Mall Signs Up

05.15.2020

Since my store sign test went well enough, I decided to go ahead and make all the signs for the first 6 stores that came with the mall bundle. I'm not sure id I've stated it here before, but my goal for these sign frames was to have something non-permanent so I could both switch out store names, plus when I come up with a better idea for how to display store signs I won't have to tear everything apart since these are just held on with sticky-tack.

The store names are mixture of third tier chains you might find in the dwindling days of a mall's existence, plus shops from Grand Theft Auto. For whatever reason, that just felt right.

I learned that the plastic for the larger mall entrance signs was a little too porous for the Elmer's glue I was lopping on. The paper sign ended up with a bit of the wavy, "too much glue" finish. Next time I'll add the glue to the paper instead of the plastic. Since this is all printed in paper and plastic, printing up another batch of each just takes a little set up and time.

Adding in the Mod Podge Dimensional Magic, or "e-z clear resin", really helps to keep these from looking like paper in a plastic frame. I was printing the images on glossy paper, but with the Mod Podge on top I don't think I have to do that as the resin gives the glossy look.

Overall, I'd mark this as a nicely decent first pass at signs.


4ground 4ground-mall hobbies

Mall Is Ready For Tenants

04.12.2020

The final 5% of the outside of the mall ended up being 4%. The roof sections had a piece to add to cover seams. These were a little more straightforward than how I was interpreting the instructions. I can see Alabama humidity and the durability of Elmer's glue requiring some touch-up adhesion as time marches on.

There are notches at the top/bottom of the outer brick walls. I think these come into play when adding a second story - which is part of my long term plan. There are single bricks and vent covers to place over the notches, but I'm going to wait and see how the second floor attaches before going forward on that part. I'd hate to cover up a notch that's needed to keep something above in place.

For now, I'm calling the exterior of the mall done.

What does one do with an empty mall? Stock it full of store stuff! The kit came with various shelves, counters, and sellable goods. ½ the instructions are for putting all of that together. And that's what I'm going to do. Later. Next I'm going to take a mall-break and paint some more of those minis I primed in December.


4ground 4ground-mall

Entranced Mall

04.09.2020

I'm not sure if it really took 2 weeks, but the mall now has entrances. I must admit, putting together the entrances was boring. I'm not really sure why, but I kept finding other things to do. Cutting 5 sheets of clear plastic into windows for roofs and doors may have been a bit part of it. Cutting clear plastic - not fun. Sandwiching little bits of that clear plastic between 2 pieces that make up a door - not too awfully bad. Repeating for 20 doors - back to not fun.

The basic (kit) mall is 95% done. There are some pieces that go on the roof sections that should cover up gaps. There's also some vents and little bits that go on the outer brick sides of the stores. At that point, I will have a little empty mall. There are still pieces in the kit to help fill the mall out - furniture and stuff for sale. Signage - there's signage to put up. That's where I'll have fun.

Now I'm going to take a little mall break. Not sure what I'll do for the next week or so. Probably paint a mini to 2. I don't think I'll be as productive as Christian, but just enough of a break to where I look forward to getting back to the next stage of the mall.


4ground 4ground-mall

Breaking Ground on the Mall

03.04.2020

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.


4ground 4ground-mall scenery

2020 Hobby Prep

01.10.2020

2020, the start of a new year, the chance to get shit done anew, and the chance to dwell on what I didn't get done last year. Well, not dwell too much. My joy of hobby organization and progress is the spreadsheet I've been maintaining for the past couple of years. My pseudo bane is how the details of what I've been tracking kept popping up as incorrect every couple of months. I halfway joke that I've got so much to paint and build I'm not going to get it all done before I die. The truth is I've accumulated more stuff over the years that I'm not interested in doing anything with, and don't really want to do anything with it in the foreseeable future. With that, the 2020 Hobby Project list has gotten pared down to what I want to work on, conceivably, over the next year or two. Maybe three or four.

I spent a weekend and looked at what I've been working on, what I think I will continue to work on, and the things I'd like to work on. From there I tweaked a copy of my hobby spreadsheet to include only those things, and then I double checked the count (my bane) on those things. Now, I've got a list I can trust!

The new 2020 tracking list! Walking Dead, Knight Models, and Star Trek are still on the list. Most other things have gotten combined. The Reaper count is now Chronoscope + the other lines I get random assortments of. One Offs is for the brands that may not go with a game, or I get 2 minis from some company.

This is to be my year to focus more on buildings and scenery. Normally I've been tracking this stuff half-assed by manufacturer, as I was doing minis. Once again, I decided to combine into meaningful categories. Buildings, Vehicles, and Clutter. While Clutter can be almost anything, I've bought some packs of clutter over the years and found out I'd forgotten I even had about half of them. A lot of the clutter goes along with buildings - there's a pack of bank accessories for the TT Combat library that I was planning on turning into a bank.

The last 2 things listed are mainly so I don't forget that they're there. My project in converting my 7½" map tiles to 6" map tiles keeps stalling out - because I forget to do it. The same goes with plastic models. I've been picking up models I think would be fun to make over the past couple of years. I've made 1 - a tank - shortly after I got my airbrush last year. I used to crank out a model in a couple of hours when I was 10. While I don't have to speed build, don't leave stuff in a closet in the shrink wrap for years at a time!

For fun, here's how some of the worksheets are laid out.

Subset of the building list:

Foundry minis, mainly showing because the last batch to complete these is primed:

Plastic models:

Subset (I think) of the One Offs, formerly a bunch of worksheets with a few entries on each:

Most of what's left on the various Reaper lines. There's a couple minis that are pretty well dedicated to being technique/color tests that will never get finished:

Vehicles:

Remainder of Walking Dead boosters:

My big project for the year is the 4Ground Mall. Between 2 sales I acquired enough mall-stuff to build a 2 foot long mall with 2 stories. The bundle 4Ground sells for the mall creates a 1 foot, single story mall. I'm ambitious, it appears. More than half the fun is going to be branding the stores. Instead of printing out and gluing in the graphics that 4Ground provides, I'll scour the internet looking for a Chess King sign to replicate.

Since this, all of this, is for fun and not supposed to be a chore, I whipped up a fun little blueprint for the mall as an alternate way to track what I build along the way. Additionally, I had to go over measurements for what the 2nd floor needed as support just to make sure I'd gotten the right kits to make.

There's other things on my "fun in free time" list. Jerry and I are using Gaslands Refueled as an excuse to play & pimp Hot Wheels cars. I finally played a video game besides GTA and enjoyed it. I have plenty of video games through Steam I've never played, many of which I attribute to a steep learning curve. I've invested enough in base game + dlc that it's time I finally commit to conquering that curve on Arma 3 and Cities: Skylines. A good FPS and another Sim City replacement.

There's other things on my plate for fun, but those are the biggies I've mapped out for the year. Or four.


4ground 4ground-mall gaming miniatures gaslands hobbies reaper chronoscape

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