Monday 31 October 2011

Misty Halloween Greetings

It’s that time of year again when the ghosts, ghouls and creeps haunt the streets, including Big Lee apparently with his very own home grown pumpkin head. 

I decorated the porch and dished out some treats, although my first caller was a salesperson for Sky TV. (Probably the scariest costume to be honest.)

Anyway, as I was putting up the fake spider web material bought for Halloween decoration I realised it would be ideal to achieve something I had previously tried with cotton wool but had not been happy with the results. 

I wanted some spooky mist and fog to roll in over the graveyard set and the consistency of this material when stretched out gave the perfect results. Plus, with Halloween now over for another year, there's a good chance you'll be able to pick this stuff up in a sale.

Here’s Karl and his brother Tomkin exploring the graveyard as the Halloween fog rolls in.

Also I’d like to share the response I received from Woodland Scenics following my last post, which raises them even higher in my opinion.

“We appreciate the support of our customers, want them to succeed and are delighted to assist with any issues they may have. We have a great Product Development team, who are dedicated to making modelers successful! Thanks for the support, Derek and for the shout-out on you blog.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Tree Hugging

Apologies for not blogging sooner, but if I had over the last couple of weeks this blog would have just degenerated into a rant at the general level of apathy so many large companies show to their customers these days. I’m still awaiting satisfactory responses from many, and their general level of indifference is astounding. Companies like, London Buses and Nation East Anglia Trains to name just three. That was not what I wanted this blog to be about, so instead I’m going to talk trees and a company that does show an interest in their customers.

I decided my layouts needed some special trees and foliage, and so I looked to one of the tree kits from Woodland Scenics. I invested in the full range of glue, scenic cement and spray bottle in order to do the job right.

First stage was to remove the bases from their trunks and fit them, then bend the branches out and twist them to form three dimensional shapes.

To be honest the trees are much stronger than I first thought, initially I was a bit apprehensive about twisting them in case I was too heavy handed, but I had nothing to fear. The next stage was to glue them up and leave the glue to set and go tacky before applying the foliage.  

The foliage comes in a bag, at first glance you think there’s not going to be enough for all the trees in the pack, but providing you break the clumping foliage up before applying it to the branches there is certainly enough material in the pack to complete the project.

Once tacky I applied the foliage, left for 24 hours then started spraying with the scenic cement to secure and protect the trees – disaster, after I sprayed two of the trees the foliage all dropped from the trees, forming a soggy mess like the fallen leaves of autumn.

Now, I follow Woodland Scenics page on Facebook, where many people post images of projects and if you’re on Facebook and haven’t been to their page you should look it up – you’ll see some brilliant work there. Remember to ‘like’ the page for updates in your news feed.

I posted an appeal for help on their page and very quickly a brilliant young man named Joe Hawkins replied with helpful advice and shortly after Woodland Scenics themselves responded.

Their response was a well thought out answer to my situation, instead of just reprinting the instructions they tackled what had gone wrong and advised how I could get good results. 

The good news is that once the foliage had dried out I was able to follow their advice, applying two coats of Hob-e-tac before pressing the foliage on by hand and then building the scenic cement up in light layers.

Now I have the first batch of successful trees ready to be added to the graveyard set, the castle ruin and cottages.

It’s good to see that some companies take pride in their products and services and make the effort to help and provide advice for their customers. Well done Woodland Scenics, I will certainly be buying more trees in the near future. The other thing I like about Woodland Scenics is their website, it contains short video demonstrations which are great for getting you started.

Sunday 9 October 2011

Quick update

First thing for the Doctor Who fans, there are more figures on this week’s Doctor Who Adventures magazine; you get 5 Daleks, 6 Cybermen and 6 Sontarans.

Also a quick photo update on the latest coffee stick house, now that it has undergone the majority of the paint work.

Following my earlier news about being away from the blog because of illness, another trip to the doctor this week, as the swelling and itching on the hands and feet has been threatening to return. He believes it is chemical related and now I’m having to keep a diary of food and drink, toiletries and cleaning products, and modelling products used daily. As a creature of habit, I don’t tend to change what I use very often so with the medication continuing and the diary being written we will have to just wait and see. Has anyone else ever had problems caused by their modelling work in the past?

Sunday 2 October 2011

Model Work in October Sunshine

We’ve had some very unseasonal weather in London and the South of England this week, which meant that at the start of October I’m working outside with sun block on, and the shade up building models. It’s was reported that yesterday was the hottest October day on record. I managed to get some model work done today. Here’s a quick update, it’s good to be back on the model work.

The coffee stick house built from the recycled boxes is now fully covered in sticks, and has been given a black undercoat.

Zandina’s house, which can be used as a mansion or manor house has been quite well built up today. The last of the wood work has been added, and the base and front towers have been built using the DAS putty to form stone based front, the rest of the panels were again built with wall filler

I also managed to get some decoration on one of the graveyard panels.

Saturday 1 October 2011

I'm Back.

I’m back, did you miss me? Ok the blog’s been quiet for a couple of weeks as I developed another throat infection which knocked me for six and left me without a voice for several weeks and little energy. The doctor gave me some antibiotics but I had a reaction to them which meant my hands, feet, lips you name it started swelling up. This made modelling almost impossible.

This blog is a little bit of a waffle, I want to let my readers who are also Doctor Who fans know that this week’s Doctor Who Adventures comes with a pack of 16 Weeping Angels, ideal for a small army and at just £2.50 an issue – guess what, I’ve bought a couple of issues. They are a little rubbery but I’m sure we’ll be able to work with them.

When I did get back on my feet I managed to get in two theatre visits, to see two very different productions. The first was ‘The Moon is Halfway to Heaven’ performed at the Jermyn Theatre in Jermyn Street. Unfortunately, this was a short run production which closed today before I was able to post this and recommend it. But take note of the title and should it come round again I strongly recommend it. It’s a two hander written by David Kerby-Kandall who forms one half of the cast. It is a story of friendship, pure and simple. It is a friendship that endures from childhood to retirement, the ups and downs of friendship, stopping off at the main events in these two friend’s lives. At times it is touching and at others very funny. The good news is that the play has been recorded as an audio cd, so you can still catch up and if you enjoy radio drama then I’m sure this will transfer very well.

For more details see here:-

The other was a much larger lavish stage production of ‘Cool Hand Luke’. A stage version of the film that starred Paul Newman in the title role of the ex-US army soldier that ended up on the chain gang because he would not conform. This version stars Hustle’s Marc Warren, who finds he has to eat 50 hardboiled eggs in an hour to win a bet. With a large set that sweeps on and off the stage you get a wooden church, the jail house, a cooler box; I must admit I did find myself during the interval thinking how I could like to build some of these features into my coffee stick world. Again another play worth paying a visit to if you’re in town.

For details see here:-

I’ll be back soon with some actual model talk.