Archive Page 4

Cardboard Warriors Forum – Paper Miniature Hoard 103

I’ve just finished assembling the Cardboard Warriors forum hoard 103. This was a fairly small hoard although the little Zerstorung was pretty challenging to build due to the size. I’ve included two different PDF’s, one with SD registration marks and the other with Cameo registration marks both are contained in the zip below.

Reminder that the November hoard is still open which is Xmas wars and Super Heroic, so get those submissions in, only a week left.

Feel free to check over the old Hoards for other miniatures.

Hoard 103 – May/June 2012

Enjoy 🙂

BoardGame – Dungeon!

Wizards of the coast (WOTC) has just re-released the Dungeon! board game. I played this game a heap as a kid, although it was one of the very early 1975 Aussie editions by  Jedko. So the game was actually older than me (still is).  I was very excited that WOTC had done a reprint and re-release and basically kept the core of the original game intact ie they resisted the urge to tinker with the game.

The game on re-release was very reasonably priced ($22 AUD) which worried me a little as I wasn’t to sure how good the quality would be. However I took a gamble and ordered three copies , one for myself, one for my brother and one for my good friend. The three of us played dungeon way to much together so I wanted to get a copy for each of us, as much for the nostalgia and memories as anything.

Ready to explore the Dungeon

Opening the box up I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the components the board is solid and actually backed on a thicker board than what I’ve come to consider as normal. The cards are simple and colourful and the artwork overall well executed. If there is one item which was a little bit of a disappointment it was the player counters included, they are fairly unstable and don’t look that great they are okay but just not as good as the rest of the components or as functional. The only other bit lacking was no storage compartments for the bits basically just an empty box. Those minor quibbles aside the reprint is excellent value for money.

What you end up with after you unwrap the cards

I decided to work at fitting out the box to better hold the components as well as replacing the player counters. First up I had to come up with a layout for the box to fit all the components. To this end I cut out 2 x 1 inch frames of 8mm thick PVC foam board and glued these together which made a lip raised up from the base of the box by 16mm. This was primarily to accommodate the 16mm square dice. I then subdivided this into 3 rows 2 down each side to hold the cards and a larger section in the middle for the tokens and the new player counters these strips are just under 1/2 an inch wide. Below you can see a picture of the box fitted out ready for filling.

Next up I designed some card-boxes to hold the monster, treasure and spell cards. I based the design of the boxes on a shrunk down cigarette packet (cigarette companies got that right). I textured the boxes to resemble locked chests and did 3 different colors; blue (Spells/Spares), red (Monsters) and yellow (treasure). I am very happy with how these turned out and I plan to  strength the hinge area on the inside with a strip of sticky tape. I also came up with a new Silhouette/Robo/Cameo cut template that means the Cameo and SD marks are on the one page but does mean I need to release two slightly different cut files. I think releasing two cut files is slightly better than releasing two pdf versions as the cut files are normally very small 50kb as apposed to pdfs which can be 5-10mb, the only problem is I cant test the Cameo cut files so if someone uses it and it works okay please let me know.  I’ve included the deckboxes at the end of this post if anyone else wants them, I included 3 blank/unlabelled versions at the end of the PDF.

The last little improvement  I made was to the player tokens. Previously I had stumbled across some nice miniatures by Battle Studio, unfortunately they had no backs so I couldn’t use them for wargaming but for Dungeon! were facing doesn’t matter they were perfect. I basically bought 4 of there sets and then picked out the minis I liked, I then modded the mini’s. Firstly I colour coded the characters clothing to the right colours for the classes, next I laid them out the Onemonk way ie black borders and tabs, lastly I made some mods such as switching some weapons, in the case of the elf mage she is composed of 3 different miniatures. The mini’s themselves are sized almost spot on 25mm to the eyes although I did need to scale a couple a little. I used the flat Reivaj basing technique for these and made 20mm hexagon bases which fit well with the game board. I ended up with 16 character minis, 8 male, 8 female:

Top Row Warriors, Bottom Row Rogues
Top Row Mages, Bottom Row Clerics

I was very happy with the size of the paper miniatures at 25mm and I’m seriously considering scaling all future card miniatures to 25mm to the eyes as then I could base my terrain on 20mm instead of 25mm and save a little space. I still have some other additions I’d like to make like some custom treasure cards and an expanded rulebook but for the moment I just want to get the 3 copies all finished up to the below layout then I’ll look at additions in the future:

Flip Top Card Box Download:

Dungeon Card Box

Dungeon Card Box Instructions

Below are the cut files as usual I’m tricking wordpress and have renamed the extension to odt, after you download them rename the extension studio

Dungeon Card Box SD Cut

Dungeon Card Box Cameo Cut

In case  anyone wants the blank mesh, I’m releasing the below file into the Public Domain, I’d appreciate a mention if you use it but no obligation.

Dungeon! Cardbox Mesh Only

Enjoy the card boxes and if you see a copy of Dungeon! grab it you wont be disappointed for the price 🙂

Papercraft Build – Undersea Kingdom

Squirmydad (Mayhem in Paper)across on the cardboard warrior forum designed a paper version of the Juggernaut from the Undersea Kingdom TV show/series. Right about now I can see most people scratching their heads as I was. Basically it was a 1936 TV series put together to compete against Flash Gordon. It’s not what you would call a high budget series. However when I saw some of the pictures that Squirmydad posted from the series, it tugged at my nostalgia bone in particular the Volkites (large robot guys) . I suspect they remind me of the monsters from the early Doctor Who episodes I used to watch as a kid, you know the high budget monsters from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Doctors stint in the TARDIS.

