Excuses and More Shameless Pandering

Well, I wasn’t able to post last week, this barely counts, and next week may be rough, too.

The base of the Silver Towers had a bit of a re-design, so that ate up some time.  I also had to finish up my Tyranids for the no-humans/no-power-armor league my gaming group is doing.  So there’s been foward motion in the project, just no time to write out all the documentation about it.

I also had another book come out.  Last week Permuted Press just released a collection of short stories I wrote called The Junkie Quatrain. It’s four connected/ interwoven/ overlapping short stories set in the same post-apocalyptic world.  I’ve been explaining it to people as 28 Days Later crossed with Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. It adds up to a mid-sized novella, so it’s also very cheap.

Also, Amazon Studios is developing a film with the working title of Original Soldiers.  It’s a sci-fi tale about human soldiers leaping into action when America’s droid army is shut down by an opponent.  I’m one of five folks (well, four folks and a writing team) who were hired by Amazon to expand my pitch based off their logline into a full treatment. 
So, between that and Ex-Communication, things might slow down a bit in the month of February.  Just letting you all know now.  The good news is, I’ll probably still keep working on things in my down time, so when I get to come back to this on a regular basis I’ll have enough material to go for quite a while.

In the weeks to come—the Silver Towers get finished, Imperial Bunkers, Grotesques and Wracks, a Thunderbolt, Kroot count as everything, a Gargant, and possibly even some Tyranid scenery...

Stick around.  It’ll be worth it.  Honest.


Silver Towers of Tzeentch, Pt. IV

First off, I got a lot less done on this model than I’d planned to.  My gaming group is starting a non-human, non-power armored campaign this weekend, and I’ve decided that after years of waiting it’s finally time for Swarm Tiamat to take the field.  I highly recommend something like this if you think your group would be up for it, by the way, because it’s very interesting to see how people’s army composition has changed when they the players know they’re not going to be facing any kind of Space Marine.  Anyway, I’ve been trying to get a last few Tyranids built and painted and so not as much has happened with the Silver Towers.

Still, I’ve gotten a few things done.

Helpful Hint—This hit me after the fact and I felt like an idiot.  Remember the long strips around each tower?  Rather than holding them, wrap them with hair elastics.  You can usually find a bag of them at your local 99 Cent Store (or similar establishment).  They’re strong enough to hold things in place, but gentle enough so you don’t have to worry about them crushing anything like some over-powerful rubber bands might do when you double or triple them up.

Now, a quick onward and upward.

The short towers still need vents, but like in the classic model, I wanted these to be on the towers themselves rather than their peaks.  So I cut some more 1/8” strips and cut those down to 3/4” lengths.  These were spaced out around each of the shorter towers, and I was happy with how they came out.  It also made me realize the taller towers and the main tower should have a lower level of vents, so I cut some 1/2” pieces and had those line up on the bands beneath the longer pieces.

I was pretty happy with this, because it gave me a nice throwback to the original without looking like I was trying to give it that slightly cartoony quality a lot of stuff had back then.

Next, each of the towers needed a tab where they’d connect to the flying island.  I cut about two dozen strips that were about 1 1/2” long and 3/4” wide and scored them at the halfway point.  The measurement doesn’t have to be exact because they’re not going to be seen.  I glued and clamped three of them around each tower, fastened to the inside with the tabs out. 

On the tall towers and the main tower, I also did two or three extra tabs facing in, but still fastened on the inside.  These towers are going to be top-heavier than the short ones, and the main tower is just bigger in all dimensions (I can fit any of the other towers inside of it). So the main tower has six tabs altogether on it--three in and three out. 

Speaking of the 99 Cent Store, while those tabs were drying it was time to think about the base for this thing.  While I was there looking at hair elastics, I grabbed a 10.5” plastic plate from their housewares section.  I also got a large plastic wine glass.  So, add two more dollars onto the cost for the Silver Towers. 

By the way, it’s not hobby-related, but try not to get freaked out by how many of the plates there say “do not microwave” or “do not use with food” on the back.

Okay, I need to go finish painting another dozen or so gaunts for tomorrow, but I swear to God these towers are going to get finished (and posted) very soon.


Silver Towers of Tzeentch, Pt III

Okay, I kind of left things hanging back in 2011.  When I last spoke of this project, I’d cut a bunch of strips of card.  Now, what to do with them.

Helpful Hint – Okay, two of these strips  (one 1”, one 3/4”) need to be extra-long to go around my main, central tower without any gaps.  Where could I get a piece of cardstock long enough?  The Post Office.  Priority Mail envelopes are 12 1/2” x 9 1/2” and they’re free (just don’t get greedy).  The cardstock they’re made from is a hair too thin for building, in my opinion, but it’s perfect for detail work.

For convenience sake, by the way, I’m going to talk about the elements as the main tower (1), the tall towers (2), and the short towers (also 2).  Each of them is going to get a couple strips of card.  I made sure the strips had a good curve to them.  In fact, after wrapping them around a spraypaint can, I wrapped them again around a vitamin jar so they’d have a good tight curve.  Also, I checked each one first and did a quick eyeball trim to each piece as needed.  If some were a bit short, I wasn’t too worried...

This Is Important – Before adding any of the detail strips, I figured out what was the best side of each tower.  This was the “outside,” and all the detail seams went to the “inside.”  Once the towers are placed on the island, the seams (and possible gaps) will get hidden between the towers.  On the main tower, put the seams and gaps off to either side but not front or back.

So, the breakdown went like this.  The main tower and the two tall towers each got the 1 1/2” strips wrapped around their bases, flush to the ground.  Then they got a 1” strip over that, also flush to the ground.  At the top, they got a 1” strip with a 3/4” strip over that, both flush to the seam where the tower tops begin.

Also, not so much a helpful hint as a heads up... Unless you’ve got some really long, narrow clamps, the only way to fasten the top strips is by holding them.  Just be prepared and have the television on, your earphones in place, or whatever will help you pass the time.

This Is Also Important The top detail on the main tower is what uses those two extra-long strips I mentioned above.  This is the only tower that gets seen all the way around, so it needs to have a nice, clean seam.  I actually wrapped the two strips in different directions to help hide it.

The two short towers got a 1” strip around the base with one of the 3/4” strips wrapped over it, both flush to the ground.  At the top, they just got a 1” strip and nothing else.  I’ll be giving that band some different detail in a little bit.

Looking at the original Epic 40,000 model again, the peaked towers had a series of vents or slots or some such thing on them.  Magical arrow slits maybe.  Whatever they are, I liked the look of them and wanted to give that design aspect a nod with this model.  

I cut a few long strips that were 1/8” wide, and then cut them to make nine pieces 1 1/2” long each.  I placed one on each triangle of the top of the main tower, running from the base right up the center line.  This was another one of those “take your time” things.

Helpful Hint – I used my hobby knife a lot to nudge these pieces a hair one way or another.  It’s got a strong point which makes it better for fine adjustments than my (relatively) huge fingers.

Then I cut another eighteen pieces at 1 1/4” each.  These went on the triangles for each of the tall towers.  Same process—I took my time and used the knife to nudge things to center.  I’m going to do vents/ slots around the edge of the short towers, too, but I’ll put all that up next week.  For now I’m trying to aim for shorter, more frequent posts than really long ones that only go up every other week or so.

Next time, final details and assembly.