Thursday, January 31, 2013

overland tiles update

Got two more pieces done, but have run out of some of my craft supplies, so will have to wait a bit before continuing, but I like how it's coming together. I stood some trees around the tiles, to make it look more wildernessy (I've still got to flock up the tree bases). The larger square tile is impassible along the edges, in the corners, so I built up a sort of hedge wall along the corner edges, in addition to the general 'foliage square' parts of the tile too. You can see the smaller tile on the right is relatively flat, while the square tile on the left lifts up in the corners. It's still perfectly playable, but it's a little annoying to have it warped like that.

3D Tiles part 5 Overland Areas

Okay, so while waiting for the pre-cast plaster pieces to arrive, more cork tiles arrived, and I decided to try making some of the 'road to legend' expansion's overland encounter pieces.

Quartet Cork Tiles:

First things first: I do not recommend Quartet Cork Tiles. They cost more than the tiles I bought at Bunnings (can't remember what brand they were, but I'll be buying more at some stage so I'll take note) however, they were thinner, more fragile, and when I glued paper templates for the overland tile shapes onto them, the cork tiles curved. I had to carefully bend them in the opposite direction a few times (one of the tiles snapped when I tried doing this! Had to superglue it back together) and sat heavy weights on top of them. They still have a small visible curve in almost all the pieces. However, it's small enough that I'm just going to go with it. Not happy about these Quartet tiles though.

So, I did the same thing as for the Journey in the Dark dungeon pieces, and made three cork tile sized paper templates that contained the layout for the overland tiles. I had free space, so I included the water, pit and some of the mud pieces as well onto the tiles. Cut them all out, and can now flock and paint them up!

Step By Step Overgrown Crossroad

after cutting out the tile segments, I tested my process on a crossroad pieces - four-way tile with tree/shrub squares in the middle.

I started with Castellan Green, blocking in the grass areas of the tile

then I used mournfang brown to coat where the foliage area will go

Then I remarked the grid square locations by putting little white dots in the corners of each square - I don't want grid lines on the overland tiles, breaking up the grass look, so I thought I'd try this instead.

I then used small flocking grit (Gale Force 9). Loosely spread super glue about the foliage area, piled grit on top, then tapped the tile to shake off the loose grit.

Then a light wash over the whole surface, concentrated more on the grit, but also a light brush over the green to mottle it a bit as well. I used Agrax Earthshade, which is sort of like the old Devlan Mud washes.

Then a drybrush with Karak Stone, and scrub some around the edges of the earth.

Then get summer clump foliage (Gale force 9) and break up into small pieces of roughly equal thickness.

The idea is to glue it like bushy shrubbery into the earth area, to mark the 'overgrown' parts of the map tiles. This could represent where trees, hedges, thorns, or whatever, are growing, depending on the scenario being played. I chose this method, because it stands out from the grass, but also, I can stand figures on top of it without them falling over, if I get the pieces on right.

Finally, put glue onto the grass areas, and flock with static grass. Again, I glued rather loosely, so that after tapping off the loose grass, it was an uneven surface, with some of the paint showing through a little in a few places, which I think is a more natural sort of look for the grass.

Finally, I touched up the white dots again, and the piece is finished.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

LOTR / Descent figure size comparison

I was asked what size the Descent figures were, so I thought I'd post this to show the difference in sculpting size between the GW and Descent / Runebound figures. The GW figures are a fraction taller, and I think the GW figures have exaggerated the thickness of legs, arms, and size of head, compared to a real person, to make the features more visible, easier to paint, and with more sculpted details, while the Descent figures are shaped  with limbs, hands, feet and head, in a more life-size proportion to each other for each figure type, so they look more like a person with some great poses but the sculpt has a lot less or shallower detail in it. The head is about half the width of a GW head, so it is harder to paint the face detail on them, but still possible. The average ankle is only 1/3 the width of a GW ankle.

Friday, January 25, 2013

1st Ed Descent heroes finished at last!

Just click on the picture, or right click and open in a new window, like any other image. Here's a bigger image of one of them to give you an idea of them:

Okay, so it's not every single hero in the board game (there's so many of them!), because I decided there are so many heroes, I'll just stick for now with the 13 of them that are in a finished state, because that's heaps of heroes to pick from.

