Saturday, September 20, 2014

Spy-Fi to Hornblower: A Great Read and a Great Watch


Yes, I am still here! It always seems as if I do more hobby work once college starts in September than I do all summer. I'm not sure why, but I know it's true! For example, I've begun working on my 6mm and 15mm Quar that I got months ago. These are splendid figures with very little flash or mould lines. With the weather changing here in FL, I should be able to prime them soon.

Keeping with my recent spy-fi theme, I bought on the Amazon marketplace a fantastic 160-page book on spy-fi gadgets: The Incredible World Of Spy-Fi: Wild and Crazy Spy Gadgets, Props, and Artifacts from TV and the Movies by Danny Biederma, a consultant on 007 Bond films, and Robert Wallace, an ex-CIA technical director. I bought a used copy of the hardback version, which is the only way to go with this book, I feel, since I'll be referencing it often. I only paid several dollars after shipping. The book arrived last Thursday. Though the book was listed as "good," I would grade it excellent condition. My copy has several autographs. I'm not sure who they are from. Anyway, if you like Bond, Man From UNCLE, Wild Wild West, and more then you will love this book. BTW the author has trademarked the work "spy-fi," which I found interesting.

Friday, Amazon did one of their weird price-war things and dropped the price of the Horatio Hornblower Collector's Edition DVD set from $25 down to $9. The price lasted only a day. I had it my wish list and was checking it for price drops, which I tend to do often. (I also have camelcamelcamel price drop alerts set for some items.) So I grabbed this deal right away. Having Amazon Prime, as I do, made the deal even better since no shipping costs. My (young at the time) son and I loved A&E's Hornblower series when it first aired on cable TV and have not been able to watch it since. The series is chock-full of ideas for skirmish gaming.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is Back!!!

Starting last night at 10pm, I entered Spy-Fi heaven and will be there every Sunday evening via my DVR. What is spy-fi heaven for me? Why just take a look at the banner image and give it a click. Here in the US (not sure about the rest of the world), the MeTV network is showing the classic spy-fi television series The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Growing up in the 60s, I was a Cold War spy-fi show and movie junkie. (Back then, my dad was a real life spy with the CIA and traveled the world for months on end, though he always denied that he was a spy of course.) I loved many of those shows. They fueled my young imagination. But UNCLE always had a special place for me. Though I hated to read (ironic considering that I'm now an English instructor), I loved my UNCLE novels and comic books.

I've been waiting since the 1970s to see the show again. Now I get to watch it with my son, which will be a blast. Last night was the first episode, which is fairly weak. If you missed it, Amazon Prime Streaming shows it for free.

Gaming Spy-Fi
So if I love(loved) those shows, why not game spy-fi? Oh trust me. That is something I have been longing to do for a long time, but I was still trying to get over my dad's death at the time. Spy stuff is so tied up with my memories of him. But late this summer I finally came to terms with his passing away. It was like I suddenly woke up from a three-year slumber. Anyway...

As for rules, I've been sitting on the 7TV rulebook and some expansions for a while now. I also have most of the 1980's Victory Games James Bond RPG books. I have a bunch of Pulp rules as well. So I got that covered. I just have to decide what scale miniatures.

I love the 28mm figures out there, of which there are many possibilities. I like them all, but cost can be off putting. For example, Crooked Dice miniatures are great but a bit expensive at times. I came within a cat's whisker of buying the entire Copplestone Kiss Kiss Bang Bang line the last time he ran a sale on it, but I was not emotionally ready to go there at the time. Terrain in 28mm also is always a bug-a-boo, not so much the cost but the space needed for storage. But the figures are so cool. Ah...the classic dilemma!

I like 15mm figures, but it seems there is a limited selection out there. Khurasan has their small spy-fi line that they just don't seem to be expanding. I'd have to research 15mm spy-fi figures more, but I imagine it would be harder than doing 28mm. Any suggestions here would be welcome.

So we'll see what happens. I need a fresh new project to work on so I can get out of my rut. (Ok, I have my 15mm Quar to work on but you know what I mean.)