Saturday 5 January 2019

Putting It All On The Record

Hi, All!

The full setup for my steam-powered Stargate.

A bit of an epic post for you today, as I've been rather busy since my last post! All of the components are now complete, festooned with rivets and ready for painting. So... Without further ado...

The Stargate piece is made up of a number of components: the gate itself, the plinth for the gate, the chimney, the engine, steps and walkway, a decorative base, some pipes, the control mechanisms and the Mysterious Shimmery Portal Bit. Each was built and detailed separately.

A record is cut to shape.

In order to get things arranged properly, I had to plan the layout and build a base for the model. As with previous projects, I opted to use an old vinyl record I picked up at the local tip, however I decided this time to cut it into shape, rather than having a great big circle. This was far easier than I expected - a few scores with a sharp knife and the vinyl broke apart very neatly.

Details are hand drawn into foamcore with the paper removed.

Having cut the vinyl, I overlaid it with a piece of 5mm foamcore board, marked out and cut around where I wanted my main components, then peeled off the paper on one side and proceeded to draw stonework by hand with a soft pencil. Finally, the edges were shaved at an angle and the whole outline coated with PVA and grit.

A framework is made from plastic board.

Steps are laid using balsa spacers. 

For the stairs and walkway, I used 4mm strips of plastic board to build a framework, then carefully laid in steps using balsa wood offcuts as spacers. These will not stick to the poly cement I use, and so can be pulled back out again easily. A top layer was made separately, incorporating a piece of fine wire mesh. The various parts will be painted before assembly.

The steps and walkway before painting.

A new item that was required was the control mechanism - I had actually totally overlooked this as I began this model! So, I went for a bit of a rummage, gathered up a handful of likely looking bits and bobs and started gluing things together. It took only a few minutes to complete but I reckon with a coat of paint and some wiggly cables the controls will look great - they even have a spinny thing!

A watch mechanism and various bits and bobs make up the controls.

Up until now, I had not paid much attention to the gate itself, and this turned out to be a bonus, as I happened upon some stoppers of a type I had used before in a local craft store. "Those doohickeys, Colonel," I told myself, "will make ideal zappy-coil-thingumabobs!" And so they did...

The gate and bottle stopper doohickeys.

"But what about that Mysterious Shimmery Portal Bit?" I hear you cry. Well...

Acetate and gunky stuff, while wet...

The MSPB was great fun, and really easy! I started with a sheet of plain acetate film, onto which I drew a larger circle than would eventually be needed, just as a guide. I then generously smeared this with Woodland Scenics Water Effects, added a couple of drops of gamma green acrylic ink and stippled the mix using an offcut of plastic. I did this on both sides of the acetate by lying it over the hole in a roll of masking tape.

...and after drying.

Now I have to say, Woodland Scenics Water Effect is amazing stuff! I used the same bottle I used for the river in Leadwood eight years ago and it was still perfect! Also, despite saying on the bottle that it dries in twenty four hours, I hung my sheet of acetate on the washing line in the sun and it was done in an hour. The end result was fantastic!

I had to glue the MSPB into the gate now, rather than after painting, as I want it to be inside the mechanism, with other details on both sides. To ensure I got it right, I cut a card template first as a test fit, then cut the acetate to match.

The gate, with the MSPB cut to size and glued in. Doesn't that look spiffing!

And with that, it was time to start cutting rivets!

I won't bore you with the details, but here are some pretty pictures...

The plinth for the gate: 270 rivets. Note that I removed some cardboard panels to provide a stronger bond when I finally glue the gate down.

The engine: 223 rivets.

The chimney: 278 rivets. Various bits have been added since my last post.

Rivets abound!

The engine again, and the rear of the gate.

After quite a few hours, the Rivet Count for this creation stands at:

1,317 !

And so there you go! I'm ready to start painting! See you soon!

All the Best!


  1. It looks brilliant Colonel. The warp gate really turned out very well didn't it! I think having it translucent helps with the effect too, as it glows from the light shining through from the other side.

    Re the rivets, have you ever thought of using a hole punch with cardboard? That's what I use and it's a lot faster and just as convincing as the cut off plastic rod. Anyway, food for thought.

    I'm looking forward to seeing this build when it's all painted up :)

    1. Thank you, sir! Yes - I'm really happy so far!

      I admit I haven't considered a hole punch for rivets. I'll certainly take a look!

  2. Oh!!!! already looks great! The idea of a clockwork is wonderful. And yes - RIVETS !!!!!)))))

  3. Exceptional creativity Colonel. I'm looking forward the end product!

  4. Absolute, bloomin' genius! Why bother painting it, just looks fabulous as it is. ;)

    1. Thank you Michael.

      Ignoring your suggestion, I did some painting today... Stay tuned!

  5. A plethora of rivets, a MSPB, and a spinny thing! Splendid stuff, sir!

    1. A J, my good man!

      How could I call it a Colonel O'Truth creation without a spinny thing?

      Thank you, sir!

  6. Riveting stuff...

    I know....
    I’m sorry...
    I just couldn’t help myself... ;-)

    All the best. Aly

    1. Oh dear! Somebody had to...

      You're not the first, my friend, and you won't be the last!

      Never mind! Good to hear from you as always!

  7. Splendidly done as always! And the watch is genius. I . . . almost cringed a little at that, as I have a collection of similar things that wind and tick, but there are projects worth nearly any sacrifice. And sacrifices worth any project. This might be both! (A little part of me wants to twirl my nonexistent mustache and proclaim that it's time to bring out the dancing troupe.)

    Anyway . . . well done sir, well done!

    1. Why, thank you, sir! And don't fret - the watch mechanism is from an old broken pair of cuff-links made of such thingummies.