Saturday, October 10, 2009

Getting ready for the big show

First of all, I'm sorry to have taken so much time off from doing these blogs but getting ready for winter has been a real time suck this year.
One event that I look forward to each year with great enthusiasm is the train show in Springfield, Mass. at "the big E". The Amherst Railway club takes over the Eastern States Exposition annually to present what I've heard is the largest train show in the east. Last year several officials from the event offered to work something out with the 1/87 Vehicle Club in order to introduce the train crowd to what vehicle modelers in HO scale are up to. They have been gracious enough to give us several spaces in order to do so. A core group in the club have organized to make a presentation and one of the ideas is to make a system of modules that can be coupled together much like the way Free-Mo rail modelers do. The difference being that instead of coupling track, we will be using a roadway surface continuity between the modules. The details and specification have yet to be ironed out.
I have chosen to do a New England farm scene that will enable me to display a lot of agricultural vehicles. This will mean I have to get to work on several pieces that have been sitting in boxes for some time now as well as scratch building most of the module itself. In my exuberance to get started, I've built a small farmhouse out of styrene that resembles some of the old center chimney capes I am familiar with. My own house is just that built in 1830 and my model structure is a slightly scaled down version of it. OK so here's where I'm going with it and I will be doing a lot of step by step progress in this entry.
I began with Evergreen styrene clapboard with a .040" spacing. After drawing the building on the computer and printing out templates on Manila card stock, I cut out the walls of the building with window and door openings. Some time ago, I purchased a collection of Tichy injected molded plastic doors and windows so I have a large selection to chose from. To the gable end walls, I glued .060" square rod to make up the corners and added a rake board of the same rod.

Many of the old farms here in Maine across New Hampshire and over into Vermont are connected affairs that enabled the farm occupants to go from house to barn without having to venture outside. For my little farm, I constructed a connecting el, also of styrene. This time I use a .060 spaced clapboard and scored the courses vertically to replicate cedar shakes. I have not found a suitable commercially available shake pattern in the scale and decided to give this technique a try. And while it is time consuming and a bit mind numbing, I like the results so far. The shed el will have a standing seam roof that I fabricated from thin brass foil scored on the back for the seams. The small window will have an open sash that I have omitted for the present since I'm sure I would break it off in the build process.

The chimney is a large square affair made from Evergreen brick pattern mitred at the corners. a few bricks have been added at the top to support a large flat stone for the chimney cap. The mortar which will remain a bright white similar to the white cement, lime and white sand mix used years ago was done with artists chalks and alcohol and when dry I simply wiped excess away with a finger. This still needs to be flashed to the shingles. I will be trying to do this with scotch tape painted. The roof shingles are asphalt imitators from GC Laser that are a black felt paper and a ridge cap will also be added and then all will be painted.

The next photo shows the shake pattern stop part of the way across the wall. This will be where the barn wall will start and make up the connection. So far I have drawn a fairly large barn that will be constructed of wood but have not begun construction yet. I want to finish the glass in the windows and some kind of window treatment like drapes so I can fasten the house roof. This will complete the house until it gets "planted" on the module.

I've really got the itch to get going on the barn so I'm trying to get the farmhouse to the point where there's nothing more to do until I plant the structure on it's base. So I glassed in the windows with clear acrylic and added some curtains. They are 1 ply tissue dipped in 50/50 white glue and water. Using the tissue gave me an idea to use it also for the chimney flashing that I would like to have look like lead. So I cut out the pieces I would need and brushed some of the water/glue in the appropriate spots on the chimney and set the pieces. Painted when dry. The capstone on the chimney is a piece of Vermont slate. This material has a grain to it much like wood and can be split very thin. I still have to finish capping 1/2 of the ridge but the individual ridge shingles are a pain and I needed a break.

This may be all I do for a while on this project and anything further I may post as a part 2 (these posts get too long and adding photos get's a bit time consuming) So that's it for now but keep looking back for more soon.

Well I couldn't leave well enough alone and decided to add some color to the clapboards of the structure. I used a powdered paint product called buttermilk paint that I use in my business for reproduction furniture that is mixed with water. I made a wash of this paint substituting alcohol for the water. The roof cap has been completed and there is now a brick foundation making the farmhouse ready to be planted on the module and waiting for the construction of the barn. I'm also anxious to get started on some vehicles for this project. After all they are what the focus of this whole project is in the first place.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lurking in the shadows

I like the idea of displaying the interior of buildings but could never quite get thrilled with the whole concept of having to remove the roof to see what's inside. To try to solve this dilemma, I though I might just do an interior and then not bother with the outside of the structure. I've built this old barn interior from my memory of the countless old one's I've been in and worked on over the years. Several of them my own. Now while this structure is not entirely accurate prototypically, I was more interested in conveying the feel and ambiance that one gets inside some of these massive old buildings. What I came up with is a shadow box diorama that will totally encase the exterior and force the viewer's perspective. I simply built the barn interior cut on a diagonal to get the most viewing area.

