Lines & Logos on a Blood Bowl Pitch

It’s been a quiet stretch here mostly because I was away from home for just over a week housesitting for a family member on the other side of town, but the Blood Bowl pitch setup has been progressing slowly.

I posted my stencil tests recently and have since finished the full set of field lines and a logo on the fabric pitch.

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Masking the field off for most of the field lines. Newsprint and lots of masking tape! Click for larger

For the field lines, I used masking tape over the fabric to mask off the edges of each line. Because of the width of the tape I had, I wound up doing the outer lines of each endzone separately. The photo above has the centre line (Line of Scrimmage), wide zone and long edge lines masked off, as well as the inside edge of each end zone. After masking it off I sprayed along each line with white spraypaint, making two or three passes down each line.

The red crocodile head logo in the centre of the pitch I did differently. I laid out the image in the size I wanted in Inkscape on my computer, then printed it on a sheet of full-sheet label paper — the sort of paper where the entire sheet is one giant sticker. After printing it I used an Xacto to cut the stencil out, mostly freehand but using a small steel ruler where needed. Once cut I peeled the backing paper off and stuck the stencil down to the fabric.

You could do this step with ordinary printer paper (ideally a good quality slightly heavier-weight sheet) and secure it in place with masking tape around the edges, but I happen to have a stockpile of the full-sheet label paper around and it does work better than ordinary paper for things like the spirals in this stencil and some of the smaller details — see around the nostrils and eyes, for example.

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Cutting out and placing the stencil on the felt. Click for larger, see text for details.

After it was carefully pressed into place on the felt I loaded up a regular 1.5″ wide housepainter’s brush with red craft paint and went at the stencil in the classic Martha Stewart-approved way of painting a stencil without getting paint under the edges of it and ruining the outline, namely short vertical stabby strokes down onto the surface, working slowly and being careful not to disturb the stencil as you work. It works on Blood Bowl pitches just as well as it works on bedside tables or whatever crafty random thing Martha does!

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Logo done in the background and stencil lifted off in the foreground. Click for larger.

After getting a reasonable layer of paint into the stencil I lifted it carefully off while the paint was still wet, to keep the stencil from getting stuck to the fabric. It came out very clean, no fuzzy edges or paint bleeding under, especially given it was painted onto fabric!

Later I went back and masked off the last field lines around the outer edges of the endzones, same tape-and-newsprint method I used on the main field lines.

If (when!) I do another fabric pitch, I’m going to seriously consider just doing all the field lines and other decorations with a brush instead of spraypaint; protecting the rest of the project (and the rest of the room!) from overspray is a massive pain when using spraypaint. All the masking seen in the first photos of this post took most of an hour to do, while the spraypainting itself only took a couple of minutes after the masking was complete. Brush painting stencils produce no overspray and don’t generally put the rest of the room at risk of being repainted…

The felt pitch is done at this point, except that I might eventually go back and add some colour to the endzone areas, or a team name across one or both endzones if I get really ambitious.

Work on the various sideline temples (last seen here) is also progressing, although taking pictures of black-primered buildings is fairly pointless so a proper progress report from that segment of the project will be a couple of days from now.

My Blood Bowl Stadium All Laid Out

Still loads of things to finish on the project, but after doing the crocodile head logo in the centre of the pitch this evening I just had to lay everything out on the dining room table and see it all together for the first time!

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The whole in-progress Blood Bowl pitch laid out. Still lots to do, but it’s nice to have everything set up together! Click for larger.

The pitch still needs white field lines at both endzones, as well as possible decoration in the end zones – I’m thinking of doing a coloured background in each endzone, probably red at one end and blue in the other. I might also do the name of my Lizardman team, the Saltwater Slaughter, across the endzones as you see in a lot of American football fields, “Saltwater” across one endzone and “Slaughter” across the other.

Left to right behind the pitch, there’s the newest dugout/tracker temple, still bare styrofoam with decoration just barely started. Next to the right is the dice tower temple, which has been basecoated and still needs more paint. The plan is to have rare earth magnets built in to hold the temple itself and the sacred pool/dice catch tray in front of it together when it’s in use, so that’ll be some putty work to get the magnets mounted.

The scoreboard temple next is basically complete, except that I’m modifying the centre socket above the stairs with the scatter diagram so it holds the weather indicator cube more securely.

Finally on the far right is the first of the dugout temples, which still needs decoration and detailing on the roof but at least is partially painted on the rest of the building.

Much done and much left to do, but it’s nice to see it all set up!

Stencil Test for a Blood Bowl Pitch

I’ve got a felt Blood Bowl pitch that I have marked the standard grid on (15×29 30mm squares) but after months of using it I hadn’t gotten any further than that in transforming it from a useful but plain piece of fabric into a proper, good looking BB pitch!

