In Support of Brexit

Brexit is a fantastic opportunity for the European Union, they just don’t realise it yet.

Of all the countries in the EU, the UK has been holding it back. It didn’t join the Euro currency, and it didn’t join the Schengen area. It’s only still a member because it got in on the ground floor. It has vetoed progress and talked down the EU for 40 years. It has a high proportion of MEPs compared to other countries, based on population.

The UK has sent nationalistic euro-sceptics and principled obstructionists to represent the British people who voted for them to the European Parliament. Think about that – British people are represented in the European Parliament by MEPs that they vote for, and they choose people who will not consider the issues but will, on virtue of it being talked about in the EU, reject everything. If they even bother to turn up to vote. No wonder many British people feel like the EU isn’t working for them. They chose it not to work for them.

Individual European countries will benefit too. Pan-European companies that want to keep the WTO rules of origin will have to choose between moving all of their manufacturing to the UK or from the UK into Europe. Given the EU has a bigger market and trade deals (the UK will have none) it’s not hard to imagine which they would choose.

Seeing how the UK handles Brexit, and the lack of sensible handling, will be a blow to any other European anti-EU movements. At the very least they’ll have to do more careful research to convince people that they won’t end up in the same boat as the UK. The pro-EU feelings will get stronger as the UK gets weaker.

So the EU will be able to make decisions easier, European Parliament will get a bit smarter, and individual countries in the EU will get manufacturing and services companies looking to set up new bases as they flee the inwards-looking islands. The EU will have more support from it’s citizens. On the downside, they will lose one of the trade partners. Under a no-deal Brexit, their citizens will lose freedom of movement in the UK. Their businesses will lose a market of 60 million people.

So Brexit is a fantastic opportunity for the EU and European countries, and the future looks bright however badly the UK decides to do things.

Hobby Progress February 2018

Necromunda: I’ve assembled and undercoated all of the gangers now, and I’ve kept some of the bulkier Goliath guns off to help me paint them later. I’ve even pre-shaded some of the gangers to see if that is useful for painting them; I’m working on a sample Goliath and Escher to test. Then I went and screwed up the pre-shading by not thinning the paint enough, and ended up with splatters. Boo.

I also basecoated most of the doors with Thunderhawk Blue, ready to have the detail added.

Dreadball: I’ve finished cleaning and undercoating all of the new models, and started painting the Yndij and Matsudan. I’ve also jumped back to the Hobgoblins to finish them off, just a few more details to go.

I’ve almost finished the Eye in the Sky, adding more little bits to the lenses and working out whether to paint some big screen displays on the outside of the hover-thing, and then finishing off the screens and details on the inside of the console.

Rebels Team Overview – Minsharan Militia

The planet Minshara’s first communication with the GCPS was an immediate surrender with no terms. They had heard of the Council of Seven’s reputation and decided that they could not even hope to resist a takeover, so positioned themselves to step peacefully into subjugation reasoning that there would be no need for heavy-handed restrictions or harsh justice to reinforce the new government’s authority.

The Council of Seven had seen this trick before though, so the first diplomatic contact with Minshara was a large platoon of enforcers to exercise the will of the council. Over time, they realised that the surrender was genuine and Minshara became a productive, respected member of the GCPS and a shining example for other newly discovered worlds.

The tale of Minshara’s surrender hadn’t sat well with a group of malcontents two sectors away, who themselves had been cautiously trading with the GCPS. They invited alien merchants to discuss the GCPS and pretty soon ended up talking with the Rebellion. Before long, their early and encouraging peaceful ties were broken with the GCPS and full scale war was declared. The war was over three months later when help from the Rebels never materialised, but a few barges full of Enforcers did.

After the war, these malcontents attempted to explain that they were defending a whole swathe of inhabited worlds in the area – including Minshara. The planetary governor of Minshara responded by sponsoring a DreadBall team and stating publicly ‘This is all the defence Minshara needs.’ The Minshara Militia have gone on to be a popular team in the local area, gaining support even with the worlds forcibly incorporated into the GCPS.

Having tested a camouflage pattern on a human fan model, I thought it would be a good idea to use it on the Rebel team as a whole. I was pleased to see on closer inspection that all the models are actually wearing a lot of clothing (large jumpsuits) even on the centaur-like Raellian.

I painted it in the same way as the fan’s camo – Knarloc Green base, Bleached Bone splotches and tiny bits of Dryad Bark, all washed with Agrax Earthshade to give it a tone. The armoured patches were painted with Gorthor Brown, highlighted with Gorthor Brown mixed with Zandri Dust.

