Thursday, June 22, 2017

A New Idea

First, apologies for the semi-melt down the other day! When you have a vision and don 't see it being able to be completed it can be frustrating. One thing that working on the farm really allows is for me to have a ton of time alone around the property. And usually it's when my mind is racing with ideas and thoughts of the past and future.

I was in the pastures yesterday when I couldn't stop thinking about Historicon and in a lightbulb moment it hit me "Why am I completely focused on a 1946-47 Agent Carter setting in the US when I can easily put her in Europe during the war?" And I'd even written about that as a possibility for the story in early posts about the game!? Seriously, what's wrong with me?!

Probably because, number 1, I already have the narrative submitted to HMGS and it's in the PEL as that, and number 2 because I continue to watch and have in the background the Agent Carter tv show on while working, which of course is set in that time period. This is pretty much been my bedtime routine for quite a while now, reading through the books and watching the show.

If I put the narrative in Europe during the war I have pretty much everything I already need built, there definitely would need detail work done, but it's nothing like what still needs done with the underground facility. I feel an incredible sense of relief that I can still pull this off and now even possibly leave it where, like a cliff hanger season finale, next year actually have the facility built and ready for Historicon and the narrative continues from there.

So part one would be built around finding the McGuffin in the bombed out church, which has been sitting on the floor for the past 3 months or so and I walk by it every time I'm up in the studio, and then part two the manor. Story wise I'll need to sort the details out but I feel that it's there - somewhere anyway!!

I have an entire town of 4Ground buildings to represent a destroyed city, as well as trees and roads. Again though, detail work will have to be done on them.

I have several "field" Carter's and the Howling Commando figures, as well as the Hydra soldiers, ready so that's a big item to be able to check off. Here are the Carter figures - the first one will definitely be the one used for the game, almost identical to her outfit in the Agents of Shield episode she was in, as well as season one of Agent Carter when she met up with the Howling Commando's in Europe.

Here are some of the Howling Commandos. I have that first version of Steve Rodgers Captain America on the right, you can kind of see the star under the jacket. I have a Dum Dum figure but the head is all wrong. We'll see what we can do about that.

A few more commando possibilities, as well as another Zola in white lab coat, and a couple of Red Skull options.

Hydra Soldiers - armed to the teeth though. That will have to be adjusted for gameplay balance without question.

Fingers crossed that we've found a solution and that I can pull it off in time. It's always an emotional rollercoaster here at Studio 13 lol!!

As always, thanks for looking!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reality... Unfortunately

Summer is always without question the busiest time of year for the farm. Horse shows 2 to 3 times a month, the daily maintenance of 56 acres and 6 horses - I'm normally at around 50 hours worked per week. But add in everything that this year has brought - the monthly 2 day clinics with our Olympic team members Boyd Martin and Richard Picken, two area rider fund raisers at the farm in the next two weeks, Jakob's graduation two weeks ago, Jakob's 18th birthday tomorrow, Jakob's graduation party now apparently scheduled for July 9th, my sister-in-law will be back in the states from Chile in less than 10 days, the farm next door (who has 42 horses) lost their farm manager so I've been going over there each morning and making almost 100 buckets of grain which takes over 2 hours to do, and freshman orientation at University of Cincinnati is July 7th and 8th, my feed business that has increased quite a bit in the last year which takes me all around the area making deliveries, that's probably another 15 to 20 hours a week.... for my own sanity I'll not continue with more!!

I just don't see how I can finish the second board for the Agent Carter game. Weekends were going to be when I got the bulk of the work done and that has pretty much been taken away from me over the last month or so, and definitely in the next 3 weeks.

I'm extremely frustrated, and honestly pretty mad - if I had the slightest idea that the months before Historicon would snowball into this kind of chaos I absolutely wouldn't have committed to run a game. I knew there was a lot going on in May, June, and early July but nothing like what has happened. Especially because this years Historicon was really important in regards to attendance and the number and quality of games being run. I didn't want to ultimately impact that in a negative way which I now feel I will.

And a big part of it is my own fault - for not knowing 100% what I wanted to do initially, that really cost me February through March which is when I had nothing going on at the farm. At this point it should really be nothing but playtesting, all terrain should have been completed.

