Saturday, May 13, 2017

More Work On The 4Ground Carter Manor

Lots of work done on the manor board and I'd say I'm probably at about 70% or so complete on what I want done, so pretty happy overall. But that happiness quickly ended as you'll see way down at the bottom lol!

I began the daunting task of putting shingles on to the roofs of the buildings. Pretty easy overall, just time consuming - though the main houses do have some interesting angles that could pose some difficulty.

Here is an image of what I talked about in the last post about those sharp edges to the raised parts of the board. I'll be sure not to make that same mistake on future boards.

Again though, some creativity with tufts and foliage thankfully made those edges unrecognizable as you can see below.

An early mock up with trees and some bushes.

Magnets were added to all the trees for ease of play as well as transportation.

Another little narrative piece I added to the board were all these air vents.

I placed these around the manor to represent the vents coming from the underground facility.

Someone looking at the board, not knowing that there is another part to it, would probably ask "why are there air vents there?" - so it just adds a little bit to mystery :)

Priming and painting of all the vents is happening as this is being written!

A quick image of the edges of the foam painted black; which really makes the board pop.

As mentioned in the previous post, I really wanted to do something different with this entrance of the manor. So a patio was created out of pink foam. I just threw up some 4Ground fencing to see what it looked like - I think it might be ok, the bases will definitely need to come off though if I decide to use them, so we'll see. But I definitely like how it looks so far.

Just to give the carriage house a bit more flavor I added ivy vines around the walls.

Really pleased with the results.

I found these really neat bushes from JTT Scenery, so they are going to go around the cookhouse.

And these are from Woodland Scenics - these are also the bushes that are around the new patio in the photo above. The bases will all come off of them and be inserted directly into the foam - that will really improve the look.

I also threw some of the 4Ground telephone poles on the board just to see how they looked. I think I can use them as possible objectives - cutting the phone lines kind of thing.

I found some wood in the barn and cut it to size so I could use it to create a "box" for the foam squares to sit on. This will give me that elevation I'm looking for, so visually you can see that manor is higher above the facility, showing that it is underneath it.

Just like the sides of the foam I painted the sides black so that will give the board a nice finished look.

And now a couple of things not board related. Here's where I personally fall into the gaming trap - I have a ton of tabletop miniatures, figures, terrain, rules, etc. anyone who's read the blog knows that. Generally, I don't go crazy and buy stuff when it's newly released, it's the second hand sales and clearance racks that kill me. Case in point below. How could I possibly pass up both the main rulebook for Black Powder and the AWI supplement "Rebellion" for only $20.00!!?? So now I need to find bargains on the ACW and Zulu supplements :)

Now, as stated above, generally I don't buy stuff right at release... unless it's a 28mm German submarine! This is from Empress Miniatures and when I saw the preview photos I had to pre-order it. So here it is :) I'd love to be able to put it in the underground part of the Hydra facility for Historicon, but I just have way too many other things to tackle first.

And finally, would you believe I looked on the Warlord Games Facebook page just this very morning and they are sneak peaking a new figure - clearly that's Agent Carter. Just unbelievable!!! I spent a ton of time searching for proxies for Carter, even attempted conversions and then I see this - I'm not sure if I should be infuriated or ecstatic LOL!

As hinted in that first paragraph, I think the real thing that hit me early in the week is the fact that we're just over 8 weeks away from Historicon and up to this point, any real work involving more than an hour or two has been done on the weekends. So, looking ahead at the next 8 weekends I have mothers day, Jakob's graduation, Jakob's 18th birthday, father's day, Therese's sister and her family are coming in from Chile (not Chile, Wisconsin mind you, Chile on the west coast of South America Chile), and Jakob's graduation party has to be planned. I'm sure I'm forgetting something too. So am I in panic mode? Yeah, I'm in panic mode!!

Until next time, I'll be the guy breathing into the brown paper bag in the corner :)
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spy-Fi Figures

One of my initial early thoughts for this years Historicon was to use the 7TV rules in a James Bond setting. I have a ton of Artizan, Hasselfree, and of course Crooked Dice figures that all fit into this genre.

What's nice about the Agent Carter boards is that they can easily double for a Bond setting - and depending on how things go at Historicon, I may run another game or two but use these figures instead to change the feel a bit.

These are all the easily recognizable Bond figures.

Goldfinger and From Russia With Love figures.

Blofelds and evil masterminds.

More Bond-like agents.

Really like the chap on the end with the eye patch! Number 2 perhaps?!

And the tie of year award goes to Dr. Everythingwillbealright above :)

My favorite figure of the group, and not anything close to spy-fi! This is Mr. Hyde from West Wind's Empire of the Dead line. The whole line has some absolutely fantastic figures, but when I saw this one I had to immediately buy it. He's just a monster (no pun intended lol!) next to the other figures. Who knows what I'll use him for, but it doesn't matter, he can just stand around on the table and look brilliant!

All the above figures were painted by Arthur Hannan at over in the UK. I stumbled upon an ad Arthur had put up in the Bolt Action International Facebook page and thought I'd get in contact about helping out with my ever growing mountain of unpainted lead - as mentioned in the post for goals for the year way back in January, I'm making commission work on figures a focus and this was the first step in making that mountain smaller!

We sorted things out really quickly through a few emails and I had 100 figures in the mail and on their way across the pond. What was great was that almost immediately in that first email I could tell Arthur and I were exactly on the same page as to what I was looking for color and style wise. He kept in almost daily contact as he worked through the figures, sending me photos of the progress - I think he completed all 100 in less than two weeks.

I have about 60 more to base up (I told Arthur I would take care of all the basing since I'm only going to use clear bases going forward on these types of skirmish figures), so that'll be for another post. But super happy to have had Arthur help me with this first group, they all look fantastic! I was so impressed with Arthur's communication and all the progress photos he sent, that I sent him another 90 figures before these had even gotten back to me where I could actually see them with my own eyes. Amongst those 90 figures are all the SAS agents, several Peggy Carter figures, as well as Hydra soldiers, two Dr. Zola's, and about 40 German zombies that will be the bulk of what is used for Historicon. Can't wait to see what he comes back with for that batch of figures!

Until next time, thanks for looking!

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!