Sunday, April 23, 2017

Agent Carter, The Manor - WIP

Amazing how different things are now that the wife and all the horses are back from South Carolina! Farm is on full go 24/7 now. Anyway, despite no posts through April I have gotten up to the studio to do some work.

I added two new driveways into the courtyard to begin with - the first was being weighed down by my Agent Carter season one book :)

I put down the initial undercoat of earth color around the manor.

 And here you can see both of the driveways as mentioned above.

I'm really thinking about changing up the entrance on this end of the manor - the area I didn't paint brown. I was thinking about making a stone patio/deck type of structure off those double doors. I think it needs something different, as the layout how it is now, it just seems odd to have another driveway going around to this side.

I've also began to experiment with putting magnets into the foam board to lock up the seems a bit better. Unfortunately these magnets that I had in a drawer just aren't strong enough, so I ordered some of the good neodymium 1/2 by 1/8 disc magnets from Ebay. Hopefully they'll do the trick

One thing I really wanted to do with this board was to not make it football field - meaning completely flat across. I wanted some variations in height around the manor so I added left over foam board from Jakob's last architecture project around the outside of the courtyard. In hindsight, I really should have done a better job rounding the pieces so I didn't have so many straight edges.

My thought was that when I put the plaster cloth over the "mounds" I could shape it some and it would soften those edges.

Well, it didn't quite work out like I'd hoped; it was ok, just not what I had pictured in my head. I did some re-adjusting and ultimately it did work out and once I put the flock on it looked the business - thank goodness!

I threw down some trees just for fun to get a better idea of a final product. Tufts and flowers will be added as well.

I'm going to put magnets on the trees, like I did with the Chicago Way board from last years Historicon event. This makes both travel and actual gameplay easier when the trees can be removed.

I also got the last of my Secret Weapon power generators and put an initial coat of paint on them. Still lots to do detail and weathering wise. I put a copper color on one to see if I liked that color better than the standard metal/silver, but I'm not sure which looks better honestly. I'll probably need to see it in relation to all the other bits and bobs I'll have around the facility.

I got Red Skull onto a clear base too :)

I did see verification in the Historicon PEL that Agent Carter will be running on Thursday morning at 11am and then Saturday night at 7pm. If I don't make a complete meal out of the game (high probability at the moment though LOL!) maybe I'll run it one or two more times, Thursday night or Friday sometime. But that's always the challenge of Historicon - do you want to run your game as much as you can or do you want to get out there and roll some dice yourself?! I know I want to try to get into Miles Reidy's weird war game, as I've yet to miss one of his games since I've been going to H-con, as well as David and Kalissa Skibicki's Bolt Action game. Plus you gotta get into the vendor hall as quickly as you can to snap up those bargains!

Until next time, and as always, thanks for looking!


Friday, March 31, 2017

Hydra Research Facility #13 - A WIP

So I'm just a few hours away from everyone returning home so I thought I'd try to get one more update in on what will ultimately be called Hydra Research Facility #13. For my first attempt I played around with some different tile configurations and settled on this floor plan for what will end up being the main console and control platform/room. .

I was even playing around with some old leftover O scale fencing that I cut to possibly work as a railing to go around the platform. Not quite sure if it's going to work out for the way I want it to look though.

I got everything together pretty easily, though in hindsight I probably should have cut this section of tiles in half. I had a bit of warping occur after the glue set, which is super annoying. A quick wash, dry brushing the pipes and the grate plates and it looked pretty good.

The first mock up of the hallway that leads to the secret elevator from the house - which will be located behind the door. The door is one of the new Spartan Games doors I mentioned in the last post.

The mdf for the frame didn't take very well to the first black paint I tried, just regular Krylon primer spray paint, as you can kind of see in the photos below. I have to say, now that these are built I'm pretty impressed with them - initially I was pretty disappointed they weren't resin like all the other Spartan Games accessories but these are going to work really well!

I used Plastic Soldier Company spray on the door and it really took to the mdf and looks fantastic. I ended up going back over the black with Army Painter black paint and that too worked a treat - the last photo in this series, I forgot to take a close up of the re-paint. So just from this small test, miniature specific spray paint worked way better than "regular" spray paint for me, so I'll be continuing this practice going forward.

And a quick wash applied to the first hallway tiles.

Still need to do the dry brush and some highlights, but really happy with it even in it's current state. The door pictured here has the AP black paint applied.

Some really great news is that the tiles are actually bigger than one inch! They are well over an inch and a half, so that means my initial count of 1296 floor tiles that I need to cast will be greatly reduced! I think watching all the videos on You Tube and people talking about building their tiles into sections like 3x3, etc. put that thought in my head. I thought they meant 3 inches by 3 inches, but it was just the number of tiles used not any type of measurement - thankfully I was wrong!!

Moving inside, there is a perfect little nook on the first floor in the building complex for the above mentioned elevator. It is going to be located behind a secret bookcase wall, which will hide said elevator!

I used Evergreen styrene to make the elevator. That new paper cutter made quick work of the cuts and most importantly they were all straight!

This was the first time I'd really used styrene glue and it worked brilliantly! So glad I didn't try my standard super glue to attempt to put this together.

In place with the to be built book case in front.

I used scrap pieces of mdf from old 4Ground kits to make some hand rails and other trim in the elevator. Just need some paint.

I showed the end result of one of the Crooked Dice computer banks I built in the last post as well, but here is the WIP with the additions I made to improve the look.

Super easy and fast to put together. There aren't even any directions, they are that easy to put together.

I added some styrene to some places that you could see the joints between the pieces of mdf and I think it makes a huge improvement.

