Monday, 8 June 2015

The Price of Moonlight

Okay so the title of the blog post is a little strange. 

Sunday was a very warm sunny day, and since I managed to get up a couple of hours earlier than I usually do on a Sunday this week I managed to grab a few extra hours to work on the haunted house model. Several hours have now gone into the window sections, and at least the same amount of time is left to get the rest of the windows done.

This Sunday I worked on one side of the building, and completed eleven windows. Some cracked, some broken, a couple whole, one with a stone hole with radiating cracks, and oh yes, one with the moon reflected in it.

The plastic box from the old Christmas card packaging is beginning to run low, I don't really want to wait until next Christmas to finish this. 

In one corner of the box there remained the remnants of a circular price tag, top layer peeled off leaving a fading semi circle of white that would require spirit to remove it. 

However, I had a little brain wave, comes from keeping an eye on the phases on the moon and having to sew up my socks when it’s full.

With the ghostly price tag being circular and white, and a reasonable size I figured rather than waste this piece of the box I would use it, ensure I cut the square neatly to fit a window fully and it would look, with the black backing, as though the moon was being reflected in the window.

Personally I think it worked out for the best and gives the model an extra little bit of character. If I ever wanted to hide the reflection I can always make a pair of shutters to cover the window with.

Previous article in the Mystery Model / Haunted House series:
More Cracked and Broken Glass

Next article in the Mystery Model / Haunted House series:
Coming soon

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Who Cares?

I’ve mentioned a few times on here before some of the events I get involved with to do with Doctor Who Conventions. There are several events each year from simple signing events in Barking, to specific event days in Slough, through to the weekend event in Newcastle.

Who Care 1 Group Photo, with you're truely.

Some of the one day events in Slough are charity events where the special guests appear to help raise money for causes close to their hearts. We’ve had “Motormouth” to raise funds for “Project Motorhouse” (in the past with David Tennant and Peter Capaldi) and “Who Cares?” (with Joanna Lumley, Sir Derek Jacobi and Bernard Cribbins) to raise money for the actor’s retirement home, Denville Hall.

Motormouth 2 Companions Special

The latest of these events coming up is Who Cares 2 on 20th June in Slough.

The guests this time include original Doctor Who companions Ian and Susan (William Russell & Carole Ann Ford), Romana & K9 (Lalla Ward & John Leeson) and (try to avoid saying ‘I don't believe it’ because it’s true) Richard Wilson – he of One Foot in the Grave, Merlin and Daemons not to mention his guest appearance in Doctor Who.

Tickets include a photo shoot with all guests and autographs, and others are available to purchase as additional items. Full details and tickets are available from Tenth Planet Events website. 

More guests are expected to be announced soon. These really have to be must attend events for any Doctor Who fan. I’ll be there along with one of the guests so why not come along and say hello, it would be great to see you and you'll be helping raise money for some great causes.

(Guests appear subject to work commitments)

With original companion William Russell at a previous event.

With the Doctor, Peter Capaldi at Motormouth III

Sunday, 10 May 2015

More Cracked and Broken Glass

A little progress update, (no the rubbish hasn’t been collected yet - we’re still wading through THREE to FOUR weeks worth of uncollected refuse) the progress is on the rear of the haunted house.  All the rear windows have now been finished, except for some remedial tidy up work.

The windows are all different in their degrees of damage. One window has miraculously survived in the bottom right of the building. I wonder what forces are at work in that room of the house?

Some are broken with just small fragments of jagged glass in place ready to catch and injure any ghost hunters that might try to get through the windows. On the ground floor where the glass is broken the windows have been boarded up. 

The boards are the same cut coffee sticks as the rest of the planking on the house, but these boards I’ve distressed the edges first before fixing them in place over the broken glass.

For a couple of other windows, they remain cracked rather than full broken. For these I cut a full window square of plastic then I scored it but did not cut it through.

To ensure the glass stays in place, a bit like fixing in old window panes I used thinner strips of the coffee sticks to build window frames which I put in place like beading around the glass.

I think I’m getting the effect that I’m aiming for.

Looking forward to being able to start painting soon.

Previous article in the Mystery Model / Haunted House series:
May Day, Breaking Windows

Next article in the Mystery Model / Haunted House series:
The Price of Moonlight

Monday, 4 May 2015

May Day, Breaking Windows

Finally, after the local council the other day so kindly did what we pay them to do and cleared the first lot of garden waste that has been festering for nearly a month in our green bins, I was able, with some sunshine today, to clear the rest of the grass and cut back the bushes that were almost preventing you from getting through the front gate. No doubt it will be another month before we see the back of this rubbish. With the bin full I gave up on gardening and whilst the sun still shone turned my attention to the haunted house model, since I could make use of the garden table to work on.

Broken window on model
I said a while back that I was thinking of trying something different with these windows. Earlier attempted mock-ups have not gone quite to plan but now I think I’ve got something that is working. I wanted quite a number of these windows to appear broken, with dangerous shards of glass left in them. 

Whilst wandering round one of the many pound stores we have, I found a packet of chalk sheets; these are dull black sheets with a sticky back. I wanted a black background which could be dropped in place without having to paint the whole model at this stage.

Next window panel

Cutting a square to drop into place, when stuck I used the backing sheet as a template to cut a matching square from the packaging of an old Christmas card box. 

