Friday, December 13, 2013

Smoking Again, and no this is not Colorado

  Sometimes only a cigar will do.   I suggest these;

   They are less a cigar and more an air freshener you can light up.  If it was a cologne it would put that crap from Calvin and Hobbs out of business.  (Calvin somebody, you know who I mean)



  Here are some screen shots of the one part female trooper.  Look similar, right?  One is from the outside of the model and one is from the inside. Or one is from the front and one is from the back.  I have been trying to develop a system to do this for a long time.  It has been a like a 20 sided Rubiks cube while blindfolded and wearing boxing gloves.

  But it is done.

  After some talks with a few friends, I am devoting 2014 to only working on models for Proxie.  I got a couple of widget orders to work for the rest of this year, but it is time to see if this thing can fly on its own.  With any luck I will be getting some people who I can swear to secrecy and train in the methods and we can crank these things out.

  This means from start to finish every aspect of creating and producing models can be done in house.  Very few people operate this way, and I have been lectured about how stupid I am more times than I can count. 

  By this time next year you will actually have in your hands Proxie models. Hopefully several choices too.   I am now trying to figure out a way to make them luckier than other models.  So they roll better in combat and rarely fail morale checks. Few companies bother to add this feature, and I have suffered with unlucky models for far too long.   More on that later.

  Just wanted to share this.

  It also gives me another chance to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season.   Don't worry about the calories, we can all start exercising next year!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Merry Christmas- let's get the new year on the way!

  Hello again to whoever stumbles upon this little blog. Today I want to give a summary of the year, give more of my uneducated and mostly wrong opinions, and lay out the future.

  First off, the year has been pretty good. Sales over 2012 are almost double. There are still some huge ups and downs. October was the best month ever, and this December is going to be the worst. There are spending cycles in all businesses. It is not for the faint hearted to be on the roller coaster of small business. Feast and famine is the norm.

  About 60% of sales are for custom parts for folks. The rest are mostly bases.  For the most part terrain is being done by about a million companies right now so those sales are hit and miss.  The walls for hero clix are not too popular in the US.  And I mean this in a serious way-still waiting for the first US buyer to order. I have had a couple of overseas orders, but none in the US. Discouraging for sure, but also a learning moment.

    15mm sci-fi is more sizzle than steak. When I go into my local store and see games on a regular basis I will admit it has arrived. Until then the reality is that 28mm sci fi is the standard.  I personally love 15mm sci-fi and would like to keep picking away at it till I have a range, and then maybe it would someday gain traction.

   So that leaves me with the fact that the only thing I can really try to do to make an impact and be different is to make figures. The machine is perfect size for them and it was always my ultimate goal to do them. I just kept getting sidetracked on all the other things. Plus it is a really tough thing to figure out. I pretty much think I have it sorted but have to execute. And this takes time, which seems to be in short supply.

  The wild card in all of this is kick starter. It seems not a day goes by without a new company being created and getting a kick starter going. This is going to really be a challenge for me going forward. The pool of discretionary spending a person has is finite, with few exceptions. Choosing to spend here means not choosing to spend there. From talking with some folks in the industry it seems kick starter is here to stay and a force to be reckoned with. If you are not in on it you are not long for the world, because that is where the action is.  People seem to love buying stuff off kick starter. They vote with their wallets.

   And it is a reality I have come to terms with that my values are not commonly shared regarding out sourcing. I should clarify that trade between comparable societies is great. It is when a worker form western Europe or the US/Canada is forced to compete with a 12 year old chained to a machine in Laos that problems arise.  I was sent to  Walmart  to get a cheap TV the other night after Thanksgiving dinner. I can assure you that price is king. Nothing else matters. I failed my moral check and fled with out securing my primary objective. It gave a feeling of despair at the state of humanity.

  If you want to wallow in despair listen to this as you read the rest-really depressing song



  Kick starter allows even small start ups to get goods at a remarkable price. The cottage industry in gaming has matured in to an international profit machine. It may be impractical to even think about making things, when some one else can do it for less than the cost it takes me to. I do it for the intangibles. It is one of those things that if I have to explain it...........also I am a little too damn stubborn to know what's best for me. At this point the money is not the point.  and if I have to explain that............

  Let me give you an example: here is a pic of my recent slot car demonstration at the Fairgrounds the other week. It is another niche hobby very similar to the gaming hobby of 20 years ago.