Toward that end, I used some full-sheet self adhesive label paper to create a couple of test templates for stencils, cut them out with an Xacto knife, and stuck them down to a scrap piece of felt.

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Phone photo of my test stencilling – the top lettering is with spraypaint, the bottom partial logo is with craft paint and a paintbrush. The stencil I used is just above the felt piece. Click for larger.

I tried red spraypaint on one part of the stencil, then used red craft paint and 1.5″ brush on the other part of the stencil, with the classic crafter’s method of brush painting a stencil – vertical stabbing of the brush down onto the stencil, so as not to get paint under the stencil or dislodge it while working.

Both methods worked just fine, and I’m not sure which I’ll ultimately use for the logo and lettering stencils I want on the actual pitch.

The pitch itself finally has a light spray of green spraypaint over it to make it look grassy (the felt itself is tan) and tomorrow I’ll mask off and spray the field lines a Blood Bowl pitch needs – centre line, wide zone and end (touchdown) zone lines being the most important, although I’ll probably do the field edge lines on all four sides as well, eventually, just to properly finish the pitch.

Bloodbowl Dugout Temple Decoration

IN the local Bloodbowl league I’m currently involved in, there’s a pair of Lizardman teams, one using the regular GW figures for the team and my crocodile dudes from Impact Miniatures. Our League Commissioner is also playing with an Orc team, and will occasionally write a game report in the persona of his Orcish coaching counterpart. After thumping on the league’s other Lizard team 2-0, the Orcish coach was heard to say, “Herd der is some dat look like those Crocodiles on dem Golf shirts everyone is wearing dees days; CHOMP!!! CHOMP!!!!”

I was, at about the same time, wondering what to do for decoration on the dugout temple. A little bit of Google Image Searching and a little bit of Inkscape fiddling later to produce a basic image to guide my carving, I sat down with the completed temple, a very sharp Xacto blade, and this resulted.

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Shirt pocket crocs? Sure! Still needs a fair bit of cleaning up and then of course paint! Click for larger.

I printed out a simple line-art version of the relevant logo, taped it down across the foam, and went at it carefully with the brand-new very sharp Xacto blade.

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The logo in place waiting for carving. Click for larger.

On the front of the dugout above the three actual dugout areas, I put the logo of my lizardman team, as seen in earlier in the year. Same procedure, taped the printout down and carefully went at it with an Xacto.

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Saltwater Slaughter team logo on the front face of the dugout. Or a generic crocodile head, as you will. Click for larger, as usual.

Dugouts & Dice Towers For Bloodbowl

When I finished the new BB scoreboard temple back in May I mentioned that when I got back from Europe I was going to be building a new set of Bloodbowl sideline terrain to match the new scoreboard.

I’ve got one of the two dugouts (with turn & reroll trackers) built and ready for detailing, and using leftover bits and pieces I’ve put together a small dice tower as well.

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Top, dugout & trackers. Bottom, dice tower. Click for much larger image, and see text for details.

The dugout/tracker temple piece has the three dugouts (Reserve/KO/Casualty) across the front, and the roof will be marked up for tracking turns (the eight tiles down one side), first half/second half (the two larger tiles at the peak of the roof) and re-rolls (the eight tiles down the other side). Overall size is 7.5″ wide, 6″ deep and about 3.5″ tall. The whole thing is styrofoam insulation board.

I haven’t yet started the second dugout/tracker temple because I’m out of full-size sheets of mattboard (picture framing card) to use as the base, but it will have the same footprint. The whole set is designed to fit into the large Patagonia shoebox the dugout is resting on, because I do almost all my gaming away from home and I want to keep the whole BB setup small enough for easy transport, including in my bike panniers!

The second, smaller piece is a dice tower that is just big enough to roll full-size dice. It’s 6″ wide, 2.75″ deep and just under 3.5″ tall, those being the dimensions of the leftover space in the shoebox when two dugouts and the scoreboard temple are tucked into place, and allowing for a couple of inches on top for the fabric pitch to tuck in — which also serves as padding for the buildings.

The internal structure of the dice temple is mattboard; the outer detailing is offcuts of styrofoam.

The catch tray for the dice is a separate piece about 5″ wide and 3″ deep. It’s going to be painted up as a sacred pool eventually, with gloss varnish as seen on the scoreboard temple. I might try to do something clever with magnets to keep the tower and pool attached while they’re in use, or just glue a tab of paper onto the bottom of the pool that sticks under the tower and helps keep them together.

