Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Windows for the Win!

I needed to cobble together a platform for the batteries for the solar power system in our greenhouse. Normally I setup my saws so that they are parallel to the window wall but for some reason I set up the miter saw perpendicular instead.  I knew that I needed to get the big doors open later today and I guess I was thinking about that instead of how to deal with long lumber.

I was cutting down some 8' long scrap lumber for this little project and as I set that first piece on the saw, I noticed that I didn't have enough room. The saw is in the middle of the room which is 12' wide which leaves 6' on either side. Now you see the problem, 6' width, 8' piece of lumber. Fortunately one of the windows was in the right spot. I opened it up, popped out the screen and BAM, plenty of room to cut long lumber with!

I happily cut up scrap lumber to make a base for the batteries and 30 minutes later that job was done. Windows and scrap wood for the win!

The miter saw setup in the wrong spot. But wait! There is a window!
Open window, remove screen, insert lumber! Sometimes it all comes together.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Review - Sarissa Precision - Stencil Set 1

Reviews are not something I usually do but Jon Russel from Warlord Games shoved this set of templates into my hands at Reaper Con 2022 and asked me to let him know what I thought about them. This is for you Jon! Just to be clear, I did not pay for these I was just asked to say what I think of them.

I have a fondness for Sarissa Precision (https://sarissa-precision.com/) products and I have built a fair number of their MDF buildings, I still have some of their buildings in the que to be built (part of the never ending World War II project), but I haven't purchased anything from them for about 4 years or so, so it was off to visit their website to see what Jon had really handed me. 

This is Stencil Set 1 part of the Sarissa Stencil System. You get a ziplock style plastic bag with stencils and instructions. inside are 8 Mylar stencils and instructions labeled "Stencils and Paste" written by Gary Faulkner of March Attack, who also helped design the stencils (http://www.marchattack.co.uk/index.htm).

The stencils are; Slate/Tile Small, Herring Bone Brick, Red Brick, Block Stone, Rough Stone, Tiles, Slate/Tile Large and Edging/Pillar Detail. There are two ways to use these, first as a standard stencil for paint and second as a stencil to apply texture with. They are thick enough to be used for texturing and I would say are actually more useful this way.

The instructions are nice, well written and include full color pictures to help you through the process. They are very short! But really there isn't a lot to say. At this point I would say you have a pretty high quality product in your hands. The question really is how do they perform.

Mr. Faulkner uses a pre-colored wood filler along with some PVA glue to create a more or less peanut butter like mixture. I didn't have any wood filler on hand and I'm far more likely to use stuff that modelers are going to have on hand. I have a large jar of Liquitex Matte Gel, a medium jar of Liquitex Natural Sand and a jar of Ammo's Acrylic Mud (A.MIG-2103 Turned Earth Ground). The Ammo product is very similar to the Liquitex Natural Sand but pre-colored. I used these products straight from the jars and applied that to some MDF that I had left over from some project or another.

Pictures tell the story best:

This little package, marked at $34.95 US when Jon handed it to me at Reaper Con. About $4.37 per template. You can buy them individually on the Sarissa website, certainly more expensive than buying them in the set.

8 Mylar templates. Each template measures 2 7/8" x 4 1/8"  (73mm x 105mm approximately) 

Instructions - Front

Instructions - Back

The materials I'm using for the test run. This is stuff I typically have on hand. The only thing missing is the Liquitex Modeling Paste, mine had dried up.

After the initial spreading with a palette knife. Tried to keep it thick enough to cover the Mylar.

Then I scrapped off the excess so the material was just where it should be and you could see the template and the pattern.

I let it dry for a few minutes to harden up a bit, but I didn't want it to harden completely and perhaps trap the Mylar in place. It pulled up quite easily and left a nice 3D imprint behind. You do need to be careful pulling it up so that the Mylar doesn't slide and mess up the pattern.

The rough stone template, a small issue at the top where I managed to get some matte gel underneath the template.

