Friday, November 25, 2011

Inspiration from an Old Friend, Pt.6

Wow, it's been almost three months since my last entry. I didn't mean to be away this long, but pursuing other interests, a month-long illness, and a major case of  Don't Give a Damn took its toll. But I'm feeling better, and hope to be at the Workbench every day. I've been working on the kitbash the last couple of days, and hope to finish it up in the next week.

I moved from the main, middle roof to the two small roofs over the cement block addition. I wanted both of these to be tar and gravel covered.

In the past I would use 80 or 100 grit sandpaper to represent gravel roofs. The problem with sandpaper is it tends to curl up at the edges. This time I'd try gray N-scale ballast for the gravel, mixed with a little coal for contrast. I would use matt medium to fix it in place.

I tried several methods of applying the gravel, and found pinching it between my thumb and index finger gave the most even coverage. Then I saturated it with a pipette of the matt medium. After it had mostly dried, I applied more gravel in the thin spots, and set it with more medium.

This is what it looks like when dry. You can see there are still a few thinly covered spots. It took three applications to get it right.

Here you can see that I did the lower roof, plus had a big oops with the matt medium. I think some leafy vines should cover it nicely. I've made climbing vines before by simply gluing ground foam directly to the walls. Here I wanted to experiment by showing the vine itself in places, as well having it away from the wall in others. I need a wire armature.

I unspooled a few feet of  32 ga. wire, and looped it back and forth every six inches til I had 8-9 strands.

At one end, I twisted the bundle leaving some loops. These would represent the root ball. At the other end, I cut the wires flush.

I snipped the loops at their  bottoms, then twisted them into four 'roots.' CA drizzled on locks the wires together. I then carved the end of a .250" x .125" styrene strip to the shape shown.

I drilled a small hole and inserted the shortest bundle in it. The remaining three were draped over the end, with more CA applied.

I cut the 'root ball' off, then trimmed it some more to fit this corner.

I took two or three wires at a time, chucked them in my hand drill, then twisted them into four vines. Then off  to coat them in red primer.

While the primer dried, I added the mortar with a product called Robert's Mortar. Not sure I've gotten the hang of it yet, but after weathering it should look OK. Finally the wires were CA'ed to the wall.

That's it for now. Next time, I'll anchor the vines to the wall and add foliage. Til then.  Don

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