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Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

BORN TO DIE
HAIG IS A FUCK
Kill Em All 1917
I am trench man
410,757,864,530 SHELLS FIRED




I have on the table in front of me a cardboard box, used for shipping goods through the mail.



This one's a little bit damaged, a little bit dinged, but let's open it up.



...With an appropriate tool.



Bubble padding, that's not much fun.



Couple of small bags, we'll come back to those later.



Another box. This one came through in better shape than the first one.



And the contents. We'll set these aside for the moment as well.



At long last, it's the second book from Headstamp Publishing, Thorneycroft to SA80: British Bullpup Firearms 1901-2020 by Jonathan Ferguson. Like Headstamp's first book, Chassepot to FAMAS, this was crowdfunded on Kickstarter, raising $579,585 from 4,122 backers. This is the preorder edition with a red cover. The retail version is blue. If you missed my box thread for Chassepot to FAMAS, you can find that here.



Let's take that plastic wrap off and get a closer look.



Right off the bat we have a very fancy facing illustration.



In addition to his professional credentials and publications, Mr. Ferguson has starred in a series of "firearms expert reacts to weapons in video games" shorts.



119 years is a lot of ground to cover.



Mr. Ferguson kindly starts with the basics: an overview of what bullpup firearms are, and their evolution from the earliest known examples in the percussion muzzleloader era to the designs in service today.



But the book begins in earnest with its examination of the Thorneycroft and Godsal rifles, developed in the early 1900s with an eye towards adoption by British mounted troops. Both ultimately lost out to the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield.



Following experimental developments during WWII, including prototype production of a forerunner of the FN-49 rifle, the British came back to bullpups in a big way in the late 1940s.



There's an enormous amount of detail here, which I won't spoil except to say that once again the bullpup contenders lost out to more conventional designs.



Even so, the bullpup idea refused to die. Another round of experimentation with new rifles and cartridges culminated in the notorious SA80 program. Separate chapters are dedicated to HK's un-loving of the L85 and the design's modernization since then.



Finally we have a series of appendices covering experimental ammunition, manuals of arms, and other data.




And what British weapons book would be complete without a bookmark made from The Queen's own dental floss?



This is a pretty big volume, even bigger than Headstamp's first. It will definitely impress The Honorable Lord Fitzroy Frontloading-Washer at Sunday tea, assuming a bored copper doesn't confiscate it as a deadly weapon along with your bike wheels.




The bored copper definitely won't like it if he catches you walking around with instructions for dangerous weapons.





He might leave the Ex Libris sticker and handmade Scottish leather bookmark alone, at least. Whereas Ian had to laboriously sign unbound book pages, Mr. Ferguson streamlined the process by signing stickers instead.



As with Ian's book, there are cocktail recipes. As with Ian's book, I will trust Ian's judgement on their quality.



Remember those small bags we took out at the beginning? Those were a new extra for this book's funding campaign: PVC patches with velcro hook backing, ready to slap on your range bag. I don't remember why I ordered two sets but I'm sure it was a good reason.



All in all, another solid piece of work from Headstamp Publishing. I will probably never get to handle any of the guns featured on these pages, but I sure can drool over them. Or I would if any of them were worth drooling over.

At least I have chicken.

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glynnenstein
Feb 18, 2014



It's a testament to the quality of these Headstamp books that I, someone who does not give half a poo poo about bullpups of any sort, after thumbing through this incredibly high quality reference thought to myself, "Man, bullpups are kinda awesome."

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006

Behind every great engineer is someone just hoping the "genius" doesn't bankrupt everyone.



Goddamn thatís neat.

Also Iím super impressed by the packaging it shipped in. Iíve been buying a fair number of books recently and Iíve really, really come to appreciate sellers who ship them securely.

tarlibone
Aug 1, 2014

Am I a... bad person?
AM I??





Fun Shoe

Cyrano4747 posted:

Goddamn that’s neat.

Also I’m super impressed by the packaging it shipped in. I’ve been buying a fair number of books recently and I’ve really, really come to appreciate sellers who ship them securely.

Oh yeah. I've bought antique atlases that were packed so well that i wouldn't be surprised if they arrived in better shape than they left in.

When I bought Go Team Venture!, on the other hand, they used the book to protect the rest of the items in the order. But that book is a literal tank, so that's OK. I'm pretty sure if it's mishandled during shipping, it's the mishandler who gets damaged.

On topic: I love the style of these books. It's like I'm looking at books that a time traveler bought new in the late 1800s and brought them straight to the present day. At least, on the covers. And that's good enough, because as the old saying goes, "'You can't judge a book by its cover' is a nonsense phrase. Of course you should judge books by their covers. That's why they're there!"

BeAuMaN
Feb 18, 2014

I'M A LEAD FARMER, MOTHERFUCKER!


Yeah I received mine and love it. The qualify of these books so far has not left me disappointed.

