Showing posts with label modelling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label modelling. Show all posts

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Gothic Empire

A couple of years ago I scratchbuilt some spaceships in order to playtest a possible starship combat game based on the 'Songs of Blades and Heroes' engine. The game was fun, but there were still flaws in it when the developer seemed to stop work on it, so nothing more came of it. This was a shame, as it had about the right level of detail (not much) complexity (not much) and scale of game (small) that I wanted in a starship game, and had yet to find in any commercial rules up to that point.

Anyway, at he time I built three forces, whose adventures you can find documented elsewhere on this blog. However I built a fourth force that never saw action. I found it today whilst rummaging through boxes for something else, and thought they deserved a quick iPhone photoshoot. Say hello to the ships of - The Gothic Empire!

Here's the fleet deployed - one Battleship, two Cruisers, three Frigates and four Destroyers.


The Battleship Sombre Poetry of Dreams


The Cruisers Master of the Tortured Existence and Mistress of the Exquisite Solitude


The Frigates Stygian Purpose, Dark Enshrouded Desires and Fearful Symmetry


The Destroyers Shroud, Suffering, Seduction and Silence


A top down view of the vessels - the largest is a couple of inches long, the smallest about an inch. As with my other starships they are built from stacked layers of card, toothpicks, lentils and grains of rice.


I have to say that, having found these models I'm keen to give them a game of some sort, even if it means fixing the last published playtest version of the rules myself.

Monday, 31 March 2014

A Paper Church

In odd moments over the last couple of evenings I have been working on a design for a church to go with my skinny village buildings for 'Maurice'. I printed it off and assembled it tonight.



Here it is in a larger village (two base-widths by four, or 50mm x 100mm)


Here's the layout in Word. Once again the windows, doors and so forth are taken from buildings available on Junior General.

It does take up more space than I thought it would, but I can't see a way of making the design smaller. I think I'll make another, but stick to the smaller footprint clock-towers  for my other tall buildings.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

More Maurice Real-Estate

A few people following my project to produce built-up areas suitable for Maurice (and other games) commented that the buildings would look better on a cobblestone base. So I produced a prototype this evening. I say 'prototype' actually I printed off a square of paper featuring a slightly edited version of this texture from Flickr user Gerald Menzel.

Here it is with some buildings on it, and some unpainted cavalry (the painted units weren't to hand when I took the photos).



And here it is in its 'garrisoned' configuration - minus the garrison.


I shall probably keep the buildings on their own small grey bases, just to provide some contrast, although I may experiment with them on cobblestones as well.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Maurice Buildings - A Different Approach

I did some more prototypes of the flat buildings the other day, but the more I work at them the less I think they will work. The design I have been using looks OK, but because it encloses the area of the building it is not very tolerant of slight differences between the base sizes of the figures and that of the built-up area.

I had considered another approach, which was relatively thin 3D buildings. These would enable a number of buildings to be fitted into a small space, giving a village/town feel, but being thin they can be arranged around the edge of the built-up area when troops occupy it, without taking up significant table-space and getting in the way, thus still giving the occupied area the look of a town.

Today I made some buildings.


I used the Junior General buildings as a basis, but they were mostly constructed in MS Word, using tables. The Junior General facades were pasted into the various cells. This makes the design easy to mass-produce, and folding them and sticking them is also quick as well.

Here's a small villages:


And here it is occupied by troops:


Each building is only 1cm deep, plus a small base for stability, so they will not significantly get in the way of troops moving around outside of the village.

I have used a spare roof piece to show how the gaps between the buildings could be covered by barricades - easily scratchbuilt in a number of ways.

The next stage is to fire up word and come up with a design for a church and some other public buildings.

For those that are interested, this is what the buildings look like in Word:


The roofs are a separate page.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Built-Up Areas For 'Maurice - Part 2

Based on what bits I thought worked, and the comments of others, I spent five minutes with the printer and some glue this evening, and put together a prototype built-up area. It's still rough and ready, but I think it's looking good.

Basically it's the 'Town Square/Street look of the first photo from the previous post, but with a building section in the middle to break up the empty space. The section can be moved or removed during the game. I need to make the whole thing sturdier, though - our screen-door was open whilst I was taking these pictures, and the light breeze kept blowing pieces over. Our club-room is cooled with quite aggressive ceiling fans, so I need to take this into account in any design.



The 'rear' view is looking better; uneven roof lines help.


Troops in occupation. The central section has now been removed, and the streets barricaded. As part of any project I undertake I will make some proper 1" barricade sections.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Built-Up Areas For 'Maurice'

When we played the Ramillies scenario the other week, one thing which I found a little unaesthetic was the fact that when the two main built-up areas were garrisoned by French infantry, they ceased to look like built-up areas.  This was because the area they covered was exactly the same size as that covered by the occupying unit, so all of the buildings representing them had to be removed, leaving us with four bases arranged on a piece of grey felt which couldn't really be seen any more.

