Clock is running

Have you ever thought about making a clock that could remind you what turn is it? Or a comfy marker you could use to keep track of turn sequence? Today, after larger holiday break lets occupy our hands with something useful for our hobby

In this tutorial I will show you how to prepare and create any kind of clock face, that you will be able to use for your needs. Lack of turn tracker in recently reviewed Ascended made me decide to make one for this game.

But first things first. You need to base your project on most important assumption – what you need from it. In my case Ascended takes 40 turns with daylight-darkness change after every 10th turn. So I need to divide my clock face into four parts, every part will have 10 corresponding turn numbers. Because I wanted my project to be easy to read and use, I assumed  it will have 10 cm diameter. Now we need some tools and materials.

I used Gimp to prepare the graphic design. It is free, easy and good-enough program to create print for clock face, back and clock hand. Equipment we will need: printer, knife with retractable blade, precision knife, wide flat brush, steel punch and hammer – heavier is better, last but not least you need cutting board and wooden board. In materials department you can find vikol glue, printer paper, 1.5 mm thick cardboard and chicago screw or equivalent.

I will elaborate a little more about that last “equivalent” material. Chickago screw known also as sex bolt will be perfect, but you can also replace it with plastic connectors from FFG. Sometimes you can find additional connectors in Fantasy Flight Games products i.e. for resource dials in Battlestar Galactica. I used this one additional connector from BSG in my project.

Time to get cracking. Start with creating new file in Gimp, best will be square where we will place our circle – in my case with 10 cm diameter. Because I need my clock face for 40 turns, I need to divide 360 by 40. Now I know that in next steps, I will be rotating clock face by 9 degrees. Let’s create new layer named “face” and place guide lines in halfway of height and width of it. Now choose Elipse select tool create fixed 1:1 circular selection with 10cm diameter, in select options click to invert selection and fill selected area with color. Heaving active “face” layer, now choose Pencil from tools and click at one end of a vertical guide line. While holding shift key click on its 2nd end, do same thing with horizontal guide line. After that choose Rotate tool , rotate your “face” layer by 9 degrees and again mark vertical guide line with pencil tool. That’s how you will know how much space you got for your text or numbers. When I did it, I rotated layer by -4,5 degrees and placed in marked space “40” with Text tool . I used Baskerville Old Face font and size of 15pt did the trick for me. I duplicated text layer, merged it with “face” layer and rotated by 9 degrees. All I needed to do now is place new number in original text layer and repeat duplicating, merging and rotating steps until my clock face is filled. In the end I rotate layer so vertical guide line would be between “40” and “1”.

Let’s prepare our illustrations for daylight-darkness face and back of clock. We have already prepared borders for it with our guide lines. For front side I used parts of paintings: Hot ride by Alfred von Wierusz-Kowalski and Night before Christmas by Stanislav Pobytow. For back side I used widely known ceramic motif of sun and moon.

After giving illustrations a little treatment with Poster Edges filter, some scaling and cutting to match needed size I merged 4 quarters of day and night. On edges I used Healing tool which gives me nice fade effect. Created “face illustration” layer I duplicated and rotated by 90 degrees. I put it over “face” layer and used addition mode on it, so my numbers have the day-night pattern.

Now we need to do something for the frame of the clock and something for the clock hand. I focused on searching for photos of old style clocks, which were inspiration for me. With found photos I experimented with different Gimp filters and applied it to final result. When I was making the print for the hand I knew that on end where I will put my plastic connector I need 8mm hole. I decided that on second end I will also put 8mm hole for window where turn numbers will appear. To do that I created new layer “hand”, where using elipse select tool with fixed 1:1 ratio and diameter of 8mm I placed one circle filled with black color on guide lines intersection and same one on vertical guide line centered at turn numbers height. After that I shaped something around these two holes and connect it to each other making the final clock hand.

Last thing I did in Gimp was placing of all elements (face, back, hand) on A4 size image, readying it to print.

Lastly what tigers like most, cutting, gluing and punching. From printed A4 we need to cut out the part with face and hand and glue it to thick cardboard using flat brush and slightly watered down vicol. After it dries, cut it out from cardboard, cut out second part with back of clock from printed A4 and in same way stick it to the back of the cardboard. If everything went well, you should get the hand with the face of clock matched with its back and ready to cut out. But before you do it, put your cardboard clock on wooden board, take your hammer, 8mm steel punch and punch out holes in it, one in clock and two in hand. Because I used hammer which weighs 1kg it took me only a few minutes – for what I’m sure my neighbors are grateful. Now let’s cut out face and hand. For the face I used knife with retractable blade, and because hand was more complicated shape to cut out I used precision knife. I stick clock face and hand to each other using my plastic connector, and that is how now I got nice and neat turnclock for Ascended.

It differs a bit in graphic design from what you can see in game I did it for. But it is worth to remember that the advantage of DIY projects is that we are making them to appeal the most to ourselves. I hope that this little how-to will help you in making of your own game clocks. I encourage you to experiment with it.

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