Saturday, January 21, 2012

Printer issues

I kept the robocutter humming along as I cut through a stack of tiles and pillars. At the same time, I thought I'd start printing out another set. I had to do some adjustments to the printouts of some Hinterland Cliff pieces, and the cliff walls were looking OK. Unfortunately, there's definitely something fishy with the black ink. The printouts are coming out very brown. It's hard to diagnose these things with kids hanging around, so I haven't delved into what might be going on. One thing is for sure, the Hinterland tiles I had already assembled look NOTHING like the new printouts... the old ones look like a forest, and the new ones look more like a swamp. :(

UPDATE: It would appear that the cyan print head is clogged. I've read online about different ways to tackle this, and I can only imagine that it's because the quality of the ink that comes with the continuous ink system I installed isn't as good as the stuff they charge an arm and a leg for. I'm hoping to have time this weekend to try to to soak the print head and see if I can't get things working again. Buying a new print head is about as expensive as buying a new printer...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Breaking out of a funk

I have to admit, things were going so well with the Maiden and with the Dave Graffam buildings... But, I had two setbacks. The thing with the Maiden's transparencies really bums me out. I blew $30 ordering the transparency sheets just to get the ratlines looking nice, and... well... they aren't working out. Not sure what I'm going to do. With the Dave Graffam buildings - they look great! But, I'm a WorldWorksGames TLX tile user. I really wish I had thought ahead enough to put the buildings onto TLX tiles, or at least come up with a way that they could be used with different TLX tiles.

So, between those two things, I managed to totally get out of the groove of papercrafting, and I filled all my time playing Minecraft. What a time sink! BEWARE! :)

Well, no more! The best way I had for getting back into things is changing gears a bit. I had a small stack of printouts from the WorldWorksGames Lost Halls of the Dwarven Kings: Treasures and Tombs set, so even as I type this, my Silhouette SD is cutting out little props and new tiles to make. I scored a ton of markers and foamcore on sale recently, so I'm excited to get building!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Maiden: 1. Mike: 0.

The Maiden is officially kicking my butt. I'm trying to finish up the masts, and I am having a devil of a time getting the transparencies to stay glued down, and they don't seem to latch onto the ledges the way they're intended. Even with the magic little "extension" pieces, they only barely cling to the ledges (there's certainly no tension as implied by the instructions) and they kind of pull off to one side or the other. Blech. Demoralizing. I was really hoping to get the masts done tonight, but I don't want to work on this stuff while feeling like this - it's a recipe for disaster!

Here are some shots of what's giving me trouble:

These transparencies should hook under that ledge, but the sterncastle wall is getting in the way!

I don't even know if I've glued these things in correctly.

I'm going to pack up the stuff to clear out for an upcoming poker night, but hopefully this weekend will see the Maiden set sail...

On a more positive note, Staples had a sale on a couple items, so I now have a LOT of extra foamboard and a LOT of extra black pens for edging! Once the Maiden is done, I'm moving on to some TLX pieces for more terrain!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Progress on The Maiden

Just a little update on how the Maiden is progressing... slowly...

I don't know why, but for some reason I was just not excited to assemble the masts. I dunno if it's because the mast tips seemed like they'd be no fun to assemble... I don't know if it's because the upper masts just didn't seem to have gone together correctly... I don't know if it was because I'd never worked with the transparencies before...

Well, I sucked it up and got to work. I shouldn't be surprised that things worked out. The guys at WorldWorksGames know what they're doing!

Here are some shots of the ship with the masts in place:

I have the upper ratlines in place, and the little platform thingies went in OK. The lower platform thingies bowed a little with the ratlines attached. I'm hoping that will work itself out when I install the yards.

In addition to the masts, I was able to cut and edge the anchors, and I cut out a dozen chests and lobster traps from the Mermaid Tavern buildings. Work work work! But, I can feel some closure coming with the Maiden!

Mermaid Tavern is complete!

Slow and steady wins the race, I suppose. I put the finishing touches on my last Mermaid Tavern building this morning, so now I've got all three of the "ready to print" buildings are complete.

From left to right, I believe that would be the Bait and Tackle Shop, the Mermaid Tavern, and the Riverside Restaurant. The all share geometry, so sure they look similar. But they have some subtle differences like the gables and windows that extend off.

Here are a couple more shots:

Now, having put in the time to build these well, I've learned a couple things. First, it's really a nice touch to add supporting cardstock on the larger walls and roof pieces. This adds a lot of strength and the models feel a lot sturdier.

Additionally, I'm not sure I want to use Dave Graffam's bases for his buildings. I use WorldWorksGames tiles for my terrain, so anything I use from Dave's buildings will be (1) an odd shape that won't fit in with WWG's tiles, and (2) using a texture that won't match anything around it. So, I'm not sure what I want to do about this. I might try to create a custom adapter tile for two of the buildings I made there, and piece together some Hinterland or Himmelveil tile around it, so it will fit in.What I really want to do is maybe make a sturdy cardstock base that matches the footprint of the building, then either just set the building on top of WWG tiles, or invent a simple system where I attach a small foamcore "key" to the base of the building that would slot into a custom hole on the tile.

Before I start building too many other buildings, I think I'll experiment a bit with that...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A little here, a little there

So, vacation has ended and work has taken over once again. It's funny how I can disappear from the office for over a week, and when I get back, there's over a week's worth of work waiting for me! Well, I am thankful I have a job so I will not be caught complaining about having too much work to do.

I have been papercrafting, though. It's just that sometimes your hobby takes you in directions you didn't intend. My wife has started a floral business, and of course when there's printing involved, she calls me in. Yesterday, I printed up a couple dozen business cards onto the heavy cardstock I usually use for terrain and buildings. It's still not as heavy as a business card, but hey - it's cheap! That being said, if I'm going to get stuck making business cards instead of fantasy buildings and stuff, I'm going to make it interesting! I took some jewel-toned coverstock that we had lying around and I spray-glued it to the back of a printout of business cards. I fed that through the robocutter, and then ran over the cuts manually with the craft knife. The results were pretty darn nice!

This evening, my wife asked me to make up some larger cards with some fancy graphics from a free template she got online. They matched up with one of the colors of coverstock we had, so we opted to do the ol' double-layer thing again. This time, I tried pre-cutting the second layer with the robocutter in the hopes that I'd avoid manual cutting. Well, it turned out to be WAY more work lining up each back to glue to each front than it was to trace the cuts from the robocutter. Live and learn! In any case, she's now got another stack of really nice cards to hand out to potential customers.

While the robocutter was doing its thing, I made sure to get a little 'me' time in with papercrafting. I managed to get all of the pieces for the 2nd Mermaid Tavern cut out, though not all the pieces have been scored and none have been edged. Tomorrow night... More tomorrow night... A little here, and a little there, and it will all get done!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Building Buildings

I put in an order for transparencies, and until they arrive, there's not much more I can do on the Maiden build. I decided to pick up some short-term projects that will yield more immediate gratification.

Dave Graffam has a cool set of buildings - they're mostly scenery rather than models to actually play in, but they are really well textured and are fun and rewarding to put together. I picked up his fantasy building bundle during an end-of-year sale, and now I have more buildings than I know what to do with! Well, I have the plans to build them - I need to get to work! Here are some of the buildings I already had made:

I started with a Guild Hall build because it's a really simple model. I think it took longer to pick out the textures and print than it did to cut and assemble! Many of Dave's models come with lots of texture options so you can have brick, stone or wood walls, or different types of roof tiles etc.

After the Guild Hall was done, I printed out three of his ready-to-print versions of the Mermaid Tavern. I might just build one to start with (rather than all three at once) but I thought they'd look nice along with the Maiden when she's done.

Today is the last day of vacation, and I've got a bunch of chores I really should take care of before going back to work, so maybe I won't get much more done in the next few days. But, I'll try to do one of Dave's buildings each week, at least. They're easy enough to assemble that I should be able to work on them along with other projects.

Update! I ended up starting all three buildings, but only finished one building (without an outhouse...)