Volkite Upclose

Squirmydad was almost finished the model so I thought I’d try my hand at drawing some Volkites. As Squirmydad was almost finished the Juggernaut I drew and finished these fast. These are the quickest I’ve ever completed some paper mini’s basically from scribbling on the page to 5 finished mini’s was about 3 maybe 4 days. I did use every trick I could think of such as mirroring bits and reusing as much as possible. I was pretty happy with the results although I did fall into my usual bad habits drawing them but still learnt a lot. The one mistake I did make which made it to the final versions available is that the fold line on the tabs is about 1/64 (1/2mm) to high so you’ll need to score just below the line not on it (I must have bumped the line at some point).

Juggernaut with Volkites in foreground

Squirmydad did an excellent job on the Undersea Kingdom Juggernaut, considering the flimsy reference pictures available I think he has nailed the vehicle almost perfectly. The model is very easy to build, I assembled it in one afternoon and it has that classic Sci-fi retro feel. Squirmydad has also done a set of Robo/Silhouete SD GSD files so for those who own one of those cutters the model is even easier to build. There is a full sheet of clear instructions as well, although for the most part the model goes together easily enough and I only checked the instructions twice.

Juggernaut by Squirmydad – Mayhem in Paper

I managed to finish up 5 Volkites, 4 with guns and 1 with just traditional claws. Now I’m not entirely sure I got the colouring right as the show was in black and white but I coloured the models to give them that retro sci-fi feel without going to over the top. I then didn’t do my normal trick of procrastinating over the small imperfections and simply wrapped them up and called them done.

Volkites ready to Invade

Lastly a picture with the Volkites around their Juggernaut vehicle. Now the observant of you will note that the Volkites cant actually enter their vehicle,  being to tall. Interestingly if you look at the original shots of the Juggernaut and the Volkites from the TV series you’ll notice that in the show they likewise couldn’t physically fit in the Juggernaut. So I think somehow Squirmydad and I got the scaling spot on and as with all good 1930’s sci-fi you’ll have to get inventive with your scene cutting 🙂

Volkites and Juggernaut

Squirmydad had one last piece of fun with the models and did a quick 1930’s inspired movie poster of the Juggernaut and Volkites.

If you’d like a copy of the models you can grab them from the Mayhem in Paper website:

Link to Mayhem in Paper Freebies Section

Link to Juggernaut and Volkite Zip

Hope you have fun terrorizing your 1930’s sci-fi pulp hero’s 🙂

Cardboard Warriors Forum – Paper Miniature Hoard 102

Just a quick post, I’ve just finished assembling the cardboard warriors forum hoard 102. There were a number of submissions from different artists which resulted in 8 pages of miniatures. It has taken me some time to layout the miniatures, test cut and photograph them. I’ve done two different PDF’s one with SD registration marks and the other with Cameo registration marks both are contained in the zip below.

Currently the November hoard is open which is Xmas wars and Super Heroic, so I’d encourage anyone who has ever wanted to try there hand at creating a paper miniature to give it a try, make sure you check out the guidelines first.

You can currently get the file  from my dropbox folder, but I suspect it will be available from the Onemonk hoard area shortly:

Edit: Now Available from the hoard pages

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/15349793/Hoards/….Hoard%20102.zip

Not much else I can really add except I’ll be finishing the May/June hoard shortly.

Enjoy 🙂

Papercraft Build – Capital City Build Stage One

To go with the half sized Lost Reich mecha  I’ve been building, I have slowly been working on a small Fat Dragon Capital City build.I plan on using this build for Lost Reich and Destroy all monsters or Mighty Monsters games. As those games can involve a lot of smashing and building destruction I worked on customizing a fair number of elements and incorporating magnets and metal into the pieces.

First up I had to work out the scaling to use to get the Capital City down to Z-scale, by a happy coincidence this was fairly easy, basically each 7inch tile was scaled down to 2 inches square and then I recombined 9 of these together to form a new 6inch square. This is just slightly smaller than Z-Scale however they look good on the table. Each tile was also designed such that the road exits on each side are in the middle, the only tiles that don’t respect this rule are the highway pieces but I can live with those being special.

As part of the above tile scaling and creation process, I created several custom tiles; parking lot, street parking and dual lane highway tiles. I created all these at full size so that later if I want to build a full size capital city I can use those elements in the build.

Next up was working out how to join the tiles together along each edge and designing some way of allowing magnets to stick to the tiles. I also wanted to do slightly raised footpath/sidewalks to give a little dimensionality to the tiles. I played around in sketchup with the design until I came up with the below. After that I then did numerous test tiles using different basing materials and glues but didn’t uncover anything to new,  although I did use up a bucket load of time.

The basing material I settled on was PVC foamboard it is much stronger than the regular paper foamboard but extremely tough to cut. I created the little tin circles using a hand sheet metal hole punch and then tapping them flat with a hammer. I probably could have saved some ink by not printing the sidewalks out on the lower pieces but at the time I thought I might have to use the layout before all the sidewalks were ready, but this turned out to not be the case. The spacer pieces I simply created as craftrobo cut files and then cut them from 200gsm card.The edge joiners are simply pieces of flex magnet on the edge of the tiles and I cut up some cheap steel rulers to make joiners.