Lots of putty detailing and styrofoam carving left to do on these two, and I need to hit the local art supply store this weekend to restock on mattboard so I can start the second dugout to finish the set.

A Roman Dice Tower

Rummaging around on the internet for information and pictures of dice towers, I tripped over this awesome piece of work, the Vettweiss-Froitzheim Dice Tower:

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The Vettweiss-Froitzheim Dice Tower. Photo via Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons.

It’s a genuine Roman artifact found in Germany, and proof that even the odder bits of gaming equipment out there are much, much older than we sometimes think.

It’s also a really cool design, actually. Any of the laser cutting wizards out there want to do up a version of this in lasercut MDF or plywood?

The Saltwater Slaughter (BB Roster)

Posting this mostly for the other folks in the local V-Nuffle Blood Bowl League that has just started it’s fourth season; I’ve got a Lizardman team involved, the Saltwater Slaughter. The figures have been seen here before, although I am going to try to get new and better photos sometime soon!

Fairly standard Lizard team, at least to start: 1 Kroxigor, 6 Sauri, 4 Skinks, 2 re-rolls, 20,000 gold in the bank. No team doc, but I’ll probably add one after the first or second game, as well as a fifth Skink as soon as possible.

PDF Roster for the team at their base/starting setup: Saltwater Slaughter – V-Nuffle July 2014.

Getting Back At It!

I’m back from seven weeks of holiday in Europe, catching up on email and such, and looking to get back into gaming and terrain making.

First up is going to be new Blood Bowl sideline terrain to go along with the scoreboard/temple I built before I left; I want to build new dugouts to go along with the new scoreboard.

After that, who knows? I’ve got a lot of partially painted figures and incomplete small terrain projects floating around that I really should dust off and finish, but there’s always distractions…

It was an amazing biking holiday across Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France, but it’s nice to be home and back!

Off for a While!

I’m off to Europe first thing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, heading to Vienna to join a group riding all the way to Nantes, France. That’s roughly 2200-2300km over 44 days on the road; we leave Vienna on May 30th and arrive in Nantes on July 14th, Bastille Day! I’ve got a few days in France and then I fly out of Paris on July 20th back to Canada.

I might make a couple of short posts here from Europe, but please don’t count on it! On the other hand, I am going to be trying to update my personal blog semi-regularly from the road, as wi-fi and spare time allows.

Someone elsewhere on the web asked me how much planning and design work I do for projects like the just-completed Bloodbowl Temple/Scoreboard; the answer is “really, not a lot“, but I will visualize things in head and try to work project details out mentally long before committing pencil to paper or knife to foam.

For the BB temple, aside from wanting to keep the footprint about the same as the previous one, the major critical dimensions are the main staircase which also displays the two BB scatter diagrams the game needs. I knew that if I got that main component set up properly the rest was much less exact and could be done largely on the fly.

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Slightly smudged temple plans. Click for larger, as usual.

Above are the two scrap sheets of paper I used for sketching and planning. The right-hand one was first and has a top-down view and a rough perspective sketch. The left-hand one I actually used a ruler to lay out the main steps/scatter diagrams full size (the tiles are 15mm x 15mm), then roughed in the rest of the temple structure around it.

The build was more or less a matter of going through my bits of scrap styrofoam insulation board and fitting pieces to the left-hand plan, then eyeballing the dimensions of the three parts of the upper level once the base layer of 25mm thick styrofoam was in place. I measured the three indicator alcoves, but eyeballed just about everything else.

More precise architecture would be less forgiving, but this style of temple can withstand quite a lot of sloppy building and still look just fine in the end! Confession time: there are a number of places on this build where I shaved pieces of foam off after it was all glued together, disguised things with putty, or even added extra foam back after realizing I’d misjudged something.

After I’m home from Europe in July I’m going to start in on new BB dugouts and tracking scenery (Turns & Rerolls per team) to match the new temple scoreboard.

Back in July, and please do check out my main blog for news of the bike trip!

BB Scoreboard Temple Part Five – Finished!

Three coats of gloss varnish on the water, flock around the edges of the base, and the two score indicators and weather indicator all finished – the temple is done!

Currently it’s 2-1 in the Very Sunny weather for whoever is on the blue side today! A Baby Croc, Saltwater Croc and Leviathan Croc observe from on and around the sacred structure.

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Temple all finished, with all three indicators in place. Click for larger, as usual.

I’m not entirely happy with the three markers, but they’ll do just fine for now and they’re easy to replace at some future date if I get inspired!

Off to the left of the temple in the photo above are a quartet of small temple platforms and ruined wall pieces from foam offcuts from the temple; they’ll probably get used in some future pulp jungle lost temple but might also appear in a future Bloodbowl-related project.