Friday, August 31, 2012

Modular Gaming Table: Part 14

In my previous post, I've promised to demonstrate the table in all it's glory. While planning the various setups, I realised I was missing something.

When using the table for the purpose of photography, one needs a suitable backdrop to make a pleasing photograph. As the co-author of two remote gaming battle reports, I experimented with various methods. For the battle reports "It's fun to slay at the Wyemm Seeyay" and "The Shadow of Koles Lorr", I simply printed one out and glued it on a piece of cardboard. The cardbaord had a little footstand attached to it, allowing me to put it anywhere on the table wherever I needed it. Although it served its purpose, this method has shortcomings, for example: the limited size only allows close-up shots, corner shots are not possible and it lacks a tight fit, creating a space between the ground surface and the bottom of cardboard.

To make the table as complete as possible, I improved the above method somewhat by creating two backdrop panels. These panels use the same attachment principle as the borders, allowing me to attach them at the sides of a panel.

The plan
The panels are made out of Dibond. Dibond is a composite consisting of two sheets of .010" aluminum with a polyethylene core. It is intended for such applications as signage, exhibit/display as well as digital mounting. Available in 1/8" thickness. Lighter than than Aluminum and Plexiglas but also very durable and flexible.

3mm Dibond 
I bought a panoramic photograph on dreamstime, and plotted the photograph on the Dibond panels with a FUJIFILM Acuity Printer. I've got access to such a device at my work, but there are enough companies out there who offer this as a service. It costs around 60+ euro to print 120x30 cm.

The printer
The cutting of the placeholders for the male "Kugelschnaeppers" are done with a milling machine. Again, they have one of them at my work. I've made a video of this, because I think this is the kind of machine every wargamer would like to have in his man cave. Just listen to the sound of this thing:

The "Kugelschnaeppers" are glued in place with Epoxy. This seales the cut-outs and makes a solid connection.

After printing and cutting
Male "Kugelschnaepper" glued in place with Epoxy
Perfect fit
Corner setup
The concept seems to work, but while working on this, some other ideas on how to improve it formed in my mind. Also, I'm not completely sure about the scale of the backdrop, maybe I'll be creating some new panels in the future.

For now, these are the backdrop panels I'm going to use to make a proper demonstration of the table. To be continued...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Modular Gaming Table: Part 13

In "Modular Gaming Table: Part 2" I talked about the theory of putting a border around the table while keeping the modular aspect of the table intact. As I'm finished with the panels, It's now time to put the theory into practice.

I needed to attach the male "Kugelschnaepper" parts to the borders and make sure that all the borders and "Kugelschnaeppers" are aligned. I used one of the borders as a template to attach the female "Kugelschnaepper" parts to the panels. This would ensure that all the borders fit on all sides of the panels in the exact same way.
Finally, I gave the borders three layers of black paint, making them look extra cool and shiny.

To be honest, I thought the border idea wouldn't work and that the whole idea was a bit too ambitous, but in the end I'm glad I sticked with it. I'm quite amazed how easily and well the borders fit onto the panels. They require just the right amount of force for attachment and detachment, which is accompanied with a nice clicking sound, adding a feeling of sturdiness to the whole.

Of course we all know the border is utterly useless, and the amount of resources and money spend on them doesn't outwight the result, but still, being able to put a border around my table and seeing my wife's expression while she wonders the futility of it all, makes me smile anyways.

Aligning the borders
Close-up of alignment
Back-side border with male "Kugelschnaepper" parts in place
Front-side border painted black
Panel with female "Kugelschnaepper" parts in place
Panel without border
Panel with border
River end with border
Border corner
As promised, I'll demonstrate the whole table in the upcomming post, so stay tuned for some serious table action.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Modular Gaming Table: Part 12

Finally, all the panels are finished. I just completed the last four hill panels.

Shown below are three setups made with the four hill panels.

Config 2x2 x0:y9

Config 2x2 x0:y7

Config 2x2 x0:y10

Let me take you through the process. I base-painted the whole panel with "Burnt Sienna" and added some extra sand and stones into the crevices of the hills. After dry-brushing the panel occording the established method discussed in a previous post  I drybrushed the hill with the following citadel colors: "Shadow Grey", "Space Wolves Grey" and "Fotress Grey". Then I adding a couple of watered down Vallejo washes of "Umber Shade", "Fleshtone Shade" and "Green Shade" and gave it a satin varnish and finished it with a "Testors Dull Coat" varnish.

Hill panel with extra sand on top
After dry-brushing the hill with "Shadow Grey"
After dry-brushing the hill with "Space Wolves Grey"
After dry-brushing the hill with "Fotress Grey"
After applying the washes and varnish
After adding the static grass
So what's next I hear you say. Well, do you still remember this post, when I talked about the utterly useless, but very cool looking border. I already did some tests and the theory seems to work. I'm currently still in the process of painting the borders, but as soon as they're finished I will show them in action and of course I will put some effort in demonstrating the full potential of the table. This means big setups, scenery and miniatures!