What happens in New Vegas doesn't necessarily stay in New Vegas

I claim that I can manage another week of no modeling, even though the halftrack is whispering in my ear constantly. So I'll talk about New Vegas that I've played a lot lately. I accidentally completed the game, it only took 65 hours and that's not enough, even Fallout 3 took 103 hours... Though there's a good explanation for that, but before that:

Spoiler warning!

There. Don't read if you don't want to know more about stuff I'm not cencoring or anything. You've been warned.

After the last post and about thirty game-hours I had adventured all around the wasteland, completed a ton of random quests and slaughtered a ridiculous amount of baddies. And some neutrals. Oh well, some good people too, but you can't make an omelette without breaking a bunch of eggs, you know?
During my adventures I sneakily gathered more and more levels and before I noticed I had got to the level cap (at level 30) and that's all there is. The first DLC is supposed to increase it to 35 but I haven't even thought of getting any of those so far. Not that I cared about the levels but it's just so nice to hear the "bamm" when you get more XP and especially the "you gained a level" sound, boost my skills here and there (especially as some quests are undoable without certain skills being ridiculously high...). As my last perk I chose the Explorer so I can check all the places in the map. Potentially. Oh my, the amount of stuff I hadn't noticed and I thought I had been just about everywhere, the southeast corner excluded... Whoa.

While solving a quest for BoS I went to a couple of Vaults to find some spare parts. One of them was inhabited by a horde of Fiends, those psychotic narcs. With my awesome speech skills I told I was a drug courier and they let me walk around as I pleased. Hah. Of course I looted whatever I could and stole the rest (note to self: put points in sneaking the next time, it makes pickpoketing much more fun). I stumbled upon their boss, too, but he didn't have anything interesting to say so I kept wandering around. In the other side of the Vault I found a bunch of prisoners and a bit later a wounded Ranger. He was there to assassinate the boss Fiend (Motormouth or something) but as he was seriously injured, I just told him to fuck off and that I'd kill the dude myself. I spread a bunch of mines around, started shooting the Fiends wherever I found 'em. Then I released the prisoners and went for the boss. I guess I was there a bit too late in the game (too many levels under my belt) because they weren't any kind of a problem. Or maybe my sneaky criticals just were so lucky.
Who cares as long as my enemies die?
At least I had to shoot the main dude a couple of times to the forehead before he died away. When I checked what his corpse had I grinned like a maniac. That guy had had a chainsaw! A small red text "A chainsaw! Find some meat!" flashed through my mind and then I ran to the nearest city block with enemies with my chainsaw. That was just plain awesome 8)

I kept walking around the map however my quests required and when I was around somewhere I tried to make sure I checked all the yet unfound locations instead of randomly checking whatever, whenever. At some point I got to a power station that was held by the NCR. One of the guards said something like "don't go to the control room" when I marched past. Yeah, yeah, I won't. I went through the first door without paying any attention to its redness in the hud. Inside a bunch of troopers were sleeping but they got up, yelled at me and one of them started shooting. A bad move if I ever saw one... In a moment they were all spread around the walls. I checked the room, found nothing mentionable and went out again. The rest of the guards got angry at me for some sick reason and started shooting without any chance of talking them down or anything. Before I could say "a kitty", half of them were reduced to smoking piles of ash and the rest soon followed. They started it!
I was content, anyway, for I hadn't been the aggressor and so I hadn't lost my fairly good social standing with NCR. But then the last guardess had emerged from behind the transformer station and met her end by Cass' shotgun. The next thing I saw was a "NCR infamy gained" notification.. Damnit.
Oh well, at least they didn't hate me yet, they were just somewhat mixed towards me and my actions.

That gave me the push I needed to go and check Caesar's base. I had been invited so long time ago, so I decided to go and have a chat with him. Couldn't hurt, now could it?

I had my long-ish chat with him, got a few tasks around there and one of them was to go to the basement under the hill. I was going there already for that was on the todo-list from Yes Man. Speaking of whom, he's the one who gave me the idea of killing mr. House and becoming the ruler of New Vegas myself. Caesar wanted me to blow up everything underground.
So there I went, found a telecom device of mr. House and had a chat with him, too. He convinced me to keep working for him, or that's what he believed. I accidentally activated an angry looking army of Securitrons and the noise made Caesar believe that I had blown stuff up. What he doesn't know doesn't hurt him...

