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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It’s a world of S’laughter after all

On the board gaming front, I picked up “Small Worlds” the other day. Been meaning to get this for awhile as it look like alot of fun after watching a YouTube video or two.
small-world-01
Also I see there is a new expansion just out for Elder Signs, Gates of Arkham. It’s another favorite game of mine that doesn't see enough table light.


“It’s always fun to go a little more  insane”  

elder signs Gates of Arham

On the miniature painting side I've been a bit side tracked by other things, but have started on my Bushido figures again which have been steering at me from the desk for far too long. Needed a change from the all those Pike and Shotte guys. Here's a few quick snaps using the old iPhone.


 This guys is all done, just needs a matt varnish.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Civilization

Game two: Rob vs Yvonne: A two player game of Civilization the board game, done and dusted in four hours. Being only our second game, we decided to leave the "Wonders" out of the game as suggested in the rules for beginners. With having a much better idea of what we were doing in the game this time around we both had plans from the start. I choose the Chinese and Yvonne took the Russians.

I found the game progressed much faster than our first, which wasn't  unexpected, we did find the begining half of the game was still the slow part. But it's much more crucial and really affects the end game, that was really apparent about half way through the game were we both had turns that stalled and we couldn't do much.

We were running neck and neck for most of the game. I was going all out and trying to win by the Cultue track while Yvonne was going for the Technology track again. I was about four turns away from winning by Culture, maybe three if I played my cards right and Yvonne was about three turns away on the Tech track, when she pulled a sneaky and used her abilities from her Russian card to full effect, and won again.

The art work in the game is awesome and the quality of the box and components is excellent. The game itself is what I describe as "Meaty" in both rules and play time. But if you invest the time to learn and play, it's an excellent game. Defiantly not a board game for beginners in the realms of gaming, but well worth it I think for those wanting to step up from games like Catan. 

I also saw today they have some expansions out for it as well which looked like they have some other interesting twists in them and additions. (Still a long way of from looking at thos getting those, but an option for sure)

On the modelling side of things I got a bit more done on my truck and also my other tank for my Japanese Bolt action.




Friday, September 26, 2014

beer, blogging and sweetie eye balls.

All good things change, so they say..no idea who said that, but anyway, I've been playing around with blog templates and redone my blog look, still got a bit more stuff to do but getting there. The new look for a new future without massive dept. yep clocked all my dept on the head today. So I'm feeling pretty god damn happy about life.

Now being Friday that of course means it's a new beer to try out. This time I've gone for another brew from Tuatara. There Belgian Dubbel, which has evapored, along with most of the water content in my body. Thats the effect of Thai for dinner, I was sweeting from my eyeballs it was that dam hot, God damn it was good. It's a very flat style beer, very little head on it, and not hoppy at all, which I like. It's got heaps of flavour, which I suck at describing, so won't attempt to describe it, especially with a chilly flamed palet. This one will be added to my list of "must drink more of"



Not a lot of painting this week with getting back into work, but looking foward to a game on Sunday and trying out my Bolt Action jap Tankette.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We finished!

Yes after about 6.5 hours we finally completed our first game of Civilization last night. Yvonne ended up sneaking off and winning by a Tech Victory, in the process decimating my Military. I wasn't to far behind on the Tech level, and I had a good lot of coin which would have given me an Economic win if I hadn't of changed my mind halfway through the game and started going for a Tech victory. I probably still would have lost, once Yvonne worked out how the Military worked after I pasted her first few attempts in battle, she wiped my Military off the board.


I was surprised how much we enjoyed it, with the rather complicated set of rules the first game was always going to be a bit of a grind stone. But playing half the game one night and then coming back to it again two nights later made it seem shorter than it was. The second half of the game played faster, as the escalation of tech levels and the things you could do increased, speed things along.

The rule book is a bit hard to follow in places, but after a few turns and then some YouTube watching we had the rules pretty well sorted by the end.

