Saturday, November 29, 2008

airing some thoughts

I guess it's about time to get a little philosophical about my modeling and any other subject I deem appropriate for here. After all, and with deference to Leslie Gore, "it's my blog and I'll do what I want to". There's a lot that crosses my mind as I'm working on a build not the least of which is what I want the piece to turn out being. Often, as in life in general, 'the best laid plans.....' , or as some would say, Murphy's Law kicks in. Anything can change at a moments notice and alter the finest of intentions. This happens all too frequently in my modeling and I'm sure I'm not alone in sharing this fate. I try to insure against mistakes and what I like to refer to as 'material failure' and as I grow in my modeling, these mistakes become fewer. I have learned especially to take more time with things and have learned to recognize the limiting properties of materials (and myself, in the immortal words of Dirty Harry "a man's got to know his limitations"). Learning by experience to make different choices in techniques and materials from those that I first started using has been augmented with advice and tutorials from all different modeling genres. I've mentioned that military modelers have had a profound impression on my weathering before and larger scale vehicle modelers are very adept at scratch building and kit bashing. Model railroaders and diorama builders look at the world of miniatures in a completely different way and come up with techniques and practices that can benefit any kind of modeler. I have developed, at the very least into a good student (where was this propensity 50 years ago?)

Above you will notice a model of a 1940 Ford coupe. On seeing how larger scale modelers grind out the insides of a model to represent the cancerous rust around fenders and also how they make dented looking sheet metal, I decided to try some of their techniques on a 1/87 scale model. The base model here is a really awful injected molded piece from an outfit called Herka but the casting has been done by several others, most notable Tyco. The details are lacking and what is there can at best be considered barely acceptable but the initial shape, proportion and scale accuracy is pretty good. I cut the hood and grille area out and had to carve the headlight bezels into the front fenders. The engine, firewall and radiator came from the '40 Ford sedan model kit by Jordan. I wish I had a bunch of these little flathead V8's to fool around with.

You might remember my Model AA stake bed that has an exposed engine too. It's at this point in the writing that I realize that there is going to be a theme to the photos I show. Let's see what I come up with in showing the power plants on some of my models. Revealing the inner workings, so to speak. The Model AA motor is again a Jordan piece, this one from the deuce coupe kit they make. The photo below showing what the intended model for that motor is. All spiffed up with an Alcad 2 paint job. If I hadn't mentioned it before, this Alclad product is a super chrome finish. One needs to put down a good smooth black enamel finish on whatever you want chromed and then a very light coat of the Alclad 2 finish goes on. The Alclad is a lacquer based product and in effect dissolves a portion of the underlying black enamel to combine for a bright chrome.

I hearken back now to the days before I started weathering everything I built. This resides in a collection of another fellow and he did not want any weathering on it anyway. It is a resin model of a Kenworth C540 oilfield tractor. The model is from Diesel 87 and is quite nice with some photo etched details but a very heavy price tag. In kit form, it retails for $150.00. Add what I charged the gentleman to construct the model. It is a very impressive machine even in 1/87 scale though. The kit included the engine so as to be able to model it sans hood or covered. I added the steering column.
The Alloy Forms Constructor was in my post on dump trucks. The engine shown is the diesel 6 from the Herpa/Promotex Mack CH. You will notice some piping and a steering column added to the engine compartment here.

I haven't yet shown this next piece yet mostly because I have yet to get a photo that accurately displays the truck. For some reason the color or intensity of particular features of the truck just come out all wrong. I'll risk showing it anyway since it is a real nice model kit and the truck itself is a beaut. The resin kit comes from Don Mills models and is of the Mack FCSW quarry truck with chain drive.

Some time ago, I was given a super nice resin casting of the Cat c12 diesel motor with tranny. I couldn't figure out (or haven't yet) how to use this really great little model in a truck. But I did have the opportunity to utilize the transmission part to get a nice detailed look to the back side of the International Emeryville. Both the Cat engine and the Emeryville were graciously given to me by Bob Johnson.

