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Procopius last won the day on December 29 2022

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About Procopius

  • Birthday 03/15/1983

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    Chicago, but dreaming of a green and pleasant land.
  • Interests
    You, baby, you.

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  1. Thanks, Andre. I'm alive, I just have no free time any more, as the kids go to bed at 8PM and I have to wake up at 6AM to get them ready for school. Madeleine is large and formidable, and now talks quite a lot. She's almost at the point of the terrible twos, but for now she's just a happy, active little girl. Sweet Pea by Edward IX, on Flickr Her brothers are somewhat more trying: The other ones by Edward IX, on Flickr Life has been very expensive of late, and I'm just trying to survive until the school year ends and we aren't killing ourselves to pay for childcare, so that we can save up for the even more expensive but also significantly more reliable full-time daycare of next year. These past eight years have felt like I've put life on hold and just have to run in place; we were almost past it with the boys when we had Maddie, so I'm hopeful that in three years time life can begin again for me. Of course then I'll have to start paying for braces (they should be so lucky, a simple pair of pliers can solve most dental problems), but not long after that, Winston will be sixteen and can become the Merchant Marine's problem.
  2. Last night I was desperate to have some indicator of progress on any front in my life, so I painted one (1) guy and based him. Nominally sumpfmuster 43, but it doesn't really show well. I also made bangers and mash (with mild Italian sausage playing the role of ersatz bangers), and made the onion gravy and mashed potatoes from scratch myself. Would my children even deign to try it? No they would not.
  3. The Helion Book is also infuriating in that despite the title, it doesn't actually cover the attack!
  4. Some actual progress over my rather hectic birthday weekend! (My mother in law, whose birthday is the day after mine, came to stay with us, so it was somewhat truncated.) I painted and based a 20mm platoon command squad of Fallschirmjager in Sumpfmunster 43 smocks. There are tulips on the base so you know it's the Netherlands. Mrs P cruelly played "Fields of Gold" by Sting when I made the mistake of showing her. As you can see, two guys have the helmet covers, three have the feldgrau soft cap, and one relentless individualist has the uncovered parachute helmet painted dunkelgelb with rotbraun and dunkelgrun brushstrokes added. I've seen that a lot on Normandy FJ, but neglected to consult my references to see if the replacement battalions of Fallschirmjager actually did so. Mea culpa. I've also been amusing myself printing some of the more eclectic units of the fighting: Kampfgruppe Chill allegedly had two Panzerjager R35s, converted from Renault 35s and sporting a Czech 47mm AT gun attached to it from the 304th Panzerjager Company. They must have found facing the Shermans of 44 RTR an enervating experience, to say the least. I'm fairly sure the FAC "Tentacles" in use in Market Garden were using the White Scout Car, but I couldn't resist the siren song of weird Commonwealth armoured cars:
  5. I feel like this is someone I could hang with.
  6. A boatload of 20mm metal figures: A platoon of US paratroopers and some supporting elements from Adler Miniatures, which will no doubt take some time, as they're retiring their napoleonic ranges and are deluged with orders from frantic grognards and Fallschirmjager and regular heer infantry from Simon's Soldiers in Australia. Every miniatures company making 20mm figures seems to be run by some genial wargamer in his sixties or seventies who's been playing miniatures games since Edward Heath was a going concern, and all of them are a delight to deal with, but Simon is particularly nice, reaching out to me to help me secure some extra HQ figures, throwing in copious extras, and all in all being extremely enthusiastic and helpful. And anyone who knows me knows how little I merit such consideration. Also two books of retold Greek mythology by Bernard Evslin for Winston, who is hooked on the wretched Percy Jackson books and might as well get some good versions of the tripe he's ingesting.
  7. Quartered Safe Out Here is a great book; the bit with the PIAT is a particular favourite. The first Flashman book suffers, I think, from the era it was written in; Flashy outright rapes a woman (which has real and painful consequences for him), but it's a little bit much to permit one to think of him as a cheeky rogue. In later books, the character is softened (as is, to some extent, GMF's opinion of the Victorians as a whole) and is much more palatable, although as a scale modeller, I find raw sexual magnetism difficult to relate to.
  8. I'm 41 (or will be next week), and so I'm a member of probably the last generation to have regular contact with people who lived through the war. My grandfather inflated weather balloons on Midway as a meteorologist (and may, based on his service record, been involved in supporting the first Privateer detachments in the USN's air service), but didn't really have much to tell or much interest in discussing the war, and my great uncle was an enlisted man in MacArthur's headquarters in the SWPA and beyond, and typed up the surrender document for the Japanese to sign (he shrewdly kept his carbons, which were donated to the MacArthur museum in Norfolk, VA, many years later). He was in Manilla shortly after its disastrous liberation, and did not care to discuss it. (This was typical of Uncle Walter; when he and his longtime companion Bob were mugged and knifed in the early 1980s, they were rushed to separate hospitals. Walter lived; Bob died. My parents went to pick him up after he was ready to come home -- he had been opened from stem to stern -- and when handed his shoes, covered with the blood of the person closest to him, he glanced at them, said "Well, I'll never wear these again," and threw them in the wastebin.) I always think of this passage in Achtung Schweinhund!, by Harry Pearson: As I endlessly tell people, as a small boy of nine or ten, I wrote a letter to the Spitfire Society's magazine, DCO, and asked pilots to write to me (as any normal child living in Middle America does), and quite a few did, and were rewarded in return with largely incoherent missives from a small, excited child who had access to an early version of Microsoft Word and could thus communicate without reliance on his unintelligible handwriting. But what I was trying to tell them, from the depths of my being, in a way I couldn't fully understand myself, was that I loved