Archive for December, 2010

Some fancy painting

December 26th, 2010 No comments

I’ve been working on the door frames and the floors since they’re the only pieces that require more than the standard 3 color scheme.  All right, yes.  I could have done all basic floors for the rooms and left the door frames painted in the same scheme as the rest of the dungeon.  But where’s the fun in that?

I’m going with very bright colors since they’re meant to be seen from gaming distance.  No faux anything on these.  There’s some floors that match but the rooms are all getting painted as I see fit.  Actually I need to finish building all the floors.

You can see the 2mm foam I use to base them on this picture.  Typically you wouldn’t be seeing them from this angle and even now you can see that the foam doesn’t go all the way to the edges.  The foam is multi-purpose.  It gives stability to the piece which is important on things like the door frames and the floors where they can be subject to stress when they’re used.  It also keeps the pieces from scratching the table.  Lastly it gives a little bit of traction so they don’t slide around.  It’s not thick enough to call attention to the fact the pieces are raised above the table either.

I found I can paint 40 corridor sections at a time instead of the 30 I was planning for in the paint schedule.  More is good.  I’m using a finer brush so I don’t get lines in the paint job.  You’ll see them soon enough because once I get these done I can make a small layout for a photo session.  I’m alternating floors (easy) with the walls and corners (more work) and they should all be finished in at most 4 paint sessions.  In the middle of all this I want to finish building the rooms because they’re bordered with the cracked floor tiles and I hate wasting painting time.

Quick update – corridors

December 22nd, 2010 No comments

As I said before almost every corridor section is a 4 x 4 square.  The only exception is the need for a 1 x 2 for the dead ends so the corners work.  Easy enough.  I’ve been slacking on other things and just pushed myself to start making these.  Of course I justified the break by saying I wanted to wait for my friend to ship me floor tiles he’d cast.  It sounded good.  And it was actually true.

Due to differences in how everyone casts the same bricks from the same molds may come out to be ever so slightly different.  In this case his tiles are slightly smaller than mine and I found that out when I used them under floors and corners.  My floor tiles required almost no sanding for the walls to fit, his required sanding.  So I’m mixing in a very careful way.

This is 47 corridor sections.  I don’t even remember how many I need but I’ll use up all the casts he sent in making corridors.  You’ll notice the ones on the right have alternating white and grey tiles.  If I took a close up of one of them you’d see that the centers don’t align at perfect right angles.  Yes, I used geometry to get a square out of them.  I really don’t see a size difference in the completed sections when I compare them to ones made out of all my tiles.  I also haven’t pulled out the micrometer since I’m not quite that detailed in this build.

Drying on the boards are 9 full sections and enough 2 tile sections to make 12 more.  I guess that means I can make 21 at a time with the space I have.  I’ll go through the floor tiles he sent in not a lot of time.

I’m hoping to spend time this weekend building and painting.  I’m holding off on casting until I’m more certain of what still needs to be done.  And I plan on getting the cheap varnish I need so I can finish the ones I’ve already painted.  Time to buy tacky glue so I can attach the foam bases too.  I wonder if the weather is going to cooperate for varnishing.

Painting done on the pieces I started

December 19th, 2010 No comments

I went through and did the dry brushing to complete the paint jobs on all the ones I had base coated.  One thing that didn’t turn out correctly was the light grey highlight.  It’s the color I’ve used on all my grey painted builds in the past but it just wasn’t working here.  I couldn’t tell the difference between the mid color and the high color when they were painted.  So I went to pure white.

It’s a little stark but it should show up well on the game table.

I didn’t show a picture of all the painted pieces since they didn’t really show up well and the light was quite frankly pants.

Honestly I don’t think the pure white looks bad as the final highlight since I was going for contrast.  I need to find a better way to paint the cracked floor tiles since they show brush marks more than the other kinds of tiles.  I might use a flat brush instead of the normal less-than-quality ones I typically use for this kind of painting.  It’s only an issue on the floors.

I know of 2 mistakes that I will notice but probably no one else will.  They’re not obvious enough to make me want to rebuild those pieces so I’m going to try to ignore them as much as possible.  One is going to be very difficult for me.  But it’s a small thing and once I’m using the game board I hope it won’t bother me much.

That’s a small portion of what needs to be painted.  I’ll be working in smaller batches going forward so I can get them completely painted and then move on.  It was kind of a pain to deal with the large number of pieces here.

