Friday, 29 August 2014

New designs always take a bit of revision

Despite recent successes, it was only a matter of time before we screwed up a design. And, of course, it had to be one of the more adventurous designs that got messed up.

It's only when fitting these miniature buildings together that you realise where the 3mm thickness of the mdf has been left out of the plans. In this case, we had to hack 3mm off the bottom of the front and back panels, in order to get everything to fit together properly. We also seem to be missing a couple of little bits of roof trim. And the roof doesn't quite meet in the middle at the very top (it's off by - you guessed - 3mm).
Although the model actually goes together (with a bit of hacking), compared with our other buildings, it just looks a little, erm, scruffy. Or maybe badly designed. It matches the source photo we were working from, it just doesn't look as nice, on the tabletop, alongside the other buildings.

Our small building was also less than successful. It looked great, right up until the point where we added the ridiculously over-sized canopy. Then it just looked horrid. Maybe a few stickers might have improved things, but we gave up on the canopy idea and knocked it off completely.

Replacing the canopy with a little hanging sign, and it looks much better! What's not immediately obvious is that we actually spent a bit of time making the inside of this one quite nice - complete with roof trusses. The roof lifts off, so the building can be used for "regular" wargaming terrain too, allowing the player to put their playing pieces inside, if necessary.

The windmill was a mixed success. The 0.8mm birch blades looked great when glued into place. We placed them at a slight angle, meaning each one had to be glued individually onto the centre circle. And that's where it got a bit tricky. Because only a tiny edge of the birch is actually in contact with the glue, the blades are very, very delicate.

The photo above shows the windmill after having ten of the twelve blades glued into place. The only problem was, one slight knock, and half of the blades simply fell off! Perhaps a solution might be to laser cut the blades and a centre disk all joined together, and somehow twist the blades to a slight angle (after seeing this, the blades absolutely have to be twisted - they can't just sit flat!)

The only model that went together easily was the water tower. The barrel is made from strips of mdf, wedged together inside a few tight rings - just like a real barrel is made. We really like the effect - but this means we've a dilemma about stickering it up. Bare mdf just looks nasty. But if we wrap a sticker around the barrel, we'll lose the "planked" effect, which looks so good.

When making the barrel body, we lined up all the planks into a strip, and joined them with a strip of sticky tape on the back. This made it easy to simply curl them into a ring, and place inside the barrel hoops. Maybe one answer might be to apply one continuous sticker at this point, and slit along each vertical edge, to allow it to fold around, leaving each plank with it's own individual sticker on the face?

All in all, it was a mixed night of success at BuildBrighton last night. Some of the buildings went together easily, some not so well. But at least we now know where we need to make revisions to the plans. And we did get to drink plenty of tea and talk plenty of nerd. So overall, it was a pretty good result, after all.

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