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Friday, July 12, 2013

Bolt Action - Professor Aruba's Pin Markers - Shamelessly Stolen From AirCav

(The world-renowned Bolt Action theorist laureate Professor Aruba elucidates. Time to learn how to make "terrained" pin markers, BARbarians. I can't wait to use 'em at the Historicon tourney. - Judson)

Alright class settle down, we have a full lesson today so let’s get started.

Today we are going to dive into Michelson chapter 4, Bolt Action Pin Markers. Now assuming you did the reading last night, you’ll know that today we are going to learn how to construct Bolt Action pin markers out of Heroclix dials. Now, according to the great historian Craig Baxter, who wrote in his work, “History of Gaming in the Frozen North” the Bolt Action Heroclix pin marker was first pioneered by a man known as Keith; perhaps better known to the world at large as Aircav.

               First lets begin with the tools needed. Let me warm up the projector.

               As you can see you will need several tools. First thing is a pair of generic hobby clippers. A file, scissors, box cutter, flat head screw driver, a sharpie, and a print out of the templates will also be needed. The next thing you’ll need to do is print out a copy of the templates. These will form the cover for the inside of the dial, but can also include a cover for the outer dial as well. Some of these templates will be available at the end of the lecture; others can be obtained by contacting Aircav himself. Once you have a PDF file of the templates you’ll need some stickers to print them out. I use Avery label set 5262. While they won’t come out 100% perfect, leaving a tiny bit of the circle on the sticker before them, it is hardly noticeable on the final product.

               Next thing you’ll need is a Heroclix. There are two known styles of Heroclixs, the style you need to most easily complete these pin markers is the style that has the two separate circles stacked on top of one another as seen in this picture.

               Now take your clippers and apply some force to get the figure off of the upper dial. I find those that come on a raised little black piece of plastic to be easier to remove. Some just pop off with a little force; others require a lot of cutting.

There is a small risk you might damage the upper dial during the removal process, it happened with one of my dials. If this is the case, a good bit of green stuff can repair the damage. Once the figure has been removed, take the flat head screw driver and separate the dials. Just insert the screwdriver in between the dial pieces and give it a little force, I usually have to do it at two adjacent locations to get enough of the dial apart where they can easily be removed.

               Once this has been done, take your file and the clippers and remove any of the left over glue that is still on the upper dial. I find it is easiest to use the clippers to cut off as much as possible before filing down any remaining uneven-ness until its smooth. Then take the upper dial and spray paint them in your chosen color.

               Now the real fun begins. As you’ll find, the lower dial has a sticker in it that has all the Heroclix information on it. This is where the templates we printed off come into play. Take your scissors and cut out the template, and carefully place it in the center of the bottom dial.

               Gently press down on the sticker once you’ve got it in place, bear in mind it won’t cover the entire under sticker, but we’ll take care of that later. Now that you’ve got it in place, you’ll likely have a few wrinkles, fear not! This is where the box cutter comes into play. Take the box cutter and carefully cut around the peg in the center of the dial. Then gently peel it away, which will remove the tension in the sticker. Then return to your screwdriver and carefully press down with the head of it and move outward from the peg to the edge of the sticker all the way around, this will smooth out the wrinkles and ensure a firm bonding to the lower dial.

               Now you’re on the home stretch. Take your sharpie and carefully cover over any of the old Heroclix sticker on the bottom dial. This way all you’ll see is the new sticker with the numbering on it and a black border.

               At this point all you’ll have to do to complete the dial is to snap the upper dial back in place over the lower one, and give it a good test to make sure it turns. Some of the templates don’t have a lot of space in between the 12 and the 1, so you make have to give it a half turn to show just the one, but that won’t hurt the dial. Now for the best part, decoration; the dials can be used as is if you want, however you can get creative on these things. Some people like Mr. Judson want a dial that’s going to blend into the terrain of the table, being unobtrusive to the aesthetics of a game of Bolt Action. You could create something like this:

               Another take is to place a sticker over the upper dial to replicate an image. As you’ll see from my template in the tools picture, I have some Japanese Naval Ensign stickers for my newest batch, just remember if you’re going with the sticker route, to flip the upper dial over after applying the sticker and use your box cutter to cut out the part over the viewing portal, don’t do it once you’ve assembled the dial as you might damage the sticker you’ve placed on the lower dial. Lastly these things take well to paint and green stuff, so if you want to sculpt or paint, knock yourself out. The orginals by Aircav included figures on his playing a game of domino and can be seen in the Bolt Action archives, however I felt that figures might get mistaken as actual models during tournament play so I went in a different direction.

               Alright looks like we’re out of time, remember class I have office hours this week on Wednesday not Thursday, and for next class we’re going to read Michelson chapter 5, on the Baxter method of dice holders. Have a great week.


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