Monday, January 14, 2008

AT-43 Terrain Project: More on recreating the poster map

A few weeks ago I started working on a 3D version of the poster map from Operation: Damocles, specifically the outdoor portion. It has been a while but I finally was able to get some more work done on it over the past few days.

The first step was give the whole board a nice base coat of black paint. I used some FolkArt acrylic paint that I had picked up from Wal Mart to do this. An 8 oz. bottle is only a couple of dollars making it nice and inexpensive. I did two coats of this to try to get a nice even coat on the board and I was hoping it would also help to seal the board as I was thinking about using spray primer on the hatches. "Hoping" being the key word there.

I taken the board out into the garage and sprayed it in several spots when I noticed that it had started to bubble. I was convinced that I was screwed at this point but luckily it actually did not damage the surface too bad. In fact, I actually like the way that it turned out as it provided a nice texture to the surface as you can kind of see below if you look closely at the surface around the hatch.

Once the primer had dried and I was able to determine that the damage was not serious, I started to finish up the board. First I used a heavy dry brush of Apple Barrel Pewter Grey acrylic paint all over the board. Once I had finished the whole board with this, I went over it again with a lighter dry brushing of Apple Barrel Country Grey acrylic paint. By doing this right after finishing the dry brushing with the Pewter Grey I was able to get the two shades to blend together slightly, creating a nice concrete like appearance.

The various markings in the surface were actually etched in before I put on the black base coat, while the yellow "traffic lines" were painted on as a final step using Apple Barrel yellow acrylic paint (notice a trend here folks?). It is not easy to see from a distance (Grrr...need more pictures!!!) but the yellow paint that I used was not very thick which created a nice worn look even though it was freshly painted. In fact, it took two coats to give it enough of a presence on the board to really look right.

There are still some more things that I am thinking about doing to the board (sealing it with some acrylic sealer to try and make the surface a little more durable for example) but I am really happy with how it turned out. It is close enough to the Damocles map that it can easily replace it in official scenarios and it provides a much more visually interesting piece that a simple paper map.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

AT-43 On The Cheap: Leadership markers

I know that Rackham has their own set of markers that they made for AT-43 but in the spirit of doing things on the cheap (and because I haven't seen them for sale here in town...), I decided to try looking at some alternatives. The official markers are black disks with pictures of blue radios on them (which is the symbol for leadership in the game), so I decided to do something similar. My markers are also blue and round but the radios are nowhere to be found.

Look familiar? Anyone who played Magic: The Gathering (and who didn't?) no doubt recognizes the round glass stones that were commonly used in that game as well as many other CCGs. I happened to find a number of them in amongst some old minis and decided that they would be perfect! They are small, easy to carry and best of all cheap. If you find that you actually don't have any of these laying around, try hitting your local craft store. They are commonly used in floral arraignments and you can get a more than you would realistically need for a game at a very reasonable price.

AT-43 On The Cheap: Inexpensive mini carrying cases

A question that I have seen kicked around on the official forum is how to carry your AT-43 minis. The answers have run the gamut from a big cardboard box to special carrying cases ordered from an overseas company but I found a solution that works quite well for me.

I picked up two of these cases from Michael's, a franchise of craft stores here in the States. The cases were only a couple of dollars each and they seem to work perfectly. Now I must admit that I have not actually used them to transport the minis yet (what with the holiday break in gaming for me) but they seem to be perfect as you can see below.

As you can see, all of the regular sized minis fit in perfectly. They have a little wiggle-room in there but if you are really worried about breakage it would be easy enough to put some kind of padding in the compartments to keep them from moving around.

I also have a unit of Therian Assault Goliaths which needed a home, but they are a too tall to fit in a regular compartment. If you look at the upper right side of the organizer you can see that it is actually a double sized compartment, which made it perfect for an Assault Goliath. One of them. The good news is that the plastic that the boxes is made from can be cut with a utility knife, so I simply cut out the dividers on the compartments next to the original one and now Larry, Moe, and Curly are all safe and sound in their own little cubby holes.

The larger minis (such as the Fire Toads and Golgoths) are not quite so simple; aka I haven't found a good container for them yet. Then again, right now I only have the one Golgoth so it is easy enough for me to simply have it ride shotgun with me to the store; aka I haven't actually been looking for a good container for them yet. Once I find something though, I'll be sure to pass on the good word.