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, May 25, 2023

A Brick Building from the Ground Up - Part 10

A brief update as I keep playing around with oils for weathering. I have used oils extensively for weathering on vehicles but its been a different experience trying them out on building. I decided to start with "old" weathering first. I'm trying to build everything up in layers and start with deeper grime first then work in the rust stains and then follow up with a lighter layer of "dusty" weathering at the end.

Its definitely been different working with these oils just on the sidewalks. I started back in to quickly and pulled off a lot of the light/dark shading work with the next layer of oils, it just had not dried enough for this treatment. Hiding brush marks has been quite the challenge as well. But, I'm pleased with the look so far.

Friday, May 19, 2023

A Brick Building from the Ground Up - Part 9

I was getting ready to do some weathering on the sides of the building but I wanted to add some of the final details first. As I thought things through a bit more I decided I wanted to try out a light/dark technique on the sidewalk.

I wanted to work on some techniques out of the "How to Paint with Oils, Ammo Modeling Guide". As with everything else, the pictures make it look simple, the reality is a bit different. The idea is to add some shadow and light variations in what is otherwise a fairly plain concrete surface. I used three different oils for this. From 502 Abteilung ABT170 Light Grey and ABT001 Snow White and from Winsor & Newton Winton Oil Color 24 Ivory Black.

In theory your are placing dots of color on the base and then brushing/blending in the proper direction, so dark brush towards the shadows and light brush towards a more sunny spot. I always have a problem with the blending line and I seem to end up with some rather distinct lines of color in the area where I'm trying to blend colors together.

In the end I think it came out okay. Since I had the grey out I starting trying to fade out the very black roof as well. All of that will need at least a day to dry before I so some additional weathering and add the security doors and hand rails, all of which are pretty fragile, on the outside. I still need to add the cap stones to the edges of roof top as well figure out something for the internal brick edge (still thinking paper brick at this point).

On the Pulp Sci Fi Diorama, I'm still in search of a glue, I may resort to super glue but its my last resort I just don't like working with it.

The oil colors that I used for this process.

I did this side first, not to bad.

Way to many black dots, the white and grey are about right I think.

Starting the blend

After the blend (a lot of blending).

Working my way around

Starting to fade the very, very black rooftop

Adding a bit more white and trying to keep it from looking quite so uniform.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

A Brick Building from the Ground Up - Part 8

I was getting ready to break out the oil paints to start weathering the DV Ross building when I realized that I needed to cut the curb down for the loading dock. I used a knife and a file to get it close enough. Of course that ruined all the paint work. I re-primed this area and then went over it with the Vallejo Highlight US Tckr. Now it just needs to cure thoroughly before I start smearing oil paint over everything.

A high level look at the curb cut.

A slightly lower level look, just to show how far down I cut it.

Primed and ready for paint.

Monday, May 8, 2023

The Sci Fi Pulp Diorama - Interior Continued - The Hull

Over the weekend the Sintra (foamed PVC) arrived, 1mm, 2mm and 3mm sheets. I was hoping that the 1mm would be flexible enough to conform to the curve of the "girders". It was immediately apparent that it wasn't. I'm sure I will find some other use for it though. I started sifting through the bins again and I came across some Plastruct brand .3mm sheet. This is really thin, I can see my fingers through it! But it will conform pretty easily to the curve.

I have kind of blocked things out and I have made some lines to indicate where I will need to cut the windows out. This will entail adding some thickness around the windows to make it appear that the hull is relative thick plus I need to sandwich some clear plastic in there. I don't think it will be much of a problem.

I'm still debating the idea of mirrors on either end to give the illusion of a much bigger ship.

I used 1-2-3 blocks to hold the basic structure in place (there are two in the back as well) and some clamps to see how well the .3mm sheet would work.
Little better shot with the alien, more or less, in place.

I turned on the light, to sort of, represent the LED light that would be on that side. As you can see this sheeting is really thin and you can see my hand as I press the sheeting down more firmly against the center girders.

I tried experimenting with regular Testors Model Master  Liquid Cement. While it held the two big bulkheads together it totally failed when trying to glue the lighter girders to the floor. I need to get some Plastruct  Plastic Weld, which I know works very well. The other option would be PVC cement, which is just hard to work with because of the way its packaged.

