Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Constructing Adelheim, Part VIII -- trenches; painting the walls

As Historicon approaches, we had a work session with Duncan on Sunday.  I didn't get any pictures due to the nature of the work and a little technical glitch with my camera, but we finished the saw work on the trench sections, cut battery bases for the besiegers, and fired up the melting pot for some additional gun crews (another 40 or so gunners) and guns (four more Meisterzinn siege guns, for a total now of 12, and another mortar, just in case...).

A box of trench shapes
Fortress sections drying in the sun

Norman painting the retaining wall on a glacis section

Norman touches up the felt gluing

Wall sections sanded and ready for paint

Gabion dowels; ran out of spray paint before this job was finished
Yesterday being a holiday, we sanded the trench sections, cut the felt on the glacis, and painted the fortress stonework in a basic brown.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Constructing Adelheim, Part VII--Back to work on the glacis

It's been a hectic week, with a conference I was responsible for planning at work, Norman's graduation, and a visit from my mother. I was doubly pleased to get home tonight, as tomorrow is one of my scheduled off days, so I've got four days at home to get a few things done.

I sanded the edges of the luaun glacis support pieces after supper, and then enlisted Norman (the Prince Palatine) to assist me in gluing the foam sections on.  With this completed, we can start gluing down the covering felt, a process which will probably take a couple of days, as I usually stretch the felt and glue it a section at a time.
Gluing the glacis sections down

Many hands make light work

Norman fits a section

Applying glue; note re-purposed encyclopedias serving as weights.
With six weeks left to go until the convention, there is not a moment to lose...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Constructing Adelheim, Part VI

Following our productive session on the fort and related projects on Saturday, we returned for additional work on Sunday.  I am developing additional confidence with the Hot Wire Foam Factory equipment; using the jigs provided by Duncan, I cut all the embrasures we need.  The fort walls and ravelins with embrasures can be seen set up in my rather cramped parlor.  The next step is to glue the glacis segments together, and then cover them in felt.

Here a Meisterzinn wagon is being used to check the dimensions of the cutaway entrance in the ravelin, leading to the gate.  For scenarios with the siege in full swing, I intend to block this with a plug in piece composed of gabions and possibly including other hasty barrier materials.
Here's a view from farther back, with the wall section cut to accept the gatehouse structure, and some Barzso cannons emplaced to check the embrasure size.

We acquired a 6 yard piece of olive felt for this project.  2 yards is earmarked for grass over the glacis, and the remainder will form the main groundcloth.  I like to start with some spray paint on the felt to break up the uniformity.
I enlisted William's artistic assistance in this project.  If you click on the picture above, you should be able to see the placement guidelines for the fortress elements drawn on to the felt.
Inspired by all of this effort, William has been working on adding another company to his army...


We enter a period of transitions here.  My elder son (aka the Prince Palatine of Wachovia) graduated from college yesterday, and is spending some time at home.  I found my dining room table covered with painting equipment today, so I'll be turning his attention to the fortress of Adelheim in the very near future.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Constructing Adelheim, Part V

After a couple of weeks of things going on outside gaming, and weather too bad to take work outside, a nice day and a weekend finally lined up yesterday.  Unfortunately, it was the day that I was supposed to be cleaning the house in anticipation of a visit by my mother, whose sympathy for toy soldier clutter remains limited after forty years...but I'll deal with that today.

I was able to cut the glacis sections yesterday.
After marking and measuring I was able to freehand the cuts using a Hot Wire Foam Factory tool lent by Don Hogge, another of the HAWKs.  Some irregularity in the final product is acceptable on these glacis segments; everything will be covered in felt except the rear vertical side, to be painted as a retaining wall.
We got to the hardware store for supplies, glue and spray paint for the most part, and I had hoped to spray texture the felt.  However, the weather was holding, and I thought it prudent to see if we could make some of the siege artillery.

We cast several mortars, both from a Meisterzinn mold and a Prince August mold, and four large cannons from Meisterzinn.  I had a problem with that; there is a small metal key in the Meisterzinn mold, which separates the "dolphins" on top of the gun barrel...and plugs a hole in the side of the mold.  I managed to break it on the first casting, while extracting the sprue from the mold.  It was clearly brittle, snapping into three pieces.  We plugged the hole with a binder clip and continued casting, but those later gun barrels are going to need some extra file work.  In the long run, I suppose I could fabricate something from heavy sheet brass to replace it, but after this game is done, it's unlikely that I'd ever need more of them, so it may be file work for any future uses...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Constructing Adelheim, Part IV

It's been another busy week in the real world; my younger son had senior prom, and that on top of the usual round of lessons has left me little time to think about blogging.  Thanks to those who have designated this as a Stylish Blog; I'll deal with that at another time...

Chief fortress engineer Duncan and I had a work day on the Adelheim fortifications today.  We made good progress.  As seen in the earlier postings on this topic, the bastions have been cut, and we had three ravelins laid out.  Ross's report after the siege rules playtest came with a recommendation that we lay thing fort out across the 6 foot dimension of the table.
We started by marking off a 6 foot width in blue tape on Duncan's kitchen island, and playing around with the primary pieces.  We then cut the curtain wall sections and the ravelin to length.  I've got three interchangeable sections for the central curtain, which will allow us to build one with and one without gate, with the third in reserve for possible finishing as a breached section.

We concluded that we would end the trace in the six foot dimension by depicting half of each of the next ravelins, as seen here above laid out on the felt that we'll be using.
Duncan surveys the nearly completed trace.

I'll leave out the intermediate pictures, but once we had the main elements laid out, we used a three inch wide piece of pink foam as a straight edge and template to lay out the covered way.  That trace was transferred to three sheets of luaun plywood which will support the glacis.  The picture above shows the completed supports, with quick mockup of the glacis sections.  We expect to finish those by covering them in felt to match the table top.  The glacis sections still need to be cut (with a hot wire cutter) and glued to the luaun supports and covered in felt. (That's my homework.)  The embrasures are also awaiting completion.

Soldiers emplaced on the ravelin for a sense of the scale.

We had some time during the day to have a look at some mock-ups of the trench elements.  The two sides shown here are of different shapes, and the corners have been visually improved (to my mind) with gabion mock-ups.

More soon, I hope...