Author: noahschonhaar

I am a teenager approaching manhood. After realizing that my life was heading in no direction at all I decided to grab my life by the throat and build my life for God.

Lego Spaceship

So I just recently made a trip to a local Lego store to raid the Pick-a-Brick wall. I came back with almost 2500 bricks including several hundred 1×2 sand green plates and 1×1 round grey tiles. I knew I needed to do something with all that so fist I made this.

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I made 54 of these suckers before calling it quits (just kidding, I ran out of trans cheese slopes). I knew I needed to do something with this so I decided to make a transport for them. This is what I came up with.IMG_3441

It’s just a small microscale transport.  I vision it as being a frigate class, not as big as a cruiser but more heavily armed than a destroyer.

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Bit of a different shot before we go to closeups.

IMG_3444The bay doors in closed position. This was the first part of the build and one of the least difficult bits to do. Although I did redo them several times.

IMG_3443And here they are in the open position. There are only six fighters in this ship although more can be crammed in if necessary. All those turrets are to defend the exiting ships.

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Both bay doors open. The landing bay is split in two so one stray hit won’t take out the entire force.

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The bridge. That clip thingy is the only other sand green element I have besides a 1×2 slope.

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The back of the ship. This is a good part. I really like the nice windows and everything.

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I love the engines! Usually the engines on my spaceships never work. These work so well.

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The front. It’s not as clean as I’d have liked, but that doesn’t mean I rushed it. I worked on this a lot to get it like this.

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The underside. Told you I had hundreds of these. I still must have a couple hundred in my room. Anyhow, these are supposed to be armour plating and a heat shield for when the ship is entering the atmosphere.

Overall, this was an extremely fun build for me that looks epic. My brother keeps bugging me to make a enemy frigate now. I may make something.

Chainmail Journal #2

The day after I wrote my last chainmail post I had issues. Serious issues. I pretty much gave up after a good hour or two of getting nowhere. Then two days ago I decided to give it another shot. This time around I figured out what I was doing wrong in 20 minutes. Best feeling in the world. After some more fiddling around I feel like I’m back on track and I wanted to share my progress.

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This is two hours of work. Granted I did a fair amount of backtracking and tearing up so this is actually pretty good. I also remade my rings to be much smaller. This patch is only about 5 by 3 inches.

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The new ring size. I couldn’t compare it with the old size because my brother threw out all my old rings before I could save one. These are tiny in comparison though.

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Last pic. A bit of a close-up on the weave. The technique required is more involved than I thought but making this is really easy and relaxing for me once I get into it. I plan on making a coif first.

 

Weekly Warrior #4 Iron Troop

First off I’d like to apologize for the lack of content the past few days. I’ve been pretty sick and I couldn’t really face much of anything the past few days. Anyhow, on to the post.

The first time I heard about the Iron Troops was from Age of Empires III. It is a very little known bit of Chinese history and as such there is little online about them. I will do my best to bring a concise look at these awesome troops.

It all started when the Chinese invented lamellar armor during the Ming dynasty. This consisted of strips of metal joined to provide flexibility and protection from attacks. However this produced a suit of armor weighing 50 pounds or more. When you consider that the average Asian during this time was only 5’3 or so with a frame to match this would have been too much to fight in. Therefore the Chinese government wanted nothing to do with it. But, one general, Gam Hui, had a brilliant idea. To get warriors able to fight in this armour you have to train them hard! Crazy, right? Prepare yourself because this next part will knock you off your chair.

Gam Hui put his troops on a ridiculous training regime. To start you had to train with sandbags tied to each foot. Can you imagine how agile you’d feel once that was taken off? To even be considered as an Iron Troop you had to be able to move a 400 pound stone around the training field 3 times in a day! Not much is known about the specifics of the rest of their training but we can guess it was equally brutal.

As you can guess this training produced terrifying soldiers. The weapons of the day could not pierce their armor and they strode into battle in an utterly fearless manner. During the battles for Formosa the Dutch troops were terrified of the Iron Troops and other Chinese warriors simply wouldn’t fight them, thinking they were gods.