Each building will have a very thin disc magnet in its’ base to stick it to the board, you can see my first prototype building in the below pictures.  I will do a separate post on the buildings at a later date when I have built some others, as they are also not exactly stock. Here’s a quick picture of the underside of one of the corner sidewalks about to have the washer and metal discs glued into place.

Below is the initial  GIMP layout of the city which I used to make sure I built the right tiles. the city  it’s self is  currently 61cm x 61cm or 2 feet square consisting of 16x6x6 inch tiles. If I had built the tiles at full size this would equate to a gaming table approximately 214cm or 7 feet  square. Later I will figure out some other city layouts and make some additions, one addition I do plan to add is  a city park which I’ll size so I can drop it in were the carpark currently is:

And lastly a few pictures of the finished tiles laid out in the above design, as you can see I did change the design a little from the prototype layout above:

The full impact of the raised sidewalks isn’t really coming through very well in the above photos but they really add a dimensionality to the tiles which the human eye can pick up at a significant distance (at least across the room).

Now I just need to finish building the mechs, buildings and props but those will be posts for another day.

Trying out Axles and Alloys

Over the weekend myself and a number of friends got together to give Axles and Alloys II a try. The get together was  a little impromptu so I had to throw some terrain together the night before, basically just some polystyrene covered with sand and quickly spray painted red/brown.

For the game itself I modified the rules slightly so we could use a bunch of micro machine cars (about n scale/15mm). Although it doesn’t quite have the impact on the table it did make the game much easier to transport. For using the micro machine cars I used the tried and true method of converting inchs to cm and it seemed to work out well with the rules still holding together very well. The board we played on was only about 45cm x 75 cm ( 1.5 x 2.5 feet) and it did get a little crowded with 7 players, but this just meant more mayhem. I wrote up some quick vehicle cards and for each game we shuffled and dealt the cards out so no-one had the same car twice.

We played a total of two games with basic race to the finish goal. The first game resulted in all player vehicles being out of commission by the end of the 5th turn, except one. This was mostly caused by the figure 8 track design and a rather cramped first turn which resulted in much ramming, weapons fire and collisions with terrain as skids and drifts were misjudged, also a lack of anyone using the brake pedal didn’t help 🙂 :

The above photo was taken just after the second turn at this point the Orange and Green cars driver had been killed after a wicked burst of MG fire from the rear by the blue car. The blue car had been savagely rammed by both the yellow 4×4 and orange and green car in the 1st turn. As you can see even though it was our first game a mountain of mines and spikes had already been dropped.

Similar time as the above shot but you can see the field was fairly well spread out the purple dragster in the middle went on to win the game.

This was near the end of the game, the yellow 4×4 slide into the towering rock cluster after I misjudged drift. The two blue cars ended up ramming each other and then getting out of control and colliding with each other a second time. We were unsure if this meant another ram but we played it that way and it destroyed both cars, one due to driver death. You can just see the purple dragster in the background heading of to win the race.

Final positions of everyone at the end of game 1, the lime green car on the right edge had tried a massive drift circle and had been planning to try and cut off, then ram to death the purple dragster but came unstuck on some rocks. This left the purple dragster as the last car alive.

For the second game we changed the board layout so it was a simple Horseshoe track with 1 lap to win. This seemed to help with 4 cars still surviving when one crossed the finish line.

Cars lined up at the blue start finish line for race 2. Three cars are obscured by the terrain in the lower left of the shot.

Just after the 1st turn with a few cars having moved for their second, two cars used the ramp suffering a little damage but it was a heap of fun for the players and to watch.

This was at the top turn, once again the purple dragster was in the lead. Just after the purple dragster passed around the turn, there were 2 head on collisions which knocked out a couple of cars. The purple dragster itself was rammed head on to try and knock it out and slow it down but unfortunately it didn’t quite work and the purple dragster once again went on to win.

As part of the setup one piece of terrain had a hole in it and we designated the leading edge a ramp, so a car could fly up the ramp and jump out the hole. The purple dragster did this but due to the ramming damage incurred and then hitting the ramp to fast was almost destroyed on landing. The dragster crossed the line with 2 damage box’s remaining.

Much fun was had by all over the two games and the rules themselves are written very well, we only had a couple of minor spots were we weren’t quiet sure what the rules should work, but we simply worked something out. Due to the success of the game I plan on mounting the micro machines to bases permanently and giving them a quick coat of paint. As a group we are more likely to do pickup one off games and so to randomize the vehicles a little more we may put in place some form of random weapon assignment mechanism. The only other minor change we might make is to double the weapon damage we found ramming was much more deadly than weapons and want to encourage weapon use a little more.