 Our next game will be alot more enjoyable, having gotten our heads around the rules, it will leave us to concentrate on some sort of tactics, and of course will play alot faster as well.

It’s a very interesting game and with all the wining objectives and ways you can win the game. It makes quite a different game style from what I’m use to playing. It’s been a fun game so far, so I'm looking forward to the next attempt…cold winter night, roaring fire, a large scotch and a good meaty board game…Life must be good.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Go kiss an ash tray

Well I'm now back at the grind stone and managed to get through my first day and all 1200 emails. I always hate the first day back and sifting through emails. So to take the edge off the craziness I've got myself a good glass of Laphroaig from my holiday acquisitions. Its a "Go kiss an ash tray" brute. No smooching the wife tonight :-) Nothing subtle about the first sip, she's straight to the strong peaty noise and taste and then into the complex flavours that are classic Laphroaig.

I've got a few photos to still go through from the holiday, but that can wait as I needed to scratch that painting ich. So I worked on a few pike and shotte models before getting side tracked on my new vehicles for Bolt Action. A Gaz track and a Japanese type 94 Tankette were first up.


I'm using some basic chipping methods on the truck, but this time I'm trying out several layers of colours and chipping out each layer as I go. Seems to have worked quite well so far.


I've als finally gotten around to playing a game of Civilization that I got my wife for her birthday a few months back. We are about half way through the first game. It's far more intensive on the rules than any other board game I've tried. But we are getting the hang of it and things are starting to make sence now. We played for about four hours yesterday with lots of stops and starts trying to work out how things worked. I think we will like the game more as we get more games in... Time will tell.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pukaha – Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre

Today we went on our behind the scene tour at the Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre. After an hours drive from Palmerston North through the rain and wind, the day cleared up nicely for us just before we arrived. The main visitor centre was very well laid out with some impressive displays, videos and interactive touch screens. We got guided around the main grounds and trough the tracks by two guides, Clair and Jane. Both obviously loved there jobs and did a fantastic job of showing us stuff and had loads of stories and info. We were also joined by a resident expert and long time volunteer Colin, who had been around for many years and had some great stories of how the place came to be and what went on in the early days.



We got to feed a Tuatara a Locus for lunch which was very cool to see how fast a Tuatara can actually move when motivated by food.













The surprise of the day were the eels. Growing up I’d caught eels, eaten eels and seen hundreds of them, but nothing like these. They were huge, up to about 2 meters long and several were as thick as my thigh. We were having too much fun and just astounded at there size so we never got a good picture of them.  But man did they go crazy over chicken skin that we feed them.












They have a captive Kokako was also another surprise, the only one in the world in captivity they tell use, as she was rescued and cant be returned to the wild as she wouldn't survive








Now of course the star attraction was the white kiwi. We couldn't use flash to take any photos of her in her night time enclosure, but I did manage to get some video of her doing the what Kiwi’s do at night and hunt for food. Very cool indeed. After that we got up close to a young Kiwi as the keepers put on a new coloured leg band on it (it because they don't know if it’s a girl or boy yet)  Yep, I can now confirm that Kiwi’s are in fact super cute up close.




The characters of the day were the Kaka (Large native parrot), some 30 odd turned up the for feeding and we had a blast photographing them and watching there antics.




So another fantastic done and dusted, going back to work next week is going to be painfully that's for sure.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kiwi, Falcons and Tuatara's

So continuing my holiday, Today we spent in Rotorua or Roto-Vegas by us locals. I never could get over the sulfur mineral smell of the place. The thermal springs push out what can only be described as a freshly oven backed rotten egg. Thankfully the pungent smell comes and goes and only lingers in some places. It’s been many years since I've been here and it has changed quite alot for the better.

