Tuesday, 25 April 2017

It's Market Day!

Or Big Rubble in Little China Part 2.

Having completed the fourth building in the Cubic Fun series, I decide to do some scratchbuilding of certain items which would give a little atmosphere to the table.
I decided on three rickshaws and three Market or Hawker carts.

I started construction of the wheels first.   12 spoked for the Hawker's carts and 18 spoked for the Rickshaws.   I pulled a plan (if you could call it that!) of a rickshaw from Pinterest and resized it to suit 54mm.
The wheels were constructed using the method as described in an earlier post

I have to apologise for the lack of construction photos but they were fairly straightforward exercises in plastic strip and sheet, brass wire and sheet.
The canopies were heat formed as described in a number of previous posts using a male former and a female plug and plastic sheet heated over a gas ring.
The canopy hoops were made up from brass wire shaped on a jig and then soldered together, again using a jig.   Two were modelled in the raised position and one in the lowered.

The photo below shows the nearly completed rickshaws (the lowered canopy still to be painted and fitted) and the three Hawker's Carts under construction.

The first Hawker's cart was a Fruit and Vegetable vendor.   Construction was again very straightforward with plastic sheet for the body and roof and strip for the posts and handles etc.
Little crates were made up from plastic strip and then filled with fruit and vegetables.
The plums were made from tiny beads and painted, the leafy green vegetables were made from a strip of paper wrapped a toothpick and after it had dried, the ends were cut and splayed and then painted.   A bit like those little paper booties for chickens and turkeys.
The eggs were made up from little balls of Milliput and laid on finely chopped bristles (Thanks Billy!)

The melons were made up from larger beads and painted.
The bananas were made from what I call the "chads" left over from my wifes diecutting stencils.   We hunted around for a die pattern that would produce banana shaped cutouts and these were then assembled into hands and painted.

The Beef Fried Noodles cart was made in the same way as the previous cart but wih a rounded roof.   A wok and chuan were made up along with some bowls  from cut down plastic golf tees and silver earring posts and backs were used for dispenser and cups.
Plastic craft mesh was cut to make a resemblance of Chinese lattice for the front of the cart.
The sign actually reads "Beef Fried Noodles"!

The last of the carts is the Fireworks Vendor.   I had in mind that this would make a great Plot Point or "Peril" to be negotiated or even a cause for a worthy distraction.
The firecrackers were made up from all the left over spokes after they had been trimmed to size.
The rockets are just plastic tube either painted or wrapped in a Chinese themed paper.   Launch sticks were added from shaved down toothpicks.
Two posters (from the internet) advertising Chinese branded fireworks were added as well.

I will have to make a start on a few more buildings now that this lot is finished.   A few more road sections and of course some coolies and merchants fro the Rickshaws and Carts.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Big Rubble in Little China!

Some of my readers may remember that I have more than a passing interest in the Pulp genre.
I recently purchased the Pulp Alley Rule Book and Fortune and Solo Card Decks.
Now that I had the mechanism and the tools to play Pulp Alley Solo I needed a surface upon which to play on.

I came across these pop out foam core buildings on the internet recently.
They are made in China by a company called Cubic Fun.
The range is not limited to Asian style buildings.   They have Italian, Wild West and English amongst others.   I selected the Chinese style as I could use them not only for Pulp Alley but also if I ever stage a Boxer Rebellion game.

 They consist of 4 double sided sheets of pre-printed, pre-punched foam core.   Just pop out and assemble.
The only draw back is they are scaled to be about suitable for 28mm figures.
To get around this I scanned the 4 sheets, front and back for a total of 8 sheets per building and then resized them to twice their size. 
These were then taken to our local Stationery Supply outlet and printed up on A3 size paper.

The following are notes I prepared whilst making up the first of the buildings.
Note some of the photos are of different buildings.

1.       I used three types of board, 5mm foam core, picture framing board(PFB) and a slightly thinner cardstock (STC).   The picture framing board can be picked up (usually cheaply) at picture framers.    They often have a bin of offcuts.

2.       Glues - I used Selleys Kwik Grip Contact adhesive spray for large flat surfaces i.e. walls/ rooves etc.    Elmers GlueAll thinly brushed on for the smaller pieces.   The Elmers does not seem to wrinkle the paper such as PVA woodworking glue does.

3.       Paints – For touch-ups I used Vallejo Goblin Green, Dk Prussian Blue and Neutral Grey.   I also used Sharpies and Whiteboard Markers to colour exposed card edges.

4.       I started on the 4 main walls first.   You’ll note that there are black numbered pieces and blue numbered pieces.   Cut out the black numbers first and glue to foamcore.   These are the outer surfaces.    I did not bother with a lot of the tabs as I used butt joints.   Make sure you measure twice and then cut once.  

There was a slight problem with the building being square if the front wall was not trimmed down.   Refer to the instruction manually constantly.   Measure, measure, measure!

5. It’s a good idea to keep the offcuts with for trimming/concealing etc.   Failing that, I just printed up sections of the resized scan using Irfan View to crop and print original (size from DPI).   I used this technique to cover exposed foam core edges/blank brickwork etc.

6.   I made up a number of the small sub assemblies first so I could get a feel for the medium and perfect my techniques and methods.

7. I trimmed off the tabs as I wasn't going to use them.   Exposed edges of the foam core were covered with either leftover printed sheet or thins strips of card later painted to match.

8. When cutting rooves etc.,  I made the blue numbered piece the “Master” and trimmed that to final size and glued it to the cardstock.   I then cut the black numbered piece to its coloured extremity.   This allowed an overlap so when glued to the rear of the blue numbered piece I could fold over the edges thus covering the exposed edges.

9.   The circle windows were glued to PFB and once totally dry the circle was cut out using a circle cutting compass.

10. As I mentioned before, I used three types of board.   PFB as it does not readily warp due to its laminated construction, Foam Core for parts that need strength and thickness and a STC slightly thinner than the PFB.   When laminating paper to card try to achieve three laminations.    This will reduce the chance of warping.   The STC was often glued to itself thus making 4 laminations i.e. paper/card/card/paper.   It’s just a matter of what looks correct for the situation.   You don’t want the sign hanging on the side of the building to be made with foam core!

Whatever you use make sure your hobby knife is really sharp and the glue is dry when you go to cut/trim.

11. With regard to the main roof I used PFB for the base and the front and back paper laminations.   I did however also glue some icy pole sticks across the interior of the roof as a just in case precaution against warping.

12. The interior first floor I just used a piece of PFB.   You don’t see it so I didn’t go to the trouble of laminating.

13. One thing I did notice was that the printed slots on some of the smaller pieces were not registered correctly i.e. they were off centre.   Just bear in mind when cutting out, things are not always as they should be.

14. I replaced some of the printed pieces with constructs made from icy pole and craft sticks.   Window surrounds were also enhanced with frames, surrounds etc. made from matchsticks and card pieces.

15.   After I had made the first building solid I was asked by a fellow modeller about the possibility of making them like a flat pack for easier storage. Trust Les to make life difficult for me! 

I came up with the idea of using 1 x 2 Lego pieces to make connectors.   I modified the male half by gluing two strips of 30 thou square strip to the outer edges.   The female piece was left unaltered.   The male and female pieces were then glued to their respective walls making sure they were aligned correctly.   The strips of plastic allow the building walls to still be joined quite firmly but the resulting slot allows the insertion of a screw driver blade to twist apart the pieces with minimal force.

The result of all this construction (and subsequent lack of posts the last month or so!)
is my 6' x 3' Chinatown board.   It is nowhere near finished and probably wont be for a while yet but I am very pleased with the overall effect so far.

Overall view of the table.   Second artificial turf mat to be purchased for the far end.   Blank MDF road sections will be cobblestoned.

Closeup of the completed buildings so far.   The building to the left is a scratchbuilt one and is the "The Death to Foreigners Mutual Benefit Society" meeting hall.
More to come!

Friday, 6 January 2017

It's All About that Base!

And Pulp and Palm Trees....

Firstly, A Very Happy New Year to Everyone.

Not wishing to start anything major in the lead up to Christmas,
I decided to rebase my small collection of Pulp Figures.
You may remember some of these figures from this post

The bases I used were sourced from Hasslefree Miniatures and were the 30 and 40 mm lipped.
Discs of the correct diameter were cut from 20 thou plastic sheet using a circle cutting compass.
Various textures were then applied.

I experimented with some texture paste and Glitter Snow paste to see which one would be most suitable for a snow effect.   Not surprisingly, the Glitter Snow paste won the day.   The Texture paste came up well as rough earth once painted and drybrushed.   The little dinosaur is based on the Texture Paste whilst the two Eskimos are based on the Glitter Snow.

Fine sand and Kitty Litter was used for the desert bases and and this was applied on a coating of Elmer's Glue All and once the excess was shaken off, sealed with a dilution of Elmer's, water and a drop or two of detergent applied with a dropper.   The Kitty Litter rocks and Woodland Scenics grass foam was applied with straight Elmer's and then sealed with the aforementioned dilution.

Wood planks were represented by styrene strips, suitably distressed with a razor saw and heavier wood grain inscribed with a scrawker.
The Pavement bases used styrene strip and sheet to represent the pavers and edging with fine sandpaper for the road surface.
One of the bases represents a crazy paved floor with a trapdoor set into them.   The woodwork and trapdoor was applied first to the plastic disc which was then was covered with a thin layer of Spackle (jointing compound) and once dry, the stone paving was inscribed using a re-purposed dental probe.   

I took the opportunity to make some moulds up of some of the bases and took a couple of castings.
These have been primed with grey primer.


The two female members of the Darkmore Gang, Mona Darkmore (L) and her Grandmother, Ayda Darkmore, prepare to leave their suburban hideout under the watchful eye of a Darkmore thug.
The two women are Preiser 1/32 Passengers.   Thug is an Airfix multi pose conversion.

A Work in Progress of the head of the Darkmore gang, Tommy Darkmore.   A Preiser 1/32 passenger figure with Airfix arm and Thompson MG.

Two Eskimos, tired of saving the whales (for lunch) try to catch and eat something older.
Timpo Eskimos, Schleich Mini Dinosaur.

Indy in a spot of bother again.   These ne'er-do-wells have just jumped out of the burgundy 1932 Ford coupe.

Mona Darkmore.   I used a wet palette for the first time to paint her face and whilst not perfect, I'm very happy with the result.

Just the photographic set up.

Palm Trees.

I have had this artificial fern frond for so many years now, I cannot remember from where it originated.   Anyway, it is made from a printed fabric for the blades with a plasticised wire stalk and plastic axis to support the blades.

The blades were separated from the stalk and axis'  and a small piece of florist's wire was superglued to the underside.
I also took a casting of a Preiser Palm Tree Trunk and cast a few of them.

The completed trunks with a smaller bush trunk made up from Pro Create 2 part epoxy putty.

The tops of the trunks had a number of small holes drilled in with a pin vice.   Approximately 12 to 14 holes per trunk.   The blades were then superglued to the trunks.

Now I just have to scour the shops for similar artificial fern fronds!