Thursday, September 18, 2014

Proof that I have a flat Graffam Apothecary

Here's a series of pictures showing the Apothecary of Rake's Corner with modifications to allow it to assemble like a Fat Dragon Games building.

First, the assembled building:

Nice, right? But, that could be any old Dave Graffam Apothecary! So, here it is, breaking apart and folding flat:

I didn't bother going crazy and making the little dormer windows fold flat. I probably should have made them be solid - they'd be easier to assemble. I inserted a piece of cardstock the size of the base into the main part of the house, and that stabilizes it a *ton*. If this were two separate floors, that would be even better, and the floors would have floor plans on them!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Applying the Ravenfell fold-flat system to Dave Graffam buildings

One thing I really love about Dave Graffam buildings is that they are the perfect way to get back into crafting. They're all fairly straight-forward to build, and always look fantastic. The only real problem I have is space. His buildings tend to be static buildings with no interiors (with some exceptions). I've been away from crafting for a couple weeks now - first a crazy work week, then a vacation week, then a crazy work week, then away on business... Well, now I am getting back into crafting.

Rather than try to find yet another little shelf to display a building, I'm instead trying to apply the fold-flat system that works so well for Ravenfell buildings. I'm starting with the Apothecary of Rake's Corner. Sadly, my printer is giving me fits, and the black just isn't printing right. It's frustrating when the blacks turn to purple on the page... Sigh...

So, right now I'm slowly trying to get the pages printed, and then I'll start making cutfiles. Assembly will take no time, in comparison.

Update: I spent the afternoon soaking my printer's print head in rubbing alcohol to clean it out, hoping this would improve the consistency of the printing. I'm still finding that the bottom of the page isn't printing black all that well. Sigh. I'm doing a lot of sighing in order to prevent throwing the printer out the window.

So, this evening I printed out the walls, and realized that I didn't even try to make it a multi-level build. The main building is 2 stories tall, but I left it all as one piece. It's not terrible, but it means I'll have to get creative if I install a floor plan for the 2nd floor. The extension walls hooked on perfectly, but I miscalculated where to put the tabs on the roof, so I'm redoing that. It's probably all I'll get done tonight, but it's looking kind of good! And, it all folds flat!

Update #2: I spent the evening printing and making cutfiles for the roof and dormers. Darn it all if it didn't come out perfect! The dormers that get fixed to the walls on the 2nd floor now slot into place, so the walls can fold flat. The roof works like a Ravenfell roof would. If I wanted to go crazy (and I might) I may go ahead and do the following:

1) Cover up the 1st floor wall section where the extension attaches, making that piece optional.
2) Ditto for the dormers - plain windows could go there.
3) Make the 1st and 2nd floors separate, so I could in fact make them both small buildings on their own (without the extension of course). It would also allow me to make a 3rd floor, for example.

Of course, I forgot to put in holes in the roof for the chimney...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Joys of Ravenfell

For the last couple of nights, I've been putting together some of the buildings from the Ravenfell: Core Set by Fat Dragon Games. I may complain about some of the little details of the packaging of the set, but overall, I find the fold-flat nature of the buildings and the assembly process to be really fun. I've put together four buildings so far. Some of them seem more suitable for use with the interior floor plans than others - for example, building #2 (I think) in the set has a two-story building and roof that's easy enough to get into, but there's also an attached four/five-story tower that you're not going to have access into. Also, I haven't tried folding EVERYTHING flat yet, but for the most part, it really breaks down nicely. I'm using paperclips inside the roof pieces to hold them down, and it works plenty well enough.

I am finding this method enjoyable enough that I am thinking of applying these ideas to some Dave Graffam buildings. I love all these buildings, but storing them is impossible - I'm out of space! With this Ravenfell set, I might take a photo of the assembled building and store it with the collapsed building inside a hanging folder in my filing cabinet...

I highly recommend the set. It's a great mixture of buildings and a very nice fold-flat system.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Applying the new roofing system

So, I got some positive feedback (a little, anyway) and so I thought I'd try to do something practical with my new roofs. To go along with my The Garden - City Walls kitbash, I would like to add roof pieces. Here's the results of a few minutes of tinkering in GIMP:

Right now, it's a very repetitive pattern, but that's the idea - wooden shingles that kinda look like leaves. I think I can make a quick brush out of something like that, add some jitter to it, play around with staining the pieces a little, and voila!

I had wanted to make some houses that blended with trees a bit, and this would serve as a good roof system for those, too.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Roof system comparison: old vs new

I love posting pictures when I can. Here are some pictures of a TLX roof:

That right there is TLX. I want to point out a couple things before I bring up my new way of doing things:

1) It really doesn't hold together all that well on its own. If I handle this roof structure too much, the roof pieces shift a lot and generally look a bit wonky when put back on the building.
2) It's all textured. There's no unfinished parts showing with TLX. They really knock that one out of the park.
3) It's pretty easy to put together and take apart.

So, here's roughly the same picture, but with my roof pieces:

Here's some pros and cons:

1) It's a little faster to assemble than TLX. Maybe. Maybe not. I think there's a little less to cut out, and maybe a little less to glue. But maybe not when you take into account the support beam part.
2) It's really sturdy. Once the parts are locked in, you can move it around pretty well and it just feels like one solid piece.
3) The lines are pretty clean. You don't see caps on the face of the roof like you do with TLX, but there are some slight gaps between the roof and truss.
4) The trusses are now interchangeable with roofs! I can use a Shellendrak roof with a Thoumont's truss! This was the whole point.
5) There are some untextured bits. I could try to remedy this, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Maybe just texturing the truss flaps would be enough.
6) It's a little harder to assemble and take apart.

Overall, I'm considering it a win. I'm waiting to hear some more responses from other people about how they feel the assembly is before I make any more progress. Back to cutting out Okumarts minis!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Out of time again!

Just when I think I'm going to 'finish' something, I realize it's 11pm and I really need to go to bed. I did manage to 'finish' the smaller roof template, and I applied Thoumont's textures to the big roof. In theory, I should be able to try out mixing and matching roof and truss pieces, since I've got a couple styles now.

I pulled out my old TLX pieces to try the same style roof. Wow - my style holds together so much better! I'm a little concerned about angled roof pieces, but I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.

Also, I notice my Thoumont's walls are PURPLE. What's up with that? I really need to do a color print test and see what the heck is going on with my printer. I'd hate to think my CIS has found the limits of its usefulness. :(

Yet more progress on a roofing system

Here's some pictures of where I've arrived at. This is utilizing the two-slot method where the top slot is similar to a TLX tab that hooks onto the truss. The bottom slot is the smaller, plain tab that fits into place. The thing that I improved was to move the slot down lower on the truss flap, so it really stays in place quite well.

Here's a shot of the 6" and 3" roof playing well on my TLX version of some Dragonshire parts.

And here are the pieces resting comfortably on the desk. I will apply some real textures to them now, and I'll make the pieces without the overhangs, too.

One thing I realized was that the flaps I had created at the top to overlap one another and cover up any gap works well when they're tucked into the truss. By folding them inward, they press up against each other and make the build look even cleaner.

Next step is to make up a template for a middle truss, on the assumption that two end trusses back-to-back won't be pleasing enough. Then the angled pieces, which should be interesting.