Monday 7 January 2013

Rivets and Lanterns and Cables! Oh My!

Hi, All!

A sneaky glance through a porthole reveals the almost-completed Core Room...

The madness continues this week, with yet more work on my new walker's Core Room.

A drive-belt is cut from, well, a drive-belt, actually... and glued in place before highlighting with grey to pick out the ridges. This came from the same old printer as many of the cogs I plan to use throughout the walker.

When last I posted, I had completed much of the structure of the room, but still had to add conduits, controls, a gantry and numerous other details. Well, I've been busy.

Guitar-string conduits are added. This is fiddly glue-your-fingers-together-and-swear-a-lot stuff.

...and the other side...

First on the agenda were conduits and a drive-belt, to complete the machinery component of the piece. As with many of my machines, bronze-wound guitar strings came in very handy for this - in a couple of diferent thicknesses. (Or 'E' and 'D', if you prefer...)

Most of the conduits in place. Note also the beginnings of the gantry behind the core.

I had planned and placed numerous sockets for the conduits to run between. Nevertheless, cutting the strings to the right lengths, shaping them and gluing them in place with all the other machinery in the way was tricky work at times.

With the conduits mostly done, I turned my attention to the first of the very special details which will feature in this model - working LED lighting...

LED, peg, and completed lantern. This was quick and simple - essential, as I plan to make dozens of these.

I needed to come up with a quick and easy way to turn dozens of flickering LEDs into gas lamps. Raiding a box of beads and miscellaneous doo-hickeys, I found some plastic peg-board thingummies. "Hmmm," thunk I, "What if I cut these up, shove a pin through to make holes, and do summat right clever?"

The lantern, painted, against an unpainted wall.

So I did.

More LEDs, positioned a little way back from the portholes.

There will be only two visible lanterns in this room, but other LEDs behind the murky glass of the various portholes as well. I don't want to over-light the piece. I want atmosphere. I won't really know what I've got until it's done - fingers crossed! Wiring these will happen later, so I can't show you any shots of the LEDs in action yet - sorry!

One of the side walls, before painting. Yes. Quite a few rivets.

The lanterns were attached to the finished side walls, but the walls could not be glued on yet. First, there were still other details to complete inside the room - the gantry, control levers and a ladder.

The gantry, without handrail.

The main gantry is supported by long girders I built from strips of plastic and studded with rivets. I decided to add a mesh floor, cut from an old seive. This is possibly not very Victorian, but I want light to pass through, and details to be visible.

The handrail is added. Note the smaller gantry opposite, ready for a ladder to the lower deck.

This kind of mesh is not fun to work with! It won't stay flat, folds when you try to cut it, and hurts like buggery when you get bits of it in your sock! But I persevered and the results are quite satisfactory. The painted gantry was finished with a brass handrail.

Levers are made from dress-making pins, bent with pliers. Offcuts of plastic rod and board and a piece of guitar string finish the detail.

I was going a little nuts by this point (rivet count coming, folks... wait for it...) so I decided to throw together some control levers and call it a day - the ladder can wait! These controls were pretty easy to do, being a very simple design.

All in all, since my last post, I have added 368 rivets to this piece, making the Rivet Count so far...

930 !!!

Not a bad start!

Gantries, lanterns, conduits and many, many rivets...

So now it's time to finish this piece (one measly little ladder! How hard can it be?!) and move on to...

The Engine Room!

Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe poses beside the immense boiler he has commissioned for the engine...

(Care to take a guess at the rivet count for this one?)

All the Best!


  1. If you are not careful, Colonel, this contraption just might work! Plus, will the core-room attendant be deaf, or wear mechanical ear muffs?

    Very imaginative modeling.

    1. Your faith in my engineering know-how is truly touching, Jay! But I take your point - she does look a little noisy, doesn't she? Perhaps I should hang some ear muffs on hooks on the wall?

      Keep watching! If you think the Core Room is loud, wait until you see the engine!

  2. Shaping up nicely, Colonel! It puts me in mind somewhat of the drive system in Firefly's 'Serenity' (which is a high compliment, by the way). I like the LED lanterns, and agree the place shouldn't be too brightly-lit, for the sake of atmosphere. The boiler is a monster. I guess the final rivet count will be somewhere around 550. I'm looking forward to seeing if I'm right!

    1. Thanks, A J!

      I was reminded of 'Serenity' too - not a bad thing at all!

      I have around a hundred LEDs to build into the model, which (believe it or not) may not be enough! We shall see. Glad you like the lanterns!

      I'm guessing 550 rivets may be a little low...

  3. Wow, this keeps getting better and better. Definitely looking forward to your next post, don't you know. -d.

    1. Thank you, Darrell! Good to hear from you!

      I shall endeavour to have plenty more to blog about as soon as I can. Keep watching!

  4. Looking fantastic, Sir! And I would not dare to venture a guess at the rivet count - lacking experience in such things as I am.

    1. Hello again, Joseph! And thank you very much!

      I'm guessing approximately loads and loads... You're probably right - impossible to be accurate at this stage!

      Great to hear from you again.

  5. You're a completely crazy scratch builder!

    I love it!


  6. This is goimg to be one hell of a show, and I am likely to runout of adjectives and expletives before the end! ;-)

    1. Thanks, Scott! I shall certainly strive to tax your vocabulary!

      Isn't it about time we had a beer?

    2. Excellent work!

      It'll be interesting playing a game lit only by the LEDs. That way, we'll really be able to ambush from the shadows!

      I'm intrigued how all these modules are going to fit together. I'm imagining there must be some framework to hold all the modules together into a walking structure.

    3. Good to hear from you, Roly!

      Warfare by LED? Interesting...

      As a professional lighting consultant, I suppose I should have seen it coming.

      The 'modules' as you put it, aren't. I'm slowly constructing the various components of a huge vehicle. All will become clear!

  7. I am glad that you said that you used D an E strings. If you said you were modelling with a G String I would have been somewhat shocked.

  8. Breath-taking, simply breath-taking.

    I bow down before your vision and skill; you are the Master, my friend.

    1. Thank you, Anton my friend!

      High praise indeed! I shall endeavour to live up to it!