Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The Penultimate Road to DaffCon

Greetings friends!

So it's been a while since my last post, and for good reason I'm afraid. Once again the truly ugly face of sickness has risen it's head from the fowl depths and stricken me with a truly horrendous cold.

You know the one you've had this past week where you've felt like death? Yup me too!

Well today is the first day that I have felt close to normal with only a cough left following over a week of being unable to function normally (even going to bed as early as 9pm on regular intervals, which I never do). As such I figured it was time to cover what I have left to do in the final steps before DaffCon in as little as 10 working days! Yup you heard right! In 2.5 weeks time the gaming event will be on us and I'll be travelling down to Wales to pitch our game to the unwashed masses.

It's freaking terrifying!

Anyway, so where am I?

Book 1? DONE!

Demo Forces? DONE!*

* Ok so I still need to base mark the Red Claw. Going to try doing that tonight.

Accessories? DONE!**

** Ok so Acrylic Accessories are done, and I am half done with one of the two Exo-Suits. These bad boys arn't needed as we have acrylic markers for them, but usual actual models does look better.

Terrain? DONE!***

*** Ok these little disclaimers are beginning to get annoying. All that is left here is to file the ceiling pegs to make the roofs easier access, and glue all the hinges in place to make them hardier. If I don't do the Red Claw bases tonight, then this is what I'll be doing.

So hold on, models, books, accessories, terrain? All done? What's left?

Well there's a few things that need to be done. First of all we're looking at Rosters. These I need to fill out and get laminated. I used to have a laminator at home, but it burned out and I've never gotten around to replacing it. Will probably be doing that today. Nothing expensive, just enough to get the job done.

Next up is quick reference sheets, things that have charts for weapon and armour lookups. What I will probably do is create one chart for each demo force showing the items they are carrying. That way it doesn't over confuse the players.

Then, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but we'll be done!

It's been a long strange trip, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow evening when on the next recording of Hobby Sofa, I get to talk about it.

Anyway, that's it from me. Until next time, stay safe, and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Do bloggers dream of narcissistic sheep?

Greetings friends!

So I've been listening to the audiobook of Do androids dream of electric sheep? on Audible.

Listening to this book many things reach out to me, and I am left wondering how much of the book is about the cyberpunk world that would go on to be beautifully realised in Scott's film, Blade Runner, and how much is about the very existential crisis that we live in our current world.

Ok so perhaps I've jumped a little to the end here. Allow me to back tread slightly.

For those unfamiliar, the plot of this book is about a Bounty Hunter by the name of Rick Deckard who hunts androids (referred in the film as Replicants, but in the book as Andies. As I am talking about the book, I will refer to them as Andies from this point).

Throughout the book there are many other themes presented, including but not limited to the topic of religion and empathy.

The last part is most interesting to me as for either environmental or biological reasons I have different empathic reactions to what is statistically normal.

One topic that is raised is the concept of being Human. It proposes three groups; Normal Humans, Special Humans (those exposed to radiation who's DNA itself has mutated) and Androids. The question is asked about are these human?

Now it would be easy to say that Normal Humans are Human, and that Special Humans probably are Human too even if their DNA has slightly mutated, but that Androids are not Human, after all they were not born, they were built. As an addition, it would be easy to see how someone who sees themselves as a purist would argue that the mutated humans are not in fact Human, but something else - a Special.

This simple methodology doesn't sit well with me. The reason is because of intention and the perceived self.

Let's put a spin on it.

One day you, the reader, you are walking to work when you stop off at a Blood Van, you know the ones, for donating blood. You get a needle shoved in your body and they take their blood. A little later you get a phone call, they've had to do some tests and the sample reveals that either your body has mutated so much on the inside that you no longer classify as a Human, or that you are made up of organic appearing cybernetics. That your memories are artificial, nothing more than a series of magnetic resonance implanted by a scientist in a lab.

Regardless of if you are a mutant or an android, you still feel like the same You you were that morning. You still feel like a Human. But instead there's some dude in a white coat telling you that not only are you wrong, but you need to have that thought programming of you changed. You need to have your false memories erased, or you need to take certain 'mutant meds' to stop you contaminating other people with your filthy mutation.