First up today we went along to Rainbow Springs and didn't there Kiwi behind the scene tour. The place is setup exceptionally well, and we got to see the incubators full of Kiwi eggs the size of ostrich eggs and watched a person inspect one of the eggs, as well as see a chick in the process of breaking out of it’s egg and hatching. That wasn't much more than it’s noise out of the shell and it will be a few more days before it gets completely out. (still very cool to see) We also saw a 5 day old chick and an 11 day old chick. Softball sized fluff balls with longs beaks and legs. Because of the noise and darkness we weren't aloud to take photos etc of the Kiwi but we could of everything else outside of there enclosures.





So of course the lizards were on my list of must see, we managed to see the baby Tuatara’s getting feed and talked there keeper. About midday when we went back the adults were all out in there enclosures as well moving about.

Baby Tuatara



After lunch we headed over to Wingspan to see the New Zealand Falcon. I managed to get a few nice shots of them flying, and a heap of shots of blue sky or farmland, these beautifully birds a so damn fast,







So another awesome day on holiday.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Fantastic TiriTiri Matangi Island.

Spent a quiet day recovering and sorting out photos as well as getting gear ready for the next part of our trip.The trip to TiriTiri Matangi was the best trip I've done to the island since I first went there. Helped by staying overnight on the island, but also by the number of birds now living on the island. An absolutely amazing place for the wildlife in New Zealand.
Lighthouse and resident island Rangers house.

Keeping with my new Friday tradition, Ive decided on two beers for this evenings consumption. I’ve never tried either of them. First up the Red Baron Amber Ale and then another Tuatara beer, this time the Porter. The foreground in this shot is a few souvenirs from the supports shop on the Island, a couple of hand painted tiles.


So here’s the best of my photos from the two day’s spent on TiriTiri Matangi Island. We got to see most of the birds that live on the island as well as lots of Ganets fishing just of the rocky coast line.
The Takahe ( I think of them as monster mowing machines), real characters and easy to get close to most of the time, hence why they are endangered.

Takahe

TakaheTakahe


Yvonne got this shot of one cleaning it’s feathers… classic
Takahe
What is it ... 
The North Island Kokako was a really nice surprise to see. I've only seen them once before as they skipped from tree to tree past me. This time we spent 15 minutes watching them, and they got close enough in clear view to take some shots.
North Island KokakoNorth Island Kokako


North Island Kokako
North Island Kokako

WhiteHead





The little whiteheads were ridiculously fast and hard to photography on the forest floor,


















Last time I was on Tiritiri only saw one Saddleback, this time I saw 50 odd. They were all over the place and would come within two meters of you if you stood still for a minute.

SaddlebackSaddleback


There were lots of Stitchbirds about feeding at the sugar water sites that the DOC guys put out for them, they are heaps of fun to photograph and made a hell of a racket.
Stitchbird
Stitchbird
Stitchbird


Stitchbird
Stitchbird high on sugar water
Funnily enough I didn't really get alot of shots of Tui’s, and they are everywhere on the island. These shots Yvonne took.
Tui

Tui

The North Island Robin were fun to watch and we found one that was extremely happy for me to get so close I could have reached out and patted it.

 North Island Robi North Island Robi


Then Yvonne out did herself … and me by getting a photo of a Brown quail, the little zoomie birds are everywhere but they are normally super scatty and dive for the undergrowth at a mouse whisper. I had to do a bit of Photoshop work to bring up the exposure, but still a great shot of a very scatty bird.
Brown Quail
Brown Quail
The Bell Birds where also everywhere singing away nonstop.
Bell birdBell bird

Bell bird
Bell Bird


Bell bird

Bell bird


The mighty Kereru or New Zealand Pigeon. Walking along the track and scared one off it's perch at about my head height, not sure who got the biggest fright, me or the bird. They camouflage so well.

 Kereru or New Zealand Pigeon


The Red-crowned Parakeet or Kakariki was the hardest to get a shot of, we saw heaps of them but always to late as we scared them off since they blended into the bush so well.


Then finally, on the way back from the island some dolphins turned up for a show.


A stunning couple of days, I think the pictures say enough about the place,..amazing.