Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Weekly Update - Sunday, Sept. 11th, 2016 - "Kaor, My Princess! Helium, Now And Forever!"

Hull One on the ways; surprisingly, I'm actually running out of clamps!

The starboard sponson of Hull One; Hero and Heroine shown for scale.

The Sable Six-sider of Yan Kor is off to the embroidery shop to get all prettied up with glyphs, sigils, and nasty remarks about the Seal Imperium in Yan Koryani. I got the foam cube all nicely coated with filler and them sanded smooth, and then did the black fabric cover out of black paper. With a little doorway for Lord Fu Shi, too, 'cause I am a nice guy. The wagon that it travels on will be a bit of a challenge - the description in "Man of Gold" specifies the size of the wheels, so a little scratch-building to get the five pairs seems to be in order. The rest of the wagon is easy; simple miniature carpentry, although I may sneak a peek at the Missus' wonderful book on Great Western Railway horse drawn-wagons to see what a really heavy-duty wagon might look like. If it was good enough for God's Wonderful Railway, it's good enough for Baron Ald, is my admittedly Swindon-biased opinion.

The Barsoomian flyers are off to a good start. The basic hulls are plywood, with superstructures of either solid MDF - as counter-weights to the sponsons - or the specialist 'bendy plywood' that I first learned about from Linus, the Guthrie Theater's brilliant furniture-maker. The stuff is available from specialist woodworkers' shops (like Rockler Woodworking, in the US; see below for link) and is a single sheet of plywood veneer laminated to a backing; it curves very well, but only in one direction, and you have to be careful with the stuff or it will break. (And it's expensive, too, so be careful!)

For modelers in Europe, you can get the same kind of thing in crafts shops - Youngest Daughter works for one such establishment in Zurich, and provided me with two packs of very thin hardwood veneer sheets that would work just as well. I'll see if I can't get a link to her source...

I made two hulls, as I thought having two flyers in games would be useful - the Missus pointed out that the little sky skiffs and scout flyers had to operate from somewhere - and I really do have to come up with better names then 'One' and 'Two'.

I'm using the basic design of the flyers seen in the "John Carter" film; the Barsoom books don't really provide a good description, and from what I can tell ERB didn't leave us any original drawings. So, it was back to the DVD, and then to the plywood; these are smaller (!!!) patrol flyers, intended for skirmish games of the kind I love. These are not huge dreadnoughts of the air, fighting massive battles, as I don't particularly like that kind of game.

This is basic glue-and-clamp model-making; I didn't take the easy was out and use nails or screws to assemble the parts, as I'm not going for that 'steampunk' look and didn't want to have to do a lot of work with filler to hide the fasteners. What has astounded me is the sheer number of clamps needed - I am pretty well-stocked, but I ran out of beam clamps and had to fall back on the grip clamps to keep movng. The net result is that I'm building the ships one at a time, and moving from section to section of each ship as the clamps get freed up from the previous step.

Weapons mounts will be based and on magnets, so I can swap them out for different games; additonal details will be minimal, as I want to have the most deck space available for figures and to help with the durability issue. 'Flight stands' will be dowels or maybe the microphone stands I have in stock; comments, ideas, thoughts and suggestions welcome, on this!

Eventually, the two hulls will get 'real' names; I'm leaning to 'Keri' for One and 'Zhodi' for Two. That's Fourth Daughter and her wonderful husband, both F/SF fans and gamers; one of the nice things about having five daughters is that they provide a rich source of ship names, which is a very good thing because I do have a lot of ships! While the galleys all sport fierce names like 'Warrior', 'Nemesis', 'Dreadnought', and 'Fearless', the rest of the fleet does all the lifting, carrying, and heavy work and so - I thought - should serve to remember the ones who have been such a great help to me and the Missus over time.

And speaking of the fleet, I'l, be back to that subject shortly and also to painting miniatures