This might be a good place to take a break because otherwise this post would be longer than a day without noms. And no one wants that. It's a pity that I haven't got any good pics of the rest of the story I was going to tell. Maybe I'll conjure up some at some point.


More basing

I decided that I'll finish the base as soon, or quickly as possible. There were two main reasons for that.
  1. I was in the mood
  2. My next models are already begging to be started with

So I took my pin-vise and started drilling a hole to the mdf-plate. Its place was handily scouted when I spraycoated the asteroid base: for this the asteroid plate was on top of the mdf-plate where it was going to sit in the finished version, so I just sprayed directly from above. Some paint went through the small hole I had made with the iron wire so there was a neat, precise spot on the plate as a "drill here" sign. As I was patting myself on the back I noticed my tiny mistake with the toolset. My pin-vise has 0.1mm bits and the iron wire has a diameter of 1mm. So I had to misuse a couple of my other tools but in the end I got the hole as big as it needed to be.

Just in case my white glue wouldn't be enough I decided to pin them together. I marked six places and drilled shallow holes in those spots. After that I poked the end of the thin wire in each hole at a time and cut a short piece. To prevent them from falling off at critical moments (that always happens) or just being in an awkward angle, I spread some thinned down white glue around them. Thinned down so that there wouldn't be any funny lumps on the mfd-plate when I try to attach all things together.

Had I been a bit less enthusiastic, I had realized before attaching the ministicks that the bigger wire needs a place to go to, too... While the tiny pins were occasionally digging into my palm I dug a trench on the bottom of the mdf-plate. When the extra iron wire can be bent to be out of the way and maybe giving a tiny bit of extra rigidity for the whole thing.

That's the actiony pose I had intended. Now I just need to clean up a bit here and there, like taking the sawdust remains off and all that.

As an ultra extra bonus a shot directly from above:


Forking the base

Yesterday I went for a manly shopping run.

First I ended up in the shop that used to be called Risteysasema but nowadays it's something like mallikauppa.fi. Never been there but Tapsa recommended checking it, so... I asked for a good "ground material" for my asteroid and I ended up choosing some gray Woodland Scenics "ballast". Thanks for the recommendation! The bag says it's good for railroads and gravel roads so I bet it's good enough for an asteroid as well with those merits. He didn't have all I was looking for (but my todo list got longer again) so I had to set my course to Kamppi.

From Hobby Point I got - as I had half-expected - some Tamiya pigments and a container of Vallejo's burnt carbon (iirc). Oh and one button of white water paint, just in case I feel like going for a hasty winter camo again. It worked pretty nicely on Hobbes' surface.

Now that I got home, I mixed some water and white glue to make some nicely spreadable but not-that-quickly-setting goo. I spread that stuff over the foam base I had prepared last week. In the middle of the first sector I realized that I hadn't made a hole for the iron wire, so I punched a hole and didn't even make a mess! I'm getting better at this :P Just in case something was going to go wrong I spread the thin glue goo a sector at a time. When the first one was covered I just applied some of that ballast stuff quite liberally. Then shook all the excess crap off, GOTO 10.

That wasn't good for my shoulders, working in weird positions and all that. Or maybe I'm just broken. The end result was pretty neat so I decided that I'll let it dry well so that I don't blow all that ballast off when I start spraying it gray. As I had gotten in the "let's do this"-mood, I approximated a good lenght of wire I needed for the holder. My original idea was something shaped like a square bracket and a support leg going from the back of the plane.

I did some measuring, cut the wire and started bending it around. For a moment I thought I could take a shortcut (not bending the wire 180º but just going down) but it didn't feel too good in the terms of supporting the model. So I decided to go with my original idea because it sounded like it worked better. After each bend I checked if all was going as planned. Just to make sure. And just to be on the safe side I made a couple of extra bends under where the belly of the Imperial X-Wing would be, even though I didn't think it was absolutely necessary. Just in case.

That's how the fork ended up. I'll paint it matt black later so everybody gets that it's not a part of the picture:

Of course I had to check how the "final pose" would look and if it ends up like I had hoped:

At this point I can still finetune the whole thing and there's plenty of time and space for it. Maybe those caves need a bit of filling or maybe not. Who says that all asteroids are as smooth as potatoes, anyway?
I guess that's most of what's left: fixing the MDF-baseplate, painting the asteroid and attaching it to the baseplate with the model supporting metal wire. Oh yes, I've got a good feeling about this!


