Sunday 8 March 2015

Fixing a hole where the rain comes in...

Hi, All!

The engine room continues to evolve...

This week, I have been concentrating on a couple of the larger details for the engine room section of Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically-Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile.

First up: a nice big chunky gearbox...

Big fat plastic cogs - who could ask for more?!

As I mentioned last week, I feel that the large open areas of plain deck surrounding the engine room are rather boring. I dealt with the two sides in my last post, adding bulkheads and handrails, so now it is time to do something about the area to the front.

The area to be modified. Behind the windows, you can just see the chain drive and engine.

I've got quite a few impressive looking cogs lying around amongst my useful bits, so I decided to put a couple to good use as a gearbox, protruding from the deck as a continuation of the massive chain drive inside the engine room.

The box is constructed and checked for fit. The cogs are mounted on axles which pass through the side walls to ensure everything sits nice and straight.

This was a fairly simple piece to put together, being essentially just an open box with some cogs inside, but even though most of the finished piece is hidden, I did not allow myself to skimp on details - rivets abound!

The various components, detailed, rivetted and ready for paint.

Having quickly designed a box, I took my time ensuring that eveything lined up properly - this piece would look awful if the cogs didn't sit stright with the line of the vessel. Axles were inserted into the cogs and fitted into holes in the walls of the gearbox. When I was happy with this, it was time to add details and rivets, paying particular attention to the top piece, where a hand-rail would also be required.

The painted components.
The finished gear-box, with hand-rail. Almost all of the interior details have become invisible - but we know they are there, don't we?!

Now all that remained was to paint the components, glue them together and cut a blooming big hole in my nice balsa wood deck! As with fitting the gears to the box, this had to be precise, as a bad fit would look absolutely dreadful, to the detriment of the whole model.

The gear-box in place. I'm happy with this!

Finally, the gear box was glued in place. I am planning a different detail for the other side of this part of the deck - more about that soon.

There are gaps in my design!

The next thing to tackle was an item on my list that I have been putting off - the front gable end of the barrel vault roof.

An arch is constructed on plastic board and checked against the barrel vault in front of a bright light.

The front and rear edges of the roof were not previously completely finished, and I had intended to add arched details to disguise the overlapping edges of the various bits. As I mentioned last week, I have resolved to address all such outstanding issues before moving on to build the rest of the model. I will have to make a second gable for the rear of the roof - but I'm running short of materials and as you can see, I need a whole sheet of styrene just to cut out each arch.

As detailing begins, the piece is repeatedly checked against the roof, to ensure it will all line up nicely.

I took my time with this - it needed to fit precisely with the lines of the roof, and working with curves can be a pain in the proverbials!

The front of the completed arch.

By adding strips of plastic to the outer and inner edges of the arch, it became a curved girder, and was surprisingly sturdy. Little disks of plastic were added for decoration, stamped out of off-cuts of styrene, and rivets were generously applied!

The finished arch is checked against the model again... You can also see the almost-completed gear-box in place.

Now came the fiddly bit. Seven brackets were needed to attach gable to roof, and everything had to line up.

Brackets, sir. Seven of 'em.

The brackets were simple in principle, being cut from 4mm strips of styrene. A little bit of detailing with thinner strips and a few rivets made them look the part. Now to glue it all together...

The painted brackets in place between gable and roof. Some adjustment was necessary as the glue took hold.

I had already left space for the brackets when constructing the roof, so I had a good idea of what I was doing, but getting it all to stick together and stay put was still a bit of a pain.

Et voila! Done!

Which brings me to the rivet count...

I have now reached the somewhat silly figure of...

11,317 rivets!

Looking pretty good, I reckon!
Next up, I will continue to add details to the engine room section, both above and below decks, with gantries, the rear gable, a stairwell, some ladders and whatever else seems like a good idea at the time!

All the Best!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Legatus.

      I think so too. I'm planning lots of other deck details to add as the walker develops - ships are busy looking things and I want mine to reflect that.

  2. The gearbox is a nice detail, and it's good to see correct 'elf & safety being observed with that handrail around it. As for that engine room canopy, eat your heart out, Joe Paxton!

    1. AJ!

      Glad you like me gearbox, old son! And far be it from me to allow an identified hazard to go unchecked!

      However, I should point out that Joseph Paxton's engineering feats were somewhat larger than mine...

  3. Thank you, my excellently-named friend!

  4. Do you have a hand drawn sketch of what the whole shebang will look like when it is completed?

    I love reading about this on going project. It's good to have you back at the work bench again.

    1. As a matter of fact, I've been working on a few sketches recently. I'll feature one on here soon - there are still a few things that may change significantly as the project develops.

      Thanks for the support! It's nice to be back and feeling enthused again.

  5. I don't know, I think that cogs not sitting straight :p

    Regarding the handrail, I would have thought that it would have been more in keeping with the era to not have one. I've seen some pretty scary examples of old machinery that were accidents just waiting to happen :D

    Great work as always :)

    1. I have just measured, and I can assure you that the cog is sitting straight. Have you checked the alignment of your brain, sir?

      Regarding the handrail, it is common knowledge that all Hydraulically-Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domiciles were thus equipped. I asked a bloke down the pub and he agrees.

      Thank you, as always. ;)

    2. Oh Christ! I just noticed my heads all bent! Ahhhhh!!! Someone help me!!!!!!

      But I did make you check though :D

  6. Impressive attention to detail as always mate!

    1. Thanks mate!

      Let's see if I can keep it up for the next forty thousand rivets or so...

  7. What museum did you say you worked at? Too cool!

    1. There must have been a misunderstanding, Jay... I said I was a relic.

  8. Very very nice work. I really look forward to seeing this done and in a major motion picture.

  9. That thing looks good and all, but what continues to astonish me is how with all that fiddle-faddle and detail, it still looks so *gameable*. I've seen some impressive models that didn't look like you could actually play a game on - heck, I've been some impressive models that were no fun to play on. But this? The deck details all provide more cover and more obstacles and more fun for the game itself. Well done.

    1. Thanks Warren!

      Over the years I've learned to keep asking myself that essential question, "But will me 'and fit in all the bits?"
      There will inevitably be tricky nooks and crannies, and this can lead to damage from time to time during gameplay, but where possible, space has been left to accomodate miniatures and allow movement.

      The whole point of this model to begin with was that I received a small amount of criticism for making the HMSW Gargantua too big to be of practical use as a vehicle in a game. And yes, compared to every other steam tank or conveyance, she is pretty large. But rather than try to make my next walker artificially small, I decided to go the other way and make it become the table itself.

      Only time will tell if this was a good idea. It certainly wasn't a sensible one!