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Do you love dioramas & vignettes? We sure do.
Operation Anthropoid
jrutman
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Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2020 - 03:31 AM UTC
At least you are contemplating doing tests. I am the massive idiot that would just blunder on after doing all that cobbling and then would have to deal with the results.
J
Dioramartin
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Posted: Friday, February 21, 2020 - 11:44 PM UTC
I’m sure we’re members of a very large club Jerry! Much of this has been new territory for me so the odds of a snafu are always high.. or rather low. I can only rely on general risk-assessments (i.e. in what way(s) is this likely to go bad?), others’ experience if they’ve shared it, and trial & error. Take the brick pillars, which have proved far more of a pain than expected…





So, in one view the pillars look 200 years old & and in the other built yesterday, but I guess that gives me some latitude. I couldn’t find a manufactured product for the bricks with the right scale/pattern, and as these structures will be so prominent in the final photos I can’t just fudge ‘em. I’d hoped to use one of those rollers to imprint both the cobbles and these bricks (even if I had to make my own with the right patterns) but there was a technical problem. The thin filler layer (1 to 2mm thick) tended to lift off the balsa base while stamping (avoided by using very delicate pressure, exactly 45 minutes after application), so it wasn’t hard to imagine what would have happened with a roller.

Experience with the improvised stamp/filler method gave me hope, especially as the 2nd stamp used for the sidewalk cobbles was almost identical to the required brick pattern. And although the balsa pillars’ prime purpose was structural & the upper/visible part not “fat” enough, I’d always figured some kind of brick veneer would bring them out to the right dimensions. Except I hadn’t thought it all the way through – how to apply a veneer/pattern onto all four sides of a fixed vertical form now that I’d cornered myself into using filler? Plan A was slabs of brick-imprinted filler on a thin balsa base, and Plan B slabs made just from filler– either way surely a cinch, just cut out panels & stick ‘em on the pillar…





…but no, in both cases I was left with thick edges which had no brick pattern. Trying to bevel the edges to eliminate that issue was too hard (cracks, breakages) and trying to scribe/dent the panel edges didn’t work out because the balsa backing sprang back out in Plan A, & in Plan B it crumbled too much. But as you can see I did use those fails to try out what I’d always hoped would be the answer to painting bricks – not painting them at all (apart from the powder-painted mortar) - behold…



I’ve used shaved-off pastel dust many times to weather AFVs & trucks but this time the sticks themselves got a work-out testing different brick shades, with 4 winners to be used in combination & held with sprayed fixative…



Needs some refinement with flatter bricks but first, back to the original pillar problem: Plan C…





I guess you could call that lateral thinking, but way too much for my brain as it took several days to nut out how to do the imprinting on these sleeves…



It’s a jig Jim, but not as we know it. It’s two jigs, the narrower one (foreground) to putty/stamp two opposing sides flush to their edges – here the sleeve’s in the jig with side 1 puttied…



…then raised up 1mm with the white shim to allow stamping…



When that dried I gently levered it out of the jig (the two side-shims help it slide out), sanded the brick pattern nearly flat, turned it over & put it back in the jig without either of the two bottom shims, and repeated for the opposing side 2. The result…



When dry it went into the second (wider) jig, seen here ready to putty/stamp side 3…



…and after the 4th side was done…



Some gentle sanding needed to tidy up the edges, and then…



Now the fun part & God knows I need it, there’s 11 more of these suckers to make…











The right hand one’s better? A lucky break only occurred to me after what I consider this successful option – the sleeves fit snugly onto the pillars & need no glue, which is handy because when it comes to attaching the DIY photo-etched railings I can slide ‘em off again to drill tiny “true” holes through them for attachment points. Throughout all the thinking & testing & constructing I hadn’t anticipated that I’d never get a drill bit level in between each pillar if the brick veneer was glued on. Worse, I’m not sure the ultra-delicate railings would have stood being bent enough to get their ends into those holes either. It’s still going to be a tricky operation, all the sleeves raised right up on their pillars to get the railings inserted into them one by one, and then pushing down on all 12 sleeves simultaneously until they’re home.

Time to bust some more moves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g45Ljqgijiw
G-man69
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Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 12:26 AM UTC
Hi Tim,

I never fail to be impressed with your build methods, the time and effort you go to, and the results you achieve are truly outstanding.

I am going to pinch your pastels idea for my 'cobbles'...that sounds so wrong when I read it back, ...but I know what I mean, .

