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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Upgrading flight stands for FSA

I'm not a great fan of clear acrylic on the tabletop - although its supposed to be transparent, I find it's shiny reflectivity a bit distracting and "unrealistic" (I know this is a bit ridiculous for a space-combat game with kilometre-long ships, magic energy fields and 9 foot spiders....). This, together with my replacement of the pegs with steel in many cases, meant I needed to find a solution to this.

My first, most obvious decision was to spray the bases black - very simple!

Now this is all very well, but lacks something - they don't draw the eye in the way I find the reflective clear bases do, but they're pretty boring. So, something more is needed, and a basic star-field effect was a good start. This was also incredibly simple - take a little white paint, add a small amount of water (depending on the thickness of the paint - mine was old GW stock and minus a little of the original solvent. If you had new paint it'll need very little, if any). What you're looking to get is a consistency that will "flick" off a brush, but isn't so thin it'll form streaks, but discrete spots.

Now the next bit is messy! Put plenty of newspaper around or do it in a high sided box (as I did above), unless you want berating by your partner/parents/landlord! I used an old toothbrush (never throw them away - they have a myriad of hobby-related uses!), dip into the paint, then hold at about 45 degrees with the bristles pointing towards the base at a distance of about 6-12" (15-30cm). Run your finger back along the brush and it will flick little drops of paint on the bases. Practice on a piece of black card or something beforehand, and you'll find you can vary the density, size and pattern of these pretty easily. It takes seconds and creates a pretty convincing effect;

So that was my bases covered. Next was something that (like many inventions) came out of an error. I'd ordered some 1-6 dial counters from Litco which I intended to make SRS counters with, but in fact I'd made a mistake and ordered 1-10 dials.

So what to do with these? I had an idea - I could use them for hull point damage on capital ships. Unfortunately I found that the pointer moved at the slightest nudge of the base, which made it pretty unsuitable, so I needed a way of preventing this. First, I found some steel washers the same size at the local hardware chain, and sprayed one side red oxide primer;

Next I carefully drilled out the back of the pointer and inserted a 3mm Neo magnet;

The next steps are just assembly - the washers fit over the peg of a standard base, the dial goes over that....

...and then the pointer with magnet goes on top - the magnet stopping the dial/pointer rotating around every time you move or knock the model, whilst still being able to turn and indicate Hull Points;

So we now use these on our Capital class models to record HP, reducing the number of tokens we have to have on ships - meaning they can be used for more important things - like critical effects.