Their armour was, as I said Lamellar, scales of metal placed over each other and riveted in place. Think of chain mail and plate armour mixed.

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Modern Reenactor, I’m assuming. This was the best picture I could get. There are less pictures of actual Iron Troops than articles. Anyhow, you can see the kind of armor I’m talking about here.

They used Zhan Man Dhao, a large sword, as there main weapon. This giant sword could chop through practically anything and added an extra level of terror to demoralize the enemy. They also used different bows, knives, spears and shields although the Zhan Man Dhao was there favoured weapon.

But don’t think these guys were just brutes in armour. They were amazingly coordinated and could retreat from the battlefield in a couple of seconds to let the artillery decimate the ranks of enemies.

Overall the Iron Troops are too little known for their awesomeness. But, then so are a lot of different aspects of Asian military history. Look it up you’ll be surprised how interesting it is.

My opinion of For Honor

This is by no means an authoratitive look nor is it a review since I haven’t played the game. It is merely a look at the historical side of the game. But first the trailer.

I’d just like to say that this is about as awesome as it gets. If you want to see more awesome go look up the rest of the games trailers. They do not disappoint. Also I’d like to point out that the crazy knight lady who calls herself Apollyon is crazy. She chose that name because she wanted to show what you have to become to bring chaos. Crazy, right?

Now you’ve got the three factions vying for control of what resources remain. Now what Apollyon wants is for there to be eternal warfare. So she is tricking the three groups into fighting each other. Yes, the campaign is as cheesy and over the top as it sounds, but the cinematics music and overall atmosphere make for a great experience. I have heard that it can get really repetitive though. But, For Honor was meant as a multiplayer game from the get go so kudos to Ubisoft to getting a 6 hour campaign in as well.

Anyhow, on to the characters. You have three factions each with 4 heroes with more on the way. I will go through each of the twelve characters and give my opinion.

 

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First up are the knights. Since they hold to a lot of the beliefs I value. Protecting the weak, honor in combat, bravery and so forth, pretty cliché but pretty awesome.

First you have the warden.

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He wields a greatsword in combat and he is the undisputed master with it. He is the protector of the weak and has taken an oath to that effect. His playstyle revolves around quick punishing attacks and tanking damage. He’s good at taking and dishing out damage for new players. Very classic design with the armor, sword and knight this guy is in every medieval video game ever. He uses some little known techniques such as, halfswording (holding the blade with one hand to get more control) and the murderstroke (reversing the blade and using the pommel or guard to club the enemy to death). Very interesting to see these techniques utilized properly. If you want to know more check out Skallagrims videos on Youtube.

Next up is the Conqueror.

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This guy uses a flail and shield. Their backstory is that they are conscripted slaves that have risen through the ranks and now lead in combat. If you want to turtle up and block everything that comes at you this guy is for you. He can block in every direction at once and still whip out some stinging blows. He has a crusader helmet and a surcoat over the rest so it’s hard to tell what all he’s got. He’s got an interesting playstyle and can be a annoying character to fight.

Next is the Lawbringer.

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These characters dispense justice on lands with their halberd (my personal favourite medieval weapon) they are sort the judge, jury, and executioner. They probably have the most interesting skillset of all the knights. Check them out it’s pretty OP. They have a Tudor era helmet on top of some of the most bulky armour you will ever see. Seeing the halberd in action is very impressive.

And last for knights is the Peacekeeper.

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This character is an assassin tasked with eliminating prime targets. She is the only exclusively female knight (you can change the gender of the warden and the conqueror as well, but not the lawbringer)  If you take one thing away from this post, please, do not play this class. This class is cancer. Maneuverability, lightning fast attacks and a set of bleed attacks make this class universally hated. Only trolls and noobs play this, ask the community. That aside this character is fairly interesting in terms of playstyle. Focusing on getting in, doing some damage, and getting out before the enemy can get in a shot, you aren’t going to do much if there is more than one enemy or your enemy know what they are doing.

