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Sunday, 1 March 2015

Back On Board!

Hi, All!

Archibald Phunk enjoys a stroll on-deck, reassured by a sturdy new hand-rail.

After something like a fourteen month break, I have finally returned to Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile...

I never intended to leave things so long but as it turns out this has been a very positive thing. I have come back to this sometimes somewhat overwhelming project with fresh eyes, and have been able to identify a number of areas where improvements and changes were necessary.

Notes to self regarding the engine room...

I was getting ahead of myself. Why had I started designing details for the Mansion Section, when the Engine Room was still not complete? I have resolved to finish off all the little bits and pieces for this section before moving forward. Hence the handrail in today's post...

Mansion Section and Engine Room together (above) and the plain boards cut and shaped for the fuselage (below)

Having designed and cut the fuselage during my break, it became obvious that the shape of the hull would have to change to take into account the added thickness of the wooden base. More about the fuselage and hull design alterations at a later date...

I also realised that I was skimping on details. I had planned to depict the mid-deck as a line of frosted portholes with lights behind them, which would look good in low light and viewed en-mass, but why settle for that when I can put detailed corridors and rooms behind clear portholes and light them from inside? I realise that this will increase my work load considerably, but the end result should be spectacular!

So... with these things in mind, I set about building the handrails and bulkheads you see here...

Rear bulkhead with porthole is desgned and held against the model to check.
The engine room is flanked by long stretches of open deck, and it seemed to me that these were, quite frankly, rather boring. I needed to break them up a bit. I therefore decided to add some buttress-like bulkheads that would nicely combine the required naval style with some tasteful architectural elements that might have appealed to Victorian engineers.

Bulkhead buttresses are drawn, with arches.

The plain bulkheads are lined up against the model.

I had already conveniently spaced vertical strips on the engine room walls that would serve as nice anchors for these new pieces, but the rivetted strips with which I had lined the outer edges of the deck would have to go, to be replaced by new, more detailed edging.

Jeeves regards a partially finished bulkhead with disapproval.

The rivetted strips are cut out (left) Plastic strips are cut to form the basis of the new structure (right)

A lot of rivets had to be removed (GASP!) in order to add these details - and more destructive remodelling will be necessary as I progress. Having lined up the bulkheads, I cut out the thick cardboard strips from the edges of the deck and replaced them with balsa wood so that the new details could be built over the top, flush with the rest of the decking.

Rear bulkhead with rivets, ready to be painted.

The edging is built up from thin strips of plastic and many rivets are added.

As you can see, I elected to construct the entire handrail and bulkhead arrangement for each side of the vessel as a single complete piece before painting them and finally adding them to the model. When working in this way, styrene plastic is wonderful and although it can be costly, it has become by far my favourite material.

A completed side.

The completed assembly, in place against the engine room. As you can see, I have also removed the sides of the hull.

Handrail details. The blank strip facing outwards from the vessel will form an achor line for the hull when I get to that part...
What you see here is about twelve hours' work from start to finish - not the speediest of projects. There was a lot of checking, double checking, remodelling and so on. But I have plenty of time. I don't expect to finish this model for at least another year...

Painted and in place!

A view along the deck - much more interesting now!
Once the two sides were constructed, painting them was the easy part. I used the same dirty blue-grey colour as the rest of the model, with brass handrails and porthole. All I had to do next was glue them in place. This was a little fiddly, as they had to line up precisely in several locations and due to the arches cut in the bulkheads, things moved as I worked.

It may interest you to know that I did a couple of tests before gluing styrene to balsa and eventually chose to use Liquid Poly and Superglue combined.

Viewed from the rear. I am very happy with the flowing outline. I'll be endeavouring to maintain this feel through the rest of the vessel.

So there you go. Next up, I shall continue to finish this section of the vessel before progressing to Mansion, fuselage and hull.

All that remains today is the Rivet Count!

I had to remove 226 rivets during this part, but added a further 609, bringing the total so far to:

10,671!

