Thursday, May 31, 2012

Artwork Update

Today I took a break from a few things and decided to work on some artwork. I'm not really in love with the pose I selected, but that's not really the point. I was more interested in technique and working with the software today than in the final results.

Right now this is just a Work In Progress (WIP), but when I finish it this image will probably wind up in one of our books in the future.

Click to see full sized.

For this sample, I added the brown tint and the brown squares just to give it a sense of balance. The final artwork will -- of course -- be printed only in black & white.

See you here next week!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Arnica: Starting on the Adobe Buildings

Not much to report today, except to say that I'm starting work on the molds for the adobe collection. I think I'm going to start with the smaller buildings -- the Casas -- and then move up from there. If all goes well, I'll be posting some work-in-progress photos shortly.

Coming Soon!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shutting Down For Memorial Day

Liberty, Freedom and Honor...
To those who have paid for what we hold dear, we offer our heartfelt thanks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Arnica Update

Very, very little to report today. I've been wrapping up the current orders so I can move on to making the molds for our Adobe Collection. I think all the orders we have on hand will ship before Saturday.

I also spent the day cleaning out a room in the house so I can move my production into it. This will be a big boon to improving our speed.

More on Thursday!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Showdowns & Shootouts Update

As I mentioned Tuesday, I've started making some preliminary cover sketches for the cover, and I've started work on the interior pages templates. Next up, moving the individual adventures into the book itself.

Why Release an S&S Book?
Mostly it's so we have something extra to give to the people who took the time and effort to submit the adventures. But there's something more.  I like books.

I like that they are permanent and are not dependent on technology to read. Everyone thinks a PDF is a a permanent format, but let's be honest. That format could be replaced tomorrow and be out of fashion in 10 years. That would mean all those existing PDFs would be dependent on a defunct technology. Is that likely? No. Possible? Yes.

So, that's another reason I like books. Plus, as a hard copy, it will work when technology fails (nothing worse than having your tablet run out of power while you're running a game -- paper never runs out of power).

Finally, books are still cool and they look great on your book shelf.

However, we're probably not going to stick with just a book. Even as we keep the original adventures online for free, we're going to experiment with having the collected PDF available for a very small price online (probably through Both the printed and online books will have a little additional material:

  • Summary sheets of new Specialties that are introduced in the adventures
  • Summaries of new vehicles (raft and mule cart)
  • Summary of the new tables for random weapons and random lawmen
  • New Random Character Generator
  • Index
  • Some other fun stuff
This info will be probably be added to our Downloads section at the Website (which means it's free).

As you can see, the goal of the S&S book is just to collect the material, not make a lot of money. Still, if we sell a few hundred copies... well, I don't think anyone here would complain!

Talk to ya'll next week!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Showdowns Shootouts: Book Cover Ideas

I've been busy with Arnica orders the past week, but I did take a few minutes out to sketch up a few ideas for the cover of the upcoming Showdowns & Shootouts book. For this one I was just picturing a simple brown background with the cover thumbnails on it.

Click on image to see full-sized.

But my second thought is more elaborate, including a 3D image like more of a table with a gun and the cover thumbnails spread out like wanted posters. I might bring back in the 3D whiskey bottle I did for April Fool's Day (I like the way it looked and it could fit nicely in this image).

Click on image to see full-sized.

I'm leaning a lot more toward the second image, but I would need to work the authors names onto the cover. I'll keep you posted about which way I go.

Talk to you again Thursday.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Update: Arnica and Hawgleg

Still working to catch up on things. Things are still in flux this week, as I had to cancel all work because our A/C went out and we decided to spend the night with our in-laws. Our A/C guy got things working, though, so I'll be back at work on Friday.

We're still working on repairing molds (I replaced part of the mold for the Attached Shed Kit -- the window next to the front door had torn). One of the molds I'm interested in pouring is another set of boardwalks. Increasing our capacity from four to six will do wonders for productivity.

In Hawgleg news, I'm still getting into the Showdowns & Shootouts book. Progress is slow because I haven't been able to devote a large block of time to it, but it's definitely progressing.

Talk to you next week!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Arnica Hawgleg Update

Not much time for a report today. I did a lot of resin casting over the weekend to fill some orders. I got most of the work done needed to finish out the next two orders in the queue. Those will ship shortly. Plus, I've already got a head-start on the orders after that.

When we started the store, we had about a 3-week period between order and shipment. That's slowly decreasing to about 2 weeks. We're not there yet, but will be soon.