One more example of the inner workings of a vehicle in this model that you have seen several variations on already in past postings. The Bucyrus Erie B2 steam units from Vintage Vehicles I've done without the cabin housing since the details on the boiler and engines is so nice. I made the piece on the left into a shallow dredging barge. And the right photo shows a lattice boom crane version.

Well I hope I didn't embarrass anyone with all this exposure. Perhaps I will cover up better next time.

And if I don't get back to this in the next few weeks, please all have a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2009.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Where's the beef?

Since I just finished this latest diorama, I thought I would share it with you. It's based on a laser cut wood structure kit (my first actually) from Durango Press that they refer to as the newspaper office. Having scratch built many of my structures and used several different plastic kits, I wanted to go with an inexpensive laser wood kit for my first. I wasn't quite sure I would like them and to be quite frank, I'm not terribly enthused. Don't get me wrong, the kit was fine and turned out pretty good but I felt a bit constricted in just what it was I could do with it and the tolerances aren't what I myself like to deal with. Be that as it may, I had some fun with it and I hope you enjoy the end result. This is the photo that comes on the box to give you an idea of the manufacturers intentions.

The first step I took was to layout the building on a piece of 1/4" plywood, size the wood and seal it with shellac. I decided to do a butcher shop and use the small shed addition for a smokehouse building separate from the main structure. The next decision was to create a different elevation in the rear by making the basement a walkout. I used Evergreen styrene brick wall for foundations and added the window and doors to make it a walkout. By shaping and gluing 1" extruded styrofoam insulation board I was able to make the elevations for this configuration. As you can see, I've already assembled and braced the main structure and cut the foundation walls here but everything is just dry stacked for the moment.

At this point I know my footprint sizes so I am able to do some grading with plaster. Normally I like to paint the dried and shaped plaster with a dark color but all I had was red primer so this is what you see in the next photo. I've also finished building a door from wood and added the window to the brickwork. The sharp drop in grade between the buildings has had a retaining wall built from cut linoleum flooring. I individually painted the bricks to give a slight variation to the color and washed it with an acrylic linen white for the mortar joints. The doors have been distressed with a razor saw and washed with a rather thick wash of RR Tie brown acrylic then weathered with chalks.

I proceeded to tackle the small smokehouse then and used the same painting method as on the other brick. It has a corrugated steel roof on it and the sidewalls were weathered using the RR Tie brown with a wash of red chalk dissolved in alcohol. You'll notice some ground cover here that I put down that consists of a screened gravel I acquire from well drilling spoils. The roof is a bit too orange in this photo and you will see that I toned it down later. I put a wood jamb for the upper door and used another piece of corrugation for it and just boarded the window over.

Now was the time to do a little sceniking with Woodland Scenics coarse grass and a lot of natural materials. I'm always anxious to get to the point that I "plant" my structures permanently. After doing the signage on the front of the shop and installing the windows and tab shingle roof, I was ready. And with some additional details like a wood pile and some obligatory junk laying around I took it outside for the next photos.

Now I'm one that can't leave well enough alone. I just had to keep moving on this diorama since I saw so much potential for super detailing further. Everything else you are about to see makes up what I hope is the finished product. I've utilized several of the vehicles I already have built like the telephone pole truck, Ford Model AA stakebody and '37 Chevy panel truck and added a recently completed 1926 Essex coach. The butcher carrying a hind quarter (with newly added apron), pole crew, sheep and stuffy lady going into the shop to place an order were the last to be done to the diorama. How about a bunch of finished pics?

I dedicated this butcher shop diorama to Ken Hamilton whom has been a tremendous inspiration over the years with his phenomenal skills and generous advice. I only wish that my work can be nearly as good as his some day. It is my hope that this has been the least bit entertaining and I appreciate your time in viewing. And to all of you that have left your nice comments I will say thanks. Please know that they are truly valued.