Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Canyon Diablo: Completed Hell St. Buildings

It only took several years but I'm happy to say I've completed many of the Hell St. buildings for Canyon Diablo. First up is the small Atlantic & Pacific telegraph office and the "Cootchy Clatch" Saloon under construction....

The livery and stage coach station...

The "Road to Ruin" Saloon...

The General Supply Store...

The Land Office...

The Bank...

and finally, the Poultry Seller.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

New EoG Logo Designs!

If things look a little different from previous visits, it's because my good friend over at Dzign House Graphics sat down and made me a cleaner, more refined logo design for both the blog, Facebook page, and various forum handles. Duane is amazingly talented and customer-focused and I highly recommend using his service if you are looking for graphic design work. It constantly amazes me the connections one makes among so many talented people in the gaming community.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Product Review: 4Ground's Shotgun Shack (C)

"And you may find yourself, living in a shotgun shack...and you may ask yourself - well how did I get here?.."

The opening verse of Talking Head's "Once in a Lifetime" seems appropriate enough to open with, as I'm not really sure why I bought this building, since it doesn't really fit well with any period I currently play. But it was nearly half the retail price on Ebay, and being curious about it since its release a few months back, I snatched one up.

Like all of 4ground's kits, it's quite nicely packaged in its own cardboard box, with the sprues being packed again in plastic inside. There are 7 sprues altogether - 4 unpainted MDF "interior" sprues, 2 painted MDF exterior sprues (painted in a very light yellowish-tan color), and 1 painted MDF roof sprue (painted in black with a satiny finish to mimic tar paper).

The instructions are pretty well detailed, though they are lacking in particulars. Building the interior is simple and straightforward, but it becomes increasingly necessary to dry-fit many of the pieces after this. The foundation in particular would be easy to screw up, since the front and back porch holes need to be positioned accurately below each door. Position them wrong and the back porch could end up mounted under the back window.

As mentioned earlier, the interior is built first and is the easiest portion of the build. Following most other 4ground buildings, the interior is assembled as a box and the exterior walls and foundation are glued around the outside of this box. If you're new to this two-step build process, do yourself a favor and grab clothes pins or clamps beforehand to hold pieces in place as the glue dries. After the interior, the foundation is assembled, then the exterior sides are glued on, and then the porches are assembled and glued on. The porch stairs - while quite nice - are rather flimsy and I can see them being prone to breakage in storage if you don't mount the building on a larger base. For this reason, I left both sets of stairs unglued and removable.

The windows are assembled next and are probably the worst part of the assembly. The window frames and sashes are two separate pieces and, because of the lasercutting, the sashes don't fit snugly inside the frames. There is quite a bit of "play" around all the sash edges, which requires a lot of glue to fill and join. I use wood glue on all my MDF builds and I would suggest using that or superglue for the windows to get a stronger bond. On the other hand, I love the addition of the window sills, which give the windows a very realistic look. After this is the exterior doors, roof trim, and porch railings assembly.

Finally comes the roof. The main roof is very easy to assemble, however care must be taken when assembling the porch roofs. The connecting pins on the porch railing are placed over a point where there's no support. You need to hold a small piece of strong wood or metal under the porch railing connector while pushing down so it does not snap off.

The finished building is quite nice and well worth the effort. It's pictured above with several Artizan and Knuckleduster 28mm figures and I think it scales well. It takes up a nice chunk of tabletop (~11" long by 4" wide), without being imposing or out of proportion and would serve well as an LOS blocker. Being a shotgun shack, it would work best in any Americas-based game from the late 19th century to modern times. In my opinion, it could also work fairly well as a colonial style building built by Europeans in other parts of the world during the late 19th to early 20th centuries and, suitably distressed, would also fit in a post-Apocalypse setting.

Ultimately, the question becomes is the $34 price point reasonable? I would say, if you play a lot of Americas-based games, it's probably worth it. Otherwise, this is a building with a very regionally-specific architecture that wouldn't find a lot of use in other games. I could be wrong. I paid much less than that for mine and I'm happy with it for what I paid.


  • Great detailing (porches, windows)
  • Full interior and exterior
  • Very unique building
  • Somewhat high MSRP
  • Sometimes unclear instructions
  • Unique architecture makes it useful for only very specific game genres

Friday, October 7, 2016

Commission Work: Warhammer Quest Chaos Warrior

A quick commission piece for a friend of mine since we've been resurrecting his full set of old GW Warhammer Quest stuff - the Chaos Warrior. I was given a bit of leeway with this piece so I tried something new in the gore/blood spatter effect. This was done by mixing regular Flamenco Red acrylic paint with Tamiya Acrylic Clear Red. The Tamiya acrylics have a heavier body and quicker drying time than most acrylic I normally use, so it's easier to add more visual "weight" to effects using them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Normandy Terrain: Buildings

Well, I finally finished with the remainder of the Normandy table. As I posted earlier this week, all these buildings are scratchbuilt from 3mm MDF cut with a table saw and dremel. Mostly this was an experiment to see if I could produce quality structures without the expense buying laser-cut parts or basic structures and I think it's a resounding success! Two major issues were cutting doors and windows (solved by marking them out with a carpentry square and cutting with a dremel cutting wheel) and hiding the rough corners (solved by using cereal box cardboard to make corner stonework). I made doors and some windows out of basswood and some windows are casts from originals made of plasticard. The shingle roofs are all cereal box cardboard - which, while a nice effect, is exceedingly tedious to cut out.

First up is the petrol station. This is a larger building meant to shelter large AT guns or even an AFV. I used several period photos to get the right "feel" for an older building converted for a more "modern" use. The garage door says "Repairs for cars of all Makes". Besides the basic construction detailed above, I added petrol pumps made from wooden "pawn" shapes with plasticard pump handles and readouts, added a small hanging lamp from an HO house kit, various bits, and fuel barrels and jerry cans from a 1/48 Tamiya kit.

The farmhouse stable was an MDF shell with scale basswood panels glued over it and painted. After basic construction, I added a 4ground rocking chair, wooden barrel shape, and hay. I painted the base with a cobblestone pattern to mimic the farmhouse base.

The schoolhouse was a last-minute addition. Originally, I had planned to do a Gendarme Station, but looking at photos of the time realized even the smallest one would be too large. Unlike the other buildings, the schoolhouse has a slightly raised first floor so I could add basement windows along the bottom, as well as make a larger, double-doored entraceway. The biggest pain with this building was getting the correct angles cut for the gabled dormer on the second floor. In addition to basic construction, I added a small washboard and some chalk drawings out front - in addition to the hopscotch, I added a small drawing presumably titled "Goodbye Blue Sky".

The Sarissa Chateau was the building that started this whole table and I wanted to build it into a larger complex fit for the landed class of prewar France. I used green washing pads to make a variety of manicured hedges, a small statue (using Gorgon Studios awesome "Marshal Ney" miniature), a small reflecting pond from basswood and Modge Podge (a mistake to use that instead of clear resin), and a greenhouse. 

The greenhouse was yet another experiment - I formed the basic structure out of clear acetate and then glued the basswood directly on it. I then distressed the "glass" with cracks, shards, and bulletholes. 

A cheeky way to treat the greenhouse is dangerous terrain, for those of you who have seen Die Hard...