Friday, 30 March 2012

Window shopping

Next the window frame was built up from strips of Lime wood and picked out with green and white acrylic paint. The decking inside the shop window was also clad with 0.8mm thick birch ply. This was then stained to match the shop wall cladding.

During one of our later surveying sessions, we revealed a glazed sliding window system at the rear of the front window platform. This had in recent decades been covered with pegboard to provide screening and further display hanging area. The removal of all this material resulted in great views throughout the whole length of the shop.

In order to replicate the fine glazing bars of the original I needed to produce 1mm x 1mm strips of Lime wood and very carefully built up the frame work using cyanoacrylate adhesive to produce each tiny butt joint.

The black and white tile design of the porch floor design was replicated by Jean, my wife producing a computer vector artwork from photographic references. The completed design was printed onto archival paper before mounting onto the floor substrate with adhesive film.

The shop front door is glazed and features the original, H&J Cutlack etched-glass sign, plus the more recent, Adams & Sons sign in white enamelled copper. To replicate this, I produced a computer artwork and printed the design onto clear plastic material. The white opaque letters were then hand-painted onto the rear surface.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Shop front_3

Because all three of the red brick columns have close-fitting frames of green and white, all butting up closely, it seemed sensible to paint the brick colour before adding the frame to avoid too much "cutting-in" later.

The process started with a dry-brush application of burnt sienna acrylic paint as a base-coat. In leaving the mortar grooves almost pure white, the initial effect was a bit stark.

To subdue this effect, I prepared a more fluid mix of burnt sienna and white. This was added selectively over the initial coat.

The competed paintwork. Each column includes a solid terra-cotta block with a carved framework design on each external face.

Even with the most careful planning, some design issues are not always clear-cut until the making process is well underway.  I needed a means of getting the 12 volt electric power up to where I the interior lighting will be situated. At one stage I imagined that I might feed a cable through a random drainpipe at the rear of the building, but this would not have been authentic and it would have been difficult to achieve.

I decided the best option was to chase a groove into one of the columns. Being made of lightweight foam, this was a simple matter using a miniature electric drill with a very fine grindstone to cut a groove deep enough to accept the electrical connection wires.

A pair of wires for each of the two floors was fed through the column up to the LED lamps in order to illuminate the darker corners of the shop.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Cromwellian Barn - part 3

Having decided that is was in fact a good idea to take time out and exhibit the model at the recent informal Open Day, my plan was to concentrate on the separate barn model. This aspect of the overall scheme was the closest to being finished and is mounted on its own, smaller baseboard and plinth.

In the posting - Barn part 2, I had completed the roof support framework before putting it aside. It was now time to think about cladding the roof structure. Internally, the roof is lined with a herringbone pattern "thatch". Research shows that rather than being a thatch, this is actually "Fleeking" which is a sort of reed undercoat layer instead of using battens. On top of this layer would have been a full layer of true thatch. This had long ceased to be effective in the 19th century, when the current corrugated iron cladding was installed.

The eroded reed "fleeking" reveals sing of the later installed iron cladding

Many experiments were conducted in order to find the best way to reproduce the fleeking, including woven rafia, but it was all too thick and out of scale. In the end, we opted for a printed graphic solution. We employed Photoshop to build up the whole roof from a small sampled area of a photograph.

Interior of model roof showing the printed fleeking
beneath the representation of the galvanised iron.

The corrugated iron cladding was made from a specialised grade of board from GF Smith. The inside was sprayed with a can of silver paint, then spattered with a matt  grey primer to give an impression of a galvanised surface.

On the outer surface, a further layer of this material was mounted back to back onto the inner layer. The natural colour was left as-is because it very closely matched the iron oxide (rusted) effect of the exposed face.

The rather ad-hoc method treatment the the ends of the original roof were replicated by folding the material over the edges ad fixing with Uho adhesive - obviously, the 19th century roofers would not have had Uhu to work with.

This shot shows the roof with antiquing applied to the cladding. Also the printed reed fleeking layer is exposed and the edges carefully eroded with a scalpel.

Further developments evident here are, the wall planking is well under way and a printed replica of the enamel sign is mounted in place. Just visible inside the barn door is the galvanised water tank - more of that later.

