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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Die Cut HoN Tokens

Note: This article was to appear six months ago, but due to changes in my life and a three month lead time on the dies featured below. I happy to be able to finally bring it to you today. Also I apologize for the image quality, my old studio is now a classroom for my daughter.

Die Cut HoN Token Blanks with the Sizzix Bigkick
The Bigkick is a hand operated die cutting machine that applies a great deal of pressure, and is therefor capable of cutting through; thick cardboard, paper, even leather, and thin wood. The are only two draw backs to this particular system one the dies (pictured below) are solid black, which makes it hard to line up images for cutting. This makes it best suited to cutting only the blanks, but it's not impossible to cut the images as well. It will just take a lot of practice to learn how to best line them up. My first attempts is pictured below. (Click images for larger versions)

As you can see the image is off center, but not unusable. With some practice I could get with in a millimeter or two of center.

The process for cutting is quite easy, simply create what they call a sandwich, with two pieces of plexi-glass, the die and what you want to cut. Feed it in to the machine, use one hand to guide it so the sandwich doesn't split, and the other hand to turn the crank. (I doesn't matter what side the crank is on so it's perfect for lefties as well.)

There you have it a perfect die cut blank, with the exact dimensions of an real HoN token, and perfect rounded corners. Below is a comparison of the blanks and some real HoN tokens.

Now I mentioned there are two drawbacks, the second is cost. I ordered these six dies before my current situation, and they cost me about $250, plus $100 for the machine itself. so the cost can be quite prohibitive, also the dies I ordered only cut one black per pass, so it can also get time consuming. The final cost issue is there as still several sizes I do not have, and at $65 a die, I will not be ordering them any time soon.

Although I originally purchased these for my own personal use, I thinking of offering blank tokens for sale. I will have to talk to Clem first, and get some test stock to see if this machine lives up to its specs and can cut something as thick as a real HoN token. Currently my material is softer and only half as thick.

Let me know what you all think, and if you have any questions please ask.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fury: Wardaddy's Tiger Killer

The Brad Pitt war epic Fury is an amazing movie blending the stories of amazing people like Audie Murphy and "War Daddy" Pool, as well as the stories of amazing tanks like Bomb a Canadian Sherman that survived from the Normandie invasion to the wars end. It's an excellent war film, and a great look at working tanks. 10 actual Sherman Tanks, and the worlds only running Tiger I were used in the film.

Of course the star of the film for tread heads like me, is Fury herself, an M4A3E8 (Easy 8). She's a beautiful tank and portrayed in the film by an actual Sherman (an M4A4, Firefly), not some plywood replica. The real tank named RON/HARRY (T224875) can be seen at the Bovington Tank Museum in England. (image below) She is one of the worlds last running Shermans, while over 49 thousand were built, only 1000 remain and a far smaller number are in working order.

But to bring Fury to Heroes of Normandie requires some creative license. First of all, the look of the tank in the movie is very unique, with lots of little details like backpacks, helmets, "log armor," ect. Many of these are beyond my ability right now, but I do have a nice Easy 8, and a few add-ons (like guns, and the Nazi helmet on the headlight.)

As for a special ability, the first thing that came to mind was the scene in act two when the Shermans, take on Tiger 131. With Fury being the only survivor of the encounter. In the fight the crew know that the only way to kill a Tiger is to take it from behind. So Fury has the special ability "In the rear" which gives enemy vehicles a penalty when Fury attacks them from the rear. This gives the feeling of the gunner's precise aim hitting the perfect soft spot. (link to the PDF is at the bottom)

I hope folks enjoy this HoN add-on, and have fun replicating the Tiger fight from act two. and if you haven't scene the movie yet, and you're a tank fan, you should make an effort to see it.