I finished washing and highlighting them, and also I got some 'moss' that you can attach to bases and scenery, which I'll use on the plaster 3d dungeon tiles, so I put some on their bases as well to tie them in with the map tiles.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hirst Arts 3D Tiles part 4

Well, that was a lot of cutting!

Step one: cut the cork tile into manageable strips along black lines.

 Next, cut each strip into its individual segment pieces

test them next to each other to form rooms and passages. If they don't sit nicely next to each other, you may need to trim a little off the bottom of the piece, along its edge. Don't trim the top where the paper is glued on.

 Here's the segments from the first cork tile all done

now any room, such as this 6x6 square room, can be laid out - with a gap for pit, water, etc, built into it!

Here's a few tiles later

and the finished collection with an unpainted figure to help show scale

when cutting, especially with 1x1's, it's helpful to rest one end of the ruler on an uncut part of a board, so it isn't floating in the air. It helped stop the ruler sliding while cutting.
To cut: run the knife along the ruler's edge, along the black lines of the tiles. Don't push super hard - you can't cut through in one go. Instead, make five to ten strokes with the knife, each time the knife will cut more, and this will stop tiles and rulers from sliding around, and help you to get a good clean cut.

On the final cork tile, part of it was an error - a black line was on the wrong side of one of the 5mm spacing borders. This resulted in me having to find which tiles were too wide, and which were too thin, and to cut the extra 5mm border off the wider ones and superglue them onto the sides of the ones that were cut too short. So far I've only noticed about three squares that had the black line in the wrong position, so keep an eye out for those on the last Cork Tile if you are going to copy my process.

This shows a 2x2 with the extra 5mm border on one side

trimming it off, I glue it onto the 2x1 that is missing it's 5mm border

And here we have it. The first dungeon level tile layout from Descent: Journeys in the Dark, with gaps for pits, rocks, etc, able to be embedded into the room locations!

Now I just have to wait until mid February for the Hirst Arts plaster pieces to arrive, then the glueing, flocking, and painting can begin!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hirst Arts 3D Tiles part 3

Okay, so I got six cork tiles today. First: shop around when looking for packets of 12" x 12" (30.4cm x 30.4cm) cork tiles - because I ordered some a while back on ebay, for about $40, then today I found a six-pack for $13 at bunnings hardware store. I need more than six, so I can do the expansions as well, and things like lava, water, ice, pits, etc, as well, but the six I grabbed at Bunnings today will let me do the tile segments for the original game, using the PDF 4-page templates I made downloadable in a previous post.

So, here's six cork tiles:

I cut out the four pages for the first tile's template. I printed the templates in greyscale to save ink, and because I already know what bits are what:
Glued them onto a corkboard: this is important - do not over-glue. I used white wood glue, and a 3/4 " flat brush. Dribble glue all over the tile, then brush it around. You want a thin layer, but total cover, to attach the paper to. If there are gaps, they are places the paper might come off when cutting into segments, and if there are large puddles of glue, they will leave lumps and bumps in the paper when it dries, so brush it well to spread it across the surface, then attach the paper to the cork tile. Get a flat object (I used a plastic lid off a container) and rub it in circles all over the surface of the paper, to flatten it down and seal it into the glue. Make sure the edges are not coming up, but are glued down.
I also noticed that the cork tiles are not the 'exact' same size, so the templates fit neatly on some, but there was extra cork around the edges on others, so some trimming will be required later, to make sure the squares are all the same size.
After gluing a tile, I sit it out on the deck, and put a heavy box on top to prevent warping and curving. The tiles already had a slight curve to them when I got them, but they are bendy enough that when gluing the plaster tiles down onto them, they should flatten out completely. I found that after fifteen to twenty minutes, the corners of a couple tiles started to curve slightly upwards, so I just picked up the tile and gently bent it the other direction. When I laid it back down it was flat again.
In part 4, I'll have cut out all the segments of 3x3, 2x2, 2x1 and 1x1 squares!
Then I'll have to just wait until early or mid February, when my pre-cast plaster pieces should arrive in the mail.