Next faction is the Samurai faction. I do not know much about Medieval Japan, but I know a bit about the weapons so I don’t have nothing to say.

First is the Kensei.

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The Kensei is the embodiment of the Samurai code, living by honor and the blade, these guys are on the forefront of every battle. Their armor is a mix of wood and leather and a small amount of iron since good iron in Japan was rare and expensive. Their weapon is the Nodachi and bastard, or hand and a half, katana. First made for use on horseback this weapon is used with deadly accuracy by the Kensei. His playstyle is very similar the Wardens.

Next is the Shugoki.

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Look at that guy! Anyhow, this character is the protector of his people training endlessly to be strong enough to protect the weak. His weapon is the kanabo, a bulky wooden club which, used by anyone else, would be clumsy and ineffective. He wields it with the ease and skill of a master duellist. His playstyle is probably the most difficult to master as he is somewhat of a glass cannon. His moves are punishing but if he misses he’ll be in rough shape.

Next on the list is the Nobushi.

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The only exclusively female samurai on this list the Nobushi has been charged with guarding the farms on the outskirts of Samurai territory. Their weapon of choice is the Naginata, a weapon I was particularly interested to see in the game. It is a cross between a sword and a spear and is wielded with balletic delicacy by the Nobushi. Don’t be fooled though, this character can easily dominate with her impressive reach and skill set.

Last but not least is the Orochi.

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The Orochi is the front line fighter of the Samurai. Trained to a high degree of perfection they are a match for anything thrown at them. The Samurai’s answer to the Peacekeeper, the Orochi is quick, light and brutal. All factions have one assassin and they all have interesting moves. For instance, they will not remain blocking in one position indefinitely. Eventually they will go back to a neutral position, so if you are going to attack or block, get the timing right. His weapon is of course the katana a light weapon with good thrusting capabilities but mediocre slashing and cutting ability. If you play this character, you are a nerd.

Finally, the Vikings. I don’t know how to feel about them. On one hand they are super duper sick (I’m part Viking) on the other they have the least historically accurate portrayal of all in this game (and pretty much every where lese for that matter).

Anyhow, on to the Raider.

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This particular Viking has been born and bred for war. He is literally a killing machine designed to never stop hacking. Now, can you feel the tostestorene coming off that picture? Good, because that is the Raider, a living breathing machine of manliness and rage. I need to know this guy’s lifting routine. Anyhow, his weapon is the Dane ax, probably the most awesome weapon to come out of the medieval times, go look up some of what these guys did with this thing. However, the in game version has a head that is about twice as big and had the wrong shape. Oh, well.

Second is the Warlord.

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Even barbarians need a leader and that is this guy. Armed with a simple sword and shield this guy is the thinking man’s Viking. He has a more laidback playstyle than the Raider, preferring to let his giant health pool and shield tank the damage until he sees a opening. Plus, he has a headbutt attack! Bonus!

Then comes the Valkyrie.

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The Valkyrie has taken an oath to her gods to earn a spot in Valhalla, however to do that she must kill. And she does it splendidly with her spear and buckler. To be honest I wasn’t sure how this would work out in game. I’ve always considered a spear to be a flimsy weapon ineffective for primary use but the game developers have done a good job making her hits look strong and powerful. Historically the spear was the Viking’s main weapon.

Lastly we have the Berserker.

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The Berserker is the embodiment of the Viking principle of war, kill and keep killing ’till you can’t. To be honest when I first saw the choice of names for him and the Raider it looked swapped around to me. When I think of a Berserker I think of someone covered in muscle and blood. As you can see, the Berserker is small and light. However his playstyle is perfect. If you get three hits in a row on your enemy your attacks become uninterruptible (you can’t be knocked out of them) and they come faster and faster. Basically jump into a battle and start swinging, you won’t be able to stop.

Finally, I will give my opinion of the game. I think it is a solid dueling game that is being let down by several issues, like no dedicated servers, abuse of game mechanics and little content. If you want a challenging and interesting game to play this is for you.

