Monday, February 22, 2016

First We Take Manhattan

I previewed one piece of this in last week's post, so today I have some more of my Manhattan Island project for giant monster gaming with Mighty Monsters and 3" gashapon figures.  I've picked most of these up in the last few months, the Manhattan-specific stuff from eBay and the other landmarks at a dollar store in the toy section.

When you think of monsters in New York, the Empire State Building is of course #1, so that was my first goal, and a 3D puzzle from China solved that.  From the same source I also got a Chrysler Building 3D puzzle, but now face the slight problem that the Chrysler Building is taller than the ESB! So I'm going to have to make sure I separate the two a bit when I put Manhattan Island together, making sure the ESB is more front-stage.

I didn't want to involve the World Trade Centre buildings with any gaming, so I'm going with a pre-1970 New York, leaving the next landmark in my mind as the Statue of Liberty.  There was another Chinese seller with a perfectly scaled (for 1/600) fake brass statuette on eBay, the entire thing being about 6" high (the real Statue and base is about 300').  Both the ESB and Chrysler Building are somewhere around 1/2000 or 1/2400, but still way taller than my paper city buildings from Germy and cut-down 6mm files.

With that pre-amble, here they are, with Gamera helping by providing a reference size:
The view from the ground:
Some individual shots of the 3D puzzles:

I discovered a bit of an issue with the ESB when I pulled it out for this photo shoot - some of the paper is peeling away from the foam on the base and it's developed a bit of a warp, but some Aileen's Tacky Glue solved the former, and some coffee stir sticks glued under the base solved the latter.  The base for both is about 1-2mm in the air because tabs are projecting through, but most of my buildings are going onto tiles that will be the sidewalks, so I'll fill in the resulting gap when I get the buildings glued to the tiles.

As I mentioned above, the Statue of Liberty is a fake-brass thingy, so I had to paint it up, coating it first with white gesso.  I'm also going to have to build a proper fort-like base for it, around the lowest (and unpainted in the photos above) level, so the arched doors open onto the roof of that base.  But that's for another day (I haven't really thought that through yet).

But here are some pics of the SoL as a work-in-progress:
On the top is the original statuette, out of the box, and below is after the gesso and gesso+brown paint was added.

Close up of the final product (barring the base):

A couple of other 3D puzzles I picked up in early January in a dollar store are a near-1/600 scale Notre Dame cathedral and a 1/1000 or so St. Peter's Basilica.  They don't work right beside each other, and Notre Dame doesn't work right beside the ESB and Chrysler Buildings, but with several blocks of other buildings between them, I think they'll do ok.  Most of the buildings from Germy helpfully lack real scale benchmarks, so if you look at Notre Dame and then scan over to the ESB, you will hopefully sort of ignore the difference.

I figure Notre Dame will fill in for one of the big NY cathedrals, St. Patrick's or St. John the Unfinished (which would actually be off-map - see below), the height is right for one and the footprint for the other. St. Peter's could do double duty as a fancy European state building, university campus, or palace.  You can build it without the keyhole-shaped forecourt too, which will make it an alternate church too by disguising its origins somewhat.  It was a pain to put together (lots of swearing) but looks ok for what it is now.

To wrap up the pictorial portion of this entry, here's a WIP shot of the tiles that will base my monster city buildings.  These are test subjects, of a few tile types and how they take cheaper Bob Ross grey gesso (I save the Liquidtex grey gesso - impossible to find here now - for figures).  I found the cheap dollar store tiles actually seem to be best. They aren't super solid support for the buildings (they're a bit bendy) but to date THEY DON'T WARP!  The thicker stuff (a couple pieces pictured here) warps a little and is really thick; I have some mid-thickness stuff from Home Depot that cost more than the dollar store stuff and it warps.  I have some pending 3mm rice paddy shapes in this Home Depot stuff cut out that have been under about 100lbs of pressure for a couple of years and they still want to warp whenever I let them come out for air (and I haven't painted or based them at all, just cut them out!).

Anyway, the cheapest stuff seems to work.  These are 4" square bases, except for the unpainted 4x8" piece of the thickest stuff.

More to come on these, I still have lots of buildings to cut out and build yet (and more to print).  Most tiles will be 4x4, some will be 4x3, others 4x5 or 6, and yet others will be custom sizes for the type of city block I'm building.  Central Park will probably be 8x8", representing only a portion of the park at the edge of my Manhattan.

Which leads me to what I'm trying to do with Manhattan map - it's going to be a fairly (fairly = highly) stylized representation of the island and part of the river, probably a total of about 7.5' long by 3' wide.  I may make it a bit wider or longer by showing more river, but at its thickest the island will be 3' wide.  So at one end I'll have 18" (maybe 36") of open water, representing the SW approach to the island, with the Statue of Liberty Island at one edge, and Governors and Ellis Islands making appearances.

Then there will be a 18x36" strip of water (representing the Hudson River to the west of the island) and an 18x36" strip of city - the financial district more or less, up to Chelsea.  Lower east side won't be mapped, the Brooklyn Bridge will be partially on the table (using a generic bridge from Shapeways that I'm working on).

Then there'll be a 36x36" section of city, Chelsea to say 1/3 of Central Park - call East 72nd Street the edge of the set-up.

So I hope that'll give me some water for approaching monsters to use before they get to the city, and lots of colour for the eventual fight in the city.  It all looks beautiful in my head.

I also have a 25" (!) Tokyo Tower 3D puzzle to put together, and in the mail is a double feature CN Tower + Skydome (aka Rogers Centre), so my kaiju are going to be able to threaten Tokyo (of course) and Toronto as well as Manhattan and assorted generic cities.

But I ain't building Berlin.

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