 

    Again I found myself in  Walmart waiting for an oil change and wondering the aisles. I came across a 1/24 scale Corvette for $9.99. It was full function radio control. Now if you think about the cottage industry that has grown up around the slot car hobby there is no way anyone can come close to making a radio control car with licensing and full color packaging for $10. It is impossible to make a resin body in 1/24 scale with no packaging for $10. I think HO resin bodies are more than that. If the slot car hobby goes mainstream so that Walmart is carrying the cars- all bets are off.  $10 cars will put an end to most all of the cottage guys overnight.  Is this where the gaming industry is at right now? Maybe.

  This is the reality of the economy today. And kick starter has let the doors wide open to the flood of ultra cheap imports in to what was a cottage industry.

   So that is the challenge. Now how does Proxie Models plan on surviving this? (heavy drinking is not going to work)

  A couple of things.

1. Direct to customer.  If at all possible I am going to avoid going through distribution. The cut is too much and will mean I have to raise prices.  I do sell to stores at a discount, but the distribution route is one I will only take as a last resort.

2. Technology.  There are some new things on the horizon and they are pretty exciting. 3d printing is going to make some things possible that were not a short time ago. I am most likely the only person making molds the way I am and the sculpting shortcuts are only found here. I got a bit of an edge in that regard. Not as big of an edge as the guys who have all the expensive software, but I do what I can.

3. Networking.  Teaming up with the right people who share the values and goals I have. That also means ending partnerships with people who are going in different directions. I have met a lot of people over the past few years and need to build a team. Others are not of any benefit to me and simply want to find a US based sweat shop.  Finding the right partners is going to be a huge asset.

4.  Cost saving. There is just no way to waste money with out passing that cost on to the customers. Every time I can save a penny it helps the bottom line. Luckily I was born in to poverty and have a lifetime of experience making do with little or no funds.

5. Time saving.  Time is money. Wasting time on the wrong projects is my biggest failing.  And I do this over and over. A lot of things are going to be done for the fun of it, but once in a while I have to make something that works and sells. And no more solitaire.

6. Market flexibility.  There is a variety of small niche hobbies that can be catered to. I plan on making at least a few items for this and that as time allows. Not having all the eggs in one basket will help if things go all wobbly in any one industry.

  These are a couple of steps in the direction to keep afloat until kick starter fizzles out or I face reality and do my own kick starter as an act of necessity. That will be determined sometime in the summer.

  To that end, here is some pics of the development process for the stealth troopers.

  Here is the first print next to the girl figure I made. He looks a  little small. I upscaled 120% and printed it out again.




     In each of these pics the larger size guy is painted red. At this point the arms, head, torso,  and weapons are looking close to the GW "heroic" scale pictured on the left.  Just need to get the legs shorter and fatter and have another print done. Then I will be watching this mold come to life.

   So with any luck 2014 will be a better year, which is going to be amazing. This year I should also be able to hit some shows  and say hello to people.  There are a few products I want to have on the store during the year and I will keep this blog updated when they are released.

   I hope this post did not seem pessimistic, it is important to face reality head on and make choices based on it. Overall the industry is in transition and I plan to dance right along with it as long as I can.

  So have a great Holiday Season everyone. Let's all roll in to next year and see where it takes us.

  Cheers!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

  Well it is that time of year again. Time to bulk up with carbs for the long winter months.  I find it best to add some extra weight so I am not at a loss for a decent New Years resolution.  One year I resolved never to weigh myself.  Not sure I would recommend that.

  I have some new collaborations in the works. A new resin terrain piece for 15mm scale.  These are made by a friend of mine and I have put them in the shop.  Resin is a bit pricier than plastic, mainly because it is much more time consuming to make. I am guessing most people know this already, but it is a huge difference in cost to make.



  Here is a shot with a scale reference;


 And something I dry brushed a bit;



  This was made using a 3d printed master and a lot of smoothing to get a mold ready product. I know there are some who claim that 3d printing can make mold ready masters, but the results are still rough form the ones I have tried. I used Shapeways, a company in Texas and a local guy to get printings done. They are costly and the results are still a bit fuzzy.  Take a look at this hover tank close up. This is a resin cast of a mold made from a 3d print. When looking at the print in the semi-clear frosted detail material it does not look too bad. But zoom in on a resin model and you see lots of areas that are fuzzy.



  Still learning and tinkering with this.


  I have been asked about the size of the snap fit walls, so here is a pic of that;


   I sent the infantry out to a 3d printing company because I want to make sure the parts fit together before I make them. I know they will be fuzzy but all I need to now is does the head fit on right.

  Well, that is all the news for now. I am going to do another controversial post in the future about how kick starter is changing the dynamic of the cottage industry.  I want to gather my thoughts on that one before I open my mouth and insert my foot.