 

 

 

Weekly Warrior #3 Grenadiers

The name Grenadier was a general term given to a specific type of soldier that then morphed into something different. They are a very important part of European colonial history as you’ll see.

The Grenadier first originated in armies with the advent of the grenade in the 17th century. These men had to be tall and strong to be able to throw the grenade a safe distance. By the 18th century armies realized that throwing grenades was not worth the danger and the Grenadier simply became crack troops, feared and respected for their size and power. Interestingly enough Frederick the Great of Germany made a division entirely composed of men over 6 feet tall. In fact he collected nearly every tall man in Europe. Monarchs like the Czar would send him 7 foot tall men as presents.

tha3rxv19b    Uniforms varied widely from army to army but a distinguishing feature was their tall hat. Cone shaped to prevent the throwing arm from snagging, this hat was the signature of the grenadier.

Weapons were pretty standard. A musket with bayonet was typical especially after the grenade took the backseat. The grenade however was a cast iron ball filled with gunpowder that had a fuse attached. The cast iron ball would explode into deadly fragments but the unreliability of the grenade caused it’s retirement until WWI.

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The Grenadier is a important figure in British history and world history as a whole. They took part in many battles during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 especially. These  fearsome soldiers have definitely made a place for themselves in history.

Five Louis L’Amour books you have to read

Louis L’Amours books are some of the best westerns written. However, he did not exclusively write westerns and this list is not all westerns.

To Tame a Land

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I’d have to say that this is his best western. It follows a boy whose father is killed by Indians and his subsequent journey towards manhood. The characterization is extremely good and there is a twist ending that’s just icing on the cake.

Last  Stand at Papago Wells

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This book was a treat to read. It’s the typical plot where several people with differing personalities are thrown together and have to survive against seemingly insurmountable odds. I cannot recommend this one highly enough.

Tucker

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This one is similar to To Tame a Land. A young man’s father is killed and he has to learn his way to manhood. This and To Tame a Land are very good in the way they portray teenagers. I have always respected Louis L’Amour for his view on teenagers.

Now we move on to two books that are not in the western genre.

The Last of the Breed

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This is one is set in the Cold War. It follows a downed American pilot as he tries to escape the Russians over the Siberian tundra. The writing in this is magnificent. I could feel the cold. The survival part is really good and gives some excellent advice.

The Walking Drum

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This one is set in 1200’s Europe. If I have a complaint with this it has to be the main character. Read the book, I can’t really explain here, but suffice to say he is an arrogant creep. But, beyond that, the book is a solid look at the Middle Ages and I really wish he had the chance to write more.

 

Weekly Warrior #2 Spartan Hoplites

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Few people don’t know of the Spartans, those rugged warriors who embraced hard living conditions and thrived under it. They were the epitome of manliness, being trained for the military from the age of 6 or 7 in brutal and sometimes life threatening ways. They were world renowned and respected as the best equipped and trained army in the world. They conquered much of their native Greece but the lifestyle they subjected their fellow Greeks to caused them to rise up in a revolution.

The man who formed the Spartan state said he wanted to build a country “from men and not bricks.” This in turn led to the boys being trained in the military from a young age, sometimes 6 or 7. Obviously they were trained with weights, and weapons, but they were also taught how to read and write, although this was viewed as secondary to military training. The warrior had to serve in the military until the age of 30, then they could become a citizen and own land and work in government.

The equipment of a Hoplite was simple, a shield, javelin, and a short sword. The javelins had a sharp, thin head and were thrown en masse by the approaching forces to weed out a few men. The sword was then drawn and hand to hand combat ensued when in range. The shield was by far the most important part of a young warriors kit. It would have been given him by his mother with the instruction to come back with it or on it. The shield was round and would have the Greek letter lamba, a upside down V, standing for Lacedaemon, the mythical first king of Sparta.

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Very rarely has a society so wholly embraced a militaristic way of life. In the case of the Spartans, it worked. But only for several hundred years. Eventually their brutal treatment resulted in a revolution that effectively ended Sparta’s claim as a complete state.