Lots of hard lessons learned over the last few days. The thing I absolutely don't want to do is bring a game that is not 100% ready or 100% complete. I've played in games like that at Historicon and it was nothing short of a disaster. I know a few of you who read this signed up for the games and I owe you all a huge apology.

Enough of my complaining - I have been working despite no time and just being exhausted everyday. I've been working through my computer terminals from Crooked Dice, painting and adding styrene strips to cover up the MDF connections.

Here are the styrene strips with a coat of silver paint on them. I should have painted them after cutting (and have since) because I had to do touch ups around the edges after I glued them onto the models.

You can see what an improvement it makes.

I also went back and added another part to Sousa's crutch as I missed the brace around the wrist.

Watching the series again while I have been working I really can't believe I missed that detail the first time around.

I was also able to use one of the figures from last years The Chicago Way game that didn't make it down to Fredericksburg. This figure came from the Prohibition Agents set from Great Escape Games.

This is an absolute perfect representation of Dr. Jason Wilkes from season 2 of Agent Carter. Even has the suspenders, though they are probably pretty hard to see in the photo. I used a cut out for his tie to make it a bit more interesting.

I went through and got all the minion good guys and bad guys based onto their clear bases.

Here are some of the more "important" minions because they are wearing different colored uniforms :)

Female scientist working for the evil Isodyne Energy.

This guy has the secret formula for Zima in his briefcase, someone needs to shoot him :)

The color of the uniform on the bad guys is something I really like a lot. The off yellow suits them perfectly I think.

This is my favorite figure of all the bad guys - reminds me of the character from the movie "Von Ryan's Express", it's the eye patch.

The complete bad guys minions group.

And some of the good guys in a more military type of uniform. These guys are pretty cool and hopefully I'll be able to use them in several scenarios in the future.

They are much more heavily armed though then their counterparts. For game balance that will be something that I'll have to be aware of.

And a group shot. Several female figures too, which is a nice addition.

I got all the casts together, with their bases outlined so you won't lose your figures on the table. The first good guys cast with Peggy Carter, Jack Thompson, Jason Wilkes, and then two generic agents.

The second good guys cast lead by Daniel Sousa, Edwin Jarvis, Howard Stark, generic agent, and Dr. Samberly.

The first bad guys cast with Whitney Frost, Dr. Armin Zola, Joseph Manfredi, Calvin Chadwick, and generic thug.

The second bad guys cast with Vernon Masters, Dottie Underwood, Rufus, Hugh Jones, and generic thug.

I completed cards for the entire good guys cast but still need to get photos of the figures to help with identifying them on the table.

Close up of the Carter and Thompson cards. I just copied everything from the original cards, the special effects, star qualities, ratings, I just changed the names to make it simple because the explanations of all the qualities and effects are on the reverse of the cards.

Stark and Jarvis. I like how Jarvis has the "Screamer" special effect :)

And finally just for fun Dr. Emmett Brown got put onto a clear base.

Complete with radiation sign.

And to complete the effect, the Hot Wheels Back To The Future Delorean!

Well, not much more I can say. Pretty bummed honestly. I will continue to try to do as much as I can when I can. Again, apologies to those reading this who have signed up for the game :(

As always, thanks for looking!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Agent Daniel Sousa

You can't have an Agent Carter game without Daniel Sousa, especially if I'm going to set the story in America. So I had to find a figure that was close to character, but more importantly also in a pose that could accommodate a crutch.

I found the perfect proxy so the only thing that I needed to sort out was making the crutch. I grabbed a few different sizes of styrene rods and went to work, cutting the pieces to fit Sousa's arm.

The crutch went together really quick and the Ambroid Pro Weld glue worked brilliantly for the build - honestly that is what made this little piece so easy to create. Can't recommend this glue enough if you are doing any kind of work with plastics.

This was my first real custom piece and I was pretty surprised at how good it actually turned out! I think I had the whole thing cut, put together, and painted within 10 minutes. I also ended up adding a tie to the figure - I cut out the shape from a rug template I printed out ages ago. I think it looks really good and it's something that I'll definitely continue to do in the future whenever I have a figure with a tie.

