It’s been a bit … the blog, as does life, continues

Before I dive into the long catch up blog post I wanted to reflect on things in the real world. The first is a person I know (have known for over 40 years) died in a single car traffic accident last month (icy road / early morning). This person wasn’t super close to me – but I have known him through a tragedy in his life – and watched him push on and move on with living more than once. He was strong and determined not to let the crap that happens to you in life break him down – for that he was an inspiration. He wasn’t that much older than me either – near my age – and that effects me more now that I am getting older myself.

Anthony “Tony” Ward – you will be missed.

Death is before me today:
like the recovery of a sick man,
like going forth into a garden after sickness.
Death is before me today:
like the odor of myrrh,
like sitting under a sail in a good wind.
Death is before me today:
like the course of a stream;
like the return of a man from the war-galley to his house.
Death is before me today:
like the home that a man longs to see,
after years spent as a captive.

From “Dialogue of a Misanthrope with His Soul” (ca 2000 BC), now called “Dispute between a man and his Ba,” from a papyrus of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.

And – the happenings in Ukraine … is very disheartening – my thoughts are with those people. These things just remind us all how closely we are to the knifes edge of insanity – how close the “civilized” way the world is to utter chaos

Hobbies, help to keep our minds off the reality of things – they can be a very welcome place to hide our minds for a few moments or hours at a time. I try to keep this place as welcoming as possible. Sometimes it just takes me a bit to get back into the swing of living through the struggles to post on this blog. It pales in comparison to what folks deal with in this world – it is just a blog – I hope you’ll find a bit of peace when your browsing through it.

Ok, now back to it…

It’s been a bit … the blog as does life continues.

I last left off on the blog with Dark Grogu or is it Darth Grogu? Anyhow, here is the progress I made through this project (spoilers … it is now done).

After full assembly I gave it a good zenithial prime and started with some base colors. I was pretty surprised with myself – things went pretty fast. Over the course of a Friday night and a weekend I finished painting the sculpt to a decent standard. It was a great palette cleanser to just mindlessly paint and move through a project. It is a great sculpt.

After a few washes, some dry brushing and a few more washes. I decided it was as far as I wanted to go with the project. I don’t want to over work the paint and start getting frustrated – ending up ruining the look I had achieved rather quickly. It would be easy to sit down with this for weeks and really pick out the details and getting everything to a really high standard. But, Sometimes I think things work better with a looser look and feel to them.

Here is the final set of photos for Darth Grogu. I am really happy with this project – start to finish.

Next up for me was my USMC Bolt Action force. I had about 4 weeks before the next local Bolt Action Game Day. I wanted to get this army ready so I had time to build an Island Assault table for the event as well. I first got everything I had assembled with textured based included. I then zenithial primed everything so I could really speed through the painting process.

After everything was ready to go and primed I took one figure and worked slowly though my contrast paints – to nail down the colors I would use for all of figures in the army. I wrote down notes each color name and location as I went. In the end I had a reasonable table top quality mini.

Zenithial primed & contrast paints only

Satisfied with the test painted mini I painted the rest of the minis to the same formula – and finished the infantry units over the next weekend.

Over the same time period I did some testing on getting a vehicle painted – I used the Halftrack as my test piece – and did a similar process as I did with the single mini. I tested colors and process – using the airbrush to get all the base colors down – before setting about with various washes and stenciling.
After getting the infantry completed I jumped into getting all the vehicles painted and finished. The last step was painting the textured bases. This was a simple wash / contrast paint for color, some flocking (3 color and size mix) and grass clumps finished everything off. The finished army was ready to go – leaving me just about 2 weeks to get the table going.

This is where things with my plans broke – I had to prep a slideshow / movie for a memorial, I had some oral surgery (tissue testing) and recovery as well as helping my son with car troubles. In the end I only had about 5 days to build the table for the event. Most of those days were actually just nights after work – leaving me with a full day Saturday to wrap things up for the Sunday event start at 8am.

I had already made several trips to the hardware store for materials, I hit up a hobby store as well for extras (flock and cheaper craft paint… some sand as well). So I had most everything I needed when I started cutting the foam board. If I needed anything I could stop on my lunch break at work – a Home Depot and a couple hobby stores are nearby. Also, I cannot forget Amazon and some rather quick shipping on eBay / online stores.

Tuesday last week …

I got the basic shapes cut out… and hot glued some initial terrain structures. I compared sizes of vehicles to the table structures I was While I was doing the table build I had the 3d printer printing some needed table scenery.

Wednesday …

I glued down all of the 2×2 insulation foam down to 2×2 plywood. I clamped and stacked weight onto them while the liquid nails dried. While that was going on I turned my attention to building some of the MDF structures I had ordered online for the table.

Thursday …

I cleaned and glued together the 3d LVT print for the table. I added filler and smoothed out the foam board sections. I added cork to represent coral mounds that caused lots of trouble for island assaults (ie. TARAWA).

At this point I started trimming my plans. Thursday, when I was done for the night I took a good 15 minutes looking at what needed to be done vs things I WANTED done. It was triage time and this wasn’t much different than any other project with a deadline.
I went through the things I wanted this table to have … and what I could actually get done by Saturday. I then decided what could get done that I could continue to refine AFTER the event. So I left room to finish things later. But still have an interesting and playable table. With things decided in my head I had a game plan to get the table down over Friday night and all day Saturday.

