Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Sarissa Precision Heroic Old West Large Option Building

Let me get this off my chest right now. I really dislike how Sarissa identifies their Heroic Old West buildings on their website. I can deal with the Small Option (1-5) and Small Option Plus (1-5) because there are at least pictures to look at. Once you move beyond the small buildings though you are stuck. I can guess that the Medium Option (1-5) at least match up with their small option counterparts. Medium Option Plus (1-5) has pictures (which I suppose might match up with the regular Medium Option buildings). There are no pictures for the Large Option buildings and there are only three variants available. I'm not even sure which one I bought anymore! That's a somewhat minor quibble when it comes down to it, but the other lines they produce have at least line drawings of the buildings if not pictures of the actually building fully assembled.

I would also like to see more variations in the False Fronts of some of these buildings, they are starting to all look the same and although what is being produced (and this is by all the manufacturers) is the most common there were some other designs. The False Front is the store's advertising billboard and they did want to stick out a bit and grab people's attention.

Enough of that and on to the important stuff. The Large Option kits are 2 story buildings and they are the same length as the medium option. They also feature my favorite design for a 2 story building, to get to the 1st floor to move miniatures around the whole 2nd floor lifts off as a single component. The Knuckleduster buildings work the same way while the Battle-Flag buildings have lift off roofs and removable floors. Gamecraft Miniatures kind of leaves you on your own as you have to buy optional floors and then figure out how you are going to make it all work. Aetherworks is an unknown quantity at this point. They do make a couple of 2 story buildings and it looks like they use the  Battle-Flag and Gamecraft style with a removable roof and second floor. From a gaming perspective I feel like being able to remove the entire 2nd story is a superior design.

The build for the Large Option building is still pretty straight forward and there is a set of one page instructions included which is pretty straight forward and does show all of the components in an exploded format. These kits go together pretty fast but spending a little time and making sure that your window and door frames are on straight is usually well worth the effort. In an unusual circumstance I managed to avoid making any mistakes on this one!

I do like to use clamps for darn near anything I can get a clamp on to but there are spots where it is difficult to use clamps. I find the steel block weights I have to be particularly invaluable especially since the can be used to keep everything square as well. I may end up browsing the Micro Mark site again just to see if there is anything that catches my eye that would be handy keeping some of these builds square.

Pictures can explain everything better than I can write so let's take a look at what I built:
Now that I have managed to unpack it without drawing blood. I can start building. I'm pretty much ignoring the instructions at this point and following my own sequence of gluing all the window and door frames to the walls using the picture on the instructions for reference.
You do have to keep track of which floor a piece goes to. This is the first floor front, easy to tell because it has three tabs on the bottom edge.

And the 1st floor rear. Three tabs on the bottom and two slots on the top. This is where the 2nd floor tabs will fit.

2nd Floor front. Tabs from the top of the 1st floor will fit into two of the slots while the 2nd story floor will fit into the other two.

Working on the 1st Floor Sides. Tabs on the bottom edge

This is the 2nd Story Back. Two tabs and two slots on the bottom, slots are for the floor. There is one tab on the top edge for the flat roof.

And the 2nd Story Side. Two slots on the bottom edge.
From here I went right on into the wall assembly
1st Story walls glued to the base. You can see the tabs for the 2nd Story on the front and slots for the 2nd Story on the back.

A quick scale shot of a Black Scorpion Gunfighter. I'll be mounting all the miniatures on bases that are not quite as tall. This should help the Black Scorpion miniatures which are tall blend in better.

Here you can see how the floor for the 2nd Story slots into the Rear Wall.
Now its time to test fit the 1st and 2nd stories together.

Looks Good!
Here is the building with the flat roof that is provided. I went a head and ordered a pitched roof that normally goes on a medium option to see how it might fit.
Just kind of "blah" looking with that flat roof.

The pitched roof just doesn't cut it. I do wish Sarissa would make a Pitched Roof option for their Large buildings.

Even worse from the front. Well I have a pitched roof available now when I order a medium building.
Like with the small option building I really like the sleeker look the 2mm MDF gives you when the building is finished. It is a tied more fragile than the 3mm used by Battle-Flag so be sure you cut out parts rather than trying to push them out from the sprue.