Fixin' the base

I got to work one of these afternoons. I cut a hex-ish shaped piece out of the large chunk I got, using the baseplate as a rough template. It wasn't as simple as I thought because that foam is quite thick. The main goodness is that it's a lot sturdier than normal styrofoam and doesn't crumble as awfully.

The whole piece was quite thick compared to the scale of the model so I cut off about a third of it, with the idea of making the cut very irregular. That irregularity was to make it more natural looking. Of course it doesn't look much at this point:

So I impaled that thin piece to the proof-of-concept piece (that rectangular MDF-plate with a metal wire going through it) and sprayed the whole thing flat gray. It'll need some fixing still, but it's a start. It's also nice that I can work on the balcony with these things better now that the sun stays up for a bit later so I don't have to struggle with the little light that comes from the living room windows... ain't the approaching spring just awesome?

Next I am going to cover the top parts in thinned down white glue and then dump a load of sand on it. And then, I thought, I'd spray that again with the gray thing. I believe it'd be quite space-y. In case it doesn't go as I think it should, I can still repaint it until it ends up how I want it.

I'm just hoping that the gray base wouldn't make the whole view way too gray with the darkish metallic Imperial X-Wing. We'll find out soon enough.


New material to accompany the Imperial X-Wing

A bunch of days ago I asked from a guy I know, what he as a more experienced modeler thinks of my plan for the X-Wing's base. I had thought that a salsa jar lid would be a nicely sized and shaped thing to put stuff on. The asteroid could've been modeled with some styrofoam that's been softened over a tea candle or something. Then the model itself would be lying on a plastic pipe (cotton swap pipes, to be more exact) and there would be a piece of metal wire that hooks to a hole in the bottom of the model. Or a bunch of them. But drilling holes in my model? Didn't like the sound of that.

This is more or less the reply I got to my email: "I may have some extra finnfoam at work, it's nicer to work with than polystyrene and maybe some MDF plates and some heavier metal wire. Would it be fine if I popped by on Friday?". Of course it was fine. And as usual the five-minute visit ended up being more than an hour and a half, for we both seem to have the habit of talking quite a bit whenever there's someone to chat with. This is what Tapsa brought with him:

A plate of lightish blue finnfoam, an assortment of those mdf plates with nice edges (I have absolutely no clue how that thing is to be called in english) and a small roll of strong-looking metal wire. The idea is to twist a piece of that wire to make a two-pronged fork to have the model sit on (between the wings). Then the wire would turn back from other end to go down, through the finnfoam and the mdf plate where it would be finally connected. At the moment I think that the biggest problem will be the making of the asteroid shape so taht it doesn't look too fake. Soon we'll see how badly I guessed. Again.

I really was going to keep a short-ish break from modeling and all that but then again, there are my pieces and it's less than two months to Model Expo so I have to actually build that base before it. Meanwhile the next special vehicle (SdKfz) is already whispering from under the table "Build meeeee.... buuuiiiiiiillllldddd meeee". Auf deutsch, natürlich.

Maybe I'll go and play a bit more of Fallout so that kind of whisperage ends for a moment at least.


War. War never changes.

As my description is at least trying to say, I've assumed I'll be writing about other things, not only about scale models. My main reason is that I can't and don't always have the time to build and/or paint. Another reason is that gaming is another of my hobbies (coding for fun is one as well, but haven't had much time to do that lately...). These things work nicely together, for you can do both in different states of mind, weather and schedule: in 15 minutes you can either assemble something but it makes no sense to fire up Civ IV for that. Or half an hour isn't enough for an elaborate painting session but it's more than fine to kill a bunch of Crimson Lance fools. Just like one just doesn't always feel like playing/building/something, so options are always a pure victory.

I mean, playing through a Fallout in my style is a big and a long-lasting Project, so it fits under the topic really nicely :) Anyway, I'll prepare my short story with a long background explanation.

Oh, and before I continue, I'm warning about potential spoilers.

I won't be hiding any story parts or anything else, either, I'll just write what I come up with. There'll be a bunch of text and most of it is going to be just general ranting and all that, so maybe the "quality" of my postings will suffer for
this post - or maybe for every gaming-related post as well. Who knows?

My experiences with the Fallout series is such: second one I've played through a bunch of enjoyable times, Fallout 3 1½ times and this New Vegas one is still under progress, obviously. For some sick reason I've never got my hands on the original Fallout, my friends never lent me Fallout Tactics (they were always busy with it themselves) and the xbox-based BoS I tried once quickly at a friend.

