Wednesday, 26 June 2013


So. No update huh? Sounds like me.
Guess again foo!

I've done a fair bit... I just need to put that in to words and upload the pictures. So expect a bombardment of pictures soon!


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

10. A Road to Glory: Sisters of Battle part 2 - Padded shoulders are so 80's.

Hi there heretics.

  Just a small update today.

I did a quick mock up of the two shoulder pad colour schemes, just to have a actual realistic image in front of me.
I thought I'd share it here with you, so you can add some feedback if you please:

Front view:


Top Down:


I have had some feedback from various other sources, but I am still undecided.
Someone suggested one pad of each... sort of like a 'DeathWatch' mark.

So I did a mock up in the good old Bolter and Chainsword painter...


I'm not convinced personally...

I think it might be making things unnecessarily complicated, but maybe that is
just me.

As usual any comments or criticism is greatly appreciated and encouraged.

Until next time!


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

9. 'On the road again. Like a band of gretchin we go down the highway...' - Building a Gaming Board. Part 2.

Two updates relatively close to each other? HOLD THE PHONE!

But semi-seriously I am pumped for this board. It is proving to be fun, and I sincerely hope it will push me to play more game once it is complete.

I've been carrying on with my gaming board.
I'm still trying to keep progress into manageable chunks though. I have actually done more than I am currently writing about, but I'll save that for another day.

So, with the planning (mostly) done I think it is time we crack on, yes?

Step two! The layout.

You will need;

  • Your Plans,
  • Six 2ft x 2ft pieces of MDF (All the same depth. Mine is about 12mm thick),
  • Twenty four or more 1ft by 1ft Square cork tiles. (I bought 3 packs of 9 tiles),
  • Cork Adhesive (I used Unibond - Super PVA adhesive and sealer),
  • Some heavy stuff/clamps might be helpful to ensure the bond,
  • Craft Knife,
  • Steel Straight Edge (To cut against. I used a wood saw),
  • Pen,
  • Paper,
  • Pencil,
  • Ruler (12inch),
  • Tape Measure.


  The first bit of this is pretty straight forward...but easy to mess up, so be careful.

   Glue the 4 of the 1x1 tiles to a 2x2 piece of wood, ensuring they all match up evenly and cover the board's surface.
Leave to dry. Repeat as many times as necessary (For this board that was 3).


While they are drying it is time to plough straight into phase 2

Straight roads.

First off you want to draw out the road.
   Using the tape measure/ruler/magic find the middle of the board.
Measure out 2.5 inches either side of it and mark it out (I recommend doing this about 2/3 times along the middle of the board to make the matching up easier).
Draw up the lines to match the board's edge and you have your road template.
Now do a similar thing with the cork tiles.
Using the template you have just drawn on the board as a guide, mark 2.5 inches from the tile edge onto the tile (I had to use a sharpie as opposed to a pencil for this). Match them up. Do this on as many cork tiles as necessary (in my case that was 8).

And voila! Road!


Part two is the cutting.

   Line up the steel edge along that line (Whichever side you are comfortable with, I went with the side that would end up with the most left on to try and minimise damage to what will be the pavement and such).


Using the craft knife, cut along the line against your edge.
Patience is key.
If you go at it too fast you'll tear the cork. This will be more hassle than it is worth to fix latter.
Rinse and repeat and you should end up with this;


Here's a shot for height;


Stick it down! Weigh it down or clamp away.

Phase 3. Bend.

   This is the most complicated bit of the build thus far (and it isn't even that hard).
It had me stumped for a while (When I figured out how to do it I kicked myself for wasting almost half an hour trying to be clever about it).

   First off draw the road template as normal on the cork (After doing the other two you'll have the knack now).
Then turn it 90 degree and do it again.
You should end up with something like this;


Now to plan the curved bit. Maths maybe...



   I'm sure you could use maths to do this. But I am lazy. I used a Spray can lid.
Line up a spray can lid (I used GW's black primer), and draw the curve.
This curve needs to be on the inside out outside edge as seen in this picture
(Note; I drew another square on the inside curve to make it easier to get the
edge; you just do the same for both);

Cutting this out is slightly tricky
Don't attempt the curved bits yet. Just cut out the block shape, taking care not to damage/remove where the curve should be.
Seeing as this hasn't been glued down it should be relatively straight forward.

  For the inside corner you start by cutting as you usually would along the now inside road edge.
When you hit the 'corner' you stop, flip the board, and do the other inside edge.

Then you start on the outside edge. Here it is important to stop before the curve.
You can either just go by eye, or mark them as I did in the picture above (I was over cautious with the 'just in case' space);

Instead of trying to do the curve, I cut along line XY. This meant that the core of the road could be removed.
The curves were then just a case of whittling down the remaining cork with the crafting knife;
Shave off the excess form the other corner and you should end up with this;


Glue that bend down!



Core of the board complete.

It has no details yet... but it is a great starting block.

The next stage is basing... but after spending days doing this I reckon I'm going to have myself a break to do more experimentation/other stuff.
I will post my findings here!

However, in the meantime... -DH-


Saturday, 15 June 2013

8. 'We built this city! We built this city on M.D.F!' - Building a Gaming Board. Part 1.

So this was quite an adventure. I say was; it still continues to be.

I finally got some time to invest in building my game board.

