Showing posts with label Miniatures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Miniatures. Show all posts

Monday, July 6, 2020

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 10

I am still working on those walls. I have a list of things I need to do around MY house, so it may take me a day or two. 


Cutting the sheets for the walls went fast. I have 10 of them all stacked up and ready to go. 


I ended up with 3 scrap pieces which I will probably use for the doors. 

Since the walls are essentially done, I started on the roof. I will be using some cord to make the thatched roof. 
This part is actually fun. I took a piece of card stock and used it to measure out how long each cord needs to be. Then I simply wrapped the cord around the card. When I get the chance, I will use a pair of scissors to cut the bottom. 

I have a couple of options. The easiest is to simply drape the cord over the roof. It's fast and nice looking, but what if I drop it? I could run a bead of glue down the beams then place it. There is no guarantee it will hold every piece, but should grab enough of them. 

I'll be back tomorrow. 

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 9

And we are back. The nice thing about this project is, you can let it sit. There is no rush. 

In the last update, I tried to color some white stone with coffee. The results were inconsistent, this is some sort of chalky porous stone with little chips of quartz in it but it is not as porous as I thought. 


Let's call this four rows. The bottom row, I painted with different shades of brown, tan and grey. The second row from the bottom, are coffee treated stones that took some color. The third row are stones that took very little coffee color at all and the top row are completely untreated stone. To my eye and not the camera's, the third row is not as shock white as the untreated stones and I could use them but probably won't. 

When doing scale models, there is a trick to colors. Your brain does not think that you are looking at a tiny version of an object. Instead, it believes that you are seeing a full size object very far away. And in the atmosphere, a distance object is not only smaller, it's blueish. 

The Space Shuttle on video is great example of this color change in action. It's white. When you see the crew enter through the side door, clearly, the shuttle side is white. When the camera is moved back the white exterior becomes grey with tones of blue. As it lifts off and travels a great distance from the camera, it becomes bluer. And on approach to the ISS, it is back to brilliant white, no matter how far away it is. It's the air and the background colors that make it change. This is why blood looks lousy on figures, because it's never the right color. 

So, I will have to shade these rocks blueish to make them look "real". Just a smidgen. I'll come back to them later. 

Now for the walls. I'll be using sheets of basal for this. 

I didn't crop this image so you can see how large the piece of balsa is. It is sufficiently to cover the entire side of the house, but then the grain would be wrong. I want that grain going up and down. 
Yes, I will have to make many cuts to do this, but only four. The middle of the rectangle will have door in it. By running up and down, it looks more like what people expect. 

Think of siding. When people use aluminium, it often has a grain that goes side to side because it can. It's just stamped into the metal. If you tried that wood, you'd have to work hard to either accentuate how the pieces fit together, hid the connections or have something that looks ramshackle. Side to side grain is "rich" and a byre house shouldn't have details of luxury. The design still exists because of it's ease of construction and repair. So up and down. 

Technically, if this is something from 1300 or 1400s, then this is would be a "rich" person's house. The plague took care of that by tearing society up a bit. The devastation allowed those locked to land serfs to negotiate labor costs. It was a shock to their "betters" because if those landlords wanted something done, the labor pool had collapsed so you need to discuss who was getting what. Negotiate or you're project gets cut. 

Speaking of cuts, I measured the distance I will need to cover. It's about 1 and 7/8th high. To do this, I just dropped in a piece of index card and drew a line. Now when I cut the card, I'll end up with a cutting template which forces the idea of measure twice and cut once. 


Next post, placing the walls and doors. 

For those wishing to source their balsa from Amazon, they have a few choices. I like the Small, Random packs of balsa because I use it all the time and draw inspiration from the oddly shaped bits. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 8

Jesus, how long does it take to build a house? It's like a have a contractor issue or something. I've had a lot on my plate lately. Sorry for the delay. 

I picked up some more materials for this build. I need some stone for the exterior areas and I found some interesting stuff at the Dollar Store. These white rocks are the right size for this model, but the wrong color. 

I'm going to fix that in this post. 

