Sunday, November 19, 2017

More Prep

Yet more figure prep for the Challenge - a bunch of vehicles in the background and 2 Pirate factions for Blood & Plunder.

The B&P factions are French on the left and "Unaligned" on the right.  The figures come "pre-based" on metal stands that are textured to look like ship decks.  I decided to mount mine on 25mm round bases to give a bit more stability.  I'll cover up the metal stand with some sand-like ground texture.

The Blood and Plunder figures are really very good and I'm looking forward to painting them.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

WoodWorking for Wargamers: Shelving, post 15

 Storage - its the bane of all miniatures gamers.  If it can be said that a woodworking shop can never have enough clamps, then it can be also said that a gamers lair can't have enough storage options.  Last Saturday, I received orders to clean up the basement to be ready for guests over Thanksgiving so I needed some more shelves.  I decided to build a unit that would slip into the closet I've been allocated.  The total size of the shelf is 48" long, 18 inches high and 18 inches deep.

This one is built for utility not looks and and requires:
- one 4x4' 8" sheet of 1/2 inch construction grade plywood cut into
     2 18inch wide by 4 foot long sheets (These are the shelves)
     2 18x18 inch wide squares (these are the sides)
     4 48 inch long strips for backing

- 12.5 feet of 1x2 pine cut into
     4 18 inch lengths
     6 15 inch lengths
     2 approx 8.5 inch lengths (more on these later)

 Each side will use 2 of the 18 inch 1/2 for supports along the top to bottom and then 3of the 15 inch sideways to support the  shelves.

I forgot to take a picture of the aside supports but you but the go in between the two vertical supports, with one at each end and one in the middle.  You can see them in the next picture.

I used wood glue with a few screws to hold everything in place.
 The next step is to attach the shelves to the side supports.  I attached the top shelf first and then the lower one.  You need to shorten the length of the lower shelf by 1 inch since it sits inside the frame and cut notches in each corner.

It's really import to check for square as you go about each step.
 I added center supports long the back out of approx 8.5 inch 1x2's.  These need to be cut to size.  This will help prevent the center of the shelve from sagging.
 Another shot of the front.  It's not pretty but it's functional and very sturdy.
To prevent wobble, I added some plywood strips along the back  I didn't encase the entire back to reduce weight as I need to carry the unit from the garage and down into the basement and I'm lazy.

I'll likely build a few more but this is definitely a function over form project.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge VIII: prep work commences

The first preparatory step for the upcoming 8th iteration of the painting challenge (which I will call the "Ocho") is to clean of my painting workbench and get the game room organized.  I spent most of Sunday afternoon cleaning up the space and getting organized.

 The initial inventory for painting.  All 28mm, with a strong influence of Pirates for Blood and Plunder.  I wonder how Curt will score the sailing ships?

The first model for the "Ocho" was assembled late Sunday afternoon - a 28mm Panzer II from Warlord.  I suspect one or two models may join it shortly.

After a 3 month break from the hobby workbench, it's good to feel the super glue on my finger tips again.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Woodworking for Wargmaers: Proxxon Wire Cutter Straight Edge Guide, post 14

If you use Extruded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) for terrain making then adding a Proxxon Hot Wire Cutter to you tool inventory is a must.  However, even really good tools can be improved and I decided to add a 90 degree cutting guide to improve the accuracy of my cuts.  Total time to build this tool / jig was 45 minutes excluding glue drying time.

 Why do this?  The miter gauge that comes with the tool is ok but isn't that precise.  It's also really low (only 1/2 inch high so larger pieces can shift when passing through the wire.  If the face was higher this wouldn't happen.

The gauge also doesn't stay square as the far ends veers off.  A straight edge guide that doesn't stay straight isn't that helpful.  If you click on the picture you can see how the gauge wanders off to the left.  It's set at 90 degrees but just doesn't hold that well.

 Here are all the parts I needed - 2. 5.5 x 12 inch sheets and two 45 degree angles all cut from MDF.  Remember when cutting MDF it's imperative to wear a face mask.  The material release super-fine dust which isn't that good on the ole lungs.  The last piece is a guide cutting to fit the channel along the side of the Proxxon.  It's about 3/8 of an inch.  I may mine out of a basswood strip - it took some sanding to get a cut fit.

Glue up is pretty easy - glue the two sides together and add the 45 angles as support.  It's really important to make sure the face plate is at a 90 degree angle.  Wood glue will be enough to hold these pieces in place.

 Once the main assemble is dry, its time to add the guide rail.  I added a few pieces of paper to raise the profile of the rail and then added a thin line of wood glue.  When cutting the guide to shift also err on the too wide side and then sand into place.  If you cut it too thin you have to start over.

