Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Weekly Update For Sunday, September 7th, 2014 - Building Barsoom, And New Voices

More photos of work in progress, but:

Please! If you do not own a table saw, or are not very familiar with how to use one, don't run right out and get one based on what you see in the following pictures! Ask a friend or relative who is a woodworker or carpenter - you know you have them! - to do any cutting on a table saw for you.

I am really serious about this. I've been doing this kind of thing for decades, and I still approach my little table saw with a mixture of deep respect and abject fear. As a result, I still have all of my fingers attached to my hands...



One of the Castle Tilketl hill sections prior to the trip through the saw. These are 14" by 96" expanded styrene foam 'planks', covered with paint and pet store 'terrarium sand'.

The 'plank' reduced to my standard 9.5" x 9.5" square tiles; a five by five array of the tiles is 47.5" x 47.5", which just happens to fit my 48" x 48" game table...

Which see... These are the new 'Barsoom' tiles, with some unfinished extras off to one side. I also salvaged a lot more material as 'half-tiles', too.

The tiles, as seen on the table in the gaming surface. These are half-tiles, 4.75" x 9.5"; I used the table saw to give the tiles a truly vertical edge. A band saw will leave a slightly 'wavy' edge.

The 'Barsoom' tiles; I still need to paint the edges a nice neutral color. I get my scenic paint by the gallon from one of the 'big-box' DIY stores, from the 'OOPS!' section of the paint department. It's a lot cheaper.

As part of the project, I also cut some 'blank' tiles for use as the new swamp. Cutting foam is a very messy process, and you get foam dust all over the place; this is why I do it outside.

 I am happy to report some nice progress! I finally had a nice cool day, with a nice breeze, to get the tiles cut for several new sets of the standard tiles that I use on my new game table. As I mentioned in a previous post, the old hill that I made for Castle Tilketl was both a pain to store and transport, and actually pretty boring as scenery. It's basically a flat, arid desert, and not very exciting.

On the other hand, it does look like the wilds of ERB's Barsoom. I set up my little table saw on the Shopmate, and had at it for a very pleasant afternoon. I made enough full-sized (9.5 x 9.5) tiles to cover the table - and then some; you get more random variation, that way - and a pile of half-sized (4.75 x 9.5) tiles for use as the edges of canals, harbors, and suchlike Barsoomian locales. I think they'll do nicely, and I'll get them boxed up in some of my standard plastic tubs after I paint the edges.

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As part of the same work session - cutting foam is messy stuff, and I tend to 'save up' and do it all at one go - I also made some plain tiles for later modification into 'swamp' tiles for Tekumel. I'll laminate these foam squares to thin MDF, cut to the same size, and then add water effects to suit the Ahoggya. The players will, most likely, not appreciate the mud and mire...

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The esteemed author of the "Butrus Gazetteer" has a new blog, dedicated to Tekumelyani cooking. This may sound like an obscure topic, but we had a lot of very fun and very spirited discussions with the Professor about this very subject. (Ambereen usually weighed in with examples, too!) I've added a link, off to the left, for you.

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I have also corrected a long-running oversight on my part; I hadn't given you a link to the site where the "Butrus Gazetteer" live, and is available for download. The link is now up, and under the 'Useful Tekumel Links' heading.

I really like the book, and I think it should be a part of every Tekumel fan's collection. It's a wonderful book, full of the kind of witty asides and 'plot hooks' that Phil used to do in our games with him, and in every way it's a very fitting addition to the materials we have for Tekumel. Highly useful, and highly amusing, too!!!

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Posts this week may be a little scattered; the Missus has her biopsy on Wednesday, and I'll be a little preoccupied...




7 comments:

  1. Hope all goes well at the hospital. Thanks, as ever, for the links and inspirational material. Very excited to see your finished Barsoom scenery and game.

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    1. Thank you! I'll pass that along to Herself!

      I'm very happy with the way the 'Barsoom set' is coming along - buildings next!

      - chirine

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  2. Best wishes for the appointment!

    Also, the link for the Butrus guide is broken - needs to be http:// (the colon is missing)

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    1. Thank you! She'll; be happy to hear it!

      I think I fixed the link - it now goes right to the proper page. Have a look, and let me know; I'm not very good at this.

      And thank you for catching it, too!!! :)

      - chirine

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  3. I always wondered how well a table saw would work cutting foam up. Now I know. Good luck and best wishes for both you and your wife.

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    1. Thank you! I'll make sure to let her know!

      The table saw does a good job on foam, as the fast blade rotation and saw fineness tends not to tear the foam like the classic bread knife does. You do get 'snowdrifts' of dust that sticks to everything, from the static charge on the cut foam. Extruded foam - the pink or blue stuff sold for insulation - cuts just as well, but with a lot less mess.

      I also use my little 10" table-top bandsaw to cut foam, but the flexible blade tends to not stay steady in long cuts. For short cuts, up to about four inches, it's very good. A fine blade works better here, too.

      - chirine

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