It sounds far fetched doesn't it? The idea of someone who thinks they are one thing, that their viewpoint on life is totally correct, but being required by authority to not only admit that they are wrong, but to have that in correction forcibly corrected.

Let's just compare it to something else: Psychotic Major Depression.

Now this is a very common disorder in our current culture where the person with the condition sees the world and themselves one way, and they think they are normal. They do not think there's anything wrong with them. They may be miserable, but they think that is just how life is. But how is this dealt with? The primary thing is medication. Drugs to force their brains into realising that they are not normal, that the world is not like how they view it. In other words having their conception of the world artificially corrected to coincide with what the statistical majority views as normal.

Despite all of this, we still administer these drugs to require this conformity, and with this in mind, how laughable is the android concept now?

If we can take someone who is a flesh and blood human, and tell them that their perception of themselves and the world does not match what is outside of their head, then why wouldn't we do it for artificial or mutated people?

There is one example however that I can see the opposite occurring, where we adjust the outside world to conform to the inside of a person's mind - transgender. In every other case like this we administer medication to force the predefined conformity, but with transgender people we do not.

Why is this? Why do we emphatically cling to the ideas that what we say is normal is what everyone must adhere to?

This is something that the book also looks at, and that is the concept of religion.

Yup, all of this is tied together, all wrapped up in one big bow of 'not my responsibility'.

The character of Deckard kills androids that have deviated from their set programming. Why does he kill them? Because the law states that any Andie that breaks it's programming and seeks out it's own meaning must be 'retired' as faulty equipment. Deckard himself has washed his hands of responsibility.

Determination of if someone is an android or not is via a VK test which is based on empathic responses, most importantly related to animals. In these questions it is expected that a Human will react to images of dead animals in a certain way and with a stronger reaction than that of dead humans. Why does it apply a greater weight to cruelty to animals than cruelty to humans? Because the almost universal religion of the time, Mercerism, states as much.

It's all part of the classic narrative, if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. If all humans are followers of Mercer, they will have a stronger empathic reaction to animal cruelty than human. Therefore someone who reacts stronger to human cruelty must be non-human, ergo an Android.

Deckard is not being required to pass any judgement, only collate the statistics. If that data says X then the subject is human and can live. If it states Y then the subject is an android and must be retired.

It's right back to the Reasonable Man Theory, that a Reasonable Man would act in certain ways (X) where as an UnReasonable Man would not (Y).

What are we looking at? A system that promotes it's own ideology while stating that everything that differs is abnormal and needs to either confirm or get the hell outta dodge.

How similar is that to the current situation we face in our politico-socio-environment? It is argued that any 'reasonable' person would not blow themselves up for their beliefs, that any 'reasonable' person would want to help refugees, that any 'reasonable' person would label themselves a feminist. And if you do not comply and agree with every single one of these unwritten standards, then you must be 'unreasonable' and therefore sub-human in some way.

Really? Is that really the world we want to live in? Where anyone who thinks differently to you is branded with a big YOU'RE JUST FUCKING WRONG!! stamp?

But what alternatives are there? To acknowledge that people who enjoy abusing small children are just as human as the rest as us? That their world views hold just as much weight? That someone who believes in one race being superiorover others may be right?

I can't see many people lining up to pop that pill.


No, instead we establish normals. We state that X is right, and that Y is wrong. The sky is blue, so if you see it as green you are wrong.

Let's go back to that android, the one who has just been told that they are not human and need to be reprogrammed so that they acknowledge this fact.

Why are we requiring that X be followed over Y? Because we need to. The moment we stop we allow for gaps in our protection and suddenly we have Neo-Hitler running for the White House and being welcomed with open arms as a 'free thinker'. We can't allow that, so instead we have faith in normals. That the statistical average is correct and must be adhered to. We believe this because we fall into that statistical average and it protects us, tells us we are normal while being unique, special snow flakes. It's just another form of religion, another form of X vs Y, an and out groups, Us vs Them.