I started by cutting some clear white pine strips to scale and half lapped all the joints on the structural members. Then I boarded it all in with individual boards including the floor. I used a Titebond waterproof glue for reasons that will be apparent. To show where this is going, I made a frame of cherry wood that will be the front of the box.

Now the reason for the waterproof glue is that I wet the entire structure with water and shot it with my airbrush loaded with RR tie brown and grimy black mixed 50/50 and thinned with Windex to go through the airbrush. I wanted to make sure that I got good coverage and didn't want it all to be too dark. As it was, it did come out a little too dark. So when cleaning the airbrush, I shot it again with the dirty water mix, drained it off and without moving it for fear of it falling apart, dried it with the hairdryer. This was the result of that, and the glue did a great job of resisting all the wetness. Everything is very solid. I also brush painted with some white acrylic craft paint, the back corner to simulate the old milking parlor.

The windows are Tichy injected molded plastic. I constructed the box which will have a satin black finish and while waiting for it to dry, decided to complete the hay loft and add the details to the interior. The straw is shaved hemp rope glued to blocks of wood and strewn around. What I believe will be the vehicle I end up using is a 1937 Chevy pickup from Sylvan Scale. Most of the details are cast metal pieces from the parts box, pieces of old watch parts and whatever I could dream up that I could make from scratch. Further coloring has been done mostly with artists chalks. At this point, I am wiring the box with 3V LED spots that look great to the naked eye but photograph poorly so I won't be trying to show the finished product interior here. I still have some molding to go on the front to surround the cherry but essentially what you will see below are finished photos of the interior. Please don't forget that clicking on these images will bring up a larger photo. Thanks for looking and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

fellow 1/87 scale modelers

It was suggested by another modeler that I put a section up for other folks that possess this strange affliction that makes us build these little models. From what I can see, we suffering from the addiction can sometimes be totally consumed so that large portions of our day is filled with thoughts of our hobby. So this posting will be about some other fanatics but myself.

It has been said recently that the Mack FCSW water truck by Joe Enriquez is the finest example of 1/87 scale vehicle modeling. I would agree wholeheartedly. Joe took the basic Don Mills resin kit and totally re fabricated the majority of it. The chassis is scratch built complete with plumbing, wiring and rivet detail. In the photos you can see just how extensive the scratch building is evidenced by the white styrene and metal. The original kit parts are of the darker colored resin. You see, Joe just isn't happy with the level of detail presented even by such a great kit as the Don Mills one. I show a photo of the kit grille and what Joe has fabricated to be more realistic and finely detailed. This is the level of craftsmanship Joe carries throughout the entire build.

The red tractor on bare chassis is a Mack LTL also a Don Mills kit that Joe "altered". And the Kenworth C500B oilfield truck is based on a Dennis Aust resin kit with a scratch built trailer. Now I could fill pages with Joe's work and each model is as jaw dropping as the next but I'll let you see for yourself by going to his picture site that can be found here. I have to add that in addition to being one of the finest modelers in any scale, Joe's a great fellow and has become a good friend. I'm proud to present Joe as the first guest modeler on the blog here.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Repeat Performances

I made note on the post entitled "what's new on the bench" that if I really take to a model, I'll do it again (and in some cases again and again and.....). This is what you are about to see. I've already shown some examples of this but here are a few not too old.

The Model TT has been done in every scale in every medium, even solid wood. Well this one has a little wood in it but the base model is the Jordan plastic kit. The hood sides have been removed as well as the doors from the original kit. And the deck is uh... wood.

This next TT was an disaster turned OK. I had just finished the truck and was impatient to take photos. So to dry the headlights from the white glue look to clear, I turned the hairdryer loose on it. Within seconds the front wheels, axle and all, dropped to the floor in a droopy mess. Hence, the cinder block. I aged it a bit more and came up with this. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of good photos of this and it was sold as part of the boathouse diorama.

The roof of the truck has been covered in tissue to be able to simulate a ripped top.

Now to the Model TT at the top of the post. The tanker has the tank body from the Jordan Model AA on it and the engine has been exposed. That's it! Oh, I cover all the roofs of trucks like this in tissue paper for the texture.

Here's a unique take on the T. I found a photo of an old horse hauler and decided to use the Model T for it. The bed is built from styrene. But as often as I've made a horse's ass of myself, I can't seem to model one.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What's new on the bench

Lately things have been slow on the modeling bench. With summers final arrival and now it's soon to be demise, I'm trying to squeeze as much outdoor activity in as possible. But I have managed to get out a few decent pieces that have already been spoken for.

This first little guy is a dump truck from the 50's in the White 4000, a resin kit offered by Sylvan Scale. A good friend Ralph Ratcliffe, and one of the best modelers I know is now presenting a line of resin castings which include several 1/87 scale pieces. The really beautifully done wheels and tires are featured on this truck and I think they make this model. The bed is also from Sylvan and I added wooden scuff boards and a gate release lever.

