31 December 2021

Scratchbuilt Celestial Bodies

In anticipation of further playtesting of my solo spaceship miniatures game, I built a new planet and moon.

The celestial terrain was easy to build: Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty over a helium balloon for both spheres.  I started the moon first and made gores on paper using some geometric shorthand.  I smoothed the gores over the balloon and then covered with a thin water-putty coat.  

The planet originally started as an experiment to see if I could make a sphere using only the balloon as a former with no underlying gores.  Although it used more water putty than the gore method, it worked better than expected and was easier to get a smoother surface.

I only needed to wait maybe four hours before I could deflate the balloons in each sphere.  I then reinforced the interior of each very thin shell with water putty sausages as longitudinal ribs.  Finally, I poured a very very generous amount of wood glue into each sphere and let it cure overnight.  The reinforcing worked well: I actually dropped the moon from a height of about two feet and it didn't even chip.
Vacation is nearly over and I did only a fraction of the gaming I wanted to do.  Roleplaying consumed most of my free time during the break, or rather prepping for roleplaying did.  I finally got to run the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game (MSHAG), the SAGA system or "the one with the cards", for the first time in 22 years.  Even better, we're playing using my custom cards.  

The first RPG session was a blast but the second session was postponed after one of the two players cancelled, with the next session questionable due to the same player's new job.  Due to my impending school and work commitments, the Marvel game was supposed to be a three-shot event but now I'm wondering if we'll ever get past that first session.

I am amazed at how much time and effort it takes to do good Game Master prep (or maybe I over-prep).  And I lament all the other hobby time lost to the RPG prep, especially when it never gets used.  

So, we see a trend developing here... I said nearly these exact same words last year around the same time.  And like then, I'm planning to pivot away from RPGs and back to tabletop wargaming.  Wargaming solo works, for me at least, much better than solo RPGing, and with everybody's busy lives that seems to be the only version of Game Mastering I'll get. 

I'm not doing a year end retrospective or laying out my plans for the new year.  Frankly with my work and school schedule, free time will be depressingly scarce.  I will endeavor to post more frequently though.  2021 was my best year in a while and I'm hoping to make 2022 even more blog-prolific.

Just embarrassing...

I posted at the beginning of 2021 some rules I tried to self-enforce, to keep my gaming sustainable and focused.  One rule was: if it's an active project, it has to fit on the drafting table.  Well, we see the unintended consequences of slavishly following rules don't we.  As the picture to the right shows, I've continued to cram new project after new project onto the the table until the surface became unusable as a workspace.  I still like the general rule but I'm modifying to say: "i
f it's an active project, it has to fit on the drafting table and still leave enough room to work."

WIP Moon

WIP habitable planet



  1. Hello and Happy New Year! The moon and planet look great. I would have not been game to drop them them as a test. Thanks for the interesting post - full of ups and downs. And the way you used you own rule against yourself this year...and so had to change the rule :-) Being selfish as I enjoy your posts, I hope your resolution to be more blog-prolific in 2022 works out.

    1. Happy New Year Shaun and thanks.

      The lunar drop test was unintentional I assure you, ha!