Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Small Guard House

I made two little buildings for my good friend Gary Price for Iron Mask Miniatures Dwarf Musketeers games at the Pacificon gaming convention in Northern California over the 2015 Labor Day weekend. Here's a photo he sent me for reference but said he would like them to be 60mm tall (without finial) with openings around 30mm wide by 40mm tall.

They were easy to make. Here are the end results:
The walls are chipboard (stiff thin card). Detail is dollhouse trim and balsa strips. Each side was made individually, then they were glued together with a reinforcing basswood strip added at each inside corner.
The roofs are also chipboard with copper wire super glued on. Finial is a round toothpick with a small wooden bead and a plastic craft bead. The side windows are slices of plastic tubing. The building was painted as well the roof, which was then glued to the building. That's all it took to make them!

These small structures have many uses…
I'm not sure if the sign refers to the owner's name or his wares. Probably both.
No, I don't need any knuckle sandwiches, thank you very not.

Lou has souvenir town maps available for tourists.

King Bob visits a guard house. Figures are from sets by Illumination Entertain-ment / Thinkways Toys.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Steampunk Building Part Two

The inside of the building was painted a neutral grey. The upper side room was done in dark grey. The side windows were glued on and clear plastic "glass" was added from the inside. Card strips were cut to length and glued on. Peak window frame was glued on.

Between the strips, the outer walls were painted flat black with powder paint added for a thicker texture, then painted dark red and highlighted red in the centers. The strips and window frames were done brown metallic.

Prepainted plaster gears cast from a Keebler Gear mold were added on the sides of the porch. Definitely adds a Steampunk feel.
A finished window.
The peak window was glued on with Super Glue.
I made the outside door and the insert above it as well as the two interior elevator doors using craft findings. There are three levels underground (who KNOWS what the professor has going on down there!), a first/ground floor, and the second floor. All were glued to the building once it was painted.
Except for the detailed elevator doors the interior was kept very simple. Half of the upper floor lifts out for figure placement below with the table as a handle. The floors are simply scribed/painted mat board.
The roof was painted in shades of green. The chimney platform assembly was painted and glued into place.
Chimneys. The large one is a toy party favor whistle from the Dollar Store. The one in the back is a wooden train smokestack with a craft finding on top. The small one in front is a dowel with a finding.
Left: In back, there's a small shed and the elevator "chain assembly" made from a strip of wood covered in card.
 Right: On the other side of the elevator there's machinery made from Hirst mold castings with control wheels from Vector Cut Steam Age Industrial Gears and Handwheels.

That's about it. I've got to prepare some tea and crumpets for our good professor's return. In the middle of June he went off on another excursion, this time to Overpond to be in awe of renowned inventor Count Rivets. The Count has recently been gallivanting about in a new wondrous rocket ship he's constructed and, in addition, is to release an album of rocks in the near future. CHEERS!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Steampunk Building Part One

Here's a building I made for Professor Offkilter of West Cogsmesh. He desired something fashionably steampunkish for his innumerable inventivenesses.

The shell was originally planned to be a medieval tavern.
I used the tools and techniques posted in TOOLS:: Circle Cutter, Segment Marker, Strip Cutter, Seamstress Ruler.

Making the card strips with rivets: First I marked the card with lines every 6mm, then cut a bunch of strips…
Using an awl I carefully and gently pressed into the card strips at the 6mm marks. When flipped over we have a nice strip with rivets.
The Professor requested round windows so round windows it is. I'll be using Bead Landing large and small "gears" (see METHODS: Details 5). The large gears are just a bit under 25mm. I used my Circle Cutter, Segment Marker and awl to make the "frames". They were sized so the inside diameter will cover the edge of the gear and the outside diameter is larger than the holes I'll be drilling in the building.

The window at the building's front peak is a bit different. I cut off a slice of 25mm inside diameter plastic tubing. Using my Circle Cutter, I cut a thick card ring that would match the tube's outer diameter, then cut its inside diameter to overlap the gear's edges. I then notched it for a bit more detail around the gear.

On the shell I marked where I wanted the strips to go, then used the window frames and their centers to mark where to drill the window holes…

Next I drilled their holes with a 25mm hole saw (large windows) and a 16mm Speedbore/Forster bit (front door doors).

I used Super Glue to attach the window parts together. I later hand drilled holes on the peak window, added pins for detail, primed all the windows black, and painted the metal parts brown metallic. The outer ring of the peak window was painted in steel.

Assistant Timmy waves Hello! I first made the chimney platform, then glued some alignment bits underneath to the roof so the platform could be "plugged in" once detailed and painted. I added chimneys to the platform, then temporarily it onto the roof and glued shingle strips around it. The strips were sent to me by my good friend Thomas Foss of Skull and Crown fame.

--- NEXT: More details and painting ---

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Circle Cutter. Segment Marker. Strip Cutter. Seamstress Ruler

The OLFA CMP-1 Compass Circle Cutter is a great tool for cutting circles in card or balsa/basswood sheets. The major advantage is the blade and the pivot point are vertically parallel to each other. Not shown are included 6 extra blades, a protective blade cover and a pad that prevents poking the pivot point into the material (which I'm usually not concerned with).

I do my circle cutting on a scrap piece of 3mm MDF. I drilled a 1.5mm hole and superglued a short 6mm length of 1.5mm brass tubing into it so 3mm sticks up. I then cut some scrap matt board and drilled a 1.5mm in its center. This slips over the end of the tubing, prevents the OLFA from cutting into to MDF and is easily replaceable when worn out. I put a small piece of BluTac under its corner to keep it from rotating during use.

Bear with me on this next part. It's much easier to do than explain...
For each circle I set the OLFA to the correct radius of the circle. I then drill a 1.5mm in the center of scrap card that's larger than the circle I'm cutting. I then put the card over the pin tubing of the MDF/matt board and hold it in place with a finger or two. Next I place the OLFA in the tube and rotate it part way around, cutting part way into the card. I release the card and "unrotate" it as well as the OLFA. I continue to cut and unrotate until I've gone around the circle enough times to cut all the way through and TAA DAA! A NICE CLEAN CUT CIRCLE! When making a ring I simple readjust the OLFA to the correct inner radius cut out the inner circle the same way.

My explanation may make the process seem awkward but it's actually quite simple: Once the OLFA has been set and you've got a stack of card pieces with 1.5mm holes in their centers it takes very little time to cut out a bunch of circles/rings.

WHY GO THROUGH ALL THIS? 1) The pin tube really helps the cutter and card rotate with minimum difficulty and 2) Turning the cutter all the way around the circle in one go is quite awkward, especially when cutting small circles. By only cutting part of the circle at a time it is much easier AND minimizes blade wear and tear.

HINT: When cutting circles out of matt board or balsa/basswood sheet, remove the jig's matt board and put the material directly over the tubing. Once you've cut the circle almost all the way through, flip it over and finish the cut.

I drew this on scrap cardboard. The circles were drawn using a standard compass with a pencil lead (not my OLFA).

Simply place a circle or ring on it and mark segments. Very useful when I need to mark where rivets go.

Updated version of my shingle strip cutter (METHODS: HG WALLS Shingles 1). It's 3mm MDF, is adjustable and has a brass strip to run a utility or Xacto blade against. It has a piece of matt board to cut into with a piece of BluTac underneath the lower left corner to keep it in place.

Handy when marking where repetitive lines go. I added a short tapered dowel to keep the sliding part snug.