Category Archives: Science Fiction

Posts Infinity by Corvus Belli, and about Stargrunt II, Dirtside II, and Full Thrust II by Ground Zero Games.

2020 In Review

Well, that was quite a year, wasn’t it?

No conventions, no in-person gaming at all for a good part of the year thanks to our local COVID precautions, and yet things still got painted, finished, and even played with.

Before COVID (Remember That?)

village
Low over the coastline, approaching the village. Click for larger.

We started the year damp and cold off the 1/1200 coasts of England with a lot of naval gaming and scenery for that, then we were briefly visited by a very strange bartender indeed and got a few games of tiny ships done in-person.

narthoks finished, front
Narthoks all finished except for basing. Go on, tell the bartender your troubles! Click for larger.

The Weird Begins…

March was when it all went weird. The high point of my own gaming year, Trumpeter Salute over in Vancouver, was cancelled on less than two weeks notice, work-from-home started abruptly, and all sorts of other things went very, very sideways. I did spend some of the money I’d have ordinarily have spent on other things on orders from Bad Squiddo and Forge of Ice, two tiny one-person companies I’ve been meaning to order from for many years now, so that part was nice, but the fact that March/April/May 2020 have fewer blog entries here, combined, than I made in January indicates how off-kilter everything was!

The end of May did see the modification of our local COVID restrictions so that we could have “pods” of up to six or so people, so my brother and a friend resumed gaming most Sundays, starting up a Frostgrave campaign that eventually morphed into a fantasy-flavoured Pulp Alley campaign.

start of game
Start of the game. My chaps centre foreground, Sean’s ogre ladies top left, Corey’s mousling bravos top right. Click for larger.

COVID Bubble Gaming

June and July saw something like a normal posting pace resume here as I cranked out a bunch of fun quick fantasy scenery to add to our Forestgrave tables including a standing stone and a big tree. There were also a few impossibly tiny planes as a diversion from fantasy!

Tiny, tiny 1/1200 RAF and Luftwaffe airplanes to trouble boats not quite as tiny.

August saw a return to naval stuff and small scale scenery, and September saw the arrival of Gaslands on the scene, which has provided much pandemic diversion since!

Mad mushroom jungles for properly fantastical fantasy gaming!

The Bubble Bursts…

The last quarter of 2020 saw tightening of our local COVID restrictions and the end of even limited in-person gaming, but before that we did get to see some mad mushroom jungle terrain and some other weird fantasy terrain before we finally turned to that most 2020 of communication solutions, online webcam conferencing, for a Gaslands gaming fix.

Gaslands by webcam, via OBS and Discord.

So, that was our 2020 here at the Warbard! A weird, stressful, very strange year but here’s hoping that sometime before the end of 2021 we’re back to in-person gaming, conventions, and something vaguely like pre-pandemic normality.

In the meantime, wear a mask, keep an eye on how soon you can get your COVID vaccine, try to get some hobby time in if your situation allows, and stay safe. Happy New Year, I guess!

Gaslands by Webcam

It’s the pandemic. We can’t meet in person, we can’t meet in each other’s houses, the university and board game cafe we sometimes use locally to host games are all closed for that sort of thing. What’s a gamer to do to get their fix?

Zoom, zoom zoom… and I’m not talking the Gaslands cars, but of course webcams. Gaslands is especially good for webcam gaming, it turns out, as all movement is template based and there’s relatively few stats per car to track.

Corey has promised to write a more technical post here in the next while on the setup at his end as he hosts and runs these games, but the most recent game used Discord for the video feed and voice chat with some OBS voodoo at his end for the game table feed and Gaslands stats tucked into a Google Docs spreadsheet.

From my end, it looked something like this. Well, from the cat’s perspective, that is. (If Cat is your copilot, you shall fear no hairball!)

Cat, beer, computer, all the components of online tabletop gaming in late 2020!

We actually got three games done in about two hours in as we were only running one car each and the Death Match arena setup (last person standing) is pretty straightforward.

One of our Gaslands games in progress, screenshot showing the Discord view. Corey acting as Ivana White (a very hardworking lady!) and game host.

With Discord for voice chat and the OBS integrated video feed it worked out really well for Gaslands.

The ending of our third game featured the most spectacularly destructive head on collision we’ve seen yet. The screenshot below captures the dice rolls; the left hand pile of ten (!) damage was what I did to Sean, and he in turn did seven points to me, destroying both of us and leaving Corey the overall winner, best of three games!