Materials: Chalk sheet, coffee sticks and old Christmas
Card packaging

Then I cut the window up with a jagged edge to make the fitting piece of broken glass. I laid this over the black background and fixed the plastic shards in place with the wooden sticks used to form the frames.

Whilst I was working on the model I also managed to complete the front tower, including the boarded up window.

Chalk sheet and cut plastic in place before frame added

Previous article in the Mystery Model / Haunted House series:
Weekend roofing

Next article in the Mystery Model / Haunted House series:
More Cracked and Broken Glass

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Weekend Roofing

I took a long weekend off work last weekend, spending Saturday in the company of several Doctors from a certain long running BBC science fiction series, at the Day of the Doctors convention in Slough.

Sunday was some dutiful housework, but Monday I had intended to venture into the garden and make a start on the spring clean up. The weekend prior had been very nice, weather wise, but Sunday never got light and Monday was little better – a few glimmers of sunlight every now and then to tease - but certainly no chance to drag everything out of the shed or attempt to mow the grass.

So I turned my attention back to the haunted house model. Before starting on the new idea for the windows, I wanted to get the roof finished first. However I had to admit that the roof on one tower was not as I would have liked it. That has had to come off, and get reshaped. Extra card glued inside along with an additional round of tiles at the bottom to attempt to get a better fit.

I also found several other areas where tiles did not hang correctly along edges of the various roof sections, so additional remedial work and extra tiles were added in various places. I think building the roof pieces separately and tiling them before putting them on might have been a bad move after all.

Once most of those patch ups were set I turned my attention to the edges of the roof sections, along the joins. I’ve still got some of that solid DAS putty left over from last year, I soaked it down and make it into a thick paste. I then added some PVA glue along the edges and moulded the paste along the gaps, shaping it as I went. I also added some additional shape to the top of the chimneys with the putty.

This has to then be left to dry out completely before anything else is done to the model. The dampness does spread along the cardboard tiles, but if left to dry, this does dry out ok, as I think you’ll see in one of the photos.

Now all I have to do is wait for the rebuilt piece of roof to dry out and then attempt to reattach it. At the moment it’s still clamped up. I seem to be having difficulty finding more of these claps in the local hardware/pound stores where I previous bought them. Somebody has suggested this might have something to do with a recent film release, but I wouldn’t like to comment.

Previous article in the Mystery Model / Haunted House series:

Next article in the Mystery Model / Haunted House series:
May Day, Breaking Windows

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The House is Back

The haunted house, the house of mystery, is back on the agenda. With Karl finished, except for a few things (*), I am going to ensure that the next writing project is not going to take up all of my time. I’ve already returned to the Doctor Who tapestry, and I’ll be posting more photos of that soon, which has also allowed me to start working my way through a backlog of Big Finish and other audio books and dramas.

Now the models are getting a dusting down, and with spring soon around the corner I hope to be able to get back out to use the garden table where I have more room to work. I took another look at the old haunted house in preparation for this the other day, and decided that there was something bugging me. For the moment I think that was the way the front tower was shaped, the thinner tower higher up felt awkward. I came to the conclusion it needed some extra roof pieces. These are to act like a collar around the tower.  (I hope somebody will tell me if there is a technical name for this).

I cut four small angular pieces of car and covered them with the small pieces of card previously used for the tiles on the model. I had some left over cut up from the main model; I will never throw the leftover pieces away until the model is complete, just in case, like this, I need to keep continuity in the model. Once the tiles were set and dried I trimmed them up and fixed them around the base of the thinner part of the tower. There is some work to do along the edges where they meet, but then I need to do this on the rest of the roof pieces anyway.

I have also had another little brain wave whilst walking round the Poundland at the weekend. This is to do with the windows which I have not tackled yet. More on that soon...

Previous article in the Mystery Model/Haunted House series:
November Update

Next article in the Mystery Model/Haunted House series:
Weekend Roofing

(*) Outstanding work on Karl, marketing and conversion for other eBook formats.

Monday, 16 February 2015

A Quick Update

A quick update on what I've been up to in case you thought I've been kidnapped by aliens.

I confess I have still not gone anywhere near the old haunted house model I was building last year, but during a frantic search for something a few weeks ago I came upon the missing plans for the building.  

I have however been giving some love and attention to the Doctor Who Tapestry which has also been suffering from the time I spent last year working on the final part of Karl’s adventures.

I’ve gone back to listening to Big Finish albums and sticking the needle in and out of the canvas in the evenings to create a Draconian and a few Jelly Babies on the picture. I’m working on a Voc Class Robot at the moment. 

That’s not to say that Karl is finished 100%. 

The countdown to the official launch is underway. The Kindle edition goes live on the 23rd February, and pre-orders are already open. The final manuscript has been sent over, so why not pre-order and have them load it onto your machine on the day of release? Click here for more details.

I am now in the process of reformatting all three books ready for launch onto the other eBook platforms, so watch this space and Karl’s Facebook page for further announcements. 

We have now added ‘Buy Now’ buttons to the pages on this blog dedicated to each book. You can order a copy direct from me, whilst my stock lasts, and I will sign and dedicate the book for you. Just follow the links on the right hand side of the blog for more details.

And finally congratulations to the two winners of the Goodreads Giveaway promotion for book one of the trilogy. Your books are in the post to you.

That’s my quick update for now, hopefully I will be back with some model work soon.

All the best