And I haven't even finished 20%...

"...So what about that unfinished gantry, Sir?"

It's good to be back, folks!

All the Best!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

A Brief (?) Musical Interlude

Hi All!

Not a self-portrait.

Just a quick note today as it has been over a year now since my last post...

I have been very busy with other creative interests over the last year, at the expense of the Colonel's creations. I must apologise to those of you who have left comments and sent emails which have gone unanswered.

I still intend to return to the various projects I have started, and to continue creating and discussing my techniques, and the coming year may allow me some time here and there to do so. I make no promises, but shall endeavour to try harder!

Thank you for your patience.

All the Best!

p.s... for those of you who may be interested, my band, Brave New Void may be encountered here:
https://www.facebook.com/BNVMUSIC
https://soundcloud.com/bravenewvoid

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Evil Genius Have Insects

Hi, All!

Archibald Phunk, feeling rather small...

A quick post to reasure you all that I am still here...

Having replenished my somewhat ransacked supplies of plastic board and tube, I was able to make a start on one of the set-piece features of my giant walker project - the stairwell.

The four walls of the stairwell are drawn onto plastic board to a reasonable level of detail. It is important to get the early stages of design right, before problems and inaccuracies compound themselves.

This will sit within the mansion secion of the walker, leading down from the main dwelling level through three lower decks. Portholes in the bulkheads and doors will be lit from behind with flickering LEDs.

Doors and portholes are cut- and stamped-out.

Of course, this is going to be somewhat complicated to paint and put together, as it is enclosed on all four sides. I'm having to think several moves ahead, so to speak. But it will be worth it.

The front and starboard walls of the stairwell. Doors have been glued behind the open doorways and more portholes stamped through these. All windows will later have frosted glass to catch and diffuse the light of the flickering LEDs.

As I hope you can see from the initial pieces, the stair winds round and down, passing doorways and windows. I plan to build this whole piece as two right-angled halves which will then fit together precisely. The whole thing will then be built into the walker.

The two halves together. I hope this is going to give a great impression of depth and bulk.

Rivets will abound!

...And now for another little distraction. Or two.

May I introduce to you the latest of The Nefarious Machinations of the Doktor Nefarious:  

Anty Infantry Walkers!

(sorry!)

A correction-tape roller is perfect as the abdomen.

Buttons are stacked to form a boiler / thorax.

I've been playing with ideas for correction-tape rollers for a while, and these little monsters have been scuttling about in the back of my head. This week I finally decided to make a start on them.

Brass wire is shaped around the smaller buttons to form the skeleton of the legs.

This particular brand of roller has a nice little scalloped part which, it occurred to me, could be cut out to leave something resembling a cockpit. I tried two or three times to do this after pulling the roller apart, so that I would be able to insert a driver from behind, but the top (white) part of the roller is very brittle and fell apart every time. In the end, I left the roller intact and cut  the front section away.

Thorax and abdomen are joined, and the legs are added as plastic tubing surrounds the brass wires. You can see where I have cut out the cockpit section.

I'll have to put the drivers in from the front and complete the models around them - not easy, but there you go.

A wooden bead and part of a brass press-stud help to form the head. The cockpit is clearly visible.

Beads are added to create a Faraday weapon similar to those used by British Hydrothermicopters.

These are going to be fairly large for one-man vehicles, but I'm hoping they'll be one of my best creations. I have great hopes for them!

A wooden bead and some plastic tubing create a chimney for that authentic steam-powered insect look. Just like the real thing!

Obviously, thre's a fair bit of work left in these, but they'll help to keep me going in the moments when the giant walker seems somewhat overwhelming.

So there you go! I hope this will keep you all entertained for a while.

The Nefarious Doktor Nefarious admires his newest monstrosities.

All the Best!


Monday, 11 November 2013

Moving into Middle Management

Hi, All!

Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile: A lonely observer wanders the skeleton of the beast...
I know these posts have become somewhat infrequent recently, but rest assured that I'm still here and things are still happening...

