The Elder Thoughts

RPGs, miniatures, books and other rants

My old LEGO Dragon Knights castle

One of my current goals is to "reduce waste". Not wasting time in absurd tasks, not burning energy in negative or harmful actions, like getting angry or complaining when I could remove, ignore or change those negative sources, but also reducing my physical goods. I've been hoarding toys, devices and "things" in general since I was a child, and while the emotional value is and will always be there, the less I have to care about (where to store, put, maintain etcetera) the better I feel, as I can use those energies to focus in other more relevant tasks. Tasks both "serious" and hobby-oriented, like painting, reading, playing games and videogames.

One of my few remaining LEGO items was a castle from my childhood. If I recall correctly I got it around when I was 14 for christmas, built it in a morning and then slowly expanded and filled it with extra pieces and figures. Since then, I have never ever dismantled it, and while I gifted all my LEGO blocks (bags and bags of them, imagine that I even had a CPU case made with them, like Google's first computer).

I now wish to reuse the space it takes to better distribute other items (mostly Warhammer 40,000 scenery that I have currently piled up), so I decided to take some photos of it and let another memory go with a better new owner, my nephews, so they also enjoy it and who knows, maybe they come with a better new design!

Front view My beloved castle, front view. Walls have extra height, and every wall and tower has some ranged weapon, from crossbows to muskets.

Main gate Main gate, with two knights marching.

Main tower Main tower, with a flag and a wizard ready to launch fireballs to attackers.

Front guards detail Detail view of the front guards

Aerial view Aerial view of the interior, which is quite packed

Closer aerial view Closer aerial view. Horses with dragon helmets can be seen waiting for their riders. Also note the cannon, a movable ballista, more guards on every wall and toewer, and some treasure chests. Under the cannon there is a floor gate and underneath more chests and barrels too. All of them full of precious gold coins.

Left side view Left side view. Again the extra wall height can be appreciated, and under the pillars there is water.

Campfire The army general and a city soldier talk around the campfire, while another wizard seems to be busy behind them. There is also a castle king inside a tower (I forgot to take a picure of him), looking exactly like the general but with white arms, trousers and helmet dragon decorations.

Horses Horses detail view (wizard and king's). A ghost can be seen in the chests building, lower floor, but even better is my custom ninja/assassin (just painted a normal head with black), awaiting instructions.

Back view Back view, with the treasure holding building on the left and the king's tower on the right.

Main tower back view Main tower back view, with the forge on the floor above the gates, and two more mounted warriors ready to exit the castle if needed.

Forge room The forge room, also containing vials and scrolls for the wizards to ready their combat spells.

Treasures Rear view of the treasures and the horses.

Rear exit The treasure building has an escape ramp that can only be opened form the inside, for an emergency where the treasure had to be moved quickly. Outside there was water and a small boat, docked and ready to be used by the king (but I already gifted this pieces).

Courtyard view More details of the courtyard: The cannon (and ammunition near the black well), the horses (here we can see general's black one) and the ballista.

Courtyard view II More courtyard. The awaiting riders have simpler armour, only having a dragon decoration at the helmet. We can see that the wizard is preparing some potion near the shooting range.

Right side view Right side view.

Left side internal view Left side internal view. If you notice there is a guard behind the tall grey wall, but cannot be seen from the outside.

Front view And that would be all. May the wisdom of the castle king help you out, and remember that this lands are under the rule of the dragon knights!

Work In Progress: Nagash

I still have pending the last touches to my Imperial Knight and the Rogue Trader Space Marine, but I got into priming all miniatures from Betrayal at Calth (blue/red + black base, so at least I can play with them) and I needed something really different for a change. So I picked up Nagash and started to paint it trying to follow more or less Warhammer TV's guide.

There's still much to be done, and sadly the images don't do justice but I only had at handmy phone, but after quite a few layers the ghost zones are quite nice, and I diverged a bit from the path and added some thraka green wash to remark shadows. The soldiers that will march around Nagash look better with it.

