The Station That Plays The Hit


The last couple of weeks have felt productive, but I don't really have much produced to show for it.

First up is the 4Ground Tyre Store, which has been rebranded to a local radio station. I have no need of a tyre store as I have a perfectly good full service gas station that seems to be stocked with plenty of tires. Maybe even tyres. While gluing everything together it hit me that much like the other 4Ground building that I turned from whatever it was into a vacant building for lease, I could tweak this one to my needs also. After a quick meeting with Jerry to go over the list of what the city needed, neither of us could remember anything past "radio station" and thus, radio station it was. There's no interior details yet. This was one of those times to just get the outside glued together for when the detailing inspiration strikes (hopefully) later.

My side trip into quirkiness is trying to make a semblance of an antenna out of scrap pieces of the kit, just to have something to stick on the roof that might help say "radio station" a little better. Maybe I should have tried making an antenna out of tyres?

I'm taking some PTO this week, so I'm playing around more than usual. Since I like setting up for games more than actual playing, I took an evening and set up scenery for a Walking Dead game. This is the first time I've used the map tiles printed via DriveThruCards. Even more importantly, it's the first use of the frames from Michaels for holding them. Frames which I think I purchased around Black Friday 2019. Luckily, it seems to work! With the help of some rubber shelf liner on the backs at the corners, the frames don't slide around and hold everything well. I can even throw in some scatter leaves under the glass if I want to, which I realized after I'd sorted map cards and put the glass back in 16 frames.

I was worried about light glare for times I wanted to take pics. There's glare, but in a happy accident the road sections almost look rain-wetted. The one, maybe major, drawback is the bevel of the frame above the glass. This will raise/tip anything that crosses the frame border. Right now, it's not bothering me too bad. We'll see if I try to move to some type of border clip to replace the frame down the line.

With the map setup on the kitchen table, I'm going to play a little solo Walking Dead with some tweaks to the rules now that I've gotten the rules compendium and don't have to cross reference between umpteen supplements. The crux of what I play will be testing out those tweaks and see how they work (if they work, I'll pass on good news next time). My tweaks focus on a loose campaign style of play, with bigger maps (duh) than the 20" x 20" standard the game uses. I've got 4 ft per table side and more than enough scenery to fill it up... I want to use it!

4ground scenery

Mini Church


In the miniature world of terrain and buildings, I've got a lot more to make than just the 4Ground mall. The mall is a huge, multi-year project that I keep telling myself that I'm in no hurry to finish. If you base that timeline on when I first started purchasing pieces of the mall back in Oct 2019 I'm taking that timeline to heart. I'm in nor hurry, no reason to rush, and I want to enjoying the process of putting it all together. With that comes a need to take a break and do something different every once in a while.

One of those "not-mall" buildings I picked up was Rev Johnson's Church. It reminded me of the kind of churches Pawpaw preached at. This is also one of those buildings I want to customize depending on (1) how it turns out and (2) if the customizations I have in mind will actually work. They're not big customizations, so don't get too excited. First up, though, is putting the kit together.

And that gives you the basic church. There's fencing and a cemetery included in this bundle, but I'm saving that for another time. With the final result here, I think my little customization ideas will work. Part of those ideas needs the garage to warm up enough for the 3D printer to be cooperative.

And that's how my hobby timelines get strung out.

4ground gaming miniatures scenery

Be Kind, Please Rewind


The latest mall addition is a good old fashioned video store - Blockbuster!

When putting away the Scooby gang last time, I noticed my box for non-game specific minis is almost full. But fear not, I've got an empty box sitting at the ready.

4ground-mall scenery

Can 2 Stores Make a Mall?


October/Black Friday 2019 my big purchase was the 4Ground Mall. After a month or two I finally started putting the mall together, and by the middle of April the basic mall was built sans any content. I knew filling out the guts of the stores would be the big time consuming part of this project. That's ok though, I'm not in a hurry. This was intended to be a long term project. That was part of rationalizing the cost for this.

Now, after another 6+ months, I can claim 2 stores as complete (enough) to qualify as mall tenants.

1. Ammunation
You can tell I play too much Grand Theft Auto when the 1st mall store is named after a store in the video game. I didn't want to stick with the options printed up in the provided mall directions, I'm much too quirky for that. The Ammunation store was thought to be mostly done a few months ago, but after looking at what I how I had decorated the store, it just didn't feel right. The first change was the entrance sign. Although I like the Mod Podge Dimensional Magic to add depth to the sign, it looked like a cheap key fob. The Mod Podge was just me over-engineering what I wanted, so version... technically, 4... was just a piece of clear transparency film over the sign graphic printed on card stock. A lot more miscellaneous clutter was added in to help give the store a little life and personality. The room in the back will have some personality added later - right now it's just got gun-themed posters I would imagine gun-nut me would put up.

2. (Sara's) That's So Art
One of the top 3 coolest Christmas presents I ever received were the Hero Forge minis from Sara last year. Since last year, Sara has stood up her booming custom art business to the point where SHE HAD NO TIME TO TOP LAST YEARS PRESENT. I made sure to express my dissappointment and how I took the lack of notice and personal attention as a personal affront. Just to make her feel worse, I turned one of the mall stores into her art shop, complete with me and Tyler looking around.

Unfortunately, Sara didn't fall for my personal affrontedness and just commented on how cool it was.

Now I can claim a little hobby progress from the past few months. Not a lot, but some. Salesforce certification studying got in the way a lot more than I intended.

I've been working on a pharmacy for the mall, but I keep finding my ideas for setting up the interior aren't working well enough to follow through on. Another iteration is primed to try, literally. Maybe this one will work well enough to build upon.

4ground-mall gaming miniatures scenery

Mall: Phase 1 - 7 Stores 95% Complete


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.

4ground-mall scenery

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