The third real Fallout by Bethesda was something I was expecting with a great amount of curiosity: how can you turn this awesome RPG with turn-based combat into one of these modern real time 3d-thingamagicks? Thankfully the VATS sort of brought the shooting back to the turn-basedness, for the moments when real time shooting wasn't feasible (it's somewhat nicer to shoot down enemy grenades in VATS). VATS lets you aim at different body parts and gives the to-hit percentages to help in the decision-making. My old favourites from Fallout 2 (the eyes & the groin) aren't included! Blasphemy! Especially the eyes not being in the list annoys me to no end. What do you do with a good set of spiked knuckles if you can't pop your enemies' eyes out with them? Why can't I swing my super sledgehammer at that slaver's groin?

Now that I got to that part, you can aim at bodyparts when you're shooting, but if you're armed with melee weapons or just your fists, you can't aim at a specific part at all in the VATS mode! What the hell? You could shoot someone's knees off but you can't cripple them with a hammer? Why not? I'm waiting for a mod to fix this insane missing feature. Also, with my skills, I couldn't choose if I was punching or kicking, like in Fallout 2. Maybe that's not implemented. Pity, but not as much as the no-targeting-for-melee-weapons. Bah.

Ok, I mentioned mods, it's awesome that these new Fallouts can be modded to your heart's content. The games are nicely harsh out of the box, just like Fallout 2 was. Swearing, smoking, drinking (+1 charisma, -1 perception (or so)), slavering, whoring and all that plentiful more or less justified violence. Oh, you can also use drugs if you want to see how the addict side of the game world works, and if you aren't afraid of the withdrawals. Or you can join those aforementioned slavers, at least in F3, haven't got to see anything for or against in New Vegas.
I once got addicted to Nuka Cola in Fallout 2, it was pretty surreal: that was the first bottle I drank :D Those combat drugs give you bonuses and all that, but my fear of negative buffs from withdrawals have kept me away from them. For some reason this was all fine and dandy for our friends in Australia, but using morphine for greater damage tolerance (strong painkiller, anyone?) was not. It was scary enough for them to consider not rating the whole game, which translates into the game being practically banned in Australia. So Bethesda renamed morphine to Med-X and one of the first mods, and the first one I always install, is Med-X to Morphine. Despite my character using Morphine every once in a while I haven't ended up being a morphi- or any other nist, in the game or in real world. Tards.

Oh, and there was (is) one big instance of self-cencorship in these two games and that confuses me quite a bit, hopefully others, too. In the good old Fallout 2 I was running around Den (if I remember correctly, after Arroyo you find the first three places in this order: Klamath, Modoc, Den). There are numerous kids in Den and they do some pickpocketing. Once I got some caps stolen from me and I replied with a sledgehammer into his face. The brat died instantly and his/her corpse slid all the way to the edge of the map. I got my caps back and went on my merry way, back to Modoc. The locals had turned into less happy people, their speech texts were enemy-red and replies were pretty harsh. One of them attacked me and after the thing escalated into a bloodbath I decided to run away, for at that early point in the game I wasn't quite up to an ethnic cleansing of the village... yet.
Anyway, after getting away I checked my stats to see what the hell could be wrong, what was my status among the groups I had contacted already. I noticed that I had a brand new Child Killer perk among the few ones I had already had. I decided that things weren't how I wanted them to be so I loaded an earlier save and let the kids be in the future.
Well. If you end up pickpocketing them and dumping some lit dynamite or C4 in their pockets... they die all the same but you don't get the negative karma :P

For their own reasons the Bethesda team decided that in their game this won't do (and obviously the kids in these games are just as annoying as in the movies). Naturally I, to protest, got a childkiller mod to Fallout 3. I only used it to try it out. Funnily enough, if blowing kids up was doable out of the box, I'd avoided doing that like the plague itself. Now that it's forbidden and you have to mod your game to do that... Blah.

Maybe I get to my real topic now?

So I got Fallout New Vegas as an xmas gift in the spanish tradition: the sixth of January (reyes magos, three magical kings). Almost two months have elapsed and according to Steam that means roughly 35 hours of game time. Nowadays I play semirandomly from ~30mins to ~2 hours, depending on how I feel and all that. And when I feel like it.