If your looking for a fun car game, which doesn’t take itself to seriously give Axles and Alloys II a try, for the price (free) I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Have Fun 🙂

GIMP – Importing Layered PDFs

I’m going to cover one way of importing multi-layered PDF’s into GIMP so that each layer in the PDF becomes a layer in GIMP. This method is not quick but is fairly easy requiring you to carry out the same activity multiple times. It does require the use of Inkscape to carry the conversion process. It does however retain the images in as close to original colour/quality state as possible without using commercial software. You may still experience problems fully replicating a 100% direct match as some layered PDF’s make use of the blending options available inside Adobe Indesign or other proprietary applications for each layer. This means at best we are guessing the blending options for some of these layers. The below instructions are specific to Windows machines if you’re running a Linux flavour the below should still work or should provide you with enough of a guide to get you on the right path.

I will mention that this is a very long blog post and I’ve spent the past 2 weeks trimming it down and can’t get it any smaller so for those who read the whole thing  sorry for the long read. To help out I’ve created a bit of jump index:

Modding and Bashing etiquette (Licensing/Copyright)

If your creating something for your own personal use that you’ll never share, no worries bash mod and print away no-one is going to mind. However if you want to share an item with the world (okay internet) remeber to check in with the artist before posting the file.  Whenever you’re dealing with someone else’s artwork always respect either there standing rules around mods and bashes or check personally with the company/artist in question.

For Example:

Fat Dragon Games policy on mods/bashes

WWG policy on mods/bashes

All my art (if you can call it that) is released under creative commons license meaning your free to mod and share whatever you make so long as it’s not a commercial venture, you credit myself in someway and you share the resulting work under a similar license. Some items I do release into the public domain which means anyone can use what they like and credit me or not.

If you do start to create your own papercraft items from scratch using your own hand built textures, your own photographed textures or public domain textures.  I would encourage you to make it very clear on each PDF what license you grant any future modders and bashes. I know myself I find it quiet frustrating when no license is apparent and I wish to make minor tweaks but don’t know if I can share the outcome and the artist is now unreachable. Sorry I’ll get off my soapbox now :).

Background and Comparison

For those curious as to why I’ve detailed this method first over some others I have 3 reasons I prefer this method:

  • We end up with an almost exact colour match of the component parts meaning mods will match existing terrain pieces more closely.
  • We end up with a highest quality image we can without adding image artifacts
  • You end up with your own copy of the “layered” PDF (okay now an XCF file) in GIMP so adding a new layer in the right order results in easier modding. Eg On a Lost Reich Mech I could add a new bullet hole layer above or below the dirt and grim layer to show old and new bullet holes.

I’ve put together a quick side by side comparison image of 2 different methods and the resulting output vs the original so you can see what I mean, example used is a segment from a Fat Dragon Games Capital City File (zoomed in about 800%) :

Left is original, Middle is this Method and Right is using a PDF printer. You will need to click and load the above separately to see the red halo around the PDF printer image

The difference above may seem minimal however my printer, prints the pdf version and original at different shades and then my eye can easily spot the different shading across a terrain piece. This is less important if the whole piece is affected (eg whole building) as opposed to say a new Custom tile or balcony addition to an existing building. Saying that even this method is not perfect and if the piece is especially complex\layer heavy you may struggle to get a perfect match.

Software Needed

You’ll need to download and install the latest version of Inkscape (0.48.2 when I wrote this), or as always you can just make use of the portable version and run it off a thumb drive. You’ll also need a copy of GIMP downloaded and installed, covered in a little more detail in my previous post.

Inkscape Extraction

To start off with pick the layered PDF you want to mod/bash, try not to pick a layered PDF with too many layers a good practice piece would be one of Fat Dragon Games layered PDFs from there newer sets.

I will say if you are planning on using the below on any of Dave Graffams buildings check he hasn’t released a PSD version before you go through the conversion process as this saves a significant amount of time and effort.

Launch Inkscape so it is open and ready to go, then go to File>>Open and select the PDF your interested in converting. You will be presented with this screen:

For me this screen is sometimes very slow to load and refresh so be patient with it and assume every click is registering. If you used a multiple Page PDF set the Page number to the page your interested in, in my case it’s only a single page so it is locked to page 1, move the “Precision of approximating gradient meshes” to very fine 246.0 and leave all other settings as they are and select “OK” – this can take some time and your computer may seem to lockup but give it chance to work and it should eventually return a result:

Yours wont have example file from lost Reich printed across it :). Available from Fat Dragon Games

Your PDF will now be opened in Inkscape with every layer from the PDF imported as an object in Inkscape. The layers will be imported without any Indesign blending options and all the layers will be visible so the image will look different to how it appears in the layered PDF:

I have noticed some differences with the way different artists layered PDF’s import into Inkscape, I think this is caused by the different adobe software being used and that layered PDF’s can be generated as either a tree or hierarchy structure. Below are some notes on what I’ve uncovered to date:

Fat Dragon Games (Tom Tullis) – Imports fairly normally with each layer as an object these tend to be grouped in one group. However each object has it’s own custom size requiring you to set a custom size on export to facilitate easy importing to GIMP and retain the relative X,Y location of the layers.

Dave Graffam – Imports in long nested groups of objects cutting or moving the objects out of these nested groups causes the image links to no longer function (or it does for me). All objects are the same size so making exporting easier, however often you are clicking into nested groups for some time to find the base level.

Okumarts Games – Nested like Daves but sized like Fat Dragon Games. It is possible to ungroup the layers and export them the same as Fat Dragon Games (follow Fat Dragon Guide and you should be okay)

Mine (UFO etc) – Is some sort of odd cross between the two. The objects are a fixed page size like Dave’s but they are not nested in nested groups and all sit at the top level like Tom’s under one group (follow Fat Dragon Guide and you should be okay).