Descent / Runebound Heroes part 2

(Click photo for a better look at the figures)

I've done highlights and faces now on some of my descent / runebound figures. Only six more to do to finish those I had started painting, then I'll paint up the remaining five that I haven't started yet.

I don't usually try to paint eyes on people, I just leave it as the shadowy eyes left after applying a wash, but I thought I'd try it out differently this time. I got the smallest brush with a tiny bit of bright paint on the tip, and put a small dot on either side of the nose, then smaller dot at the other side of the eye indentation. Looking at them, you'd think I painted the pupils of the eyes, but it's just a gap between two white dots. No more trying to put the pupils in the middle and missing :) This way, the dot is always between the two white dots! Of course, some of the eyes still turned out better than others.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

3D Descent Board Templates pdf

Okay, so I want to add more detail to the boards than just tile squares. As I posted in an earlier post, a couple people have been adding a 5mm spacing between each tile, so they can add flocking and battle debris and other cool stuff built into the tiles.

The instructions on the Hirst Arts website for the 1st Ed Journey in the Dark covers four 12"x12" cork tiles to make the whole set of tiles, but if I put gapping between the tiles, I can't use his layout. So I made my own!

I worked out I could put 10 gapped squares wide and high onto a 12" cork tile, with aprox 5mm spacing attached to every square. Most people are simply putting the space between the squares on the inside, but having squares flush with the outside of the room or passage. It's important though, that the 5mm gapping is attached to EVERY square, even the ones on the outside of the room or passageway, otherwise some square are 1" + 5mm, and some squares are only 1" in size. This would lead to all manner of problems when constructing a map layout, because if you did a winding map that circles around and reconnects to the original tile again, the final tile won't line up with the first tile, because the squares of the board are not exactly evenly spaced.

So, what I did was build on a 30.4mm grid, which is aproximately 1" + 5mm per square. The 1" squares can then be centered in each 30.4mm square, to create an evenly gapped tile. The gap border around the outside of tile would only be about 2.5mm wide, but when sat next to another tile, border gap to border gap, creates another 5mm gap - so every square on a finished board layout will have exactly 5mm gap between them, looking completely uniform in appearance!

I needed a bit of help working this out, so what I did, was I used GIMP (a free drawing graphics program) to draw the shape of every tile from the board game, on a 1" grid, at 10 x 10 squares. I managed to fit all the boards perfectly on six images. Here's an example of one 10" x 10" image:

I then filled each different tile with a different colour, to show them clearly.

Then I wrote a little Blitz 3D program that loads the tile images, and cuts out each square, and adds a 5mm gap to their write and bottom. Then saves as a new image. The new image is exactly 12"x12" in size!

I then loaded up these images into GIMP again, and drew a small black outline around the outside of every tile. The result was coloured squares with dark grey gaps between them, outlined to show the layout of each of the game's tiles, with a 5mm gapping.

Further, I segmented each tile into smaller pieces. The reason for this, is that I want to make 3D pit, water and lava tiles, that are embedded into the boards, rather than sitting counters on top of the boards. (I want the whole map in 3D!) So by cutting each tile into smaller groups of squares, I can construct the room and passage shapes, with gaps where water, pits and lava can go, or I can still construct them in their original shapes!

So here's what a segmented and gapped 12" x 12" tile shape looks like:

The grey is the 5mm gapping, the coloured squares are the square locations, the thicker black lines mark how each small segment gets cut up. Overall the map tiles are now constructed of 3x3, 2x2, 2x1 and 1x1 smaller tile segments instead of a room being a single whole tile piece.

Now, the coloured squares are not centered - they are in the top left of each square location, with the 5mm gap drawn down the right and bottom sides of each square. What we want is for each plaster tile to be glued centered so that the gap is even between them and around the outside of each segment.

The idea is to glue each 12" x 12" illustration onto a 12" x 12" cork tile. Then cut out all the small segments, along the black cutting lines.

To glue on the plaster pieces centered, all you have to do is glue it on so that it is halfway on top of the gap to the right and the bottom, and an even sized border of the coloured square is along the top and along the left. In other words, Treat each colour square and its adjacent right/bottom gap border as a single square location, and glue the plaster tile centered on top of it.

Things like the small hole with wooden boards going across it would need to be glued onto the 3x3 square pieces, with the hole in the middle, to make those scenery features work.

