In the time of being socially distant while working from home and avoiding the plague, some more progress has been made on the 4Ground mall. The mall roof section is now done. The only hard part here was matching up the parts with the directions. There were 2 of everything, as there are 2 roof sections, and within each section there are parts that look awfully similar but are sized ever so differently.
I also managed a return to my resized map tiles. Nothing noteworthy to show graphics-wise, but my homemade vise for flattening out the tiles is working well. It's a couple of pieces of wood (shelf cut courtesy of Lord Ford) with some trigger clamps to bear down on everything. Between glue and humidity these things bow a lot, and this seems to help.
I also got the Anycubic Printer back to level and started cranking out interior clutter for mall stores - checkout stands, shelves, trash cans, etc. On Thursday I saw the spool of filament was getting low. I still had the unopened package of filament that came with the printer, but to be safe (in this age of socially distant plague) I went ahead and ordered a couple more spools as I've got a lot of printing planned.
With that said, there may now be a little printing break as I learn/figure out how to edit STL files in Fusion360. All the examples I've found so far are for earlier versions of Fusion with menu options that I don't have.
Back in December, I primed a batch of Foundry minis. A pack of Professionals and a pack of Hitmen. Honestly, it's hard to tell them apart. I guess they're Professional Hitmen. Knowing I'd need a break from all the buildings I've got lined up to put together, I just primed 10 minis with the thought of painting them here and there as the mood struck. After the deluge that managed to get 7 mall stores together, I ended up painting 4 of those 10 Professional Hitmen.
My big learning experience this time was different use of the Citadel texture paints. Usually I put texture paint on the base after the figure proper is painted, and then do things to the base. I have to be careful applying the texture paint to the base, because the mini is finished and I hate touching things up! This time, I added the texture paint and let the cracks settle in before priming. Then I played around with the base colors a little more. I've seen people online use some varying cobblestone coloring techniques. With that, I tried using some shades of red on one base, and blue/grey on another. I'm not sure if I like the end result, but I enjoyed changing it up.
It looks like I'm going to steal "phases" from Christian - at least it'll give me an impetus to move forward!
It's interesting how things to go according to plan, and how quickly that can happen. I built the first store to go in the mall as a baby step to minimize mistakes going forward, following directions, and getting 1 store put completely together. This was actually one of the ground floor expansion stores and not from the mall bundle. The bundle is just 6 of those stores, 2 entrances, and extra roof pieces. My plan was to take my time and put each store together one at a time, maybe throw in one of the entrances or extra roof sections as I got bored or needed a change of pace. As everything in the bundle is available individually, I thought the bundle would just be a box with all of those individual pieces thrown in.
It was not.
While expecting 6 copies of the store I'd put together, there were 6 stores present but they had been re-cut (re-lasered?) in order to efficiently maximize the use of MDF. Oh, here's a piece of MDF with 6 back walls. Here's another piece with 18 doors.
My plan of making 1 store at a time was no longer feasible. Pieces were going to come apart from their indexed locations. Those pieces were going to get misplaced. I know me. This is what happens. Instead of making stores one at a time, I was going to assembly line this mo-fo. Step 1 was taking care of doors. Each door is 2 pieces, with a piece of clear plastic to act as a window sandwiched between. My new toy here was canopy glue. While this has probably been around forever, seeing it on the shelf at Hobby Lobby made me realize that the majority of my acting-windows have a glue-smudged fingerprint or fogging from various types of glue. Would this act any better? A: Mostly. This is a very thin glue which dries mostly clear. A glob will still show as no-clear-enough when dry. No problem with fogging!
After the doors, I put the stores together - 4 outer walls + 1 inner wall. Front wall and inner wall get doors later. Stores are roughly 10" deep and 4" wide. Time to use now toy #2, which I've had for quite a while. At some point Luke used some 1-2-3 blocks in one of his builds. Straight lines and square angles have long been my bane. Some of these store walls don't have firm fitting notches for other walls, and I really didn't want to try and glue the inner and outer wall sections on at the same time in trying to get everything flush - this has been problematic in the past. The 1-2-3 blocks let me set things up square, plus gave my clamps something to... clamp on to.
Ah, the clamps. Once upon a time while wandering Wal-Mart, I came across cheap 4" trigger clamps and thought "for $2, this might be useful". I quickly got my $2 worth and went back and got more. I still used the prescribed clothes pins and rubber bands for clamping, but these trigger clamps made some things easier. Or at the very least it felt easier. In the last building I made, before mall stores, rubber bands were putting a slow bow into the longer MDF walls. With the trigger clamps, I could localize pressure to where there was support behind and thus limit the bowing. That was my theory, at least.
