Molokh Gambit: Production Begins!

Very very late last night I started physical production for our Molokh Gambit 1-day X-Wing narrative campaign. Behold, a fleet of CSS-1 Corellian Star Shuttles appears!

CSS-1s and X-Wing escort.

CSS-1s and X-Wing escort.

By this evening I’ll have four of these sweet babies to hand over to Matt for painting. In the process I learned that the Senator’s Shuttle token from the X-Wing Miniatures core set is probably the most out-of-scale “model” in the game. I barely remember it from the prequels at all, but Wookieepedia tells me that the CSS-1 Corellian Star Shuttle is actually 80 meters long and can carry 200 passengers. So more of a cruiser than a shuttle. To be in scale with the other 1/270 standard ship models, the shuttle would have to be almost three times the size seen above. Even against the 1/400 Epic ships it’d have to be double this size. However, I think this version looks great and the size gives it better and simpler playability for 100pt missions as we’ll be using it.

Modeling

I did not create this model, I found a design Losik published on Thingiverse. Err404 also has a great version that embeds the model directly into the shuttle token. I thought hard about using that, but we’re planning to build a bunch of models for the campaign so I went with the flying version so it would fit in better. In the end all I did to the model was recut the base to have a blank top, created a thicker flight pole with matching slots on base and ship, and added a tab & slot to the two ship halves to guide better gluing.

Exploded view.

Exploded view.

I also realized that despite instructions, the front half could be printed laying down rather than on its end. Although this model is thick enough it would almost certainly print fine, and you can put more on the build plate by going vertical, I try to avoid tall structures. Laying it down also let me easily add the gluing tab.

I’ve posted these re-cut models to Thingiverse for free download.

Print layout.

Print layout.

Printing

A somewhat interesting realization was that the front half isn’t actually perfectly flat though. I could see this looking at the shading on the model in various viewers as it moved around, but you can see it very clearly by examining the somewhat degenerate first layer toolpath. The nose of the shuttle lifts up a bit, creating a weird shape for the initial layer. However, it’s literally just the first layer. Given that, I’d assume this is unintentional. If I had to guess I’d say it’s possible (I have no idea) that the model was originally ripped from a game and this is some artifact from the video-oriented modeling and mesh construction. The print is unaffected though and it would have been an effort for me to correct using my software at hand, so I did not bother to fix it.

Somewhat degenerate first layer; the bottom shape should be the hull front half.

Somewhat degenerate first layer; the bottom shape should be the hull front half.

A more interesting general note about printing is that originally I had a taller flight pole. Most of it printed fine. However, toward the end when it was the last component being printed on the layer, the printer hot end cycling around continuously made the top of the piece too hot, keeping the deposited plastic melted a bit and letting the motion swirl and gnarl it. You could fix this with a sacrificial tower pulling the hot end away long enough for the piece to cool. I did the same thing here though by just cutting the flight pole down to the same height as the engine stack. As long as you print them together, the printer will be pulled away from the flight pole long enough, as it goes to print the engines, that the pole will cool and retain its shape.

Printing in progress.

Printing in progress.

The Gambit!

That’s a good start to physical production for the event, with three months still to go. Colin and I had a long discussion on our way to and from NOVA earlier this month about basic squad construction rules and logistics, the outcomes of which are on the event webpage. Matt, Colin, and I have also started passing around a draft dungeon master’s guidebook with detailed proposals for the campaign mechanics that I’m excited about.

More to come; hope you can join us!

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Medea Refinery

Medea Refinery.

Medea Refinery.

My new Medea Refinery terrain set is complete, and all set to be one of the centerpiece boards for our LibertyHammer 40k narrative event later this month!

Process

The whole build took about a month of work off and on over evenings and weekends. Tons of photos, notes, and 3D models are in the WIP writeups:

I also have up a general walkthrough on 3D printing terrain.

But the short story is, Medea Refinery started from some boards…

Hardboard terrain bases cut and sanded.

Hardboard terrain bases cut and sanded.

Proceeded with some serious traditional scratchbuilding…

Scratchbuilding the first piece.

Scratchbuilding the first piece.

Grew to incorporate a bunch of bespoke 3D modeling and printing…

Modeling the outlet spigot.

Modeling the outlet spigot.

Then took a small crew to get it all painted…

My 9-month old supervising.

My 9-month old supervising.

Later I took some photos…

Medea Refinery photo shoot.

Medea Refinery photo shoot.

And now it’s done. We could spend a lot more time working on it. There’s enough detail to spend forever on weathering, let alone anything else. But we’re at a good balance between great looking terrain, robust and playable terrain, and actually getting it finished in time for our summer event.