Somebody Awful posted:

This is a pretty big volume, even bigger than Headstamp's first. It will definitely impress The Honorable Lord Fitzroy Frontloading-Washer at Sunday tea, assuming a bored copper doesn't confiscate it as a deadly weapon along with your bike wheels.
Yeah, see, the funny thing is, in the kickstarter description...

quote:

The manuscript is illustrated with hundreds of full-colour photographs, and the book will be printed on beautiful photo-quality paper stock, and tastefully laid out in a contemporary style. Thorneycroft to SA80 is a handily sized hardcover edition, measuring some 10.25 ◊ 7.75 inches (26 ◊ 20 cm) and an anticipated 400 pages in length.
And the Headstamp Publishing book ordering page says the page count is approximately 532 pages. But the book in my hand is 622 pages. So this book had an increase in pages by about ~55%. The stretch goals only accounted for, as best as I can tell, 25 - 40 additional pages, so that's a lot of extra content for nothing; they covered some of the extra content in this update.

Overall I was pleased with the first book and I'm pleased with this one. Pistols of the Warlord is pre-ordered (With the meme cover), and they're making the additional rifle book hardback as well now. The only thing I worry about is that they try to increase the pace at which they release these tomes; my wallet can't afford too much!

BeAuMaN fucked around with this message at 13:12 on Jun 15, 2021

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006

Behind every great engineer is someone just hoping the "genius" doesn't bankrupt everyone.



BeAuMaN posted:

Yeah I received mine and love it. The qualify of these books so far has not left me disappointed.

Yeah, see, the funny thing is, in the kickstarter description...

And the Headstamp Publishing book ordering page says the page count is approximately 532 pages. But the book in my hand is 622 pages. So this book had an increase in pages by about ~55%. The stretch goals only accounted for, as best as I can tell, 25 - 40 additional pages, so that's a lot of extra content for nothing; they covered some of the extra content in this update.

This happens more than you think, and is usually the result of not having a strong editor driving the show. One of their biggest jobs is to keep poo poo focused and make sure it doesn't stretch out too long. Of course, if what you're talking about is a reference book for nerds full of high quality photos of nerd things and amazing descriptions of the background and history etc, then no one cares and its' all the better. The giant 3 volume set on the K98k turned into a 4 volume set (with a Vol 2a and Vol 2b I poo poo you not) because the middle volume became so large that it would literally break the spine of any book they tried to bind it in unless they used utter poo poo grade paper, which they weren't willing to do. As someone who owns those, that is not a problem.

With history books this can be decidedly mixed, and frequently means the historian is going off on some weird tangent unrelated to their core thesis. Maybe it's really loving interesting and your'e a big enough dork to want to read it, but at the end of the day it's a digression and probably should have just been its own book or a series of articles.

With fiction this is how you get Stephen King.

Well, that and cocaine.

Zorak of Michigan
Jun 10, 2006

Waiting for his chance

The only problem I have with mine is that I'm afraid to read it most of the time. What if I touched something that might leave a smudge on the paper?

Shaocaholica
Oct 29, 2002

Fig. 5E


Afraid to open mine. Ghosts???

BeAuMaN
Feb 18, 2014

I'M A LEAD FARMER, MOTHERFUCKER!


Shaocaholica posted:

Afraid to open mine. Ghosts???


Hahahaha Of course you'd have the personalization be "Hey, draw me a picture of an EM-2".

ZarathustraFollower
Mar 14, 2009





My copy showed up just in the white interior box with no padding. Probably because I didn't get in early enough for the kickstarter edition.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006

Behind every great engineer is someone just hoping the "genius" doesn't bankrupt everyone.



No gods, no masters, read your books and get 'em dirty.

Books are like guns - you're an idiot if you abuse them, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of honest wear from them being used for the purpose that they were made for.

I've got a lot of nice books and I'll read all of them. I try to take care of them, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I get a crease in a dustjacket or put a smudge on a page. I've also got even more not nice books that I am utterly ruthless towards and will write in with abandon.

It's OK to use nice things, even if it ends up with them not being in 100% NIB mint condition.

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"




Cyrano4747 posted:

No gods, no masters, read your books and get 'em dirty.

Books are like guns - you're an idiot if you abuse them, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of honest wear from them being used for the purpose that they were made for.

I've got a lot of nice books and I'll read all of them. I try to take care of them, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I get a crease in a dustjacket or put a smudge on a page. I've also got even more not nice books that I am utterly ruthless towards and will write in with abandon.

It's OK to use nice things, even if it ends up with them not being in 100% NIB mint condition.

I still wouldn't muss up a signed limited edition of 500. A legit rare collectable with damage is extremely difficult to sell, which someone related to you will likely do someday in the next century. Nobody wants to shell out serious cash for a damaged version of their white whale.

It's like getting a rare coin certified, but it gets the dreaded designation of "CLEANED." I saw a $60-$80 coin, graded but with CLEANED on the label, sell for $23 yesterday.

