Monday, 20 March 2017

Rebel Yell

Johan is a cheap enforcer that often finds his place in many non-Outcast crews. He is a good beatstick  (especially against constructs and tyrants), he can use Flurry, and can take some punishment thanks to Hard to Kill. If he goes down, there's always Finish the Job to drop one extra marker. Rebel Yell is the ability for which he is often chosen. It allows him to remove a condition from a model (both friendly and enemy).

Johan to tani enforcer, który często trafia do nie Outcastowych ekip. Potrafi mocno przywalić (zwłaszcza konstruktom i tyranom), może użyć Flurry, potrafi też przyjąć trochę na klatę dzięki Hard to Kill. Jeśli zejdzie, zawsze jest Finish the Job do zrzucenia dodatkowego markera. Rebel Yell to najważniejsza umiejętność dla której jest najmowany. Pozwala mu usunąć condition z modelu (przyjaznego lub wrogiego).

The model is well designed and has slightly exaggerated features with huge body and small head. He is Ht 2 but still towers over other models of the same size. Wyrd sometimes has problems with properly scaling miniatures and this seems to be a good example. Even if he was meant to be a bug guy, he turned out too massive in comparison to other models. 
I used bits of a very old GW Chaos Warriors sprue to modify the model. I wanted the changes  to reflect the effects that might have occurred to his as a result of keeping bad (Neverborn) company. The base incorporates both elements that I have in my crews from this faction (planks and swamp).

Model jest ładnie zaprojektowany i ma lekko przerysowane proporcje przez ogromne ciało i małą głowę. Ma wysokość 2, ale mimo to góruje nad innymi modelami o tej samej nominalnej wielkości. Wyrd miewa problemy ze skalą i ten wydaje się być dobrym przykładem. Nawet jeśli miał być dużym gościem, to wyszedł zdecydowanie zbyt masywny.
Użyłem bitsów ze starej wypraski GW z Wojownikami Chaosu do modyfikacji figurki. Chciałem, żeby zmiany odzwierciedlały efekty przebywania w złym (Neverbornowym) towarzystwie. Podstawka łączy w sobie elementy obecne w tej frakcji (deski i bagno).

#6 American Psycho

American Psycho is another novel that I read after watching its film adaptation first. I saw it several years ago and it made a big impression on me then. Christian Bale portrayed Patrick Bateman really well, his cool demeanor contrasted really well with the scenes in which he seemed to act out of character. The film was violent and shocking but I was puzzled by the unambiguous ending and wanted to find out how it happened in the novel.
I was in for a shock as American Psycho is one of the most violent books I've ever read. It is set in the 1980s portrays high life of yuppies living in Manhattan during the Wall Street boom. The protagonist, Patrick Bateman, is a 26-year old successful banker. He is also the narrator. Bateman talks  at length about his complicated daily routine and very precisely lists all the health products he uses as well as workout routines he follows. This presents him as a person who might be suffering from some kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
His work is probably stressful (though we never really get any significant insights into what he actually does), so he often meets with colleagues at fancy restaurants. Their conversations are usually completely meaningless and they often fail to recognize other people they see there. It can also indicate some kind of psychological problems (or even suggest that some of the events described by the narrator don't actually take place). I prefer to believe the latter as there are fragments that are really hard to read. There's a lot of violence towards women and, which I found even worse, cruelty towards animals. Bateman presents himself as stone-cold, emotionless being “...there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there." This presents him as an unreliable narrator and further strengthens the idea that only some (if any) of what he describes actually happens.
The ending is slightly different than the movie one and I actually liked how the abrupt "This is not an exit" sign is used as the final line of the book. I know that the novel has been received well by the critics who often see it as a prime example of post modern fiction but for me it just felt too chaotic and violent to be enjoyed thoroughly.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

#5 House of Leaves

I usually listen to audiobooks as I'm simply unable to find time for reading. I work from morning till late evening and then only have some free time when my daughter is asleep. That's why audiobooks are a perfect solution for me as I can listen to them while I walk to and back from work or when I paint miniatures. However, some books can't be translated to this medium.
"House of Leaves" is definitely a unique novel. It starts with a story of John Truant. He works at a tattoo parlor and wants to find a new place to live. His friend Lude tells him of a man called Zampano who has recently died and vacated an apartment. In the apartment John finds his manuscript that is an academic study of a film called The Navidson Report. At this point the two narratives become intertwined. For clarity's sake, each of them is printed in different font. It deals with various documents and a film connected with a very unusual house. When Navidson moves in with his wife and two children, they soon discover that it is actually larger inside than outside. Their bewilderment turns into shock when they discover new doors leading to a long, dark corridor, which appeared in the house during their absence.
This is the basic plot, the real story begins when Navidson begins exploring the newly discovered space. There Danielewski's post modern approach to writing really begins to show. The placement of print becomes apparently chaotic, at times it is even necessary to turn the book upside down in order to read. Some pages are filled with chaotically placed sections with various texts, others have just two words. At first glance it might seem gimmicky but it all all cleverly designed to reflect what is happening and the emotions that the protagonists are experiencing. The book is also filled with numerous footnotes, many of which refer to works that don't actually exist. And one more thing - the cover itself is symbolic as it doesn't cover the whole page. I suggest googling the title and having a look in the graphic section to get a good idea what I'm writing about.
I have to admit that first 50 pages were hard to get through but once the proper action started and the layout became more unusual, I got sucked in. I read the rest of the novel during two longer sittings.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Customeeple's terrain - a review

I've worked some terrain made from MDF before and I've come to see it as nice, but rather plain looking addition to Malifaux table. The square shapes of buildings and various additions offer some extra terrain options but aesthetically they aren't really impressive. I didn't expect much but after working with Customeeple's stuff I've changed my mind about terrain made from this material.