After some careful dry-brushing of the end wall, the barn starts to look lived in. Before assembly, the sheet foam end wall was engraved to the required brickwork layout. By lightly wafting acrylic colours over the top surface of the wall, the colour was applied to the brick, but the "mortar grooves" remain in contrast.

With the plank-built barn doors in place, complete
with rusted hinges, his aspect of the model is now
virtually complete.

The virtually completed barn model complete with tree (made by Jean Vincent).

Finishing touches provided by coiling the finest
(0.8mm thick) birch plywood and adding fine fabric
mesh, sprayed silver.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Shop front_2

Once the ground floor section of the brick columns were fixed in place, the fabrication of the timber cross members could commence. The whole front section of the shop is almost entirely glazed, requiring a complex timber framing structure to provide integrity. The design features a large, covered and gated porch with a mirrored ceiling.

The facade box section was gradually built up in a way that would provide a method of routing wire cables to supply the internal lighting.

At the same height as the timber facade, the brick column contains solid terra-cotta block featuring carved border designs. This was replicated by building up tiny mitred moulding frames  from obeche timber.

At this stage it was necessary to establish a method for suspending the shop ceiling/first floor beams. I decided to use the inner edge of the facade structure as a means of fixing the assembly. Due to the large amount of cut-away wall and ceiling required to give good internal view of the shop floor, it seemed sensible to restrict the amount of area of the first floor to two small sections - an area adjacent to the shop front and a small area to form a landing at the top of the staircase.

These floor sections took the form of 1mm thick white plastic to represent white ceiling planks, a 6mm thick balsa core for rigidity and then 0.8mm thick birch ply cladding to represent floor planking.

From this point it was possible to continue the upward journey of the brick columns towards the roof level. Now we really start to get an idea of the form of the shop front with a nice sense of the internal space.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Branching out

 So as to fit in an estate car, the "model" is actually split into two separate  models. The larger one comprises the shop and the forge and the smaller one contains the barn. Due to the variations of the height of the buildings, we decided to fabricate a large tree to balance the heights and facilitate the use of a consistent depth for the acrylic covers.

My wife, Jean is in charge of the tree making for this project as she is on all other architectural scale models. I did, however provide a rough metal armature for the main trunk, upon which, Jean developed the arboreal design.

Copper plumbing tube was roughly bent to shape and soldered together to form a basic trunk.

The natural open ends of the tubes offered a handy aperture  in which to plant bundles of wires to start braiding to form the lower branches.

Various gauges of galvanised wire were used to gradually build up the form of the branch system.

The overall shape and size of the tree was critical in order to fit snugly around the shape of the barn and within the acrylic cover.

When the superstructure was completed, it was time to apply an outer layer to resemble a natural bark. The chosen material was tissue paper and PVA adhesive. The resultant wrinkles give an excellent natural appearance.

This texture was applied to all but the finest extremities of the branches, then an acrylic paint finish was applied to the completed branch system.

Finally, foliage was added using natural, self-coloured lichen. UHU adhesive was employed because it has a certain level of flexibility when dry. This ensures that the natural movement in transport would not break a more brittle such as cyanoacrylate. No further colouring was required.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Shop front_1

Now that the barn and forge have both progressed very well, it is time to return to the shop - the central component of this model.

Because we planning to have good views of the interior scenes within the two-story shop building, it is necessary to form cut-away sections in one side wall,  ground floor ceiling and the roof space.

After careful planning,  I decided on a suitable cut-away pattern for the wall and committed to cutting it to shape before fixing in position on the semi-assembled structure.

Even though the main view will be into the long, side elevation, with all the cut-away areas and many windows, it must be assumed that no part of the model will be hidden from view and therefore everything must be finished to a high standard and not "fudged because it won't be seen".

The fourth side, the shop front, is a very complex structure and although I have thoroughly photographed and surveyed the whole area, I cannot yet say I have a truly clear idea of the best way to approach this area.

What is clear is that the three columns of glazed, terra-cotta brick can safely be put in place, at least up to ground floor ceiling height where there are substantial cross-members that support the first floor beams. The nature of the columns change from bricks to a large, carved block of terra-cotta stone.

My trusty old marking out tool was employed to ensure consistent heights for each of the corner columns.