 Carefully but the guide fence on top of the rail and ensure it's square.  It pays to invest in a top quality machinists square as you don't want to be off.  Once I was sure the fence was square I added a drop of super glue at each corner to hold the rail in place while the wood glue dried.

I also added a handle at the last minute to help with uses.  It was just a scrap piece of 1x2.
 An action shot - cutting perfect 1/2 wide 4 inch squares.
I made 10 perfect squares from some scrap EPS in less than 3 minutes.  This guide improves both accuracy and efficiency.  I wonder what I'll be doing with those squares?

I got his idea for a you tuber named Jeremy Pillipow who has a channel called Black Magic Craft and demonstrates how to make terrain to role playing games.  I've learned a lot for that channel and recommend it highly.  The specific episode that discusses a proton guide is here

You can also buy laser cut guides for the Proxxon tool from a EU based company called "Shifting Lands"  It looks like shipping to the states is pretty expensive but his tools look amazing.

I plan on making a 45 degree guide with the remaining MDF but that's a project for another day.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

WoodWorking for Wargamers: Troop Carrier Completed, post 13

 Final stages of this project - adding the top and some trim pieces.  The first step is to measure out the foot print for the top.  The most accurate way is the simplest - pit the case on some plywood and trace out the the shape.

 And here are the dimensions - well not really.  I need to enlarge the dimensions but the depth of the rabbit cut on the trim
 I milled some pine stock down to 1 inch high by 3/4 inch wide.  I'll attach the trim with a rabbit which is done on my router table.  The router bit is 1/2 inch wide and will bore out a 1/4 inch trench or 'rabbit' that the plywood top will fit into.  I need to add the depth of the rabbit to each side dimension before cutting out the top.  This will create a snug fit and look good (well hopefully).

 The next phase is testing the rabbited stock's fit. It's perfect.  Sometimes the thickness of plywood varies by 1/16 of an inch so it's always best to test fit.
 And then glue and clamp in place.
 I also added the same size trim to the bottom.
I didn't cut enough stock to make full pieces for all the sides so had to use two smaller pieces.
 I'm not the good a miter joints and had a gap on the tip.  Rather than mill some more stock I cut a shim and then put a mixture of sawdust and glue to fill the gap.  Once that fully dries I'll hit with a little wood putty and know one will be the wiser.

 Everything clamped up and in places
 Can never have too many clamps.
 Here's a shot of the case after it's been sanded and given a coat of danish oil.

 I really like Dainsh Oil as a finish - wipes on with no fuss and is easy to patch later on.
 You can see I used plywood from 2 different sheets - that's why the top drawer is some much darker in wood grain.  For most projects one should try to match the grains better.
 A shot from the rear.

I left the top with a recess also so I could fit in a tournament tray that has scenery.  I've always admired the terrain tournament boards that John B uses for Bolt Action.

There will be one more post on the case - once this cost of oil dries I need to resand and fill some spots but the case is in usable condition.

Oh and I need to add some hardware that's on back order....

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wood Working for Wargamers: Troop Transport Case, post 12

 I had some free time tonight so snuck into the woodshop and added the carry handles and drawer pulls.  Not all that much but at least some progress.
 The carry handles are made from some 2x2 pine scrap that I cut a 10 degree bevel along.  Once the bevel was done I then cut each piece to 5 inches in length.

Each handle is attached with some wood glue and then two drywall screws through the wall.  The bevel makes it much easier on the hands when carrying.

The drawers pulls are really cheap pre0made ones - I think the pair cost me less than one dollar.

I did some more sanding on the drawer runners and each drawer slides in and out very smoothly.

There are a number of options to use to lock the drawers in place during transport.  That's an important feature as without a locking mechanism, if the case tilts forward during transport the two drawers could fall out.  That's not-so-good.

The easiest way is add a strap along the outside to hold them in place but that looks really bad.  I think I'll use a rod system that's held un place when the top is closed.

All thats left is to build the top, a lot of sanding and then a quick finish.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dog Sitting: Is it the gateway drug to a dog?

 My wife is a cat person.  It's a grave flaw but I love her none-the-less.  In our 30 years of marriage she has resisted adding a canine to the family portfolio in a fierce and determined manner.  I have decided on a more subtle tactic than holding my breath (and one that I don't pass out as often).  Dog-Sitting.  We dog-sat a close friends dog over the weekend named Otis.  He's a bit of fru-fru breed but fun and adorable.  I think he set out with a mission to convert my wife away from the pagan cult of cats and onto the true path of enlightenment - dogdom.