The plan was, and still is, to build a modular (ish) 6ft by 4 ft gaming board, made from 2ft by 2ft squares of MDF. The board will have an urban theme.

I'll kind of do it step by step for those that might want use my experiences to help them build their own gaming board. 'Cus I'm nice like that...

Enough lies. Onward!

Step 1. PLAN: Think, Design, Experiment. Rinse and Repeat.

  Yup. Boring as it sounds I spent days just thinking about how to do this thing, experimenting with materials, glues and designing bits and bobs.
I'll break down some of the motions I went through to show you what I mean.

Modular design: The answer that produces ever increasing amounts of questions.

   Making a modular board brings a whole heap of problems to the surface.
Principally what kind of features should it have, where should they be positioned, and how will this affect the modular nature of the board.
I'll tackle them here in the order I did.


   Obviously, the first thing to think about is how you want your board to look.
Personally I want a board you could swap and change around. The most customisable board would just be 6 blank squares of greyish emptiness... But who wants that? really?

   So I decided I wanted to add some permanent features to the board. Not only would these have to fit in with the urban theme of my board, they would also have to be simple, generic and quite flat.
This would allow easy transport and storage, and would make swapping other terrain features around much simpler.

Q. What to have?
A. What says city more than traffic?

   I wasn't about to have abandoned cars, but roads!.
I did consider removable roads, but in my honest opinion, the roads I saw while researching this project were either unconvincing, or tacky (I'm looking at you Games Workshop!).
This brings up many questions, such as shape and size and so on.

More planning then?

How wide?

  This turned out to be fairly straight forward to be honest. (I guessed it and was fairly happy with how it turned out ).

As I pointed out earlier I want my urban board to feel..well..urban. Not just a featureless, blank battle ground, but to actually have urban features.
A such I decided I wanted my roads to have pavements, ya'know, like real roads in a real urban environment.

  Most pavements around where I live have enough room for two people to walk down, with a little room between them, and either side.
The same principle applies to cars on most roads.
I know this sounds a little obvious, but that is essentially how I got my road and pavement size.

  I put 2 Dreadnought/Land speeder basses next to each other and measured their combined width (adding a little for extra room and to make a round number).
I came out with 5 inches.
For the later I put 2 Space Marines next to each other and did the same. It was a bit of a weird number...but close enough to 2.5
Round enough number? Yup!

The foreseeable problem would be when someone put something like a landrai..NOPE! NOT ONE! ;)

Checked it with a drop pod too!

It actually turned out so much better than I expected! ha-ha.


  But the size of the roads posed a new problem; Terrain.
Depending on where I put the road would directly affect the space I would have for terrain features on the board.

While the solution turned out quite straightforward in the end there were many factors to take into account; Modular nature of board, space for terrain.

For example. To maximise the space on the square I would have to move the road closer to one board edge than the other. This meant sacrificing the modular nature of the board; there would be far less 'natural' configuration... especially when connecting to other roads.

The only way to keep it modular would be to make sure all roads connected to at least 1, if not 2, edges of the square they were to be modelled in.
That meant sticking the road right down the middle of the square.

Luckily this meant there would be plenty of room either side for terrain

Board layout.

  I've been banging on about 'the modular nature of the board,' but what exactly does that mean?

   For those who are unfamiliar with 'modular' things, it is essentially pieces that can be changed around depending on how you want to make something look. In the case of the board it means that it has the ability for numerous different configurations.

An example for instance is that I can have a road network running through the middle of a city in one game, and then for the next game I can have a solid urban block on one side of the board, width he road network on the other.

   In this context, what was to be on the gaming squares was obviously very important. 6 blank pieces would be boring and hard to fill with terrain without looking like a confused mess. While being modular, it needed order.
I had already decided I wanted roads, indeed, I had already planned them out in previous planning stages.
Two questions arose; how many? and  what type?

  For this I needed to see how many customisable options I could get out of my boards.

The easiest way to do this would be on some form of CAD programme... but I don't have one, and to be honest, you don't need one.
I drew 6 scaled down squares onto pieces of paper, and cut them out. I then drew the features I wanted on to the squares and chopped and changed them.

My first configuration was 3 blank tiles and 3 straight roads.

This meant there could be 3 unique combinations when put together. I felt that this number was very limiting. In addition, no matter the configuration, there would be a lot of interconnected wide open spaces, which defied the principle of a modular urban board (i.e.: being able to choose if you want open ground or a built up city).

My next configuration was 3 blank tiles, 2 Straight roads and a T-Junction/Crossroad.

This configuration added another unique combination, the trade off was that only a small number of combinations looked natural; roads ending going nowhere. It was the problem the first configuration had, but a lot more noticeable (cross roads in the middle of nowhere O_o).

By this point I had decided that any more than 4 'feature' tiles would probably detract from the space required by additional terrain (I put the sky shield on a board piece, and man that thing takes up a lot of room!).
So I went at it again. 

This last configuration turned out to be my favourite; 3 blank tiles, 2 straight roads and 1 'bend.'

  At first I thought this would have the same issue the crossroads did, however, I managed to clock up almost double the amount of unique configurations... most of which didn't look terrible either. Here is a couple of the bets ones;

We had a winner!

Next time around I'll actually be building things!


Thanks for reading