Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Unconfirmed Tales of the UNSC (Skip)

I’ve hated Skip for as long as I’ve known him.

Which hasn’t been that long, if I’m being honest.  A little less than four months.  But I hate him nonetheless.  Big, loud and as arrogant as the day is long, Corporal Wayne ‘Skip’ Alders was the kind of guy that would just ride your ass for no good reason.  Always bitching that my weapon wasn’t quite clean enough, or that I carried my medpack in a different place than he’d told us.

Whatever.  He’s not my father.

Nope, my father died when the Covenant glassed our homeworld.  My mother and I had been away visiting family and were lucky enough to have missed the festivities.  But my father refused to leave the farm for a few days.  We had workers who could have run things while he was gone.  But my old man just had to have his hands in things.  Had to oversee his little domain.  Couldn’t risk that things might not go perfectly if he was absent for a while.  Anyway, his stubbornness left me without a father at the age of fifteen.

Over my mother’s protests, I joined the UNSC Marine Corps as soon as I turned eighteen.  I was determined to do my part to make sure that the Covies got what was coming to them.  For all the countless millions who died in the Covenant’s rampage through our solar systems.  For my father.  For me... and the anger that burned in my belly.  I flew through training and was assigned to UNSC Security Forces Reach.  Everybody knew that the Covies would never find Reach, so my assignment there was disappointing.  I wanted to get into the fight, so I worked my ass off and in June of 2552, I earned myself a transfer to a frontline infantry unit.  Unfortunately, that unit turned out to be the 405th Division, who were based out of Diego Garcia.  Yeah, that’s right.  On Earth.

I hated the 405th from the moment I arrived.  Skip was my squad leader and for some reason, he seemed to take a special interest in breaking my chops.  Always on me about something.  The real kicker was when the Covenant found Reach.  For all my efforts to get into the fight, I’d just barely missed it.  Skip told me that I was lucky, but just felt cheated.

On October 20th, 2552, a small Covenant fleet arrived at Earth and it seemed that my prayers had been answered.  More than a few Marines were scared.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty.  But there was Skip, in the middle of my moment, telling me to check and re-check my gear.  Make sure my magazines were topped off.  And to make sure my goddamned medpack in the proper location.

One of the Covenant ships breached the atmospheric defenses and settled over New Mombasa.  Our company was deployed to reinforce the 17th Marines, who were fighting a losing battle to hold the ONI Alpha Site.  The Adrenaline ran through me like a drug.  This was it!  And in my moment of glory, as I ran down the Pelican’s ramp, there was Skip, directing me to take cover.  Screw that.  I didn’t come here to take cover.

Even now, Skip is berating me.  Bitching again about the placement of my medpack, as he works.  For a guy that clearly doesn’t like me, he’s trying awfully damned hard to save my life.  The three glowing pink spikes protruding from my chest plate seem as though they ought to hurt.  But they don’t.  I can’t feel them.  It’s hard to breathe, though.  Kinda feels like something heavy is sitting on me.

As my vision grows fuzzy, I can see that Skip has stopped working, his eyes filled with tears and resignation.  What the Hell is that about?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

UNSC Infinity: Fireteam Badger

My entire family loves playing Halo, so it wasn't unexpected that my penchant for turning my family members into custom figures would eventually spill over into the Halo Universe.  Halo 4 features Spartan Fireteams with names like Crimson, Majestic, Castle, Lancer, Switchback and so on.  I asked my wife, son and daughter what they thought our Fireteam name should be and it was decided that because we are proud residents of Wisconsin, we would be Fireteam Badger.  Our in-game characters all feature armor emblems in the red and white of the University of Wisconsin Badgers (we had to settle for the bear claw emblem as it was the closest thing we could find to an actual badger paw print).

The figure depicting me is the steel/red Warrior.  The base figure was the red Warrior from wave 1 of McFarlane's Halo 4 line.  It is the same one I posted in October of 2013, albeit with a new paint job.

The figure depicting my son Adam is the steel/aqua CIO.  This figure is the same steel/aqua CIO that was released as a Walgreen's Exclusive in wave 2 of McFarlane's Halo 4 line.  When Adam saw the figure, he loved it so much, he set out to earn the CIO armor so that he could wear it in-game.  He hasn't changed armor since.  No significant modification was done to the figure because it was already accurate.  I touched up the factory paint a little bit to remove flaws, and I gave it a plasma pistol.  Adam really loves highjacking vehicles after freezing them with a shot from an overcharged plasma pistol, so it seemed like a no-brainer to set his figure up the same way.

The figure depicting my daughter Kate is the steel/pink Soldier.  The base figure was the blue Soldier from wave 1 of McFarlane's Halo 4 line.  I didn't realize it until I started painting this one, but as far as I could tell, the forearms and lower legs on this figure do not match any in-game armor.  Sort of odd considering how well McFarlane usually manages to match the in-game content.

The figure depicting my wife Jenny is the steel/green Scout.  This figure started out as the rust-colored Scout from wave 2 of McFarlane's Halo 4 line.  This was easily the most difficult of the four figures, because the steel paint was reluctant to stick to the figure as well as it did the previous three.

All four figures were given tiny decals to match our chosen armor emblem.  I made these by saving the emblem image from the Internet, shrinking it down to the proper size and then printing four of them out onto decal paper.  The hardest part was cutting the tiny circles out.  ;)

The base is a simple pre-cut wooden plaque that I picked up at a hobby shop for two dollars.  I painted it and then added some 'terrain'.  The figures are each attached with a tiny dab of hot glue.  The hot glue keeps them in place very nicely, but can be pulled off in seconds if I decide that I want to change the display.

Adam is currently working on a back story for these four characters and I'll post that when he's finished!