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.