Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sledgehammer Project; Preparation Pt XI - First Mockup

Its been a really busy around here but I have managed to work on a mock up of the basic diorama during spare moments this week. This mockup serves a couple of different purposes. The first one is to make sure that I don't have to make to many masters for the various components of the trench system. From the looks of it I can get away with two wall sections (long and short) and two floor sections (straight and angled). I'll do two masters of each of the wall sections to include a bit of decoration and maybe a third type of floor piece (bridge like perhaps?). Overall I like how things are going together with the pieces. I still need to do the caps for the top of the wall, which will make them look more trench like and some kind of firing step as well.

Before I start any construction on the masters I'll snap together the Sledgehammer and see how it fits in the position and adjust things accordingly. I have also decided that the French tractor from MadBob Miniatures is just to small. I found a 1/48th scale version of it and I'm hoping that will arrive shortly and that it will be a better fit, otherwise it will be back to the drawing board for that and I may just drop it from the scene altogether. There are a couple of other possibilities out there but they may be big enough to dominate the scene and I don't want that. Finding the right vehicle will allow me to get a much better idea of how big the base for the diorama will need to be. In concept its the largest diorama I have worked on and I'm struggling with some aspects of it. There will have to be enough vignettes to keep the viewer engaged and yet not distract from the Sledgehammer itself.

It starts here with scribbles in my little black sketch book. Here are the initial thoughts

How do I deal with corners? Here is the first attempt, far to complicated and to many masters to build.

This is better, keep it simple

Lets layout the concept on graph paper and see how it might go together. This is the outline, but I would like a little more detail.

Adding in the "tread" basically a square mesh turned 45 degrees to add interest.

Inking it in.

Adding the walls at the bottom of the sheet.

Cut out the walls, I added tabs to each end to help put things together.

And the result.

I think this looks pretty good, the walls will have more detail built into them to add further visual interest. Things like the tower emblem from the sketchbook and nut/bolt/washer castings in the corners and along the sides.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Kickstarter - Gunfighter's Ball, Knuckleduster Miniatures

A very large, very damaged box arrived full of stuff from Knuckleduster's kickstarter. I have been eagerly awaiting its arrival!

While this kickstarter delivered late, I don't let that upset me anymore. There are so many factors that contribute to not meeting the date listed in the kickstarter it should really only be considered a guideline. I did not immediately jump in on this one even though it features my favorite western gaming theme. I thought the primary package was a bit weak for the price so I waited to see how many of the stretch goals they were going to hit. I do believe they hit all of them, and I jumped in as soon as the game mat was included. To say that the box was full is an understatement. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves and while I did receive a pdf copy of the rules time has just not been on my side to read them now with the actual rulebook in my hand that is likely to change.

A very full box, notice the completely shredded box corner in the upper right of the picture.

The basics; poker chips (who doesn't love poker chips), dice, cards and the character cards (I believe there is a card in there for all the western miniatures currently in the Gunfighter's Ball line).

A look at the front of the character cards

And the back. These are laminated so you can mark right on the cards with a grease or china pencil.

Three card decks. The Black Deck, I believe, can be used to replace the wound table. A Card deck, this is a standard card deck with some very nice artwork on the royal cards. The Pistoleer Deck, which looks like it has special character abilities. Everything is pretty much pure speculation on my part.  

Artwork on the royal cards, although I think they missed an opportunity of doing something fancy with the ace.

Three bags of stuff for the Saloon

That's a lot of MDF parts. I must admit that I'm intrigued enough to want to put this together right away. I have looked at the instructions posted for it and I think I'm going to only use them as a guide. It feels like its not quite in the right order.

Something a little different here with pewter doors, windows and matching interior pieces.

The resin bar along with a compliment of pewter pieces. I'm a bit disappointed that this is not a little fancier, again I think an opportunity was missed. I'm already considering some extra stuff to fancy it up a bit.

The Iconic faction, this is a new faction introduced for the kickstarter

A large pile of add-on miniatures.

The dismounted miniatures, very clean castings. I'm not sure how useful the bathtub guy is but its almost iconic if you watch western movies. 

A close up, and not a very good closeup, can you say Blazing Saddles? I already have a number of miniatures from the Gunfighter's Ball line and they have all been great. Some of the poses are a bit stiff but that's about the only bad thing I can say about them.

The mounted miniatures

A really nice horse, I'm excited about working on it. There were also some riderless horses available, since they were an additional buy in I decided to wait till later on those. They are already available on the Knuckleduster website.

The 3'x4' game mat, very nice, it feels likes it made from the same material as mouse pads

And the hard cover version of the rulebook

A random selection of pages

Overall, I'm very pleased with the results of this Kickstarter, well run, well communicated and great products at the end.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Clue - Vintage Bookshelf Edition

This one was a bit of a surprise. My wife saw it in an online catalog and just picked it up for me! Its very similar to and edition I referred to as the linen edition, except this one doesn't have the green stripes and comes with a slipcase cover as well. This is the classic version of the game so no extra cards, rules or special dice.

The slipcase spin

The side of the slipcase

The game spine, as you can see the material is like a magnet for black cat fur.

The side of the game box

And your first look inside.

Lifting out the components

There are all the pieces

A packet to hold the pencils, a small box for the game cards, the solution envelope and the back view of the game cards. That's the classic artwork on the back of the cards, so dating back to 1949.

New cards, original 1949 artwork

Pretty close rendition of the original pieces. The rope is a piece of string, although the lead pipe is not a piece of lead like the original and the gun is cast in the same material as the rest of the pieces. 

Wood pawns with a heavy 

The original board although in a slightly smaller form and folds six times.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Sledgehammer Project; Preparation Pt X - The vehicle

Part of the diorama as I envisioned it would include a resupply vehicle more to fill up what I imagine will be a blank corner. Somehow I stumbled on some pictures of a early French WWII vehicle that looked like it would fit the bill. This is the Renault Chenillette UE with a trailer, and MadBob Miniatures had one in their catalog so I placed an order. It arrived over the weekend and while I still like the look of the vehicle I think its actually to small to fulfill the role that I have envisioned for it. 

The size of the box made me think that perhaps this wasn't going to work the way I wanted it to.

The pieces on the sprue are the armored front covers for the domes where the drivers are sitting. They swing up and back when opened and its a nice feature of the kit. I tried to see if one of the separate heads from Victoria Miniatures would fit inside and unfortunately they are just a tad to big right off the sprue, but a little cutting and I could fit one in there.

And poised with a crewman from the Sledgehammer box. Based on what I have seen in pictures this is just about perfect from a scale perspective.

And a look at the top
While the vehicle still fits the bill from a looks perspective I think its really to small to fill up the corner. Plus the casting is really rough, the details are nice but its going to take a lot of cleanup to be part of a competition piece. While I'm not looking for perfection, something that isn't going to take a couple of hours to prep would be nice. Its a great piece for gaming purposes just not quite up to par for competition.

I have spent some time and found a couple of 1/48th scale kits out there, of course those are all out of production and I haven't found one yet. I'll just have to keep my eye out for them on eBay.