Friday, April 25, 2014

More dioramas

As unfocused as ever, I'm presently playing with a couple of dioramas. Very slowly as it happens what with one thing and another.

The first is a scene based on Hale Station which has a wonderful canopy.  Obviously that doesn't appear in the picture.  I'm still figuring out how to do it.  If there are no more posts on this, I didn't manage to figure it.

The second is of a row of seaside cottages with rough stone tile roofs.  That's an interesting challenge - styrene sheet and scribed DAS - and I'm struggling to get the colour right at the moment.  I can never seem to anticipate darkening colour as the acrylic paint dries.  The scribing also needed to be finer as the gaps between tiles appear too large.  I may lose interest in this one.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Westbay Halt Diorama

The experimental diorama is finished.  Or at least as finished as its going to be.  It would be possible to tinker for hours adding detail, and perhaps I ought to, but I'm afraid I don't have the sticking power.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately about layouts in boxes and found the concept very appealing. This is hardly a layout but I've enjoyed experimenting nonetheless.

The diorama is in an adapted IKEA APA storage box suggested to me by Mikkel.

Here are a few photos, with thanks to Mrs Chas for artistic advice.

The thing I most wanted to do with this diorama was experiment with a few of the scenic techniques I'd seen on other blogs - Rails to Llangunllo is a prime example - and improve on my past attempts.  There are some wonderful scenic materials available - Silflor grass mats, Mininatur ivy, Greenscene static grass, Noch leaves, Woodland Scenics fine leaf foliage - so little excuse not to improve.   Some materials have been around for ages though but I've just never thought to use them - hanging basket liners for the wild grassland base layer and rubberised horse hair covered with leaves for hawthorn hedges. I thought of making brambles from horse hair but decided life was too short.

It's satisfying to have made progress but with more patience I could do better.  Anyway, on to the next project. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Seaside Cottages ..... and a new toy

At the moment I'm quite into the idea of constructing small dioramas so as to experiment with different modelling techniques in a small and contained area.   I came across a photo of seaside cottages at Mousehole which I fancied having a go at modelling, full of character and in an attractive setting too. But should the walls be of embossed styrene sheet or DAS?  Since the idea of the diorama is experimentation, it had to be DAS.

After cutting out the structure from 30 thou styrene and lots (I thought) of bracing, the walls were covered with PVA followed by a couple of millimeters of DAS, smoothed with a wallpaper seam roller.  None of this is new of course. I copied all of the techniques from Iain Robinson's blog which is full of superb examples. Have a look here at the latest.

The drying process overnight showed up some inadequacies in the bracing with a few warped walls. However, they can be bent back into shape and braced after the event and any cracks filled with DAS.

Then comes the scribing which leaves a sore forefinger but is actually quite relaxing when accompanied by Radio 4 (or Radio 4 Extra when the alternative is Front Row with Mark Lawson).

What about windows?  Off the shelf, bespoke, home made? On Mikkel's blog I read a discussion on the Silhouette Cameo cutter.  I couldn't resist buying the smaller version - the Portrait - and what a wonderful toy!  Reasonably priced too considering the cost of bespoke windows. With forgiving and easy to use design software included it was no trouble to produce a few sample window built up in layers -  window frame, top sash and bottom sash for example.  I couldn't get it to cut through 15 thou styrene but the sheet was sufficiently deeply scored to make cutting through by hand with a scalpel a very simple task.

I just wonder how durable it will be and how often the blade will need replacing but so far so good.  It goes without saying that I am looking for more excuses to play with it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bay Hotel

It's taken me ages to get round to the final few jobs that needed doing to the hotel what with Christmas, general laziness and starting other projects but the previously named Westbay Hotel is now finished.   At some point I may get round to changing the hanging sign - my printer is just not fine enough to print anything at that scale which looks half decent.

The ornamental barge boards are from a Langley Models kit, the chimney pots are from Wizard Models and the balcony balustrades from Scale Link.


For the next project I have two dioramas in mind.  The first is the Westbay Halt which at the moment I'm thinking will be in quite a remote looking location......

....and the second is a town scene featuring the hotel and probably reflecting a little of Aberdovey. I'm planning a trip to the Stafford  model railway exhibition next weekend so by this time next week I shall have changed my mind.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seasons Greetings from the Westbay Hotel

As Google+ had gone to the trouble of adding snow to this image of the incomplete Westbay Hotel, I thought I would post it to illustrate the temperate climate of Westbay.  No matter how much it snows, it never settles.

Still plenty to do on the hotel in the new year - slating, guttering, balconies, signage and so on which I look forward to doing.  In the meantime, a very happy new year to all.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The next sleigh to arrive at platform 1 .......

I know, I know, you'd never see a sleigh in that configuration on the Cambrian Coast line but I don't care. It's my train set.

Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Westbay Hotel

The diorama, Westbay, of which the halt forms part is based on Penhelyg on the Cambrian Coast line.  The line there  runs at the back of the rooftops of a row of houses but I'm aiming for a more seaside feel and decided a harbour side hotel was needed.  So this is the Westbay Hotel, unless it looks wrong, in which case it will be cast aside as something else.

I have learned the hard way that styrene walls, to which DAS has been applied with PVA, warp alarmingly without bracing and even then that it doesn't mater how much bracing I use, the styrene will still find a way to warp in some unpredictable way.  I have also learned that DAS is forgiving and will happily bend back into shape without cracking provided the warping is not too bad.  Wonderful stuff.

For the first time I have used, mostly, windows from Truetexture which are quite expensive but very good. Worth it.

Lots still to do, which suits me just fine.  This is another model I don't want to finish.  Blogging about it puts off that day!

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