Sunday 12 May 2013

Capitol Occupied... With Minimal Casualties!

Hi, All!

Safe and sound in the new place... Professor Shandy Tanglefoot's Overcompensatory Death-Ray of Doom, Big Mike and The Faraday Galvanic Field Gun, Tex Wingspan, Hydrothermicopter, British Shock Troopers, HMSW Gargantua and Bazalgette Light Armoured Perambulatory Contrivance

At last my daughter and I are settled in Hataitai, Wellington - and I can finally relax!

We moved on Monday in torrential rain and high winds, to a house one approaches up a steep, winding, very exposed path... The bookcases in particular were fun...

Flunk, Steam-Tank-Engines, Pantagruel and Steam Boat.

Anyway, be that as it may, we made it and the unpacking began.

Two Gatling guns and a piston broke off Gargantua... Minor damage really.

Gargantua's 'mouth' - missing a gun

...the second missing Gatling gun...

I admit, I was expecting some damage to my models, and so I was very pleasantly surprised to discover almost everything arrived unscathed. Predictably, perhaps, HMSW Gargantua needed a little repair (and there was a minor issue with Professor Shandy Tanglefoot's Overcompensatory Death-Ray of Doom) but that was all.

The piston is quickly put back in place with a couple of dobs of superglue.

Fixed up and ready for battle!

But it hasn't all been moving house and fixing machines. I have actually found a little time to continue with Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile...

I finally started work on the dome-roof of the engine room. As you will probably be aware by now, this is inspired by the work of Joseph Paxton - the engineer responsible for the greenhouses at Chatsworth House and later the Crystal Palace.

An exact-size drawing of the dome end, complete with hole-punches for each pane size.

The basic frame, in cardboard, is pinned to a sheet of styrene.

The plan is to complete a fully removable dome of glass and iron. I have started with the ends, and will follow with the girders that form the curved roof.

The dome, drawn on styrene...

Holes are punched out...

Using a copy of my exact-size drawing, I made a card template of the basic frame. I had already planned which size hole-puches to use in order to create rounded corners within the window panes.

The holes...

Windows are trimmed to shape and the dome is cut out.

Once the frame was cut- and punched-out, I built up the ironwork with simple strips of plastic and many, many rivets. Using more than one layer of 'iron' gives an impression of strength and makes the model so much more interesting to look at, yet it's not really a lot of work.

Strips are added.

...and the rivets...

I will be making the corresponding dome for the other end of the engine room next, detailing the insides before starting on the roof.

This brings me to the Rivet Count...

This end of the roof has no fewer than 385 rivets. (Count 'em!) bringing the total so far to: 


...with so many more yet to come!

Anyway, with rivets in place, I added a quick bit of paint and so on, glued a sheet of clear acetate to the back (later to be enclosed with interior ironwork) et voila!

The painted dome.

So there you go - I think the dome looks great so far and I hope these pictures give you all a clearer idea of where I am going with this.

The dome, held in place by the Hand of The Colonel...

More soon!

All the Best!


  1. Glad you moved ok, the windows look spectacular so far. Look forward to seeing them in position.

    1. Thanks, Simon!

      Yep - they've turned out pretty well. Still a long way to go though!

  2. You make it look very simple - but I expect the level of workmanship punching out those holes for the glass and neatly trimming the odd bits would defeat me in short order! Wonderful stuff - and to live in a place called "Hoity Toity" sounds super!

    Glad the move went well - it would have been soul destroying to see such wonderful creations reduced back to their plastic components.

    1. Hoity Toity! Love it!

      In all honesty, it is quite simple - just requires a little patience.

      And you're right - I could have had a disaster on my hands. It's a big relief to know that everything survived.

  3. Glad you're in and settled enough to start work. I suspect your workspace was the first thing put in order!

    As people say, the windows are wonderful!

    1. Actually, Edwin, I had an awful lot of other stuff to do before unpacking models. There was beer to drink, rock music to listen to, and pizza to eat. These are critical elements of any successful move.

      Glad you like the windows!

  4. Pure awesome. Also, glad you move went well.

  5. Good to know you and yours survived the move without too much wear and tear. We hope to move soon, and I'm not looking forward to seeing what my stuff looks like afterward.

    The dome looks great! It'll be a work of art when done.

    1. Thanks, A J!

      And good luck to you when the time comes.

      I'm really happy with the dome so far. I'm quite excited to see the end result, myself!

  6. Glad the move was successful, and with little collateral damage!

    Good to see progress on the dome.
    I have to say I rather liked the windows 'midpoint' after hole punching, the scalloped look with little mid spiky bits was very appealing... I may borrow that look, for a later project...

    1. Thanks, Scott!

      I know what you mean - I like that look too. But it's not very Victorian.

      Borrow away, my good man!

    2. Yes, I think it has a more Gothic or Baroque (?) if that's the right word, look to it, which I an see being useful in related projects ...

  7. Wow, Colonel...your modeling skills of contrivances are worthy of a royal knighting, or something like that.