them, more than anything, more than my parents, more than my pets, and that on some elemental level for me, everything that made life bearable or worth living was in some way because of their efforts, however small they may have seemed. Stephen Bungay mentions in The Most Dangerous Enemy that for him it was like meeting one of Nelson's men, but I might go further. There's a passage in the Iliad, where Diomedes, the noblest of the Greek captains, "hefted a boulder in his hands, a tremendous feat—no two men could hoist it, weak as men are now, but all on his own he raised it high with ease," that I think of often; to me it was as if I were exchanging words with demigods. And while I know now that they were all fallible men (or boys, falling at ages young enough to make them a child to me), that has somehow only increased their stature in my eyes. And of course, being normal, healthy people, with a good sense of proportion, they would have found this ridiculous, if not embarrassing. As probably anyone should. Anyway, right now I'm slogging through To Hold the Westwall, nominally about Panzer-Brigade 105 in the autumn of 1944, by Timm Hassler, who is German and even if I didn't know that, his writing style is so Teutonic that it would be obvious to even a casual reader. The book relies heavily on primary source material (EG operational records, daily reports, etc), leavened with postwar extracts from veterans newspapers and reminiscences, and makes for very dry reading. One often gets a sense that the situation was extremely confused, but (perhaps due to translation from German) it's a very detached feeling, and typically all one learns of an action is something like "Panzerregiment 2105 sent detachments to Doopledorff (or wherever), but it is not known in what strength. However a Panther was knocked out on hotdogstrasse in Doopledorf by the Americans at 2230, and this must have been the rearguard. Eight men were killed." Riveting stuff. The sheer effort to comb through both American and German archives is not easily dismissed, however, and a lot of work clearly went into this. As I putter along on aimless and meaningless wargaming projects, including recreating part of Panzer-Brigade 107, it had a lot of very useful information on the composition of Panzer-Brigades and how they were formed. Between this and my recent reading on Market Garden (and my attempts to find good sources on the fighting along Hell's Highway), one really gets a sense of how small the actions were that were taking place during these huge offensive movements, often a battalion or two, fighting along a very wide front, the "empty battlefield" we hear so much about, and which wargames are so poor at showing.
  9. The hideously expensive Kampfraum Arnheim, 2nd Edition, by RZM Publishing. Hope it's good. 1/72 Special Hobby Suez F-84F The Roer River Battles: Germany's Stand at the Westwall, 1944-45 by David Higgins And the Polar Lights 1/2500 Strange New Worlds iteration of the USS Enterprise, for Mrs P, who likes it for Spock-related reasons that I choose to remain as ignorant of as possible.
  10. I don't mind lack of supports as much any more, since every printer I've owned has been as eccentric as its owner (they especially hate tyres), so custom supports are almost always the order of the day. I've printed a LOT of Horus Heresy miniatures, including a bunch of Night Lords I just gave away to someone local who actually plays the game. The last guy was for Winston, who's probably broken it by now. Anyway, along with a bunch of building pieces I printed for a local fella who sells terrain (I don't do paid prints for people, because that imposes expectations and responsibility upon me, two things which I have historically handled quite poorly, so I typically just barter if someone wants something printed, or refuse to do it outright if I don't wanna), the last of my Tiger II turrets is printed and waiting to cure.
  11. We get around, you know. And we're a very forgetful people.
  12. My promise to myself is that if I actually "finish" any of these, I'll do some Rhine Crossing LVTs with Polstens, as there's a nice STL out there for them. I love the Quar! I love the setting so much that I offered to do some additional writing for it to the creator and leveraged my experience as a fourth-or-fifth stringer writing for BattleTech, and putting myself out there is something I never, ever do. Hopefully some of what I wrote for it will see print some day. It took forever to figure out how to print them properly, let me just tell you. Some King Tigers (yes, yes, I know that's not their real name) came out of the printer after two 25-hour print sessions, seen here after priming: Of course, AFTER I printed them, I read up on the Tiger IIs at Arnhem, and the one photo of one appears to have the production turret (also, I learned about eighteen hours ago, erroneously known as the Henschel turret): Mercifully, the turrets take a lot less work to reprint than say, the hull. Ultimately I'll have four hulls, four pre-production turrets, and three production turrets, and I can swap out turrets as needed. I've also, I think, reached an end to my long-running saga of attempting to print an airborne jeep. Jeeps (and Kubelwagons, and Sdkfz 222s with their stupid mesh anti-grenade screens) suck to print. Airborne jeeps, lacking the windscreen, are somewhat easier. I know Airfix makes a 1/72 airborne jeep, but they really did not do a good job of making it an airborne jeep. So I found an STL online for sale, only to discover that while it was nominally 1/56, it was actually in 28mm "heroic" scale, which made it something like 15% larger than it needed to be. Then I had to ask the designer to remove the front-mounted spare tire as it was a weird shape and size, which he kindly did, and then I stretched my Blender skills (nonexistent) well beyond their theoretical limits to modify the Vickers K gun mount that came in the fileset. As supplied, it was a twin mounting, as was used by the SAS (and incidentally on armoured cars as the PLM mount), but 1st Airborne Division had two different Vickers K single mountings in use on their recce jeeps, one modified from an M1919 mount and the other from the PLM mount. The latter is both weird looking, and incredibly distinctive. Additionally, the files as suppled had the handles on the sides of the jeep, which were removed on the airborne versions, so I had to shear those off in 3D builder as best I could. I ended up using the wheels from another set of Jeep files, as I liked them better: Ta-da!
  13. Yes, the one at Overloon looks amazing, I wish they shipped books overseas; I'm likely going to have to buy some stuff from them and have it sent to a friend in Germany for him to send on to me.
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