The 2x2 and 2x1 plaster pieces are a little bit trickier. You need to carefully 'snap' the plaster pieces along their cracks, to seperate them into smaller plaster bits, allowing you to glue them across 2x2 and 2x1 segments with the 5mm gapping maintained. I haven't got my plaster bits in the mail yet, but I imagine using a hobby knife, your could score inside of the cracks of those tiles, and then they should snap better. If they break more roughly, it shouldn't matter, because the idea of those tiles is that they are cracked and broken tiles anyhow, so it should look fine painted up either way.

Finally, here are my six 12" x 12" cork tile final templates in PDF format. Because A4 is smaller than 12" x 12", each tile is 4 pages. Cut each page out ensuring straight edges, then glue them together touching, to fill the surface of the 12" x 12" cork tile. Make sure there is glue under every square of the paper, because then, after cutting out all the 3x3, 2x2 and 1x1 segments from the cork tile, you can glue the plaster pieces right on top, using the image to help you center them and position them!

Here's dropbox links to the six pdfs. Once I get the plaster, and actually assemble the whole set, I'll then create the water, lava and pit templates for making them in 3D as well!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Descent / Runebound Heroes

Descent is a board game styled after a light roleplaying game, with dungeon exploration, overland encounters, ship combat, miniatures, monsters, combat, stats, items and abilities, and all that stuff, over the course of five expansions. I don't own it at the moment, but after deciding to build a Descent style 3D Hirst Arts map tile collection, I started looking into the actual game, and discovered that it is set in the same world as the Runebound games! (Which I own). So I'll definitely be modelling my 3D map tiles after those in the game and its expansions.

I'm going to try and collect the 1st edition of the game and its expansions. The first edition is more like a roleplaying game, with some adventures taking many hours, and a campaign could take weeks to play. The second edition was 'streamlined' for fast play and more simplicity for people to just jump right in, with some quests taking just one hour or less to complete. I like the idea of the more detailed and in depth mechanics and lengthy quests of the original, (not to mention five expansions and two world-exploration campaigns) so I'm going with the 1st edition.

I found the 1st edition box on ebay for really cheap, without the miniatures, but because it uses the same heroes as Runebound/Expansions, I already have most of the Descent 1st Ed heroes! If I win the box set auction, I'll be getting prepainted DnD and Pathfinder minis super cheap for the monsters, and maybe some of the Reaper Bones ones as well. I can then repaint the minis at my leisure, but they'll be ready to play right off.

Anyhow, here's some photos of the Runebound / Descent heroes, as I'm painting them up. I actually painted some a year or two ago, so those ones just got washed. I haven't done a highlight on any of them yet, just painted and washed.  Most are from the Runebound main game, and then there's the Runebound: Frozen Wastes expansion which has the heroes from the Descent: Tomb of Ice expansion. There's still a couple unpainted ones I haven't got round to yet.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hirst Arts 3D Tiles part 2 & Wandering Monsters

Okay, so I drew up what the different passages and room tiles would be shaped like, on my computer today, and printed out a black and white paper copy of them, so I could try out different layouts, and make sure it could fit on my table. It looks like the Hirst Arts 'Descent' rooms and passages should fit great on the table! Now I've just got to wait a few weeks for them to be cast and mailed to me...

This is my wilderness maps idea: the passage/room tiles represent cobblestone pathways and old clearings through the woods, and I surround them in the gaps with model trees to represent the forest. I think this should work pretty well once I've painted up the hirst arts pieces :) Sort of like old RPG games like "Lands of Lore" where you follow a maze-like grid path through the wilderness with impassable terrain surrounding you.

Wandering Monsters
So, a while back I made a 'wandering monster die' which was a painted D6 with things like N, S, E, W, stay still, move in direction of nearest player, marked on it. (red and green for stay of go toward nearest player).

Today I made a paper triangle with skull and crossed swords on front and back, and a slot underneath. You write down the name of a type of enemy on a slip of paper, and insert it into the slot. The trangle counter moves around the table using the wandering monster die, and the moment it is in line-of-sight to a player figure, the paper slip is read, the counter removed, and a group of monsters is spawned at that location!