World of Tanks gets physical

WoT media

It has been a while since I posted anything about my modelling hobby other than occasional  hopefully relevant images in the Weekly Challenges…

Once upon a time, I used to be into gaming, either on the PC, Xbox (CLASSIC!!), or the Wii – we even have two Wii’s so that we can play NZ or US Wii games – but nowadays, I simply don’t have the time and when I’m sitting at the PC it is to work or, at the moment, look for work…so while I am aware of World of Tanks, mainly through its pop-up ads that permeate through the webosphere, I am not a player…World of Tanks, parent company, wargaming.net is also the major sponsor of David Cundall’s quest for Spitfires buried in Burma (perhaps) at the end of WW2. In mid-2012, WoT also began to post at Paper Modeling, a site I monitor pretty much daily piquing interest in the paper modelling community with promises of new paper models based on tanks in the game. Those promises are now being fulfilled at the rate of one a month.

Although the initial design work has been done to already incorporate these vehicles into WoT, the game, there is a little more to converting a gaming 3D model to a (buildable) paper model so this is more than just a cheap marketing ploy on WoT’s part, although that we should also recognise that paper modelling is far more popular and widespread in Eastern Europe and Asia than it has ever been in the West.

At the same time, using some of my few spare moments each day, generally while watching Coro, I am building a paper model as part of the UAMF Small Scale Armour Group Build and trust me, it’s not as easy as it looks and I probably would be finished now if I had opted for one of the more basic Airfix or Matchbox kits…but I have to be different and so have taken on a what is turning into a bit of a challenge. To a certain (possibly large!) extent this is self-inflicted as I am finding myself relearning a lot of previously learned lessons (pretty ironic for the lessons learned guru!!) as the time I have been able to devote to regular modelling.

Anyway, someone posted in my UAMF thread for this GB (I can post all these links but it doesn’t really matter ‘coz no one ever clicks them) last night that a. maybe it would be an idea to have a paper/card (one and the same thing, really) group build on UAMF sometime this year which lead to a. me posting this response, and b. thinking that it would be an idea perhaps to acknowledge within a wider audience the efforts of those designers that design and share their paper models as free downloads (and also to note the launch of the revamped Ecardmodels.com website)…

A paper/card model GB has been mooted before but I think that there is growing interest in the idea. As Ian says, there are a broad range available for download for free, of all degrees of complexity although I would recommend some relatively simple ones for starters so that builders can come to grips with the different techniques required, especially for folding and rolling – none of it rocket science, but none of it just quite that way we do it with other media…as a start point for anyone who might be interested, I would recommend that they check out the free model section at www.ecardmodels.com (select “free Models’ from the menu bar on the left of the home page) which has a range of mainly aircraft and vehicles with a few ships and buildings as well. There are also sites like the download section of www.papermodelers.com (must register and post in order to download), the models section of www.landships.info, the free section at www.currell.net, and, for those into World of Tanks, the model section on the Russian language (YOU MUST GO TO THE RUSSIAN VERSION AS THE MODELS ARE NOT LISTED ON ANY OF THE OTHER REGIONS FOR WoT) version of the site: http://worldoftanks.ru/media/?category=10 where they are releasing one 1/50 (of course, depending on your preference, printer and copier, the scale could be whatever suits…) tank model each month…

So that’s it really, just trying to spread the paper modelling love…in this days of financial crises and ongoing insecurity, it is nice to have a modelling-related hobby that doesn’t want an army and a leg just for the raw materials i.e. a traditional kitset, but which still provides for the satisfaction of seeing a  model take shape into a (hopefully) recognisable facsimile of the original…

On the R&R front…

A slow day today, just taking advantage of it being the weekend to catch up on some work  – I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this week so haven’t gone home for the weekend and have stayed on base to just have a quiet weekend without the 600+ km round trip home…I also don’t really want to drive the little red car too much until the ding I put in it during the snow storm on Wednesday morning is repaired – well, actually, I didn’t ding it…there was this old guy, see, who jammed on his brakes on the snow and slid across the centreline – all I did was broadside trying to get out of his way and he smacked, tapped actually into the rear panel between the passenger door and the rear wheel – fortunately only pushing the panel in and not inflicting any sort of mobility kill: an MX-5 is the last thing I’d be wanting to shelter in waiting for the snow to clear and the towie to arrive…I have pictures but they are stuck on the camera as I left the (cursed proprietary!!!) cable at home…

Leon Scott Kennedy from Resident Evil

Saw this picture on Paper Modelers this morning: a pretty good effort, I thought, considering that it is, of course, ‘only’ constructed from folded and curved paper.

Also, in ‘tidying’ the study on Tuesday, I found the manual for the big Dora which has been hiding for a couple of years…this means that this monster should rise somewhat on the production schedule over the next few months…

It’s a monster!