  One last thing- in the spirit of the holiday I have enabled free shipping on the web store for all orders over $30.  This is for US customers only.  Overseas shipping has gotten really costly and I wish there was some way to ship for less. Unfortunately that solution has eluded me.

 Have a great Holiday everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Snap fit walls available-

  I have been working on some odds and ends.  Elliot, who you may remember as the bloodthirsty Skaven commander who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a Warhammer battle report, has been wanting some terrain for his heroic click style games.

  So we made some-



  The top picture shows one pack, and the bottom pictures shows his heroes fighting amid all the defects from the scrap box. They are available in the store here-snap fit walls

 I think it makes the game look a bit better than plain paper maps, but I do not really play heroic click games.  I still have some Red Barricades and Campaign in North Africa games to finish up.

  Also, and this is another embarrassing admission, the web store was screwed up.  It is linked to the USPS web site so it gives exact shipping based on weight and location. However, some time in the past, and without informing me, the postal service changed the coding they were using. The result is that first class was no longer showing up as an option. A single pack of bases was costing $5 to ship instead of $2.  I had no idea this was happening. I even got e-mail complaints about the shipping to which I replied, "Choose first class"  and forgot about it. Well I finally was looking over things and realized first class was gone. 

  I had to manually edit the HTML code to get it to work again.  Finding the error and editing a zillion lines of code is not my strong suit. Luckily there are helpful forums so I copied and pasted the repair that some smart person had shared.  Now first class is working again.  I think with the defeat of the dead battery gremlin the remaining gremlins have adapted and opened up a new front on me. This time in cyber space.

  But, at least for now they are again vanquished.

  And with that I am off to work again.

  Have a great week. 

 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New stuff and some details


  Hi folks.  Here is a pic of some renders sent to me by one of the designers. his name is Mark Guarnieri and he has been working to develop some infantry. I am planning on tackling these soon. Just want to iron out any problem areas first.  I like the generic feel to them.  Seem to be perfect for unsuspecting guards to be ambushed.

   In the meantime I keep working on 1 part female troopers as time allows. Which means very slowly.


  I want to clarify the contest idea I had.  It is going to be awarded to the 2000th  package I ship.  Right now I am somewhere between 1000-2000.  It is going to be awarded to the first web store order after 2000 is reached. You can not go by the order number, since about 90% of orders come from e-bay. E-bay sales count as packages but will not be able to win the 100 sprues.  Only stuff from the web store counts.

  AFTER the winner is notified then they will decide what they want.

  This is not a contest for the best idea for a product, it is kind of the reverse of that. You win first and then you decide what you want.

  I hope that clears things up a bit.  One of the issues I ran in to right from the start was people offering ideas for things to make. Once they told me, there was almost an obligation to reward them for their idea, even if I had already made CAD files of the exact same thing and had them setting on the hard drive.  Ideas have value, but the development is where the real labor lies. The tough ones were the generic stuff-  "Hey, I told you to make scantily clad Amazon women with spears. Now that you did it, I demand compensation for this."   Bad situation.

  Ok- just had to get that out there before there was some confusion.  I got some entrants for the idea contest and realized I had made a serious mistake in explaining things.    There is no idea contest, it is a reward for customers who have been bothered to follow along and watch this slow process unfold.


  Ok, back to work again.

Friday, November 8, 2013

All Gremlins, Large and Small

  Well, just like an epic game of Mortal Combat, I finally met the boss of the gremlins.  And he is dead for now.

  A cnc machine uses pulses of electricity to drive the motors to precisely position the axis. These pulse at about 10,000 per second. They can be altered for calibration. For months now the Novakon has been randomly repositioning itself and also going in to emergency shutdown, which also loses its position.

  This problem has been a real pain because it resulted in so many ruined molds and countless hours of lost work.  Thinking about it, I kept going at the problem from the wrong end. Always looking for the answer in the pulse drivers or the pulses per second setting, and never getting it fixed.

  One thing I noticed is when I would boot up the computer it would sometimes ask, "Hey, what day is this?".  So I would type in the date and figured it was just double checking. Then it occurred to me that a computer unable to keep time on a calendar might be having issues keeping track of seconds to within 1/10,000'ths of  a second. So I went to Walmart and spent about $5 on this.

 
 
  Yes this is the big boss gremlin, the mightiest problem causer of them all.  A battery that tells time. I thought once the PC was running the clock would be fine.  I was wrong again.  This is starting to get ridiculous.  What kind of problem solver gets his ass kicked for months by this little glitch?  Me.  Well no more. The gremlins are vanquished!
 
