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19th May 2019: The Tyranid Tinkerer

Some actual nice weather recently has allowed me to spray all my remaining unpainted Tyranids. This did first require me to do a bit of work on some of the models.
Some fishing shot was added to the bases of the Hormagaunts so they no longer fall over so easily. In addition, I finally got around to putting magnets on the guns of the Hive Guard so I can switch out which weapons they can use from game to game.

Adding fishing shot to bases

Adding fishing shot to bases

Adding magnets to some guns

Adding magnets to some guns

Hive Guard weapons ready for action

Hive Guard weapons ready for action

My painting speed has definitely slowed down over the last couple of months, but I'm still managing to get a few things finished here and there. I know I was going to go straight into the Hormagaunt brood, but to be honest they're intimidating me. I really need to knuckle down, as I only have the following units left to complete at this point:

Spraying some dudes

Spraying some dudes

Hive Tyrant done

Hive Tyrant done

Zoanthrope #2 and Rippers done

Zoanthrope #2 and Rippers done

Raveners done

Raveners done

Biovores and Spores done

Biovores and Spores done

23rd March 2019: Way Of The Brush

When it comes to tabletop action, there's not been a whole lot going these last couple of months in terms of variety. Instead, I've just been painting like a mad man in an attempt to get my Tyranids ready.
I continue to try and give each unit a very different look, and I'm pretty happy with the Lictors in particular.
As they are supposed to be sneaky, I chose probably the three most common camouflage colours in brown, grey and green, but then jazzed them up a bit with some very bright claws and teeth.

Like the Warriors from last time, I'm just going to wait until all the models are done and just base them all in one big session.

Working on the last few Termagants

Working on the last few Termagants

Termagants done

Termagants done

Working on the Lictors

Working on the Lictors

Lictors done

Lictors done

Zoanthrope #1 done

Zoanthrope #1 done

Hormagaunts up next...

Hormagaunts up next...

The only thing I've been able to do that has not been slapping paint on has been scrubbing paint off. I'm not really a fan of stripping miniatures as it is always so messy and smelly, but some of those poor models really needed it, especially the Warriors I got from ebay and a couple of Eldar things that were ruined by a very rough spray undercoat.

The paint came off most of the models very easily, even the old beaky Marines, that were covered in several coats. However, the ebay Warriors were trouble. Absolutely no idea what kind of paint their original owner had used on them, but I had to leave them in that tub for nearly a week with several scrub attempts to get them somewhat clean. I even ended up throwing one out, as I just couldn't shift one and a half of its old coats of paint.
Oh well, one less to paint I guess.

Ready for a dip in the pool

Ready for a dip in the pool

The Avatar oversees the initial proceedings

The Avatar oversees the initial proceedings

This is messy as hell

This is messy as hell

Ready for more paint

Ready for more paint

10th March 2019: Heading On Down To Tinker Town

Much like this time last year, I've been finding it really difficult to get into any computer games. However, unlike last year, I've actually been trying really hard to find something to get my teeth into. As most of these games are quite old, I've been plunging in to the deep depths of emulation in order to play them, and having some interesting adventures along the way.

Now, I've never really been tempted at all to play over-the-shoulder style Resident Evil games, but all the hype surrounding the remade Resident Evil 2 got me wondering. I grabbed a very cheap copy of Resident Evil 4 from ebay, as it is widely considered to be the best of that type.
As it is an XP game, I first installed it on my old XP laptop, but couldn't get any more than 15 frames per second. Thinking it may be something to do with mobile graphics, I dusted off my old XP tower that has been in storage since the mid 2000s, and tried to play it on that instead. First I had to sort out a very noisy graphics card fan, which needed some much needed oil, before I could even stand to give power to the old monstrosity.
Unfortunately, after installing, I was again faced with a very clunky and slow game that just sat at 15 FPS. I ended up having to install it on my current computer, and luckily it seems to work ok. However, I'm unhappy that it doesn't have mouse controls, and the mouse control patch I downloaded doesn't seem to work, so I'll have to use a joypad. Sigh.
I've only run around a bit at the start of the game, and I'm not sure if I'll get around to this any time soon, but at least I know it will be playable.

Still works after more than a decade in the loft...

Still works after more than a decade in the loft...

...though it needed a good clean.

...though it needed a good clean.

