Sunday 29 January 2012

Sticking the Sticks

A short one this week, it occurred to me as I started to stick the wooden sticks on to cover the second of these two models that I switch methods of sticking on sticks, even on the same model sometimes, more mood dependent than design.

Sometimes, in this example I would lay out the frame work first using sticks glued together for double thickness to make the main frame and beams. Then I would cut the layered planks that go between and stick them on in between the beams. This is actually a more time consuming way, but does give a more rustic look. It’s very easy to get the planks slightly too short and have gaps.

When I’m in more of a hurry to see progress I sometimes just lay all the planks on first covering the entire side of the model. 

Once they have dried I lay a single layer of additional sticks over the top laying the frame out on top of the model. 

This is quicker; the planking looks much neater between the frame as there has been no additional cutting.

But is it cheating?

Which do you guys prefer?

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Bertie Came to Stay

Behind on my posting again, and not a lot to report this week either. My excuse for lack of building work last week comes on four legs with a tail and a demand for a lot of love and attention; as I was cat sitting for a friend. Bertie is a twelve year old, ginger and white tom cat who, if he likes you, wants a lot of cuddles. I’ve known him since my mate got him as a kitten so he knows me really well and I’m sure he’s much happier being here with me when my mate has to be away than in a cattery. He’s been over a few times and is very well behaved. It’s true, they are great therapy, it was nice just relaxing and having him as company. It’s a really great feeling when an animal curls up on your lap and goes to sleep feeling happy and safe with you. Although he’s my excuse I’m making no apology for it.

I did do a small amount of work on the second version of the Recycled House I mentioned last time. The hay fever tablet packets were turned inside out and glued back together before being glued to the side of the building for the side extension. The desert box, because it was printed card inside and outside I left as was and just glued it down, but first I glued another piece of cut toilet roll tube inside to give it extra strength and support. This was then glued to the front, and a rough roof cut from packaging card that some books and CDs were delivered in.

For the roof all I did was cut a rectangle of card, folded it in half and then cut three triangle pieces, two for each edge and one to add extra strength in the middle. These I glued together and to hold them in place as the glue dried I also added some sticky tape, this is all on the inside and will ever be seen so there’s no harm in the tape being there. 

You can hold some of the card together with tape but if it is on the outside then it really should be removed before you glue the sticks in place, although I have managed to glue sticks over the top of sticky tape using PVA glue  before without too many issues.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Recycled House 2012

This is the post I should have done last Sunday; hopefully I’ll get these out with a bit more frequency this year... Time will tell.

Didn’t get much time over the festive period to get much model work done, I have been working on another coffee stick house which I mentioned recently and promised some photos of, so here goes.

This one really did start life as a pile of rubbish, a pizza box, a desert box, two antihistamine tablet boxes, a toilet paper roll and some cardboard packaging from an Amazon delivery. Not to mention the obvious wooden coffee-sticks that has become a regular feature of these models.

Building using recycled boxes is not as good as using the foam board. During building the model does feel very flimsy, but once the sticks are covering the model and the whole thing is dry then it does take on better stability.

For this model I flattened the pizza box, folded it and then cut it in half. By flattening first and allowing the edges to form part of the measure you end up with two halves with one of the four sides shorter than the rest. I turned the pieces inside out and re-glued them then glued the two halves together joining using the smaller side. This stretches a little extra height for the model than if I had simply cut the box into exact halves. It also gives a little extra hand room on the inside for working with the model.

The toilet roll tube was also cut into halves and trimmed, then glued inside to give a bit of extra stability. I’m in the process of repeating this building, so the next one I might actually use more than one tube to give some extra strength.

Here I've used the glue pot to add weight whilst the tubes stick to the walls of the building.

More  to follow...

Sunday 8 January 2012

2011 Reading Pile.

I’m taking a quick look at last year’s reading list. Not quite as many as in some previous years, but there is quite a reasonable collection here. They range from classic Edwardian and Victorian tales from the Wordsworth Editions, Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural collections to modern tv tie ins.

I’m not going to review every single book, but if there is anything of interest that I haven’t commented on please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll see what I can add.

Wordsworth Editions, Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural

These are prints of classic works at very reasonable cover price, and their covers are often quite intriguing in their own right, often pictures that give inspiration for model work.  I’m reading these to give me inspiration for the Supernatural plot lines I’m planning for my campaign.  Back in 2009 I read all of the Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories so I was pleased to add his Tales of Unease to last year’s reading list.

The Castle of Otranto, Vathek & Nightmare Abbey         
Edited by David Stuart Davis

The Casebook of Carnacki The Ghost Finder       
W. H. Hodgson

Tales of Unease               
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Madam Crowl's Ghost & Other Stories  
Sheridan Le Fanu

The Monk
Matthew Lewis

A Night on the Moor & Other Tales of Dread      
R. Murray Gilchrist

Speaking of Supernatural, Titan Books have a range of books and graphic novels based on the series. These are very entertaining romps  inside the world of the TV series where you get to ride out with Sam and Dean in extra stories. Worth reading if you’re into the TV series.

Beginning's End
Andrew Dabb

One Year Gone
Rebecca Dessertine

Coyoye's Kiss
Christa  Faust

War of the Sons               
Rebecca Dessertine & David Reed

Night Terror
John Passarella

Keeping with TV shows, there has to be somewhere in excess of 400 Doctor Who novels out there somewhere and I’ve probably read nearly everyone of them in the past. The current offering, published by BBC Books covers adventures for the present TV Doctor and companion combination.