If I uncover any further different types I’ll add them to the above in the future and expand the below section.

Fat Dragon Games et al Process:

Select the Imported group (click on it once), then go to menu item “Object” and select “Ungroup” (Shift-Ctrl-G). You should now have this:

In the red circled area above make note of the “X” coordinates, Y coordinates, W size and H size. In my case this is -7.5, 25, 765 and 990. Next we can start exporting the different layers first up deselect all layers either by clicking somewhere to left of the selected group or by going to Edit>>Deselect (right near the bottom).Next click on your images and the topmost image in the stack will be selected:

Now to start Exporting either go to File>>Export Bitmap or use Shift-Ctrl-E and the export dialogue will open. Select Custom along the top, then change x0, y0, width and height values to those you noted above. Select the browse button and select a location to save the image file to and the name. The name isn’t critical and if you don’t know what is on the layer selected simply call it “one” and the next “two” etc or some other logical naming pattern you prefer. Lastly tick on “Hide all except selected” and press “Export”:

You have just exported your first layer. Now onto the remaining 5 to 5000 this is fairly quick although repetitive. You can leave the export window sitting open. Open the object properties window Object>>Object Properties or Shift-Ctrl-O on the little window that opens tick Hide. Again leave this open. Next click on the middle of your images and the next object down will be selected. Simply Click on your export Window and name the png to something else and then hit export:

Repeat the above hide>>Click>>Name>>Export process until you are left with a blank white page:

You have now captured all the individual layers that make up that PDF. There is no need to save the inkscape file as you have the original PDF and really we didn’t add much value in inkscape but you can save it if you like. To unhide all the objects before saving it’s Object>>Unhide All. Now skip down to GIMP Reassembly.

Dave Graffam Process:

This is essentially the same as the above process but you don’t need to worry about setting a custom size before exporting you can basically export each layer at the stock size. The trick is making sure you click down deep enough into the groups such that your at the bottom of the group pile. I’ve tried ungrouping but this for me breaks the image link(s) and I end up in a mess with red image cant be found error links all over the place, so try de-grouping at your own risk.

Okay first up open your Export Dialogue (File>>Export Bitmap or use Shift-Ctrl-E) and Object Windows (Object>>Object Properties or Shift-Ctrl-O). Put these out of the way so you can see the image in the middle.

The key point to watch is the group dropdown (circled red above) basically keep clicking on the image in the same spot until the numbers stop changing, just click as quick as you can and watch that little window eventually you’ll see the name stop changing:

You can see above I started at #g2997 and ended a #g4113 (there were about 7 layers).

Now just export that Layer using Export bitmap Window. Select the browse button and select a location to save the image file to and the name. The name isn’t critical and if you don’t know what is on the layer selected simply call it “one” and the next “two” etc or some other logical naming pattern you prefer. Lastly tick on “Hide all except selected” and press “Export”. Once it is Exported use the Object properties Window to simply hide the layer:

Crates Exported and Hidden

Now to export the next images simply start clicking on a piece of the image until again the numbers stop changing in the group dropdown. Sometimes you can get away with a single click and export if you click on the same or just about the same spot you clicked on for the last object, I would however be very cautious doing this as it is easy to end up hiding and missing an option layer. I expanded the list in the below so you can see how deep I am:

Simply Repeat the Multi Click>>Export>>Hide process until the Page is empty. Dave usually has a ton of options so expect to being do this for some time.

You have now captured all the individual layers that make up the PDF. There is no need to save the inkscape file as you have the original PDF and really we didn’t add much value in inkscape but you can save it if you like. To unhide all the objects before saving it’s Object>>Unhide All. Now read on to GIMP Reassembly

GIMP Reassembly

So you now hopefully have a folder full of images for the particular PDF:

This next step is slightly easier if you are using dual monitors. Next open the original PDF in Adobe Reader and then open all your extracted layers in GIMP using File>>Open as Layers and make your way to your extracted image folder and then select all the extracted images and select open. You should now have something vaguely resembling this:

As you can see in the above the GIMP layer order does not currently match the layer order that appears in the PDF we basically need to make the GIMP layer order the same as the PDF layer order. You should be able to see all the layers in the Layers – Brushes Dock but if not this can be opened by going to Windows>>Dockable Dialogs>>Layers or Pressing Ctrl + L. Now its a simple matter of clicking on each of your imported Layers in the layer dialogue inside GIMP and moving it up and down to the correct location using the mouse. A quick tip I tend to work from the bottom up so I’ll hide all the layers except the very bottom one in Adobe reader and then hide all the layers in GIMP and show each one there until I find the matching layer and move it to the correct location:

In the above I’m finding the Stencils Layer

Now repeat the above moving layers up and down until the layer orders in Adobe and GIMP  match. Now don’t forget to save the file in GIMP at this point, it is also a good idea to shrink the canvas size down a little (see my previous post) to avoid the margin printing issue in GIMP.