Well, this place looks inviting

Well, this place looks inviting

Run free, little doge

Run free, little doge

I only have three PS1 games that I never finished, and about 6 months ago I had a look at trying to do just that with one of them, which was the very first Grand Theft Auto. When I first picked it up in the late 90s, I had a few weeks when I played it quite a lot, but I never tried to finish it. I just spent time driving round, being an idiot and getting into trouble. I think I only remember getting on to the second map once, and didn't like it as I was so used to the first one, so never bothered getting any further.

Fast forward to last year, and I booted it up on my PS3 to give it a long due proper attempt, but I just couldn't play it. The frame rate was so low, and its weird constant zooming in and out style just made me feel so sick.
A few weeks back I had the plan of trying the PC version, so again got a cheap copy from ebay, and installed it using DOSBox. While it's a little better, it still has all the same issues sadly. I think most of the slow down and jankinees is because of the zooming in and out, and while I found a cheat that let me zoom in and out manually, it only seemed to work while I was stationary, and when I started to move, the game resumed the auto zooming.
Also, for some weird reason, the game (or DOSBox) pays no attention when I try to limit the frame rate, which I tried to do just to try and smooth it out a bit.

Oh well. Whatever. It's not like I haven't got dozens of other games to try and finish instead.

Drivin' around town

Drivin' around town

Getting decked by some random dude on the street

Getting decked by some random dude on the street

I had a look through my PS2 game collection, and found I only have one that I have not finished. This game, which I don't remember even playing (it was a gift) is True Crime: Streets Of LA. It was about this time I started thinking about emulation, as I've always got on quite well with WinUAE for my old Amiga games. I also like the idea of getting some screenshots, which I can't do on the PS2. I quickly discovered that PCSX2 is the main one that people use for PS2 games.

After reading how to set it up and going through all the steps, and using ImgBurn for the first time rip my discs, I was pissed to find that True Crime is one of the few games that the emulator does not like.
Again, oh well.

However, I had mentioned to Scoob a while back that I really fancied playing a bit of an old PS2 wrestling game we used to play a lot called Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain. This one loaded up no problem, but the game was really blurry, and on screenshots there was this really weird "ghosting" effect, that I think was from the interlacing from games back then.

A bit more reading was required, but I eventually learned how to not just turn off that weird doubling effect, but also turn the rendering resolution up so the graphics look better than they are supposed to. In this regard, the emulator seems to be pretty cool, and I'll have to create my own character again so me and Scoob can do some stomping.

Thinking about it, it's a shame I didn't look into emulation back when I played Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Probably would have been a lot better on my PC than on the PS2 itself.

Blurry ghosts

Blurry ghosts

No blurry ghosts, and higher graphics

No blurry ghosts, and higher graphics

Continuing with this trend of emulators, I thought about a PS1 emulator, so maybe I could get that version of GTA running better as well. I discovered RetroArch, which not only emulates the PS1, but can also do so for loads of old consoles. However, it was the PS1 I was interested in.

This one was a bit more awkward to set up than the very simple PCSX2, but I got GTA working on it eventually. Unfortunately, the game was no better on this either, so I just gave up on it entirely.

While I had got the emulator downloaded and running, I decided to try another one of my old PS games that I never finished, being Gran Turismo. In fact, I barely touched this back in the day, which is kinda weird as I used to be really into racing games.
I got this one booted up and had a few simple races, before starting to tweak it a bit. Like PCSX2, it's possible to turn up the graphics, but it only seems to be able to go a little way before the sound craps out and the game starts to lag. Still, it's better than its default appearance, and it might be something I try to complete at some point in the next few weeks or months.

Default graphics

Default graphics

Slightly better graphics

Slightly better graphics

Over the last couple of years I've picked up a few fighting games from places like Humble and GOG, but I've never gotten around to giving them a go yet. The only time of my life I ever really bothered with fighting games was back in my early-mid teen years, and I didn't really play a whole lot even then. The most popular game of the genre for me was Tekken 2, by a long way, but it's not the only PS1 fighting game I own.

As it is my intention to at least try and get back into the genre, even if just a little bit, I decided on trying Dead Or Alive on the emulator as well. This game never got much traction with me back then, so I thought it deserved another chance. Also, who knew, a bit of a punching-and-jiggling combo may have really got me back in the mood for it.

