Monday, March 30, 2009

Back from Prague, Ready to Paint.

Well I have managed to make it back to the United States in one piece. It was a long journey (about 17 hours all told) but it feels great to be back home. I had a wonderful time in the Czech Republic, and I would love to visit again sometime in the future (in fact I may have to do so for business again in a few months). I have lots of pictures and stories to tell, but none of those really relate to the subject of this gnoblog with the exception of one - BEER.

I didn't accomplish anything Warhammer related while I was in Prague (aside from finishing a couple of the Horus Heresy novels) but I did have quite a few of these little beauties. Beer (or Pivo as it is called in Czech) is quite plentiful in the city, and you can find it in almost every place you go. It costs less than water or soda, and in some cases it is almost half the price! With deals like that (the drink above probably cost $1.50 to $2.00 on average) how could I not have one with every meal?!

Now that I am back in the US I plan on drinking less and painting more. I hope to have my entire 2,250 list for Capital City Carnage assembled and painted by the end of next month. So far that has meant working on the assembly of my Scraplauncher, and the completion of my 2,250 list (which is due by 4/1). There is quite a bit of work to do on the painting front, but I feel confident I will be able to accomplish my goal with time to spare (we'll see how I feel in a few weeks).

Now I am off to wash my heaps of dirty laundry and curse this damn Scraplauncher model while I try to keep it together (by far one of the worst models I have assembled so far). Wish me luck!

Monday, March 16, 2009

(Beer) Progress Report - 3/16/09.

Sadly I don't have much to report from the wide world of Warhammer. I have been busy preparing for my upcoming trip to the Czech Republic! I will be spending about 10 days in Prague, leaving tomorrow (Tuesday 3/17) and returning towards the end of the month.

I have never been overseas (or out of the continental Americas) and I am really looking forward to it. The whole trip is being paid for by my company (it is a business tripe after all), so I just have to survive the plane trip (I hate flying) and then I get to have fun and work my ass off. Expect pictures of the historic city when I return.

While there has been little to no modeling or hobby related progress (still trying to finalize a list for Capital City Carnage in May), there has been quite a bit of progress with our first batch of beer. After a few days of furious eating, belching, farting, and wasting, the beer was ready to move into the secondary fermenter with the additional dry hops.

It is a bit cloudy right now, but in a few more weeks the yeast should clean up after themselves, and the beer will clarify. If it doesn't .. well I will have some cloudy and delicious beer to bottle and drink.

One thing that is not so delicious is the protein sludge left at the bottom of the fermenter when the yeast are done with their work. It is called "trub" and it looks and smells a bit unpleasant. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

Not the best looking stuff, but "trub" might make a good name for one of the Ogres in my tribe! Perhaps a Butcher or a Bruiser? Hold that thought, I will return to this once I have landed safely back here in Austin in about 12 days.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Progress Report - 3/8/09 (now with MORE BEER).

Progress and beer!

Last weekend's tournament didn't go so well for the Beer Gut Tribe. The Ogres fought bravely against swarms of Lizardmen, a wall of Goblins, and the hordes of Chaos Daemons, but in the end victory was not achieved. All in all it was a good time, and I learned a few new things about playing the game, and that is what matters (although winning is welcome too).

I didn't take very detailed notes so I will spare you from a rambling recount from memory over a week later. I am in the process writing my final list for the upcoming (and first ever) Austin IGT. The event is called Capital City Carnage (great name by the way) and it will take place in early May at the Austin convention center. I am planning on taking the Beer Gut Tribe as it seems unlikely that I will have my VC fully assembled, based, primed, and even partially painted. Speaking of painted models, here is another completed Irongut from the series of pictures I took a few weeks back! I really like the first one as the IG looks quite menacing!

In other news, I have discovered I have a fairly acute allergic reaction to the super glue I have been using. I switched brands last October, but did most of my major gluing and modeling in the months since December. During that time I have developed crusty spots on my lips and eyelids, red itchy bumps on my hands and fingers, and some rather nasty wounds in my throat and sinuses. I finally realized it was the glue doing all of this (and that I wasn't turning into a zombie yet), so I switched brands again. I glued a little bit yesterday (still recovering from the last time I used the old glue) and I noticed a big difference. Sadly, I got a little on one finger and it is itchy and red today. Maybe I need to wear gloves while I am working with it?

All in all it is a pretty crappy allergy to have for someone in this hobby and I don't recommend it. It has really slowed down the progress of my Vampire Counts army even though I have plenty of models to assemble and convert.

But enough about models and allergies and tournaments. What about the BEER?! Oh .. well there is beer, or there will be in a month or so to be more precise!

We (the girl and I) have purchased our first home brewing kit! Went out and picked it up yesterday, as well as the ingredients to make our very first batch of beer. It will be a Pale Ale (although a fairly hoppy variety, not an IPA) and it is already bubbling away.

Making beer is fairly simple really, but it can be quite complex if you want it to. We opted for the simple method of Pitchable Yeast. This saves some time and it is easier for novice brewers like us.

The only problem we ran into was finding a vessel large enough to cool down the multiple gallons of boiling wort (the mixture of grains, malt, and hops pictured above) to stop the last bit of hops from losing all of its flavor. We ended up putting it in our bathtub and cooling it down there (though not quite fast enough so we may have lost a little of the hops flavor from the last addition).

It can be quite nerve wracking to have this (possibly) living thing hiding away in a bucket where you can't see it (sort of a Schrödinger's beer cat). We finished the beer at about 7pm last night and woke up this morning to find it bubbling away! It's alive! ALIVE!! Now for another 5-7 days of yeasty action and we will transfer it to the secondary fermenter (the box on the left) and add more hops. Another few days of that and its off to the bottles (with some priming sugar) for aging and carbonation.

Then we will have some beautiful baby beers to drink. I can't wait to try it!