All done, when you get used to the whole process you can do a whole 10 layered PDF in about 15mins

Now if you have a layer in GIMP which isn’t looking right when compared with the original you will need to change the blending mode for that layer in GIMP. Click on the layer (select it in GIMP) at the top of the layer panel you can see “Mode” click to the right of the word “Mode” on top of “normal” works well and you will presented with a bunch of blending options:

Unfortunately I can’t guide you to which one exactly to use but some good ones to try are “Overlay”, “Darken Only”, “Burn”, “Screen”, “Hard light” and “Soft Light”. You’ll need to try different layer modes until you either get lucky and get an exact match or close enough that your happy with the result. I have found with some of Dave’s models my best results have been achieved by turning a layer off completely, my best guess is this is due to slight incompatibilities between the software Dave uses (Photoshop) to generate the files and GIMP.

Hopefully you now have an exact duplicate of the original PDF or very close this means any additions or bashes you make using this file should be an almost exact colour and quality match to anything you have already printed. So why not have some fun and add something interesting to the file :

Hello Skorpion? – Big apology to Tom at Fat Dragon Games

Hopefully the above info is helpful to those who wish to create some changes to layered PDF’s while retaining the quality. As this post is already very long I’ll cover doing some simple additions and changes to a file in my next post.

Have Fun 🙂

Papercraft Build – Skorpion 3d Leg Mod (Lost Reich)

I’ve been building a few Lost Reich mechs released by Fat Dragon Games. This post will show the mod and some of the process I used to make 3d legs  for the Skorpion model. The model itself I like but the flat 2d legs although quick to build were not really doing it for me, so I decided to see if I could design some 3d legs to go with the model.

I had a number of design constraints as it was an existing model:

  • Retain the slip on and off cockpit design that Tom had built into the stock model
  • Keep the footprint of the model the same
  • Simple to build but strong (not sure I succeeded on this one)
  • Lastly keep the leg look the same (angles etc).

So I went through a few design iterations using Trimble sketchup (Yep Google sold the program). I pretty much got the legs themselves right on the first try but I tried to simplify the hip section down and just ended up using up time for no real benefit and going back to my initial idea, its very true what they say about first drafts. A screen grab from sketchup of three versions:

Sketchup models: Top row unused drafts, bottom final version

Once I’d settled on a design I went through my usual flattening process using flattery in sketchup and then exported the svg file. Then I used the existing leg textures and textured the various shapes. I did have to create a few panels for the back of the legs and the underside of the hips. Next I created the Craftrobo/Cameo cutfile and did a full size test build:

  First Test Build at Full 15mm Size

The legs themselves were quiet easy to build although a little repetitive as you need to build 4 of each part and then glue them together. I totally understand why Fat Dragon Games (FDG) released the stock model with flat legs as construction is much quicker, simpler and I would imagine much less intimidating for people who don’t normally build paper models but want to play Lost Reich:) . I posted a couple of pictures of the above up on the FDG forum and Tom gave the okay to share the file so I  assemble some instructions and tided up the main file a little. As part of assembling the instructions I added a new way of identifying parts a bit like Lego instructions where the particular segment your working on  is highlighted. I’ll probably add this method of identification to any instructions I do for new models in the future, plus I think it looks neat:

Instructions Highlight Examples: See Instructions below for others

The last little test I did was to build a half size version of the Skorpion with my leg design above. This was interesting to say the least but I managed to get one built, I did have to cut off a few glue tabs as they got to small and superglue was a must as holding the parts to wait for glue to set would have been difficult. You can see a side by side picture below of a full size Skorpion & half size Skorpion and one of the half size Skorpion on it’s own:

Z-Scale (1/210-ish )version and 15mm version
 Z-Scale (1/210-ish )version: Easy to see the trouble I had edging the legs at that size, yep toothpick gun barrel

I’ll post more about the z-scale version when I’ve built a few more mechs up at that scale.  I’ve uploaded all the files to the Fat Dragon Games forum (fan created models), so you’ll need to go there to download them. You will need a forum account to download the files:

Skorpion 3d Legs and Cut Files

Note One:  to use the above properly you’ll need either the Skorpion Mk II or the Skorpion from the starter set:

Skorpion Mk II

Lost Reich Starter

Note Two:  Not sure if anyone wants the blank leg geometry but here it is in a PDF ie no textures. Just to save headaches I’m releasing this piece into the public domain. If you use it I’d appreciate a mention but no obligation :).

Legs and Chassis (blank geometry)

Have fun with the legs and please use responsibly 🙂

Papercraft Build – Lost Reich (Fat Dragon Games)

Fat Dragon Games released the Lost Reich game and miniatures about 12 months ago. It’s almost impossible for me to not pickup any mech based game so I had to grab this one, although due to the house renovations etc I’ve only just started to build up a few of the models. (Sorry about the rough pictures my camera is really starting to show it’s age and needs to be replaced.)

For those who aren’t familiar with the back story for Lost Reich the Short Fat Dragon spiel sums it up nicely:

LOST REICH is  set in an alternate history, where the Nazis fled to Antarctica at the end of WWII and secretly began rebuilding their armies, patiently waiting for the day their Reich would rise again. Taking place in the near future, armies of Allied and Axis walking mechs battle for territory and resources across the world.

When you pickup the starter it comes bundled with lots of goodies; mechs, rules, terrain and more. But for this post I’ll just cover four of the mech types that I’ve built up so far, two allied and two axis types. Of course I could not resist making some minor alterations when building the mechs which I’ll cover below.

