Friday, 10 May 2019

Takeaway building

This is an scenery side project, unrelated to my ongoing vertical board, but which could fit in with little effort. It all came up one day, after realising my takeaway meal bowl had an interesting shape...

Remember. Always eat your meal before turning the bowl upside down
 The first step was building an entrance:

Easiest way possible

I prepared the access door before glueing it all
 The structure being transparent can be alittle bit confusing when you have to work on its surface, so I primed the building to make it all easier.

I painted the door before
 Well, it is time to add stuff. MDF bits, a piece from a bubble gun... whatever you can find:

It doesn't mind where you glue it. It will work
 I primed it all and then used some Das putty for the base
Kind of Dragon Ball Capsule house :D
 Brown wash to everything and hen I worked on other details, such as wires, cables and stuff

No much left to do
  I added a relay antenna using the cap of an old ballpen:

Didn't glue it to the top of the building for storage purposes
 So this is how it looks like in the end:

It was really easy to build, but it took me some time, as I can only steal like ten minutes here and there. The paintjob is consistent with my Moisture Vaporator, so it was but copying what I had previously done.

The start of a settlement? Hmmm...
I think I can combine these with my ongoing board, so I may have to think about integrating this kind of sci-fi aesthetics into that. Well, that will come eventually; for now I'm happy with how this turned out. I'll be back with the large board soon!

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Mining town. First outer buildings

Descriptive, dull title, yet it really shows what this update will be about. I've been working on little structures, being adobe like buildings for the front part of the huge spaceport. My goal here is to somehow break the monolithic appearance of the big bulk by adding irregular structures with different volumes. In doing so, I also pretend to get familiar with this kind of buildings, as they will be populating the whole board.

It shouldn't be that difficult, as all I'm trying to do is different square boxes and little more. But let's stay a little on that 'more'. At some point I found myself staring at this finished duct tape and a plastic sphere from a toy from some kind of vending machine. I cut the ball and got this:

They fit in properly, at least for my purposes
I also cut the card of the duct tape in two and got this little tower:

Mushroom tower
I added a few foamboard pieces on the top to build the viewpoint.

Kind of Jabba-esque, but it works
I'll place the tower on this terrace:

Rough shape, still in progress
I thought of having a door, but when I cut the front part of the cardboard I had another idea:

I put this part slightly rearwards

So the entrance looks this way
Of course I didn't want it all to look just the same, mere dull blocks, so I tried this archway:

This is getting out of control quickly
This kind of arch is evocative to me, and I though it could look nice here. Of course cutting those out from the foamboard was a hell of a work for my limited skills, but for sure I'll improve with practice. Eventually.

Worse than desired, yet better than expected
This will be the wall for the inner part:

Keeping it simple
So this is more or less what I am getting:

It works so far
I planned a taller block over that terrace (so in the future it can be connected with a catwalk to the other side of the building; that will be another story to tell). But this time I tried this open stairs thing, so it wouldn't look so boring:

You get the point, I hope

I had to paint the stairs before!
So the catwalk will come from the other side and end on this rooftop. I planned a closed access to the building with some kind of hut on the rooftop. But I gave it a second thought. In doing so, you would have to imagine the whole thing; I mean, a mini going through the upper access and making its way down to the open stairs. Then I knew.

Nope. This is not what I'm building here. That is the opposite of what I'm doing on this board. That idea is unimaginative, this block offers a boring shape and it isn't worth building. So I'm doing this shit properly:

Much better now
I had to heavily improvise, but it worked in the end. I cut the whole upper part away and made the stairs visible. Now you can follow the whole path and it's still playable.

Now imagine a whole board like this
Of course you can only see the rough shape of it. I won't add new buildings here (the upper part is the very spaceport!), but my plan is to add lots of details. Vents, wires, doors and stuff. But you can at least get an idea of what's in my mind.
Now these buildings have to be glued to the main structure, the warping issues have to be dealt with and so on. I may have to paint at least some parts before I add the catwalks, but that is a problem for the future me. This is it for now; the project keeps going on!

Saturday, 20 April 2019

As you wish

Time is becoming an issue these days, as it could be expected. While I am slowly (very slowly) working on large projects, I have been using scarce, brief moments to work on this small side project I had pending since... well, ahem. Some time ago. Ahem.

The 'Pirate Set' by Antediluvian Miniatures was, of course, love at first sight. Please go have a look at their ranges; all of them are so great. As soon as these particular minis were released, I knew I needed them. Just have a quick look, you'll understand.

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die
Anybody want a peanut?
I'm the Dread Pirate Roberts, but you can call me 'Weasley'
Well, you can see it's been nothing but a quick way of remembering how to grasp a brush. I think I'm losing practice, so I just wanted to paint something that didn't demand too much time. Pics aren't particularly good, as usual, I'm afraid (seriously, Weasley's clothes are made of different tones of black, promise. It's not just a black primed mini; each piece is different!)