The armour I was least happy with was the Sorak Jack. The other three are essentially wearing jumpsuits or blankets, large fabric areas to put camo on, but the Sorak only has a tiny bit visible under the knees (elbows?). The rest is the more solid armour that I’ve painted in brown. I went and made it camouflage pattern anyway to fit in with the team better. On each of the suits I painted the bulky circles (some sort of connector port?) in Dawnstone, highlighted with a Dawnstone/Pallid Wych Flesh mix.

As for skin tones… well, as for skin tones… I decided to follow the book fairly closely. The Ralarat had Scorpion Green (in many, many layers since it is so dilute) with Evil Sunz Scarlet claws, the Rin had Zandri Dust with an old Flesh Wash, cleaned up again with Zandri Dust. The Sorak had Naggaroth Night base highlighted with Liche Purple and the Gaellian was a mix of Rhinox Hide with Wazdakka Red, highlighted with two layers adding in more Wazdakka Red each time.

Since I was so pleased with them so far, I went on to finer details – the bandages/bindings on the Rin had an edge highlight of Dawnstone so that they weren’t totally blank. I added a bit of Chainmail to it’s goggle lenses too. The Ralarat eyes were done with Bestigor Flesh, followed by Sunburst Yellow, a tiny bit of Pallid Wych Flesh in a vertical line and finally a thin, vertical black pupil.

I ended up taking these guys to HATECon in London, and failing miserably at the game but picking up a prize for Best Painted!

Hobby Progress January 2018

At the beginning of 2018, I got both Necromunda: Underhive and Dreadball 2.0 – with loads of miniatures each to paint. I also got a fancy airbrush after trying one out at a Siege Studios painting course. I really need to make good progress on some of the piles of unpainted toys I have in the house, and fill up the display cabinets I bought at the end of last year!

First off, I have cleaned almost all of the new DB2 models – only a few Yndij to go.

I’ve cleaned and primed all of the Necromunda doors and control boxes, as well as the priority marker. My plan is to pre-shade them (when I get some new white, as I’ve discovered both of my pots have dried up) and use Thunderhawk Blue (and heavy weathering) to make it look a bit like the old-fashioned cardboard terrain.WP_20180114_16_32_02_Pro

I’ve also primed the DB2 Matsudan and Cyborg teams, the refbot and ‘Eye in the Sky’ – as well as a few Captains for the earlier seasons, and cleaned up a couple more. I want to be able to get all of my painted teams at least updated to include their Captain.

Real painting, I finished off Reek Rolat to be a Captain for the Sordus Silage Scroungers and started painting the burly human fan and Xtreme Cheerleaders for DB.

Books I’ve Read in 2017

This year, I’ve made it a personal goal to read only new (to me) books. I haven’t been good at finding new things to read and I’ve spent a lot of time (possibly a whole year) re-reading Discworld books, with occasional dips into my comic shelf.

So that was a simple challenge – only read books I’ve never read before. Not even a long time ago.

Successes

  • David Copperfield
    I read Nicholas Nickelby last year and enjoyed it, this was a little bleaker but still very interesting. You learn a lot about everyday Victorian life from Dickens.
  • The View From the Cheap Seats
    A little disappointing, it feels a lot like a reminder to read things and listen to people I wanted to anyway. The other things in there would probably be more interesting to me if I had already read them, kind of like a covers album is better if you already know and love the originals.
  • Singing From the Well
    Trippy as hell. Reminds me of the film Cat Soup, and to a lesser extent My Neighbour Totoro. An easy read, I got through it in a couple of weeks.
  • The Un-discovered Islands
    An interesting book about places that we thought exist, but don’t. I think I might look for the Phantom Atlas for more, it’s an interesting alternative to real history/geography.
  • Star Trek: Destiny
    Recommended to me as the best continuation of Star Trek after Voyager, after I looked out on my own and found The Lives of Dax. I would have preferred a less epic, more DS9 focussed story but this was still good.
  • The Prince
    Very difficult to read, as it contained so many run-on sentences and I like to read just before sleeping. Not my most alert. Slightly interesting, but not nearly as diabolical as Macchiavelli’s reputation has come to be.
  • The Better Angels of our Nature
    Since I heard Penn Jillette talk about this book all the time on his podcast (Penn’s Sunday School), I picked it up. I even got it signed by Penn and Teller when we went to their London show! They said it was a great book, and it’ll change my life.

Failures

  • World’s End
    I was having a slow, tired week and wanted to read something but wanted something easy. I love World’s End as a story about stories (and one of those stories is about stories…) in a strange place – like a lot of good sci-fi, it’s not about what’s going on, it’s about the stories that happen before and after the episode. It fires the imagination.
  • Drive, Act One
    I think this counts mostly as a failure, because I’ve already read the story as a webcomic.