Monday, December 17, 2012

Atlants TLX - GAME ON!

I've got a couple weeks off from work, so I'm really going to focus on the Atlantis conversion. There are a lot of loose ends, so I'm hoping that the dedicated time will let me add some order to the chaos.

Here are some pics of a little test build. The minis are either LEGOs or standees from OneMonk's hordes.

The catwalk system works well, though I really want it 2" wide, not 1" wide. Otherwise, it's pretty to look at but no fun to play on.  I think the roofs look pretty nice, and the walls are good too.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Having a little fun in the Hinterlands

I made some quickie 2.5-D rock "standees" and broke out the Hinterland tiles to try them out. I let the kids build some LEGO props, and we decked the place out.

Let's see what's going on here...

A couple adventurers are cooking up a light meal after a hard days work of, er, adventuring.

Using some cliff tiles, my son made some parts of the ground elevated, and made a little island. Trouble is brewing there...

I contributed a guy with a merchant cart, blissfully enjoying the warm breeze and delightful sounds of the trickling water under the bridge.

My son's contribution?

Just behind the cart is a skeleton on foot, and another skeleton riding, what else, a skeleton horse. He described it as "danger."  I'm hoping the skeletons, too, are just out enjoying a stroll.

My younger son likes to climb on rocks, so he put a kid doing just that. Now, that rock he's climbing on is one of my 2.5-D rocks. They take no time to build, but I'm not sure they're quite good enough as scenery.

A businessman is out fishing just off the dock. He hasn't caught anything yet, and his parrot doesn't let him forget it.

And lastly, it's the monkey with a fez.

He just kinda sits there, and let's you wonder "Hey - is that a monkey with a fez? I wonder what he's doing there?"  Just beware. He's got one heck of a daily power and he hasn't used it yet today...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No wonder Atlantis sunk...


I'm having a really hard time gaining traction on this. It's one step forward, two steps back. I decided to ditch the black area between the pillars on the posts, and instead use stone walls. Sadly, I hadn't kept the layers in my images separate, so it wasn't an easy thing to just whip up. I redid the 2-way posts last night and went to build a couple pages worth so I could start making a real TLX build, and I found I had scaled the pillars incorrectly on the posts. Or, rather, I scaled them differently. Sigh. So, either I redo the posts again (pretty likely) or I redo the walls (unlikely). The sad thing is, I like the new scale better - the columns are more substantial. Oh well.

I did build a couple of TLX tiles, and they came out OK. I need a bunch more, but I'm at least somewhat confident I can make those easily. Famous last words, right?

I tried to come up with a texture for the inside of the roofs, and this is what I ended up with:

So, now I realize that this won't line up "perfectly" with the trusses. Maybe I don't care... I probably do though... Wah. I wish I were better at doing this! I hope that I'll be able to use some vacation time to really focus on this stuff, rather than doing it in 15 minute increments. Maybe that's screwing me up.

It is certainly a lonely process, I'll say that much.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

An overdue update

It's been a while since I posted anything - this seems to happen when I get mired in little details and my desk fills up with clutter. I can't seem to push anything past the finish line, so I stop doing anything! Well, progress has finally been made.

The Thoumont's SwiftScenics set has been wrapped up and I've fixed all of the issues I was aware of. I also did up some promo pictures and passed them off to WWG for their consideration. Just a wait-and-see game now, I guess.

TLX Atlantis inches along. I had a huge list of things to convert, and I realize now that I missed a bunch of things. I'll see what I end up getting done. I think the tiles are almost complete. Here's a quick test print of some water/sand tiles using a 1" grid:

I cut up 10 more 6" foamcore tiles, and found that using the skill saw goes pretty quickly. Maybe it's just more fun to use the power tools than the knife. I'd like to see if I can't get a method down where I cut 4 or 5 at a time, stacked up. I tried 3 at a time using masking tape to hold them together, and it was OK, but not great. I think a little spritz of spray mount will hold them well enough. 10 isn't nearly enough to make a set, and I'm a bit behind on making sets, so I would like to get a good stack prepped.

So, hopefully this evening I can focus on finishing the "core" tiles (not including some of the wonky looking inlets and transition tiles...) and maybe build a couple real TLX tiles.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

TLX Atlantis - Walkways and Supports

I spent more time working on cutfiles for the supports to get them just right, and I finished up both 5" and 6" railings for the walkways I have made so far. Here's what they look like when all together:
Resting the walkways on top of the supports is a little wobbly. Once I have a complete "set" of tiles, I'll see how it feels with minis moving around on them. Here are more shots:
And finally, here are the pieces broken down:
The 5" railings need a little tweaking - I need to make them a *little* shorter so they fit into the corners a wee bit better. Other than that, I'm really happy with how it's turning out.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

TLX Atlantis - Walkway Supports

I thought I'd keep the supports simple, and here's what I ended up with:
I took the pillar wall and chopped it into pieces. I added slots on tops and bottoms, allowing for the pieces to slip together easily. I haven't used them too much to know whether they'll be stable enough, but I think it's a good starting point. Here are some assembled pics:
I might even make some 3- and 4- column support pieces. No reason not to, I guess. I made cutfiles for them, which saved me a lot of time. I'm wondering if I should make versions that fill the interior with some stone wall texture, so people wouldn't have to carve them out if they don't want. Also, as you can see, I made the 2-column supports have either slots on the top OR the bottom. I'll probably change this to have one on each, so there's really only need for one type of 2-column support piece.

TLX Atlantis - Walkways and Railings

A little progress today - I made a 1" wide walkway piece and a railing to go with it:
The railing is perfect. I am really happy with it. The tabs are only 1/2 as deep as the regular TLX tabs, which let me support railings on both sides. Seems to be plenty string. I'm now trying to figure out how I want to build the supports to hold up the walkways. I don't think the old system will work for me, and I don't think TLX will do me any favors, so I think I'll have to roll my own, somehow. After I can get supports done, I'll try to knock off all of the straight walkways and make some rounded ones, too.

Friday, November 2, 2012

TLX Atlantis - posts

The posts were really giving me trouble. I tried four or five different ideas out before I had an "aha" moment and tried something very simple:

I am OK with how this looks. Maybe some people won't like it, but they are more than welcome to try to convert the set too! It's not always as easy as it looks... Here's another shot:

I redid all the walls so the pillar on the ends extend out a little more. I would like to tackle railings and walkways next, as I think those will look pretty darn cool, and because I think they'll be faster to make than the tiles (since I'll be trying to take the gridless ones and pull off a "hidden" grid style... lol... that'll be frustrating, I'm sure...)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

TLX conversion - Atlantis!

WorldWorksGames has a sale on just about everything, including some of their older, pre-TLX sets. I love some of the textures of these sets, but I'm pretty committed to the TLX format. I'm hoping I've got what it takes to make a smooth conversion of some of these pieces. Here's a quick wall I whipped up:

I haven't done posts yet. They should be easy to convert using the pillar textures. Should look pretty nice.

It actually came out pretty good! The old textures are 900px tall, and the TLX format walls are only 600px tall, so the trick is to keep the details of the wall intact while shrinking things to fit. In this case, I had to fill in quite a bit horizontally after it shrunk. Easy enough with the plain stone wall side - I just split a stone wall in half and plunked down the doorway. The other side with the painted wall, however, was more challenging. I opted to duplicate the painted part, mirror it, then blend it in as best I could. I could probably do more to hide the copy/paste job I did, but frankly when it's printed out and set up with other walls, I'm not sure it'll make that much of a difference.

Quick update... Here's a shot with a corner post done. I think they're OK - kinda cramped up at the top, but I think overall it works:
Only thing I can think of is to go back to the walls and pull the pillars off the edge a little bit. That might free them up and make them look more like complete pillars.

Another update! So, here's a shot with some pillar walls in place:
In all, I've made five types of 6" walls. I received a suggestion, which is to remove the pillars from the walls altogether and let the posts be the complete pillar. It's so crazy, it just might work! I want to focus on at least a couple roof pieces first, but it's something I'll certainly consider.

OK. Last update for the day, I swear (fingers crossed):
 I really need to figure out what to do about those posts, but now that I have some roofing in place, I don't mind spending more time on that. A floor would be nice, but floors are easy...

There's the end truss I put together. I admit I was rushing, but it came out pretty well. It's not the fault of anything I did, but I think the end truss needs to be a tad longer so that the roof doesn't rub up against the tile. Anyway, taking a break from crafting now, and tonight is Halloween, so I'll be exhausted after walking the neighborhood with my kids...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fat Dragon helmets - FREE!

Fat Dragon Games makes some pretty nice papercraft products, and I've been looking to buy their Great Helm for a long time. This Halloween, my kids are planning to dress up as knights, and I thought that'd be a great excuse to finally buy it. Literally the same day I was going to purchase it, I saw a posting that they were graciously giving it away!

For a limited time, the Great Helm is free over at It didn't take long for someone to post a complete set of cutfiles for the set, too, which made the build go even faster. I set to work building one when I got home. The result looks pretty cool, but it's a really big on me, so it's HUGE on my kids! So, I scaled everything down 7/9 and tried again. This fit my youngest perfectly! I'll build ANOTHER helmet soon at 8/9 size and that should fit my oldest.

I'm hoping to build them swords as well. Not sure if I'll build the WorldWorksGames sword, or one available from RavensBlight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kitbashes have been released!

The October kitbash roundup has been announced! Four out of the five kitbashes were my little projects:

Sweet! It's great to see that they've passed whatever level of scrutiny they received, and hopefully I'll someday see someone's build include a little bit of my own handiwork. I think I'm running out of submissions to fill up the pipeline... 

I'm hoping this is a sign that I'll get some feedback on the giant SwiftScenics Thoumont's conversion. I've enjoyed it, and I hope my hack job is up to their standards. Some suggestions came in regarding the "destroyed" set, so I have some work to do on the walls before I go and resubmit it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Reigning in my standees

My workspace has really become overwhelmed with bits of papercraft projects, complete and incomplete. In an attempt to take control back from the chaos of my hobby, I invested a little money in what appears to be the perfect organizational tool:

A photo album! The sticky pages are great for holding the standees in place, and everything stays visible so it's possible to actually find something!

Now, I admit I've only had the standees organized in the book for a couple hours, but this does seem to be the most ideal solution possible for organizing standees. I'm now motivated to get more cut... I have hundreds more already printed!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

More SwiftScenics buildings completed

I am continuing to put together buildings of different dimensions. Sure, they're all boxy, but I'm trying to get some variation in height and width. Here are a couple updated pictures:

Given what you see on the table, if I were to build these same buildings with TLX pieces, I'd need... lemme count... something like 36 posts, 36 walls, 12 trusses, 12 roof pieces, and probably 12 tiles. Of course, I'd then have interiors for my buildings, and they'd be plenty more modular. I think they'd even fold as flat, but smaller than the fold-flat buildings I have here.

I assume the SwiftScenics are faster to set up than TLX buildings would be, though the roofs are a little fiddly to get in place sometimes and the awnings and balconies are pretty fiddly too. I'm glad I've got TLX pieces aplenty - after this exercise, I think I'm still more of a TLX fan than a SwiftScenics fan, but clearly each system has its place.

Update! More buildings in place!

And there's STILL a huge pile of walls to work through...

SwiftScenics flat roof building

In the few spare moments I had this morning, I assembled a flat-roof structure to see how things would go. I printed out hall supports and 6" supports (for two different buildings) and cleverly mixed them up, which forced me to modify the floor a little to fit. No matter. Even with the modifications, it all went together well. I'm getting much better at assembling the SwiftScenic buildings so they don't warp...

Here's a growing Himmelveil city:

I like how the textures go together well enough that I don't feel I need to go back and fix anything. I used both 3" and 6" toppers here for the first time, and they are OK. No worse than the ones that come with the original set I based this on!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Swift Scenics Thoumonts Conversion - Major Milestone

Tonight I finished the balcony and toppers, and I think that pretty much wraps up the pieces I need for a *complete* Thoumont's conversion to SwiftScenics. Here are some snapshots of a building with a balcony:

I'm not crazy about the supports under the balcony. Not sure if they're really needed, especially if this is just a prop building. The supports are a slightly different geometry than the DeadFall balconies, so I did up a special cutfile for it. The textures are modified from the Thoumont's balcony. I think I might go back and redo the textures a little more... The railings look a little chunky. Maybe.

Here's what the awnings look like in place:
That's the long awning. My walls are a bit warped, and I'll blame myself for that. At least, until I try it four times and every building comes out warped... It makes the awnings not want to stay in, so they're kind of precariously hanging on. Here's a small awning:

Now, don't worry. I'll get more practice building the buildings. Here's the left-over pieces:

I hope the WWG folks like it! I know I'll need to redo the PDF headers, as I tried to be cute and blend the SwiftScenics banner from DeadFall with the Thoumont's banner logo, but the end result puts the texure credits directly on Matt Lyons, though he didn't do (or at least he isn't the sole credit on) Thoumont's TLX. So, every image will need to be re-exported! Oh well!

Hinterland Forests - Lost City submitted!

Hopefully I can scratch another one off my list. Here's the preview pic for the Hinterland Forests - Lost City kitbash: