Monday, August 18, 2014

Minifig Monday - Drizzt D&D Kreo


I honestly thought his name had an apostrophe in it. That's the way it's listed on the package, so I'm going with it.

I was not planning on ever getting Drizzt, since he's something of a cliche and I find him annoying. But, for $2, he comes with enough cool pieces to make him worthwhile. Namely, my wife wants many of his body pieces for LEGO Skyrim, while I want his swords.

He's a cool figure, if a bit fiddly. The tree was surprisingly hard to put together, as well. Though I am happy to report that his ears are painted, unlike the disappointingly skimped on Eye of Gruumsh I reported on some time ago.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dungeons & Dragons Kreo - Get It While It's Hot Clearance


Hey all, CounterFett here. So, while we were out of town yesterday, Mrs. Fett and I stopped at the TRU, and found that a lot of Kreo sets were clearance priced there. As such, we got several sets we would likely not have picked up otherwise.

Just look at that pile. The wife checked out through the register by herself and didn't tell me what the total was. That cannot be a good sign.

Anyway, if there were a few sets you were on the fence about from this line, I suggest getting them at the new lower price. I got all the sets we wanted!

LEGO 30246 - Imperial Shuttle


"I don't know...fly casual."

Who doesn't have their favorite quote from Episode 6? Mine typically involves a certain Lambda-class shuttle and some older security codes. Well, LEGO did their research and came up with yet another way to part me from some of my money.

That said, this set actually went to my wife (most of the LEGO collection does, come to think of it). I don't think these are a Target Exclusive, but it's the only place I have seen them thus far. Generally speaking, they are in the little impulse section behind each register.

It's a pretty nifty little set, and the micro fleet scale puts it at about the right size (in my mind anyway) to be in scale with the wife's Midi-scale Star Destroyer, a very good thing.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Articulated Monster Podcast Episode 98


This one is entitled 'Mario Is A Cyber Wrench.'

I'm pretty sure I remember why it was titled that, but I don't want to spoil the surprise. This is a bit of a shorter episode, since we still have not bought much, and the news has sort of dried up after the colossal news backup that was SDCC.

Also, we are getting tantalizingly close to episode 100, which will be pretty fun.

My New Sword - Cyborg Ninja Sword

Remember, you can click to enlarge for a closer look.

Well, I've been looking for this sword for a long time. Basically, as some of you might have guessed from the title, this is based on one of Raiden's swords from the Metal Gear series. It's not the curved, silver one he uses through most of Revengeance, that has the handle slots to attach to his feet, but the somewhat more realistic one he uses at the beginning of the game.


Ever since that scene where he pulls it out of the scabbard when he faces off against the first enemies of the game, I've wanted one like it. Now, it doesn't have the carbon fiber-esque patterns on the handle, but that was the unrealistic part of the sword anyway.

In terms of the real world sword, it's pretty cool. I ordered it from trueswords.com, because that's the only site I could find that has it, and also I have always been happy with them in the past. It's not available to order right now, sadly, but hopefully they'll have it back in soon. It has a bit of mixed reviews, but as long as you are familiar with the type of sword it is and know what you're getting into, it's a great buy. I figured, that since I have not found any real reviews of this worth reading, I'd give one from the perspective of someone who actually knows anything about swords and what they're used for.
  • It's light, which is nice, as most swords are outlandishly overweight. Mostly because people who make and buy them have no idea what a sword is supposed to feel like. This one's about right, honestly.
  • The grip is a little too short. A couple more inches would make it a true two hand grip. As it stands, it's about a hand-and-a-half grip. It's true to the proportions of the sword from the game, and it's not that big a deal anyway, but there you go.
  • Wrapping. The wrap on the grip it comes with is not paracord, but nylon shoe laces. As such, it's stretchy, and not a good choice in general. Before I do any messing around with this, I was planning on re-wrapping it with OD paracord anyway. I may be a little obsessive, but I sort of don't trust a sword grip I haven't wrapped myself anyway.
  • Scabbard. It's not bad, honestly. The only negative to it is that it is not ambidextrous. It's made for right-handers to wear on the back with the attached straps. If you're a lefty, cut the straps and make a frog to attach it at your off side hip. If you want to wear it at your side and you're a righty, you'll have to wear it blade up. Katanas and the like are supposed to be worn blade up anyway, so this might not give you any problems.
  • Blade. Mine came sharp. This is something I should be able to say a lot more often. Seriously, I get that a lot of people use swords as decor, but getting a sword that's sharp out of the box should be the rule, not the exception.
  • Attractive. The two tone blade just looks awesome. Hopefully the finish is tough. I don't have any scratches or discoloration yet. I suppose if anything happens to it, I can always tape the edge and tough it up with spray paint (this is the sort of thing that growing up with my dad makes you okay with).
  • Length. It's 35 inches overall, with about 26 of that being blade. This puts it in 'real sword' territory in my mind, as opposed to the 'sword shaped machete' category of most 'ninja' style full tang blades. This was the primary reason I got this. After the fact that it's Raiden's sword, of course.
And there you have it folks, my first really comprehensive sword review. Hope you had fun. If you like this sort of thing, let me know, I will do more of them with the ones I have and the ones I will get in the future. Also, if these come back in stock and you want one, you should get it from Trueswords.com. I've been really satisfied every time I've dealt with them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Not So Great American Novel