Arnica Saturday Update: Last Saturday was one of the busiest days in casting I've had in a long time. I poured about 5.5 pounds of resin (that's 8 cups, or about 2500 grams). I poured one of everything, except the Mercantile walls because I already have as many of those as I need for the moment.

Hawgleg Update: I've started tentative work on adapting the separate Showdowns & Shootouts adventures into a cohesive book. Since the material has already been written, edited and laid out, there's not a lot to do, but a few of the graphics need to be modified for printing to make a more attractive book. Plus, there will be a few small extras in the book (not a lot, but a few summary pages of the new Specialties, weapons and so forth). If all goes well, this book could be done by the end of the week. Of course, that depends on whether or not I can decide on what I want to do for the cover.

Talk to ya'll again Thursday.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Arnica Sneak Peak: New Shed Design

Not much to report right now. My thumb is getting better and I've resumed my normal work schedule of casting parts and tooling (i.e. sanding) them. Orders are shipping and things are moving forward. The position of the cut does make it hard to mix mold rubber, though. Silicon rubber is very thick and holding the mixing rod puts a lot of pressure on my thumb -- exactly on that cut. So I won't be making any new molds for a few more days, yet.

When it heals I'll be focusing on making replacement molds for a few damaged parts, as well as making extras of key parts (like the wall of the bank, for example -- right now I've only got one mold for both walls and a second wall would really come in handy). After that, I'll move on to making some new molds for some new buildings, including the long-awaited Adobe collection.

We'll also be offering a new building for a set of original designs I've started working on: The Miner's Camp. You see, when we add the adobe buildings to our set, we'll have most of the major buildings that you need to create a nice Western town. The keyword being "nice." I'd like to add some more buildings that aren't so nice, nor so big. In other words, I want to create a set of small shacks and shanties like those you might find in a mining camp.

Here's a look at the first building I've designed (which, obviously, is based on our current Attached Shed).

New Shed Design
This photo shows the master pieces glued to a board that will serve as the basis of the master mold. As you can see, it will have a slopped roof with one end higher than the other. I'm hoping this will create a dramatic profile when compared to the other buildings in the town. Also, the flat roof (to the left) could serve as a place for outlaws to wait while ambushing people -- if the slope doesn't prove too steep, that is.

I'm also hoping that this model will offer a little variety to the various board & batten buildings we currently have. Also, it's a very small building, so it's low cost should prove to be popular. I've no idea yet when this will be released, but probably sometime this month. I'll keep you posted.

Remember, you can buy all of our Western Buildings at the Arnica Website.

See ya back next week for more behind-the-scenes fun.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Arnica: Ouch!

Dagnabit. I can't believe that such a minor injury threw off my work schedule today. I cut a big gash in my right thumb, about an inch in length and fairly deep -- probably a bit more than 1/8 inch at its deepest point. And, naturally, I got it doing something fast and stupid. I had just finished pouring some Arnica buildings and had prepared lunch -- a simple can of soup -- and noticed that the garbage needed to go out. It was overflowing the can, so I reached in to push is down and sliced open my thumb on the soup can lid.

Like most deep cuts, it didn't hurt much for a second, but then the blood came gushing out. I let it bleed then washed it and wound up applying direct pressure for about 10 minutes to get it to stop bleeding. I then washed off the caked blood -- which started it bleeding again -- but finally got it all under control about 30 minutes later. Oh, and I cleaned up the blood on the floor, too.

It hurts a bit, but the problem is that it's in a bad place on the side of my thumb in a place that is used to grip tools, pencils, and other items. So when I tried to get back to work an hour later, I just opened it up again. Since I'm not on the TV show Chopped, I don't need to work with a latex glove to hold the blood while I'm working, so I finally just called it quits for the day.

I'll get back on things tomorrow, as I can already tell that it is not likely to reopen again. But, alas, I am more than a half-day's work behind.

BTW: No, I won't post a picture of it. I've been told such things gross people out.

Coming Soon
Rather than just spend the whole column complaining, here's a photo from the upcoming tutorial on how to assemble one of our Gunsmith Shops. The key is to put the front and back on the outside and put the side walks flush with the other two.

Gunsmith Shop: Under Construction

I'll clear it all up in the tutorial that takes the building from kit pieces to finished, painted building. That probably won't make it here on Thursday, but sometime in the future. Remember, you can buy this (and other) buildings at:

See ya Thursday