Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Pleasing tidbits along the way...

Good day to you all.

We have several incremental advances on the Technical Readout that are sure to please.

First, I was able to correctly identify Jan Majore as the man who created our cover art. All this time I thought it was Alex Iglesias – but one click on our prototype cover featured at the top of this column and you can see why. Next, I located a working email address for the man, who has gotten around quite a bit the past few years. I emailed him and sat chewing my nails for about two weeks before I got a response which was, effectively, written permission confirming that I could use the image for our cover. I cannot make a profit from it, but that was never an issue anyway.

Yay! We get to keep the cover art!

Next, I have finished cleaning up Vlad’s ‘Mech art. Several sessions in the garage and that portion is done. Now I am slugging away at the vehicles, which are more numerous and take about the same amount of time. My stable of artists has already cleaned up most factions, so I breezed by the Draconis Combine, the Capellans and the Federated Commonwealth. Right now it’s slow going, but I finished the Free Worlds League’s Bengal last night (whew!) and am halfway through the Diomedes UAV.

This is the dirty version....

And below is the cleaned-up version.
Click on them to see the difference.

Our new layout man is presumably working on the backgrounds; I am not going to ping him with an email as he has many other projects in the pipeline and frankly, I am lucky to have gotten his services. I don’t want to annoy him with pointless reminders. He’s not the type to forget or neglect. It’s in the works, and that is all I can say. No response so far out of our old layout man from any of a multitude of emails, so after two months of silence I feel secure in my decision.

This weekend I will be playing BattleTech. I have asked the GM permission for two things. First, I want to play on his side (the ‘adversaries’) against my own group (the High Rollers) in order to give him a bit more tactical advantage. Chris is not strong in that area – he’s a strategist at heart - and the past few games have been ones in which the High Rollers should have lost or at least taken more of a beating. His associates need more practice in tactics as well. Chris said ‘yes’.

But this move is not simply pity on my part for our distinguished competition. No sir.

I have also secured permission to bring two or three ‘Mechs from the TRO to play-test in an actual game. The ‘Mech in question will be the Jenner JR7-X, which I have outlined in previous blog entries. Two or three of these will be sent out to see if the design (and its mission profile) is suitable for play. Not that I will retract the design if it handles poorly – I have every confidence it will do well as a ‘Mech. And besides, I already paid for the art! But the writeup (as with all such writeups) sketches a mission profile and, in a roundabout way, suggests ways the player can best handle his machine. This is what is really under the gun. Have I got the mission profile and deployment technique right for the new Jenner’s capabilities? That is what I will find out, and that is what will change if I am wrong. Words are cheap.

I have been graciously offered a new used laptop computer to continue my cleanup chores. As has been noted in the comment section of the previous blog post, I do not have the funds to purchase a replacement unit that will be significantly faster than this little Toshiba laptop I am using now. My baby is quite adequate for writing duties and that is what it has been doing for the past four years. But quickly manipulating graphics requires more memory and processor speed than I have. So the new unit will be a blessing, to say the least.


I got my Cyma airsoft pistol in the mail Monday. It is a sweet little number. After charging the battery, we took it out for a spin. Chrono tests show that it puts out .20 pellets at 200 feet per second, at a rate of 12 bps. We were startled by the speed at which it cycled, comparable to my son’s Barret on a 8.4v battery. I discovered a few drawbacks – the ammo clip holds only 30 rounds, so more clips are in order. There are high-capacity clips available, but they are made of plastic (the stock clip is metal) and there is feedback which points to frequent jams.

[A little side note: the local shop owner has put together a gun with a stock gearbox and piston powered by a three-cell LiPoly battery rated at 11.1v and probably supporting peak current flows of around fifty amps. He shot it off for me in the shop. It fired so fast it actually buzzed, like a saw ripping through wood. I am told this represents a firing rate of thirty pellets a second. That is a lot of plastic moving downfield, but I cannot help but wonder if it will eventually destroy either the piston or the cylinder seal.]

The metal clip has its own woes – mine was missing a screw and it appears that these screws vibrate out from regular use. I replaced the screw and tightened the others, but a little LocTite would be appropriate. On full auto, the pistol winds through that clip in about 2.5 seconds! So it is single-shot mode for now. The gun comes with a hop-up, and I intend to use .23 pellets, so the speed will drop - but the pellets will carry a bit further with more accuracy.

I will have to pick up a tactical vest sometime from the local shop, as it has pockets to store extra clips and a chest holster for the pistol itself. The battery is a NiMH unit, 7.2v @ 450 mah, and there doesn’t seem to be one available which would increase staying power by much (the second generation of this pistol has a 500 mah battery), so I suppose a second battery would be in order. On the other hand, I cannot see using the pistol in most situations, so perhaps I exaggerate the need for that extra battery. Most of my shooting will be done with my rifle.

I am debating picking up another M-14 from a different manufacturer, but that is waaaay down the road. My written letters to Echo1 have met with silence so far, so I do not know if they can provide replacement parts for my gun. At least, not for the bits on the outside which are dropping off or taking a beating due to poor design.

Meanwhile, we are planning another game soon. If the weather permits, we will go into the woods again. I discovered that playing on school grounds is manifestly a * bad * thing and we were lucky no one reported our little game at the local grade school a month back! The R36C I ordered online should arrive soon, perhaps this week, and now my son’s best friend can compete on a level with the rest of us. Considering his skill with a pump shotgun, this may not be the best decision I ever made if I have to face him on the playing field!

Bill’s G36K is performing well, about what we expected. He plinks at soda cans and a special sight frame he built, getting everything adjusted to his taste. That sight of his (40mm) is a monster, and I can see why he got it. We moved my son’s sights closer to his eye, but John is now jonesing for an extended barrel for his gun, along with the longer internal precision barrel. It will run about $150, almost as much as a new M-4 DMR online. I would rather spend the extra $40 and get the new gun, if truth be told. It’s not like my son can change barrels in the field.

Bill is eagerly talking about playing with other organized airsoft groups in the local area, so perhaps we’ll get a chance to play there as well. They require insurance for their playing fields and have rules about what weapons you can use, maximum fps, and so on. Not sure I want to deal with ‘professionals’ anyway, as many of them are Navy boys with money to burn on the latest advances in technology – and for others, this is their sole hobby. It’s quite a bit of a jump from casual games; I would like to get many more ‘backlot’ encounters under my belt before stepping up to the ‘major leagues’. For me, it’s a minor hobby, not a way of life.

That’s it for the news. Thanks for stopping by.



Anonymous said...

Glad you got the official okay to still use the existing cover art.

One thing I allways ment to ask you. Where is the design for it. :)


Steven Satak said...

The closest we could come would be the Sabra III, a tracked self-propelled artillery mounting two Long Tom field pieces. Doesn't look much like the cover, but the layout makes more sense. I don't thing Jan was worried about practicality - that cover vehicle looks more like a mobile crane than an SP.