Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Realm of Battle: Triumph and Despair and...
Man vs. Realm of Battle Day two: So I went to bed Saturday feeling reasonably confident that I had redirected what was very nearly a tremendously lackluster board toward something quite nice (pictured above). The dirt areas were looking rich, dynamic, and finished, certainly; I would have been happy to leave the stone areas at that point as well. My wife, who only rarely contributes on these matters, felt that I’d nailed it. Done.
I didn’t listen to her. I should have.
Here’s what happened. After setting up my mock scene, I noted with peculiar interest that the only bits of grass on it were the ones that happened to be underneath the feet of my models. That seemed odd. Suddenly, I had convinced myself that the board looked bare compared to the bases I had made for my models. Moreover, GW had kindly provided two sets of Static Grass for just such an occasion. As surely as 2+2=4, I knew what route I should take. Sunday was another beauty, so I rolled up my sleeves, stepped back out onto the roof, and back into the desperate struggle against my blossoming board.
The project got off to a bad start. Static Grass is a mare –an absolute, unashamed mare. I’m not certain if I’d bought a bad batch, or if this is how it normally arrives, but the grass in the large bag had clumped together in a truly bizarre tumbleweed-dustbowl manner. I don’t really know what happened there, but it was awful.
Still, I pressed forward…
…and very quickly realized that it was all going horribly, horribly wrong. Not one to let that deter me (and with a head full of yesterday’s conceit), I convinced myself that I should send caution to the wind and, rather than retreat, dive even deeper into the matter at hand. I ignored the voice in my head that said, “Hand me the shovel. Step away from the hole.”
At Adepticon, I had purchased a lovely flocking set from Gale Force Nine, which I dutifully enlisted for these desperate times. If the static grass from GW was too static, I reasoned, then I would simply let some more dynamic and aggressive product fill that space. I think, at that point, I was beginning to panic. I worked like a man possessed… and I stopped thinking almost entirely (in retrospect, I was acting like that terribly boorish oaf who speaks more loudly when people don’t understand what he’s saying). I SAID, I NEED TO PUT MORE STATIC GRASS ON THE TABLE, NOT LESS… like that. It was a terrible hobby moment.
My desperation was neither working nor helping. Moreover, the direct sun and ample wind that was such a boon Saturday was, in fact, a curse on Sunday -drying some areas before I could even get grass to those areas, and blowing the rest of the grass anywhere but to the spot I would have liked it. This was not only going wrong, but it was going permanently wrong. The tumbleweed was dismantling my hours of work one crazy splotch at a time.
I’ll be completely candid here. I thought about selling the table right then –ebay maybe. I don’t know. I’d even take a loss and use the money to start over. I even considered just giving it away. Remember Vinnie Jones from yesterday.
I came inside and assembled the table as I had the previous day in an attempt to see what it might look like in less abstract situation. What’s worse than despair? I took the shopvac to it in order to pry up any last bit of loose grass. No luck. The grass was down in all its hideousness. I couldn’t bear to think of what the table looked like the day before in comparison to what I’d done to it now.
…I took the dog for a walk
…I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t all that bad, but nothing had changed by the time I returned.
But I had an idea. Once again, it was desperate, but I genuinely felt that I had nothing to lose at this point. So I filled a bucket with scalding hot water, armed myself with a sponge and a rag, and scrubbed… and scrubbed… and scrubbed.
Remember the “concentrated water color” from yesterday that made the table look subtle, rich, and interesting? That was the first to go: water color and hot water. It was a calculated sacrifice that I was willing to make.
Slowly but slowly, the grass started to come up. Several buckets of hot water later, and I could see that I might have a table once more liberated from the dreary horrors of static grass. The question remained, however, how much paint would stay? I scrubbed. Nothing to lose.
It didn’t end there. At one point, I was really quite startled as the two flat pieces began to warp from the sun and water. Seriously? Warping? I consoled myself by repeating the words, “ebay” and/or “giveaway,” and pressed forward.
In the end, the grass lost -but not without first inflicting some serious casualties on my end. The water color was gone. The warping seemed to have corrected itself, but I spent several moments terrified that not only had I ruined my hard work, but that I had actually ruined the entire, expensive project. Thankfully, in the end, the board had returned to a state not entirely dissimilar to the point at yesterday’s post when I exclaimed, “Despair.” But at this point, I felt quite lucky to be there.
One note: My scrubbing took a fair bit of paint up along with the glue and grass; however, I'm absolutely amazed at how much paint stayed down. This is a testament to quality of the product, no doubt, and gives me some confidence that this board will stand up to the rigors of gameplay when/if that time comes.
Is this the end of my Realm of Battle Saga? Not a chance. See you Thursday for day three of the classic confrontation Man vs. Realm of Battle.