Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Friday, December 3, 2021
I finished making that last separation and I think I have finished disassembly the ship. Its at least down to a workable level. It looks like the most difficult part is right here at the bow. The bowsprit needs to come off with the rest of the deck since a good chunk of the standing rigging starts here. That means figuring out to make that whole front of the deck lift off. I'll have to deal with the figure head since it is an integral part of this whole assembly, unless I leave the whole section as a single piece.
|This is what the hull looks like with all the decks, finally, removed.|
|The bow and forecastle are the same casting with the deck sliding in underneath the forecastle.|
|You can get an idea how these go together here. Its going to be almost impossible to remove them without cutting something up.|
|Here's a look at how the bowsprit support goes together. Three pieces come together here and the joint is not particularly good. Since I'm not going to take it apart I'm going to have to fill the gaps.|
|From the head on view you can see that the left side has a pretty big gap, the right side joint is much better. Leaving all of this intact also resolves the issue with the figurehead. That can just be glued in place without a problem now.|
Now that its in pieces, its time to figure out how to get it back together!
Thursday, December 2, 2021
I managed to steal a bit of time and continued the disassembly of Sophie's Revenge. This time I focused on trying to separate the upper deck from the hull walls. It wasn't quite as bad as I was expecting but there were definitely a few areas that presented some difficulties.
The main hull and top deck come assembled from the factory. The deck is actually made from two different types of plastic. The hull walls and the front and back of the upper deck are made from the traditional bendy bones material (very bendy in this case). The two center sections of the deck and the two main supports are from a much harder plastic, similar to what you find in a regular model kit (but yet not quite, much like the tea served on the Heart of Gold from the Nutrimatic Drink Dispenser "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea" from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams).
For the most part the glue was pretty light except in a couple of areas and I managed to only break one small piece of the deck. I did elect to make a couple of cuts rather than try and break a couple of particularly well glued joints at the front of the hull.
So the hull is almost apart, another 30 minutes should do the trick. Then because of the way the bow is shaped I'll have to figure out where I will actually need to cut things apart to allow the top deck to come off.
Here is how things went today:
|I started at the bow because that was the first place I was able to see some separation between the pieces.|
|However, as I worked my way down the stern ended up being the first section I could work all the way around on and separate from the hull. This is the top of the deck, this is where the quarter and poop deck assemblies will go.|
|A look at the bottom of the deck. Again all the white are stress fractures and the area with the heaviest glue where the four support beams.|
|Here is a look at the exposed portion of the hull. The stern piece is actually a separate piece that I won't try and take apart.|
|And a look at the hull from underneath. The big support beam on the left is made from an entirely different kind of plastic as is the deck section that is still attached to it.|
|Here you can see how much glue was used on those aft support beams. I didn't think I was going to get this to separate without cutting them apart.|
|I also managed to separate part of the railing. I'll be glue that back on! Didn't mean for it to come off.|
|Here is the next section of deck that I managed to separate, the one just forward of the stern.|
|This is the section I managed to break. Not bad as far as breaks go and I saved the piece. I should be able to glue that back into place without a problem.|
|The bottom of the deck. A fair amount of stress fractures here as well. Notice how the railing overlap the decks to help hold things together.|
|And another look at the hull minus two sections of deck. I will definitely have to add crossbeams to help hold support the decks. Not sure if I will leave or remove those big support cross members or not. I will have to mull that over.|
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
I have been working with the lathe and we managed to turn out a few Christmas presents (stocking stuffers I think). This was our first attempt at turning pens on the lathe. The guts all come as part of a kit. You just have to provide the "blank", for these the blanks were oak, maple and cocobolo. The oak and maple are hard to tell apart they both came from reclaimed barn wood. The maple has the tighter grain. The other four are all out of the cocobolo and there is quite a bit of variation in the color of the wood.
I learned quite a bit with this initial bunch and I'm looking forward to doing the next bunch. So many things to do so little time.
|I think the only one I'm not happy with is the thin one, second from the left.|
Thursday, November 25, 2021
I continue to toy around with my 18CO design. Spurred on a bit by finding an almost complete copy of 18GM in the basement of the other house. Components aren't really an issue with this one but the rules were. Much like 1869 there were a number of fairly innovative concepts built into what we referred to as the Aurora Rules and there was no way I would be able to remember what they heck we had done from memory. It will take some time but I can now get those rules from the original printing back into a computer file.
Fair warning, I do consider the following to be copyrighted material.
I have been working with a gentleman to create a custom map that will be the background for the game itself, if it gets that far. What you see below is the current iteration of that map, definitely not the final version. What I have been struggling with is how big the board should actually be. I have come up with three iterations; the 12 hex, the 15 hex and the 19 hex versions. These "measurements" refer to the number of hexes in the east/west hex rows.
|This is the 19 hex map. It seems absolutely huge. The tile count is going to go way up and from a printing perspective is probably going to create issues. It really shows off the vastness of the state and provides a lot of route options.|
At present I'm leaning towards the 15 hex map as the best size to work with. I'll probably make prints of all three just to get a feel for game play.
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
I have been pressed for time, typically really, and this particular de-construction is tedious. However, if I want things to go back together in any kind of reasonable fashion I must proceed a bit slower than I would like.
In my last session at this I separated the top (poop) deck from the quarterdeck. It took about 30 minutes of applying acetone, then prying or flexing the parts (rinse and repeat) until I was able to actually see some of the glue joints separate. There was a lot more glue here than there was along the edges.