Let's go back to the original question: A Normal Human, a Special Human, and an Android all believe that they are Humans - Which one(s) are Human?

Should the real question not be; what is Human?

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 4 March 2016

Operation: Paint Spill - Day Four

Greetings friends!

So it's Friday, which means last night was Day 4 of my painting pledge. Let's take a look at where we are:

Ok now as you can see, these models have really come along.

The reds of the Raiders have only been mid-toned and are still awaiting some subtle highlights, the satchel and coat of the leaders has only been based and washed, same with skin and fine details are still to do, but overall I'm happy to declare these as painted to a 'table-top' standard. Which means every step from here just takes them up higher in standard which I'm happy with, as I will not be leaving them as.

I am currently awaiting some decal chemicals, as well as some fresh brown and white paint. Once these arrive I'll be applying finishing these models off and signing them off for DaffCon.
- Of course I still need to finish the bases, but all of this is on my cards for next week.

Anyway, that's it for Operation: Paint Spill. At just two hours a day for four days I think I've been able to really push the current state of my demo models. It really got me out of my painting funk.

One thing I will say; the model I am using as my Big Bro Mech, Scarface from Infinity. Such a great model! It really paints itself. While I would have loved an airbrush for this baby, and it really took up the majority of the paint time, I think it is an awesome model that I can't wait to finish it's detail.

Until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Operation: Paint Spill - Day Three

Greetings friends!

So three days in, and how am I looking? Let me show you:

Ok, so now things are starting to look like they are coming along!

The both Reaver and Accord models are getting there, bulk colours are now applied complete with washes and recess mid-tones and highlights.

Tonight I will be applying mid-tones and highlights to Reaver Reds and Accord Whites as well as doing skins. I also still need to apply white glazes across the Hydan link-bot and hacker as well as addressing a couple of mistakes that occurred through the previous painting session - which is fine and normal.

What will this leave? After all tonight is the 4th and final night of my painting pledge!

Well there is weapon detail, plus I have yet to do any of the Wraith Assassin's Gemini Glaive. This should be straight forward much like the rest of the Wraith models - blue base with white mid-tones, but I will add a blue glaze to the blades themselves.

There is of course detail work, a satchel for the Raider leader and a jacket for the Wraith leader, mines and grenades for most of the models, and of course once the fluids arrive, the shoulder decal for the Big Bro complete with my attempts at worn paint.

The Big Bro is an interesting model in itself. Originally I was trying to go for a model that looked more like a product of an industrial age, but as time has passed this organically changed and now is looking more and more like something out of Gundam. I'm wondering if perhaps it's my love of the Sunrider story that pulled this out, as previously I've had zero interest in anything Gundam like.

Anyway, that's it for now. Expect another update tomorrow as I complete my pledge!

Until then, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Operation: Paint Spill - Day 2

Greetings friends!

So we've now completed day 2 of my painting pledge, and after about 2 hours of work we now look like this:

Now from this photo there still isn't much to see, but in time this will all become clear.

The mid and highlighting for the black/grey and blue has been done, now today is the painting of white on the Wraiths and Red on the Raiders.

I have also ordered some Micro Sol and Micro Set so that when this is all done I can have lots of fun making the Big Bro truly pop with a decal or two!

Until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Operation: Paint Spill - Day One

Greetings friends!

So I stuck to my guns and began my painting pledge as promised.

What do I have to show for myself?

Not much...

As you can see we're still in the very early stages here.

What you are looking at is models that have been theme under coated (so the Reavers are white with red wash, Accord are white with blue wash). I have also applied grey with black wash over the darker and/or mechanical bits of the Raiders, as well as blue with blue wash over the similar areas for the Wraiths.

Tonight: Highlights

Yup, I'll be mid and high lighting the areas I just did. This will bring these locations to a semi complete.

Wednesday I can then do the Red and White which is needed, with Thursday mid and high lighting those areas. If I can stick to this, that will bring my painting pledge to a close with models that are mostly complete!

Fingers crossed!!

Until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley