Monday, January 29, 2018

Serenade of Yesterdays

A project in 1:35 scale. This piece features a fairly complex bunch of sets. Rather than being the main focus, they are simply backgrounds meant to add realism to the centerpiece: a 54mm scale figure that will be the focus of the scene and the theme for the title.

The scene features one complete facade and two partial side facades, atop a cobble street. Taking place in an unspecified past time in London's east end, the street names, year, or other details are only backdrops to a theme of memories.

See the construction updates on my blog:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Lumière: a 1:12 scale modern house Part 7

The next three phases involved installing all the windows, putting on the ceiling/roof, and starting the exterior.

The windows installation is time-consuming because it means gluing back pieces to support one side of the plexi, installing the plexi, and gluing front pieces to hold it in place like a sandwich. There are I think 25 separte windows on this structure, and some of the trapezoid pieces had to be cut multiple times to get them right. Tolerance was limited to about 2mm.

Even though my reason for using Plexi in this case was because of fragility during shipping, it has its pros and cons. I had Kreative Acrylics cut the pieces to my measurements. It looks gleaming and gorgeous when you first peel the paper off, but it scratches if you look at it the wrong way. It attracts dust easily. You have to peel the paper backing off, which can be hard to do without scratching the piece as you hold it.

The ceiling and roof are a layer of mahagony strips. While out of scale at 3 inch wide strips, it is a sleight of hand because the eye hardly ever looks at a ceiling, real life or scale. On the bottom side of the strips went the LED strip for ambient lighting. On top of them went strips of dark card stock for a strip roof look.

In the above, you can see the roof, and also the painted strips on the exterior. That is to cover the gaps between the rusty panels:

These are intended to simulate rusted steel for part of the exterior. I cut about 30 pieces of basswood wide strips, then sprayed the in multiple layers:

  • black primer/solid
  • suede textured (or granite on some, in random layers)
  • gray/random
  • terra cotta/dark brown/random
  • highlights of all colors here and there
When dry and applied, they form the exterior on the back and left side of the structure:

The right side and lower front exterior is made of wood strips. The way I ensure a clean line between the end of each strip and the buttressing strip they meet, is to cut them all at once, instead of individually.

Next up: working on the narrow Japanese garden in front of the lower floor (left side):

For now, though, a couple of staging shots since the structure is largely intact:

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lumière: a 1:12 scale modern house Part 6

I mostly forgot to take progress shots of the floor-laying, which is a cumbersome job. The strips are just basswood, stained with a light finish (I think I used the special walnut by Minwax), and dried for a couple days. Then it's just a matter of laying them in one by one, staggering the lengths so you have a random overlap.

Here are the first of the horizontal crosspieces going in to support the vertical beams and provide dimensions for the windows and doorways.

The "catwalk" you can see forms a sort of 3rd level, an attic/storage space that the client requested. I put some LEDs in the bottom plane of that to minimize the shadows beneath that.

Seemed to work for some mammals. And here you can see how the floor strips came out. That variated pattern is just a result of the stain hitting each strip a little differnetly. I like it.

Testing the look and feel of the wide mahagony strips that will from the ceiling:

A view from the top looking down into the main area of the 2nd floor:

The beams are just resting in placed for now, not attached, but things are starting to look the part.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Lumière: a 1:12 scale modern house Part 5

Here are some shots of the wiring going into the lower unit, which feeds everything in the house. That controller will allow multiple circuits to be switched on and off with a remote .

This is before ceiling and foor moulding finished off the look. In the center of the left and rear walls you can see a small dot, which is a socket to allow custom light to be plugged in.

Some of the wood that went into the upcoming floor boards for the second level, as well as the initial exterior siding.

Some of the wood used for walls, moulding, beams, and as well as window construction.

Some weird angles and planes went into these joins....

For the ceiling, I used mahogany strips which are out of scale when viewed individually, but will end up looking the part when side by side and viewed within the context of the build. Here they are stained with a light finish.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Lumière: a 1:12 scale modern house Part 4

The 1st-floor ceiling/2nd-level floor is a sandwich where most of the electrical wiring is hidden. The window framing on the first floor is nothing more than stock lumber with grooves created by 1/8" material on two sides, into the middle of which goes a layer of plexi to form the window.

Why acrylic when I usually use glass? Because this finished piece is going to be shipped far away and I don't want to risk any cracking of glass.

Here is the upper beams going in. The first version of this structure I made this part with one long beam. I made this one with one lower part, and a long section for the top, for no particular reason. Either way, getting the placement exactly centered involved gravity:

Worked well for the task. Then to secure it into place on two planes. Here also is the second part of the 2nd level wall going in, with window openings.

 Starting to look the part. When lit and with plexi attached it is starting to look a bit more real.

Here is the tedious process of installing the floorboards for the 2nd floor. Stained, dried for a day or two, then placed in random lengths. When dry, I applied a couple coats of poly for a nice sheen.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Lumière: a 1:12 scale modern house Part 3

The next thing to do is create the main happening area within the space that we define as the ceiling of the lower level and the floor of the 2nd. Within this space is all the wiring for the below lights, and the junctions leading to the 2nd floor wall sockets, to allow for additional lighting for the user. I used spacers to create a depth high enough to account for the LEDs emedded below, and for the wires to lead to the wall outlets whic will come into place soon.

Here you can see the first panel (inner wall) going in on the left side.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Lumière: a 1:12 scale modern house Part 2

Now that the main structure with exterior walls are roughed in, here is a shot of the first floor with wood flooring laid down. Those strips on the left and back walls are spacers for the interior wall to go in. The ceiling shows the can lights placed in their holes. The can lights were made from vinyl conduits from a hardware store that had a little flange on one end. 

Here you can see the second floor from the top. I wired flat LEDs to the tops of the conduits so they shine light downward. All of the lights in the main room below are controlled with one circuit, while the ones in the overlapping sections are on their own circuit.

Here is more spacing and wiring going into the walls. The rear shows the wiring leading up to the top level, which will be controlled by its own circuit as well:

The let LED/conduits. Note how all the wiring coming from above enters through a hole, and is attached to the controller which allows the user to change each circuit as they wish: