I’ve had it on my todo list for a long while to get back to the kind of photography I was doing before I moved into a tiny apartment and got really lazy about pulling all the equipment out, and setting it all up for a single model, then putting it all away. We moved about 6 months ago and have more space now. Then I back the MacroMat Kickstarter and it arrived yesterday. And I finished a model today, and had some spare time to move some stuff around. The stars were aligning.
Here’s a rat!
The GW Skaven box doesn’t come with enough Gutter Runners to run a proper team, which is a little silly and the cause of much argument in CHOP! chat. I don’t know why GW made this decision, but my policy has generally been to try to overlook such things and fix it myself. It is a hobby, after all!
I had Little Pat sculpt me two more Gutter Runners out of some Clan Rats he had. This guy is my favourite of the two, but you’ll see the other guy really soon I’m sure.
I made a mistake on the photography, I think, and set my aperture to 11 when I really should have done much higher, and didn’t check my focus location carefully enough. Consequently, you can see the line where the model is in focus versus out of focus, and that line is slightly before the middle of the model.
This is my new setup. I put it all together this afternoon, took these photos…then left it up. Madness! I turned the lights off, obviously. That, plus a new computer a few months ago and a new photo editing program, and the process from click to upload is pretty damn fast! Not as fast as the phone, unfortunately, since the phone can just upload immediately.
The MacroMat comes with 3 different backgrounds – the gradient blue, a speckled black and a speckled brown. I think the black one is my favourite for this model, and that’s the super nice thing – I can choose which background depending on the colours on the model and what will contrast best!
I also got a flash for my camera since last I used it for this blog, so I’ve now got 2 side lights and 1 front light and things are well lit. The only thing left is that the lights aren’t portable, because of how I’ve done the difuser for them. My ideal setup would be one I could take to the club on a photography day or something. We’ll see how it goes, maybe my lights are portable enough. 🙂
I’ve mostly finished building the game now. Giving the rulebook another solid read to make sure I’m not missing anything, but I am:
- A marker for where the storm currently is.
- Tokens for the spice. I’ve ordered 100 purple cubes from Starlit Citadel (a local games store) so this will be solved quickly.
Some way to mark Fedaykin and Sardaukar, apparently those troops have stars on their tokens in the actual game, but I’m playing with cubes. I have different shaped cubes, but only 4-5 per colour so I have to figure out if that’s enough.
- Seconds later I look down at the rulebook and see that there are 3 Fedaykin and 5 Sardaukar, of which the colours I have are perfect.
I cut and sleeved about 200 cards. Carefully cut out 6 player aid shields. Less carefully cut out 2 combat wheels.
After I glued the edges of the map last time, I Purity Sealed the top and then painted into the crevasses with colours similar to the colours that were missing. Because the map is 9 sheets of printed paper, there are 4 lines across the map where my job of lining the pages up were not perfect. Purity Seal again, to keep the paint down. Then some white glue painted carefully on in places where the paper was pulling up. I didn’t want to white glue a lot, because it can shrink the paper if you’re not careful.
And a photo of the whole set! I hope to find a good box around the house to put it in.
I’ve started organizing a time and place to gather the various actors who have a vested interest in the status of Arrakis, and hopefully the next photos will be of me and 5 other friends playing this game!
Suddenly I have a lot of projects going at once! This one is an obsession though and seems to have gotten top billing above all others. I was looking up colour schemes for my new Freeborn models and wanted to see what various artists had done with Dune over the years (most common: desert orange/brown with blue). In that Google image search I found a Dune CCG and a little thing at the back of my mind tweaked and suddenly needed it. Mercifully, I resisted (CCGs are not good at this phase of my life!) and as I continued my image search I found this post on Board Game Geek of a gentleman who had put together a print-and-play copy of an ancient Avalon Hill board game Dune.
I hope no one from work reads this, because I started by printing a lot of cards at work. >.> It took a bit to get the cards printing right, as the front and back needed to line up perfectly to actually make cards from it. The map was a bit of a pain, as I don’t have a 23.5″ printer at work, so I found an plugin for my favourite paint.net program that would separate it out into 8.5″x11″ sheets and print those.
A short trip to Staples had me bringing home $100 of supplies. About $20 of this is card stock, as it doesn’t come in any smaller units than 250 pages (I’ll use it all…eventually…), and after starting the project I think I’ll get to return about $30 of stuff that I won’t use. This sounds like a lot (it is), but it’s mitigated by the fact that this game costs up to $200 on E-Bay because it’s pretty old and pretty rare.
Once home, the cutting began. I started by cutting up a lot of transparent report covers. I knew from experience from my own board game design (I’ve never put it up anywhere) that the transparent sleeves wouldn’t stand up to shuffling. You usually need to put a card in the sleeve with the paper, and for this project I wanted the card backs to show through because they are so cool looking (and also, they help sort the decks out). So I chopped up a lot of plastic, without even having card sleeves on hand.
The next day I bought some card sleeves. They are Ultra-Pro non-matte transparent sleeves, and I’m annoyed that they have a little hologram on one corner of them. As one print-and-player said, they are designed to not get in the way of Magic cards (their primary purpose these days), but not other applications. I’ve put the hologram on the back so it’s annoying, but not in the way.
I cut and sleeved 99 cards before I ran out of sleeves. This game has 209 cards so far, so I’ll need to pick up another few sets. I’ve done this a lot before, so no problems here.
The map, however, was stressing me out and I thought about it all night and started thinking again when I woke up. It’s 23.5″ square. Staples sells foam boards in units of 9×12, 11×14 and 20×30. Some quick math will tell you that there is no combination of those that covers the entire board and doesn’t use 9 pieces. I didn’t want a 9 piece map since it would be very likely to shift around during play. Last night, I set it all out and starred at the problem for a while. I told my wife about the problem, and thought up a solution that used on 6 pieces. She stood up, and suggested I cut the edges off the map to make it 22″ square. I didn’t like this solution, as I really liked the black edging on the map, but after some thought I realized that the black edging was less important than having only 4 pieces to the map.
You can see the overhang here.
I woke up this morning and started cutting.
I glued the map down first, then flipped it over and used an sharp knife to cut through the paper where the foam board edges were.
Then I used a steel ruler and that same knife to cut away the excess foam board so that the map pieces were exactly the right size.
At Staples I’d picked up some mini-duct tape and I used that to tape down the outside edges to return back to that nice black edging. Lastly, I painted Elmers glue on the inside edges for two purposes — to hold down the paper a bit better, and to allow me to use a spray on the maps. You may know that the propellant in most sprays melts foam, but you can prevent this by using a bit of white glue over it. My next plan is to spray it with a matte coat, then paint in some places where the inside map edges don’t touch properly, then spray it again to seal it all up.
This is a big project…and hopefully I’ll be able to find 5 other Dune fanatics that want to play a very old game of strategy and deception with me. 😀
Here is Scott Everts Dune Redesign. It’s a lot to take in at first, but it’s very well presented after you wrap your head around the various game components. There are also a lot of components I got to skip because I didn’t want to make either of the two expansions for it – The Duel seemed silly and unnecessary, and the Spice Harvest seemed just unnecessary.
I won’t link to anything linked to in that link above, but I’ll link to any other resources I found as I did this.
- The rules. There are various incarnations of these. Avalon Hill has an original copy. Descartes put out a French version, which was then translated. Use these if you want the pure original versions. Then two of the BGG community members cleaned it up and made it look nicer. Starbase Jeff made his own version, which is just a small clean-up of the originals, with his comments on balance and house-rules added at the end. I think I like Starbase Jeff’s version the best, as it’s concise and also I like his thoughts on the Advanced version of the rules (unnecessary) and balance.
- Scott’s Base Game files. These are literally all of the files needed to play the game, and include a lot of cards and the map.
