Friday, December 30, 2011

The Maiden - Day 3

After some encouraging words from the WorldWorksGames forums, I pushed on with the building. After finishing up the few remaining details on the hull, I tackled the stern castle. This went together quickly, with only two minor hiccups... For starters, there's a door that I opted to cut open. Unfortunately, I hinged it on the wrong side! I reprinted that piece and didn't repeat that mistake. After that, I installed the roof support pieces. I had just installed seven of the eight, and discovered they were all upside-down. I think it would have been OK to leave it that way, but the glue hadn't totally set on them, so I was able to peel them off and re-glue them in the right orientation.

Here's the finished stern castle:

This is what it looks like from the front, with the roof piece placed on it:

Well, the evening was still young, so I started on the forecastle. It too went together pretty quickly. I mean, "quickly" is a relative term. What with all the little railing cutouts and the edging, I suppose it wasn't THAT quick. This time, only one mistake! The roof supports again... This time, I spray-glued the tabs together that are, well, not supposed to be glued together... No fixing that - I printed out another sheet and tried again.

Well, the evening isn't young anymore. Here's where I'm at:

So, it's clear now I can't continue on without transparencies. I decided not to use them for all the windows, but I need to print the ratlines (is that what they're called?) on something!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Maiden - Day 2

 Not a whole lot of progress for day 2 - we had a busy schedule and a house guest. Still I am almost finished with "step 2" of the build - completing the hull.

I'm getting nervous though that some of the pieces aren't set properly. I'm going to try to get some advice from the great folks in the WorldWorksGames Forums to see if anyone can see that my build is still OK, or if I'm headed for disappointment. Here are some shots of how things are going:

These shots give an idea of the size of the ship. It's BIG, and it's not done yet..

Here's a shot of one of the issues I have - the front of the ship is bowing outward a bit, and it makes for a poor fit for the second floor.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Maiden - Day 1

Given that this is a vacation week for me, I thought it'd be a good time to start something BIG. I can't think of any other words do describe The Maiden. Ok. Gorgeous would work as well. I spent several hours today printing, cutting, edging and gluing, and I've only begun to put a dent in this build. It's looking very pretty though, and I'm always amazed at how sturdy the construction is. Here are a couple small pictures of the work-in-progress:

I'm really glad I dealt with my printer issues, so the printouts aren't too dark now. There's a ton of great detail in every piece, and it really stinks to lose any of it.

Right now, there are a lot of ship *pieces* but not a whole lot of ship. We're taking a day trip into Boston to see the USS Constitution - a fun coincidence that might be good inspiration during this big build!

Color Test

I've been plagued with dark printouts since I started papercrafting. I've tried a couple tweaks to the settings, but ink isn't exactly cheap, and the printouts weren't unusable, so I kind of settled for what I got. Well, now that I have a continuous ink system hooked up, the ink should be a lot less expensive so I decided to actually solve my dark printout problem.

I use a Canon Pixma MX870 printer.

Here's a shot of what I would normally get out of my printer.

Camera issues aside (ain't it great to rely on a phone's camera?) the image is DARK. You can hardly tell that there's green stuff growing on the sides, and details are getting lost. Normally I've been using "Standard" printer settings with "Plain" paper. For this, I tried using "Matte Photo Paper", and the results were the same.

Next, I changed the printing to be "Photo Printing" rather than "Regular". This changed the options available to me. Most notably, "Color/Intensity Manual Adjustment". Still with "Matte Photo Paper", I checked the "Color/Intensity" checkbox and tweaked two things. First, I set the Brightness setting to "Light" rather than "Normal". Second, I adjusted the "Intensity" from 0 to -10 (making the image lighter). Here's a sample of that:

The image is a little blurry, but I think it's a great improvement over the previous image. You can start to see more of the color on the sides, and the images on the inside are more true to the original image.

Next, I changed the "Intensity" to -20. Here's what that looked like:

Here's "Intensity" at -40:

 And lastly, I changed the print settings to "Vivid Photo" while "Intensity" was at -40:

OK. I'm not sure there's much visible difference given my crummy photos. In person, I can say that the -40 intensity really lets the shadows come out in the photo rather than be overwhelmed by the overall darkness. The Vivid Photo setting turned the neutral green color into a toxic green color, which isn't quite what I'd be going for.

I'm going to have a go at printing the Hinterland Cliffs set out using this setting, and I'll post pics comparing my existing Hinterland tiles to the new tiles.

Warlock Blade

Last year, the good folks at WorldWorksGames had Christmas promotions on various products. One of those products was the Warlock Blade from their Forge line of props. I don't know what was holding me back... It might have been that I never seemed to have enough foamcore or enough sticker paper handy to make the thing. It might have been that I was a little intimidated because it's different than the things I'm used to building. For whatever reason, I never attempted it.

Well, I bit the bullet and had a go! With the exception of the hilt, I printed everything out on sticker paper and laid things out onto black foamcore. I almost messed up and put ALL of the stickers down onto the foamcore. There are some pieces that are meant to be two sides to a single piece of foamcore... I'm glad I caught myself. They have a nice system of using thumb tacks to line up the printouts on both sides of the foamcore. The whole build took a little over an hour to complete. I skipped the edging that I could have put around the blade. The black foamcore looks OK enough for me, and I could only imagine the stickers not adhering to the sides too well and being more trouble than they are worth.

So, without further ado, here are a couple photos:

From end to end, the whole thing is a little over 3' I think.

My printouts were rather dark, and some of the great details on the hilt are lost. I am pretty sure I'll make at least one more sword (using one of the alternate blade styles) and I'll try to fix the print brightness for that. I also think it would be fun to shorten the hilt a bit and chop the blade down to short sword length. I might take the whole thing and scale it down 70% for my kids!

Christmas Roundup

Another Christmas has come and gone. After a nice quiet morning with the wife and kids, we spent the 25th at my in-laws' place. Lots of good food and just good natured hanging out. The kids always have a blast getting together with their cousins. The next day we went to my parents house to round out the celebrating.

But what does this have to do with Paper Dungeon? Well, one of the gifts I received this year was a continuous ink system for my printer! This has the potential for great savings when printing out all of the stuff I purchased this year. Dave Graffam had a *great* sale on his building bundle so now I have a HUGE pile of buildings to make. WorldWorksGames had a *great* sale on their entire catalog, so now I have a HUGE pile of tile sets to build. And of course, there's a backlog of paper standees I've been waiting to build!

Setting up the ink system turned out to be really easy. Of course, something always goes wrong, and I managed to make a mess of the ink while installing the system. If you follow the instructions correctly, it should be a fairly simple *and clean* process. I took the rubber stoppers off of the ink tanks, allowing the ink to flow freely. You're supposed to do this AFTER you've installed the ink cartridges, not BEFORE. Blech. Anyway, I immediately was able to do some test photo prints, and they look great! So, I'm hoping to fill up a couple reams of cardstock with great projects, and then slowly work my way through them with the ol' robocutter!

In theory this means more posts, more often! Yeah, right. We'll see!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Odds and ends

I'm still waiting for the holiday season to pass. The end of the year is tough, because I have to hold back on buying anything until after my Birthday and Christmas are over... Well, the good folks at WorldWorksGames put their inventory on sale, so I *did* make some advanced purchases... but I'm still holding back on printing or building anything until after the gifts have been exchanged!

I can't seem to keep the home office cleaned, and papercrafting doesn't help. I went through and organized all of my pieces and put together a stack of old tiles that need repairing. I noticed all of the stairs I've built have warped quite a bit. I took some scrap foamcore and cut them to fit along the inside walls of the steps. They've really improved the stairs a lot. Not only are they not warped at all, but the extra weight really helps them sit in place. I'll make this a standard part of my stair building in the future!