Cheers, ,

G
Dioramartin
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Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 01:49 AM UTC
Glad you got that right I don’t take kindly to having my cobbles pinched I was thinking you might not need to use fixative at all but if you do, cover everything else & make sure it’s the matt/flat stuff specifically for pastels. It’s workable so if you decide to modify with more pastel over existing it doesn’t smudge everything. And don’t inhale, I was just spraying some aaaaannnnddd ohhhhh yeeeaahhhh
jrutman
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Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 03:23 AM UTC
So cool the methods you come up with ! I would never think of this stuff in a million yesr !
J
maartenboersma
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Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 06:11 AM UTC
Top techniques are shown here
Golikell
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Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2020 - 08:32 AM UTC
As always, you seem to come up with the coolest and most effective ideas, just when you seem to run out of any other option!!!!
Dioramartin
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Posted: Monday, February 24, 2020 - 02:19 PM UTC
Thanks gents but I’m sure all of you would’ve come up with something similar or better if you’d been in the same corner…or rather you wouldn’t have cornered yourselves in the first place! I’ve been asked what Plan D was going to be – well it was a toss-up between cutting 2,400+ cork brick-lets and using filler for mortar, or assuming a new identity & going dark for 10 years
Dioramartin
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Posted: Friday, February 28, 2020 - 02:49 PM UTC










So, 48 sides of brick facing later & the pillars look more pillaresque - the more you look the more imperfections show up, but once the most noticeable ones are tidied up there should be far more interesting things around to catch the eye. The coping pyramids on each pillar won’t be much easier, I’d thought they were made of stone but after studying from every angle in the photo refs they’re looking more like bricks too. Once the problems of setting them straight (& preventing them looking like pixillated DEVO band members) are nailed the pillars can be coloured, but the “cement” seals around their bases will have to wait until the railings are installed, because as mentioned before the brick-sleeves must be free to slide up & down.

While I start collecting the DIY photo-etch equipment for the railings I can tackle the next terminally tedious task, having just received the final instalment of x18 Evergreen 292 packs – embedding the tram rails. Achieving a neat finish with perfectly parallel curving tracks made of two strips of flimsy plastic glued together, flush with the cobbled road surface…should be a breeze eh?
Golikell
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Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2020 - 11:52 PM UTC
Your "bricks on a stick" look neatly....
As far as the rails are concerned, I think I would use hot water to bend them initially...
jrutman
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Posted: Monday, March 02, 2020 - 02:16 AM UTC
Elegant solution turned out great ! I can already see,judging from the cobbles and the wall etc,what the end result will be and it is going to rock !
More concerning to me is the shadowy figure of doom lurking behind your work there in the back ground. Or is that just backdrop draping ?
Dioramartin
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Posted: Monday, March 02, 2020 - 02:23 PM UTC
Busted, the real reason I post every week…



Thanks Jerry here’s hoping, & your other theory was right -for the record that blanket came from a twilight watch of little blue penguins coming ashore to their beach nests on Phillip Island of the Victoria coast, wrapped it round the light support. Yep Erwin that’s Plan A for the rails & there’s a jig in the works to keep ‘em bent long enough for embedation, if there is such a word
cheyenne
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Posted: Tuesday, March 03, 2020 - 08:44 AM UTC
Beautiful Tim , I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the future's so bright , ya gotta wear shades ....
Dioramartin
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Posted: Friday, March 06, 2020 - 09:24 PM UTC
Thanks Glenn jeez you must be up on the tram roof with a sniper-scope! I appreciate the heads-up though, as you’re about to see I got track-fever but first…









Could I have done them better? No doubt about it, but they were very high on my HTFDIMT? list and I’m satisfied/relieved enough to cross ‘em off right now. They still need some pastel-weathering with a soft brush – rain stains, bird poo etc. and a couple of the real things seemed to have had a bucket of whitewash or dilute mortar chucked at them, but that’ll wait until after the railings are installed to avoid excessive handling because the fixative only provides fragile protection.

The rails. A few pages back I showed my DIY balsa jig for gluing 2 strips of Evergreen 292 together to make straight runs, and I’d been kidding myself ever since that they’d bend enough for the curved sections too. Well…no, they twisted & bucked like cut snakes & were never going to lie there docile in the slots while I puttied/glued them in place. Erwin suggested immersion in boiling water & Plan B was a hair-drier, but it began to dawn on me that they’d need pre-painting before embedding & even enamels were unlikely to stand up to the heat/duration required, nor probably would the 1mm wide joint holding the strips together.

