Monday, March 21, 2011

AdeptiCon Tables: part four


So, finally the weather began to break, and Tall Paul was brought back onto the scene to help make some headway in the carpentry department -these things always happen in fits and starts here in Chicago. It’s lashing down today, and later in the week we are meant to have some more snow… brutal. Speaking of, there’s a saying common in these parts: “I know a guy,” which is an intentionally vague shorthand for “I can get this applicable and improbable task done through some form of extra-curricular involvement, often with a dubious relation to legality and particularly on account of those who should know better.”

Tall Paul’s my guy. He’s a childhood friend that has little/no interest in our fine hobby. He does, however, have a truly awesome set of tools and 20+ years experience using them. We’ll be talking a bit about those tools in a future post, but for now let me simply state that this project could never have happened without Tall Paul. He may drop in at AdeptiCon. He may not. All of this has certainly inspired some curiosity in his better nature, but I’m not sure that we’ve tipped him over the scales just yet. 

I think wargaming is an affliction that one must catch at an early age.

The point is that I don’t want these posts to sound as if I am lauding my accomplishments, while someone else is standing in the background swinging a hammer. There’s a growing list of people responsible for making these tables come together, and each link in the chain has been immeasurably valuable.

While all these contributions are absolutely essential and therefore level. Tall Paul is, put simply, more equal than others –the first among them, if you will.

OK. the tables. We began in order, so you are looking at tables one and two here. Again, they are contiguous, and I was particularly keen that elements from each should overlap into the next. This helps make the entire affair seem like a genuine cross-section of a once breathing city. For that same effect, I’ve offset all of the structures at an angle, which has created several wild carpentry challenges (more on that next time) but also made the tables much more evocative and even at times voyeuristic –as if we are peeking into these rooms informally, or at least without permission.

Once I had mapped the basics, Tall Paul got to work on his saw and built up the framework of the tables. In an effort to reduce-reuse-recycle, we’ve diligently raided every option available. In one photo here, you will see us deciding how best to align some bits of crown molding left over from when we built baby-number-two’s room.

Once that was nailed down, I set to with pink foam and a dry-wall saw. Then spackle to smooth the obvious bits. Then some time for drying. This is where each table started to slide into slow motion, as seemingly every sequential step required a night of drying before we could move forward. Just as well we had six in rotation.

Once the spackle was dry, and pounded away at it with sandpaper to ensure that it didn’t look exactly like spackle, but also to ensure that any bit that didn’t intend to stick around for the duration chipped off now, rather than later. Once this was properly sorted, I went over the whole mess with a heap of slightly thinned wood glue. When dry, this adds a tremendous amount of strength to what might otherwise be a delicate and brittle table. And it requires a good amount of time to dry, particularly in colder weather…

So, table one is my post-industrial non-trench mining trench table. It marks the point in which the exterior wilderness meets the rigid gothic order of the city interior, which is also rather wild. As these steps began to drudge along, we jumped forward to a real treat and challenge of a table, the merest hint of which you can see here on table three. Next post is dedicated to that leap forward–backward.

++TOP TIP: today’s top tip concerns spackle. I’ve used quite a few tins of it by now of all different shapes and variety (we are currently holding on tin number four, but expect to make serious headway into tin number five this week). Synkoloids Premium spackle works quite well. I have also been impressed with DAP’s all purpose effort. Having said that, I strongly encourage you to avoid anything with the words “lightweight” on it, as I have invariably found these poorly suited for the rigors of gameplay.++


Oli said...

Looks awesome. I already love it...

Sidney Roundwood said...

Another fantastic post. I am really loving what you have been doing here. The off-centre table composition really does draw the eye inwards, over the mining sector and through what I guess are the City Walls. Standing at one end of the tables is going to be a rare sight indeed. I can quite appreciate that you set yourself some interesting challenges with the angles! I am really impressed with the contouring and detailing, even at this early stage. But gosh, when you said you don’t like doing things by really meant it, didn’t you? :)

Grizzled Gamer said...

Looks fantastic!
These tables look like an absolute blast to play on!
Wishing I could go!

Big Jim said...


You are really outdoing yourself! I shall go sulk in the corner cause I cannot be there.

Keep up the fantastic work!

Brian said...

@ Freaka. Thanks. It gets better.

@ Sidney Roundwood. Thank you very much. I did indeed. I think panic is an unparalleled motivator. Blind panic, even better.

@ Mags and Big Jim. Cheers fellas. Next year. These tables are built to stick around for a while.