Anyway, these rocks are white and somewhat crumbly. I could paint them and seal them, but pure white will stand out like a sore thumb and paint will be too unnatural looking. So I am going to dye them, 

I could use ink or something, but that will have the same problems as paint, the color will be too sharp. Instead, I am using coffee and a ball jar. These thing will have to be sealed, but the colors will be natural. 

Anyway, All I am doing is add warm coffee on top a handful of rocks. The material seems dusty, so I expect it's rather porous. 
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

Add the rocks to the jar.
Pour on the coffee. 
Tea also works.
Now add some used coffee grounds.

Now I'll seal up the jar, give it a good shake and leave it sit over night. The liquid coffee will stain the rocks to one shade, while the used grounds will stain everything it touches to a different shade. This is not labor intensive, but it is time consuming. 

Tomorrow evening, I'll open the jar, drain off the ick and rinse them. Old coffee grounds are a good stain, but they smell bad. I'll leave them on a towel to dry for another 24 hours. I could warm them in an oven, but they may smell bad. 

Check back tomorrow to see the next step. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 7

I'm really amazed that I have a 7th post. I've been busy lately.

Anyway, here is the curved and flat wall beams in place. This is kind of testament to the miracle of Tacky Glue. I didn't need to tape, support or pin anything in place.

Great product!

You'll notice that almost nothing is square or even. That's fine. A scale model can be perfect, but I can't help but notice the effort is almost not worth it as people won't touch or hold a "perfectionist model". Also, the run down nature of this build gives the end product a little charm. Besides, if it does break...

Once the roof is complete, you'll hardly notice all the crooked bits anyway. I've been having this debate over whether or not I should place the five cross beams that a real byre house would have. I'm not going to do it as leaving the out makes constructing the roof easier. Funny that models work like that, because these beams would be necessary to complete a real house. Divergent tech for divergent models.

Anyway, I'll throw up a link to Tacky Glue at the end of this post, because it's a wonderful product.
People have asked me about what kind of stryfoam I use. Any kind of styrofoam will do, but I happened to have some sheets of insulation and used those for the base. They were 3/4 of an inch thick and three of them layered together was a good "rise" for the base. The last time I saw this stuff in the store, it was being marketed as a replacement for an acoustical tile, 8 4 by 2 sheets for $10. They'd fill a hole where a tile went, but I can't image they would hold up or work correctly.

Anyway, you don't have to waste good money on a piece of stryofoam. Any salvaged thing will do. The styrofoam floor of this byre house came from the packaging for a TV. Styrofoam isn't easily recyclable, so don't buy it if you have to. Below are some images of things I've made out of salvaged stuff. If you can make stuff from something that isn't often recycles, all the better.




As promised, here is the sales link. Every click and purchase supports this site with remuneration.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 6

I wish I had made more progress on this, but the nice weather allowed me to get outside and do some
yard work. Anyway, in the last post, I wrote about making one wall curved and one wall flat. Today, I'll show some progress. It was a lot more intensive than it looks.

Bamboo is not wood.
To make the curved wall, I needed to bend some wood. What they would have done in real life is made a bunch of short posts to create the space. The curve was an illusion of the thatched roof coming down from a point. If I did that, I would need a half dozen posts. I want no more than 4.

The center upright posts are actually made of bamboo chopsticks, so I tried heating up a piece of bamboo and bending it. Bamboo is not wood, so this didn't work out. Even though I made a dozen or so cuts in the piece, it snapped when I bent it but only in the places where I cut.

I tried again with a piece of balsa wood. This too didn't work for a variety of reasons. I got the exact same result. The issue is, balsa is kiln dried and lacks the moisture content needed to bend.

Anyway, what I got will work, since neither piece broke completely through and through. If it did, I would have gone back outside to get a small fresh stick and try again. Which I might anyway, but not for this build.

Bamboo cracks, not bends. 
Dried balsa wood also cracks.
Now, bending wood requires wood, moisture and a temperature of at least 200 degrees F. Wood is a poor conductor, so you might be able to hold it but don't. You will not be able to hold it long enough to work with it. I took a ball jar lid and rammed the wood inside. I left it to dry over night.