Now you want to watch the movie again. Don't worry, that's a good thing
Some time after these minis were released, Antediluvian solved the problem of having a Buttercup with these:

Don't you dare to tell me you don't need them too
Had they been released at the same time, I would have got them too. Sigh, I guess I'll have to place a new order then. I may as well get some of the Conquistadors of Mitclan minis. Ahh, decisions, decisions... :P

Monday, 8 April 2019

A new board (A story of overcoming)

For the last three or four years I have been using a kind of urban setting board for my Rogue Trader or WH40K2 games. I made these boards looooong time ago (I really mean long ago!), using just a couple of pieces of plywood and foam (back in those days I didn't even know MDF existed!). Two 120x60 cm (roughly 4x2') compatible boards.
State of the art back in the day. No, seriously, the cheapest way of having a board.
 You may remember scenarios such as Cops & Robbers, The Battle of Benny Hill (formerly 'To catch a thief') or Rebels with a Cause. You have witnessed my efforts to build an atmosphere and a sense of 'warhammeriness'. In fact those boards were built with a broader scope in mind, as I thought I could use them for fantasy settings (or even for a pirete project which I never started) with proper buildings. But after these years of urban warfare I felt I needed something different. Those boards could still give me a lot of fun for years, sure, but the ants in my pants started to ask for a different setting.
If you have a look at my Genestealer Cult project you may be aware of my attempts of building a dungeon. Catacombs, mining corridors and so where the Cult hides. Then I came up with the idea of building a small desert town, just the kind of place that could stand over the dungeon.

But not an usual board.

I started to toy with the idea of true 3D on a game, going beyond the mere fact of having buildings where the minis could climb to have better shooting spots. I had a different thing in mind, more in the idea of (more or less) vertical boards. What do I exactly mean by that? A board that has as much height as it has depth. Or even more, if possible. Not necessarily a skyscraper, as I'm thinking of a small mining town, kind of Logan's World:

Not the novel, the RT setting
If you are into Rogue Trader and Oldhammer I hope you'll get the point of what I'd like to achieve. In case you are not, how would I explain? I'd like to mix...

...the vertical concept from the Anasazi Cliff Palace, Colorado...
...the motley maze of Santorini, Greece...
...the desert feel of the Kasbah of Taourirt, Morocco...
...and the impressive bulk of Mar Saba, West Bank

So, how on Earth am I going to do all this? My early thoughts were oriented towards using the old boards. Could I arrange what I already had and recycle them to get my new vertical board?

Spoiler alert: No.

Long answer: I'll explain with pics. At least you'll see my train of thought.

This configuration is unfeasible
Fortunately I still had yet another plywood
You can see the madness. A board of 120x60x60 cm (roughly 4x2x2'). I'd like to overstock that with adobe houses or whatever.

Maybe I could then place another regular, horizontal board to keep expanding the town... Am I going too fast?
Well, OK, I'm going too fast. Of course you all have already thought the obvious things. But I had to go through the empirical experimentation to get convinced. First of all, plywood makes an awful material for this purpose, I need to move on MDF. Second, the vertical board cannot be plywood, not only for the bending, but fot the weight. No structure will hold that.

So what does all this mean? That I got rid of the boards and the plywood. I needed that space! I said goodbye to my urban boards and started from square 1 again. Winds of change!

Here in this context it's where that post about a spaceport fits in. I told you about the inner structure and how I needed to paint it before I built a proper building around it. Here it comes!
The spaceport won't be at ground level. Not when I'm thinking of heights! It will be as high as I can place it. The cookie box is 30 cm (1') diameter, so the spaceport will be quite a large building, at least in relative terms. In fact it will be the largest structure of the whole board, considering the volume of the box I'll have to build for it.

I mean huge
Yes, I'm going nuts. But please keep reading...
I made this 50cm high, which is the exact width of the wardrobe I will keep this piece in (I'll show some pics below). The spaceport itself will be on the top.

Upside down. Totally amateur method, but it works
So here it is!
If you look close, you'll see the outer door, it matches the inside one!

Behind the mini
I got a MDF board, to prevent bending issues. The vertical wall will also be made of foamboard, for weight issues.

The open space on the back is intended
The structure is light, but well reinforced:

Tornado proof. Reinforced everywhere
 So OK, this works. I'm happy with how it is turning out, I'm confident about its future perspective... and then I made the storage test. Yeah, that one that I didn't make until this point. Then...

The space on the wardrobe is slightly more than 50cm, but... I didn't take into account the door. When opening it, it is impossible for the building to fit into the wardrobe. Just a matter of milimeters, but that's enough.
To be fair, I'm a legal advisor, you shouldn't have trusted my maths since the beginning.

So I had to take a painful decision. I couldn't cut from the upper part, as the spaceport structure is way too complex to be dismembered. I cut 2cm (less than 1 inch) from below. Right, that part where all the reinforcement pieces are. That tornado proof part. That one.


So now the whole structure is 48 cm high. It now fits in the wardrobe (checked!) and I can keep on adding stuff. Of course what you see here is nothing but the very basic shape of this bulk. I'll have to add secondary structures and details everywhere.

An example of what's in my mind
I've been changing my mind about the whole appearance of this like every ten minutes since I started sketching the first concepts, and now that I see it in place... well, I keep on swiftly moving from a solution to another. For example, I always worked with the idea of ascending ramps, just adjacent to the building, so small vehicles could reach the top.

But I've suddenly remembered I have this bridge. I need to use it. Here.
So the project is really alive, it takes shape as I build it. I have a general idea of the overall aspect I want to achieve, but the details will unfold themselves as the moment comes.
By the way, I acknowledge I haven't shown any pic of the spaceport with a ship!

Note to self: the side project is to build a small fleet of weird ships
So I'm on it. It will take some time, you can see, but  the first step, which is always the most difficult, has been taken. I've overcome the setbacks and now it all will be easier (At least that's my hope!!)

Stay tuned for more!