While not a water dog, he did like floating in the pool with MB on his makeshift Imperial Barge.
 There two were inseparable over the weekend.
Otis is always one to help out, you can see Otis proofing reading one of MB email responses for her clinic.  I think he caught a miss-diagnosis so he's a very smart little dog.

My plan may be working - on Sunday as we dropped Otis off to his family, MB inquired on when we can watch him again.

Patience. patience as the quarry draws near the trap....

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Carnegie-Mellon Robotics Club - Club Rebuild

 Yesterday I was in Pittsburgh for a CMU related board meeting and got to visit my son, who is a senior there.  When I say visit, well he allocated me a few hours to come and pitch in while he and his fellow club members rebuild the Robotics Club.  Sean is the President of the club and its the oldest robotics organization in the USA.

I get a kick out of the kid working on the drone on the workbench despite the construction all around him - progress must be made!
 El Presidente himself, posing for a rare photograph.
The club has a very nice workshop in the back with an amazing array of tools and 3D printers.  However, the most impressive is this WW2 Navy surplus metal lathe that is still going strong.  It's a beast of a machine and very beautiful in it's own way.

Here's a link to the robotics club website.

Take a look at some of their projects, including my favorite "Couchtron" a self driving couch.  In all fairness, it's my son's project, so theres a little bit of bias.  I'm hoping he builds one for me!

Sean's really proud of the rebuild and the club is his techno-geek form of a fraternity.

I wish I could to college again.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Analogue Hobbies Challenge VIII: "The Ocho"

With the start of the next Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge on the near horizon, it's high time I began to restock my lead (and plastic) pile.  I haven't painted a miniature since mid July and the "urge" is coming upon me.  Posted is a rare action shot of the snow lord himself tallying his arcane painting scoring algorithm.  Spine-tingling action photography.

Past Challenges have seen me focusing on building out the forces needed for a summer convention game but I'm still undecided on what to do for Historical 2018.  Leaning towards a redo of this year's games (DAK & Dragons and SOCOM & Sorcery) but with better terrain and more refined rules.  Then again, I may go back to the ACW as I've got two 28mm scaled ironclads just gathering dust.  But there are other options like a Pirate game using the superb Blood and Plunder minis / ships.  Ahhhh - decisions, decisions.

In any event I have made "trips" to the Empress and Perry Brothers websites and have suitable reinforcements on the way whichever way I go.

If you haven't participated in the Painting Challenge (Ivor and Mike, I'm talking to you) then I highly suggest you give it a whirl.  It's a lot of fun.  Space is limited so, if you do want to participate get your sign up in fast once the call from the great white north has gone out.

As for my participation, I'm a definite "in" but am thinking of competing more for quality than quantity this year.  In the past three years I've been shooting for the top spot in painting output which is both fun and challenging, plus there are those lucrative endorsement deals.  It can also be a bit of a grind and my painting skills have stagnated.  Knock out a 24 figure Confederate regiment in 28mm in under 6 hours with "ok" quality - I'm your guy.  Paint up a figure that can win a competition? not so much..

So I'm strongly thinking of focusing on quality this year during "The Ocho".  Of course, I may find my skills can't get any better which may allow the competitive jerk in me to still win out....


Current Stuff slated to be painted:

- Blood and Plunder Factions
     - - French
     - - Unaligned
     - - Dutch (if the kickstarted arrives in time!)

- Moderns
     - - Lots of newly ordered Empress mini's

- WW2
     - - North Africa Campaign Perry Stuff
     - - A bunch of Warlord plastic sets
     - - Maybe some 15mm stuff

     - - 4 regiments of confederates and Union to raise my total forces to 20 regiments each, cause you can never have enough.

I'm, sure I'll be adding to this list

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Wood Working for Wargamers: Troop Transport Care, post 11

 I had a few hours free this morning and managed to rough out the storage draws for the Troop Transport Case.  It's beginning to look a bit more than just a plywood box.
 This picture shows the installation of the supports that will hold the fixed top tray.
 A close up of one of the drawers.  Rather than use storage bought draw runners, I'm using 1" inch plywood strips that are attached along the sides of each drawer and then....
Along the bottom  of each case side.  I'll need to sand and then wax the runners but this should work fine and saves me $30.00 of so bucks from metal slides.
Planing the front of each drawer before affixing the face plate
 Face plates attached - it's hard to see them when recessed.
 The top storage tray - great place for rule books and dice and rumor has it it may have a built in dice tower
A short with the drawers pulled out.  I'll attache some drawer pulls later - after I figure out how to make them.  This project should be done in a post of two