Engine room and core room laid out relative to each other, as the shape of the mid-section is drawn on foamcore.

There are still some details to add to the engine room, but this week I decided to start work on the mid-section of my gigantic walker, as I realised I was getting bogged down and a little uninspired, so it was time for a new bit.

This part houses Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's mansion, the main level of which will be accessible for gaming via a removable barrel-vault roof even bigger than that of the engine room.

The underbelly is cut. Note that it sits at an angle to the engine-room...

Even the basic framework for this has presented me with challenges. As you can see, I decided that the walker should be flexible, which posed the question of how the various decks should slide against each other. It occurred to me some time ago that a rigid two-hundred and forty feet long walker would need a huge open space just to turn around, so flexibility would be a necessary part of the design.

So this is what happens when a walking Bendy Bus gets kinky with the Titanic...

The main deck is designed around the core room. The two-deck mansion will sit on top of this, with the core room visible through the floor.

Obviously, there is a huge amount of work to do on this. Followers of this blog will appreciate what has gone into the engine section already - and this part is much bigger...

A set of ribs is designed to form the shape of the hull. This enables me to keep the model very light, and keeps it open enough that I can run cables for lighting and add counter-sunk detailing if I choose to.

A rib. What more need be said?

Please bear with me - I promise to keep you entertained!

The core-room in place, and the main deck set at its level. The join between engine section and mid section will be designed to look like interlocking iron plates.
The mansion level is sketched out in foam core. As you can see, it is rather large. The big open square at the rear corner has been left for a three-storey countersunk stairwell with lighting and portholes...

So: not very pretty, but it's progress. And I hope it gives you all a better idea of where I am going with this.

Meanwhile, inevitably, I was a little distracted by a hideous plastic dragon. It happens, doesn't it?

Exhibit A: Hideous Plastic Dragon...
This terrible piece of cheap crap turned out to be yet another example of hidden gold... And so, my friends, let me present to you the Giant Carnivorous Grark!

Ripping the blighter's wings off didn't do much for its appearance.  But at least it's big and scaly.
Horrible peg-and-socket arms and legs. Shudder!

As with other accidental bits of fun, this little gem cried out to me from the shelves of  one of Wellington's many Crap R Us stores; "I'm only $2.50! Save me! Please!"

Having decided to forego the front limbs, I brought the rear legs closer-in to the hips and started to sculpt the joints with green stuff. I also fixed up the join between body and tail.

Well, I'd had a couple of beers in the sun (yes: we had some. I was there. I will cherish the memory.) so I was persuaded, although upon getting home and unwrapping my prize, I feared I may have wasted the price of a quarter of a pint!

Stumpy remnants of wings are sculpted with green stuff, completing the 'flightless bird' impression.

I pulled off the wings, removed the front limbs and cried, "Chicken!" And so it began...

The whole model is undercoated with white paint, then washed with brown ink.

When the ink is dry, the model is heavily highlighted with white, then green and red inks are used to wash all parts.

This beastie didn't take very long really, but I honestly had no idea it would transform into one of my favourite small projects so far. As the inks went on, the monster evolved and I fell in love...

The whole model is highlighted with flesh, and the belly is highlighted further, up to white. Then a yellow wash is applied everywhere but the belly, bringing out the green beautifully.

Claws, teeth and eyes are picked out, having carefully enriched touches of red here and there.

The great thing about cheap toys is the element of surprise: If you look really closely, many have pretty good detail, obscured under awful paint jobs. This is where ink washes are great - they don't obscure the detail further, no matter how many coats you use.

The finished head in close-up. Note the tiny touch of white paint in the eye to make it gleam.

Why did the Grark cross the road?

Et, Voila! A seriously nasty beastie from the depths of the Lost Continent!

A Giant Carnivorous Grark decides that Scagworm is on the menu.

Coming next: more work on Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile, and more Nefarious Machinations of the Nefarious Doktor Nefarious.

A fearless adventurer stumbles upon something that could ruin his day...

All the Best!