Thursday, August 25, 2016

Duck-less Dynasty

  Hi everyone.  Just an update on how things are progressing.

  In one word- superb.

    For starters sales are growing slowly and steady.  Revenue matched the best year ever and there are still 4 months to go. And the advertising budget remains a steady $0.  I have reached the conclusion after being literally crushed with ads that there are enough out there already. When I try to read the news and there are dozens of ads around, amidst, and across the article while 3-4 tiny videos play that more are not needed.  The community is doing a great job of spreading the word and I am extremely grateful of that.

  Meanwhile, I have found a new game and realized why my interest in gaming has vanished. Almost all new games feature a specific set of rules and minis to go with it. My boss has been talking about Kings of War and there are 2 local shops with gaming groups.  I bought the books and like it quite a bit. It has inspired me to open up some dusty old boxes and bring out the troops. Tonight I am venturing out with a few veteran units to join the fun. Kings of War has very few specific rules so it seems right up my alley.

   However, I am going to need some unit damage counters.  This is a printed prototype and I will be mass producing them shortly. The product will be made of green plastic. The skull beads are made in the USA but not by me. I will by them in bulk and supply them with the counters.


  Pretty useful, and the spacing allows you to count up to 19 wounds. I colored mine with a sharpie. The counters are going to be out as soon as I get the time, as I am going to need them.

  More importantly, it got my motivation going to get cracking on that army I have been planning for some time.
    The metal block goes in to the big CNC for roughing and locator pin milling. I am now using the proper oil for cutting that looks a lot like milk.

  The little CNC gets the fine work. I removed the coolant system since graphite gets cut dry. There is a dust collector now installed on this machine that takes away the debris.

  These are the roughed in blocks for the first figure set, scout archers.

  I made a test graphite block and then a final one. Keeping track of all the settings is important. The goal is to standardize everything to increase the speed of making the mold and to allow repeatability.


  The small round circle is my stop point. When that touches the EDM work is done. Only a small portion of the block is ever going to be burned, and the cavity has been pre-milled so only about .020" has to be removed.
    With the fine settings the details are pretty good. The one things that still causes problems is the heroic nature of most gaming minis. Some of the details on this mini are pretty small but in proportion. I shelved my female sci fi troopers for a bit until I can make a woman with heroic boobs hold a heroic gun and make it look natural. Currently they look like the Michelin man playing bag pipes.
   Meanwhile, these troops are planned to be kicking ass next summer at local tournaments! Not just these, but the rest of the lot. The whole bloody range.
   There are still a LOT of things that can go wrong of course. Like the EDM of death.

  There are a couple of setting that are the most important. First of all is output. Imagine if you were sanding something by hand, output would be the amount of force you are applying. At 1/16 you are lightly sanding fine furniture. Frequency is the same as the grit of the sandpaper.  250 is very fine, while .5 is a chain saw.  Getting these 2 right is the next challenge. Go too light and fine and you will be measuring cutting time with a calendar.  Go to harsh and there will be no details and a rough finish.  Stay tuned, I am sure I will screw this up the first few dozen times..........................

  Which brings me to the final update. What about those ducks? It is a tale worthy of J.R.R. Martin. A story that starts bad and grows steadily worse. Grab your happy pills and read on.................


  We kept them safe until adulthood, when it was discovered that this breed is a flightless variety. The thing about buying ducklings from Tractor Supply in the spring is the knowledge that in a few months they simply fly away. Once in a while they come back to eat but eventually they blend in with the other ducks. So by fall they have joined with some wild ducks and off they go.

  These 3 are too big to fly, which raises the perplexing problem of what to do over the winter. They were named Moe, Curly, and Larry by my daughter in a blatant but effective attempt to make me like them. As they grew Curly turned out to be a female, while Larry became the alpha male. The 3 of them chummed around together with me wondering what to do with them. Winter is Coming...........

  One day 2 local dogs broke free and showed up. I was called out to the barn by my panicking daughter. A half grown great dane and a pit bull were attacking them. The pit bull had a steel cable hanging off him so he must have broken free.

  Larry stood his ground and gave battle while the other ducks made it to safety. He was in the tiny pond and he was not routing as the others had. He had enough room to submerge and swim at them to pop up and startle them which kept them occupied. When I arrived I took the cable and put a lease on the great dane. We walked them a half mile to the owner identified on the tags. She actually complained that they were muddy, which is the equivalent of a murderer bemoaning their blood soaked suit.

  The other ducks were fine, but Larry had a fair portion of his rear end torn off. In the summer heat he suffered, but flies swarmed around him and his walking was slow and difficult.

  Enter Curly, his previous girlfriend, and Moe. Moe starts attacking the injured Larry with a vengeance. Over and over I chased him away but as soon as he could get at him he kept attacking. Larry would try to find shade from the sun to rest, but Moe was relentless. This was outrageous, and on par with draft dodging hippies spitting upon soldiers returning from Vietnam. Finally, in a moment I grew to regret, I shot Larry with the BB gun in the wing. It seemed like he needed a little Karma to settle his violent nature.

   The plan worked, but now I had 2 injured ducks. At least Larry got to suffer in peace. I took this picture that last morning I seen him alive. I do not know where he went, but I think he died in peace. Although watching his girlfriend run off with the idiot you died defending had to be a real downer.

   So about 2 weeks passed and then bird Karma finally caught up with Moe and Curly.

  I found their bodies right outside the shop. The attack happened midday so not likely a fox. The female had been mostly eaten and a huge pile of feathers surrounded the body. Larry was 2 feet away with no injury other than a surgically severed head.  There is a hawk around here most days, as I hear its screams. Researching online revealed plucking of feathers is characteristic of a hawk attack. I am guessing the hawk pounced down to eat the female and Larry finally grew a spine and tried to object, only to find out a duck bill is no match for the talons of a predator.  I was reminded of the old song Screaming for Vengeance. 

  So, one less thing to worry about.  Real life Game of Thrones plot line, eh? Pointless, relentless horrible things happening.  (I still do not understand how that guy got rich peddling that garbage)

  Ok, have a great Labor Day and I will update with some more info as it happens.