Like Smackdown on the PS2 emulator, this thing threw out some serious ghosting, but added in a whole lot of interlaced lines into the mix as well. Unfortunately, there's no way of turning off deinterlacing in this emulator like there is in PCSX2, so I couldn't get rid of the effect. There are some de-interlacing shaders that are available, but they only seemed to slightly reduce the lines, and did nothing for the weird motion blur going on.
In addition, this game did not allow me to crank up the graphics even a little bit, as when I tried, it just pasted a thick black band of more obvious lines across the middle of the screen.

Nah, I don't think this game will ever get much more time out of me, but it was worth trying it again, just in case. I guess.

Blurry line punch attack!

Blurry line punch attack!

What the?

What the?

After all the tinkering I've been doing recently, I decided a game needed to be finished. To that end, I ran through a very short game that released about a year ago. This thing, which is called Chuchel, was an absolutely bizarre experience. It's supposed to be a point and click puzzle game, but it didn't really feel like that to me, as there was very little to work out. You just have to click on a few different things on each screen, and the weird little characters would do their thing and let you advance to the next level.

The basic plot is that a strange little creature really wants to eat a cherry, but things keep transpiring to prevent him from getting to it. Very reminiscent of Scrat after the acorn in the Ice Age films.
The art style was very fun, and strange, almost in a Monty Python kind-of way, and it was a refreshing change to go through.

Don't you dare take my cherry!

Don't you dare take my cherry!

Yep, this happened

Yep, this happened

Just give me back my cherry!

Just give me back my cherry!

Evil snow man does not like it when I piss up him

Evil snow man does not like it when I piss up him

Little Chuchel turns to the dark side

Little Chuchel turns to the dark side

Spooky ghost!

Spooky ghost!

4th February 2019: Small Steps

Got a few things done these last couple of weeks, but have only ended up giving myself more tasks to do.

Up first, I've finally painted the old style Tyranid Warriors. They took way too long, so for the next unit I'm painting, the Termagants, I'm going to keep it as simple as possible, like I did for the Genestealers a few years back.

After many failed attempts, I finally settled for less than perfect for my Dark Eldar Wyches. Most of the casts I tried had imperfections, from small to very obvious. In the end, I've used the best 4 bodies, and will just try and fill the few little cracks and problem areas with either PVA or paint.
Finishing the Wyches was not the main problem I've had, as that honour belongs to the failcast Striking Scorpions that I got around to assembling recently. Holy shit. That material is so bad. GW started using that stuff years ago, meaning they've had a long time now to get it right, but it was a horrible experience getting those models table ready. Without doubt, I will never buy any such models ever again.
There was so much flashing to remove, and in really awkward places. There's also a fair few little bubbles, and 4 of the 5 swords needed heating and bending back into correct position. Shoddy.

It means that, at last, all my newly aquired models are now assembled, to go with all my already-owned models from last time. All I really need to do is magnetize the gun ends for the Hive Guard, and strip the Warriors I got from ebay (more Warriors, sigh).

Tyranid Warriors done at last

Tyranid Warriors done at last

Casting is harder than I thought

Casting is harder than I thought

All my new models

All my new models

Quite a while ago I decided that I would not bother getting any more wargaming terrain, but our forays into 40K late last year started changing my mind. A couple of months back, I came up with an idea to make a new river after my old crappy one went in the bin a couple of years back. I eventually decided against that as there are no rules for rivers in 40K any more. It seems more important to have LOS-blocking terrain, and I recently saw some MDF stuff for a fairly good price so I've chosen to try it. I've no idea what it's like to put together, but I think I'm going to paint it to look like rockcrete rather than metal.

My first ever MDF terrain waits for my attention

My first ever MDF terrain waits for my attention

Outside of wargaming, I've made a little progress on some other things. My original plan for the Gaslands templates was to laminate them, but to save time I first tried just gluing them to some card. I must have put on way too much glue or something, and this ended up with the templates creasing up really bad. So after all that, I had to print them out again and laminate them anyway.
Now I just need to figure out how to put some guns on the vehicles so we can give it a bash.

Over Christmas we finally tried Deep Pockets, and while the game went alright, I was unhappy with a few things. For some weird reason, my printer originally printed the dark blue and purple cards so they looked very similar, so I've made a new purple set. I've also printed and laminated a new set of money cards, as the others were crappy, and I wanted to steal the card sleeves for Marvel Legendary. So all is good now.

Gaslands template fail

Gaslands template fail

Gaslands template success

Gaslands template success

New Deep Pockets cards

New Deep Pockets cards

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