So, after a few shots of lateral thinking (while staring at the Sydney Harbour bridge) I came up with this…





Yet another jig, using the glue itself to hold the curve instead of heat treatment. One of balsa’s many virtues is its indifference to thin plastic cement, which needed liberal application to nail the plastic strips together & it equally liberally bled into the jig. Levering the rail out when dry was a delicate operation but it hardly stuck to the balsa at all...



I got lucky with this one jig – it doesn’t look like it & I didn’t engineer it in advance but it’s pretty much the same curve ratio for all sections, so I guess that might mean I translated the original Prague tram-lines map to the base well enough…











Not bad QS, I bought 18 packs of 292 and there’s one left, which will easily cover any remaining short intersecting sections with around 20 cms to spare. It’s going to be tricky cutting the rails (a) where they intersect (b) where they cross the joint between the two halves of the base, at the same time as levelling up the worst ridges & dips in the cobble contours & then gluing the rails in, perfectly parallel & flush with the cobble surface. This could take a while…
Golikell
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Posted: Friday, March 06, 2020 - 09:48 PM UTC
Nais!!! Did you glued them in place yet?
Dioramartin
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Posted: Friday, March 06, 2020 - 10:10 PM UTC
Hell no, read my last paragraph again it’s in the future tense
Golikell
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Posted: Friday, March 06, 2020 - 10:31 PM UTC
Sorry, missed that..
I think that the best way to have a clean cut on the boundaries of the modules, is to glue them in place an thn cut thm with the razor saw.
maartenboersma
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Posted: Saturday, March 07, 2020 - 03:05 AM UTC
jrutman
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Posted: Saturday, March 07, 2020 - 03:26 AM UTC
That pic where you picked up the gleam of the rails really reminds me of when I lived in Europe.
J
Dioramartin
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Posted: Monday, March 09, 2020 - 02:28 AM UTC
Thanks Maarten I’m glad the King of Concrete approves! Yes Jerry I couldn’t resist the gleaming photo, hopefully it’ll look even better than that when finished. Yes Erwin now I’m setting the rails the joint keeps getting in my way & I’ve been looking at that a lot – in fact butting the cuts in all the rails seamlessly together at the join is also proving tricky. Way back I thought I could hide the “crack” in the cobbles by rubbing fine pastel dust (obviously same colour as the cobbles) into it, rather than use glue or putty to fill it & then re-cut with a razor or tip of a knife. I’ll try the dust idea first (possible even mixed with water to form a paste) but if it doesn’t work I think yours is the only other viable alternative
Golikell
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Posted: Monday, March 09, 2020 - 06:10 AM UTC
This how we do it with the (albeit metal) rails of our H0 track layout...
Dioramartin
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Posted: Friday, March 13, 2020 - 10:06 PM UTC
Altogether now: “So take a good look at my face, you’ll see my smile looks out of place…etc.” The original laying-out of the balsa base-layer segments (which defined the track positions) wasn’t quite accurate enough, so I needed to make Jig #4 to keep the rails in line while being pressed into the fresh filler in the slots...



…with cling-wrap insulation so that (a) the rails can be removed again for painting (b) the cobbles can be painted first, without having to mask either…



Filler dry, rails removed & the cling-wrap comes away OK. Rails to the right show significant improvement…



Test-fit…



Filler still required for remaining intermittent gaps between rails & road to get them flush. The straights were reasonably easy but the curved sections are proving less so – here’s the 3-part Jig #5 in place with weights to keep the rails in line…



To relieve this tedium here’s something to make you feel more fortunate than you thought, I walked past it after a recent storm. On the downside it probably won’t buff out…



…but on the upside the owner wasn’t there…



cheyenne
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Posted: Friday, March 13, 2020 - 10:58 PM UTC
Brilliant work and solutions man , straight as the proverbial arrow !!
Ouch on the wheels , glad no one was hurt , well deceased .

I knew you would come up with wackadoo , Rube Goldberg solutions . Don't matter how it gets done as long as it works and it gets done .
You accomplished this because you're a man , a modelin man !!

https://youtu.be/LbPRGDwlfqs
Dioramartin
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Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 02:52 PM UTC
Yo da man Glenn gotta have those shoes! Kinda reminded me of this, TRUST ME it starts real quiet so turn the vol to max first:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s93NCuXt7x4

cheyenne
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Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 09:00 PM UTC
Cool tune Tim , some more Texas radio and the big beat ......

https://youtu.be/AhTAkvrD05E