The biggest change I made to the mechs was to build them at 50% of size, which changes them from being 15mm to about 1/210 or 1/220 (approximately z-scale) depending on what scale you consider 15mm to be. I plan on doing a special city game board scaled to z-scale for use with Lost Reich, Axles and Alloys using micromachines (more on that later) and one of the Big Godzilla Monster fighting games. Additionally Z-scale means I can build a large layout which only needs to be 60 cm (2 feet square) or if I really want to push it 90cm ( 3 feet square) but I’ll do a separate post when it’s completed. Other than the scale change the miniatures are pretty much stock. I did add a different number to one mech, played around with adding some art to the side of another a bit like aircraft nose art and lastly added little magnets in there feet so there bases can be removed/swapped easily just in case I wish to try different rules or simply have the bases match the terrain they are being used on.

Panzermech 1 and Sherman Mk 1 (1st Test Photo using the Wifes mobile phone)

Overall the mechs were very easy to assemble, made up of simple-ish geometric shapes and they look good on the table when assembled. Making these at full size would be a snap and I’d say you could easily construct 1-2 a night while watching TV (more if you have a Craftrobo). For myself making them at half size was slightly more challenging but they still came together well and about the only part that caused me real issues were the now teeny tiny gun barrels, but in retrospect I should have just used matchsticks and coloured them in  black or grey with a  sharpie/texta :).

Panzermech 2 (2nd test photo using the wifes mobile phone)

First up two of each of two of the Nazi mechs; The Panzermech 1 (double barreled mech)  and Panzermech 2 (shoulder pods and 1 gun barrel). I like the design of the both these mechs although the Panzermech 2 is my favorite of the pair. I’ll definitely be making a few more of those and when I do I’m tempted to make the shoulder pods magnetic and then do a dual rocket and dual Plasma Gun variant :).

Group shot Panzermechs (using old camera)

Next up 2 of the US mechs, The Sherman MK 1 ( Gun barrel one) and Washington (Rockets only). I made 5 of these in total, I placed some art on the side of one and tested out doing some color edging on that mech but I personally prefer black edging.

 

Group Shot Washingtons and Shermans Mk 1 (Using Old Camera)

Heres a closeup of the front Washington a little more side on so you can see the nose art I placed on the side of the mech, borrowed from a WW2 aircraft. I like the idea of doing this but maybe not for every mech , more the special or one off ones.

For a last little bit of fun I took a picture of the Mechs and then dropped it onto a poppy field picture by glasseyes over on flickr released under CC 2. I picture it as 2 US mechs out on Patrol and they stumble across 3 Panzermechs. The question is can they get out of there and report back before the Panzermechs obliterate them?

Link to full size version

As I finish up more mechs I’ll put up separate posts for those mechs, the next ones I plan to work on are the Scorpion and the Sherman Mk 2. One day I might even get to play the game :).

See you all later.

GIMP – Getting Started with Papercraft Modding/Bashing – One

First up normally when I start talking to people about GIMP they get all nervous looking and edge towards a door, I think they assume I mean these, so to clarify my post is about GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). I wrote this blog post for a few reasons. First I wanted some basic info to go with the Lost Reich posts I’ll be putting up later and as I seem to have posted/sent information like this out a few times to different people I thought others might find it useful.

First up the online Gimp help files are actually helpful and very well written so I would encourage people to have a flick through those. I will admit that for a new user they could seem a little over whelming with the amount of info presented. The full help files can be found here, I suspect most people will want to jump straight to Chapter 3 in that document as that’s were the real meaty help and how to use starts. My post below  is a bit of a shortcut primer to just get you up and running quickly and start hacking some basic mods into an existing paper models  but is no substitute for the full help files and hard won experience.

If your switching across to GIMP from your totally legal and fully purchased copy of photoshop. I would encourage you to stick with GIMP it took me about 3 months to become fully comfortable with GIMP when I switched over from my old copy of photoshop 5/6.  Now I couldn’t live without some features in GIMP such as “Paste as New Image” (suspect photoshop has that now) and the ability to push docks onto my 2nd monitor as separate Windows. I will admit though that sometimes it takes a little longer in GIMP or it takes me time to locate a plugin to do the same job but unless your a high paid commercial graphic designer, GIMP should meet your needs :). Just give it a chance and give your mind a chance to learn (re-learn) where everything is.

* I have assumed with the below that the user has some understanding of terms like “docks”, can install the software and has some basic level of software knowledge. If not drop me a comment and I’ll try and clarify or help further.

Getting GIMP and First Startup

First up download GIMP and install, the version available when I wrote this is 2.8.2, so your success with the below instructions might vary if we are now up to version 4 and/or its the year 2022.  Personally I prefer to use the portable version to the full install version as I tend to run GIMP off my external HDD I carry with me everywhere.

Next up launch Gimp either via the menu item/desktop icon or via the GIMPportable.exe if using the portable version. Now hopefully you’ll end up with something that looks like this on the first launch:

No I’m not a Starwars and Lego Fan..not at all

The first issue most people have is that we have 3 separate windows, if your running dual or more monitors I’d encourage you to leave GIMP in the above configuration. This will let you push the main image window onto one whole screen and manage the docks on your second screen so maximizing space when image editing (be nice if GIMP just treated both screens as 1 big screen..maybe next version).

