competitive, so anyone can still make it with a non-tournament-type force.
Should it be Necrons? I’ve never owned a Necron army. They seem boring, though. Cool figs. Maybe if I used non-standard stuff it would be interesting.
On the home front… I’m more in love with my wife than ever. The baby is teething (her little teeth are starting to come through which is uncomfortable) and she is the picture of unhappiness. She’s trying to be cheerful, but her whole head is off-kilter. Poor darling.
This afternoon we went to the Spanish Fork countryside, a vast and gentle valley of farmland under broad plateaus (on which the city is built). My son had a class party– pool, summer food, and an open pit to roast hot dogs. From the land comes the food; sweet cucumber, softball-sized tomatoes, and sweet corn.
I have decided that I’m not going to be forgetful anymore. I’m going to remember names and dates. I’m going to be mindful and thoughtful.

Posted on August 28th, 2009 at 2:49am by Shawn

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Soul Killer

This is not blue. It’s very dark, almost black in person, with those brown striations.
Evidently this is better because it is woven into the backing and not glued on.

Posted on August 27th, 2009 at 5:57pm by Shawn

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This is me pretending to be a rich guy at the furniture/carpet store.
Yesterday I did a lot of scouting for carpet (the major issue with the new studio is the carpet is completely worn out). I found one type I really liked, a marbly earth-tone thing. Another roll, upon laying eyes on it, I said “This is gross, it’s killing my soul just to look at it”. And we moved on, but at the end I promised that I would come back with someone who actually had some taste.
Enter Sarah. This morning we did some more scouring, and after some actually intelligent questions, it turns out that the soul-killing carpet was the best choice a la actually being a better quality and within our very limited budget.
We went to the new digs, spackled in more than a few holes, and got started on taping off the moulding. The plan is to be moved in by next Wednesday.
And on top of this, I’m keeping up on the regular stuff. Please by all means keep the emails/inquiries coming. That will help keep the business pumping.
I’m currently setting up a new round of Pandora’s armies. It’s technically open any time, but I like to do them in groups where possible.
New Carnosaur for the studio lizardmen army. This guy is a stone cold killer. Each wound he inflicts multiplies into d3 wounds. Good for Challenges and killing big creatures.

Posted on August 27th, 2009 at 4:24am by Shawn

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