Somebody Awful
Nov 27, 2011

BORN TO DIE
HAIG IS A FUCK
Kill Em All 1917
I am trench man
410,757,864,530 SHELLS FIRED




BeAuMaN posted:

Pistols of the Warlord is pre-ordered (With the meme cover)

Same. Too bad it won't reach the signing tour stretch goal, but oh well.

BeAuMaN
Feb 18, 2014

I'M A LEAD FARMER, MOTHERFUCKER!


They were pretty sure it wouldn't reach that goal I imagine, but they thought they'd toss it out there anyway.
https://www.biggercake.com/projects/1127520922/pistols-of-the-warlords

I remember early on (after about a week) BiggerCake projected that it was going to reach about $1.4 million, and that's what it seems to be near reaching today. If it reached $2 million that would have been really unusual (and amazing).

Shaocaholica
Oct 29, 2002

Fig. 5E


Sigh I was waiting on some stuff to settle at work before dumping more money into these books.

Zorak of Michigan
Jun 10, 2006

Waiting for his chance

Cyrano4747 posted:

No gods, no masters, read your books and get 'em dirty.

Books are like guns - you're an idiot if you abuse them, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of honest wear from them being used for the purpose that they were made for.

I've got a lot of nice books and I'll read all of them. I try to take care of them, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I get a crease in a dustjacket or put a smudge on a page. I've also got even more not nice books that I am utterly ruthless towards and will write in with abandon.

It's OK to use nice things, even if it ends up with them not being in 100% NIB mint condition.

I completely agree with this but I also contacted Headstamp via their feedback form and begged for an ebook version.

Shaocaholica
Oct 29, 2002

Fig. 5E


But its a picture book. Releasing ebook with high res pictures would eat into sales (from people posting the ripped images for free).

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006

Behind every great engineer is someone just hoping the "genius" doesn't bankrupt everyone.



Captain Log posted:

I still wouldn't muss up a signed limited edition of 500. A legit rare collectable with damage is extremely difficult to sell, which someone related to you will likely do someday in the next century. Nobody wants to shell out serious cash for a damaged version of their white whale.

It's like getting a rare coin certified, but it gets the dreaded designation of "CLEANED." I saw a $60-$80 coin, graded but with CLEANED on the label, sell for $23 yesterday.

Lol I came THIS close to posting ďbefore log gets in Iíll also say Iíd read his fancy signed booksĒ just to rile you up.

That said, I do get it with actual high end collectibles, but then I wonít own those for that reason. I get that in those cases the book foes that matter, itís about it being a signed artifact. But this isnít that. This isnít a signed first edition by some European royal who never signs books. Itís a normal book, albeit a nice one, not a one of a kind artifact.

To use a gun analogy: this is a really nice K98k. Not a beater but a nice numbers matching one. But itís not some one of a kind prototype that is priceless. Itís OK to shoot it. Donít drill and tap it or leave it in a deer stand for a year.

Shaocaholica
Oct 29, 2002

Fig. 5E


Every single person that bought the collectors ed also bought a regular one if not multiple regular ones. I would wager 9/10 collectible books stay in their shrink wrap for at least 5yrs.

Shaocaholica
Oct 29, 2002

Fig. 5E


BeAuMaN posted:

Hahahaha Of course you'd have the personalization be "Hey, draw me a picture of an EM-2".

I can't find my original note it may be lost forever but IIRC I didn't just ask him to draw one but from memory

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"




Cyrano4747 posted:

Lol I came THIS close to posting ďbefore log gets in Iíll also say Iíd read his fancy signed booksĒ just to rile you up.

Please put on your silver polishing gloves before coming at me, fine sir.

Shaocaholica
Oct 29, 2002

Fig. 5E


White glove service.

BeAuMaN
Feb 18, 2014

I'M A LEAD FARMER, MOTHERFUCKER!


I backed both books (well now all three books with the Chinese Warlords one) and bought the regular edition each time with no signature.

$20 can buy me some steak; your signature isn't worth more than steak Ian & Jonathan!

Shaocaholica posted:

I can't find my original note it may be lost forever but IIRC I didn't just ask him to draw one but from memory
I can't imagine the meme stuff Ian gets asked to perform for his personalizations. Well, I can imagine, I'd just rather not.

Zorak of Michigan
Jun 10, 2006

Waiting for his chance

Now that I've finished the book, and understand how deeply problematic the SA80 was, and how even the reworked A2 model ended up heavy and expensive and generally unimpressive, I still think they look cool as hell and would totally buy one if there was a civilian model for sale here in the USA.

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NerdyMcNerdNerd
Aug 3, 2004

Lol.i halbve already saod i inferno circstances wanttpgback


Alternate title for the book: .303 Lit

Really nice books are endless fun to paw over, but I can never justify buying one unless it's about something I know I'll get into.

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