Friday …

I gave everything a quick coat of back paint as a base. Starting with the three beach sections and then to the basic flat land sections. This way I got around and gave everything a second coat by the end of the night.

I finished assembling all the terrain that I would be using (MDF as well as 3d prints). I decided that I would not try and paint the MDF buildings – as they would look fine as they were. And I didn’t want to really use up my time painting them when the table needed to be finished.

I spent a couple hours building a log wall along all the beach sections, along with some rocky and beach areas. I knew these elements needed to be done to really sell the island assault theme. Also, I built the log wall areas to end up at 12″ from the water edge at both sides of the board sections. This allows the 3 beach sections to be moved around and still look consistent.

By the end of the night on Friday (1:40am Saturday) – I had everything ready for the push on Saturday. I gave all the land areas a layer of brown paint. I gave all the sand areas a coat of white and cream paint. And I left all the rocky parts or stone elements black from the initial covering coat. I went to bed knowing I would get up early and have a full 12+ hours to finish the table.

Saturday morning …

First thing was glueing sand and fine ballast onto the board – at the beach edge sand and land areas. Then I painted in the blue / water areas. I used a hairdryer throughout this process to get things to set quicker. After the blue and edge sanding was done I started adding the grout powder (bone color) … sifting and sprinkling all over the beach. Being careful not to blow out while this is going down. Then I misted lightly some ISO and then water misted a bit heavier.

At this point I got kinda anxious – the grout was wet … I mean really wet. To get the the grout to set – I had to mist water several times. I avoided allowing things to puddle up. So I misted and let it soak in and then misting again. After things were good and wet I waited about and hour while things dried a bit. I then took a 3″ wide brush and stippled the grout to have it set really well. Pushing things around there and there to get a relative even “beach like” look. I was still anxious… but things were starting to look better after a few hours of drying. I built a really warm fire in the shop stove and got a really dry heat moving through the shop.

By Saturday afternoon I moved onto flocking the rest of the table. Again, in light of my triage mode I stuck to keeping it simple and looking well enough to play on. I painted some lighter brown patches over the darker brown ground… here and there to create some variety. I then painted some green patches over this. The green paint would be the bases for the flocking process… giving the flocked area a base of green helps sell the look.

After the extra paint of brown and green patches were dry I added PVA Glue (mixed slightly with water) and started adding patches for flock. I ran a fine medium green flock first. Next I ran three green shades of a courser flock to give a good mixed patchy ground cover.

The grout beach was still sticky and wet… I am not sure this will be dry by Sunday morning lol. I have to say I may have been freaking out just a little. I added more heat to the fire and moved on to other things while I tried to be patient.

I painted the LVT “Higgins Boat” and rusted it up nicely. I cut out some black PVC sheets to represent forest areas – these were flocked with the same flock from the rest of the table.

The grout was still wet… I started using the hairdryer … going over every inch of beach. After about an hour of this I blew the fuse on the power strip lol. I got a longer extension cord and spent another hour with the hairdryer … still anxious. But then things started to look like they were firming up. I moved on to any last bits to finish this table.

I spent another hour just gathering trees (some old 40k tropical trees from my collection and some new ones) and any other items of terrain for the table. I took about 30 minutes and created a set of 4″ high hills from thicker foam insulation – paint and flocked. I pulled out my old resin trench set for 28mm games… all seemed in order. After everything was set on the table – I was happy with it. It looked pretty good and I think the only thing holding it up was the slow drying grout.

After testing the grout again around 10pm I felt like it was setting up and drying pretty nicely – I could even tell the difference between wet and dry areas. I stuffed the stove full of wood and turned on a fan to move the air around and went in to bed. In the morning everything was good and dry. Relieved I packed up everything for the morning set up at the Bolt Action game day about 5 minutes down the road.

That was a flurry of action…lots of work – I was dead tired. But after setting up my table at the game day it was all worth it. It looked really good. I surprised myself – but it looked good. Granted it isn’t done – but it is perfectly playable. I want to add a few more sections of static grass – a larger “mountain” with bunkers and eventually clear resin for the water. Everyone loved the table – and I got the first game on it an hour later. We have 4 more game days this year so far on the calendar – I have plans to finish this board before the next one in June.

Bolt Action Game Day –

This was a good time – I never played a full game of Bolt Action – but I got the hang of it pretty quick. I didn’t win any of my 3 games, but I came away with a better understanding of the rules and what my list needs are. I already have made changes to my list. Here is some photos from each game – I really felt good about this event and learning the game. It has been quite a long time since I had that much fun with a war-game. Bolt action really seems balance and the rules are clear.

This post is long enough –

I will not go into each battle – but I played 3 games and lost each by various margins lol. Although I did try to do a few different things each game to get a handle on how things worked. This probably enhanced my ability not to win lol.

With the finished USMC Bolt Action Army and the Bolt Action Game Day – I have my first item checked off on my Hobby Bucket List.

-d

2 thoughts on “It’s been a bit … the blog, as does life, continues”

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