The rough stone template with the Natural Sand

The Herring Bone Brick template with the mud. You can see what happens when you let the template slide a bit when you pull it off on the right. I smudged up a good chunk of the Herring Bone pattern there.

I have to say that I was quite pleased with the results. The instructions say that the templates were designed so you can continue to repeat the pattern. That I didn't try, from my brief experience I would say that you really need to let the first part harden up completely before you add to it otherwise you might smudge your work. I can see a lot of uses for these templates as I work on different projects. While the initial price tag feels a little steep I think they are worth the price.

That being said I do think the choice of templates could have been better (that old personal opinion coming to the fore). I would like to see a couple of different brick patterns and less tile patterns. While the Edging/Pillar Detail is quite nice, another one featuring brick arches for doorways and windows would not be amiss (although likely to be difficult to actually create). The Red Brick template is very nice but this type of pattern is typically used when the wall is hollow and likely has some fill. I would definitely keep it, but I would like to see a Flemish Bond and an English Bond pattern (oddly enough Flemish Bond is very common in Britain while the English Bond is common in the US).

From the top then:

Slate/Tile Small - keep
Herring Bone Brick - keep (very useful for all kinds of places)
Red Brick (or running course) - keep
Block Stone - Keep (again very useful)
Rough Stone - Keep (love this one)
Tiles - keep (although I'm 50/50 on it. I don't think I would miss it)
Slate/Tile Large - drop
Edging/Pillar Detail - keep (useful but could be better)

I would like to see
Flemish Bond Brick - Common in Britain usable just about anywhere 
English Bond Brick - Common in the US, again usable anywhere
Arch detail - Independent of the type of brick pattern being used could feature both brick and stone arches along with door and window sills.
Cobblestone - A useful addition for roads.

In the end I think this product is worth the price if you are working on any kind of laser cut building kit or scratch building something. These templates are useful on walls, sidewalks and some streets (that herring bone brick pattern is going to get used a lot!).


Thursday, September 29, 2022

Sophie's Revenge - The Conundrum in the Captain's Cabin

I definitely like to think somethings all the way through before I start cutting things up. As I have mentioned previously I'm starting the rebuild of Sophie's Revenge with the Captain's Cabin. Ultimately I'm envisioning this as being broken up into two compartments; the Captain's Cabin itself and officer's quarters (or what ever the pirate equivalent would be). I need to add quite a bit of detail in both areas which has brought up a couple of things.

1) The ceiling on the Captain's cabin. I'm going to go higher than I originally intended which will increase the overall height of the poop deck and the map room. This deck will probably get shortened because of that, but it will solve the "skylight" problem. 

2) The Captain's cabin should be pretty extravagant (its a fantasy pirate ship after all), while I can work with it as is, I could take it apart. I stopped short of complete disassembly but the reality is that this section is really five pieces, of which the Captain's Cabin is three of those. It won't be easy to separate these pieces, they are glued together very well.

So just some more decisions to make and decisions are easier to make if there are pictures!

First order of business. Make this into a single deck. It has to support the cabin and the mizzen mast in addition to the Captain's Cabin and officers' quarters.

Should I or shouldn't I? The Captain's cabin can be broken into five pieces. The circles show where the seams are. These are well glued together, I'm not even sure it will be possible to disassemble them, it might take some knife work although this plastic cuts pretty easy.

As it stands. This is how much of the ceiling of the Captain's Cabin would be shortened by just extending the existing quarterdeck back to the stern.

This is a look at where the deck I was originally planning to use would intersect with the Captain's Cabin. I would still be losing a good portion of the existing windows, hence why I was thinking of some kind of "skylight"

If I increase the height of the poop deck, the gap is going to be really large. That, in turn, would lengthen the run of stairs on either side, which I could compensate for by reducing the length of the poop deck. However, that would impinge on the ceiling below and require stairs to get to the map room.

Lot's to think about before I start building things. Although I could just start with the Captain's Cabin and finish it out and build everything else around it. Some seat of the pants work for sure.