Thursday, July 7, 2016

Historicon 2016

First, apologies for missing an update in June; I've actually had two posts in the queue for weeks but have been so focused on getting ready for Historicon that they got pushed to the side.  So... I'm all in for running a game at Historicon this year. Extremely nervous, as I've never officially run a game at a convention, but at the same time also pretty excited.  Anyway, Thursday, July 14th at 7pm we will be giving The Chicago Way its US debut at Historicon!

Lots and lots of stuff to do to get the game and board ready for the trip, so here is a run down of some stuff I've been working on.

I updated a Matchbox Cars of Yesteryear vehicle for the Police gang.

I finished and changed another Oldsfield Tires kit. This one I took off the front awning and changed the sign; I thought a tire shop was still a neat business so just something to be a little different from everyone else.

The front awning was an easy change and all I did was use left over pieces from the front brick wall sprue to fill in the holes. Easy peasy. I think it was at this point when I snapped this photo that I realized I hadn't changed the color of the window and door frames, so that was bit disappointing - I think having a different color really would have been a good idea. 

Southam's Tobacconist got changed to Chaloner & Co. Sellers of books, magazines, nuts, and tobacco. Honestly, what a bizarre combination of goods! But I really liked the look of the sign and how 'magazines' and 'tobacco' writing kind of look like a little wave.

Another Tobacconist was changed into a laundromat and cleaners.

And in a final nod to a favorite movie of mine, Captain America (there is one line in the movie that really did it for me "I don't like bullies" - that has made me a lifelong Captain America fan), I decided to use my other Davis Jewelers and turn that into the Brooklyn Antiques shop. Plus, I felt that this table could really double as a Pulp Alley board as well, so this could definitely be a neat building to have as a plot point or objective. Apologies as I hadn't finished the windows at that point - and on a side note, as much as I love the design of this storefront, these particular windows are pretty awful to put together.

The biggest challenge was going to be how to get the board to be easily transportable. First and foremost I needed it to be able to get into my car; a Hyundai Elantra hatchback. It's a small car, but the hatchback and back seats being able to fold down give a tremendous amount of storage space.

I initially bought two boards that are used for school projects or work presentations; these were tri-fold boards that expanded to about 3x4 and 3/16 thick. I really thought that these were going to be the answer. Unfortunately I couldn't have been more wrong. When I started to paint and put glue down on the board I almost immediately had warping occur.

I decided to make a trip to Home Depot and picked up a 4x8 piece of foam insulation. I went with the thickest available which was 1 inch, that way I wouldn't have any issues with the warping. I cut it into 4 2x4 parts, and painted it black.

The board itself is 3 2x4 parts. I was really happy with the seam along the right side, but unfortunately I do have a bit of a gap on the left side; about just under 1/8 of an inch. Definitely disappointing. This photo was actually when I was getting the sides of the boards painted black.

I then started to put on the earth color undercoat where I knew I was going to have grass and dirt.

Then it was adding the flock and dirt. The flock I used is from Scenic Express, a grass flock blend. This is the same stuff Shawn Morris, The Terrain Guy on You Tube, uses and his boards are simply amazing. If you're into terrain building and you've never heard of Shawn I HIGHLY recommend seeking him out on You Tube. You won't be disappointed.

I thought it would be fun to create a junkyard of sorts behind the tire shop.  I still have a whole bunch of old electric racing cars, so I took the tires off all the cars and threw them in the yard along with some random barrels.

Again, in an attempt to make my buildings different from everyone else's, I changed the signs for Samuels Garage to a Sinclair Garage. The Sinclair signs are some of the coolest gas/auto signs out there with that green dinosaur, so that made it an easy choice!

I bought some of 4Ground's corrugated iron roofing to put on the front of Samuels Garage. Another cool little detail that adds a lot to the look of the buildings.

I threw on some Vallejo rust weathering pigment to improve the look even more.

The garage also got a large yard to hold all kinds of junk and equipment.

4Ground roofing shingles completed the building.

I picked up some HO scale lane crossings for the railroad tracks, doubled up to account for the wider roads I have. Some Army Painter wash gave the wood a much more natural look.

I got a few of the new GEG fire hydrants, pretty neat little additions.

A big challenge was the sidewalks where my corner buildings are. The 4Ground sidewalks have several different sizes in the set, but they are all straight, nothing that would work without cutting them. So cut I did.

I used a template to get the angles right - made from the boardwalks from the Dead Man's Hand corner buildings, as they are the same size as the corner buildings from the World at War range.

The jewelers saw I purchased at the beginning of the year make quick work of the cuts.

Here are some finished photos of the completed sidewalks with lamp posts added too.

Being the king of the insignificant detail, I made manhole covers that say 'Chicago Sewer'. I placed several on the roads throughout the board.

One thing I felt would make setting up, and also gameplay, easier was to magnetize fences, trees, and telephone poles.

Rare Earth magnets did the trick nicely. First magnets glued to the parts.

And the second magnets glued into the board.

Trees and another run of fencing all with magnets.

I picked up some sewer grates to add a little neat detail to the roads and sidewalks. I added some garbage around the grate for fun.

The Gangsters gang got completed as well. The Frank Nitti figure and the guy in the gray overcoat with the tommy gun are two of my favorites. Though it was fun to paint spats on a lot of the figures!

Some more little details... hedges, benches, garbage cans, and a telephone booth - complete with a pigeon on top!

And a final little detail I made, a small 'The Chicago Way' sign on the board.

Lots more little things to do before Tuesday night, but I really feel I'm in good shape! If the game turns out to be a complete bust though, I can at least feel comfortable knowing that I had a lot of fun creating and building the table :)

As always, thanks for looking!


  1. What an absolutely cracking table! Just superb. Hope Historicon goes well: I'm sure you'll get plenty of interest for it.

    1. Thanks a lot! I'm pretty nervous to be honest, but fingers crossed everything goes well. Hopefully I can put up a few posts from the event :)

  2. Phenomenal job! I never would have guessed it was your first terrain board or first convention as a game master. Everyone commented on how great your board looked. I hope to be able to play in one of your games at a future convention.

    1. Thanks a lot Marty, very kind of you! It definitely was a lot of fun to run a game, I'm certain that I will continue to run a game or two going forward at future conventions.

      I learned a lot from the first game that I really think made the second one Saturday night much better. Full reports on both of the games coming soon :)