Friday, May 5, 2023

A Brick Building from the Ground Up - Part 7

In theory, the reason I keep multiple projects going is to be able to shift from one to the another and back because of boredom or time restrictions. This time it was a material issue. I stopped worked on the brick building because I was looking for something to cap the top of the cornice. While I let this percolate in the back of my mind I moved on the Pulp Sci Fi diorama. Then disaster struck! Well, not really, but I wanted to create the hull of the rocket ship out of 1mm Sintra at the same time it struck me that Sintra would work as the cap stone for the DV Ross & CO building and I didn't have any left!

I made an order that included a 1, 2 and 3mm Sintra and, of course, it hasn't arrived yet. In the mean time I moved forward with the base for DV Ross. I decided to glue it permanently to the base and discovered that I really disliked the color of the base, so I repainted that with a 1:1 mix of Reaper Leather White and Panzer Aces (Vallejo) Highlight US Tkcr. I think it looks much better now. I just need to let this set up for a bit before I attack it with some oils for weathering.

I'm still contemplating what to do with the roof. I think it needs some brick detail along the inside and unfortunately there isn't enough scrap brick from the kit to do that. Still thinking about that. At the moment I'm leaning towards paper but I need to take a look at see if I can find some brick sheet that would work I know there are more than a few sources for that out there.

So a week with not a whole lot accomplished on either project, to the point were I was considering pulling out the pirate ship and doing some work on that, because the ideas in my head never really stop.

Attaching the building to the base. Without thinking it out I used wood glue, completely forgetting that the base is a piece of 3mm Sintra. So far the bond is holding and I don't think its going to be a problem.

The roof was warping so I added some extra bracing to flatten it out. At this point its just resting in place. I may not glue it down just so I can still access the inside if I want to.
Here is the new concrete color, a bit on the brown side but its just the base color. More colors to come!

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

The Sci Fi Pulp Diorama - Interior Continued

It feels like things are coming together. However, it was feeling a bit fragile so I decided that some interior ribs would add strength and provide more visual interest. It took a bit of thought but in the end I was able to cut some long "ribs" from Sintra to make it work. I'm happy enough that I think I have reached the gluing stage except I don't have any glue! I pulled my bottle of solvent from Plastruct and it was empty! Now I have to find some, the local hobby shop doesn't carry this solvent anymore so I need to find a replacement. I also need to order some 1mm Sintra to make the curved hull from.

Here I was experimenting with the spacing and trying to keep in mind that there are two solid bulk heads that have to go in there as well.

Its mostly equally spaced, this is the view from the "outside".

Looking down the "side" I like this view, to bad it won't be a visible part of the scene.

With the floor in place the whole thing feels a lot more rigid than before,

A view from inside the rocket ship.

And our main cast of characters. The Alien will be set back another inch or so actually coming through the doorway, I'm still struggling with how I'm going to create the "bursting through" effect.

Right now everything is very symmetrical and now I'm leaning towards keeping it that way. I think I'll be cutting it off, on both ends, right after that first rib before/after the bulkhead depending on which side you are on. I'm contemplating mirrors on the ends to create the effect of a larger ship but the one on the right is going to reflect the backside of the Alien and I'm not quite sure how to get around that. Plus I'm worried that it will amplify the light from the LEDs to much,

Thursday, April 20, 2023

The Sci Fi Pulp Diorama - Beginning the Interior

As I mentioned previously I made a few decisions after I finished the cardboard mockup. I redrew the template with a shallower arch and a bit taller. I then grabbed a large piece of 3mm Sintra (foamed PVC, Sintra is a brand name but its kind of like Kleenex, the brand name becomes the generic term) and cut it down to rectangles. From there I taped the block of them together and taped the template to the top. Then I took it to the scroll saw and cut out the basic shape.

After the basic shape was cut I sanded everything down so it was, mostly, even. I taped four of the pieces together and cut out the internal ribs on the scroll saw. I left 3, although I thought I had left 4, pieces solid to serve as the bulkheads. I'll cut the hatches out of those and the bulkheads will define the main "interior" where the action is taking place. I'll still haven't decided on what that width will be. If you have read any of my postings on diorama design you know that I like to keep things as small as possible. This one is a little easier because I'm defining the "base" rather than working with a commercial product of some kind.

The grid that you see on the "floor" is 1 1/8" square and was intended for a different project. Right now its a convenient reference as I play with the size. I just have to remember that those squares are not 1" squares!

Bulkheads and ribs cut out on the scroll saw. I may or may not drill holes in the ribs as well. At the moment I'm liking the solid look better.

