Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Looking into the Crystal Brush

Ah, the question... to enter, or not to enter.  I had decided long before Adepticon that I would not be able to enter figures into the Crystal Brush with all the emphasis on the armies, terrain, and a million other things.  There was no way that I could even ponder doing something specifically for it.

I had also assumed that the days of taking figures out of your army and entering them in the competition had passed by as well.  Fortunately for me, I had so many people attempt to dissuade me from that supposition.

While the folks from CMON let me grab a Dark Age figure I recently painted for them, I chose a few items from my tournament armies.  Five categories in all.

As you can see by the picture below, there are five shiny things. 

While my Dark Age figure won a Silver in its category, one of the Dark Eldar Venoms won a Bronze in the vehicle category.

I couldn't finagle the fancier Archon venom, since it was in another box in another hotel. :-)

In the Sci-fi Squad category, I entered a handful of the Reaver jetbikes.

I tried to pick a variety of bikes with different bases, riders and numbers of wings.

They managed to win a bronze Crystal Brush.  Wow!

On the fantasy side of things, I entered the Necroshpinx, which was not included in the tournament list.  Since my rounds in the tournament were ending nice and early, there was time for me to put all these items in the competition.

I was pleasantly surprised once again to learn that it had won a Silver Brush!!!

And finally, there was one more entry.  Try as I might, I could not squeeze in my beloved Ushabti bowmen into the list.  I thought I would give them the weekend off from guarding the Temple complex of Psusenes and hang out at the Crystal Brush.

The color on the tip of the brush is gold, which rounded out the awards.

When I was told that the awards ceremony had been bumped up to a time right in the middle of the last game of the WFB tournament, I was not so concerned, as I truly assumed that there would be no need for me to be there.

Then I was called up once, and again, and again... craziness!

So to everyone who would not rest until I entered figures, my thanks go out to you.  It is really gratifying that army entries can still make a go of it!

And to all those who voted for these entries, many thanks.

Going up? Moving to the next level...

As we continue the construction of the Basilica Canus, we have to get the necessary height.  You have seen the side walls going up, but now we need those towers.  Not only will the give me a few places for flying vehicles, it will make it a fantastic piece of gaming terrain!

Here I am drawing out the windows...

Which I repeated a few times, cutting out with a very sharp exacto knife.  I used some painter's tape to hold the pieces together as the glue set.

I measured several times to make sure that these would be wide enough to accommodate the bases of the Razorwing and Venom.  As it happened, the extra width also meant that 10 space marines would easily fit in each of the top sections of the towers!  Perfect.

The basic parts of both towers in place.  You can also see the walls are getting their second level.  All I had to do was trace the window pattern onto this second piece.  Also, the polystyrene tubing columns are in place.

Another view.  The columns would eventually be moved back a little, so that more light would hit the miniatures on that level.

Originally, there was supposed to be a rosette window between the towers.  Time was running very short, so that was not going to be possible.  That worked out well in the end, since the platform directly behind the regular windows will let gunner shoot through them!  More goodies for future gaming!

Now for the parts that I enjoy the most, and one of the elements that I was able to pioneer on this project.  Using the half inch pink foam in the way I would normally use foam core.  You have probably noticed the white pieces of foam core on the outer walls.  I was now making that same decorative element with the pink foam.

I cut thin strips, and placed them along the walls of the towers.  This would make them more substantial, and appear even taller with the visual illusion of vertical movement...

I added a second layer of thin foam to build it out just a little more...

This shows the contrast a little better.  Remember, it is important to leave yourself enough room for these extra pieces!  I had to make a few adjustments myself. :-)

All of the extra buttressing elements have been added to the towers and the front walls!

Stay tuned for what's next!!!!

Rome wasn't built in a day...

No, Rome wasn't built in a day, but the Basilica Canus of Anara V had to be. :-)  Technically a day and a half, but who's counting?

As I mentioned many times at Adepticon, I had been training myself for the construction of this army board for months with smaller projects to test out individual elements.  You can recognize them when you search through past terrain posts.

I wanted to use as much pink foam on this as possible.  The idea was to avoid the use of foam core, which tends to warp when painted.  That material also absorbs paint very rapidly, making it more difficult to paint.  I have learned through those earlier projects that the pink foam is a very nice surface for painting!

There was another advantage over the previous army boards I have made.  It was so much lighter!  This super tall display board weighed a fraction of what the Tomb Kings board weighed.  Finally, the textured 'bottom' surface of masonite really sticks to the felt used on tournament tables.

The bottom section was a 2 x 2 piece of 2 inch foam.  Really strong, but super light.

At this point I tried to lay out how the hippodrome track would appear.  I went back and forth quite a bit on this first layer, since I needed lots of room for jetbikes, and for the rest of the structure, such as the grandstands.

I had purchased wedding cake pillars for the columns.  This would determine how tall the outer walls would be.

To create enough open space for the windows, I raised the height of the pillars a bit more.  This was becoming more and more like a medieval cathedral... drawn out in the dirt and changing things on the fly when necessary! :-)  The grandstands are also being built up at this time.

I used the cardboard backing of one of my used up pads of paper palettes.  This stuff is great, since it is very dense and strong.  I use it on the roofs of houses as well.  You can see that the bases of the two forward towers have been placed on the board.

Now it's time to start getting vertical!  The windows were cut out the same way as the ruined cathedral project from February.

I did the same for the other side of the board.  The blue painter's tape is ideal for holding things in place as the glue dries.

This is where things get even more complicated.  I knew that I was going to have to make some parts of this board separately, so that they could be painted prior to final assembly.  That made arranging the next floor with precision very important.  Also, I had to be very aware of leaving enough space for the miniatures!

This shows you how the walls were built up on the second 'floor'.  The columns on the left were made from polystyrene tubing.  I did use some small bits of foam core for the caps and bases, since it would let me use super glue to attach them.  Time was critical, and I needed things to dry as rapidly as possible.

More exciting episodes to come! Stay tuned!