You don’t need anything else. But there are a few other things that I printed anyway because they were included for a more modern sensibility about board games:
- Storm Movement Deck. The original had people reaching into bags and pulling tokens out, which is weird.
- Betrayal Deck. This is a mini-expansion ported over from FFG’s Rex, which is a duplicate of this game but themed for their sci-fi universe instead of Dune. I really love asymmetric shared victories, so I’ll be including this when I play.
- Leader Cards. The original game has you putting tokens into the center of the table to randomly generate a traitor, but I didn’t want tokens so I’m using these.
- Scott’s Dune DropBox. Lots of other stuff in here you could include if you wanted!
The Skaven Blood Bowl box only comes with 2 Gutter Runners, but 4 are pretty much required to play. I commissioned Patrick to sculpt me a couple Gutter Runners from a Clan Rat base, inspired by these models. I wish I’d taken a photo before I primed them!
I also bought an Island of Blood Rat Ogre from a friend and tossed him on some cork. Cork is the best way to make a model fit on a base smaller than it’s footprint. 😛
It’s been a while since I wrote, because Christmas and some other things got in the way unfortunately. But tonight I powered through the last of my drop squad guys and finished assembling the C3D2 drones.
The drop squad guys are the same recipe as the leader, drone about a month ago. I painted one a night for a few days and then life. These are absolutely the coolest models in the Gates of Antares range. They’re so dynamic, and so bad ass looking and every drawing in the rulebook of them I see makes me dream of awesome space war movie scenes. I’m glad I’m done them so I can move onto other projects, and I’m super stoked to play with them all painted!
The last game I played I noted that I was very behind in the arms race. My NuHu was the only way of getting a really solid anti-tank weapon — SV4 on the lances just isn’t enough — and the NuHu is very expensive at 200+ points if you kit her out properly. I wanted some guns that were a little more tough to kill, and a little more dependably anti-tank. The C3 plasma cannon support team hadn’t been released yet, so I ordered the C3D2 Drones which have a plasma cannon on them. They are more glass cannony than the support team version – they have +1 Acc which is great, and +3 Res (roughly) which is awesome, but the support team I think wins out the defense race because it has 2 (or 3) guys to soak hits and the drone has to roll on a weapon drone chart which doesn’t make up for that.
These guys were stock to assemble, except that I took a drill bit to their underside to drop them lower onto the pegs. I learned from watching Clayton and his Freeborn Skyraiders that metal models standing high on little flying stands are going to get knocked over a bunch.
Remember years ago when I would pull out my photography equipment and take some really nice photos with nothing in the background to distract you? I got lazy. Thankfully, TableWar came to the rescue with this kickstarter, and I bought a new home. Once that KS comes in the door I’ll be setting up a small area to take photos, and we’ll make this happen.
I also have a couple Antares related projects coming up, so if you love Antares hold onto your hats, this is going to be a great few months!
Here’s a start to finish of a single Stormvermin. I just picked him out of the pile to be the first test model. He’s a lot lighter than I had imagined, but I also was imagining a scheme identical to my Veer-myn scheme from years ago. (just went back to look at details on that link – those are poorly done models all over the place. >.>)
The base coat was 3 simple colours – Zamesi Desert skin, Emperor’s Children cloth and Mithril Silver armour and other metal bits.
I highlighted that base coat by taking the Zamesi and mixing it with Dheneb Stone, and the Emperor’s with White Scar and doing 3 quick layers.
Then it gets really chaotic. Seraphim Sepia over the skin, wiped away the tops. SW Amethyst similarly on the cloth, but this got a little messy, I might do the Drakenhof first next time. Drakenhof in the silver parts, some Nuln Oil in places that needed more contrast.
I applied the decals at the wrong moment, after I’d finished all of this and it didn’t look great so I had to go back again and re-metal and re-shade over the decal. Next one I’ll do the decal after the base coat.
The base is simple as you can likely see – black edges are classy, Vallejo Goblin Green over. I won a pack of Rain City Hobbies flowers at the Blood Bowl Foodbowl so I glued some flowers to my rats base for fun. 😀