Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Next Big Project

Once you run a successful game at Historicon it quickly becomes 'how can I make next year even better?'. Does it mean a bigger table, more figures, more players?

I've been thinking a lot about Historicon '17 and what I'd like to do. I had two ideas that I felt could be both a visually and fun game. I've decided to shelf the one idea as I'm not sure on a rules set that would work, but will make sure that I continue to search for one because it can end up being something amazing!

So, Historicon 2017 I have decided to run a Ghostbusters game using the 7TV rules from Crooked Dice Studios. There is a part of me that is a bit apprehensive about it because there's still a large percentage of HMGS members that believe historical, and only historical, games should be at the conventions. And I absolutely get that. First and foremost I am and will always be a historical gamer, but in a broader sense I just a gamer. And more importantly one that wants to just have fun playing a fast, easy to learn game on a great looking table. We'll get more into the specifics of the game, story/scenario, rules, figures, and ghosts and monsters in a future post, so for now I'll focus on the board WIP.

What is really great about this build is that it has turned out to be a table that can be used for multiple game systems - The Chicago Way (think a Little Bohemia scenario), Pulp Alley (I'm thinking Scooby Doo, though 7TV could probably cover that as well), a spy-fi James Bond type 7TV game (the complex will be the villain's chateau, with a whole underground level, yet to be built, but of course I've already been researching company's that can help make that happen- Sally 4th!), and also Bolt Action (as any one of a multitude of scenarios). So that's definitely pretty exciting!

All four buildings are part of 4Grounds Hotel Complex from their World at War range. It consists of the Stone Hotel, Grand Stone Hotel, Stone Coaching Stable, and Cook House. I also added the Mordanburg Well from the Fable Realms line as I thought it looked the part. Unfortunately I lost all my WIP photos of the actual build when my phone broke last month, so that's pretty disappointing. I only managed to save the two below. Overall though everything went together easily - the two main hotels did take a few days each to complete, and in hindsight I wish I had done some sort of tile or carpeting in the rooms during the build, and not after, which is what I have to do now. It's going to be much harder to cut things out with all the walls glued in.

I added shutters to all the windows and I think it makes a huge difference. They are from Grandt Line who make model railroad add-ons in On30 scale.

One of the big things I also changed was the size of the courtyard. 4Ground make a courtyard specifically for this complex, and of course I own it, but I always felt it was too small. This is a photo of Jay White's excellent hotel complex using that 4Ground courtyard. See more of his outstanding work on the complex here http://jayswargamingmadness.blogspot.com/2014/03/ww2-west-front-town-project-update-4.html

The kind of setup and games that I had in mind was going to need a good sized courtyard. So I played around with some different layouts, but decided to just simply move the coaching stable back about twenty inches from the hotel and cut the MDF. I also decided to make my cuts so the buildings would sit up against the MDF, like the original 4Ground courtyard, as opposed to sit on it.

As usual with any MDF I try to use glue on, I got warping. Gluing on the cobblestone courtyard caused some terrible warping near the edge where the coaching stable is and on top of that the PVA didn't even work as the mat pulled right off! Extremely frustrating honestly. I ended up using super glue around the edges but do have some "bubbles", which you can see below, in the center where there is no glue. I'm still working out how to clear the bubbles and getting it back level near the coaching stable.

The mat is from a company called Lemax, who make diorama items for Halloween and Christmas. I picked the mat up at Michael's craft store in the Christmas section for about $12.00 after I used a 50% off coupon. Pretty much a steal for a mat that is 36"x18".  I can't recommend these mats enough, even without a discount, and will be sure to grab a few more over the coming months.

As you can see it scales up pretty good to 28mm. I did apply a light dry brush to the mat but it doesn't show up too well in this photo, some of the others it does though.

I also picked up some Lemax iron fences in the Halloween section. After a coupon and the fences already being on sale it worked out to less than $3.00 a pack! I needed 4 packs to go around the entire perimeter of the complex; which also gave me a main gate (I used two single gates together to create the double main gate - to the left of the coaching stable) and then one single gate by the cook house and also by the side of the hotel. All the fences still need some highlighting to give the appearance of oxidation. I also clipped off the small black 'foot' (photo below) on each piece and then super glued them into their posts to make single runs of fencing that go the entire length of the edge they are on.

I built the 4Ground Mordanburg Well and placed that in the corner for some more eye candy. But this also could be a neat secret passage that could go to the hotel basement ala Scooby Doo.

Brown paint was put on where I wanted grass to be.

And then the flock was applied.

I also grabbed these Lemax coffins super cheap as well. I had to sand off the "RIP", but again they scale up pretty good to 28mm.

Still lots more to do. I have a ton of shingles ordered for all 4 buildings, including the well. Interior floors and possibly wallpaper to do. I'd also like to do a little more around the outside of buildings; paint touch-up, some ivy on the walls, perhaps a tree or some bushes, a telephone pole, extending walkways, and probably some signs. Stay tuned!

As always, thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Feldherr Foam Cases

One thing that became abundantly clear at Historicon was that I needed a better way to transport my figures. I had been using plastic storage containers, lined with magnetic sheets - all of my figures (except for the new Pulp era ones based on the clear plastic Litko bases anyway) have washer bases that work well with magnets - the problem was the sheets were never powerful enough to keep the figures stable, so when the container moved, so did every figure.

After setting up the test run of TCW on Wednesday and seeing all my figures toppled over, I made my decision to buy one of the foam carrying cases I've seen every year at Historicon on Thursday morning when the vendor hall opened. And you know what, for the first time, no foam carrying case vendor!!??

Maybe it's better that that turned out that way because when I got home I started to search for foam cases and I stumbled upon Feldherr Cases. These cases are made in Germany so I knew right off the bat that they would be a high quality item. I continued to research them some more and found a YouTube video with a review of them. I was sold after that, so I decided to look at Ebay first - low and behold I struck gold and found a 180 figure carrying case for just $63.00 with free shipping!! It arrived in no time at all (and easily had to cost the guy $20.00 or more to ship it because it is pretty big), and I immediately started to put figures into it. It came with 5 separate trays, each holding 36 standard size figures.

It has a shoulder strap, as well as a side pocket that you could fit a rules book or army book into. Nothing very big though, and definitely can't see more than two books fitting - depending on whether or not they were hardback too.

The bottom has these plastic feet attached to keep the case directly off the ground too, which is a nice addition.

I continued to look on Ebay every couple of days, but I knew I wasn't going to find a steal like that again, so I decided to look around Amazon and see if anything came up there. Sure enough, the cases were there as well! They had the identical case I'd found on Ebay for only $6.00 more than what I paid, but then I saw that they had 180 figure boxes - 4 foam trays inside a cardboard shell - for only $36.00. I knew I'd really only need 1 true "carrying case", as I'd never be bringing more than 180 single figures to a skirmish game (I'll keep the plastic containers for the ACW and AWI figures based at 2 or 4 per stand). At $36.00 I decided to get two. That means I now have the ability to store 540 individually based figures between the three - now the question is will that cover all my figures (Pulp, Bolt Action, Old West, Batman, LOTR, Pirates, and etc. etc. etc. that I'm forgetting) ? Well, at first I felt pretty confident it would - but after filling up two cases rather quickly, now not so much! Looks like I'll need to grab some more boxes :)

The box case foam holds 45 figures per tray.  I see no issues if I need to swap trays out to the carrying case if needed. It also comes with a handle you assemble into the top of the cardboard box, for easier transport.

Final verdict - super happy I now have foam cases to protect my figures and couldn't be more pleased with both the quality and cost of the Feldherr Cases. Highly recommended!

As always,
Thanks for looking!


*but...and there always has to be a but - because I'm OCD I now have to paint the bottoms of the washers on all the figures!!!! Now do I paint them black or brown...grrrrrrrrrrr*