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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Progress on all fronts.

OK so I've already slipped up in my Blogging this year and its been a few weeks since I last updated. Not a good start I know but I have my reasons for this, even though I've not been blogging I have been busy hobbying so my mojo is still good.
What have I been up to? Well I realised the size of the project that I've taken on with the Bolt Action gaming table is pretty big, just the sheer size and the actual amount of buildings that I can actually fit into this table made me sit down and have a rethink on how to approach the build.
My original plan has now gone out of the window and I'm aiming for something even better, this has also made me realise that this table isn't going to be completed anytime soon. A year? Maybe two years building at this pace but I'm positive that it will get finished and once completed will be well worth the effort.
I went and ordered some additional moulds so I could cast bricks even faster and in greater amounts as I realised the home made moulds that I have manufactured looked ok but you just don't get the same look as the first building and the varying colours of the individual bricks. Building wise the Offices are complete and the power station just needs a few more rows of bricks to complete too but the two buildings look miles apart.
The first thing I did was to break down the table into more manageable chunks, ie 2x4 sections. I aim to concentrate on one 2x4 section and get that completed before moving onto the next section etc, until I have a fully completed table. To get the right amount of buildings for the industrial zone would I realised cost me a fortune, so I formulated a plan and using the existing buildings as a templates (for doors and window layouts) started to make some buildings from 5mm foam board. These buildings will then be covered in brickwork like the MDF ones from Sarrisa Precision and should when completed look no different from each other.
So getting the first 2x4 section I've had this laid out on the dining room table whilst building up the buildings and getting a good layout fixed (roads, pavements and buildings)
First built was a huge Office/ design building which in scale is probably twice the size of the Sarissa Precision factory. I've designed this to have 3 working levels, ground, first floor and roof sections, I've even built some stairs to link the ground and first floors. Internal detailing such as brick support pillars which the first floor rests on will I hope really make this building stand out.

Side section


Front section

Started by building up the internal pillars in brickwork. Had to do this first as it would be a nightmare trying to do these sections when t was fully built.


First two sections completed, (front and side and glued together on the base.

Ground floor with ceiling
First Floor

 Quick and easy stairway made up, the outside will be covered in brick work.



 Once the internal pillars had been done it allowed me to start the brick work at the front on the building. Starting in the corner to ensure the bricks are square

 Then just followed it around to the side until I was happy.

 Next its just a case of continuing laying the bricks


This is how it looked on the board just after I had cut it out


Massive






These pictures show just how big the building actually is in relation to the Sarissa Precision stuff. Once I was happy with this I also realised how much the Factory didn't really look right sitting there, so I designed another slightly smaller office block to fit into the space it vacated. One of the main reasons I decided to move the factory was because of the factory doors were actually opening up onto the pavement. Which is ok but I thought it would look a lot better if the road actually continued up to and then through the actual building and out of the other side. So both of the factories have now been moved to the second section of the table and will be linked together with the block paving road which I'm hoping will link them better to the rest of the table.

Looking better together, fallschirmj√§ger troops form up on the road.

The look I was after is slowly coming together.


This is what the office building looks like now



Well that's it for now thanks for reading.




















Sunday, 10 January 2016

Road sections.


I fancied a change from brick builds so I moved onto making up some road sections for the board. I didn’t really have a plan for this, I had an idea what I wanted it to look like so I just cracked on and went with the flow.

My first issue was that fact my road sections didn’t/ don’t line up very well, this fault was something made by me when laying down the original mould and I will change this in the future if/ when I make another mould but till then I will have to live with it.

I needed a suitable base for the road as I didn’t want anything fixed onto the table so I decided on using plasti-card. I then laid out two sections of road and really didn’t like the gaps when joining these two sections together so I spaced them out to fill the whole plasti-card sheet, this left a gap of around 2 inches. In this gap I placed a sewer/ manhole cover and steadily built up the bricks around this whilst adjusting the spacing so that the two sections of road fitted together better.


 
Along the edges I built up the pavement using some sections of cardboard, in hindsight I should have used something else as when the glue used to do this dried it caused the plasticard to warp and lifted up the edges slightly. Not much mind but enough to make it noticeable so in future I will look at something else, maybe some thicker plasti-card as hopefully that won’t warp. I did try to straighten out the road section but doing this caused some of the pavement flag stones to crack, tbh that wasn’t what I wanted to do but it actually did make the road section lay flat again and it also made the pavement look more realistic.

