Expecto Patreonum!

Become a patron via my Patreon page and you can help me produce quality nerdy things.

For more information on how this works, please read this post. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Traveller Tuesday: Sydkai Detached Cruiser

So once again there's a ship that I think can be designed better...

My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.

OK, so during the days of MegaTraveller, the Sydkai-class cruiser was invented. It had a similar purpose to a Kinunir , but was larger by 800 dtons to give it greater operational scope and range. It was, basically, a colonial cruiser on steroids, and it became known as a "detached duty cruiser" because its purpose was to perform long-term anti-piracy and anti-insurgency patrols along the Imperial border.

The problem is that it was only statted according to MegaTraveller rules, which use a totally different system of ship creation from any other version of Traveller.

And lo, the Sydkai did languish in disuse, until such time as Ian Stead upgraded it to Mongoose rules for that project I'm not yet allowed to talk about (yes, he's working on it too), for such stats were necessary for me to do my thing.
And while it was a faithful translation of an MT ship into an MgT ship, I felt the results were unsatisfying, because a faithful translation doesn't take into account all the cool improvements to be found in the various Mongoose books, nor does it stand a change against player cheese and ingenuity when armed with such improvements.

In other words, I made it deadlier.

  • First things first: 16 triple missile turrets out of 20 is just plain ineffective. Replacing them with four 50 dton missile bays still grants me the ability to unleash a flight of 48 missiles at once. Sure, you can argue that I've lost flexibility in targeting,  but now I have more hardpoints to play with and therefore engage more targets. 
  • I've added my usual hellish mixture of particle beams for long range, fusion beams for mid-range fighting, and pulse lasers & sandcasters for point defense. Things like "high yield"
     and "variable range" make me giggle due to the sheer bloody-minded effectiveness of overlapping fields of fire for weapons batteries. 
  • I also upped the thrust rating to 4, because 3Gs from a warship designed to kill pirates is just not sufficient to my mind. Jump-4/4G is fleet minimum, and while the Sydkai can get by with J-3 for is mission, maneuver drives are cheap and their benefits are immediate. 
  • Naturally, all these goodies (namely the bays) do come with some drawbacks, and so I had to sacrifice some armor. Of course, I upgraded it to Bonded Superdense (because come on, this is supposed to be a TL 15 ship here) and to only 2 points of armor were lost. 
  • In another of my signature moves, I added "free armor" mods of reflec coating and radiation shielding, because I honestly don't see why warships don't have these things standard. They don't cost tonnage, only money, and I've yet to see a government care that much about cost. 
  • A higher-tech hull and structure increases the amount of punishment it can absorb, and the addition of meson screen and nuclear damper further increase its survivability. 
  • I'm honestly not sure if a magazine of 2400 missiles and 1000 sandcaster barrels is sufficient. I really wanted a magazine size of 3000 and 2000, respectively, but I didn't have the tonnage. 
  • I wasn't sure how much cargo space I needed. I started with around 100 but reduced it to 85 in order to get 4G thrust, which to my mind is worth the spent volume. 
  • Added goodies like probe and repair drones, because warship. 
  • Rather than break down the number of staterooms for everyone, I just shoved everyone except the Captain into a barracks  (a barracks takes the same space as double occupancy staterooms anyway, so it works for volume calculations.)

Sure, I've taken a billion-credit ship and made it 2.5 times as expensive, but let me ask you which is more expensive in the long run: a billion-credit ship that's lost or destroyed because it's ineffective, or a 2.5 billion ship that trounces its opponents and stays alive?
Besides, the Third Imperium regularly builds Tigress-class Dreadnoughts that cost over a quarter of a trillion credits without blinking, so don't give me that nonsense about "cost overruns".

Art courtesy of Ian Stead

Erin, what's up with all the time-shifting?

... I hear you asking.

Well, it's like this:  Sometimes I don't quite finish a post the day I intend to publish it, due to distraction or not feeling well or having to tend to responsibilities or just running out of time.

And because I can backdate a post, I do.  It doesn't make sense to have a Monday Gunday appear on a Tuesday, now does it?

Basically, it's for archival purposes and to appease my OCD.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday Gunday: a Hard Lesson Learned

I have mentioned that I'm a useful idiot, yes?

Then let me tell you all something so that my pain can be your gain:  If your guns get wet while you're shooting them, don't put them back into foam-lined cases and then keep them there overnight, thinking "Oh, they'll be fine, and besides I'm too tired to take them out and clean them."

