Friday, January 30, 2015

DMH - Changes to Rogan's Bar and the Undertakers

This next set of builds I moved onto were some of the feature buildings. These buildings are some of my favorites. They are much bigger than the first run of buildings, but more importantly, they are corner buildings! There is just something I have always loved about those types of structures.

This first building is the Wells Fargo & Co's Overland Mail & Express Office. It is actually the first floor of Rogan's Bar and the Undertakers front door and roof. The second floor of the Undertakers I used in another building as you'll see in a future post. I repainted the outer walls with Army Painter Skeleton Bone and the window and door frames with Army Painter Goblin Green.

As with the other builds, styrene strips were added to the roof and porch overhang to give it a little more variety - and a stove chimney as well! Please excuse the five windows that don't have glass - those are in the process of being replaced.

Again, since this was originally Rogan's Bar, I really couldn't use those glass signs in the windows and I was having a time and a half trying to clean off the printing on the acetate. I have since used old figure blister packs to use for glass on all builds after this. These have worked out brilliantly as they are much more rigid than the acetate and way easier to work with in my opinion.

Being a stagecoach office I felt it appropriate to put a clock above the main sign, plus I promised myself I'd throw a few clocks on some buildings if I ever got the chance. And I love how this one is almost at 3:10!

Next up is Buckeye Mercantile - "A Place Of Supply". I had bounced back and forth about having a General Store, Dry Goods Store, or something similar for a while. Mostly because I couldn't find a sign that I liked. Then I found the Buckeye Mercantile sign and I knew I'd found my next business!

I added a cigar sign above the front door, which if I could change I absolutely would. A normal door would have been much better for this type of business - perhaps a future 4Ground add-on pack could provide different options for front doors.

I added "grocery, feed, and dry goods" signs to both sides of the front of the building, though I now feel I should have put them on a backing to make them stand out a bit more than just gluing them directly on the wall like I did.

This was also the first building I did where I used the old figure blisters plastic for the windows.

In what will become pretty standard for me, I placed another business on the second floor. This one is J.M. Dunsmore Tailor & Dressmaker. I like to place another business in all my two story buildings because it gives me more opportunity to create that narrative I talked about in my first post. Plus it usually allows me to create a cool side sign!

The last building is Rogan's Bar, renamed The Silver Saddle Saloon and Dance Hall. I was going to leave Rogan's as it was, but the more I thought about it, and the more I was coming across really cool saloon signs during my research, I felt I wanted to have something different.

I added some generic "saloon" signs for the roof (since the photo was taken a darker wash was applied as I felt they were a bit too bright) and placed a couple of smaller Silver Saddle signs on the back of the building.

Two "whiskey" signs draw attention to the front. The connection points on the front of the building were painted over with matching 4Ground base paints. Another one of the more "classy" establishments, the Silver Saddle has some lamp posts outside its boardwalks.

They are HO scale model train lamps I got on Ebay through an overseas seller. I think I got like 50 for around 10 dollars. I cut the wires off and sprayed them with Testors Dull Coat and they were ready to go.

Again, something small and simple like that adds a lot to the narrative. A couple of small "gambling" signs on both ends of the buildings add to that as well.

That's pretty much it. As always, thanks for having a look and more feature buildings to come!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Three more 4Ground Side Buildings

Here is the last of my 4Ground side buildings. I decided to put all three together because they are all completed in the same way honestly, except for Crockett Bit and Spur Company which I made my first attempt at a shingled roof.

The Zin's Hardware and Tinware sign caught my eye right when I saw it and I new I'd found my first tradesman for my town. This building was actually the first one I completed when I started this project. There isn't a lot I did differently here from the Western Union Office except for the side sign. That was an absolute afterthought! I set the building on the table, and honestly was pretty happy with it. As I went back to my desk I saw a pack of Woodland Scenics dry transfers (#506) in a box.

 I had tried to use these as a kid when I was attempting to build a model railroad. The results were disastrous, but that was 30 years ago, so hopefully my skills will have improved. I cut a small piece of wood for the side sign, painted it gray and attempted to put the letters on.

Did my skills improve? Well, they did a little, but honestly those things are absolutely horrific to work with. The only thing that saves face is that being the old west, the mistakes like the letters not lining up perfectly, actually give the sign a little more character. That little side sign is actually my favorite part of this building.                   

The Billiards Hall was another business on my must have list, I just needed to find the right sign.

I'd seen this particular sign on some other old west buildings on TMP and Lead Adventure Forum and thought it was really neat. I really like the font. I added some billiard balls above the sign to try to make my sign different from everyone else's.

Again, had to have a side sign! The roof details are done the exact same way as the Western Union building from the first post.

That little chair is from 4Ground as well. And if you've never attempted to build one, be sure no one with sensitive ears is anywhere close by, because you will curse like never before. And probably even be making up curse words because you're so frustrated! They do add a nice bit of atmosphere though.