 
 

 

Ok, except for this one.  Exploding capacitors are always good for a few laughs and some smoke inhalation.  2 in one day is a new record.  Damn these gremlins are resilient, I will give them that.
 
 
  But, overall things are really going well. I made this mold with my new $5 Walmart battery keeping time. Ran it overnight while I slept too.  Perfect cooperation from the machine.
 

  Going to run some parts next week.  This is the second of my designer's products. This is a marker for a hero style board game. Look for a post once this gets cleaned up and run.

  And next up is this;
  This is the work of another of the designers I have contracted. We are filling in the other spots and going to have a go at it.  Figures are the final challenge and someday it will be overcome.

  I am still planning on running a thank you giveaway contest to my customers. I got to figure out if it is legal and all, but the basic idea is this;  the winner will get 100 sprues of their choice for free.  Meaning any that I make, or any that they want made. Come up with an idea and I will do my best to make the mold and give you 100 of them.  A lot of gaming people are creative and have great ideas but no access to the means to have those ideas realized. The contest will let someone have their idea come to life.  I got to work out the details but will post more info when I work out all the legal bits.  Like "rude forum posters are not eligible" and other fine print.

  And thanks for people who took time to vote for the grant contest. I made the 250 votes. The odds of getting the grant are small, but I figured why not give it a try.  If I get the money I will be hiring a helper for sure and getting a contract person to run the internet part of things. If I do not get the money you will have to continue to tolerate my amateur handling of things.


  OK, time to get busy again.  Have a great weekend. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Happy Halloween


  Hi folks.  Just wanted to share a little story from my home town area that will you in the festive spirit for the holiday that is Halloween.

  During my nomadic youth I spent some years living just up the road from this house;


And prior to that I spent some time living about 2 miles below it.  I know the area pretty well. This house sets in an area called Rehmeyer's Hollow.  Down the road a bit is a small ridge line that separates it from Blymire's Hollow.  My great-great-grandfather had a farm down from this and my grandfather was about 30 when the "incident" took place that makes this house famous. My great-great grandfather fought in the militia when Lee showed up make noise in Gettysburg.

  Something about this area that is not well known is the prevalence of witches.  They are much fewer now and like to be called "pow wow" doctors. Here is an article for background.
http://braucher.webs.com/

  Most of the old folk know all about it and my grand parents knew a home remedy or 2 that kept me healthy. I remember whenever I would step on a board and have a rusty nail punch through my bare feet what to do.  All you had to do was find the nail, pull it out of the board, cover it in hog lard, and place it somewhere that the sunlight would never reach it. And presto, no infection.

  A conspiracy of doctors have tried to discredit these techniques to drive down the competition, so this secret is not well known. Same as the way VHS took out Beta.

  Anyhow, in the early 1900's this house was the home of a guy named Nelson Rehmeyer. He did not get along with his neighbors, the Blymires, who lived at the other end of the woods. Seems old Nelson took to casting hex spells at his neighbors and all sorts of bad things befell them. People still put these signs on their barns to prevent bad luck from happening in this area.

  Well the Blymire clan was not having much luck, so they did the obvious- they went to see the River Witch of Marietta.  She would counter the spells being sent there way, after all she was a pretty high level NPC.  She could not do this unless the Blymire could produce a lock of the hair of Nelson Rehmeyer.

   So one night they went to ask him for it. I have had some awkward conversations, but going to your spooky warlock neighbor at night to ask him if you and your friends might offer to trim up his hair has got to be the topper. I guess when all else fails, violence usually works and they ended up killing the old spell caster. Then they burned him. Or else the other way around, not sure about this.

   They got in trouble for this, because apparently our country has slid so far toward totalitarianism that you are no longer allowed to burn witches.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rehmeyer's_Hollow

 That article just gives what they want you to believe. Let me fill in some details from listening to my grandfather and from living around the area.

  I am not saying my grandfather was one of these pow wow people, but he had some interesting knowledge. He taught me how to tie a fishing knot, and how to get a spirit to lead you to buried money;  how to deal with a large mouth bass that leaps in the air to throw the hook, and ways to avoid the demonic familiar who could be guarding said treasure.  (To my shame, there was only one time I was ever alone in a room with a ghost, and profit was the LAST thing on my mind.)

 He told me when he was younger all the lands around there were prosperous farms. Now they are covered in new growth forest and brush. Hidden under all that growth are the remains of about 10 farms that died as a result of the magical curses leveled by the Warlock Rehmeyer.  No one lived in them and the county bought up all the land because they were abandoned. They turned the place in to a park for bike riders and hikers.  And they renamed it "Spring Valley Park."  Ha!  What a laugh.  I could take Mordor and rename it something cheerful and a bunch of yuppies would show up with their mountain bikes.
  
