Pimpin’ the Tzolk’in Gears

Pimping out a game, making special and/or enhanced pieces for specific games isn’t rare in the board gaming community. Some gamers spend a surprising amount of time and money making laser-cut replacement pieces, wooden animal “meeples” (animeeples), even hand-painted resin-casts for Settlers, Notre Dame, and others. I’m not one to go all out on pimping out a game but I have done it before.

Back in November when I played Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar for the first time, the relatively plain gears screamed out to be painted. The satellite gears have a great texture and the center gear has minute detail that is lost in the light brown of the plastic.

Within the last month, there have been numerous image uploads of gamers pimping out their gears, providing how-to’s, and videos on different techniques and when my copy came I started getting the itch.

Without having done anything like this before, I watched several videos about washes, dry-brushing techniques, and spraying so I headed off to Michaels, bought some acrylic supplies, and set down at the kitchen table to apply my first wash of straight black to all the gears. I kept the paint very thin, especially on the tooth sides so that I wouldn’t create teeth that bind when meshed with their companion.

The details of the main gear immediately popped out and after applying silver to everything with a dry-brush technique everything was really looking nice.

I decided to go with yellow and red accent colors and just painted whatever felt right given the extreme detail of the main gear. There’s no right or wrong here and I just kept going until I felt about 3/4 done then I felt I should stop. Less is better.

After a second light silver/black dry-brush over the main gear and a light acrylic spray over all the gears, I mounted them and I’m ready to play.

Painting the gears was a fun little project and I’m proud of how it turned out, especially since it was my first time painting something like that. If you’ve painted your gears or have pimped out a game of your own, I’d like to hear from you.

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