This is a very narrow building, which is good, variety is important when building up a whole town. Here's out it looks against some of the competitions' buildings:


Gamecraft Miniatures
And then a few more scale shots
Battle-Flag and Black Scorpion

Small Option and Large Option, Black Scorpion Miniatures

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sarrisa-Precission Has Arrived! Old West Heroic Small Option Plus 4

After some trials and tribulations my order from Sarrissa-Precision finally arrived. The late arrival time was not their fault, just a combination of extenuating circumstances. The first package never arrived and we are pretty sure it got caught up in the whole Hurricane Sandy disaster that hit New York. The second was just delayed by the holiday season (and probably some residual effects from the hurricane). It arrived sometime while I was away for Christmas so it was a nice bonus when I found it waiting for me Wednesday. I did do an initial tear into the package just to check to make sure it was really there but I wasn't able to actually do anything with it till last night (Thursday).

I purchased three kits, The Livery Stable (a mandatory structure in just about any Old West town), Old West Heroic Small Option Plus 4 (I think) and Old West Heroic Large Option 1 (I think). Per my standard operating procedure I started off with the small building. The Plus in the title indicates that the building comes with a porch which I did not assemble yet because it gets in the way of painting. I also selected the pitched roof option for both the small and large kits. I just don't like the looks of the flat roofs (if they were slanted I could live with it, but they aren't).

The Sarrisa-Precision kit goes together like just about all the other small buildings from other manufacturers do. There are no instructions (and you should all know how I feel about that, even simple kits should have some form of guidance) so I moved along following my own standard procedure; first gluing all the trim pieces around the doors and windows in place. This was followed by assembling the walls on to the base. While that was drying I built up the roof. The angle on the roof seems to be steeper than on any of the other buildings I have. I think the only one that comes close is the one from Aetherworks. At this point the building was pretty much done. Its a simple basic kit and it looks good when its finished.

Like I said there are no instructions, which I just detest. Its not hard to figure out for someone with experience but a whole bunch of parts on sprues like that can be intimidating to someone that has never built anything like this before. If you are an old hand with laser cut kits then you won't have any problems. Sarissa uses 2mm MDF, this is by far the thinnest stuff I have worked with. I like how the trim looks with the 2mm MDF but I found it a bit fragile. If you just try to push a part out of the sprue that still has an intact attachment point you are likely to damage it (especially trim pieces). So use a sharp x-acto knife to cut it out of the sprue when it doesn't just fall out. I also like the size of the building, its a bit narrower than a lot of the other kits that are out there and I like the varied footprint its going to give me as I build up Calamity. Scale wise its looking pretty good with my Black Scorpion miniatures and since those are just about the biggest ones out there it should look great with the minis from other manufacturers.

On to the construction pictures!

What comes in the box (or bag!)

Looks like I received a whole extra sheet because I want the pitched roof. So if you selected this option pay attention to which rear wall you glue the door fram too!
Working on the trim

The trim is a little delicate when its only 2mm thick, but I really like the look.

Assembling the Walls
From the Back
Clamps in place

Need to keep the rain and snow out
The inside of the roof
View of the shingles
 All finished (except for the porch)
From the front
From the back

A scale shot with a Black Scorpion miniature
Next to the competition
Battle Flag Saloon

Aetherworks Brick Building

Gamecraft Miniataures


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Christmas Project Part 2 - The HMS Frolic by Laser Dream Works

Continued from The Christmas Project Part 1 which ended with the shroud plank assembly.
Part 1

Following this is the cap plank which finishes off the planking assembly. This is where you really figure out if you have messed up or not. At this point the ribs should be flush with the top of the shroud plank. If they extend above it you are okay, just cut or sand them down till they are smooth (the sanding block is very handy for this and you want to use a fine sandpaper). By this point I had discovered that the ribs on the starboard side had only come up about 1/2 way through the shroud plank and that the starboard side was higher than the port side. I'm still not exactly sure what I did wrong. My next mistake was placing the cap rail on. For some reason I aligned it with the inside edge flush with the inside of the hull. This is WRONG! the outside edge should be flush with the outside edge of the hull so that there is an overhang that covers the top of the ribs. Part of the problem is that I'm not all that familiar with ships but there isn't a good picture of this assembly in the instructions either and there should be one. This caused all kinds of problems with getting pieces 64 and 65 to align properly in the stern and then I did a lot of work "fixing" things until I discovered what I had really messed up. I was able to get the cap rails off without to much damage and align them properly which fixed one of the alignment problems in the stern. However, I found another alignment problem that was not so easy to fix. There are a pair of notches near the bow of the cap rail. This notch should be on the left side of the second rib from the bow, this is where the Cat Heads (part 61) go and they should be next to this rib. Since the glue had set up completely and the ribs were thoroughly glued to the other planks I had to carve my ribs away to get piece So be sure to get this step right!
Cap rail glued flush to the inside hull. Wrong!

