Friday, March 30, 2012

Dark Eldar Flyer Project

So with school winding down, and extra time while I'm job hunting I thought I'd spend some extra time on various projects that I've been wanting to do for a while.  The bigger ones will be posted later, but the first thing I wanted to start with was a flyer.

I've always looked at the Forgeworld Raven and though I could probably make that out of a Raider body, just change the wings because I didn't like the look of them.  The problem was it would cost a Raider body, which I didn't have any extras of.  I had always kept a look out for spares on the cheap, but never saw any.  But with the new codex and new models the old ones, which were pretty beat up, went into a closet.  I pulled a couple out recently, and took the most battered one to be re-built, better, faster, more in line with the new styles.  Early on I decided to make the wings resemble the swept back Skyboard wings.  Then design the body to have a Jetbike look.

With some leftover 1/8" plastic sheeting from a recent bathroom reno I started by cutting them out with the jigsaw, then smoothing them down and shaping them with the sander.  The Raider got the platforms and driver wings clipped off and the front was chopped about where the scoop underneath began.  From there the wings were added, and a front nose piece added.  At this point I need to add some thin cardstock or plasticard to add some flow to the tops and bottom of the model and fill out the front cowl, but it's definitely taking the shape I want.

The plan is to use it as a Raven in the end, with the splintercannon underslung.  But  I may hold off adding that and use it as a Voidraven bomber until an actual model is released.

Once it's a little further along with some better contrast pictures I'll post more shots.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zone Mortalis Project Underway

So with the mechanised and shooting heavy bias of 5th I was really excited when Forgeworld eleased the Zone Mortalis rules.  I loved the idea of close quarters Space Hulk type games.  I wasn't quite as excited about the price of the set and how much a decent size play space would be; although I have heard good reviews about the set.  So, like manyothers I began a plan to replicate the idea, why re-invent the wheel right?  But as I was planning things and trying to determine the best material to use as a base, my girlfriend asked one of those questions that makes me take pause, 'Where are you going to store it?  Couldn't you just make the walls?'  So simple it seemed stupid to do what I was.

So back to the drawing board.  I focused on making walls that were durable and space saving.  So I started with a trip to the local DIY store for some supplies.  Here is the current materials list:
  • 1x3x8 strapping
  • Wood glue
  • Foamcore board
  • Screwnails

So the design is to go with no base and make 9 wall sections (1 12" wall, 10x10 L-shape wall, 1 8x8 U-shaped wall, and 6 4x4 L-shaped walls) that should come close to replicating the Forgeworld setup but with more flexibility.  The best part is that once I determined the dimensions, I was able to make all of the wall pieces to make just about the equivalent of the Forgeworld set with one 8 foot length.

So I began by cutting the strapping to length, it is important to remember to account for the thickness of your foamcore, as well as any joins in the strapping.  For example, an L-shaped wall that you want to be 10 inches will require 1 9" length( -1/4" for foamcore, -3/4" for strapping), and 1 9 3/4" length.

Once the pieces were cut to length, they put into place, then glued and clamped.  Once the pieces were clamped together pilot holes were drilled long enough for the screws, and then the boards were also screwed together.  You could easily nail them instead of screwing them, but it's generally a tigher fit with screws and I had some extra laying around.  Keep in mind, because you are working with thin boards, pilot holes are important to keep the wood from splitting.

Once everything was together, the next step was to put foamcore on to the wood.  This was done for a number of reasons, to bulk up the walls to give a more bunker like or bulkhead feel, to give us a clean and flat surface to do detail work on, and especially in the case of the single 12" section, to help it sit flatter and without tipping.

So the first set of 9 pieces is almost complete, just a couple foamcore applications for the small L shape pieces.  When I picked up the lumber I grabbed 2 lengths, assuming I'd be just short with 1, and have started a second set of walls.  I haven't added any new shapes, although I am going to look at it, I did however change the number of pieces.  I changed some of the small L shapes into another large L shape, it left a little extra leftover but the benefit was worth it.  As I was placing the shapes for testing and pictures I realized that the combination of the two L shapes gave me a great corner corridor that I didn't see in the Forgeworld setup as much. 

So I'm going to try and get the second set assembled, and hopefully the foamcore walls on tommorow before the club to give it a try at one of our last few dates.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

End of an Era?

