Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Flight Stand Conundrum.....

    After patiently making a hex board....by hand. It is time to look at the flight stands. We have decided to have variable height stands. I admit to being a pain about this as I hate playing flight games that use altitude, only to have your beautifully (ok in my case suitably) painted aircraft stalked across the sky by what could easily be mistaken as a Borg invasion fleet ! The old tracking of altitude by dice. I feel it clutters up your game space and detracts from the look of the miniatures on the table. After all they are the reason we play with figures, is it not. Otherwise you might as well just play the board game version of your choice.
    Another reason that I like variable height stands is that at a glance you can see the relative altitudes of everyone....making that all important decision to split s down onto the tail of that recon plane or immellmen up and back to face that vic of incoming spitfires a little easier. At least for me anyway. You dont need to poke your nose around checking every ones dice/ markers to see their altitude, its right there in plane (excuse the pun) sight..

    Now the initial plan was to use some 5mm acrylic rod, cut into 1.5cm lengths. Then drill the centres and glue in some smaller diameter brass rod into the top of each length. So we should get each section that plugs into the next, giving you a variable altitude stand. On the top piece you stick a small tack and glue a small rare earth magnet to the bottom of your plane. This allows you to use different planes with the stands so you don't need one for every plane in your collection....and takes away the dreaded wrong polarity between different planes that I must admit to being prone to do, even with the turrets of my FOW tanks !!! :(  This was the plan anyway. When the acrylic rod showed up in the post, it was exactly that....one rod. Not the ten that were ordered. Then trying to cut the bloody stuff so that it is a parallel cut and doesn't melt or take forever to do....

    So a little frustrated and brooding in my shed.....as you do. I had a spark of an idea. As I had two different sizes of brass rod, I figured I could knock up something to at least satisfy my need to have made some progress.

The ingredients...sometimes simple is the best.

    All I used was two different size brass tubes, one just small enough to fit snug in the other. A base of some kind, in my case some round acrylic pieces I had laying around. And something metal for on top so the magnet holds to it, I used an upholstery tack. First thing was to cut the tube to length. Easier to cut them with one inside the other, then at least they are the same length. Pop the small one out and then score the side of it to mark the desired altitudes and glues the tack on top. Then I drilled a hole in the base and put the larger brass tube in it. With a pair of pliers, gently crimp the top of the base tube. This will make it a tight fit when you insert the smaller tube and hold it a the height you desire. Then slide your small tube in and plonk a plane on top...Ta Da ! A variable height altitude stand...
The finished product.

A demonstration of formation flying.....I know they're not painted. New scale, give me time !

Break right !

    All in all I'm pretty chuffed with how these came out...Not bad for about half hours work. On the down side I don't think I could paint them to tone down the brass. Any paint would rub of the inside one with the movement but can live with that for now I think.
    And to make them look better here is some painted planes on them....

Beware the hun in the sun !

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The pain of hex games....

Have recently purchased "Bag the Hun" WW2 plane rules from toofatlardies to replace our miniature warbirds rules . Needed something so we could play larger dogfights/bomber attack games , quicker. Also have decided to go to 1/600 planes from 1/300 (whats that ? a lame excuse to buy more minis !  Why I never :p ) Only problem is with the change in rules, is a change in hex speed of the aircraft. On average its doubled, meaning our existing home sprayed hex board has become a little....small.

So it falls to me to remedy this situation. After a long stroll through the net for ideas, short of buying a hex mat/board. Unfortunately not an option at this time. I end up with the plan of using a plastic grid used for cross stitching to make the hexes on MDF board than rule in the lines later ....seemed like a great idea ! Marked out the hexes on my "template", bit of a fidgety job but not too hard. Then started marking onto the MDF. Made the mistake of doing this on the floor ! If you try this method....DONT !

After a while I had made a bit of progress.

I should have left them as dotted hexes but no, I decided I would fill in the lines....Thus successfully turning a good quick solution into two painstaking nights of dots and lines that left me wondering why I didn't just order a hotz mat online and take the heat from the wife when it showed up a month later ?

Well at least now they are finished. Only problem is they are raw MDF and will need to be flocked or something eventually. Will jump that hurdle later , me thinks. Maybe drill the points in and just paint and flock, leaving the hex outlines to show through ? They get their first trial run tomorrow night. Run the 1/300 hundreds for the last couple of times, until the new babies show up. Might even throw up a quick post on the game.

Hindsight observation....Should have used my template to mark on some thin MDF or acrylic and then drilled out the holes to make another template. Then just use my airbrush to spray the grid on..if I need to do more, that's what I'll be doing and advise anyone else to do the same.....or buy a bloody mat.....its a damn sight easier..lol