Saturday, November 30, 2013

challenges and the holiday season begins!

Ever have one of those days that just doesn't go right? one of those weeks?...years?
I promise I haven't fallen into the pit of despair or even a fugue of apathy. In all I'm doing remarkably well for a 45 year old whose mid-life crisis involved putting back on a uniform and returning to the military. I couldn't do the cliché of chasing a twenty-something blonde and jetting around in a convertible. I had to put on camouflage to validate my manliness.
It was for several reasons I put the uniform back on. Yes, twenty years gives me a bit extra for retirement, medical gets better, and the ability to buy more for less at military commissaries. There is also the Patriotic portion. My family has served before The US decided not to be a colony of England. I grew up with accounts of ancestors present and those long gone( my son is named after a great-great grandfather who served in the ACW). 9-11 did provide a motivation as well, my children also( who doesn't want their kids to be safe and not have to serve- perhaps the not serve is a pipedream as /I am perpetuating a cycle long unbroken) The unit I joined to finish my 20 is the very same one my great-great grandfather was part of in the ACW. My own grandfather served from the same armory when they were tankers in the Korean War, My wife's father served with the same unit in Vietnam. I trained as a recon scout and deployed to Afghanistan. Being the old guy in the unit has it's own set of challenges being that I am not as fast or strong as the kids, I also do not have the rank as the few soldiers who are in my generation. I was kept in reserves till some of my buddies were hurt in an ambush, then I got brought over. I am the only soldier from my unit not to receive a CIB( combat infantry badge) not because I wasn't shot at, but it wasn't a firefight of the tempo that crippled some of the kids that brought me over to begin with. We all came home alive which if not the perfect ending it is a good one.
The economic downturn and budget cuts have impacted further as well. A soldier never quits, but the organization can quit on the soldier. I don't blame them as it must be hard to quantify a subordinate older than yourself, yet I am frustrated that I spent a considerable amount to repair torn hamstrings just to be benched at the start of deployment. I am a touch resentful that troops younger than I who gave guidance to have been promoted over myself, I am equally resentful that I am getting shoved out the door. I am resentful that each time I don the uniform, I take a pay cut from my civilian job, yet I still carry out every task put before me. Anger...
Anger, there is a lot of it seething beneath the surface. Not just the perceived anger in the above paragraphs, but also in the news and nation. When the British Soldier was stabbed to death in England not so long ago, I went tunnel vision, blurred angry. Seeing the time life images of the troops in Somalia being dragged through the streets naked put me in a red tinted rage. If you have never experienced it, It is a cold, numbing thing. your sight narrows around what you have an overpowering urge to destroy.   This urge is reached by the idiot in a Che t-shirt who told my daughter that I was going to kill Muslim women and children. The button has also been pressed by the loudmouth patron holding up a gas station queue as she complained about her too hot coffee or the motorist who cut me off on an icy highway sans turn signals.
A physical clue is my face turns white, my eyes darken to black, and my left hand shakes. I know this because my wonderful wife has noted it. I have yet to determine if age has prevented myself from snapping. It is a cold seething rage, and my thought process if somewhat narrow for solutions still exists. PTSD, dunno, I have joined the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Both have several vets who share the same fury. A Psychologist has called it irrational anger which seems very ironic as it feels very rational to me to be angry. I honestly have no intentions of climbing a water tower and venting with a rifle. That suggestion brings a tremor of the "irrational anger".
Family is a huge help, It's hard to hold on to hatred and vitrol when your kids are full of wonder and cheer at all they see and do. A beer with a few vets also vents a bit of steam. A wife rubbing your shoulders and saying "honey..." is a good verbal cue to let go.
Running helps, I'm not as fast as I was in my youth( my own 11yr old daughter runs a 18 min 3 mile, and she is faster than my 2 mile run for this year)still it does wonders for quieting your mind. Wargaming is another tool. You can't build and paint models when you are pissed off. If a dark spell is on me, often a few minuets with some plastic and lead will get me back to an even keel.
I did not make it through my list of Git-er-done. The Cygnar forces are completed except for basing, the Spacewolves and Crimson Fists are still where I left them as are the dwarven host. I still have to finish my chaos warships as well. Now I have the Napoleonic forces added to the queue!
I have a suspiscion that my wife is cognizant of this calming effect. Although I failed in completing the forces she tasked me to complete....gamer OCD or shinyitus had some limited involvement.
She has been looking at my scifi 15mm list for the Alien Legion project which was to be my reward for completing the armies( that I didn't). I really got to focus and get something completed before St Nick comes by!
So rant completed, here are some Crossover minis from a kickstarter this year. Modern, zombie, superhero, pulp, even scifi can use these minions. If you venture to the website for them, you will note they have minions for order( I'm not the only one who likes that word)
Once again the photos are rather bad! I will get some better ones as thses will be photographed again once I complete them.
so here are my boys in blue. regular patrol officers and a swat team

The police leader of the minions. he'll be my police sgt, Tyrell from Reaper minis is my police chief and is shown for a size comparison. I just need some reaper bases or similar so that they all look like they belong.

The Crossover minis come with separate heads. Here is the same police officer body but with different heads. My swat leader has a thug leader head( I liked the bald head with sunglasses), the swat officer next to him uses the helmet head. I painted on the balaclava. the last officer got the standard patrol cap.

here are the armed thugs. I used a variety of camouflage on them. They can be armed robbers, terrorists, paramilitary, current to near future.

I gave them a variety of footwear as well from boots to basket ball shoes

a clown mask, balaclava,and bald head 

with the masks, I had to make a joker crew! the middle three have green hair green pants and purple jackets to show whose goons they are.

I am really fond of the armed thugs. They are not elite like hydraesque troops, but are great for a quasi military flair and could easily blend into scifi blade runner type adventures.

the last two are Crash and Burn. I've only painted the brass and red on them and they still have a way to go!

I have entirely completed the red portions of the uniforms, I just have to finish with the other bits.
All these models were primed in a semi gloss black as my kids used up all of my flat black on some cardboard for art projects. A prelude I am certain for the status of the gas tanks once they are old enough to drive! 

They are going to be a husband and wife team of dubious morality. They will be neutral between the rivalry of my super villain and my kid's heroes.
There are several super and minion sets available from Crossover Miniatures. I will be shopping for more as with the separate heads, I can get some not-Shield and not-Hydra minions as well as ninjas!
What kinda villain would Dr Dread be without a team of Ninjas!?
The price isn't too bad as a group of 15 minions go for about$50 and the single heroes go for around$6. I just need some bases to even them up with reaper. Since their bases are molded on, it may be a bit problematic to use the third party scenic bases. But for generic heroes and villains they have some really nice generic sculpts.
Yes, I'm a little late in my posting as today is Saturday and not my imposed deadline of Friday.
I am sufficiently stuffed on turkey and other holiday culinary delights...we also have a plethora of leftovers which is another benefit of the holidays! Leftovers! meals will be easy the next few days, if you like turkey of course!


  1. Best part of the holidays is turkey sandwich's, turkey curry, turkey casserole yum! I love the new Crossover miniatures if I can find a suitable Joker miniature in 28mm those thugs will be on the cards for sure!

    1. I'm going to try out the heroclix and see how well they match up. My son is really wanting some from Santa, so it shouldn't be too hard to check size comparison later on! I haven't seen any in the " flesh" yet, not sure on what quality they are. I've seen where others have used them in ATZ and hero games though, they can't be that awful!

    2. ...and a whole month now to get disgusted with turkey! ;)