I received a bunch of pencils for the holidays. Some were desired duplicates. Some are brand-spanking new never-owned-befores. Here’s a pic of what I received that are duplicates of what I have. All are 0.5 mm. Three Pentel Twist Erase GTs with accoutrement. A lifetime’s worth of lead. Thank you sibling-in-laws. A Uni Kuru Toga in blaze red. Thank you me. A green Pentel Sharp Kerry. Replacement Pentel Z2-1 erasers. Thank you Mother!
The Uni Kuru Toga is the best story. I bought that for myself from jetpens. Why? I brought my mechanical pencil collection with me on our trip to visit my parents. My cousin Arianna took particular interest in the collection. It turns out she loves mechanical pencils too. She lives in a rural area, so I’m not surprised that she hasn’t been introduced to premium pencils. She took quite the fancy of my old Uni Kuru Toga and its unique lead rotation mechanism on Christmas Eve at my parent’s place. So, I did what any good cousin would do: I wrapped it up and gave it to her Christmas Day as a gift. She really appreciated it. I took the opportunity to replace it with a unique variant of it in my primary school color. Everybody wins.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be reviewing other pencils that I received as gifts over the holidays. The Top Ten list is likely to get a shakeup, including potentially bringing back pencils that I had booted off the list. Why? I’ve had quite the opportunity to write a lot over this holiday break and my opinions on some of the pencils that I had just based off of features has changed now that I’ve had more of a chance to use them. More to come! Also, plenty of gaming reports will pop up as I plan to play X-wing Miniatures and Savage Worlds RPG over the next week before heading back to my professional work. Stay tuned Tactical Thinkers!
A few weeks ago, I came to the realization that the tools I was using for gaming weren’t the right ones for what I was trying to accomplish. What exactly was I trying to accomplish? Well, I feel a very strong connection of writing utensil to paper. I’m not a good artist, by any measure. My handwriting is pretty atrocious. But, I find ownership over what I create with writing utensil and paper, more so often than blogging. After all, writing is literally physical and blogging is ones and zeros. If a server somewhere at WordPress headquarters is destroyed in a fire, I’ll lose all of my work here. But a physical copy? It may not be any safer than the server, but at least I know I have control over it. Long story short, I have always felt that if an intellectual has a signature “tool”, for me it is a writing instrument and this is my foray into finding the style of mechanical pencil, specifically, that is best for me.
In doing research for my pencils blog post, I started to get intrigued by mechanical pencils made for drafters. So, yesterday when I was out with my wife , I stopped at a Blick Art Store and perused their drafting pencils.
Quick pencil update after yesterday. My plan, when my wife and I go out today, is to hit up a Blick or Michaels and see if they have a Pentel Sharp p205 series, as recommended by the Mechanical Pencil Guy. We’ll see how that goes.
In other news, here are some pictures of the map we’ll be using for our next Battletech game:
We’ll only be playing on about half of the map. The rest of it is hidden in the foreground. Most of the hexes are marked with terrain feature names and elevations and they are perfectly scaled to standard Battletech Hex size.
My apologies if some are a little blurry. Lighting is bad in the Man Cave™. Strategic islands were placed in the water to speed up the transition from map edges and avoid having to use underwater rules, which can be clunky.
I bought this map on eBay for around 50 USD plus shipping a little over a year ago. Its done by a guy who calls himself the “Map Master”. I’d credit his name if I knew it. He has a Facebook presence (search Map Master Battle Maps) and a website. This map is called “Archipelago Assault”.
The bad news is that his printing company closed down as of this writing and he had to increase his prices. A map this size will cost you 75 USD plus shipping now. Maps of this quality with appropriately scaled BT markings are rare. So, I recommend this if, like me, you prefer explicit markings on your maps so you don’t have to “guess” what your LOS is going through. There is a lot of variety, including city maps.
The map is high quality, water resistant and on very durable paper.
My only criticism of them is, since they are aerial photographs, there isn’t a ton of variety within an individual map. From a gameplay perspective, I just prefer my terrain to be more varied.