If you’ve never read any of these before but like the programme, then I’d recommend Touched by An Angel by Jonathan Morris or Dead of Winter by James Goss as a starting point.

Dead of Winter
James Goss

The Way Through the Woods
Una McCormack

Hunter's Moon
Paul Finch

Paradox Lost
George Mann

Touched By An Angel
Jonathan Morris

Borrowed Time
Naomi A. Alderman

BBC Books were also responsible for three Torchwood books as well. Torchwood is a Doctor Who spin off series, these three books fit in between the Children of Earth and Miracle Day stories. Personally the best one of the three for me was First Born by James Goss, and I’m not just saying that because I got James to sign my copy when I was halfway through reading it and I found myself sitting a few seats away from him at a Doctor Who Tomb of the Cybermen and Tutankhamun lecture. 

Long Time Dead
Sarah Pinborough

First Born
James Goss

The Men Who Sold The World
Guy Adams

Big Finish published The Mervyn Stone Mysteries by Nev Fountain. These have to be some of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. If you’ve ever attended a science fiction convention in any capacity you’ll find something in Geek Tragedy for you. Meryn Stone was the script editor on a sci-fi shown from the 1980s, who finds himself having to investigate something quite strange and off the wall murders. These are great mystery novels are flavored with great humour. 

Everyone I know who has read them really wants to see additional books added to this series. I really do not want to give any plot away – just read and enjoy.

Book 1: Geek Tragedy   
Book 2: DVD Extras Include: Murder
Book 3: Cursed Among Sequels

From Orion books I’ve started to read the novels which were used as the basis for the series True Blood. These are the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. Usually when you have a tv series or film based on a book you compare them and despair at what was removed. For these I actually prefer the tv series, they have enhanced many of the characters that are just featured in passing to give a richer, more interesting Bon Temps setting.

Book 1: Dead Until Dark
Book 2: Living Dead in Dallas
Book 3: Club Dead

Other reading.

Running out of time here so for now I’ll just list the others, like I said leave a message if you want me to expand on anything.

Vanitas - Mathew Waterhouse
Life Begins at 40 - Chris Newton
Cemetry Drive - J. T. Wilson
Wolfsangel - M.D.Lachlan
All Aliens Like Burgers - Ruth Wheeler
Do Aliens Read Science Fiction? - Ruth Wheeler
The Reapers are the Angels - Alden Bell

Now to start on this year's already growing pile of books.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Review 2011 or The Story So Far...

Good old BigLee, he’s already reviewed last year, made resolutions for this year and prompted us to vote in the blog awards, me - well  - I’m playing catch up. It’s almost a year since I started this blog, early February actually so not quite at my first anniversary yet. However I‘d like to take this moment to thank those that passed by, dropped in and said hello and maybe even stuck around for a blog or two.

This blog has certainly been an extra driving force for me to try out new ideas and whilst surfing other blogs I’ve seen many other great ideas I wish to try out, but the problem - there is just never enough time.  I’ve managed to get quite a lot done last year, but I’ve still got many unfinished projects hanging around which I really do need to get finished before I start anything else.

Let’s see, a quick round up. The ghost town I’m building out of coffee sticks has four finished models, one awaiting varnish and a sixth one almost completed as far as the coffee sticks go. 

This one has not been featured yet and is another attempt at making the model out of all recycled materials – an old pizza box, a dessert box and a toilet roll forming the base with the coffee sticks around the outside. These are ok once the sticks are on and the glue is dry, but during construction they really do feel very flimsy. I’m also experimenting with the Quality Street coloured transparent wrappers to give creepy light in the windows on this one. (The toilet roll is to add stability on the inside - Photos coming soon I promise).

A couple of country cottages and town houses were completed, but the one based on Zandina’s house has not progressed since the last time it was featured. I ran out of space to have all these models lying around, and when I had guests over they had to be boxed up and not all of the models have made it back out yet. This is also true for the remainder of the work on the ruined castle pieces. Some of these I also wanted to base up and add grass and some foliage to as well. 

However, before I do that some pieces are supposed to play a role in one of our D&D games, but we haven’t reached that part in the campaign yet despite having planned this out with our GM over a year ago now. See some of BigLee’s posts for the saga of our rather on and off attempts at completing this campaign.

The ghost town and the graveyard pieces are for a campaign I’m planning myself, and I hope to get some actual work done on that this year, and you never know maybe even play some of it. This is a campaign based on the TV Series Supernatural using the role play mechanism by Jamie Chambers and published by MargaretWeis Productions Ltd. It does mean I need to spend some more time reading, making notes and trying to develop actual plot ideas rather than spend weekends model building. 

Maybe I should do this part now whilst the weather is less than friendly, as due to space restrictions I don’t really have the room inside to model build so easily. I also have a whole pile of figures to be painted for this campaign as well, however as there is a remote possibility that one or more of my potential players may be reading this I’m my fingers still as to what these figures actually are, let’s just say some of them come from the excellent workshop that is Heresy Miniatures.

The Doctor Who Tapestry came out to play again, I hope to get as much done as possible, but finding source photos to reference some older stories is proving a bit of problem at the moment. 

Another problem I hope to overcome very soon is the book Karl, Birth of Mystery. My publisher has been somewhat lacking in effort this year, and I think he’ll be getting a new year’s kick up the backside very soon. I will keep anyone who has placed an outstanding order up to date personally with developments – and I hope to have some news in the next week or so once production ramps up again.

Thanks for the support and well, let’s see what 2012 brings.