A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:

The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:

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I have also added a separate page to the blog for the Tower of Magic with a brief summary of all the rooms of the ToM in the one spot. The link is just below this and above the main body of the blog, or you can just click here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Scaling Down

With the Steampunk Airship finished, it's time to move on to something completely different.  "Le Petit Palais" is a 48th (or 1/4") scale kit by the folks at Petite Properties.  The kit itself goes together beautifully and is wonderfully detailed.  I can't vouch for the quality of the instructions provided because as usual I didn't bother to read them as the assembly really is fairly simple.  The kit is intended to be decorated in a Shabby Chic style but as I don't personally really do Shabby anything my version will be an eighteenth century ch√Ęteau.

Whenever I buy a kit it always gets altered.  The first major change to Le Petit Palais  is the addition of two "wings" of two rooms each on either side of the main building.  These additions are made from balsa wood the same thickness as the MDF kit.  I am also considering adding a basement under the main house to allow space for a kitchen and other "service" rooms.

On the ground floor of the left wing is the Music room.  The walls were painted pale blue and then scenic scrapbooking stickers (one strip of mountains overlaid with one strip of trees) were added to create a mural effect.  The floor and lower wall panels are printouts from images on the internet.

Next door in the main building is the drawing or sitting room.  Again, the wall panels and floor are printouts.  I spent days trawling the internet for every possible free printable wallpaper to use in this house.  All the printouts I'm using are printed on matte photo paper as I've found this gives the best results.

The next room is the entry hall and stairs.  Again, printed wall and floor papers with balsa wood stairs and are painted light blue.  Each step is 3mm thick.  The railing is made of black lace with toothpicks with turned ends used as posts.

The dining room is next.  The plan for this room is to be basically red and white with hits of gold.

 The last room on the ground floor is the gentleman's smoking room (or possibly just a plain study).  This room has a barrel ceiling and a raised library area at the back.  If the white pillars look familiar it's because they are 12th scale staircase spindles.

That is Le Petit Palais so far.  By next week I hope to have begun decorating the next level of the house.

Monday, May 19, 2014

All We Need Is A Name . . . .

The Steampunk Airship is now finished bar one detail.  As usual it still hasn't been given a name.  At this point is likely to remain plain "Steampunk Airship" in perpetuity.

The balloon atop the mast is made from three polystyrene balls, some polyester stuffing and a red cotton fabric.  The net like rigging is cotton twine knotted and woven together.  The left side of the ship has been left permanently open to display the rooms inside.

The rear of the ship has a balcony that is accessed through the captains cabin and a pair of propellers.

At the front of the ship is an octopus-like figurehead made from paper clay.  The people aboard ship are polymer clay with the aid of a mould.

The captain is in her cabin studying the navigational charts to ensure they are taking the best route to their destination.

Sam is working on the engines (or what passes for engines, they still don't really look like sufficient machinery to make a ship fly).

Emily is not far away in the kitchen preparing lunch.

Less hard-working are Allen catching some sleep in his hammock . . .

 and Freddy taking a nap up on deck where the cargo hides him from view of his shipmates.

Sally has been given the job of steering the ship.

 If you're thinking that you've seen me do better projects than this one, I'd agree.  It always seems to be the case that the longer you plan and dream up ideas for a project, the more disappointing it is when you finally get around to making it.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Steampunk Airship's Beginings

For the past few weeks I've been working on a 24th (1/2") scale steam punk airship.  The skeleton of the ship is made from balsa wood with foam board floors.

The outside has a skin of cardboard at the back (the front remaining open for viewing).

Over the cardboard is a layer of balsa wood strips overlaid like weather boards on a house.

The wood was bent around the curve at the front of the ship by spraying it first with Windex.  I don't know the science behind this, but for whatever reason balsa wood soaked in Windex becomes more flexible.

Inside, the walls were covered in more balsa wood.  All this wood is stained with a mix of walnut and mahogany wood stain gels.

At this point I decided the ship looked to unwieldy and cut the lower floor/deck off.

This means that the cargo area has moved up into the open air on the deck and the engine room has now been squeezed into a small area behind the kitchen.

The reduced area of the engine room has made building something that resembles and engine difficult.  At the moment there is a "boiler" in the back corner, some pipework,  a set of very unconvincing pistons and a few other bits and pieces back here but no real engine.

In the central area of the ship is the kitchen and mess.

The front section contains the crew's quarters complete with some colourful hammocks.

The captain's cabin is better appointed with a proper bed and a desk.