I did start painting room floors.  One is waiting on touch ups.  One broke when I was working with it.  I forgot the large rooms are going to be more fragile until they’re on the foam bases.  Nothing I couldn’t fix and did fix today.  The other floors are currently frames since the A&K tiles are slightly smaller and I need to work in some filler to make them fit correctly.  I have an idea that I want to test this week.  If it works, great.  If not then I need to figure out another way to evenly fill the gap both in construction and then from the visible side.  I have ideas but they require me to hit the dollar store or the craft store, depending on where I can get the materials I need.

A nice smooth base coat

December 18th, 2010 No comments

One of the multitude of problems with being a bit of a perfectionist is that I always have to go over the terrain pieces I paint and touch up all the places the base coat didn’t cover.  Typically this is between bricks where they don’t fit perfectly smooth and other such areas.  In this case it’s also a lot of the floor tiles because I’m using the cracked floor and a lot of those cracks didn’t take the first-second base coat.

Going forward I’m not going to base coat nearly as many pieces at one time.  I’m going to do the dry brushing and get them done before moving on to the next set.  I should have done that but at least I figured it out before base coating any more.

The only pieces I won’t varnish and base are the door frames.  I want to have the option to do some fancy painting on them.  I’ll know in plenty of time if I need to leave some plain since they’re getting painted along with the rest of the pieces.  If needed I can always paint over the finished pieces later.

I set the arena aside since it’s not necessary right now and I want to focus my time on this project.  I kind of wanted to have it ready for new year’s eve but again, not necessary and takes time away from this required project.

Dungeon Bash Doors are Done!!

December 16th, 2010 No comments

Yep.   All painted.  They need a coat or two of varnish but that’s something I can do as time allows.  I needed the room on my paint table to do the touchups on the dungeon pieces so the doors needed to be done.  It didn’t make sense to just move them when they needed to be painted.

Yes, that’s a floor tile segment in the upper right.  I started the painting when I had black on the palette.

Up close the doors look just as spiffy.

I went with the “rougher” paint job with the silver to add interest.  Plain smooth silver isn’t very interesting in this case.

Remember, these have 2 sides so this paint job is on both.

I did give in and touch up where I got silver on the wood/brown sections.  I might be the only person who would notice it but I’m really the only one who matters in this case.

Onward to painting lots and lots and lots of walls and corners.

Painting has begun, floors left to build

December 16th, 2010 2 comments

I had a post earlier but it looks like the blog ate it.

The painting has begun now that I actually have the paint.  I thinned it into a nice glass jar and have been merrily painting away.

As you can see I have no kitchen counter to do food things with any more.

You can see the progress along with some of the completed arena pieces.  I’d like to get 2 projects done at the same time and the arena just needs the same paint as the game board/modular dungeon.  So it all works out.

Base coating is messy fun!

December 15th, 2010 No comments

I can’t base coat terrain without making a fun mess. I’m using thinned latex paints and have to put the base coat on heavy so it soaks into all the details, nooks and crannies. So I end up with a lot of paint on my hands both from the pieces themselves and the painting process. Luckily it’s latex paint so it just scrapes off.

I’m probably going to paint the pieces completely and then varnish them rather than move them around during the process. Otherwise I’d have to do even more touch up painting than I do now. Yes, I go back over the pieces with a small brush and fill in all the spaces the base coat missed. I’m just that way.

I’m also painting the arena I finally finished building. I know it has nothing to do with the game board but it’s a project well on its way to completion and I’d really like to have it done. If nothing else it makes sense to paint it while I have the paints out and it’s just sitting there in the way.

The game board pieces can all be base coated in one step. That’s great! The arena pieces will take more than that but eventually will get paint on all the sides. I’ve learned to take my time and paint in sections when there’s no easy way to hold the piece without taking the paint off in fingerprint size pieces.

Putting the paint in a glass jar works great. I can close it up and shake it to remix as needed and it should stay useful far longer than in plastic. The dry brush colors should probably also be moved to glass jars but I’m not sure where I can get those in time. The plastic I have now should work as a short term solution.

I can easily paint 25 wall sections in the space I have and probably add at least 10 corners. The arena is taking up space but it’s been doing that for a while now. Eventually I can move it off to the side. Once it has all its stone painted.

Tomorrow I’m back to casting floor tiles. I need them for the corridors and I’m using up what I have making the room floor frames. My friend is sending me a whole lot of casts but they’re ever so slightly smaller than my casts so I need to mix up how I build them into the corridor pieces so everything lines up. Now that I know it I can adapt. They’re smaller due to variations in plaster mixes and shrinkage. Yes, these things matter.

Just One More Thing syndrome

December 14th, 2010 No comments

Sure, I planned on going to bed. But the empty building jigs were just too tempting.

The required corners are assembled so they can be put on their tiles tomorrow. The tiles I put together tonight.