Don't do that, don't say that, don't even think that. Because if you do, the foam is going to act like a sponge, and absorb the water but still leave it in contact with the metal, and then you'll get rust like this:

No, what you do is, you take your guns out no matter how how tired you are, and you give them a good wipedown with a towel.

Now fortunately for me, this was all surface rust with no pitting, so a good scrubbing with a blue nylon bristle brush cleaned off most of it (I only needed the bronze for a few trouble spots). But as you can see, there was a lot of area covered, and this was spread across two rifles, a carbine and a shotgun.  It took me hours and hours and hours to get all the rust off and the metal coated in a thin layer of CLP and I swore that I would never do this again as long as I lived.

That said, I have to wonder just what the hell was in that rain that it caused such fast corrosion. I swear, those guns were only in their cases for about 12 hours, which to my non-scientific mind seems like not enough time for such corrosion to take place, especially on protected (blued) metal. I didn't think Cocoa Beach, Florida had a problem with acid rain, but now I'm starting to wonder if it does.

So here's the lesson:  Always take time to remove wet guns from cases and wipe them down, because otherwise you will end up losing an entire afternoon and evening to field stripping, scrubbing, lubing and re-assembling. 

However, my weekend wasn't all bad: I got the chance to take a newbie shooter out to the range, and let her play with all of my toys.

This is my friend Rinnie. She's excited about shooting and learning more, but still has a lot of nervousness when it comes to guns, especially guns that look big and powerful (You can't tell, but she's actually several inches shorter than I am!).

She does, however, have a firm grounding in the rules of gun safety and knows what a proper shooting stance is (I only caught her doing the "chick lean" once, and once I mentioned it she never did it again.

I started her off small with Colby, my Ruger Bearcat SA revolver in .22.

She had some sight issues at first, but once I explained how to put the blade in the groove (my shot is the one in the orange), she figured it out quickly. Notice the nice, tight grouping at 9 o'clock.  This was taken at a distance of about 15 feet or so.

By this point the rain was coming down steadily and causing the paper target to curl up, so I transitioned from "basics of aiming" to "okay, let's expose you to as many guns as possible and just have fun making things go bang."

She couldn't work the trigger on the DAO S&W.38, and she didn't like either of the .380s I brought along (one shot from each was enough for her, thanks... they hurt her hands).  She couldn't get her hands around my Glock 26's double-stack grip, either.

But she absolutely loved my Sub-2000!  She was taking potshots at an empty Gatorade bottle, and the first shot sent it spinning into the air... at which point she started giggling like a murderous pixie.

I was afraid I'd have to wrestle her to get my Subbie back, but she eventually relented after taking a selfie with it.

My SKS was too heavy for her to hold. Fortunately, I brought a shooting pad and a bipod, and she was game enough to give it a go. She thought it was okay, but didn't shoot a full magazine.

Izzy, on the other hand... I asked her if she wanted me to take a shot with it first and she said "Yes please." But she was paying attention to her phone, and not to me, so when I took a shot it surprised her and she nearly jumped out of her skin!

Rinnie was game enough to get into position behind it, though, and thought it was cool enough that she snapped a "shooter's eye view" of things.

She took a shot with it, said something like "Wow!" or "Whee!" and after working the bolt she said "Mm, that smells good."  Anyone who likes the smell of 7.62x54R propellant is my kind of person!

I'm pleased to report she shot an entire magazine.

Finally -- because I had been building up in recoil -- I bought out Leo, my shotgun. She had specifically asked me to bring him along, but I was worried the recoil might be too painful for her. So after making sure it was tight in her shoulder pocket, I let her shoot the Gatorade bottle with birdshot.

SHE LOVED IT. She loved it so much that she asked -- nay, demanded -- that I take a video of her shooting it. I can't embed the video because Facebook is stupid, but if you follow this link you'll be able to watch her shooting it. I thought I'd need to pry it from her hands, too.

So in conclusion, a new shooter got to experience a lot of different guns and had a great time. And I had a great time, too, marred only by the fact that I was dumb and didn't wipe my guns down afterward.