  Now days if my neighbor's Yorkie poops in my mulch I am upset. Imagine having this guy as a neighbor. This is straight up Magic the Gathering for REAL ante. If you lose you get some hideous sores oozing puss or something.

   So the house sets there, all alone in a patch of nothing. It has no trespassing signs up, which seem a bit much. Who needs to be told to stay away? Here is a pic of the hole in the floor and you can see the burn marks on the joist from the body. They say there are still blood stains too.

       One of the descendants owns the house and has tried to open it as a museum. He swears Nelson was not a witch, but one of the museum exhibits is supposed to be HIS SPELL BOOK.

  I am not Perry Mason, but either old Nelson had a real eclectic reading selection in the out house, or he was up to something. And just having a book with instructions for Satanic rituals to punish your enemies does not mean you are actually using it.

  But there is that last bit of evidence that is hard to refute.

  If your neighbors come to your house on a cold winter night and KILL you for WITCHCRAFT, you might be a witch.

  Just saying.

  So that is a ghost story from this crazy part of the world.

  Have a Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Vote For ME!!!

  I need to ask a favor of everyone. And I got in to this really late so if you could spread the word it would be a HUGE help.

https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/#


This web site is handing out grants to US based small business owners. It is Chase Bank doing it, not the government.  I entered my info and would love to have the money for a couple of things;

1. Hire someone!
2. Buy a larger plastic machine.
3. Get a better CNC machine
4. Insulate the stupid shop so I do not freeze all winter.


  Please if you could go the link and click vote. Then enter Proxie Models and vote. You have to have a Facebook account to vote, I think to prevent me from voting for myself a million times. Please spread the word to every forum you can find. This is a chance for me to finally build a team and buy a  larger plastic injection machine. And maybe a decent CNC machine.  Mine has an attitude, as you can see by the picture of its warning label.

 
 
 Yes, that is how it has treated me since day one!  Finally I can replace its gremlins infested evil with something worthwhile.
  I found out about this a little late so I missed out on 24 days of voting. I hope I can make a comeback.

  I am going to post on a couple forums like Dakka, but if anyone visits any other forums please hook me up with a topic and a link.

 The real chance here is small but worth a click. I figure they are all going to go to the next person planning a social media network.

  But maybe, out of the 12 grants, they might consider a crazy person making plastic bits in a barn.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Rules Lawyer

  I played a game of Warhammer some time ago against this fellow. He deployed his dwarven canon in a river, that was impassable terrain. The rules at that time did not allow movement in to the terrain but there was no explicit prohibition against deploying there.

   I tried to reason with him by pointing out the obvious; metal canons are not buoyant, dwarves treading water would have difficulties loading the canon,  wet gun powder is less flammable, etc. Nothing worked.  I lost the game but stopped playing Warhammer with the guy. Just not compatible.

   Some of you may be aware of certain forums where Proxie is being talked about.  I was on the Miniatures Page Forum in a specific forum called- The Industry, way down on page 2 of a thread filled with people complaining about Defiance games and I thought I would warn my fellow hobby/workers about my dealings with them.  It got pasted to a couple of other forums and people have been beating Defiance up about it.

   It was meant for people in the industry and not meant to harm them with customers. Since then I went back to the other forums to clarify. Defiance has also made some comments that were at best self destructive. More like really suicidal.

  This is all water under the bridge. I need to move on. I found the money to pay my property taxes so I still have a house to live in. There is no point crying over spilt milk, as the saying goes. Right now they need every dollar to make up the new kick starter models. If they pay back debts it might hurt them going forward.  Just be aware if you are a supplier to them that if you get defined as the "past" you are not part of the "future". 

  I will work with them again if we can get a simple legal document etched in stone by the finger of a Divine Being. It needs to be signed in blood of course, on the summer solstice in an Indian burial ground. A coven of naked Wiccans chanting around us in a circle is customary as well. And everyone knows that without the Papal seal no contract is binding.

  Just kidding.  :)     You have to not take life too seriously sometimes.

  Seriously, time to drop this and move on.

  BUT,  thanks to all the support from people on the forums. I did not know I had so many friends out there. You guys went after them like a bunch of saber toothed piranha.  I hope I never piss off the gaming community.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Psalms 101

 Hello again.

  Things are progressing a little bit. My crew of ace designers has been busy making some stuff and I have been trying to make some molds. I am redesigning the female troopers for one piece models. There are another set of multi pose infantry in the works. Another fellow is working on a piece for use with a board game and the long awaited tank is somewhere on the horizon.