Crockett Bit and Spur was my first attempt with a 4Ground shingle set. This one was the Bleached Wood Axed Shingles. I'd actually been sitting on these for well over a year. Never attempting something like this before I definitely made some mistakes looking back. The biggest one was that there is a run of shingles (right in the middle of the sheet the shingles come on) that were supposed to go along the peak of the roof.

I couldn't for the life of me figure out where they were supposed to go when I first saw them. All my shingled buildings since have that run on them, and it makes a big difference in the finished look in my opinion. Because I didn't know how those peak shingles worked, this building has six rows of shingles on each side. All my shingled buildings since have five rows. The shingles that come on the sheets have three different height sizes, so make sure to match the height going across before trimming.

It will take about one and half of each shingle, front to back, to cover the main roof. The overhang uses three rows, cut to size. I used a Vallejo Sepia Wash on the shingles and looking back, I think I went way too dark. But again, being the first one, I definitely learned a lot for all my future buildings. Balsa wood was added to make posts for the porch again.

The cactus are from Pegasus Hobbies Cactus #1 and #2. The flowers and dry grass are from JTT Scenery. All tufts are from Army Painter. The other thing that I think is important to mention is that all my boardwalks and stairways are dulled with a product called Age It Easy by Micro Mark. It takes about two or three coats to get the desired effect (I think because it's really supposed to be used on wood that is not treated, and the boardwalks are definitely treated). That extra effort gives the overall building more of a weathered look.

Thanks for looking! Next up is some of my corner feature buildings.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

4Ground's Dead Man's Hand Building - Western Union Telegraph and Cable

Here is the first of many of my 4Ground building upgrades and conversions for Great Escape Games brilliant Dead Man's Hand game. Hope you like them!

The one thing that I absolutely wanted when I started to think about this project was to be able to have the town be modular. I wanted to be able to both change things around often and also make it easy to transport if I ever got the opportunity to take Dead Man's Hand out to a convention, game store, or friends house. So every one of my buildings is on 1/8 MDF board cut to either a rectangle or square depending on the sub-base size. The side buildings are size A, so it's a rectangle, roughly 7 1/2" x 11". Easy enough.

For way too long a lot of my buildings sat with either no signs or the signs that were available for download on the Great Escape Games website - I think it's great that GEG have these available (and especially for free!) but I always felt that they could be improved on. The sign itself was nothing more than a generic Google search (which you'll learn if you decide to come back is where I've found every single sign I've used in my town) that I did one day. I spent several hours scrolling through page after page of images of signs! This one caught my eye immediately, I think because of the simplicity of it. I really like the side sign too, the way "telegraph" is written like a little wave is neat!

The telegraph poles are from Rix products HO scale train telephone poles. They have two sizes - you can kind of see the larger pole in the back left of the building - of poles you can build. They have a nice wood grain on them and a simple wash really improved the look. I thought about possibly running some lines from the poles to the building, but when I was testing that idea out, it quickly became apparent that it would hinder gameplay so I chucked that idea. I did some simple touch up painting on the building with 4grounds base paints to cover up the places where connections were made. This extremely easy task will guarantee an improved look to your buildings and I highly recommend taking the extra time to do it.

I added some balsa wood to make posts for the porch - which I ended up doing on every building of mine that had an overhang. A lot of my research and trying to come up with ideas is just watching old westerns, and every porch has posts! The roof was improved by simply using Evergreen strip styrene, 0.40x0.40. Cut to size and then again, paint with black 4Ground paint so I got an exact color match.

The clutter is sacks from Old Glory I grabbed at Historicon several years ago - I had no idea I bought so many until I opened a box a few months ago, I don't know why I feel I need multiples of EVERYTHING I buy!? (but I know I'm not alone in that thought process, I've seen that same guy a lot in the vendor halls!). The barrels I got at a train show years and years ago. They are actual wood and once a stain went on them and a fine point Sharpie to bring out the rings was completed, they really popped. The hitches for the horses are also from 4Ground. I used some old balsa wood to make extra telegraph poles to place next to the building.

One thing that I'm all about is the narrative. Trying to create a story behind everything - which honestly ends up being a huge hurdle for me sometimes because I think about stuff WAY too much! I find myself just staring at the board for what seems like hours! The extra poles tell me that the town is expanding, and pretty quickly by the number of poles there.

That's really it, thanks for taking a look, much appreciated! I do want to give a big shout out to 4Ground. Their buildings and accessories are "puredeadbrilliant"! They look great without any upgrades and I can't wait to see what they have waiting in the queue. 

Well, I guess one more thing - Saturday Mornings. As a kid growing up there was nothing more that I looked forward to than Saturday mornings! Cartoons, cereal, games, friends... Saturday mornings had it all!

Thanks for looking!