Action Shots

A few photos of the refinery in the thick of battle; more photos are in this gallery.

medea-left

medea-right

medea-pump-building

medea-pump-sign

medea-pump-station

medea-truck

medea-processing

medea-tower-feet

medea-water-tower

The fire background is from Argaz, used without permission.

Wrap-Up

Again, more photos are in the gallery, tons of construction notes are in the WIP writeups and 3D printing walkthrough, and all of the 3D models are available for free download via Thingiverse. Thanks to everybody that’s followed along, it’s been really encouraging to receive so many positive comments throughout.

Many many thanks of course also go to Alex, Colin, Jason, and Tom for doing such an awesome job bringing the pieces to life. In our club we’re really big on community storytelling, group projects, and fun events, and it was a great time to build yet another whole new world for our space dollies to fight over and forge the narrative.

I’m not sure when I’ll get to another big terrain project. In the immediate future I need to make the mission packet for our LibertyHammer event, and then roll right into the same for the NOVA 40k Narrative. But a couple small projects are already in the works, and building the refinery has reminded me that terrain building is one of my favorite aspects of the hobby, so I’ll be back at it soon. See you out there!

medea-refinery-low

To Infinity!

A year and a half after painting up a half squad, I finally got in my first game of Infinity. Our PAGE Infinity Get Started Day seemed successful, with a bunch of newcomers showing up alongside the Sunday regulars at Redcap’s for over 16 people playing or watching. A few more photos are in the gallery.

Infinity-Logo

To Infinity... and beyond! (that will never get old)

To Infinity… and beyond! (that will never get old)

I’ve been sick and had told Caitlin I’d be home early so I only got in one game, but it was a solid learning experience. Colin’s Ariadna Highlanders partnered up with my PanOceania Military Orders to fight Steve’s… Haqqislam? Nomads? I have no idea. They were painted in typical Nomads colors but my impression is he’s only ever talked about playing Haqqislam. It… feels a little weird to me to be so new to a miniatures game as to not even be able to definitively recognize an opposing faction’s models. Also, I actually saw very little of his army because they all hid behind buildings and then popped out just enough to shoot from cover.

Why are we fighting over this shanty town again?!?!

Why are we fighting over this shanty town again?!?!

One small note is I should paint the front arc on the base of my models. Steve seems to have done that on his. Most of the models are pretty clear about which way they’re facing so it’s not a huge thing, but it’s a nice touch. Facing is important for critical game mechanics like taking opportunistic shots at troops moving around, so it’s nice to make the front arc completely unambiguous.

The enemy!

The enemy!

The game I think is pretty good. I’m not sure what to make of the rulebook. Previous editions I didn’t think were written very well, though some of that could be the translation. So far this edition is hard to gauge. It seems like many things are left unsaid or a bit ambiguous. But that could just be me not having a grasp of both the core mechanics and presentation style. The book does seem to have somewhat formal and systematic language around models being in particular states and so on, which is promising. Clearly though the game encompasses a million little fiddly abilities and a good number of stats, many of which seem like they may not come up all that often. There’s a lot going on, and a lot of interactions.

Overall though, the core mechanics are obviously fun and very tactical. They play out quite different from many miniatures games, and especially 40k. Infinity is hyper-focused on line of sight and sniping. I knew to expect that, but it was interesting to fool around and start to actually get a feel for how it plays out. For example, a bunch of regular troopers caught in the open really should not engage in a firefight with a sniper at long range in cover. That’s… actually pretty realistic? Similarly, charging with your sword against a guy pointing a shotgun your way is probably not going to work out well. That’s… even more realistic?

Holding down the right flank.

Holding down the right flank.

In the end Steve rolled us off the table in a straightforward annihilation mission. Knights on the right flank got wiped out moving forward aggressively toward close combat. Order sergeants made a serious thrust up the center but all got put away by a sniper camped out in the backfield. On the left the Highlanders got a bunch of kills with their machine guns as enemy troops parachuted in all around them, but were eventually themselves tagged. The final moments came down to a lone sergeant in high tech camouflage sniping from the rooftops, but an enemy doctor was able to creep around a building out of sight and save the downed troops, who then overwhelmed the sniper and eliminated Colin and I from the game.

So, in the end, I’m pretty excited about playing more Infinity. Definitely a substantial learning curve just to pick up all the core rules, let alone all the common abilities and weapons. But it’s a fun game and the skirmish style right up my alley.

Pop, pop!

Pop, pop!