Saturday, February 28, 2009

Free for All

h/t The Miniatures Page

Overly burdened by workload, lightning2911 has announced that he doesn't foresee finishing his Asian Castle paper model project any time soon. Therefore, he is making the download free at his website. Free Asian Castle Paper Model The outside of is finished and fully textured, but there is no interior and no instructions. But, hey, it's free.

Also, available at Paper Models are demos of Desert Village and Desert Fortress, great for anything from Tunisia to Tatooine (yeah, I know, I know).

Also, The Assault Group is packing free Mark Kay 28mm Chechen miniatures with every order from their Ultra-Modern line.

Beginning March 24, 2009, Osprey is offering a boxed collection of forty 8 x 5 postcards, called Battle: Scenes from History's Greatest Conflicts. Each postcard features an illustration from an Osprey book (artist name and book title on back). There's something for everyone inside, from ancient to WWII (land, sea, and air). All the well-known Osprey artists are included. $15 USD ($10.20 at

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bad News from Barber Street

Pylon guitarist Randy Bewley died this week.
Pylon was one of the first Athens bands I ever saw and one of the best. Right up there with Mercyland and Dreams So Real. 'Nuf said. Here's some music.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Stephen Barnwell is an artist whose work has recently caught my attention. Barnwell works in Moneyart. According to his website, "Moneyart is the fine art genre where the artwork references the visual language and symbolic imagery of currency. Because of the innate power of money, this form of art is ideally suited for political satire." His works depict the politically-inspired realms of the Empire of America, the State of War, and the United States of Islam; the "dream dollars" of Antarctica; and some actual negotiable instruments for use within the Jefferson County, Iowa community. My favorite of the lot is the Islamic one dollar bill. George Washington's somber mug has been replaced by a lack of Mohammed's image, since it is, after all, a capital offense to depict an image of the Prophet.

Jefferson County has quite a thing for alternative currency apparently. Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa uses Raam Mudra, the "currency of the Global Government of World Peace," kind of like Disney Dollars for the Transcendental Meditation set.

More Army Men on Youtube

Kat Carlin, possibly better known as, has produced a video of an epic battle between Lego chivalry and Tim Mee Army Men. Guess who wins? Hint: "never bring a lance to a gun fight." The music is Carl Orff's famous paean to Jabba the Hutt's favorite Twi'lek. Ever since I first heard the movement when it was used in Excalibur, I've wanted to sing along to this catchy little tune; however, I've been denied that simple pleasure until now, thanks to Carlin and the clever use of subtitles, I can now "torge pulsum tangite" with the best of 'em. And so can you.

Also of interest to those who like to push plastic (or lead) around household battlefields is a video of Copplestone Castings Roaring Twenties miniatures.

( See it here ... )

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Army Men: The Series

Of Mice and Army Men

We've been on a plastic Army Men binge in my house. The local Dollar Tree has them for a buck ($1.07 when you add in tax). I remember when I was a kid the ones I usually had looked very WW2-ish (MPC Army soldiers), but in my later years of toy soldiering, all of them were the Vietnam-era (which it was at the time) Tim Mee "M-16" Soldiers, the ones that looked like the Army Men from the Army Men video game and from the movie Toy Story. I even still have one of my old Marx 6" plastic Marines, although he's definitely earned his Purple Heart at the hands of a small enemy dog (or maybe it was a rat?!?!).

The ones that have been bivouaced on my living room floor these days are bad Desert Storm knockoffs and a better looking batch of British paratrooper clones.

T. Sheil & A. Sheil of The Army Men Homepage have composed an excellent work delineating the differences between "army men" and "toy soldiers." One of the differences they address is that "army men" were made out of soft plastic that was marketed as "unbreakable." However, I've noticed that today's generation of soldiers are more brittle than those that were entrenched in my backyard back in the seventies. I've sent many a good trooper to Walter Reed during my 3 a.m. forays into the kitchen. Granted, I do weigh around four times what I did back then, but I suspect it could be that the enforcement of laws reducing the amount of lead the Chinese can put in toy plastic have rendered today's plastic army less "unbreakable."

Thanks to the folks at CWF Game Cast I found out about Combat Storm, "the definitive rulebook for miniature wargaming with plastic army men." The rules provide for
Six different classes of soldiers for each army:
  • Riflemen
  • Special Forces
  • Support infantrymen
  • Demolitions experts
  • Snipers
  • Anti-Armor experts

    Rules for driving and using vehicles, including Tanks and Transports

    Terrain rules covering all types of basic land that battles may take place on.

    Cover rules for when soldiers take cover behind objects

    Close combat rules for when the action gets up close and personal.

    A unique weapon upgrade system which allows players to spend points on additional items for
    their weapons such as laser sights, bayonets, grenade launchers, and more.

    Army-building rules and point system.

    Six different missions, each featuring a detailed map, a mission briefing, and tactical objectives.

    Three additional variations of game-play: Annihilation, Protect the Sergeant, and Capture
    the Flag.

    Instructions on how to build a gaming table.

    Command Sheet to keep track of your squads,
    weapon upgrades and equipment.

    Virtually any type of Plastic Army Men from any manufacturer can be used!

    Plus much more!