After a number of (dis)organisational issues i.e. I needed to get my act together and arrive on base with both model parts AND tools, I have made some progress on my upscaling of the Modelik Udarnyj…this is start #3 after the first two attempts aborted after I found that I had made some serious error s in the upscaling conversion process…anyway, now back on track and this is my on-base project when I am away from home…it’s working out to be a little bigger than expected as seen by the CD case for size comparison…the parts here are just sitting in place hence the slightly out-of-kilter appearance…

First hull formers

It was Carmen’s birthday the other weekend and one of the things that she got from the kids was the Ultimate (with the two pistols) version of House of the Dead for Wii – we both miss not be able to use the Xbox guns on the plasma TV so this brought this capability back – we both really like the Wii because a. you have to get up off your butt to play and b. you don’t have to be a competent thumb twiddler to play as you must with Xbox and Playstation…

A bit of a disappointment…

While blasting away at the screen is a ton of fun, the game itself is a bit of the disappointment…the video cutscenes that players are forced to endured are not only poorly rendered and constructed but the add nothing to game play and are riddled with bad language…so I’m now on the hunt for a better (which wouldn’t be hard) Wii shooter…I did see Marines Urban Combat on the shelf in JB Hifi the other day but we’ve got enough hand cannons now so just want the game on its own….

The Dog Show gets a new fan

Sorry it's so dark but it's a pic of a black dog in a dark room and you can only lighten so much in GIMP.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a comment regarding how dogs think…last night, I had a quick Channel surf after Nightline to see if there was anything worth keeping the TV on for…I didn’t think so but there was a rerun of The Dog Show on TV6. All of a sudden, Kirk and Lulu had not only woken up but were paying close attention to the show. The Dog Show was a local TV hit in the 80s here: it’s certainly not Cruft’s but is a competition about a man, his dogs and some of the dumbest stubbornest sheep on the planet – each episode pits working dogs and their bosses against a  series of challenges to herd a group of sheep through various obstacles and/or into a pen…sounds rivetting, I know, but it actually is quite addictive and gained a mega following down here…

Normally the dogs show zero interest in TV, the one exception being It’s Me or the Dog, a UK show about sorting difficult dogs and owners, along the lines of The Dog Whisperer – but even that never caused the reaction that The Dog Show got last night. Both dogs sat up and watched it the whole way through (so much for short canine attention spans!) and I had to shift Kirk behind the coffee table so that he didn’t try to stick his head through the screen again…

Virtual PC 2007

And speaking of dogs, I tried out a Microsoft product last night and had pretty low expectations, having been in the Microsoft productspace before…but…I have to say that this time the experience was anything but a dog. The problem is that as each generation of operating system come sit, there are always some casualties in the compatibility stakes and these are usually games – a lot of the time, they are not great loss but there are a number of DOS games that remain classics but which just will not fly in a Windows environment. These include Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Megafortress, Wing Commander, the Dynamix sim series (Red Baron, A-10, Aces of the Pacific), Tornado and Falcon 3.0. Fortunately, DOS gamers have been well supported by a DOS emulator called DosBox; the interface is very DOS and command liney but there are a number of Windows GUI interfaces, my preferred one being DFend. Most DOS games work well under DosBox and the programme provides access to modern peripherals like joysticks etc….

…but…

…the losers so far in this game have been those games that will only run under Win95/98 and which spurn later versions of Windows (maybe they know something we don’t?). I was gutted when I ‘upgraded’ to XP that favourites like Interstate ’76, USAF and the Close Combat series (and they are even made by Microsoft!!) no longer worked. On a whim the other night, I Googled again for Win95 Emulator and after sifting through a kazillion blogs and threads bemoaning the lack of compatibility with older games, stumbled across Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007 – yep, it’s been available for over two years!! Ignore any messages that it doesn’t work on XP Home – it does – the download is just over 30Mb, 90 minutes or so on the trusty dial-up (cheers, Telecom – NOT!), installation is painless and the setup for a virtual drive is intuitive and painless. You do need to have the installation disk for the OS you want to virtualise AND the verification code that goes with it – I had a moment of panic re the code but located it in the puter drawer (big thumbs-up to Carmen’s file system). When installing Win98, I felt the cold hand of total informational terror clutch my heart when the window said “Formatting Drive C: 2% complete” but everything in the Virtual PC window IS airgapped from your real C: drive…in 1995, OS2 Warp reformatted by drive and that’s how I lost every file I had from my early computing days and study at Waikato. Game installation and play has been simple and very painless. The only problem has been trying to find a MPEG-2 driver for Win98 so that the video segments of Wing Commander III will play. Retro gamers out there, check it out…!