Tuesday 26 March 2013

Bravely Soldering On...

Hi, All!

The engine room by gaslight...

This weekend I had fun with a soldering iron. Kinda.

Little flickery yellow LEDs. So glad I found these!

This is an unusual thing in wargaming - even for an oddball eccentric such as Yours Truly, and I have to say that I have never really liked soldering. I'm not very good at it. Nevertheless, if Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile is to have nice flickery lanterns, it falls to me to make 'em work. Dunnit?

Little plastic pegs and pieces of plastic board will soon become lanterns...

... See?! Told you! Now they await paint and some of that electric magical physics-type stuff!

The technical bit...

The LEDs I am using actually flicker randomly and give a lovely candle/gaslight-like glow. I've wired them all in parallel to avoid Christmas Tree Syndrome (one blows and they all turn off) because once the model is done, I won't be able to replace them.

An unpainted lantern is tested.

In addition to making the lanterns, I placed LEDs behind the portholes in the bulkhead doors, and an extra one inside the furnace (tinted red for a darker glow). Between the core room and the engine room, I now have seventeen working LEDs. I hope to use at least a hundred in the completed vessel...

Painted lantern, installed and working in a darkened room. I'm really happy with this effect!

I've actually blown a few in the testing process (vitally important to use the correct resistor - thanks, Notorious Greg!) so I may have to order more. The plan is to have a light behind every single porthole (there will be many) along with lanterns all over the place. I may even add more to the engine room before it is completed.

An LED is sprayed with matte varnish and dipped in red ink before being wired and mounted in a plastic tube...

...and inserted into the underside of the furnace.

I have also been designing the Victorian-style glass dome and upper level of the engine room. The dome will be based on the work of Joseph Paxton, who built the Crystal Palace, amongst other things. Lots of iron, rivets and glass, in a nutshell... The dome will be removable, so making it nice and sturdy is going to be a challenge.

A single solitary sailor stands vigil by the actual-size plan for the engine-room dome.
The dome, somewhat stylised. In this concept drawing, much of the lower wall is also glass. This will keep the engine and lighting visible.

As you can see, this is not going to be a small piece. It will have to be constructed from a number of layers of plastic strip, rod and clear acetate, all painted and glued together in the right order. Making it strong and durable, and a perfect fit for the engine room may be tricky.

Any guesses at the rivet count for this bit?

The last bit of handrail.

Handrail in place, looking cool under moody lighting!

As for the Rivet Count this week, I've hardly added any! Each lantern has a paltry 2 rivets and I finished the last bit of handrail around the chain-drive, bringing me to a pathetic 24 for this week's total!

So: the total for the project so far is now 3,923

I know - not enough. I'll try harder next week! Promise!

Engine room and core room, wired and powered.
The core room, looking somewhat sinister!

The chain-drive pit s lit from above.

The engine room may need more lanterns...

I hope you're enjoying this project as much as I am. More very soon!

Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe, looking rather dramatic!

All the Best!

Sunday 17 March 2013

Bunkers, Boards and Bulkheads

Hi, All!

Another one of those cool porthole-shots...

It's been about four weeks since my last post. Sorry about that! What with work and blah blah blah and wotsit...

Anyway, I finally managed to put in a few hours on Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile...

Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe and friend examine the new floorboards.

The engine room continues to take shape, with the addition of a coal bunker, floorboards, three walls and a few details. There is still a lot to do, but these things take time, don'cha know?

Walls are planned out on foamcore.

Bulkhead doors take shape from plastic board. Rivets, etc. soon to be added.

The finished walls, ready to be painted. note the rivet count as it stacks up...

The engine room will eventually occupy portions of two decks and can be entered from the main deck or the machine deck, one level down. At this stage, the walls you can see are the walls of the machine deck. More will be added higher up soon, along with a glass dome roof reminiscent of a Victorian greenhouse. Obviously, I will also add a back wall to the whole affair, but at this point, I am still undecided about the final design of this.
The basic coal bunker. Made from card, foamcore and a plastic girder.

A chunk of foam is used to bulk-out the coal supply.

The bunker is painted and gravel is added.

I wanted a coal bunker near the furnace, to be filled from the main deck via a large hatch.This will be visible from the engine room but not take up too much space in terms of gameplay. To add interest, I painted this red, in keeping with the various machine parts of the vessel, breaking up the blue-grey of the walls.

The coal bunker is added. the coal was painted jet black, with no highlighting at all.

As floorboards and walls are added, the engine room comes to life. 

The floorboards were simple to produce but really set off the colours of the engine beautifully. At last, I was able to glue down the engine and its various associated parts. I'll be adding a lot more details such as valves, gauges, pipes, walkways and ladders. I also have to make several lanterns, glaze the portholes in the doors and mount LEDs behind these to provide light later on.

Trim, handrail, ladder and shield, prior to painting.

The various bits are painted before being added to the engine room.

...and finally, the details are added to the model.

I decided that the pit in which the chain-drive sits looked a little dangerous, not to mention unfinished, so a trim was built from plastic board and rods, incorporating a red shield to partially obscure the cogs at one end. I also added a handrail and ladder.

Engine, chain-drive and pit. The walls have been glued in place. You can also see the beginnings of the upper level, to be accessed from the main deck of the vehicle.

Capacitor and chain-drive. A trim will have to be added to the rear edge of the pit, currently visible as unfinished wood.

Needless to say, all these walls and details were furnished with many rivets. Because I can. To be precise, I have added a total of 715 rivets since my last post, bringing the Rivet Count so far to:

3,899 !

I have now passed the count for HMSW Garganutua (3,630) with many months yet to go!

Indeed, I seriously doubt now that this project will be finished in time for my original target of August 2013, but I'll keep on plugging...

From above, before details were added. The main floor area measures approximately 30cm x 30cm (12" x 12"). The whole vehicle will eventually be about twice as wide and four times as long as this...

So there you go: not much exciting going on, but essential nonetheless. With the walls in place, I am now able to think about more cool details and clever bits, so watch this space!

Another shot of the almost-finished pit.

And I'll try not to take so long between posts next time!

The engine, from within the coal bunker.

All the Best!