Moving forward as quickly as I can, I’ve got much of the pieces ready to go. Most of the walls are constructed (and deconstructed), as is the tree trunk. I’ve primed the roof black, and completed the wooden stable doors, as well as the iron gate at the entrance to the courtyard.
I still need to lay out the inside of the stable, and I need to figure out how much I am going to destroy/bend/remove from the iron gates. I’m going with an old abandoned look, so I want the iron gates to be truly neglected and bent.
I made the gates using plastruct rods and strips. It was a new process for me, and I was pleased with how it went and how the end result looks. I will be doing more like this in the future.
I started with the plastic rods and cut them approximately the right size. I wanted to have them come to sharp flat spearlike points and I tried a couple of methods before getting it to work. At first I tried using a knife to cut the point, then squeezing the tip with a pliers. That worked very poorly. I couldn’t get either the flatness nor the point I was looking for. Luckily my wife had some candles burning on the table I was working at, and I thought, well, why not?
I heated the tips of the plastruct over the flame to a melting point, sometimes even lighting it on fire. Then, while it was hot, I took the back end of my exacto and squished the hot plastic flat. With a little practice I could get a very nice circular flat tip on the end of the rod. Then it was a matter of cutting off the the edges of the circle to create a pointed tip. I was particularly pleased with this method as it replicated the real life method someone would use to make a real gate like this. Always fun to be able to copy the real thing in method and appearance.
Once the rods were tipped, I took two pieces of flat plastruct strip and began gluing the poles to the strip. It took a number of tries, but I tried to make sure they were spaced well, and did a reasonable job, though more practice would probably make it even better.
I have also finished the trunk of the tree. I don’t really have pictures of the process, but it was made with a wire armature to shape out the shape of the tree. Then I covered the wire armature with Super Sculpey and baked it. That gave the tree a very hard base structure and a place to attach the bark to. The bark was made of milliput. I added it in small amounts, and them scored the bark texture into it with a sharp sculpting tool. By repeated drawing crisscrossing lines that all flowed in roughly the same direction, I was able to approximate the lines in the bark quite well. The texture of the milliput also lends itself to the process, as it tends to flake and crumble as it is scored, thereby creating a very bark-like roughness. I am interested to see if that same roughness translates to the tree once paint has been applied.
Next up: lots of painting and assembling of walls.