   The first thing finished is this road block set.


The sprues are here;

  I am currently trying to figure out kick starter. It seems to be the preferred method of buying for most consumers. Kind of baffles me a bit. In fact makes no damn sense at all. Why would I pay money now for something I might get a year from now?  However, looking at the huge sums of money being lobbed at anything with the word kick starter in front of it there is a good chance I may change with the times and do one.

  There are a few other changes in the works.  I have to be a lot more aware of the sort of people I am dealing with. Hence the title of this post-which gives instructions on how to avoid crooks.

  As of today, I am announcing that I will NEVER have any dealings with Defiance Games in any way shape or form. Simply put, the reputation they have on the internet is well deserved. And the "new" management team can go straight to hell.

  The new management team refuses to pay for products ordered under the old management team. I have shipped 3 large orders to them, costing me hundreds in shipping alone, and not gotten one single penny. The first few months were filled with excuses, but now I have been told to go pound sand.

  Be very wary of these folks. I am learning all about running a business and this is a very important lesson.

   Ok guys, have a good week and I will keep you posted on new events.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A tale of 3 photographers.

  This is most likely not relevant, but it was crazy to me.

  I was at a vintage race early this month and it was the best time ever. The only thing that could compare is if peace breaks out in the Middle East and I get to tour the Holy Land with the Pope as my tour guide and he tells amusing anecdotes about the Vatican throughout.

 This was a neat chance to see antique cars in action. Well, the race was delayed for some reason and eventually I found out why.

  Ok, the first photographer is the guy who took the shot. He got an incredible picture of 68 Camaro at the moment of impact. Nice pic for sure. The car is air borne and doing what it was born to do. No slow death in some rich guys garage for this muscle car. No boring Saturdays at cruise night in some parking lot. Die with your boots on you lovely piece of American steel. I am digging those wheels too.

  The second photographer is the one being hurled backwards. He is about to get a helicopter ride of the unexpected sort.  Those are the worst kind of helicopter rides, even worse than the ones where the pilot keeps swerving to stay below the hills and avoid enemy fire. After that he will have months of therapy and a retirement filled with trauma induced arthritis.  The worst part of my day was the overpriced refreshments.  It pays to keep things in perspective.

  But the third guy is the curious one. Notice how he is a consummate pro, totally focused on his work and oblivious to the distractions around him.  It is startling to me that someone can be so unflappable to not even flinch at such mayhem. Where can you find people so calm? His colleague is getting the crap knocked out of him and something through the lens is more interesting than that?  That is the sort of person who gets things done.

  I look at this picture as a life lesson. Sometime shits happens and it gives you a nice picture. And the same shit can happen and give you some broken bones. Or shit can happen and you just ignore it. All depends on if you are 10 feet to the right or left.

  Second lesson is to stay on focus. I need to be like this photographer.

  Currently I am filling an order for 64,000 bases. It is nice to see some folks with decent sized collections.  Skirmish games are a fad.  Bring back the 1 figure = 1 man  Waterloo recreations I say.

  After that will get back on target.



 

 

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Worst screw up ever- my fault guys.

  This post is a direct apology to all the people I have been ignoring.  It seems that when I built the web site I made one massive error. The contact us button went no where.

  This is a major screw up. There are e-mails and contact us crap all over the place and I got them all to go to me. Except perhaps the most important, the big one right on the web page. It was bouncing everything.  I kept getting orders and inquiries, and messages so I figured everything was working fine. Until someone told me it was not, and I went in and saw almost a years worth of messages.

Damn.  I really need to contact a web master.

 Anyhow, here are some pics of the sprue not assembled. This will most likely never be for sale, I am already working on something better.












  Other than that, I have been busy connecting with folks. I have some creative help now and we have worked out an agreement on royalties. Look for some stuff pretty soon.

  Right now I am feeling pretty frustrated about one tiny little setting causing tons of messages to vanish. I read a few of them on the server  and frankly I could not have done half the work people were asking. But still it was rude as hell of me to not get and answer the message.

  One part of doing it yourself is admitting you suck at several parts of it.
. I am slowly working on shifting away from  widgets and in to stuff I like but that is going to take a little while longer.


  In any event, enjoy the fall and look for some new stuff someday

Thursday, August 29, 2013

More lame excuses

  Hello again from this strange little place I dwell.  I have decide to bite my overly opinionated tongue a bit after my last outburst.  It is sort of like a story told by my Pastor.  Writing obnoxious commentary on forums is like peeing in a public pool. You offend folks but no one knows it was you.  When you spout off on a blog it is like standing on the diving board to pee in the pool. Someone down below is sure to identify the culprit.