I'm in the very early stages of the main storyline. I mean, I've only solved a couple of short "go there and ask about who shot you" tasks until I got to Vegas' the Strip. In the very beginning you get to know that you were a courier and were carrying a platinum chip, someone caught you, took the chip, shot you in the head and buried you. Apparently the attacker was a clueless retard or you were just plain lucky for you survived. The first mission is to find your killer and get back the platinum chip to complete your job. After one or two of these "go there, talk to someone" tasks later you hear that the killer was someone called Benny and he lives in the Strip. Nice. It's just not that easy to get there. The straightest route is full of Deathclaws and the detour gives you a ton of more quests. I solved them however, what sounded most interesting (= less deadly) or was just around the corner already. While doing all that the map got populated with more and more markers and those ended up giving even more quests or small tasks to complete.
The variety of bigger and smaller quests go from the classic "get a needle from the haystack, take it to the pharmacist who gives something to be taken to someone who gives you candy and 100 exp" to "Gather a mob and defend the town from escaped prisoners", and awesome quests like "Find out who sold my wife as a slave so I'll shoot him/her in the head" and "Hire a ghoul cowboy to do soem 'escort' stuff in my bar", not to mention some honest mercenary stuff.

While doing all this, running amok around the desert I've raised my dude's level to almost 22 (out of 35 before any DLC) and only now I dared to go to the quarry that's crawling with Deathclaws. There's a Deathclaw Mother, a Deathclaw Alpha Male (didn't remember those when I got there...) and a horde of smaller ones of all sizes and ages. So far all my attempts of trying to sneak by the quarry have ended quickly in myself being torn from limb to limb and my poor friends being eaten. All this in less than half a minute. Now I went into the quarry and started sniping them - without a real sniper rifle, of course. Now I survived because I went on the ledges so the monsters didn't always get to me and my friends on the first or even the second attack. Still it took a couple of dozen attempts. At one point I realized that the Alpha Male always storms the same way so I run, dropped all my 38 frag mines in the same pile, ran back, attacked from a distance. He went head on to my trap, crippled his leg and it still took me. Raul and the robot a ridiculous amount of time, tries and ammo to kill that bastard. Of course it's just correct: there are places where you shouldn't go if you aren't tough enough, you'll get killed in a heartbeat. And if you are tough, you're still not guaranteed to survive. In the early game, armed with small worn out pistols, tire irons and wearing a leather coat it's a suicide. Now, weating a Combat Armor, armed with various rifles, laser guns and explosives, it was still a challenge. Awesome!

At the moment, based on what I've seen and heard in the deserts of Vegas, there are two main groups against each other: New California Republic (NCR) we know from Fallout 2 and Caesar's Legion I've never heard before of. The NCR has spread its area of influence from the distant-ish California and the Legion is a brutal, apparently pro-slavery group. At some point the Legion people got angry at me and went from neutral "says hello when crossing paths" to "shoot at sight". I guess I was in too good a relationship with the NCR.
I haven't decided who I friend in the end (if I can choose, that is): NCR who seems to be a bit rude and I didn't like them at all in Fallout 2. And when you chat with the Legion's representative, they have a fun-sounding approach to life. We'll see how the thing proceeds and what I hear if and when the background stories get revealed a bit more. As the more recent happenings go, both NCR and Legion reps promised that my "possible crimes against them will be forgotten" and that I should go and have a chat with them. That NCR ambassador I met already for he was just behind the corner but I'd need to travel quite a bit to meet Caesar. I guess my quests will take me closer to the southeast corner of the map soon, so I'll talk to him too, when I get there.

Or maybe I'll just stay with Mr. House, enjoy the security provided by some heavily armed robots and spend all my different monies in the casinos. Oh, I found Benny all right. I threat.. persuaded him to have a private meeting and beat him to a bloody pulp with my spiked knuckles. He tried to get me to join him and his team, he also promised some quests and stuff, but revenge is sweet and I didn't want to have those spiked knuckles being smuggled there for nothing... Maybe in another life.

For the first time it's happened to me that I've ended up developing the speech skill quite a lot in Fallout New Vegas, it's actually quite useful. In all the earlier games I've either bribed (and then stolen my caps back) or burned my way through so this is quite an exciting new thing to me. Always, especially in Fallout 2, I've made some sort of a kickboxer thief (unarmed + pickpocket + small guns), now I'm more like a Han Solo type of a loud guy (guns + speech + melee weapons). Yeah, I know, Han Solo isn't a melee dude but I like it and hadn't thought of this before, maybe survival would've been good for this type of a guy.

I guess I'll stop now and continue in another post, no one is going to read this kind of an endless rantage :P