So, y'know, don't do what I did.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #28

Episode 28 of the Gun Blog Variety Cast is out!
  • Adam and Sean commiserate about the weather.
  • Erin Palette brings on a Special Guest, Brandon, to talk about first aid supplies.
  • The new Secretary of Defense gets the Nicki Kenyon seal of approval.
  • Miguel Gonzalez digs up a congressional report from 1982 that confirms that, even then, they knew that the Second Amendment is an individual right.
  • I might be getting a new computer, and Barron B. tells how to get rid of all the bloatware, adware, and preinstalled garbage.
  • And Weer'd discusses the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill currently in Congress.
Check us out!
Listen to the podcast here.
Show notes may be found here.
Thanks for downloading, listening, and subscribing. And don't forget to share it with a friend!

Friday, February 27, 2015

SHTFriday: Prepping and Magic: the Gathering

In perhaps my geekiest column yet (well -- maybe not here, but definitely over at Blue Collar Prepping), I compare assembling a bug-out bag to building a Magic: the Gathering deck, and it makes a surprising amount of sense.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Morales vs Thor: A Study in Contrast

Pardon me while I plug in my waffle iron once again. This really should be the last time that have to bring up female Thor.

In fixing my poor education on the subject of Peter Parker, I've recently read through the last half of his Ultimate Spider-Man run, into the second volume that culminates in the death of Peter Parker and the rebirth of the character of Spider-Man as Miles Morales. It's something that echoes and contrasts nicely the difference in the handling between Miles Morales and the mystery female Thor.

The main contrast between these two situations is the respect in which the handover from seasoned hero to rookie newcomer is handled. In Spider-Man's case, there was an epic six-issue final battle in which Normon Osborn, as a hulked-out Green Goblin, escapes SHIELD custody, springing some of Spidey's biggest and baddest adversaries in the process and begins a hunt that ends at Aunt May's house. Spidey, Human Torch, and Iceman face off against Goblin, Vulture, Electro, Sandman, and Kraven. Parker is particularly heroic, having just survived being shot through the torso taking a bullet that was meant for Captain America, as he webs himself shut and drags himself to the battle, before crushing Goblin with a truck. Aunt May even gets a shining moment of awesome as she shoots Electro down with her own revolver. And in the end, Parker is given a magnificently noble send-off, in which a young boy is standing in the crowd watching as the life slips away from him, and he finally makes peace with being unable to save his Uncle Ben. A young boy named Miles Morales.

Morales's uncle is the Ultimate universe version of The Prowler, a professional burglar (that bears an uncomfortable resemblance to Deadpool) who does a job on Oscorp labs only to unwittingly provide a ride to an enhanced spider that ends up biting his nephew. The first 10 or so issues, as far as I've read, of Morales has him treating Peter Parker's legacy with awe and reverence, and rightly so. He's a young kid, younger even than Parker was, coming from a different background and a different life experience. His Uncle Ben moment comes when, after discovering his powers, he gets to the scene of the final battle too late, and blames himself for Parker dying. His appearances are initially met with hostility, then slow acceptance, particularly with Jessica Drew, Parker's female clone and Spider-Woman of the Marvel Ultimate universe. Morales has a natural and believable amount of self-doubt for someone of his age. A palpable sense of “Who am I to take Spider-Man's place?”

Pictured: The Absorbing Strawman
Pictured: Character Assassination
on a female villain.
The new Thor... does not take this approach.
Contrasting between
Morales and Thor, one subject is treated with a great deal of respect, where the other is not. Where Parker got a hero's death, and a supporting cast that transfers into the new character's life to both keep him grounded and teach him how to be Spider-Man, Thor gets none of these benefits. Where Morales is both well-established and likeable, the new Thor is flippant (in her own mind) and arrogant (in addressing other characters). Morales's book shows minority characters interacting naturally with one another as well as established characters while Thor's book turns a pair of established villains into a strawman anti-feminist critic and a pushover girl-power cheerleader. We get to know Morales as a human being and as a budding hero, where Thor just plops a stranger in front of us and says “We're not going to tell you who this is, but you're going to like her whether you like it or not!”

And finally, Parker is treated with respect. Given a hero's death and a lasting legacy. Thor is turned into a drunken layabout with a deified case of depression. Ultimate Spider-Man is how you go about replacing a hero. Thor is how you go about disrespecting your own property and alienating fans for clickbait attention.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WNW: Machine Gun Antics

This video seems to be making the rounds of the gunblogs, and since Wednesday is my "phone it in so I can write for money" day, I figured what the hell:

h/t to Joe Huffman for the link.

Speaking of machine guns, here is the cutest little full-auto I've ever seen:

I want one of these so, so much. Even if the ammo expenditure at current .22LR prices makes me weep.

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.