Pretty obvious in this shot that the overhand is on the wrong side. The ribs aren't covered and the holes for the shroud lines are partially covered.

Both Cap Planks removed and re-gluing the starboard side.

Next mistake, the notch for the Cat Head overlaps a rib. I had to carve the rib out to make room for the Cat Head.
Same issue on the port side, but not as extreme.

From here we start work on the stern. The biggest issue I had here is that parts 64 and 65 are to big and had to be trimmed down significantly in order to fit I'm basing this on the fact that the bottom tab of 64 and 65 comes below the slot provided for it. This slot is created by the first plank that is glued down to the deck. This looks like a laser cut issue to me. The angle that they sit at is determined by the cap plank. I did have the cap plank on wrong at this stage but that didn't affect the size of 64 and 65 just the angle that they sit at. Also because the starboard side is taller than the port side its not quite level from one side of the deck to the other. Again, I don't think that my players will really notice. I did use wood filler to even everything out and fill in any gaps. Be sure you get wood filler, which will harden and can then be cut and sanded, and not wood putty, which does not harden. I used Elmers wood filler in a tube with a nozzle, very handy.

Here you can see that the foam hull doesn't seem to be quite long enough. I'll fix this later.

This should have been the clue that the cap plank was on wrong. Instead I thought the cap plank was cut wrong and sanded it down to match B64/65. After I fixed the cap plank I had to re-create the part I had sanded away with wood filler.

With the stern finished I moved on to the bow. I was pretty worried at this point that I wouldn't be able to get the bow to look right with the starboard side visibly higher than the port side. This actually worked out in the end without any problem. The issue you I had in the bow was the getting the Cat Heads in place. After I carved the ribs, the Cat Head (B61) wasn't really wide enough to fit properly and I had to cut down the outside overhang to fit to the notch in the cap plank which meant I lost most of the very graceful curve when I cut it to fit. The Cat Head holds the ship's anchors and I think I'm going to see if I can find some anchors to add to the model. The instructions really need some better pictures of how the bow should be assembled but I managed to get it together with a little thought but those pictures would have helped a lot. I also don't know if I have the angle for the bowsprit correct which is determined by the angle you set the prow (B60x2) at when you glue it into the slot in the bow.

So a quick finished shot of the uncluttered deck.
I'm approaching the finish line now! Overall I'm pretty pleased with the ship, I mean it looks like a ship! I have started to sand the sides a bit to get a nice smooth surface for painting. You can see that in some of the shots of the outside of the hull. From here its time to start building up the deck. Oh and be careful with the wheel. All four parts are number B71 and you need all four of them.

Then its time to work on the bowsprit, sprint for the finish! The only issue I have with the bowsprit is that the two mast collars (B86) seem to be to large for the bowsprit itself. They seem to be cut for the thickness of the masts. The jib boom which goes through the smaller holes in the mast collar fits nice and snug. Oh and piece B91 which holds the bowsprit down to the deck is completely omitted from the instructions. Fortunately it does appear in a picture in the instructions so I know there had to be a part that went there.

At this point the basic build is complete. The next piece to be done is getting the masts together and then getting the ship rigged. The one thing I'm questioning at this point is that on the deck there is a place for the capstan but there doesn't seem to be a capstan actually included in the parts. Its going to be hard to raise the anchors without it! I'm not sure when I will get to the rigging of the HMS Frolic as I have to order the "rope" and I think I'm going to take the rigging a little farther than is shown in the instructions but I haven't decided for sure yet.

I'll get her painted up while I wait for my rigging supplies too. I think its going to be way to hard to paint after the rigging is finished.