Going Mobile

These days (and just saying that makes me feel even older than the half century (plus one) I already am) mobile devices are all the rage.  From the Android phones to iPads and other tablets, everything is mobile.

A couple of years ago I decided I needed to go mobile as well.  Now I've had a cell phone for probably twenty years or more.  I used to have a page for work - it was cool when I first got it and was able to troubleshoot problems before they became issues, until I carried it for over 10 years (It was so freeing in my current job when I no longer had to carry a pager or cell phone for work).  But that isn't what I'm talking about here.

I'm talking about taking my gaming mobile.  More specifically, if you have seen doing demos at conventions, you will notice I have a mobile cart I use to haul everything from my car to my demo area, as well as a mobile platform for keeping track of what is going on.  Once again I have a use request to go into a bit more detail on my game cart.

This didn't start off as a cart for gaming, it was a display board.  The first year I went to Adepticon in 2012, I treated it like Origins or Gencon.  I entered some events, but left Saturday open to browse the vendor hall.  At Origins this is a great strategy, and at Gencon one full day may not be enough to see everything there.  Adepticon however, despite the 'con' in the name, well not so much.  The entire vendor hall took me about 10 minutes to walk through.  If anything there were three short rows of booths.  It has grown since then, but it still is not something you need to make sure you take a day for.

So I spent the day watching the WFB championships.  One thing that I noted that I had not seen before was that there was no restriction on adult beverages - people were drinking (ok, one guy got a little out of hand, but in a funny way, not really stupid drunk).  Not only could you have adult beverages, but most people bought their own.  The hotel did have a beer concession window as well though.

While I was wandering around, I saw some fantastic armies and displays, but one stood out above all the rest - "Munchy Gutsmen and the Holy Gristle" - an Ogre Kingdoms army painted up as Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  This was done by Brandon Palmer who makes a living painting under the GMM Studios name.  Check out his gallery, though I will warn you it is a LOT of pictures, and may take a while to load.  The Monty python display is a about 2/3 of the way down the page.  However is other fantastic stuff is also worth looking at.  Seriously, go take a look, I'll wait.  Now while this struck me as a fantastic army, it was the fact that it was mounted on a cart so he could just push it from table to table as he played.  

One last thing to mention here.  I am a home brewer.  I have been since about 2009.  My kids got me a home brew kit for Christmas, and I've enjoyed this hobby as well, some years brewing a lot, some not so much.  My wife used to be a realtor, and while visiting a client of hers one Saturday afternoon, we noticed an old kegerator in his garage, facing backward and not plugged in.  We asked him about it, and he no longer used it - so $50 later it was in my van then in my dining room.  That got me started kegging my beer instead of bottling it.

So, sitting at Adepticon, I started to make connections.  They had beer.  Army display on a cart.  I brew beer.  A cart could hold a keg of beer.  Warhammer plus beer - well that spells drunk dwarfs to me.

Now if you want to see the army I had the next year at Adepticon, it is on my other site - the Drunk Dwarfs.  What is important though is the display, not the army itself.

The original stand was designed to hold a keg of beer, keep it cold and be able to serve it easily.  So I started off with a cooler that would fit a keg.  I picked the Igloo MaxCool because it was the tallest cooler, so best fit a keg

The top snaps off, but here you can see the keg (it is a Cornelius or Corny keg - a 5 gallon keg formerly used to hold pepsi soft drink syrup (until they went to plastic bags)).

In order to fit everything, I decided to go with 2'x2' for the cart.  So I bought a few square pieces of plywood, as well as some 2' long 1 1'2" pvc pipes.  I wanted this to be fairly light weight, as well as able to be broken down for transport.  I found a place on line that sells fittings specifically for projects using PVC - Formufit.  Check them out, they have a lot more than normal plumbing fittings just for various projects, and even have free plans for many things on site.

The bottom frame is four 3-way elbows for the corners, with a caster plug in the bottom of each (and casters set in them (I actually bought the wrong type of casters at first and they kept falling out every time I would lift a corner (like when getting into an elevator) - make sure you get the grip ring casters).  The two foot side pipes then slide into the fittings - these are not glued in so the the cart comes apart.

A test to make sure the keg and cooler fit

The shelf was a smaller piece of plywood so there is an opening for the keg fittings on one side.  This just fits onto the pipes

The top shelf uses the table caps.  I cut smaller pieces of pipe to just fit my bin for my army.   When I use this now for conventions, this is pretty much all I do (well except for the cooler and keg of course).  I built a second table top just for that.

Cart partially assembled.  I added two more fittings for 1/2" pipe, that I use to attach a poster frame made of PVC painted black, to which I have attached a Kings of War poster.  This version just uses the base poster - I got a new one recently that I thought to laminate to better protect it.

Cart assembled with army bins, portable white board and poster, ready to go.

So back to the army display.  As you can see, the bin for the army fits on the middle shelf.
Slides in nicely.

Next i started on the display board that would serve the beer.  I had bought an old kegerator with a single tap tower that I replaced with a three tap one, so had this old tower.  I mounted it in the center of one edge.

I added a board to cover the tower and provide stability.

From the back.

 I then use pink insulation foam to build up the brewery.  This is actually old pieces that used to be lava fields for a confrontation scenario I used to run.  However since that game is several years dead, and I had lent out the board I made to someone (I don't remember who now) and never got them back (I think they were lost when Krystal Keep went under, but I'm not sure) it made sense to re-use these, as one side was textured already anyway.

I made sure the army would actually fit on the board where I wanted it.

I then covered the exposed foam with paper-mache, painted it in shades of grey, added snow flock and some water effects to make a water fall / pond.

The old pieces of insulation foam were backed with felt to protect them, so I reused it to cover the sides and back of the mountain.  The first time out I just had black cloth attached with velcro to cover the cart.

My first attempt also tried to use paintball CO2 cartridges, but this didn't end up working.  I now have to use one of my CO2 tanks instead.

Of course I had to test the tap!

I then made sides to improve the cart.  These are simple MDF sheets (2'x4').  I added a bit of molding to the top and sides - the rivets are flat thumbtacks.  I slightly mis-judged the corners though (I didn't take into account the thickness of the sides themselves), but went and bought some foam corner protectors (for baby proofing your home), added the thumbtack rivets and paint and they were good to go.

The runes were cut out of thin plasticard, and painted with a brass textured paint.  I printed out a large version of the logo I had used for all the beer the dwarfs were actually drinking (as opposed to shooting at their enemies)
It surprised me how difficult it was to find a drip tray, though eventually I found a restaurant supply store that had one.   I bent a piece of steel to hold it (this slides over the bolts, and has magnets to hold it in place).

 I found customizable tap handles on-line - they have a clear outer cover and a black plastic core that fits inside, so you can print anything for your label.  So I just use one that I had from there.

 The entire display set up.

 Frontal shot.

One of my favorite bits.  I found this slayer on floaty (with a beer no less) from Scibor miniatures and instantly knew that I had to have him - so he is relaxing in the water supply (luckily the piping hooks up to the spring above where the dwarf is swimming in it, not afterward).  I used bits from the pegasus hobbies Chemical Plant and Platformer System to make pieces of the brewery.

Finally the brewery doors were made pink foam, carved and then thin plasticard for the hinges.


Post a Comment