In the above picture I’ve only filled one side of the gap and below the final piece more or less completed. Once mortar and weathering is added you won’t be able to tell. You may have noticed that I left a slight overhang of bricks on the left side of the road. This overhang will help two sections of road to be able to slot flush together.
Commando’s advancing along the road with Centaur support.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Power Station

Being able to cast my own sections of brickwork has now sped up my ability to create complete buildings. I wanted to start something roughly the same size as the Office and both factories are considerably bigger so the power station would be the one.
Initially I wasn't keen to do this one because of the chimney/ stack was quite thin and I was thinking that I would have to use individual bricks again but as it turns out my brickwork sections are quite easy to break to the required shape/ length and with careful use of file and needle nose pliers you can get the shape you want. It took roughly 3-5 mins to complete the rear and side wall of the power station, it left a thin layer that needed filling with individual bricks.



 The front took another section and more individual bricks but that was always going to be the case with the doors and windows situated there.



 Another couple of hours of work and the building was more or less complete apart from the top of the stack and the sections between the doors and windows.









 Next up I have to fill in the mortar and repair the MDF roof fence which I managed to break off whilst sticking all these bricks.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Casting


It took a couple of attempts to get the castings right from my home made mould. I realised first of all that I would have to trim back the internal sections of the silicone mould ( the mortar gaps between the bricks) otherwise when I cast the plaster the bricks would come out individually and defeat the whole point of this exercise. Using nail scissors I trimmed silicone back in each mould, leaving probably 2mm sticking out which should just be enough to give me the pattern of the brickwork and also enough depth for me to in fill with mortar and give the brickwork a weathered look once I had glued it to the model.

The first cast was a bit of a disaster removing as I didn’t leave the plaster long enough to set and each brickwork section broke into pieces but it proved to me that the mould worked. I also realised that the mould was too big and it was adding additional strain and caused/ helped break the casts on removal. So using my hobby knife I cut the mould in two separating the brickwork sections from the road section, doing this helped remove the strain and every cast since has come out whole.

These broken sections can be used later as rubble for the damaged factory. 

I’m finding my skills have improved after each cast as well as my measuring of how much plaster/ pigment is needed. I have been producing one or two casts each day to build up stocks. I’m still going to need to cast individual bricks as well due to the complex shapes of the factories but these sections will definitely help with reducing build time.



The road sections don’t join up as well as I had hoped with one side fitting flush but the other side having a noticeable gap but for now it will have to do.
Once filled in with a mortar mix an dirt I think it will look a lot better.
 
Thanks for reading.

Home made moulds


I realised quite early on that it would take me a very long time to finish all my buildings and roads for the gaming board. What I needed was a quicker way to manufacture the bricks. The moulds that Kenny lent me were producing around 220 bricks every 30-40 mins or so. The process of measuring and mixing then allowing for drying time meant to get a good batch of bricks I would have to spend a whole morning (3-4 hours) every couple of days to ensure that I would have enough bricks/ stock to be able to continue the brickwork on the Sarissa buildings. This was the time consuming part and also the wife wouldn’t have been very happy with the constant mess in the kitchen even though I did clean up after each cast.

So I looked into making my own moulds, having never done this before I asked the guys from Yorkshire Renegades gaming club for advice and pointers and soon after I was purchasing a RTV Silicone moulding kit form a company called TOMP’s http://www.tomps.com/tomps-value-range-rtv-silicone-c-55_1_7_50.html.

I went for the soft option of the budget range as I didn’t really want to spend too much money having never done anything like this before. Whilst waiting for the kit to arrive I started making the mould which I planned to have three sections of brick work (one slightly larger than the other two) and a section of angled block paving to make a road from. I grabbed a sheet of A4 plasti-card and started out laying bricks
 
I used PVA glue as the drying time is slow and it allowed me to make any adjustments to the spacing between each brick and course of bricks. In hindsight I should have probably used a stronger glue as when the mould was completed and the Silicone set when it came to removing the mould the bricks parted with the silicone and I sent a couple of hours pulling/ prising the bricks out of the silicone. Not really a hardship but if I had wanted to make enough silicone cast I will now have to spend more time gluing bricks.
 