The results were not too bad, so I'm going to work with these. While they are cracked, I can cover this up with the roof and walls.

Now let me warn* you about this technique to bend wood. You need wood with moisture content and some way to manipulate the product without touching it. A steamer is helpful, as are heat proof gloves. I would not trust heat proof gloves against a steamer. Don't hold the wood if you use this method. I simply dropped the wood in a boiling pot of water. If this was a larger piece, thick gloves would be necessary in case the wood breaks in your hands.

Here is how the end product looks. Both are usable, but the bamboo feels like it would break if put under any more pressure. I might use the bamboo for another model as it looks cool.


If you are following along at home and want to try your hand, here are some suggested products from Amazon.com which could help you start your own byre house. Purchasing via these Amazon links supports this site with remuneration.

Foam Cutter Sandpaper Tacky Glue Balsa Wood Styrofoam Blocks

*I don't generally do things that would require a warning or caution, but I managed to remove a chunk of skin doing this and might have burn my palms. This is more a commentary on having diabetic neuropathy as opposed to doing something dangerous. I'm not sure how it happened. Neuropathy is a demon because not only can you have numbness, you can have tingling or pain so you are convinced that sensations aren't important or aren't real. I might have burned myself, or scrapped skin off on the counter top or ball jar lid. I'm not sure which. Just be careful.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 5

Groovy.
Center Beam
Today, things get a little more interesting. I made a small base out of styrofoam and glued it to a sheet paper. I can now use my foam cutter to make holes for the beams to set in.

To assist with the mount of the top beams, I cut a groove down the center of the wooden wall posts. This recess isn't perfectly shaped to the beam but it does provide space for the glue to rest in.

Now it's decision time. Generally, people would have cut down trees then stripped the limbs and bark to get a round post. Do I want to cut these posts into round parts instead of square?

No, not really.

In scale these wall posts are 18" thick while the center posts and beams are less than a foot. That isn't too crazy. Working with my first concept of "found materials", perhaps the abandoned tower used 18" square beams and the current homeowner recycled them. They probably couldn't lift an 18 foot section or the massive 40 beam, so they had to cut down new trees, which explains the two different materials in use.

Having dry fitted everything, I started gluing. For now, I have glued the 5 center posts, the top beam and 12 of wall posts. I didn't glue the end posts because I am not sure where I am going with this. I have two options for a byre house. The end walls can be squared off or curved.

Returning to a bit of realism, a curved wall is harder to construct but is load bearing both up and down and side to side. A flat wall is only load bearing in the vertical. A good push can knock it down.

Both styles are fairly common for a variety of reasons. Strength vs. easy of use. Byre houses can last hundreds of years if properly maintained. Squared off end walls allow the homeowner to easily remove a whole wall without compromising the entire structure. Why would this be a useful feature? The floors were often made of ash and lime over a woven stick construction over a low basement. These floors need to be maintained and replaced, so access down the entire length of the house is a great feature.


It turns out that some historical examples of these types of houses have the rounded wall in the west. It was often constructed out of logs with the gaps covered over with mud. Since animals were brought in the home for security and warmth, it would make sense to have this stronger, yet airier rounded structure face into the wind. The smell... well. I don't know how they got used to that.

On the opposite side of the house was the family space, it broken up from the animal's space by a wall or a hallway. Since I am not showing the interior in this model, it doesn't matter much. There will be a door in the center of the long walls on both sides.

The eastern, squared off wall can have a couple of finishing pieces. Either it can simply be a flat wall, or have a porch-like structure under the roof, which cuts into the family space but has a door. More modern structures might have a fireplace and chimney which closes off most of the eastern end. I will probably make it as simple as possible.

That's it for today. If you are following along at home and want to try your hand, here are some suggested products from Amazon.com which could help you start your own byre house. Purchasing via these Amazon links supports this site with remuneration.

Foam Cutter Sandpaper Tacky Glue Balsa Wood Styrofoam Blocks

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 4

This is the cutting and sanding post. A byre house is not like a modern house. It has posts down the center line, which is different than what we do today. It also highlights a fact that I have been ignoring.

My planned dimensions were 18 feet tall (3 inches in scale), 45 feet long (7.5 inches in scale) and 20 feet wide (3.33 inches in scale). This is a house that has been used since the late iron age. They didn't have rulers, they didn't go to the lumber mill to pick up supplies. That makes problems.

First, the supply issue. I want to use up materials I have on hand with as little cutting and sanding as possible. Ok, that fixes the second issue of supplies. Second, since I'm only using found materials, I can just throw my dimensions away.

Cool. That's easy and it gives a little historical realism flavor to this build, even though it's a fantasy model.

Here is the center line of this build. There are 5 posts holding a center beam.


Now, I need to create two of the four side walls. This is where a byre house is interesting. The longest walls run parallel to the center beam. I could make two different mistakes here. I could say "5 center posts=5 posts for each of the walls". Except a byre isn't built like that. The second mistake I could make is "5 center posts leave six spaces... so I need 6 posts on the outer wall". That's also wrong. The correct answer is 8 posts per wall. These posts would be located between each center line post and have one at the corner of each run of the wall. 6+2=8 per long wall for a total of 16.

10! WTF?
8 posts, with a
2 post gap in the middle
So I cut my 16 posts from basal wood and the ends came out ragged. He's how I fix this.

I put down a piece of tape and stick my neatest end against the tape edge. I do this 10 times. WTF? You need 8 posts per wall and a total of 16, why 10?

Well, I pull two out. Those posts are square, so I can now fold the whole thing in half. That gives me 2 rows of four, so we are back to eight posts. I trimmed up the tape and used the cuttings to secure the middle of this rectangular block.


This gives me a convenient shape to hold on to while sanding. It's a nice rectangular block.


I'll repeat this for the other wall and get standing. Just an fyi - I'll sand these two blocks side by side, so they will be the same. If I did them one at a time, they would just end up two different lengths. I wouldn't know anything about that mistake.... 

I'll be back with the end walls soon. 


Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 3

I collected some reference images for my model. These photos are from Western New York, so they will have a different tonal quality than a European setting.

The first image from Schoellkopf Scout Reserve.  I like the mossy areas. This view is looking down on Cayuga Creek, which looks small but can flood rapidly.

The next image is from Panama Rocks, New York. This is a completely different geologic formation. It is the ancient coastline of the Appalachian Basin, during the Devonian. The entire continent was rotated 90 degrees, so this would have been the northern edge of this sea. Later, the glaciers cut the rock away into these dramatic formations.

The final image is of an old barn at Schoellkopf Scout Reserve called the Quad. I spent a couple of day repainting it with some other parents.

With these 3 images, I now have my color pallet. I'm going to be using some basic acrylic paints. I used slate grey, leaf green, forest green, chocolate brown and cadmium yellow.

Intitially, I thought I'd show each color as I went, but that didn't work out. I started with my slate grey which went as expected. I covered all of the edges, except the back one, which I think I'll color blue. I'll be the only one looking at that side.


You can see I roughed out the road and placed a few splotches of grey on the flat surfaces. The grey looks rather chilly with all that white. I'll have to do something about that.

When it came to the next colors, they all represent several things - dirt, mud, dandelions, grasses, etc. Except for the road, those are random. I drizzled the browns along the areas for roads and paths, plus a few "burned in" places where people might naturally stop.

I quickly realized that I couldn't fade these browns out into the unpainted areas as mud and dirt is under the grass. I had to work the opposite direction. I drizzled the greens and dropped splotches of yellow and worked the other direction, into the paths and roads.

I think this came out nicely. Now keep in mind, I use flock for my models. All of this paint will be covered my a natural looking material, except the grey areas. That will get a different treatment.


Let me know what you think in the comments.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 2

Before I start painting, I need to "stage the action". I want to be able to reuse this space for a variety of things. The first image is just the base, with a template for a 25 mm Byre house. That's the paper in the middle of the image. It's 7 1/2 by 3 1/4.