So, while recording the last episode of The Articulated Monster podcast, I got to thinking about how a looooong time ago, I had intended to write a book and post it on one of those e-pub sites. The justification was that people could buy it for a very cheap price, which would make me a little tiny bit of money, and simultaneously give me a much needed morale boost.

I've always wanted to write professionally. Full time, I mean, not as my other job, or my other-other job, or even my other-other-other job. I have a lot of writing jobs, but none of them really pays the bills, and I want to start making an inroad towards a more full time writing gig. I follow a few bloggers who have had some success as writers and or publishers in a hobby related field, but I rather want to try something along the lines of a novel or novella.

I'm just torn as to what to do. I'm honestly scared that people won't like my material. I suppose that's a very real risk. On the other hand, maybe I could succeed if I would just finally man up and do it. I've been delaying a little bit on getting started since my injury, because I still have not fully recovered the use of my left hand, which gives me the devil's own crop of typos (think about how much you use your left pinky to hit the 'shift' key, then think about if you were only successful at that about 50% of the time). But maybe I'm just making excuses.

Food for thought.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Not So Obscure Video Game Review - The Last Of Us


Well, I am nothing, if not able to learn from my mistakes. I am a big enough man to even admit them, sometimes. I didn't pay any attention to 'The Last of Us' back when it came out, but when the 'Remastered' version came out for PS4, I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about. Also, I somehow lumped this in with Travellers 'The Walking Dead' game, since they came out around the same time.


Well, this was a huge mistake! While I still think the hugely popular Walking Dead games are terrible, at least The Last Of Us has been redeemed in my mind.

The Last Of Us tells the story of Joel, a survivor of a Cordyceps outbreak that effects humans instead of ants. Go ahead and look up Cordyceps and come back, I'll wait. Terrifying, right? I think the real thing is actually scarier than how it's portrayed in the game! Joel is assigned, through a series of personal loss tropes, to get 14 year old Ellie to a band of survivor resistance called fireflies. Along the way, death, destruction, and comic books await!

PROS:
  • Voice acting. An anime and video game voice acting fanatic like me lives for this sort of game. Honest to God, it has even better voice acting than Mass Effect. From Joel's old Texas right through down to the most minor of antagonists, the voice talent is real!
  • Tension. While most of the game runs on the rails you expect it to, you nevertheless manage to be terrified through the majority. Not jump scares, but actual fear of being caught by Clickers, the creepiest video game enemy since ME2's scions!
  • Crafting with a purpose. A lot of games have crafting mechanics that are either annoying at best, or completely pointless at worst. The crafting in 'Last of Us' reminds me of Skyrim, to an extent in that you WANT to do it to help yourself out, though it's more necessary than in Skyrim.
CONS:
  • Linear. While this is mitigated to the open world 'feel' of the game, Last of Us really runs on a pretty narrow set of tracks. This causes major issues on replay, where unless you dramatically alter your playstyle, nothing different happens.
  • Nothing new under the sun. While honestly all games and movies are derivative to a certain extent, the 'Get the immune person to the lab' plot has been done before. A lot. I usually don't mind a bit of theme borrowing, but in this instance, the story is so similar to I am Legend that it annoys me a little.
  • PS exclusive. Yeah, not on other platforms. This is a meh issue to me, but historically, I don't buy PS exclusives. Xbox titles are usually where it's at for me. This might have been a reason I passed on this initially
Well, there you have it, folks. The Last of Us ended up being a pretty cool game, once I managed to get it untangled from the Walking Dead games in my head.