- Category: News
- Published on Saturday, 06 May 2017 17:12
- Category: News
- Published on Friday, 08 August 2014 20:44
FFG has announced Star Wars: Armada for early 2015. This was (and still is) my main project for the last sixteen months or so, and now that they've pulled the trigger on the announcement, I can actually talk about it. (In that I can say the game exists and that I worked on it, not that I can talk about it in any detail beyond what's contained in the announcement.)
I designed all of the ships in the game, with the exception of the Nebulon B frigate, which I did the initial work on before handing it off to a coworker for detailing.
- Category: 3D Space Hulk Board
- Published on Thursday, 29 May 2014 19:46
I'd originally planned to buy the acrylic from a local source, as online dealers really ream you on the shipping. Unfortunately, the local source (A1 Acrylics) charges cutting fees now. They didn't the last time I was there, a few years ago. The only way to actually save money over buying online is to buy a full 48" x 96" sheet. Which is around $100, and way more than I need.
However, one thing they have added since my last visit was a scrap bin, where everything is sold for $1 a pound. Which was fantastic- there used to be a Cadillac Plastics in town, and they did the same thing. I used to use acrylic a lot, but when they closed, I no longer had a cheap source.
Black acrylic isn't as commonly bought, so they didn't have much in the scrap bin, but I was able to get enough to make two of the rooms and maybe a third to half of the corridors, for $8. If I'd wanted clear acrylic, I could easily have gotten enough to build every section for every mission in the game, for under $30. I'll probably go back in a few weeks to check for more. I'd go more often, but it's on the other side of town.
I have made one slight alteration to the design. My main reason for wanting 1/4" acrylic was that it was thick and stable for the bases, and the glue surface was sufficient for the walls to be pretty solidly attached. However, I realized that since I am now gluing the walls to the side/edges of the base pieces, the walls can be made from a thinner acrylic. I'll still get a good 1/4" glue surface and a durable base, since that's determined by the thickness of the base now and not the walls.
With any luck, I'll have some time this weekend to start cutting parts.
- Category: 3D Space Hulk Board
- Published on Sunday, 25 May 2014 23:07
I've made a few revisions to the design. The first one is the biggest change, though it's likely not apparent in the new renders. I began looking online to find a source for the 1/4" black acrylic, but discovered that these days, actual 1/4" acrylic is difficult to find. It's not uncommon for materials so be sold at a "nominal" size, indicating that while it may not be exactly the size listed, it'll be close. However, most of the acrylic sheet available is actually metric. It's sold as a nominal 1/4" sheet, but is in reality 6mm (.236 inches) thick. A few places do carry true .250-inch acrylic, but few carry it in black, and those that do charge significantly more for it.
While I have no problem working in metric (despite being located in the US) I find it very difficult and annoying to mix the two. Unfortunately, almost all of the styrene rod, strip, and sheet sold in hobby stores is sold in inch sizes. Which means I end up cutting a lot of pieces with dimensions like "8.375 inches, plus 12mm", which is 8.8474 inches. Or 224.725 mm.
I briefly considered using 1/4" MDF instead, but that brings in a different set of complications. All of the internal detailing would have to involve super glue or epoxy, and there would be a fair amount of finishing work on the exteriors of the sections. One (sort-of) solution would be to build the sections from MDF, then line the insides with thin styrene. I have many 48"x96" sheets of .060" styrene left over from a project I did several years ago, so it wouldn't involve any extra expense, and it would give me a nice glue-able surface inside the sections. But cutting all those additional pieces out of styrene is a considerable amount of extra work, and still means finishing work on the exteriors.
What I eventually decided on was re-engineering how I intended to assemble the sections, in order to minimize the number of oddball measurements. Originally, I intended to glue the bottom edges of the walls to the top face of the base. This creates a lot of weird measurements, though, since the base pieces would have to be the interior width (in inches) plus the material thickness (in mm.) However, by gluing the walls to the sides of the base pieces, the base pieces can be entirely inch measurements. To maintain the wall height of 3.5", I would still have to cut the pieces 3.5" plus the 6mm thickness of the material. But since all the walls are the same height, I can just set up the table saw once, and cut a bunch of strips at the right width, which I'll later cut into individual wall pieces. There'll still be some odd wall lengths, but the way I intend to assemble them, I can just cut them to the nearest number on my table saw that's still larger than they need to be, and sand them flush after assembly. Another nice benefit of this is fewer visible seams on the exteriors, since many of them will now be on the underside of each section. The nice thing about acrylic is I can take a propane torch to the sanded parts, which will smooth the surface back to a near-polished look.
The second change I made was in how the doors and doorways work. I didn't much like the slot cut into the doorway squares, or the "unfinished" look at the tops. So I added a bar across the tops that will match the black acrylic exteriors, and a similar small piece to the top of each side of the open doors. This does present a slight problem, in that the open (and destroyed) doors will now consist of two pieces, since the bar along the bottom no longer has a slot to fit into. But this is only a minor nuisance, and I think it will look better. I will just have to number the open and destroyed door pieces, so that it'll be obvious which ones go with which. I could also paint or model each set uniquely, but I don't know that I like the idea of all the doors being unique. (I can't imagine every door in an aircraft carrier or submarine being a special snowflake.)