Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Category: Technique (Page 1 of 7)

Careful What You Click On

Busy week but I was able to start up a project on improving my Batman Miniature Game lights.  I went looking for a set of cheap street lamps and found a perfect set.

I quickly threw it in the cart and bought it up.  These are HO scale street accessories and I was feeling pretty good until I realized HO is “half ‘O'” scale. This turns out to be about 1:87 scale which is about half the size of what is needed for a standard 30mm minis game.  I tried to cancel the purchase but it was too late, they were already shipping.

I went looking around for O scale equivalents but they are really expensive so I decided I’d see if I could do something to make these still work.

As suspected, they are a wee bit small.  Unperturbed, I push on to see if the concept can work.

I cut the little molded light bulb off to make a hook for my actual light.

And it works as intended.  I need to extend the height on the post so I grabbed a brass rod usually used for pinning models and cut the lamp post apart.

I drilled a hole in the top of the post base to have the brass rod replace the main post.

The top of the lamp post is too small to drill and I ran out of time so I’ll have to figure out a way to mount it on securely later.  The concept is coming together a bit more though.

I have a set of metal bases coming in as well to help counter balance the weight so it’ll just be the matter of getting that top hook part connected and secured to the brass rod and then I can use some Greenstuff to sculpt the connections a little more and help mount the whole post to the base.

Striking While The Iron Is Hot

I thought I was going to get in another solo game of Championship Formula Racing but after prepping more Dropzone minis, I’ve gotten into a sort of painting rhythm and I might as well keep going while I can.

First up, I finished the last little unit for a potential army list I’ll likely try out at the next DZC meetup this month.

This guy was super simple with just some dry brushing slapped on over a black priming then picking out some minor details, clean up, blood stripe and done.  Another Kraken hovercraft transport ready to serve for the Resistance.

I still have my Walking Dead games to get through so I decided to finish up a long overdue addition to my group: Glenn.

Ah Glenn, always the runner.  I decided to take a bit more time to get some detailing on his hat.  Looking at the stock images in my TWD compilations, I couldn’t tell if the artist wanted him to be a Mets fan or Yankees so I decided he’d go for the Yanks.

Lucky for me, I have a new cheap brush that is fine enough for these details. Slow and steady with a bit of support really helped out here. That and having both the detail color and the background on hand to clean up the inevitable stray brush marks makes the job a bit easier and less nerve-wracking.

I couldn’t help but set up a quick little supply run photo op.  It’s good to see these two characters finally together.

With my new cheap brush, I know the fine tip won’t last long so I decided to keep hitting the tiny detail work.  The other reason I didn’t do a solo CFR game this week was because I caught wind of an opportunity to get a potentially large game going with some new players.  It likely won’t be too big but I only have six of my 1976 F1 cars painted and since my copy can handle eight players, I needed to get some additional cars in the garage just in case.

Sorry for the crappy depth of field on these next shots.  I didn’t have time to set up on a real camera so the terrible iPhone macro (or lack thereof) will have to do. This is an alternate paint scheme I’ve been wanting to try out for the Tyrrell P34.  Unfortunately, the livery for some of these cars really help break up the scheme even better but I didn’t want to try to freehand all that lettering.  I may try decals to finish up a lot of these cars.

Car eight in my collection is another alternate paint scheme for the Penske PC34, this time in the ATS theme.  I don’t know if this theme actually ran during 1976 as some of the reference images I was using dated 1977  with Hans Binder under the wheel.  It’s funny how wavy those lines look when viewed at the macro level. The effect is quite straight from a normal distance.  The yellow color gave me fits as my cheap craft paint (get what you pay for…) wasn’t really covering and looked almost greenish in hue.  I ended up making a custom color, which I hate doing on something that is going to require a lot of fine detail work.  I ended up making a big enough batch of the custom color to weather through all the rework those racing lines required so it all turned out in the end.

This concluded my eight car collection for CFR but I did have a few more cars sitting around and was feeling a longing for “the one that got away.”

Quite possibly my favorite color scheme goes to this Ferrari Lancia 801 from 1957. I had painted this once before as prize support for our race at Cabin Con this summer but I knew I had to eventually do it over again because it is just too cool to not have a copy.

A pretty productive week but now it’s time to game.  Next up will be to start prepping for the actual Walking Dead games as well as trying some lighting out for Batman.

More Revisions: Dropzone Commander Building Bases

For over a year now, I’ve been working on a way to put a rigid base under the cardstock Dropzone Commander buildings.  This would be used to keep them more square instead of bending and give them some weight so they don’t slide around as much.

I grabbed one of the smaller buildings in the ruinscape set and measured out the dimensions.  I used the measurements to cut out a four-sided base out of foamcore.  Before assembling the sides, I cut jagged edges in the side pieces to give the sense of a ruined structure.  These bases could then double as rigid support and rubble terrain for buildings that are removed by demo units.

The base was a little bland so I printed off building images from Hawk Wargames’ site and pasted them to the sides.

Next I trimmed off the excess.

And tested it to make sure it fit.

The result was what I was hoping for: stable, squared base; more weight to keep the buildings in position; and a pseudo-rubble terrain piece.