The door frames all have their top pieces so they’re completely assembled. I was going to play with designs when my friend came over but that got put into the “some time in the future” so I went with my original idea. I even took the time to sand down the tops to make sure the finishing pieces would sit smooth. They look pretty good, I do have to say.

I’ve been putting together the 2 tile segments as I have space. I need those to border the room floors. I’m going to mix my casts with the ones my friend is sending me so that I can keep things consistent. So I won’t be making any more corridor pieces until those arrive. I’ll cast a whole lot, I just won’t assemble more than I need to border the room tiles. I think if I alternate the two types of casting correctly I can get consistent 4 tile components.

I’m leaving everything that’s currently in the jigs there until the morning.

I also tried sanding the sides of the A&K tiles and it seems like there was a slight angle to the pieces. I’m doing a 2 piece assembly for a floor and I’ll see how that works out now that I sanded them “true”. I also put a weight on the pieces so no matter what the tops should be flat. That will let me know for certain. And I was able to salvage the one large room tile that I made to the incorrect dimensions. It was designed in a way I could do that. So now I’ll need to sand off the glue and reassemble. Not a big deal, actually. Much easier than making a new one.

If this works to make the other decorative floors match up I have a nifty chain floor pattern that I can put together for a small room. I’m still very excited about painting these. I’m not exactly sure what colors the chain floor is going to be. I’ll figure it out.

Getting ready to get things done!

December 13th, 2010 No comments

Yeah, well. I should have done more stuff today but it was “one of those days”. I did spend FAR too much time getting a new quart of paint for the base coat. But I did and while it doesn’t exactly match the original shade (Note 1) it will work just fine since I don’t have to match anything at this point. It might have made a difference half way through the project.

Obviously walls are done. I thought I was over on my corner needs but looking at the spreadsheet shows I’m actually 8 short, not 5 over. So I’ve got the floor tiles for 8 corners setting up. I’ll stay up a little later to get the corners themselves started. Remember, these take the extra step.

I started building the floor border for the one completed floor. This one doesn’t need to be inserted – I should be able to build it into the tiles. Any non Hirst floor tiles will take a little extra work but I knew that already. I still need to work on getting them to assemble the way I want them to (Note 2).

Tomorrow I’m planning on another full casting and building day and I can add in the painting part. I forgot to pick up cheap varnish while I was out but I need time for the paint to dry completely before putting on the hard candy shell.

Note 1 – The original shade was a mix using the paint chips Bruce sends out. And, of course, I had a smear of paint over the formula. The guy mixing the paint really couldn’t get a good match and it would have been a custom mix from a custom mix. We found a standard color that’s close enough. They really shouldn’t put those labels on the can lids.

Note 2 – I’m not a noob and I can match up floor tiles. I really think these aren’t 100% square so I’m going to take the True Sander and see if it takes anything off the sides. If so it would explain why I keep getting gaps when I try to make floor patterns match up.

Of course

December 12th, 2010 No comments

I set up the other half of the kitchen counter (such as I have one) to be my terrain paint station. I have the wax paper down and all of the arena pieces moved there with plenty of room for walls and other completed pieces.

And my paint is no good. The pre-thinned stuff has dried in the plastic container – no real surprise. I’ll just toss that and put the fresh paint in a new container. But I’m pretty much out of paint for the base coat. It’s not worth heading out to Walmart to get a new quart mixed up tonight. I’ll do that tomorrow and pick up some paper/plastic cups to use while measuring and painting.

I did get 22 of the remaining corners on their bases and the side pieces on the door frames. Turns out I made 5 more corner bases than I have corners so I’ll fix that by making 5 more corners. I suppose I could just add another tile and make them corridor pieces but extra corners might come in handy. Once the door frames have dried thoroughly I’ll lightly sand the tops to take off any high spots and put the last 2 bricks on top to finish them completely.

I’m darn close to having all the walls, corners and door frames built. Then it’s just a matter of making lots and lots of corridor sections. I need 79 of the 4 x 4 sections to make all of the pieces listed with the game. It seems low based on the number of floor tiles I originally estimated. I’ll redo the math later since I’m a long way from making that goal.

I’m also working on designing the rooms. The small rooms can have design sections of 3 x 4 or 2 x 5 and the large rooms can have design sections of 5 x 6 or 4 x 7. I had to take into the border of cracked floor tiles to match the rest of the dungeon. It’s how I plan on the rooms integrating well with the walls. It seems limiting on the types of decor but it also makes it easier since they’re actually not that large. I may make more rooms than the game calls for in case I need to stretch it out to fit the time slot. And since every room requires 2 corners the extra ones listed above are a good thing.