Nagash general view

Nagash main miniature detail

Sword and undead minions detail

Comic Book Review: Escape from New York Vol. 1: Escape from Florida

Escape from New York Vol. 1 comic book cover

When I found Escape from New York Vol. 1: Escape from Florida I thought "great! one of my all-time favourite movies has a comic sequel!". After reading this first volume, I'm quite dissapointed and will just ignore everything except the two movies.

A comic with weak characters, cheap winks and references to the movies, a bland plot that mostly tries to recreate the badass attitude of Pliskin by placing him in another dystopic scenario, but only this time is sometimes boring, sometimes plainly dull, and in general doesn't makes me want to keep reading. I just finished it to leave the review.

Maybe I had different expectations (more alike to the movies), but it is a significant departure in scenarios and plot and just reusing the main character doesn't makes it the same.

Space Hulk Deathwing, Deus Ex Mankind Divided & Fallout 4

I'm lagging behind my proposal of painting more, but I cannot fight arriving tired from work. Tired enough to prefer not to paint, but not so exhausted to leave the computer out, so I've been playing some videogames as of lately. Related with this blog usual topics (RPGs, Warhammer, etcetera.), I've played three games.

Space Hulk Deathwing screenshot

First and most interesting to me, Space Hulk: Deathwing, an FPS in the line of Left4Dead or Warhammer: Vermintide, both with singleplayer and cooperative play. This has been the big revelation for me: I preordered it due to a discount, and while it is true that performance-wise it needs some fine-tunning (lags when there are too many enemies at once even with a high end 3D card), it still looks awesome and the developers and designers must be fans of Warhammer 40,000 because the scenarios, lore and details of the maps are simply amazing. It won't please everybody, but I loved it and just finished the campaign, so I'll now try multiplayer before another pass to try to obtain all relics and read all logs.

Then, I also recently finished Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, new entry in this saga and the second game since Square Enix reboot. I did loved the previous game (Deus Ex: Human Revolution) because of how much it redefined the original game in such a pleasing way, so maybe I had too high hopes for this new entry. While certainly it is a good game, it has two issues for me:

  • It is very very similar to previous one. This is good but also bad, as there are not many surprises here
  • The story and some secondary characters sometimes feel cut, uncomplete, as if fragments were left for DLCs/expansions. I don't own any DLC so is just a theory, but I felt when I finished there were a bunch of unclosed or unsatisfying "branches"

It is also very demanding regarding 3D power, and while the scenarios are soo beautiful and insanely detailed cyberpunk cities, sometimes really gets sluggish.

And lastly, my most mixed feelings go to Fallout 4. After more than 70 hours on Fallout 3, all its DLCs and some custom mods, I was so happy to have a new entry and truth be old, I've grown tired of it even before finishing the main story arc. Yes it has settlements and NPCs inhabiting them; yes you build from furniture and food to weapon and armor modifications; yes the map is big and more detailed and alive and full of missions; yes everything is prettier and more realistic. But it all feels yet quite similar to Fallout 3, as a mixture of mods with a graphics bump and some (a bit dull so far) story of a lost child and you of course frozen in a vault for some years and then waking up. I will come back to it in the future to play more and try to finish the plot, but it broke my expectations on the wrong side.

Maybe I'm just growing tired of playing same sagas and need to switch to new IPs with unkown settings and new lore, but it's getting dissapointing playing new entries of existing game worlds...

Book Review: The Art of Mass Effect

The Art of Mass Effect book cover

Reordering my books I found and re-read The Art of Mass Effect, released on 2007 just after the first videogame in the Mass Effect universe.

Along its pages we'll mostly find colour illustrations, a few pencil sketches and some CGIs and actual game screenshots. There are some "multi step" drawings (from pencil to final results) but not too many. The main themes are scenarios, ships/vehicles and characters.

Being an art book not much else can be said. If you love the Mass Effect universe and lore this is a great source of inspiration. The first game, despite its defects, was a great experience for me and even now I think is the best one regarding story (the series went more into action although the visuals got really amazing), and this book evocates those experiences.

Fans of the game and people seeking really cool sci-fi drawings will find here what they seek.

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