Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Scale Chains

Chains are often used in detailing models and miniatures, but finding the properly sized chain can be a bit of an issue without a point of reference. The given dimensions of a chain can be misleading as well, since sometimes they refer to the length of a link, while at other times they refer to the pitch. My preference is to use links per inch (lpi) because it makes approximating the size the chain fairly easy. For example, the anchor chain of the Mauretania (below) could be represented by a chain of about 4 lpi. A common everyday chain is about 8 links per foot, so in 1/72 it is represented by a chain of 48 lpi.

Starting from top to bottom, the following chains are: 9 lpi, 17 lpi, 21 lpi, 27 lpi, and 42 lpi. The 42 lpi chain is the smallest that I've found, and is the chain that is the closest to a regular chain in 1/72 scale.

The silver and black chains are jewelry chains that I picked up some time ago (I don't remember where they came from), while the three smaller brass chains are produced by Model Shipways.

While on the subject of chains, I've included an in progress conversion for a Chain Devil. I've taken a Dreamblade Iron Thug (Base Set #38), and will be adding hooks, blades, spiked balls, etc. to it. So far it only has the two plastic venom chain flail bits from some Dark Eldar kit attached.

I don't particularly care for the D&D version of the Chain Devil, because it just looks like a guy wrapped in chains.

But I really like the appearance of this D&D Chain Golem, which is how I envision a Chain Devil as looking.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Supernatural powers have been attributed to the fossilized remains of ammonites at various times by cultures in North America, Europe, and India.

Ammonites of course, are the extinct relatives of the squid, octopus, and nautilus. The largest of the early ammonites in the Jurassic were probably fairly similar in size and shape to the modern nautilus, but by the late Jurassic, larger species were emerging. The largest species (with increasingly elaborate ornamentation on their shells) appeared in the Cretaceous.

There are a couple of miniatures that can be used to represent these giant ammonites in 1/72. On the left is the Grenadier Kraken (Fantasy Lords 186), while on the right is the Kaiyodo Pachydiscus (UHA Dinotales series 1, #17).

The Kraken is definitely a fantasy creature, since it has octopus-like tentacles, and doesn't look like it can fit completely into its shell. The Pachydiscus is more properly known as Parapuzosia seppenradensis, since it was reassigned to a different genus. Specimens of P. seppenradensis have been estimated to have shells that were 2.55m in diameter, which is very close in scale dimensions to the Kaiyodo model.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Blackout Day

I don't publicize my political views very often, but opposition to internet censorship is one of the causes that I've been supporting since the EFF started their Blue Ribbon Campaign in response to Title V of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, aka the "Communications Decency Act".

While I am against the theft of intellectual property in principle, I do not always agree that everything our laws define as IP actually qualify as such. What I do believe though, is that SOPA and PIPA are not solutions.

From what I can tell, the people who drafted H.R. 3261 do not appear to have a clue of what a mess they will cause if the bill is enacted. If you want a preview at how things will turn out, you don't really have to go any farther than looking at the absurdities that occur with various eBay policies:

Policy against items that promote or glorify hatred, violence or racial intolerance

Ban on RMT for virtual goods

The customer is always right

Not for resale

The way these bans are enforced is often arbitrary, and totally open to abuse. Anyone with an axe to grind can get items pulled and accounts frozen, while dozens of other violators continue to operate with impunity.

I have an axe to grind

A 2005 study regarding the current DMCA reported that 57% of takedown notices sent to Google targeted business competitors, while 30% of takedown notices were of questionable validity. I see the same type of thing happening with SOPA, but the most alarming part is that SOPA implements a mechanism to restrict the ability of people to access information on top of that.

SOPA one-ups the DMCA by attempting to hold search engines and ISP providers as facilitators of piracy if they do not "voluntarily" take action against perceived piracy. I find this a ridiculous standard, as gun manufacturers are not accountable for crimes committed with guns, nor are car makers responsible for accidents involving their cars that are not a result of mechanical defect. Even tobacco companies seem to be now exempt from private liability over health issues due to tobacco use, so long as they do not engage in certain advertising practices.

Then again, if the bill is enacted, maybe I'll finally have the legal backing I need to sue The Times (and block their website from search engines) over that damned reporter who plagiarized huge blocks of text from an article I wrote and passed it off as his own work.

I can't make out who the artist is, but I modified the image, and am using it without permission. Does this usage fall under parody/satire/irony? Do internet memes fall into this category?

Friday, January 13, 2012

MENG Katsuodori Ram-Jet Fighter

I picked up a package from Hobbyeasy of Hong Kong at the post office this morning. I was rather impressed by their use of packing straps to secure the box.

In the box were the Meng Katsuodori kits (among other things) that I ordered last month.

Each box contains two individually bagged aircraft, a bagged sprue for the clear canopies, instructions, and a sheet of decals.

The main sprue has 31 pieces, including a takeoff dolly/ground trolley, and parts for attaching the Katsuodori to a mother plane. The only thing missing is a pilot, but that's not too surprising in a modern aircraft kit.

Below are some comparisons between parts from the Meng Katsuodori and the Unicraft Katsuodori.

The fuselage of both kits are quite comparable in size and shape, but the wings, stabilizers, and booster rockets of the Unicraft kit are much larger than those of the Meng kit.

Looks like my plans for the weekend have been set.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shambling Mound

The Shambling Mound is a mass of animated vegetable matter that originated from the comic book characters Man-Thing and Swamp Thing. Both Marvel and DC comics released their characters at roughly the same time, and there was much controversy over which creature was the original.

With regard to size, both Man-Thing and Swamp Thing are listed at 7' tall, but they often looked a lot taller (9-10 feet tall) in the comics. Shambling Mounds start out at 6' tall (as described in the AD&D Monster Manual), but lightning can cause the creatures to grow 1' and 1 HD each time they are zapped, so their size can be considered to be variable. If we go by this criteria, pretty much any Shambling Mound miniature can be used with 1/72 figures.

All of the metal Shambling Mounds I have come from Grenadier. The first is the Shambling Mound from the Denizens of the Swamp boxed set (AD&D 2010), followed by the Vegetation Beast from the Horrors of the Marsh boxed set (Dragon Lords 2010), and last is the Quagmar from the Monster Manuscript Vol.VIII boxed set (MM69).

The Grenadier Shambling Mound is very close to the Sutherland illustration from the Monster Manual, which is vaguely reminiscent of Man-Thing. The Quagmar on the other hand, is a bit closer to Swamp Thing.

The final miniature I have is from the DDM game. It is a Stormrage Shambler (Unhallowed #24), which I present as an example of what happens to a Shambling Mound after it gets hit with 1.21 gigawatts of electricity.