Saturday, May 21, 2011

Successor Commanders

Yes, I know my pace of posting has slowed down some lately.  The same has also been true of my miniature painting, and there's been hardly any gaming going on either.  Those of you with school age children are probably in the same boat right now that I am - end of the school year, and a flurry of associated activities.  Such is real life.

I do have some FoG league games scheduled for right after Memorial Day, so I should have some After Action Reports up soon, but in the meantime, I did squeeze in getting done several commander stands for my 15mm Successor force.  I had one command stand done that I have already been using, but for the other three, up until now, I've been using stand-ins.  Here's several photos of these just completed elements:

The figures are a combination of Xyston and Old Glory 15's.

I may be finally getting to my 28mm unit of Perry halberdmen next, but I've been planning to substitute an Elite Phalangite unit for my elephants in my Successor army before taking on some of the bow-heavy players in our league, so the Perry's may have to wait just a bit longer.  And then after that, I hope to really get to work on my 28mm Alexandrian Macedonian army - I have some local friends who play Warrior, and that is an army I hope to get on the table in the reasonably near future for that ruleset.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Conan - New Film Trailer

Like all youngsters with a taste for fantasy literature, Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" was my first exposure to the genre.  Of course that work is a masterpiece that I have re-read more than several times over all the successive decades, but it can sometimes feel a bit too gentle for a "real-world" fantasy.  The good guys are too perfect, the bad guys are too evil, and many of the characters are really kind of one-dimensional.  Not really a knock on the Professor's wonderful tale, but it's refreshing to occasionally find fantasy characters a bit more hard-nailed than a bunch of sensitive hobbits.

Conan the Barbarian has always been that type of character.  The ultimate anti-hero.  I first read some of the original Conan stories back in high school, and I was completely enthralled with not only the character, but also Robert Howard's fast-paced plotting and non-politically correct language.  And compared to most other genre literature, Conan was an incredibly complex creation - savage, ruthless, but also possessing a sense of honor and humor.  In addition, even though he was capable of defeating multiple hand-to-hand opponents in a desperate, last-stand sword fight, he also knew how to use his wits to get out of a tough situation.

Not so the Conan of the mass media though.  In the early 1980's, I was thrilled when Arnold's Conan movie was released, and even though on its own merits that is an enjoyable enough film, Schwarzenegger's portrayal of the Cimmerian Barbarian is much simpler than and less subtle than Howard's one.  And of course, the 1980's movie's plot has little in common with the original stories, being more of one of those "inspired by" films rather than a "based on" one.

Now it appears that later this year a new Conan movie will be released.  Here is the most recent trailer:

I don't know about this one.  The producers claim that it is not a remake of the 1980's film, and that it is supposedly based on the original stories, but that isn't obvious from the trailer.  I'm also not sure about the casting of Jason Momoa for the lead (but I really like the witch), although I must admit, he does fit my mental picture of the Barbarian more than Arnold does.  I guess we'll have to wait and see.  Even if this film doesn't turn out to be a masterpiece, as an aficionado of Sword and Sandal films (either historical or fantastical in nature), this will still probably end up on my own must see list.

Anyway, back to the original stories, it turns out that all of Howard's stories are available for free download at the Australian Project Gutenberg site (Click here for link - search authors for Robert Howard).  The stories were written back in the 1930's, and although there is still some disagreement about whether or not the copyright has expired in all countries, it appears that Australian law has determined that these works are now in the public domain.  I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and download these stories (regardless, I already have the paperback versions in my attic somewhere).  They will make for absolutely perfect reading material on my new IPad, that's for sure.