Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Posting No. 47 - Give Me Some Static!

Static grass, that is.  I'm taking the time to build a little diorama for photos before I ship this off to Kevin.  I don't plan on sending the diorama to Kevin, but will keep it for future photos.  I started by shaping a piece of 2" thick foam, painted it earth color, and glued on a mixture of ground foams.

What is the white piece of paper on the foam?  It's cut out as the shape of the structure so that when it is removed the structure will "nestle down" on the foam rather than sitting on top of the static grass.  If I don't do this I have to end up scraping away the static grass in the area of the house after it's dried and that's a pain.

I used my homemade "Grass-O-Matic" static grass applicator to first add a layer of 2mm (6" HO scale) long "late summer green" using a 50/50 mix of white glue/water.

I went back and added here and there a mix of 2/4/6mm static grass of various colors to add some different texture.  I then took a screwdriver and randomly pressed down the grass all over to give it a more realistic look.

Here I've removed the paper piece since the glue has worked its way under and would be a real joy to try and take it off once dried.  You can see the area were the house will sit.

Boy, am I tempted to put Grandpa's house on the diorama right away!  Not a good idea as it will get glue on the bottom.  I guess I'll just have to be patient and wait for the glue to dry.  Once the glue is dry I'll place the house on the diorama for the balance of landscaping.

Posting No. 46 - Time for a Trim

After viewing Posting No. 45 on the stairs my good friend and model railroader Scott Perry emailed me saying "Not a critique...just an observation...the stair step boards are too long for the stringers.  Looks funny on the house."  I looked at the stairs again and he is correct!  I measured the front stairs and they are OK with a 3" HO scale overhang; however, the rear stairs have a foot of overhang!

The stairs are attached with the self-adhesive coating so it wasn't a problem to carefully pry them off the stringers.  Now how to trim these sticky devils without them sticking to everything?  My handy-dandy Northwest Short Line "The Chopper" to the rescue!  If you don't have one of these tools I strongly suggest that you purchase one.  I set up the stop for a 3" overhang and shop the stair steps (treads) to length.

It was an easy matter to re-attach the steps by simply aligning them and pressing down.  Here is the result which is much better!  Thank you, Scott!

Scott also noted that most houses this style have "box style" steps.  It looks like the makers of this kit took a little short cut by supplying "open" style steps; however, they will work in this case since we're not trying to be historically accurate.

What's next?  I'm working on a quick diorama for some photos.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Posting No. 45 - Taking the Right Steps & Shingle Repair

SOMEBODY messed up my work area and I can't work like this - AHHHHH!!!  It must be those darn Gremlins that sneak around at night time, hide my stuff, and mess up my work area!

Twenty minutes of work and now I'm back where I can get some work done!

Even though the kit instructions said that the steps were to be installed early in the process I knew that I would knock them off a dozen times during while working on later instructions.  I waited until the last so I'll only know them off a half dozen times!

 Here are the steps that I cut out and touch up painted on the sides that show using the Testors(tm) flat gray.  I had cut out and painted the stringers "dirty white" previously.

First I glue the front porch stringers to the porch using white glue.  I'm doing this on my cutting mat so I can make sure that they are at a right angle to to porch.

Next I apply the steps to the stringers using the supplied self-adhesive on the bottom of the steps.  After positioning the steps I press them into place firmly.

Now I'll add a little weathering using brown, tan & black weathering powders.

Now for the steps on the back porch.  First I glue the stringers in place.

Next I'll add......wait a of the steps is missing!  I spend 10 minutes looking for it and never find it.  I cut out a step from the leftover wood using the existing steps as a template and then paint it.  Here I've added the steps.  Can you tell which one is my "home made" step?

And now a little weathering using the same colors.  I go for a little dirtier as this is usually the way Grandpa goes into the house after being out in the "back 40".  Grandma insists he come in through the kitchen and remove his boots!

With the steps completed I wanted to do some general weathering and spotted......what's this? - a poor job of shingling!!!  There should have been another entire row of shingles here!  This has to be fixed!

I use my hobby knife to carefully pry under and lift up the roof cap.  Now I have enough clearance to install another row of shingles.

I cut a row to fit, add glue, insert, and hold down until the glue dries.  Now that is much better!

Do you know what?  The only things I have left to do are to finish and install the outside cellar door and do final inspection and touch up!  But before anyone gets too excited (Kevin) I want to make a little diorama and take the structure outside for pictures before I pack it up for shipment.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Posting No. 44 - Today I was the Chairman

No, not that kind of Chairman - a chair-man!  I'm fairly sure that Grandpa Sam and Grandma liked to sit on the front porch; however, Grandpa didn't want anybody calling him "old" so he didn't want any rocking chairs!  Actually, I didn't have any rocking chairs (but did have some kitchen style chairs) so I made up that story.  Kevin, when you get the structure if you want rockers.................

Here you can see the chairs with a little table to hold their iced tea and newspaper (not shown).  I already had the chairs "in stock" and made the table out of a wooden barrel and some styrene siding.   It was a nice place for Grandpa and Grandma to sit and enjoy the day!

