Monday, December 27, 2010

Keeping my game afloat. Part 2

Ugh, I've been working on this post since Dec 19th, at 9:17am. It is currently December 28th, at 10:15pm. I'm getting this done tonight, dammit!

While I was working on the ship tiles I featured in my previous post, I was looking for an easy way out. Why? Because doing the intricate cut-and-paste job to cover up the room numbers that are all over that particular map was driving me nuts at times. I got myself into a grove to finish the tiles, but before I hit that grove, I started looking into 3D models.

First I started researching scales, so that I could focus my search and waste as little time as possible. If you don't know, maps in D&D are designed with a 1" grid, with each 1" square representing 5 square feet. Thus, the maps and miniature bases are on a 1:60 scale. However, vertically, the miniatures themselves are bigger than that. In general, they more closely match the 1:48 to 1:50 scale. It depends a lot on the individual miniature.

In order to fit the horizontal scale of the maps (and thus miniature bases) without making things look exceptionally tiny compared to the vertical scale, I decided to favor the vertical scale, and adjust accordingly for the horizontal scale. Unfortunately, though, not many scale model companies use a 1:50 scale. This scale corresponds to O-scale in train modeling, and that's a fairly common scale, as I understand it, but looking into these products had my eyes bugging out of my head at the cost! So, after recovering from sticker-shock, I scaled up ever-so-slightly, and went with 1:48 scale, which is a fairly popular one for military models (especially those by Tamiya, a Japanese company that produces very high quality models).

After working out the scale, I ran into another problem, though: there actually aren't many ship models that are produced in 1:48 scale. If they are, they are rather expensive wooden models. Since this whole project is to produce this kind of prop on a budget, that wasn't going to work out very well, so I simply began searching for models of an acceptable length and width. I was dubious about this particular plan of mine, but it actually worked out better than I'd anticipated.

I found a model on eBay and in a few online shops. It was for a pirate ship wooden model, by some unidentified company. (Note: Oh, apparently it is "Toysmith". *shrug*)

The details of it said that it was 16 inches long, which would be a pretty good, given the scale of 1:60 putting that at around 80 feet long. It looked to be about 3 or 4 inches wide, which would be about 15-20 feet by that scale, so I was liking this idea! I was still not entirely comfortable with the price, though, as most of them were between $25-35. Geez. (Oh, or the actual price of the model isn't too bad... around $10, but they attempt to scam you by charging up to $15 for shipping!)

However, on one trip through Michael's, the craft store, I found this!

It was on special for only $5, too!

It took me a few days to get around to building it. I punched out most of the pieces right away when I got it home, but since I had to figure out the order of putting it together (it is a puzzle. heh), my focus waned and it got put aside for awhile. Finally, though, I kicked myself in the ass and put it together!

Now, you'll notice the grid on the decks. Those weren't there to start. To start, the decks looked like this:

Fortunately, though, the decks were blank wood on the other side, and I was easily able to sketch the grid onto the backs and use the flip-sides as the decks of my ship.

I still need to put the sails and rigging on the ship, and I'm still debating on whether I want to glue the puzzle together. If I do, it'll be more stable, but if I don't, it will be more mobile (in case I want to take it with me to a game).

I'm still halfway interested in those first models I found on eBay, but it's really not much of a priority right now, so I can just keep that one on the back burner. Granted, for me, the back burner tends to be a place where ideas go to die, but hey, that's what this blog is for, isn't it? :)

Also... hey! I actually finally finished this blog post! Whoo! :D

Related Posts

Keeping My Game Afloat, Part 1
Keeping My Game Afloat, Part 3
Yo Ho. Yo Ho. It's an Astral Privateer's Life for Me
Keeping My Game Afloat, the Finalé

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