In the end I was successful separating it into two sections. At this point I think I can begin to consider how things will need to come apart. Again the biggest issue I'm facing if that if I'm going to have the main deck come off so you can see the gun deck then the rigging and masts have to come away, intact, with it.
|Here's what it looked like after I finally pried it all apart|
|All of the white discoloration you see are stress fractures in the plastic from bending it. Its thick enough that I'm not concerned with it at this point. A little more texturing and paint should cover it right up.|
|I'm going to leave the stairs attached. Its one of the better gluing jobs that I have run into so far and I don't think I can get them apart. It should work out just fine that way.|
|Here you are seeing the underside of the deck. You can see how much glue was used in the center section|
|Here I was just doing a test fit to make sure that this section still fitted correctly to the sides. Looking good so far.|
Monday, November 22, 2021
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
As is pretty normal for me I have been distracted by yet another project that is likely to never be finished but its the thought that counts! I have been thinking a lot about what to do with this massive kit, which means its likely going to be displayed in the main part of the house which will require more than a game level paint job and build. We have plenty of guests that would appreciate it as a ship but would not understand what gaming terrain means.
I know that Talon did the design concept and Chris Lewis was the sculptor I see a lot of the Black Pearl and Queen Anne's Revenge in this ship and I'll use one of those two for the rigging. Yes, rigging. I know that its likely to be in the way as a game piece but I like the thought that players would have to maneuver around all the components that you might find on a ship and that means ropes, lots of ropes.
Based on what I have been researching I think I can get away without the running rigging and just go with the standing rigging, except for perhaps the on the mizzen mast. What I'm thinking is adding a lateen sail as part of the mizzen and I think a sail there wouldn't be in the way to much, or maybe do all three lateen sails. The key to all that though is that the decks have to come away as a single piece to keep the rigging intact. I'm not sure I can even pull that off at this point, but I'll give it a try.
To even get to that point I need to figure out how to disassemble the ship and rebuild it so that any interior detail can be seen and appreciated. With that in mind I worked up my nerve and took a knife, a sculpting tool and acetone to the quarter and poop deck structure. I'm was fairly certain that they used super glue to assemble this at the factory hence the acetone which would serve to soften the CA joint. So using a brush I started running beads of acetone into the joints and gently trying to pry it apart.
I managed to separate the deck from the bulwarks and I think I'm in business. I broke the deck in a couple of places in the slots but it wasn't awful and I'm going to leave those "breaks" in place it will help make sure everything fits back into the right place. I want to be able to remove the decks, including the mast, and leave the bulwark in place so that I can detail the cabins in this area. Still not quite sure where I'll be making those cut lines but now that its in a couple of pieces it will certainly be easier to figure out.
Painting will probably be an ongoing process rather than something done at the end of the project. Will just wing it as I move along.
Let's take a look at the damage I managed to do!
|And this is where it starts. If you really take the time to examine this its made up of 7 or 8 pieces.|
|Under the gentle ministrations of a hobby knife, a sculpting tool and a lot of acetone. I managed to separate the deck from the bulwarks|
|You can see a couple of the rough edges on this side. I actually broke the plastic here instead of it neatly separating. I'm going to leave the broken pieces in place, it gives a nice reference to glue everything back to.|
|And a look at the inside of the stern. This is another spot where I broke a portion of the deck that fits into the slot.|
When I start to reassemble this I'll glue the gun deck down to a base that should help keep everything aligned. But the afterdeck cabin sits on the main deck which is the biggest issue for adding the standing rigging, if I try and make the quarter and poop decks removable.
Monday, November 8, 2021
I had some time on Saturday so I cut pen blanks and glued in brass tubes for the 8 pen kits that we bought. I even had time to mount one up on the lathe and tried my hand at it. It still needs a little work followed by sanding and finishing but I'm pleased so far.
|Sat down with the miter saw to cut blanks to size, the drill press to drill a hole through the blank (hopefully as close to center as possible) and then glued the brass tubes (with epoxy) into the blanks.|
|I mounted one set of blanks on the lathe and took my first real shot at turning a pen. The left side looks pretty good, the right side still needs some work. Once that's all done I'll sand it and apply a finish and then put the whole thing together.|
Thursday, November 4, 2021
I have been slowly "whittling" away at the design over that past few weeks. I tried something new and did the initial transfer from original to blank with the laser engraver. I scanned my drawing brought it into a photo editor, flipped the image and then sent it to the laser engraver.
It took forever but it worked like a charm. The biggest drawback was the fine layer of black ash embedded into every line that the laser cut. Was kind of messy when I was carving everything out deep enough to print with. I'm ready to do a test print as soon as I have enough time to get messy with the inks!
|This is a 5"x7" blank|
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Monday, November 1, 2021
|11 months old, straight from the rescue. What a happy girl she was.|
Lani, or more properly Kahlani, left us on Thursday 10/28/2021, just six years old. She came to us from the Pyrescue group down in Peyton, Colorado (We don't have a single animal in this house that wasn't from a rescue). She was half Great Pyrenees and half Anatolian Shepherd so half working livestock guardian and half livestock herding dog, she definitely leaned towards the Pyrenees temperament. There was some food aggression issues early on, bad enough my wife thought she might have to go back, but I recommended patience and discipline and that paid off in a big way. She was truly a wonderful dog we miss her so much.
|Getting up to her full size|
|Playing with Larry "The Cable Cat". That's Hobbes in the background. All of them have passed on now. Hobbes was somewhere between 12 and 14 years old and Larry was 15-16. Lani had only turned six in June of 2021.|
|Early days with Phoebe, definitely a "when is she going home look"|
|Getting larger and definitely in charge|
|A little jail time|
|A trip to the vet to figure out the bump on the nose. Thought is was a bee sting, we were so wrong.|
|One of our last pictures of her. Hard to see how large the tumor is at this point, in the end it would take up almost the whole right side of her snout and block the nasal passage. Phoebe watching over her big sister.|