Crazy high dice rolls for the collision over on the left there between the white car and the blue one. My white car did ten points to Sean’s blue car but took six in return, destroying us both and leaving Corey in the silver car with the win!

There’s a few other games we think would work well with this basic setup; the current GW airplane game being hex based and having simple maneuvers would be one, as would some of the naval games that have written orders with templates, although there’s more recordkeeping for that sort of game.

Hope everyone has been having a good, safe holiday season, however you celebrate, and that you’re able to get some sort of gaming fix in somehow!

Gaslands Jump Ramps

Reading through the rules, I realized that Gaslands Refuelled has rules for jump ramps and jumping, so naturally I had to scratchbuild a pair of ramps to make a dangerous lunatic game even more dangerous and lunatic!

Scrap plastic and bits for a couple of pieces of Gaslands scenery. Click for larger.

The two ramps are about 4 inches wide. They’re based on scraps of 1/8th plastic board and mostly made of random bits of styrene plastic. The big beams are from Plastruct and I’m pretty sure they’re leftover from the model railroad we had when I was in junior high in the first half of the 1990s… that’s more than long enough to have something in your Bin Of Interesting Parts before using them!

The other side of the ramps. The left hand one is actually reddish but came out looking very purple in this photo from some reason. Click for larger.

The great thing about the mostly-post-apocalyptic Gaslands setting is that nothing has to be really cleanly constructed or painted, so I just layered sheets of styrene up until it looked right, and used pliers and a knife to attack various bits, warp them, and chew the corners off.

Crash barrier thing, with random hazard stripes because why not?

The billboard/crash barrier piece started as a way to use up the leftover stub of heavy I-beam I had left over after the ramps were done; it’s based on more scrap 1/8th plastic board and roughed up the same way. It got orange and white hazard stripes on the fronts, because, well, why not?

All the scenery together, plus one of my in-progress cars. The motorcycle is from the North Star Gaslands accessories sprue. More in-progress cars can be glimpsed in the background!

I’ve got four cars and a motorbike in progress; the first coat of primer on several of the cars didn’t take so they’re in paint stripper to get reset back to bare metal. I’ll probably fish them out this weekend to scrub them down and reprime.

We’re back in lockdown here for at least another ten days and realistically probably longer, because the second wave of COVID is well and truly here. Stay well, stay safe, ignore the goddamn idiot ratlicking anti-mask morons, and when we’re able to game in person again, hopefully there won’t be any gaps around the gaming table.

Oh, and happy American Thanksgiving to any American readers!

The Workbench This week, 30 October 2020

No posts for a month? Sorry! The irony is that I’ve been gaming more regularly than ever, as our little COVID-compliant pod of gamers are now meeting every Monday daytime (all three of us are on reduced work hours, again due to COVID…) and on Thursday evenings due to my lovely wife’s heartfelt desire to kick me out of the house every so often.

We have gotten into Gaslands, and been running through the Perilous Island campaign for Pulp Alley with a fantasy flavour to it instead of the classic early 20th C pulp we’ve done in the past.

Gaslands cars in progress. Mostly stock and no weapons for now. Click for larger.
28mm Saproling from Reaper Minatures. Really neat figures, roughly human sized. Click for larger.
Giant weird mushrooms for fantasy scenery. From a recent Kickstarter. I’ll do a review of that KS sometime soon, I promise. Click for larger.

Anyway, I’m going to try to get back to August’s regular blogging schedule, or something like it. I spent September and most of October gaming but hardly doing any painting or scenery building, and have now painted or built more stuff in the past week than in the previous two months!

BSC 2018: Correcting some too thin errors

As I am fairly new to 3D printing, I am learning a tonne about what not to do. One of the biggest issues I have discovered is that things that look good in CAD can look absolutely terrible once printed, given the resolution of the printing or the limitations of FDM 3D printing. Today I wanted to talk about three different, but similar errors I made: making a part too thin to print correctly.

Back corner of the cab

First up – the back corner of the cab. As the backside of the cab is curved, it thins quite a bit at the very back corners.

Back corner of cab in blue. See the thin joint at the very end

When you bring this into Cura to slice it for printing, the problem becomes obvious.

Back corner of the cab, showig that when printed, it will only be two layers thick (~0.8mm)

The solution to this is to thicken the back wall of the cab, which I did by adding a flat piece to it:

Back corner corrected with additional piece (in red)

Once you bring that into Cura, you see that the narrowest part is now at least 1mm thick, so the piece shouldn’t be so weak.