To really complete the base, I’d want to make the interior full of debris as well.  Unfortunately, this process was a bit labor intensive and only completes one building. For most games, we use from 12-16 buildings so all that foamcore cutting, printing, trimming, and assembly seemed a bit much.

At the last Dropzone Commander event, the event organizer had made building bases from his 3D printer.  While I don’t have a 3D printer, I liked the execution of his bases enough to try it myself on my CNC machine.  I have the prototype file ready in CAD so all I need to do if figure out the routing paths and get cuttin’.

Lighten Up, Gotham!

In preparing for last weekend’s CabinCon, I also was able to finish out another languishing project that I initially started as a concept back in March: light up street lamps for the Batman Miniatures Game.

To get these to work, I wanted two things: a small base for the battery and wiring and the ability to turn them on and off. I waited too long to order a simple battery case/switch from Amazon and with only a day left before I had to take off, I needed something quick.

Trolling the aisles at my local Hobby Lobby, I found these small LED flicker tea lights and they looked perfect.

Opening one up, I threw out the cardboard pieces and removed the light assembly and casing top.

Looking at the way they wired and soldered the LED to the base, I found that if I could get the LED off, I could put my lamp wires to this piece and it should work out.

Moving the LED top back and forth a dozen or so times weakened the prongs and eventually the light broke off.

After that, I needed to cut the top off the clear case so that my lamp wires could feed through the top.

A few seconds with a razor saw and the top came off easily.  I cleaned the center out with a quick pass with my sword of exact zero and we were ready for some paint.

I covered the inside of the hole so the spray paint didn’t mess with the innards and while this dried, I started working on the lamps themselves.

The biggest issue with these model railroad lamps is the long copper post they have running out the bottom.  I pulled the top lamp piece off and fed some extra wire through so that when I trim down the copper post and fed the wire back through, I’d have enough to play with for the final assembly.

Shearing this off with a wire-cutter was pretty simple but pinched the whole shut so I used a sewing pin and some needle-nose pliers to open it back up.

Later I would find that cutting the wires first, inserting the steel sewing pin into the hole and slowly cutting around the copper post was a much cleaner system.

Pulling the wires back through and re-attaching the lamp head finished the lamp post part. The wires themselves are smaller than any wire stripper that I have so I put the sword of exact zero to use again and shaved it down until I could pull the wire casing off.

I drilled holes through the old LED post spots and fed the wires through.  I’m not going to lie, feeding these small wires through small holes and trying to bend them around the main spring is an exercise in patience. Tweezers can be very helpful here.  I used electrical tape to fashion the stripped wire to the positive section.  For these lamps, the black wire is positive.

For the white (negative) wire, I fed it up and carefully wrapped it around the spring.  These wires are so thin, they will break instead of bending if you go too far so it may take a try or two.  I recommend putting a last piece of electrical tape on the top of the assembly to hold the wires steady and another on the top to fix it to the bottom of the case to keep the pieces together.  I didn’t do this the first time and almost ruined the whole thing as the spinning on/off of the lamp also twisted the thin, fragile wires to almost their breaking point.

This process involved only what you saw here but if you know how or have access to a soldering iron, the process is a little simpler and a lot more stable.  I had to finish up five more of these and was lucky to have some friends that knew how to solder so we redid the one you see in this write up and quickly soldered the other five I made.  As you can see, you don’t necessarily need to solder but the lamp will last longer and will be less finicky.

Walking Dead Wednesday: Scotch Silos

With the wave 2 Kickstarter packages getting sorted out and shipped from Mantic’s Warehouse, I thought I’d start working on more Greene farm terrain.  I’ve almost completed the Days Gone Bye scenarios so I need to get a jump start on the Greene farm material so I can hit the ground running.

I had some empty Laphroaig cases lying around and thought they might make for some interesting terrain options.  After checking out some grain silo images, I got to work.

I cut one of them down to make for a more manageable terrain piece and then primed them both with my standard automotive grey primer. Since I’ll be leaving the tops alone, I finished them off with a dark grey primer from the same brand.

Next, I photoshopped some brick patterns with silo chutes on to an 11×8 sheet of paper, cut it out and sprayed a spray adhesive onto the back.  A simple but careful rolling up later and my short silo was complete.

I’ll likely go lighter on the tall silo and I’m debating whether to add the grain chutes on the side or not.  I’m leaning towards not but due to the size, I’ll have to print it at a printshop as nothing I have will take the 11×17 that the tall tube will need.


In the “let’s see how this works” category of game pimping, I tried my first hand at greenstuff sculpting.  This project is likely way beyond on my skill but as it is just a fun prop, I’m not too worried.

The goal was to get the extra “riding” Rick figure onto a comparable motorcycle and it’s getting there.

Had to cut off Rick’s right arm and then revisit a little Governor vengeance and cut off his hand while I was at it. Then I kept adding bits of greenstuff to the arm to get it to approximately reach the handlebars.  Lastly, I crap-sculpted (patent pending) a plausible hand.  I’ve let it dry and will likely start working it up more once it is a bit more stable.

yeah, baby, that’s just how my arm rolls…

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