  • In these days when Winn Dixie and BP are winning the war against Copplestone Castings for my hard-earned wages, a game whose pieces can be bought with pocket change would be a welcome addition to my gaming library.

    On a more scholarly, but no less martial note, today I ran across the U.S. Army Heritage Collection OnLine. In addition to some great photos, the site has PDFs of military manuals throughout the ages. As my current readings have been inspired by Letters from Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood's film depicting the Japanese side of Iwo Jima, I downloaded quite a few Pacific Theater-related materials, most notably Soldier's Guide to the Japanese Army. But for those seeking more thrilling reads, there are things like TM 9-1575 (Ordnance Maintenance: Wrist Watches, Pocket Watches, Stop Watches, and Clocks).

    Great Balls of Tundro

    My fellow Alex Toth fans will be happy to learn that the good people at Toynami have Herculoids action figures. Also in their listing of products are Thundarr action figures and Birdman action figures. Not to be outdone, heir apparent to the Action-Adventure Animation crown Jay Stephens has posted pics from Toyfair of Secret Saturdays toys. Now, I just want to know when we're going to get our Jonny Quest and Return to The Planet of The Apes figures.

    Speaking of which, you can check out Return to The Planet of The Apes on Open FLV here

    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    Surplus Find

    I ran across one of these little artifacts while cleaning out the barn the other day. Unfortunately, I found the accessory bag and antennas that went with it when I was a kid, and they have long since vanished.

    While I'm on the topic of martial stuff, check out Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.

    Sunday, February 8, 2009

    The Good, The Back of Beyond, and The Ugly

    Over the last few years, I have had an undying love of/obsessions with pre-World War II Asia. I've collected every book by Peter Hopkirk and every book on Roy Chapman Andrews I could lay my mitts on. I've purchased every miniature from Copplestone Castings' Back of Beyond line that I could afford (which hasn't been many). My interest in Eastern Jewel and Baron von Ungern-Sternberg has bordered on effin' pagan idolatry. In fact, an image of the Mad Baron himself was one of the very first avatar/userpics I ever used on the internet. And I've watched The Last Emperor and The Sand Pebbles more times than is healthy for any man.

    Now, after spending the last couple of weeks repeatedly watching Sergio Leone's "Man with No Name" trilogy, I find out that there is now (as of 2008 anyway) a Korean "action western" that pays tribute to Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns. Directed by Kim Ji-woon, The Good, The Bad, and The Weird is set in 1930s Manchuria. It is the tale of a bounty killer (the Good), a hitman (the Bad), and a bandit (the Weird) who take on Manchurian brigands, the Japanese Army and each other to secure a treasure map.

    Considering that I live in the hot, humid (I was battling mosquitos yesterday afternoon) Georgia equivalent to the Mos Eisley spaceport, I won't be able to find it down that the local Bijou. It may require a pilgrimage to the Big City, or, alas, I may just have to wait until it hits video.

    Meanwhile, enjoy the trailer.

    Or, check out the official website.

    The Good, The Bad, & The Weird

    Saturday, February 7, 2009

    Gamma World Lit

    Sherman, set the wayback machine for 1980. My favorite writer was Stephen Vincent Benet. His writings touched on some of my favorite subjects: specifically, the American Civil War and doomsday. My favorite Benet short story is "By The Rivers of Babylon," the tale of a hero's quest in the post-apocalyptic age. I highly recommend it to my fellow fans of the End of The World As We Know It. Another of his doomsday works is the poem "Nightmare Number Three." When I was in ninth grade, all of the students in my English class had to stand up and share a poem with the class. I chose "Nightmare Number Three." I still vividly recall one airhead (as we called them back in the day) expressing her complete and utter lack of comprehension.

    Mr. Benet's most famous works are John Brown's Body and The Devil and Daniel Webster. He died of a heart attack at the age of 44.

    [ a piece of artwork inspired by "nightmare number three ]

    John Updike is Dead, and Lux Interior Don't Feel So Good Himself
    Speaking of folks dying of heart problems, Lux Interior of The Cramps is dead. What's even more shocking to me was that he was 62! Dear Lord, I'm old.

    More Gamma Worldly Greatness
    The Road movie

    Sunday, February 1, 2009

    Super (Blood) Bowl Sunday

    Today is Super Bowl Sunday. Meh. Now this is a Bowl Game! (h/t Br'er Gislebertus)

    Who cares about Steelers vs. Cardinals? Give me Skaven vs. Lizardmen any day of the week.

    Welcome the latest addition to my blog roll: Valley of Blue Snails.

    Angie The Vampire Slayer
    My apologies to my Catholic friends, but during a bout of Thursday night insomnia the TiVo listings ran across a show titled "Angelus with Mother Angelica," and the first thing that came to my mind was it must be a crossover show featuring EWTN's most famous nun and the evil Buffyverse vampire played by David Boreans. My money would be on Mother Angelica.

    Marshall, Will, & Holly
    I'm not a big Will Farrell fan, but the Land of The Lost movie may actually be enjoyable. Hell, even a made-for-television Lifetime movie could be pretty good if you throw in some Sleestaks and a T-Rex.

    On A More Personal Note
    Lately, I've been spending most of my free time watching Lost, Life on Mars, and spaghetti westerns.