     I am here to make a pathetic plea for patience for those who may have been following along in my goal to make actual figures. I get distracted a bit from time to time and the world keeps on spinning. I planted a garden and surrounded it with razor wire, which was promptly penetrated by rabbit sappers who ate everything.

   It occurs to me that a 28 ton plastic press could be easily reconfigured into a really kicking wine press. I planted some grapes and had an enormous crop in the works. Then I went out to this;

 
 
 
 Birds had wiped out the future Proxie Winery before it even got started. They are so brazen to actually dwell within the vines, too lazy to even forage for food.
 
 
  I build some slot cars too. This one turned out pretty neat.
 
 
 


  I have also been working on the figure mold. Again. In between actually making money by building parts like this pile of bright shiny widgets.
 
 
So how is the figure mold coming along.....not sure yet. It is close but I think it might not be good enough. I have to play around with it a bit.
 
  Here is one glued together.

 
 
  Going to paint it up and see what I think. I have certainly paid for worse, and it is hard plastic and not that crap  PVC stuff.  (sorry, there was that opinion poking out again)
 
  But the head needs a little work to fit on correctly.  Other than that, I would be happy to send these out to fight. One stupid quirk and the whole thing is in jeopardy. 
 
  I like the weapon variants on the sprue. Here is one carrying an energy weapon and with an anti-tank gun.
 
 
  Going to ponder this one and plan some more stuff.  Still, it feels like it is inching closer and closer. Making homemade hard plastic minis right here in the USA. Each "almost" is a step forward and I like where this is going.
 
 I have actually reached a tentative agreement with a couple of folks to do some design work and see about moving stuff along a bit. I was really swamped for a while, just look at this message board hanging in front of the machine haunting me.
 
  That is all done and before things pile up again it gives me some time to tinker with the supposedly impossible task of making figures. Someday. 
 
  Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone. Summer is going but fall is a close second for best time of year.
 
 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Tale of 2 Hobbies- a long talk sure to make me less popular.

  Hello again folks, been pretty busy and there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Still making odds and ends, like this for the guys over at Rust Forge-  http://rustforge.com/

  I been slowly sliding in to a more manufacturing role and less a retailer, but I still am planning big as always. I added a 120mm base to the store. It was requested and was too big for the press. Had to add a precision 2x4 block to hold it closed.
 
  I know my friend Chris is laughing, but it worked.

 The sci-fi girls were ruined and so I had to remake the first half of the mold. When you run a lot of programs it is easy to over look a small mistake. I powered the cnc bit straight down through the cavity and ruined one of the gun arms. Oh well, be more observant. Back on track and designing the next one.  :)  No promises but I would like to be done soon. 

  What brings me on to my soapbox today is the culmination of some talks had recently with people and a few forums where people were talking about price increases over at the big monster, GW. It is somewhat counter intuitive for me to think that the company with the lowest cost per unit to make has the highest price per unit. If I were GW I would use my massive ability to produce products to lower prices and wipe out all the little guys. ( see Walmart)   However, they have chosen to raise prices and thereby enable little guys to exist. Quite nice of them, one has to admit.

  What follows I have stated a few times, so apologies if this post seems a re-post.

  It seems that the cost is justified by the abilities of the model in the game. It ignores the fact that those abilities are the result of my own imagination, not value added by the company.  I can choose to pretend the models are whatever I want and have whatever abilities I can think of. Which brings me to the comparison of my 2 main hobbies at the moment- slot cars and wargaming.

  I started collecting High Elves in 1988, and have a gazillion. The painted ones shown in the battle report  are a sample of what I still have to paint. I could see myself buying every high elf made till death overtakes me in some far distant era. (hopefully)  I even have an entire army of West Wind high elves as well.   Why?  Because someday a stranger will approach me and challenge me to a 12,000 point battle with the requirement that all models be painted.  And I must be ready to look that stranger in the eye and say,  " Sure, grab your dice."

  So that makes me a prime candidate for this new product from GW-

Ok, I hope those maniacs do not sue me for using an image- all rights reserved, blah blah, they thought of everything, blah blah, they invented human conflict, blah blah, etc. 


  So why have I not purchased said item?  Because it costs more than this-


  Now the elves can shoot bows and stuff, but I sort of have to do all the work. The manufacturer made a nice model and all, but it is the players that bring it to life with assembly and painting. And then use the rules to play a game. I make that blob of plastic an army and bring it to life. And I really enjoy that.