Once I had finished gluing down all the bricks I gave the whole lot a covering of PVA glue, the main reason for this was to seal the plaster bricks so it wasn’t as porous.  I didn’t want the bricks to stick to the silicone and ruin everything.  I’m glad I did this as even though the bricks parted from the plasti card backing sheet when the silicone mould was removed it still allowed me to pop the bricks out easily from the silicone (see bottom photo's)

I built up the sides of the mould using thin strips of Plasti card, these were roughly 15mm in height. Again in hindsight I should have gone for a smaller height ( 8-10mm) as it would have used less silicone and also make it easier to pop out the plaster after each casting (being more flexible) After gluing these strips down using plastic glue and making sure they were really well sealed, now came the silicone part.

I worked out the volume of the mould and calculated what amount of silicone I would need following the Tomps guide. Mixed the Silicone with the setting agent and slowly poured the mixture into the mould. You need to take your time when doing this as it helps to reduce air bubbles being caught in the mixture. I started pouring slowly into a corner and allowed the silicone to move naturally across the brickwork until the mould was completely full. Once poured Tomp’s suggests using a vacuum to remove the trapped air however I didn’t have access to this sort of equipment so I used a Sonic cleaner and rested the mould on top whilst it ran. It did a pretty good job of removing the trapped air.

The silicone takes up to 24 hrs to set, you can remove this from the mould at the 8-12 hour mark but I left it for 14 hrs just to be safe.






Im really happy with the way it turned out, I learnt a lot doing this and if and when I do it again I will change a few things to improve the mould.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Warehouse/ Offices completed (almost)

So this has roughly taken place over the last few months, I started in November and probably got it close to being finished towards the end of December. Xmas took up most of my spare time but I'm at a point where the Warehouse is close to being completed. I filled in the spaces around the bricks with a mortar using watered down Polly filler with grey brown paint added for colour. Basically just slap the stuff on the brickwork and work it in the gaps using an old toothbrush and then using a damp cloth wipe off the bricks until all that is left is what's in between the bricks. Doing this, this way gives the building a weathered look which I discovered by pure accident, but it looks good so that's how I'm going to do my other  buildings. Here are a few pictures of the process.


The windows and doors will have plastic added to at a later date to replicate glass. Here is the building as it stands now. I think I've probably put about a weeks worth of worth to get it to this point.






Doing this project has made m realise that it will take an age to get the whole board finished. In the next Blog I will write about my plans that will hopefully speed things up a bit. Thanks for reading

Bolt Action Gaming Table.
I started by buying 3 sections of 2”x 4” MDF board, the reason I did this was because of space issues and ease of transportation. I also bought several lengths of 2x1 wood to provide extra strength to the table and also to attach some metal clips with which to join the sections together whilst the gaming table was in use.
I measured the my dining room table and worked out roughly where everything would sit and started drilling and screwing the MDF and wooden slats together until it ended up looking like this.
 

This is the centre section (bottom) and outer section which have been clamped together using some nice metal clips.
Both outer sections of the table have a slot cut away to allow a supporting baton of wood to rest under the table and give additional support.
For now, I will just be concentrating on building up this section of 4 x 4. I have a plan on what the table will look like in my head, I wanted to build a manufacturing hub/ zone so I transferred my designs onto paper and basically this is how it ended up.

I did a bit of research on the internet for companies who build 28mm scaled buildings and selected Sarissa Precision http://www.sarissa-precision.com/
These guys produce some amazing stuff and I bought one building of each type from their Industrial zone line. When they arrived in the post I was very impressed with the quality of the product. I then built my first building which was the office/ warehouse, it went together very easily and the cardboard sections that act as windows and doors really gave it a quality look. I could have given it a quick paint and weathering and it would have been good to go but I had another plan in store for this building table.
Whilst playing my first game of BA against a very nice chap called Kenny he had showed me his gaming table that he had been building. It was based on a village/ town, I was blown away with the detail he had put into it. Kenny had made the roads out of tiny bricks/ cobbles and the pavements were mini slabs it even had lamp posts that worked. This made the table look so life like that I knew I had to do something like that on mine. Kenny kindly lent me his moulds which allowed me to have a play casting some bricks myself. I spent some more time on the internet, researching  the different types of plaster and colouring pigments, asked Kenny more questions  and then purchased what I needed. Having never done anything like this before I cast my first set of bricks. It was a bit hit and miss on the first few attempts, air bubbles and the plaster to water ratio being the main issues and after asking more questions I managed to get it down to a fine art to produce these.

which then allowed me to start this


thanks for reading