Sunday, September 30, 2012

Quar 15.6: Finished Mounds

Mounds are all complete. Here's Mound 1. I first undercoated it neutral gray, then gave it a darker wash, then a highlight. Roofs were glued into position and numerous colors of lichen and flocking were added. I also mixed some Vermiculite (used by gardeners for potting plants) with white glue and paint and blobbed it on here and there for bushes. Covered the base in Mixed Turf.

Mound 1 entrance is a simple overhang, HIRST stone floor casting, and a bench for visitors and package deliveries.

S‘hard makes sure the door is securely locked.

Finished Mound 2. By the entrance is a bead pot and a sprig of dry foliage.

All of the rooftop gardens have lichen and various Vermiculite/white glue/paint plants (dabbed with splashes of flower color).

S’hard comes through a hatch to sit on a small stool and take a well deserved break.

Finished Mound 3.

Entrance and window. Pots are beads with HO scale plants.

Balcony and grounds inspection.

After all that continual and exhausting investigating, S’hard was only able to find a single suspicious item, an errant wanted poster strewn about. Obviously, his stellar reputation has scared off any would-be miscreants and he signs off on the completed project as being safe and sound.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Quar 15.5: Sculptamolding

The finished rooms (other side, with temporary roofs), vent, simple outside door and side vent (HIRST Mold 321) have been glued to Mound 1. I then mixed SCULPTAMOLD Modeling Compound with water and a bit of black paint (so I could tell where I’ve applied it) and slathered the sticky stuff on with a Popsicle stick and fingers.

NOTE: Sculptamold takes a looooong time to completely dry! The mounds were left in the garage (nice and HOT… 90-100 degrees during the day) for an entire week before I did any further work on them.

Each of the vents is a piece of ¾” O. D. thin wall plastic tubing (used for sprinklers) with bits added. Mound 1 vent has an inner wheel from a cassette tape, some unknown bit, and plastic strips glued on, then painted a sandstone color. I’ll weather it later.

S‘hard eyes a suspicious looking hound lounging over near the scraps box. He later discovers it’s just his old pal Beans.

Mound 2 and its vent (I added Micro-balloons to the vent paint for texture).

Mound 3, its entrance, small window box and vent.

S’hard says, “These need doors and shutters for security. Can‘t be too safe, y‘know.”

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Quar 15.4: Roofs. Mound Shaping.

For the roofs I used 1/8” clapboard. For each I cut a set of four pieces with three or four rows for variety.

The pieces were end-cut at an angle and glued to a separate piece of mat board that was the same size as the top of the room*, then card corners were glued on. I undercoated the surface a dark blue, then painted on individual tiles a lighter blue. I did another blue set for Mound 2 as well as a set of dark/light red ones for Mound 3.

Lesson Learned: If I had been smarter I would have simply painted the pieces the lighter color and used a black .08 micro-marker to draw vertical lines to separate the tiles, then glued the pre-painted pieces to the under-roof. The roofs would have looked a lot crisper. Hindsight is 20/20.

* The completed roof assemblies will NOT glued to the room yet so I can paint and terrain the mounds without having to work around the roofs.

Time for the mounds themselves! I had some thick Styrofoam available so I cut some to approximate size, stacked the slabs up (temporarily holding them together with skewers), and used a WOODLAND SCENICS hot wire cutter to cut them to basic shape. Behind stands a piece of tubing I'll use for vents.

S’hard has slipped into his black stealthy wear to better fool any miscreants he might come across. Seems they’ve left the area, at least for the moment.

Mound 1 after it’s been defined with a TIPPI Hot Foam Cutter, and its slabs glued together. A great tool!

The TIPPI I used. The changeable tips are really handy, the square one being especially useful when I cut out the room notches.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Quar 15.3: Round Windows. More Timbering. Texture

I’m be using hard plastic rings from a craft store for the round windows. I’ll spray them KRYLON FUSION semi-gloss black (made for plastic), then another coat of KRYLON flat black. Inspector S’hard hasn’t found any undesirables lurking about yet but he‘s ever vigilant.

I like the look of the windows on
(Instructions, Painting and Finishing PDF) so I’m using those techniques.
TOP ROW, L-R: First I painted a large area of thin card a dull, dark blue (I used FOLKART INDIGO craft paint), then drew rows of circles that were each a bit larger that the ring’s inner diameter, using a circle template. I drew the circles with plenty of room around each… Added white to the Indigo and painted the bottom two-thirds… Added more white and painted the bottom third. BOTTOM ROW, L-R: Painted white reflections with an off-white craft paint, then gloss coated… Cut out the circles a bit smaller than the ring’s outer diameter… And super-glued the disc to the underside of the black ring. TA DAA! A finished round window… The reverse side.
I’ll need twenty or so windows for the project.

A whole array of windows ready to be cut out and glued to rings. Note that the edges will be covered by a ring so I didn’t have to be overly precise with the painting.

On each box I lightly sketched in where the interior timbering and windows were going to be, then glued the windows and cut/glued the timbers in place. I used the scraps I had saved.. Next, for texture, I used a 50/50 mix of white craft paint and SIG MICRO-BALLOONS (another brand is K&B) and painted it between the timbers. The micro-balloons are a filler material used by model airplane hobbyists and is basically a very fine white powder. I mix enough for a single box at a time since it dries quickly.

Nine room boxes awaiting final painting. After the photo was taken, I finished painting the rooms by using medium brown for the timbers and a very, very thin dirty wash for the wall surfaces.

LESSON LEARNED: Well, I certainly could have been much more efficient with that part of the project! I should have precolored the timbering sticks with a marker that matched my dark brown paint (instead of using a black one) before they were cut and glued into place. It would have saved me a LOT of time!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quar 15.2: Basic Timbering

I cut a piece off a sheet of balsa wood that was longer than any side of my boxes. I “painted” the underside with a yellowish marker and the topside with a black marker. As you can see, the marker was almost out of ink so I had to reink them with another marker that had blacker ink after this photo was taken to darken them.
I set my handy dandy stripper to about 1/16” and cut as many strips as I could. You’ll notice that the strips aren’t all EXACTLY the same width but that’s fine with me since I’m going for a rustic look. (You can also see how some of the cut strips have flipped over, showing their yellow underside.)
I used a black marker again and painted the two sides of each strip.

The strips were glued to the top and bottom edges of each box with their yellow part towards the box. The BabeBot (TOOLS) really helped with this since I was able to apply thin amounts of glue quickly.

“So how come for why did you glue them to each the box so weirdly?” asks concerned reader Anne Teeder…

Well, Anne, I’m right handed and it made it easier to trim off the excess, flip the box, trim off the next piece, and so on.

Once the top and bottom edges were done it was time for the side edges. Strips were set into place and trimmed with a single edge razor blade, then glued. The advantage of the blade is it’s thinner than an Xacto: I simply pressed part way down on the strip to jam it into the blade, lifted the blade/strip to the cutting mat, and finished the cut. Easy! I’ll keep all scraps for later.

Basic timbering all done. And you can’t even see where the pieces meet at the corner, which is why I had premarked the corners black earlier.

I made a very small box (which will have a window) and a large box (which will have a door).

The basic timbered boxes.