To begin with, I have to say that I plain and simply have the best girlfriend a gamer could ask for.  Not only is she a gamer as well, and comes up with some awesome paint schemes even if she is still learning alot of the techniques that will eventually make them really pop.  Second, it's long and wordy, but I don't expect there are many of you out there reading it anyhow, lol.
Stompa in progress
For almost the last four and a half years she has been responsible for running our local club, but come the end of April we have to shut it down.  I've spoken a little about it before, but at the time we started the club there were a few of us who were playing and were pretty die hard.  The only local store that had been doing Warhammer had been pretty disappointing over the previous couple years, owner was mad because we didn't buy the stuff he brought in, players were mad because they'd never bring in what the players ordered.  Then they moved to a smaller store and cut out any display space or game tables, so it was strictly basement games.

One of the local guys had been back and forth between here and Southern Ontario and gotten Grey Knight status somewhere along the line.  He really pushed to try and get something going that he could support.  We ended with him securing a place about 45 mins outside town to play.  Price was good, free, but location was a bit of a pain.  At the time, I was probably one of the most avid hobbyists we had going, but I knew I didn't have the patience to run a club, even though I had lots of ideas.  My girlfriend is an organized and excited player and stepped up to start organizing.  Within a few weeks she had found us a great location in town, only $20 for a huge space for about 6 hours.  The bonus was the kitchen that allowed stuff like potluck lunches.
Original Game Space
For the first year and half we were in that space, we ran a number of tournaments and events.  We regularly had about 10  people showing up, though for a while there were only 4 of us on a normal basis.  Because the price hikes we eventually moved to space in the local college. We've had a few bumps with the location, poor communication on space being available, locked out of the room, throwing out half our terrain that was stored in a locker, and the administrative fun that dealing with any education institution seems to bring, but it's been a good home for us and provided the backdrop for a number of the videos and pictures I've shared, as well as a number of the battle reports from Kris at Riders of the Cosmic Serpent. 

The last couple years attendance has dropped, all the normal reasons, people move, people have family and lives, people just can't make it.  The last couple tournaments we held went alright, and after a few stressful large events like Apocalypse games we cut back on the size and scope of anything we do (although Spearhead has been a recent favorite). 

The fate of the club had always seemed kind of hazy.  But personally life hasn't been the greatest for us, when the economy crapped a few years ago I got laid off, so just as my girlfriend graduated University, I returned with a plan to make myself more employable.  She didn't find much but eventually got contracted at the local lottery building.  The project still looks great, and there is a good chance that she may stay there through the summer.  The problem is the Ontario government is talking about closing one of the two head offices,the cushy CEO positions are in TO, not here, we can mostly read between the lines.  So now she's at a job with a very uncertain future, and I'm a little over a month from graduating, and with a couple local businesses closing and the threat of a major employer leaving in the lottery building jobs are scarce.

So that leaves us in our toughest spot, we ran the club because we got a benefit out of it and we could afford it when times were good.  For a while at the beginning, it was just part of our hobby budget to run the club.  Slowly over time though, as things got worse the club supplanted our hobby budget, so it was run the club and have a place to do the hobby or put off buying those new models.  Now we've come to the point where we really have to evaluate where we are going and cutting things like our hobby budget anticipating having to save for potential moving costs to find work.

My girlfriend made the final call today, she knows that it's my social time(and I really don't have much of it) and she knows that some of the other players are in the same boat socially so she feels bad.  It's just the mark of a good person to feel bad for others when you have to do something for yourself I guess.  Softening the blow somewhat is the fact that over the course of the last couple years a new game store openned.  It's not the perfect solution, the owner is pretty young and his lack of business experience and saavy is apparent  and some players have become pretty disillusioned with the place in a short amount of time.  Hopefully we can provide some push to get players into his space and help him convert them into happy customers.

So it's a long winded drama story, but I really just needed to vent and even though she will probably not read it, I needed to voice that my girlfriend has done an amazing thing for the local gaming community.  I don't know if anyone else will voice it but I admire and respect her for doing that, and love her dearly for the concern she shows for the people who have become her friends. 

I seriously anticipate that there is a move coming in my future, and the part that tears me the most is because of commitments she may not be coming with me right away.  The worry with those last two words are self apparent.