So that you don't think I've been lazy, behind the scenes I'm making more flower pots.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Posting No. 43 - Got Pot?

No, not THAT kind of pot - I'm talking about a flower pot!  I was tired on working on the main structure so now I'm going to work on details.  What better way to dress up Grandpa Sam's then with a few flowers.  I could buy those $$$$ HO scale flower pots with flowers included; however, I figured that I could do better.

Since the Mrs. likes to go to Michael's Crafts and she likes me to go along I always keep a "modeler's eye" out for things that I can use.  The last time we were in Michael's I spied the following:

The pack of (23) was $3.00 and I thought hummmm - I bet I can make flower pots out of these!  I bought the pack with Kevin's structure in mind and we'll see how they work.  First we'll measure them. In HO scale size they are 5-1/2ft high by 1-1/2ft wide at the largest end.  The 1-1/2ft is OK, but we'll need to cut it down to size.

I put a tooth pick though the center and used my felt tip pen to mark a line at the 1-1/2ft distance.

How to cut this? - with my Dremel tool and a reinforced cut off disk.  I clamp the Dremel to my table for stability.  SAFETY NOTE:  ALWAYS USE PROPER EYE PROTECTION AND EXTREME CARE WHEN USING POWER TOOLS.

It only took a minute and here is the result with the cut completed.  We'll keep the long piece and perhaps cut it down to have a narrower opening additional flower pot.

I finish off the rough edges with sandpaper and sand the entire pot outside and inside with sandpaper for a rough surface for the paint.  I've mounted it on the end of a dowel rod to hold it for painting with Testors(tm) "Flat Brown".

While the paint is drying (forgot to get a picture of the painted pot) we'll get the flowers ready.  It just so happens that I have some Noch "flowering bushes".   They aren't cheap, but a little goes a long way.

The pack contains red, white & yellow.  I choose red.  Here is an individual bush.

The bush is way too big for our pot, so I trim off some (that I save for later) and insert it into our pot.

I like!  Just for fun we'll put it on the front porch temporarily to see how it looks.  It looks nice and at only pennies per pot I'll need to make some more with different color flowers.  Kevin, did Grandpa or Grandma have a favorite color flower?

I need to make some more pots and misc things.  Stay tuned for more!

Posting No. 42 - Touchup (Round 1) Complete

Boy, the devil is in the detail!  I made progress in that I fixed the areas noted in round one of touch up.  Before final completion (did I say that?) I'll have to make a round two inspection and repair.

Remember that gap in the front porch?  Here you can see it clearer from the bottom.  Can viewers see it from the top? - maybe, so it's got to be fixed.

Here is the piece of strip wood that I cut to fit the area and painted gray.

And here the piece is glued in position in the gap.  That's one problem fixed and a bunch more to go.

Now on to the gaps & painting issues.  I know that this is a wood structure; however, the modeler uses materials that he has at hand so I snuck in styrene strips to cover gaps.  I just happen to have some scale 1" x 6" stock which will work perfectly.  Wood strips this size would be very fragile and break easily.  The first thing I do with the strips is paint them with a gray undercoat and then apply my "dirty white" top coat.

Remember that long gap in this corner? - styrene strip and CA adhesive to the rescue!

My good friend and excellent modeler Scott Perry suggested that I cover this gap on the porch with a hanging fern. While that is an imaginative and excellent idea I went with the easy way out - styrene strip!

All four of the eves had problems with gaps where the roof panels met.  I applied styrene strips to the areas using CA adhesive.  While I was at it I painted any areas with dirty white that needed touch up.


I also used some putty to fill the holes at the very top of the gables and coated the repair with dirty white paint.

What's next?  Well, I'll have to give that some thought.  I need to assemble some chairs, paint the storm cellar doors, install the steps and then I want to create a simple diorama for outdoor pictures.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Posting No. 41 - Touch up, but no pictures

I got some touch up work done today; however, I didn't have time to post pictures. I hope to post some progress pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Posting No. 40 - Needs Touchup!

I'm near the end of the main construction, so it's time to give a critical eye to my work.  My first inspection found a number of areas that need attention.

These areas need additional paint.  Since they are end grain they sucked up the paint and will need additional coats.

More areas that need more paint.

Another area that will need more paint.

This gap will need filling and painting.

Here we have a big gap (lower right) where the roof panel warped away from the house.  I'll have to decide if I want to attach trim boards to hid the gap or fill it somehow.  The gap at the eve peak can be filled & painted.

It is difficult to see, but there is a hole in the deck at this corner.  I may cover it with something yet to be determined.

Ug!  This gap will be a challenge to fill and I should have done it before I put on the porch roof.!

Two more gaps to be filled / covered up.

This is the same gap shown in the bottom of the picture above.  I'm seriously thinking about using trim to cover these areas.

More gaps!

Who put together this model, anyway?  I believe that I can fix things up by attaching some more trim to hid the gaps, putty up the holes, and paint the thin areas.  That's next up on the agenda!