Playing with distance. The Alien will be coming through the hatchway. So the rib on the side will actually be a solid bulkhead piece. The same is true with the crew, they will be standing in front of bulkhead with a closed hatch. Also the ribs are out to far. I need to cut the slots in the "floor" to slide them into, so those bits will be about a 1/2" closer to the viewer. The floor is the width I want it, at least at the moment.

Different angle

Moving everyone closer together. I'm leaning towards this one. The ribs will need to be centered and the right side bulkhead moved back. At the moment I'm thinking that only about an 1" of space will be necessary on the opposite sides of the bulkheads. Maybe a bit more on the left because the Alien will be on both sides of the hatch so maybe 1 1/2" on that side. It will make things a bit asymmetric but that should be okay. That would make the visible portion about 7 1/2" long. I could actually use a mirror on the right side. I'll have to think about that.

Monday, April 17, 2023

The Sci Fi Pulp Diorama - The Mock Up

For this particular diorama I want a curved wall representing the outer hull of the rocket ship. The term rocket ship is deliberate, this is pulp sci fi after all. So out came the cardboard and a flurry of cutting I pieced together this mock up. I can see a couple of issue right of the bat, which is the whole point. 

First thing to keep in mind is that this will be a shadow box. The interior will not depend on room lighting for illumination. The largest white LED will be mounted on the "outside" of the ship, in theory representing the sun. With two windows cut into the hull it should cast some interesting shadows and I might even be able to use them as spot lights.  I'm thinking that the actually section for the fight will have two smaller while LEDs mounted with some kind of shade, again, to help direct the lighting. In the center of the main section I'll mount a small red LED, obviously we are in a condition red situation. I'm not sure where I'll mount the buttons for the LEDS yet. If they are on the front there might be to much interaction with attendees. If they are on the back, they may never get turned on. So I'm thinking along the top at this point.

With that background I think its to long. I'll need to reduce what can be seen on the "stage left" and "stage right" ends. Its to wide, I need to rethink how I want to position the bulkhead hatches. Right now they are to far forward but the curve of the hull is to extreme to move them deeper into the diorama. I need to reduce the curvature of the hull and increase the height. While I want the alien to be massive I also need to have a little room to work with so somewhere between 1/2" and 1" added to the height. I'm thinking of reducing the width by at least an 1".

The number of miniatures feels just about right at this point. The heroine can probably go as is or maybe with a minor arm and/or head adjustment. The dwarf gunner needs some work. One foot is a bit miscast, I'll fix that with putty. His biggest need is for some kind of ammunition feed for the gatling gun he is firing. I'll need to build up his existing backpack and add an ammunition belt.

The toolbots needs a lot of modification but these are plastic so that should be a lot easier than it was modifying the original metal versions. The rats will be sprinkled amongst what ever nooks and crannies end up be created as part of the scene. On the top I want to show some internal girders between "floors" with a rat or two running through that. I have 8 rats to removed from their bases, that should be fun. I'm going to use 4-5 of them.

The Alien needs some work as well. I assembled the "legs" to see what I was working with. I'm hoping a little heat will allow me to bend the tentacles without to much effort and without distorting the casting go much. We will see how that goes.
The beginning. Nothing to see here, move along.

Windows added, one doorway cut. Don't like the Alien's position at this point.

Just not conveying the whole terror vibe yet.

That's a little better. Alien  mostly through the bulkhead and a little support for our Heroine.

Weapon fire definitely seems to be ineffective at this point. Need to remember to add a lot of spent brass casings to the floor. Need to leave a trail as the intrepid crew fall back to the next bulkhead.

Will our plucky toolbot get the hatch open in time?
Tune in next week, same time, same channel.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

The Wood Logic Puzzle Project - First up the Soma Cube

To go along with the jigsaw puzzle I made for Christmas I thought I would take a shot at making some wood logic puzzles. I remember my dad having a plastic version of the Soma Cube back when I was a kid. It disappeared sometime between living and Kentucky and moving to Colorado. The basic idea is to take the seven shapes and put them back together as a cube.

I spent the afternoon cutting 1" cubes for this using up some of the oak and walnut that is hanging around in the shop looking for a purpose. This is definitely a prototype and if I enjoy the process then I'll build some jigs that would make building these a lot easier.

All the pieces arranged into a cube

The seven pieces. I'm making mine from oak and walnut

A box full of 1" oak and walnut cubes

A few laid out as the "z" piece.