And there you go, Daniel Sousa, all ready to lead the agents of the SSR against whatever bad guys I throw up against him!

One last quick photo - I'm messing about with possible lighting effects for the underground facility part of the board, and here are some containment units that I think will end up housing Zero Matter. That may change though, we'll see, all depends on what story I'm going with. But it looks pretty damn cool for just a rough throw together :)

Just a quick post this time around, so until next time (which will definitely be some underground facility goodness), thanks for looking!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Details And Completion On The 4Ground Manor

Well, we're calling the manor and first board complete! I'd love to be able to get inside the ground floor and add some more details to the rooms, floors, and walls, but unlike the Rolling Stones, time is NOT on my side!! So next is to focus on the underground facility.

I thought it would be neat to have this recruitment poster at the table, it would both let everyone know which game this is, as well as tell everyone when the games are when I change "watch" to "play" and add the game times over the "Tuesdays". The only problem is the poster is pretty big, the frame is 16x20 - I'd love to get it to 9x11, so I'll see if I can get it to a copy store to shrink it a bit.

A quick photo of shingles going on the roof. The angles definitely caused some difficulty, as well as the all the windows - all sorts of cuts had to be made to make everything work correctly.

So, details - I went through all the buildings and painted the bricks to make them more realistic and give them a bit of life.

This was a decision I very quickly began to question, lol!

Seriously though, as painstaking of a task that it was, the end results were well worth it. I can't believe how much of a difference it makes, the improvement is pretty significant.

A couple of marble statues in the courtyard.

I printed some labels for the 4Ground cardboard boxes with the Isodyne Energy logo from Agent Carter season 2. I think it'll be neat to try to connect that company to my game somehow.

I used the same styrene I used on my old west buildings to add a bit more detail to the window roofs on the manor.

And the results. Just a small detail, but it definitely improves the look.

An early photo of the board before all the final details were completed.

And the final completion photo. All the photos that follow are close ups going around the entire manor complex.

Air vents behind the carriage house.

Trimmed bushes around the cookhouse.

I added some lights around the doors, as well as the car entrance.

Bushes around the balcony/patio sort of hide the plainness of the Styrofoam - probably should really revisit that though.

I added some styrene to the edges of the manor to represent rain gutters. Again, just a small detail to vary the look a bit.

I went over the fences with some orange paint to give them a rusted and oxidized look.

Close up of the brick detail, gutters, shingles, shutters, and bushes. Pretty happy overall, but I am wondering if the shingles look a bit too "new" and if some weathering should be done?

A few possible figures for SSR Agents - Agent Thompson and Agent Blackwell, with civilian attire Peggy Carter. I have a figure and an idea for a crutch for Agent Sousa, so stay tuned :)

Here is my field version of Agent Carter. I'm still undecided on whether or not I'm setting the game in Europe or in America. This will be the figure I use if I place the story in Europe. Just need to get her on a clear base.

Overall good post, but... I'll end on a bit of a low note. I had a bit of accident with my TinTin figure. Earlier in the day I had brought my TinTin figure (thank goodness I didn't bring a Carter figure or I'd be on suicide watch right now!!!) to a local hobby shop that carries a lot of die cast cars. I brought the figure along to scale it up against some of the vehicles because I wanted to try to find a few 1940's era cars for the game. Well I forgot I had him in my pocket when I took all the horses out in the pouring rain later that night. Ironically I actually took this photo coming back in and sent it to my wife, saying "See how much I love the horses? I'm risking pneumonia!"
*and apparently I'm ten feet tall*

When I got back inside I threw my pants in the dryer and heard a load "knocking" coming from the dryer - I just thought it was the buttons on the pants since they were in there by themselves. Well by the time I figured out what it was, Tin Tin's nose had clearly lost the fight with the dryer! Looks like he took a punch square to the beak. Super disappointing, because I don't think that there is anyway to try to fix it.

So it's crunch time for the facility now, I'm giving myself until the end of June to have it 100% complete. Focus, focus, focus. Wish me luck, I'm definitely going to need it!

As always, thanks for looking!