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
Inconceivable!

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...


OH COME ON! SERIOUSLY?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

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.

Sniff.

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!