While the inner walls were drying, I made 6 roof sections. This is where the 1-2-3 blocks really came in handy. Without the blocks, there was a lot more give in the triangular side walls and the square back wall. With the way 4Ground has made the mall, 4 pieces of both the roof and stores have an extra external facade on the side. This is were things being square really paid off, and where I would traditionally have made at least 1 "oops". Once store walls and roofs were dry enough, I added in the external facades.
These 7 stores aren't done. They obviously need interior clutter, but I think I'm going to make an empty mall first and then lease out store space :)
The external facing facades have some detail work left to do. Vents and decorative pieces to cover the lines where things join. I'm waiting a little while to add these, as I'm not completely sure if having an optional 2nd story to the mall will make a difference on how or where any of this is placed. The entrance and roof is a whole other mini-project and counts as at least half of the built on this kit. After spending more of a week then I intended by building only stores, I'm going to take a building break the rest of the week. I've still got plenty of other things to do.
This year I've had so little going on I've barely posted once a month. Now I'm at my third post in as many days. A productive spurt!
I FINALLY got around to starting on the mall from 4Ground. I picked a generic store and followed the directions, without taking shortcuts or things I thought would be easier for my fat fingers at an earlier time than suggested. Overall, it worked well. There's an alignment problem on the front wall, but that came from not knowing how everything was supposed to fit together and should (hopefully) not happen again.
Disregard the order of the pictures, but after finishing the first store faster than I expected (less than a day), I opened up the "starter" bundle. 6 ground floor stores with 2 entrances. There were 29 pages of instructions. That was needlessly daunting, as only the first 8 pages are instructions for the stores, entrances, and roof. The rest is graphics for stores (signs, products for sale) and instructions on how to put it all together (lots and lots of shelves and counters). The way the bundle was cut/burned lends itself to an assembly line style. Instead of 6 ground floor store kits, like the first one I made, the set is optimized so 1 sheet has all 6 front entrance walls, another sheet has all the back walls, etc. Having just made a store, I think the assembly line method will work for me. I just have to remember not to get in a hurry.
Using the 123-blocks with the clamps helped keep my walls/floors at right angles. That's what those blocks are supposed to do! I also used some canopy glue for the plastic windows. I've had problems with the plastic fogging or showing some glue-induced fingerprints in the past so I thought I would try something new since the bottle jumped out at me at Hobby Lobby. It's a very thin glue, which may be all it really is, but I didn't notice any glue splotches on the windows in the store. I'll keep using it going forward.
Now to see how far I get through building the basic bundle before, honestly, I get bored.
Continuing with my early birthday loot from Green Stuff World, I picked up 2 silicone molds for Grids & Fans and Control Panels. The only molds I've used before were for plaster (based) rocks for train scenery. This was made for plastic resin. At some point in the past year, or two, I got a little mold-making and resin kit from Hobby Lobby. I never made a mold, but now I could use the resin.
I've never used resin. Anything with 2 chemicals you keep separate until time to use has got to be fun! I've watched enough people pouring resin on YouTube (usually for water effects) to have a good idea of how it works. Pour equal amounts of 2 liquids together. Mix. Pour. Wait. Easy enough.
The instructions for the exact kit from Hobby Lobby varied on how long to stir the 2 parts together. 3 minutes per the packaged instructions. 30 sec to "until it's not cloudy" on YouTube. The resin was supposed to set in 10 min. Armed with this knowledge, I poured and ounce of each part together and mixed it for a couple of minutes until I thought it didn't look cloudy. Then I began to delicately pour into each opening in the mold. Except I didn't have a precise pouring cup, so resin started dripping everywhere. That's ok, I'll just scoot it into the right places with my stirring stick. And then we'll go over to this next mold and tryt o aim my pour a little better. There you go, now that's
and at that point the resin started to solidify in the cup, on my stirring stick.
Well, might as well see how this batch turns out and try again later. Batch 1, to not know what I was doing, wasn't too bad. I never had a chance to get rid of air bubbles, so there were air bubbles. The details in the mold still came through. I mixed up another batch, not mixing as long this time, and shotgun-poured onto the mold to where the resin was basically a sheet on top and each part would have to be cut out later. I got rid of some bubbles, but I didn't de-bubble the resin enough. I repeated this for a total of 3 batches, because that's when I ran out of mixing cups.
Going forward, I need to get slower curing resin. I also need some mixing cups with some type of spout so I can aim my pour and not have to cut all of this stuff apart. And tapping the mold to help release bubbles should also help.
Next time: breaking ground on The Mall.
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