Thicker corner sliced in Cura

Fenders

The next piece I tackled was the fenders. They were originally 0.25mm thick, which means that they were just over one layer thick when printed at 0.2mm and only two layers thick at 0.1mm. This meant they basically didn’t print at all.

Fender dimensions

Fender sliced, showing no overlap

The solution to this problem is two-fold: thicken the fender up to 0.5mm and also only print at 0.1mm (considered Fine quality).

New fender, now 100% thicker!

New sliced fender, showing overlap

Top of the windshield

This is actually entirely my error. I made the windscreen and frame around it taller than the sides or back of the cab. This meant when I cut up the model to slice, the top of the windscreen disappeared. Oops.

 

Top of the windscreen, showing the height difference

 

Top of the cab when sliced. That grey area is supposed to have yellow lines for printing

BSC 2018: First print of 1956 PANG

The new printer board for my 3D printer finally showed up, so I got to printing the first print of my 1956 PANG. It was less than a full success. As you can see in the pictures below, I have a bunch of work to do.

Printed truck on build plate. Printed without the side compartments. Excuse my messy garage

As can be seen on the build plate, a bunch of details didn’t come out right – the biggest of which was the top of the cab for some reason completely failed to print correctly. I also accidentally selected brim intead of skirt, so I had lots of cleanign to do.

Front & side view. Lledo Model A, Copplestone Chinese and Infinity Ariadna for scale

The sides of the truck aren’t very smooth, and a bunch of the finer details simply didn’t print.

Side rear view of the truck
Side rear view of the truck with Lledo Model A, Infinity Ariadna and Copplestone Chinese for scale

Front and side view of the truck

So what next? First of all,my printer needs some upgrades:

  • A part cooling fan (the Ender 2 lacks it by default)
  • Belt tighteners (and the belts replaced with metal-core of some kind)
  • A more modern Marlin (the firmware that runs the printer)
  • A lot more tuning

On the truck, the first thing I am going to do is shrink it by 25 to 30%. It is too large for what I want. Then I need to some work on the model itself

  • Thicken some of the walls so that they print, especially the fenders, which didn’t print at all
  • Clean up some of the smaller details, possibly removing them for now
  • Re-cut up the cab so it prints correctly

Anyway, I have my work cut out for me!

BSC 2018: PANG print layout

I finally got around to laying out the 1956 PANG for the first printing. As you can see from the pictures below, I am trying to remove the need for supports which will mark the surface of the final print.

Final draft for reference
Final draft for reference

Laid out in TinkerCAD for printing
Laid out in TinkerCAD for printing

I chose not to break out the rear section or the bins for initial printing. I likely will in the final version, as it will speed up print time and make it cleaner.

Cura print layout
Cura layout, with approx. print time. Note that my printer (Ender 2) has a fairly small print bed, so this will fit on it

 

One final note: I am certain that there will be tweaks needs to be this and I am missing things, namely an interior and side mirrors to start.

BSC 2018: 1956 PANG first printable draft

Build Something 2018 continues and I have been pretty quiet for the last week. Part of this is because I am waiting on the warrantied printer board, so motivation is low. Also been busy with other things. But today I kicked myself into gear and go the first printable draft done of the 1956 PANG. Take a look below (the red rectangle is 32mm high and is there for reference):

Front view of 1956 PANG truck
Front View

Front angled view of 1956 PANG
Front angled view

Rear view of the 1956 PANG
Rear view of the 1956 PANG

Side view of the 1956 PANG
Side view of the 1956 PANG

Rear angled view of the 1956 PANG
Rear angled view of the 1956 PANG

 

BSC 2018: 1956 PANG continued

Well, Build Something 2018 is well underway at Lead Adventure. You can follow all the entries, including at least two other 3D printed things, over on the subforum.

And what of our 1956 PANG tricycle truck? Yesterday saw a lot of work on the back end.  As of two days ago it looked like this:

I really didn’t like the aspect ratio of the truck – height, etc. So I completely rebuilt the back end so it was taller and thus looked narrower:

Early work on 1956 Pang

Today I started working on the front end, which is a lot harder. It has a lot of curves with curves, so it going to be a real challenge to do well. I am not overly happy with the look (too wide and squat) so might rebuild the front. Here it is in exploded view.

Front end of 1956 PANG, exploded view on right
Front end of 1956 PANG, exploded view on right

What I love about modelling this way is that if you don’t like something, it is trivial to rebuild it. Play with the ratio, etc.