Since then I have been pondering how to set things up such that a unit may garrison such a space, but the fact that the area has buildings can be shown. I have been considering solutions based on paper buildings and inspired, in part, by stuff Bob Cordery is doing at the moment with L-shaped building pieces.

This evening, after a disappointing cinema trip to see '300: Rise of an Empire' (disappointing because it was a complete pile of pants) I resized and printed off a few building pieces from Junior General so that I could test some concepts I'd been considering.

This was the first configuration I tried - the built-up area is two base-widths square (2"). This is about the smallest practical area in the game, and I wanted to see if I could make it look like a group of buildings - a village even - rather than just one building.

It's not bad, although the hollow space in the centre isn't quite right.


It does allow for easy deployment of troops, though. Add some barricades and you have a nice garrison in 'Maurice' terms.


I'm not sure it looks so good from this angle, but maybe it's the choice of buildings and a roof-line that's more broken up would work better.


Another possible configuration is a cross bisecting the area into four spaces. This looks too much like a single building, though.


Easy to deploy troops in, it has to be said.


I only did three pieces; this would look better with a fourth, but has that open space in the centre.


Again - with troops.



It looks more like a collection of buildings.


This has possibilities - smaller buildings around the edges, and a larger cross in the centre.


Finally I hit on a possible way forward - User the flat paper buildings to define the area through the whole game, but add 3D model buildings to break up the blank spaces when there are no troops in the settlement. This would look good with the first or sixth photos, and a 3D building (made from balsa and the same frontages I'm using here) placed in the centre, only needing to be removed when the troops move in. I'd get the feeling of a settlement, whilst still having something that's practical in game terms.


As you can see, I'm still playing around with ideas at this stage, and am more than open to suggestions.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Flying High

At the moment I'm preparing some bits for a giant monster game next week - 'Mighty Monsters' to be precise. One feature of the game is that there are three altitude levels with regard to flying/floating/hovering things - Ground, Nape Of The Earth (NOE) and High. Currently I use clear plastic cups to show flying monsters; the Bandai HG figurines I use sit very nicely on them when they're upturned, and they sit nicely over terrain pieces as well. With the cups I can, of course, show Flying and Not Flying. But I realised I could show the intermediate NOE level as well, by cutting some of the cups down a little. They're fairly sturdy and took a bit of chopping very easily. And now I can do this:


On the right Godzilla is on the Ground. The three-headed Ghidorah faces him at NOE. And behind him the mighty Space Godzilla floats at High. Monsters on the ground and at NOE can engage each other, whilst those at High can only fight other monsters at High in close combat. I think the different cups make this a little more obvious than just using a counter or other marker on the one size.

And, yes, I'm still using Lego for buildings. I intend, at some stage, to come up with a more 'realistic' alternative- perhaps some downloadable paper/card construction ones. It really depends on what rules I decide to settle on; 'Giant Monster Rampage' needs a way of showing hits on buildings, and Lego works well, as you can remove blocks as the buildings take hits. Buildings in 'Mighty Monsters' are generally destroyed by a single hit, so are either there, or not. This means that they can just be removed and replaced with rubble; no damage indicators are needed.

Incidentally, until I read the 'Mighty Monsters' rules I'd never come across the phrase Nape Of The Earth.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Building Houses

My previous post here highlighted my sad lack of buildings for certain types of games. To be fair 25mm games have never really interested me (aside from gladiatorial games), but I actually don't have much in the way of buildings for 15mm games either. I have plenty of strongholds for HOTT, of course, but the problem has always been that my selection of HOTT armies is so eclectic that finding buildings that would look right with many of them would be a full-time job.

However this afternoon I decided to expand my terrain collection just a little. I'd ventured onto The Junior General looking for some top-down figures for a project I'm mulling over at the moment, and ended up in their terrain and accessories section. Before I knew it I'd downloaded a rather nice medieval house and set about resizing it for different figure scales.

Printed straight off it is pretty much true 15mm. But buildings that are the same scale as the figure often don't look right, unless you're doing skirmish games, so I reduced the size of the image and printed it off again, creating a smaller house that looks better with 15mm HOTT elements.

Here you can see some Peter Pig Orcs marching past a village made up of both sizes of medieval house, plus a small stone house which also plopped onto my hard-drive:

Amazingly they didn't stop and burn the place to the ground.

Some more work on scaling and I did a version which I'd be happy to use with 25mm figures for 'Song of Blades and Heroes'. It's still slightly under true 25mm scale but will do the job. Here we can see some of the skeletons from last night's game wondering where the Lego's gone:


Quite fun to make, and quick as well. I think it's safe to say my next 15mm HOTT game will be featuring a built-up area.

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