I also added styrene around the outside of the computer banks to cover up joints there as well.

I've improved the process quite a bit by painting the mdf before assembling, but of course didn't take any photos of those two.

Finished up these really neat cardboard boxes from 4ground too.

I do have to admit, this whole making multiples of the same item thing is getting annoying pretty quick though! Repeat 29 times...

Well I did and it's pretty amazing how good they look. I've already found some neat labels while searching online that I'll stick on the sides and tops soon.

So lots of WIPs, but moving in the right direction.

I did make a bit of a mistake by not realizing I'm going to need Hydra soldiers for the Carter gang to go up against. I've got nothing available currently. I have a bunch of WWII Germans but obviously don't think that they'll work if I put the setting in the US - plus they are based in the traditional way, it'll look a bit silly with figures having grass and flowers on their bases in an underground facility. So that's a new hurdle.

As I mentioned, I was trying to get this up before everyone arrived home, unfortunately that didn't happen. Wife and horses are all home safe and sound now - no one would cooperate for a picture, but this one of Skyfall was pretty funny!

As always, thanks for looking!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fun With Hirst Arts Molds

I started straight away on trying my hand at casting some of those Hirst Arts molds I purchased last week. Thursday evening saw me cast about 30 or so molds, I lost track after I started to get the hang of it and quickly added more molds to cast at one time.

Admittedly I made an absolute meal of the very first two I did. I started slow and only cast two of the floor tile molds first - I knew that those were the molds I would have to make the most of, though at the time didn't realize exactly how many I'd ultimately need (see below!). Before I'd started, over the last week or so, I'd been watching all sorts of videos on You Tube on how to cast these molds. And each one was different to the techniques they used. Obviously I went to Bob Hirst's videos first, but I also went to a lot of the channels I've followed over the years - Viv at RubbishinRubbishout, Mel at the Terrain Tutor, Mike at TerranScapes, and then just other random Hirst molds videos (these tiles are pretty popular with the D&D crowds!). Anyway, my goof with those first two molds was I ended up waiting too long to do my initial scrape of the excess plaster, which made it necessary to sand them down. They were fine after sanding them, but you can see the problem in the photo below.

With the first goof up under my belt, I did quckly learn to do that scrape of excess plaster right after pouring it into the mold, as well as to simply look at my mixing cup to know when the molds were dry and ready to be popped out. Squeezing the cup and having the plaster crack let me know if it they were ready to go. Easy peasy.

I quickly got the hang of everything and soon made it up to doing 9 molds at once, even though the picture below is eight :)

And this was the end result of two days worth of casting - though all told probably about 8 hours or so of work, but almost 10 pounds of plaster.

Super pleased with the overall casts. I do have some with pin head sized holes in them from bubbles, but overall for my first go, I'm pretty happy. And I figure I can fill in those holes with no problems.

I knew I wanted some cool looking doors for the facility, and I've been nothing short of ecstatic with every Spartan Games purchase I've made so far, so I grabbed these doors off of Ebay.

But to much disappointment, when I opened the box the doors were MDF. I really thought that they were going to be resin like all the other Spartan accessories I've purchased. So I guess we'll see how they end up turning out.

I really wanted to start putting the pieces on the table Friday night just to get an idea of how things were going to look. What struck me right away when I grabbed a few pieces was how cold they were to the touch - turns out they weren't completely dry yet!  And that really became apparent when I placed them on the cardboard and almost immediately it began to warp - so I had to wait an extra day to make sure everything was completely dry. Kind of a bummer really.

So it's a day later and I very quickly threw a primer coat of paint on several floor tiles. I went with a greenish gray - Plastic Soldier Company's German Field Gray - as opposed to a straight gray. But again, this was just a quick initial spray.

Straight away I really liked how the floors looked without doing much to them. I will tell you though, when I looked at how many tiles it took just to place into these two small areas, and then looked at the rest of the board, I did let out a big sigh. I'm figuring that the facility floor gaming area will probably be roughly about 3x3 - now each tile is 1 inch, so that means I'm going to need approximately 1296 tiles. Twelve. Hundred. Ninety. Six. Shoot me right in the face right now lol!!!

I ended up painting the inner tiles for the computer room a dark gray - again though, just a quick priming spray. But I do like the contrast, even without a wash or dry brushing.

A close up of the computer room floor.

One thing that did concern me was the height of the walls. They just didn't seem high enough.

So what I'm going to do is run these Evergreen styrene tubes under the walls to give them the added height I think they need. I have a ton of these left over from a race track I built Jakob when he was little, so it'll be nice to finally find a use for them. I may even need to go one more higher, so three total, but we'll see.

As I mentioned in my last post I had Agent Carter seasons 1 and 2 on my DVR, but lost them when it broke last summer. I did buy the blu-rays and have actually watched season 1 several times now. Well, I went to start season 2 a few days ago and it turns out I got bamboozled by different covers. I have two season ones! Ultimately my own fault for not looking more closely at the title, but extremely disappointing - so a real season 2 is on its way.

One last thing I'm working on is the description of the game for the Historicon PEL - I need to come up with a title for the game and I'm not sure what to go with. I thought about "My Name Is Agent" because it's such a great moment in that second episode where the head of Roxxon says "What's your name darling?" and Peggy responds with "Agent". It's absolutely brilliant but out of context I'm not sure it works. I may end up just going with the generic "Agent Carter" for a title. If anyone has a suggestion I'd be all ears!

Just about a week away from everyone returning home from the trip down south, so I'm going to try to get as much casting done as I can. Twelve. Hundred. Ninety. Six. Tiles.

As always, thanks for looking!