That building will occupy a lot of space on this 18 or so inch base. I envision a small privy house and perhaps a chicken coop.


This is a Stave Church in what I call "epic scale". It's can do double duty for both 15 and 25 mm scenes. My dad made it from scratch and it is almost as old as I am. This one has appeared in many of my D&D campaigns.

This stands about a foot high and maybe 8 inches square. It is in rough shape and I want to fix it up. 
This next scene contains two "epic scale" houses I roughed up out of blocks of balsa and styrofoam. As you can see, this space is large enough for many structures.

This configuration will also probably include a privy house and a garden. 


This is another church, probably exactly 25 mm scale due to the details. Again, it was made by my dad and is easily 40 years old. It also needs to repair work. It has been the center piece of many, many wargames. The opening in the top is for smoke, my dad would place an incense cone inside for charm. I would probably add a series of small huts and a garden to this setup. 

There is a trick in astronomical photography called stacking. It allows you to build details for an image by using multiple images to enhance an image. I started with a road cut into the hill as a reference point. By stacking all of these images and reducing the detail, I get a hazy image which show where the edges of all the buildings are. I can use this edge to know where to put my muddy paths and such.

Normally, I'd just pencil this in by hand, but it would be hard to photograph. I added one image of a cutting mat to make this area "harder" and easier to see.

Now I'm ready to paint the base.

See you Monday!



Scale Model - The Villein's Byre House - Part 1

A few months ago, I posted an image series of my Dad's work on a Crusader era castle. It's all done. I wanted to start building my own castles and models. Dad sent me a great stryrofoam cutter and I started practicing.

Before we get to my model, check out the video of my dad's castle. You can follow him over on Facebook. Skill-wise, I have a long way to go. 


One of the battles I am having with myself is "what is this for?" My dad's castles are large and impressive so he can fight sieges and battles with whole armies of figures. I'm not much of a historical gamer, I prefer D&D type games. Skirmishes over battles. 

To that end, I decided to work in 25 mm scale or roughly 1 inch per 6 feet. I also decided that my base can't be bigger than 18 inches on a side. I wanted to be more historical and natural world than fantasy, so this is a rather plain-jane build. 

I started on the base, which will hold a variety of structures depending on need. I used 3 sheets of 3/4 inch styrofoam and the whole base stands 2 1/4 inches high. In scale, that's a rise of 13 and a half feet. Smaller mounds on the top will be another 3/4 of an inch high, or another 4 and a half feet. So, 18 feet in scale.  

Front view Reverse view
This base needs to hold a large byre house, which I marked out with some sticks. This structure will be 18 feet tall, 45 feet long and 20 feet wide. In scale, that works out to 3 inches by 7.5 inches by 3 1/3rd inches. I picked this size because it's consistent with the historical record and is amendable being used as a playing field.

The byre house is orientated on the road cut into the hillside. This is family's home, not a fortification, so a straight line is fine. This land was probably the former site of a wooden tower house, which explains the contours of the site. I think there will be a wall around the top level, but for this model, they will be ramshackle owing to the fact that one family is working this site. They probably can't spend too much energy on this.

From the outset, I decided that I needed one side to fit or face something so it will not be seen when on display. The backside simply drops off, which is not accurate to the structure, but works for display purposes.

My next step is to clean up the base and apply some paint. I'll probably have another update for #MinatureMonday.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Update on Dad's Crusader Era Castle

I have second video of Dad's Crusader Castle. He wanted to demonstrate how easy the thing is to move.

The entire thing is modular, not in the sense of you can put it together in random ways, but in the way that you can take it down for transport and storage. It's actually 5 different parts which slide together. He's ingenious like that.

I'm still working on a basic Keep, but it's weeks away from being done.

Anyway, I am trying to get Dad to make a Youtube channel of this stuff.







Second Image Batch - British Cav and Support Units

This is the second in a series of posts. This time, we are looking at a series of 15mm British figures and associated support units. These figures must be from several different manufacturers as some seem "fatter" than others. The first image demonstrates this difference well. 














Tomorrow, I will update with the infantry.