Sunday, 22 April 2012

Figuring it out

At last, the fabric of the buildings, furniture and fittings is complete and it is time to populate the model with the little figures. There has to be a practical limit to the quantity that can be made within the deadline and agreed budget, so I have planned to produce 8 figures in total.

The technique I have employed is to use copper wire to form an armature which provides the essential support and general proportions.

The figures are initially created with no thought given to pose and bent into position just prior to fleshing out to a fuller shape.

I use a 2-part resin putty (called Milliput) to form the bulk of the figure. Milliput is available in a small range of colours according to the intended application. I use the basic, standard version, as I will end up adding paint finishes. The material is prepared by cutting an equal amount of each of the two components.  They are then blended together thoroughly.

It does tend to feel a bit sticky to use, but after a while it's something you get used to. 

One advantage of Milliput, is that once it has hardened (2-3 hours) the work piece can be carved, sanded, drilled etc. Plus, you can add further material to enable you to continue building up.

To edit a pose, it is possible to us a fine saw, or knife to cut through a limb (down to the armature wire) and bend the limb to a new position. The gaps are then filled with a small portion of Milliput, or for very small cuts and gaps, a 2-part wood fillers or car body filler can be used to make good.

The blacksmith figure was made with the tool holding  arrangements in place from the start. However, as modelling progressed, I became aware that my proportions were somewhat wrong and that the head was way too large. By a gradual process of further carving and grinding away of material, I was able to bring it round to a more satisfactory conclusion. This ability of Milliput to work with both additive and subtractive processes makes this a great way to go for little figures such as these.

As soon as I was satisfied with the modelling of each figure, I coated each one with white spray primer and then decorated them with acrylic paints.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Raising the roof 2

To finalise the shop roof section, it just remains to fabricate and fix the terracotta ridge tiles.
Fo this I cut long, thin sections of balsa wood to form into lengths of "Y" shaped section. The aim was to separate them into many individual tile-sized pieces for an extra level of detail. However, time is ticking away and although I took this approach with the one short roof elevation, it proved a challenge to cut neatly with the bandsaw and the section is too big for my Proxxon mini circular saw.

A more efficient production method was found by engraving grooves in the prepared section material to represent the gaps. After the mitred corners were removed to form the shaping of the upright member, I re-sprayed the work with red oxide paint. A patination of thin, black stain was added and this heightened the impression of the joint details.

Although cutting the tiles individually gives a more 
detailed result, time does not allow for this to be 
continued throughout.

Vincent Creatives model making
The completed shop roof

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Raising the roof 1

The cutaway sections of walls and roof provide great views of the interior of the model, and for this to work, only a small part of the upper floor section remains intact - the landing, at the head of the stairs and the section at the front of the shop, under the intersecting gable roof area.

The horizontal section of the first floor ceiling was fabricated from 0.8mm thick Birch ply and stained to match all other interior wall cladding. Small sections of balsa wood were cut and glued to recreate the rafters.

The whole roof was clad, inside with 6mm wide planked cladding, whilst the outer surface was clad with plain plywood sheet to act as a substrate for the later addition of the roofing slates.

With so many windows and other apertures, it must be assumed that virtually every part of the interior will be viewable, so all surfaces were decorated and made presentable.

The outer surface of the roof however would be covered by slates, so an overall black coat of paint would be sufficient preparation.

Although I was very keen to get started on adding the roof tiles, it became clear that the exterior wall should be painted first. This is something I have been putting of for a few weeks as I didn't want the decorative finish to become damaged through repeated handling. Now seems to be the time. But first, a few little dings and flaw needed filling and some details such as the door and window arches still needed defining.

After the brick textures were completed, the barge boards were fabricated from white HIPS plastic strip sheet material and we were ready to start fixing the slates.

A4 sheets of 0.5mm thick black HIPS plastic sheets were cut into strips and then partially cut into individual slate shapes. A certain amount on distressing was applied to the edges to replicate the texture of natural slate. When fixed in alternate overlapping layers the effect becomes quite realistic.

The rear face of the roof is just one, plain overall area and was fairly straightforward to clad in plastic slates.

The main part of the roof featuring the intersecting gables is another issue. At the intersections, it is necessary to introduce lead flashing to form watertight valleys. This was achieve with real 0.5mm thick lead, a specialist material supplied by 4D Model shop in London. This material is so flexible that is will form around all sorts of shapes and angles.