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)

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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Acquisitions - Narrow Gauge Pictorial Vol I

Well, it seems that some of these books just keep falling into my lap at reasonable prices. How can I refuse! Here is Vol 1 Locomotives the RGS & D&RGW.

Monday, April 10, 2023

The Sci Fi Pulp Diorama - The Gathering

While I was messing around with templates and finding the bits and bobs that I had already accumulated I went back to Reaper to find some more stuff to work with. I wanted to get some more toolbots for sure, I figure more than a couple of them were going to end up as crushed remnants along the floor. You can never have enough toolbots. I picked up a possible alternative to the heroine. Then, of course, while I like the original protagonist quite a bit, I think he is just to small to get the whole "terror" aspect of the diorama. 

That care package arrived on Friday, here are the contents:
Here is the whole lot. Everything I could possibly need...yeah right.

This is really most of what I want to work with. I think I have already eliminated the alternative heroine (somehow I managed to order 2, oops) and will go with the original. But toolbots and extra weapons should come in handy.

Here are the big beasties. All three of the Bathalians and the Hivewarden. I think the Hivewarden has a lot of potential, perhaps add some bits from the others to up the "fear" factor.


Thursday, April 6, 2023

Once more into the Breach - The Sci Fi Pulp Diorama

I have had this concept for a Sci Fi Pulp Era diorama in my head for years now. I even have miniatures primed and ready to go but I just couldn't seem to make any headway on it. Those minis were scattered across my workbench or even repurposed for other projects. This one has really been in my head the last week or so. Enough that I decided that maybe I would make a couple of templates and mock up what it might look like.

With a ruler and an old circuit template I stared doodling some lines on a piece of cardboard. Grabbed the hero mini and decided how tall the interior of the rocket ship needed to be and I was off. In 30 minutes or so I managed to create the template for the ribs and bulkheads. Drew a couple of circles on it to represent where the cut out sections might go and things were on their way.

I also managed to find all the LED lights I bought and I pulled those out so I could figured out what I would need to do to fit the lights into place.

I need to use the template to make some ribs and bulkheads from thicker stock and I think I can mock things up pretty quickly at this point. I'm actually excited about it again! Enough so that I went in and purchased some more minis and paint from Reaper to play around with a couple of ideas for the alien menace.

I only drew on one half of the template. I cut that shape and then folded it in the middle to cut the other side. I didn't really need to, I will only be using a little more than half of it for the interior. Basically to the line to the right of the centerline.

I went ahead and cut out as many of these as I could from the piece of cardboard that I had. Don't know if I will need them but its nice to have them available.

Lights, Camera, Action! While a single 9-volt battery will run all of these lights and more, I want them on different circuits. So the plan is to have three nine volt batteries, one to run the "Sun" light, one for the main interior lights and one to run the condition red lights.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

A Brick Building from the Ground Up - Part 6

At this point I need to mount this on some kind of base. The original is now to small as it was defined for a shallow relief structure. I cut some 3mm Sintra (Foamed PVC) and laid out the building location along with the sidewalk and curb.

Of course nothing goes perfectly the first time and I had forgotten how easy it is to make impressions in the Sintra. Just drawing on it will create a depression and being ham-fisted I put a bit to much weight on my mechanical pencil.

I scored each of the correct lines with a knife then I when back a blunt sculpting tool. I'm hoping that the paint will fill in offending mistakes since they aren't terribly deep.

Starting the layout. Plenty of missteps at this point as far as proportions. All of which left light score lines...oops

Once I was happy with the proportions I scored it with a knife then ran this blunt sculpting tool to widen and deepen the grooves.

Here is the front of the building on the base. I think it looks pretty good.

I still need to cut out the curb for truck loading. Shouldn't take to much work.