Miałem już wcześniej okazję pracować z terenami zrobionymi z MDF i są dla mnie przyjemnym, choć dość topornie wyglądającym dodatkiem do stołu Malifaux. Kwadratowe kształty budynków i różnych innych dodatków dają więcej opcji terenowych ale estetycznie nie robią zbyt dobrego wrażenia. Nie miałem wielkich oczekiwań, ale po pracy z produktami Customeeple zmieniłem zdanie o tym materiale.

At first glance there's nothing out of the ordinary. All the pieces are attached to a thin frame and an instruction is attached. I realized that I was dealing with something different once I started removing the pieces.
The basic structure remains plain and consists mainly of square parts. However, there are many other small additions that make it look much more three-dimensional. On the frame we can find several small ornaments that make Customeeple's pieces look much more sophisticated. There are also some smaller bits produced on even thinner material (steps on the streetcar, curtains, main part of the bench, and posters). The level of detail on these is really impressive. It's also important to mention the transparent plastic bits that can be used as lights.

Na pierwszy rzut oka nie ma tutaj nic niezwykłego. Wszystkie elementy są przymocowane do cienkiej ramy, dołączone są instrukcje. Dopiero rozpakowując elementy zauważyłem, że mam do czynienia z czymś innym.
Główna struktura jest w dalszym ciągu stosunkowo prosta i składa się głównie z kwadratowych części. Jest tam jednak dużo małych dodatków, które nadają całości bardziej trójwymiarowy wygląd. W ramce znajdziemy kilkanaście małych ozdób, które sprawią, że całość produktu Customeeple będzie wyglądała dużo ciekawiej. Są też jeszcze mniejsze części wyprodukowane na cieńszym materiale (schody tramwaju, zasłony, główna część ławki, plakaty). Jakość detali jest tutaj imponująca. Warto też wspomnieć o przezroczystych elementach, które mogą być użyte jako światła.

Assembling them was straightforward and with clear instructions attached, it was fast and easy. I used PVA glue and a few pieces of elastic band to make sure the pieces stayed in place as the glue was drying.

Składanie tych elementów jest proste dzięki jasnym i przejrzystym instrukcjom. Użyłem kleju typu wikol i kilku gumek recepturek, żeby upewnić się, że części pozostana we właściwym miejscu podczas klejenia.

I started with a basecoat of black. Painting MDF is different than working with plastic. This material absorbs paint, so working with brush isn't easy here. Instead I used airbrush and applied 2-3 highlights to every larger surface and gave the edges a drybrush with Bleached Bone. I finished some smaller details using a small brush and was ready to see how they can function in a regular Malifaux game.
40 mm bases easily fit inside the tram and on the top (which is removable). The height is properly scaled to the game, but there are some 40mm that will not fit in there very well anyway. The stairs look great but there isn't enough space for a 30mm base to stand on them.
The all fit very well into Malifaux's universe, stylistically and aesthetically. The level of detail is amazing and the only minor problem I see with them is that they're not fully functional in a game (by writing that I mean the stairs which are a bit too narrow for a 30mm base). Other than that minor inconvenience, they will definitely make a great addition to any city-themed Malifaux table. I can highly recommend Customeeple's terrain.

Zacząłem od nałożenia czarnego podkładu. Malowanie MDF to co innego niż praca z plastikiem. Ten materiał wchłania farbę, tak więc praca z pędzlem nie należy tutaj do najprostszych rozwiązań. Zamiast tego używałem aerografu, nakładając na każdą większą powierzchnię 2-3 rozjaśnienia i kończąc drybrushem Bleached Bone na krawędziach. Wykończyłem mniejsze detale używając mniejszego pędzla i mogłem zobaczyć, jak te dodatki będą się prezentowały na stole do Malifaux.
40mm podstawka z łatwością pasuje wewnątrz i na górze tramwaju (którą można łatwo zdjąć). Wysokość jest w dobrej skali, ale niektóre z modeli na 40mm podstawkach i tak nie będą tam idealnie pasowały.  Schody wyglądają świetnie, ale nie ma tam miejsca na 30mm podstawkę.
Wszystkie te elementy terenu świetnie pasują do klimatu uniwersum Malifaux, zarówno od względem stylu, jak i estetyki. Jakość detali jest niesamowita i jedyny problem jaki tutaj widzę to nie zawsze pełna funkcjonalność w grze (mam tu na myślę te schodki, na których nie zmieszczą się 30mm podstawki). Poza tą drobną niedogodnością, będą świetnie pasowały do każdego stołu Malifaux w klimacie miejskim. Mogę z czystym sumieniem polecić tereny Customeeple.

You can see some pictures with miniatures below. Soon I will review other products from this company so stay tuned!

Poniżej możecie zobaczyć kilka zdjęć z figurkami. Wkrótce na blogu pojawi się recenzja innych produktów tej firmy, zaglądajcie!

There's actually a Teddy hiding behind this column

#4 The God Delusion

Many people have recommended reading this book so I finally got round to doing so last month. Richard Dawkins is determined to prove that believing in the existence of God is fundamentally wrong, both from logical and from moral point of view. He drives his point across using impeccable logic and supporting his ideas with concrete scientific evidence. Even the title itself refers to a definition of delusion quoted by the author "a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence". Dawkins firmly believes that religion is not necessary to be moral and sees it as the main reason behind many armed conflicts from the Crusades to 9/11.
His language is rich and he often offers insights into contradictory points of view (with the religious one being exaggerated) . This structure allows him to present his ideas more forcefully, which sometimes results in a presentation that seems a bit too grotesque to be treated seriously. However, I thought that his style is really impressive and for the most part reading it was a good exercise in oratory, especially planning and arranging one's own ideas while skillfully refuting opposing ones.
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