However if you prefer a single window or have only one monitor, simply place GIMP into Single Window mode by going to the menu item “Windows” and select the bottom Option “Single-Window Mode” (depending on how your OS operates you may need to close and restart GIMP to have single window mode appear). Below are two more Screenshots, one in single window mode and the other how I have Gimp setup on two monitors (I normally have more docks opened out and untabbed):

Personally with dual monitors I find the above restrictive, but everyone has there own preference so use what your most comfortable with.
I wish it looked that clean IRL with no monitor bezels 🙂

On the odd chance someone is missing some of the default docks to get those back simply go to the “Windows” menu item and first check that “Hide Docks” isn’t ticked on if it is untick it or simply hit the tab key. If you still have no luck go to “Windows” menu item again and select the recently closed docks option if there any options under that select them and it should return your docks. Still no good, Okay one more easy solution to try, go to menu item “edit” and select “preferences” then select “Window Management” (2nd last item) on the small screen on the right then select the “reset saved window positions to default values” select ok on the question that pops up and then hit ok and close GIMP and relaunch. Hopefully the default dialogs have reappeared.

Still no luck? You have my sympathies and I have no idea whats happened to your install, maybe best to try a re-install or try the portable version I mention above, but if you want you can rebuild your docks by hand but it is painful. First up hold ctrl and hit b this will return your toolbox you’ll need to re-size it a little as it will probably be long and thin. Next Select the “Windows” menu item again then the  Dockable Dialogs and select the ones you want one by one and drag the docks back together. At a minimum you want Layers, Brushes and Tool Options. However many others are useful such as Channels, Paths and Undo history but you’ll figure out what you use/need over time.

Basic Paper Model Mods

Okay number one rule with anything in GIMP, most stuff can be subject to an undo, as with most programs undo is under the edit menu item or triggered through a ctrl-z, so don’t be afraid to use it :).

Getting the PDF into GIMP

This is actually much easier than you would think, the worst thing is that Gimp can’t handle layered PDF’s so it only imports the default view you get when you first open the PDF. I’ll cover a work around for this in a later post:

First Launch GIMP

Then Go to “File” then “Open” and browse to the PDF you wish to open and select it (I opened One Monks Old Devils-Imps.pdf ), you’ll be presented with the below:

The most important point on this screen is to make sure the resolution is set to 300 (pixels/in – default setting) and then click Import

In the above this was a simple 1 page PDF if I had imported a multi-page (not layered)PDF I would have seen multiple pages (see below) on the selection screen and each page I selected would be given it’s own layer in GIMP – Think of layers like different bits of papers with a different picture/drawing on it.

We now have our Imps inside GIMP seemingly ready to go, however if you simply print the page now from GIMP you’ll notice it comes out a little smaller than out of the PDF. I don’t fully understand why but there appears to be some internal margin in GIMP which forces the document to be shrunk on print out. To get around this we simply shrink the paper (canvas) size a little.
Go to “Image” then select “Canvas Size” (Do not use Scale Image), your canvas will probably be 2550×3300 px, Click on the “px” value (see below) and change it to %, change both values to 92% (optional turn on the little chain-link icon and change just the top value and both will match or very close). Press the “Center” button and then press “Resize” (you may have to play around with the X and Y values to get the robo marks to stay in view)

Okay why did we just do that last step? If you now go to “File” and “Print”, select your normal printer, now see right at the top you have a tab next to “General” called “Image setting” click that (see below). See the Resolution is  set to 300, If you don’t shrink your canvas a little Gimps internal margins kick in and the resolution on this screen will be above 300, normally around 320-325  and hence your print outs are small. Now on the below screen you can select the “ignore margins” button and manually set your resolution back to 300 but I tend to forget and end up wasting ink and paper… feel free to check out the below screen before you shrink the canvas.

One Way of re-colouring

As with most software there are 3-4 different ways of doing something. GIMP is no different and the below is one way you can re-colour in GIMP, the below will however only let you re-colour it wont for example let you apply a different camo texture, but I’ll cover that in a later post. This way is very quick but not without its limitations it will change all instances of that colour/hue to a different colour/hue. So it works best on large single colour critters, Demons, Dragons, Trolls etc.

You have your Image all ready to go:

Next up go to “Colors” and select “Hue and Saturation”, this will launch this screen

I want some Blue Devils, so I select “R” for red as mostly their skin is Red and now I simply adjust the Hue slider until I get a nice Blue shade. If I want a lighter Blue I simply adjust the Lightness and Saturation Sliders (make sure the little Preview box above “help” is ticked on) until I’m happy with the colour. Below are some example re-colours and the settings used to achieve them. In both cases I adjusted both the Red and Magenta channels but have included screen grabs of both.

Blue Frost Demons

How about some Bright Green Forest Demons?

Once your happy with the colour, select ok and the minis will be re-coloured then save your version as an xcf  file and print your document, cut out (or run through your Cameo/Robo) and enjoy your newly coloured minis.

I’ll leave it  there for now as this post is very long, hopefully there is enough above to get you started. I’ll cover a bit more in other posts later this and next week, I have 3 posts part drafted. If you want me to cover something specific feel free to leave a comment asking/requesting it and I’ll try and add it to my next post.

As always have fun


Project Status


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Please Attribute to Sirrob01 with a link back to my blog

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