Now for the kind of model I truly enjoy building. This Mack FCSW chain drive quarry truck from the 40's is a resin kit from Don Mills Models. Now if you're paying any attention to some of my other posts, you might remember this truck done up in a water truck configuration by Joe Enriquez. Well this is nothing like Joe's truck in that it is pretty much box stock and Joe's was almost totally rebuilt from scratch. But I love these big old brutes and had a lot of fun with this build. I have cut the hood sides out and replaced the cast faux mesh with a real mesh screening and added a grille guard to the kit. The rest of the build consisted of applying a few different weathering techniques.

This is an attempt at a rail car. Now I'm a total ignoramus when it comes to rail related models so I've definitely taken some artistic license here and went with what few photos of a prototype I could find. The base model is from Jordan Miniatures of a 1934 Ford school bus. The bed was covered in wood and a wire rack has been added over the windshield. This sits on standard gauge HO track. The roof has been covered in tissue to give it a canvas texture and the flathead V8 which was introduced the year before is exposed.

OK, back to the bench.

Friday, January 30, 2009

For Sale!

It's my pleasure to say that response here has been just overwhelming. In just the few days that I have had these models up for sale, I have sold all but the remaining and there is an interest in them already. So please be patient, I will need a little time to get more stuff together to place here. Keep looking back and I hope to have more soon.

I've been selling my models on ebay for some time now with mixed results. I'm often surprised at a very generous bid on something I'm just not that crazy about or doesn't perhaps have a lot into it. I'm equally surprised at pieces that I have poured my heart into and spent many hours getting what I feel is a super model (two words here) and have it command much less than expected. Be that as it may, I enjoy the building process and what I gain in money usually goes back into modeling supplies. The thought of my models being in collections and layouts all over the world intrigues me to no end and is very gratifying to say the least. It satisfies the spiritual side in a way, the knowledge that folks from every part of the globe appreciate what it is that I have decided to fill the hours of my leisure. And in an attempt to be able to present a model in a more personal setting, I've decided to place a few here.
So let's get the transactional verbiage out of the way and then I'll get on with trying to separate you from your shekels. After receiving my first inquiry about the sale of a model, it occurred to me that one must leave some contact information. So please either leave an email address or contact me directly at , thanks. I accept Paypal only, merely as a convenience and because I can get one's model to them in a more timely fashion. Upon receipt of payment the model will go out that week. Shipping costs to the Continental U.S. and Canada for vehicles and packages under 1 lb. is $5.00 straight across the board. Any different will be noted in the model description. Shipping elsewhere in the world will be computed when any request is made. My return policy is this: if there's something wrong with the model when it arrives at your location, I will buy it back, and pay the return shipping as well. All that I ask is that you confirm this somehow either in an email attachment or a mailed photo. I want you to be happy with what you receive from me.

I will also do commissioned work with a caveat. If you show me a photo and say that's the vehicle I want, I may exercise some "artistic license" on the resulting model. Not always is an exact year, make or model of a vehicle available. And often certain accessories that can't be scratch built or available are not to be had either. The result is either no model or a compromise in which I would discuss it with the potential buyer prior to any agreement. I will estimate any model cost before hand and will stay true to that figure unless changes are requested by the buyer during construction. None of this is meant to scare you away from having me build a custom piece for you but just to keep everyone happy knowing what is what.
I'll be removing models on display as (and if) the are sold, and adding new one's as I choose so hopefully this thread will be an active one. A comment left will be promptly replied to whether it's just a question or a purchase.

1930's tractor trailer - $55.00

Another of the Roco Zis-5's this time in a highway tractor with integral sleeper. The cab has been extended and running lights and horn have been added. The trailer is an exterior post round front suitable for the 30's. It comes from a Sylvan Scale resin kit and all have been moderately weathered.

Ford Model AA canopy express - $34.00

This is a modified Busch Model AA closed van with the sides removed and rolled up canvas added. The exposed flat head engine and headlamps come from Jordan Miniatures.

Steam launch diorama - SOLD
1930's transfer/express truck - SOLD

Small Crawler diorama - Sold

1947 Ford cab over tow truck - SOLD

Ford Model A pickup - SOLD

Ford Model AA flatbed - Sold

1953 Ford F 600 wrecker - Sold

1930 Autocar w. lowboy and shovel - SOLD

Roadside Advertisement display - SOLD

1937 Chevy pickup mini diorama - SOLD

International KB11 logging truck - SOLD

1937 Ford cabover - SOLD

Mack BX dump - SOLD

1965 Ford F850 hay/straw truck with load - SOLD

Ford AA wrecker: SOLD

1937 Chevy wrecker - SOLD

IH F230 - SOLD

Pair of 1940 Fords with hood - SOLD
Don't forget that clicking on these photos that accompany the text will bring up a larger picture. Please excuse the long loading times when clicking back to the blog. I will be putting fewer blogs on the same page to try to speed up loading times. Thanks.