  What can that stupid car do?  Well, it is ready to go right out of the box. It has electric motor, rubber tires, metal axles. Lots of parts to make for a manufacturer. It also has working headlights and tail lights. Which I can turn off and on from my controller. And the brake lights come on when I release the throttle to slow down and go out after I stop or go back on the throttle.  It comes in a nice display case with extra parts right along with it. And it has a computer in it.

  Yes a computer. With that computer it is programmed to an individual controller with the push of a button to allow 8 cars to operate on a single lane with out interference. Neat?  There are numerous crossing points that allow you to pass and block other drivers. My track is 2, 3 and 4 lanes wide in places.
   Also, the computer reverses the motor polarity when the throttle is released and uses the electric motor to provide resistance and therefore brakes. And I can adjust the amount of braking. In 15 different increments to give me the amount of stopping I want.

  I can also adjust the amount of power, if one car seems "bogus". A click of a button and instant balance. No more waiting 10 years for a codex.  15 different increments too.

  And it also has a variable fuel capacity. What? Yes that's right, it keeps track of how much electricity I have been using and subtracts it from the fuel reserves of the car.  But what do you have to do, gas it up?   Yes, there is a section of track where you have to pull over and using your controller add fuel.

Ok, but what happens then. Well, the computer adjusts the power and braking of the car based on the weight of the fuel it is carrying. The car runs best when it is almost out of gas and is a little sluggish filled up.

 Sounds strange so far, but what else?

  With a click the car can be set to drive by itself, in case I got no one to race against. I can put 7 cars on the track and race against all of them if I want. This sucks because they keep wrecking in to each other, but it can be done.

 The track has a USB connector that attaches to a PC. It manages all the cars and drivers and keeps a record of each lap ran, fastest, etc. It also can provide random events, like brake failure. This requires unscheduled pit stops. If your car loses brakes, the computer announces this over the speakers and will reduce your braking to nothing. I won a race against my daughters last night by refusing to stop and running the last few laps with no brakes.
   Yes, I said it announces. It comes with a full spectrum of sounds to fill your ears with updates on who is winning, laps to go etc. Of course I edited this. 
video
 

  OK, I love me some high elves and wargaming. But I can not figure out how a couple of those sprues cost more than that 289 Cobra. The features on the car are all tangible items of value improvement.  The elves got a decent initiative and good leadership. I know they have always strikes first, or at least they used to. And they have a BS of 4 or maybe 5.   Been a while since I could afford a new codex. All of these are intangibles added inside my own head by reading the rules. It is hard to understand how the actual engineering put in to that beautiful car equals the value of a rule. A rule does not make a model more expensive to produce. This fact is where I get sideways and have that head exploding moment.

    It has been a while since my finite disposable hobby income has been allocated to wargaming instead of race cars. I could not resist the Reaper kickstarter and really looking forward to some old fashioned dungeon mosh pits. Since then, nothing really for gaming but a couple new cars.

  And that is my take on the whole endless argument on the Internet about the cost of GW products.

 One final point.  Wargaming is a niche market. But slot cars are a much smaller niche.  I went to a slot car show in Maryland and it filled 2 smallish rooms in a hotel and was open from 10-2 on Sunday. I went to Cold Wars and it filled an entire convention center and lasted all weekend.

  To summarize- I ain't buying no more high elves at these prices.  So when that stranger does come looking for me, I will have to forfeit that battle.

  Till then, going to keep painting and rolling dice as well as rubbing fenders on the track. Both are really great hobbies and a ton of fun. It is a good time to have such wonderful pastimes, and we are very lucky.

  This post will vanish if I get a letter from one of the companies whose products are depicted. If that happens, which company do you think it will be? I know Carrera is an extraordinarily nice company to deal with.  GW calls me a "bearded git".  (Actual quote a store owner told me from a GW sales seminar. It was used to explain the type of customer to get out of your store ASAP. )

   I got some more widgets to do and the other half of the mold to do. Still the progress keeps grinding forward and good things are happening. Have a great week and keep your fingers crossed I do not screw up again. And buy some widgets from rust forge- he never calls me a git.



EDIT- The price listed is not entirely accurate. It is possible to easily find the car shown at $42-48 online and my local shop sells the car for that price too. My local game store sells the minis at full retail.  However, if you compare full retail to full retail the minis are a few bucks cheaper. $54-50. Not sure if that makes a difference, but wanted to give the most accurate numbers. To be honest I rarely pay full retail for anything anymore but was comparing the prices at my local shops.

 So the elves are less expensive by a slim margin. Still a valid comparison of a German hobby company and a UK based one both competing for my disposable recreational income.