A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:

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

Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to leave a comment. I assure you I always read and appreciate everything you have to say. Unfortunately, thanks to Blogger being, well . . . Blogger, I can not respond to comments nor leave any on your blogs. They simply disappear into the ether. Occasionally I will remember to respond in the next blog post I put up, but usually these good intentions slip my mind. So if you want to ask a question or get a response to any comments you may have please leave an email address or other contact method in your comment and I will get back to you.

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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Crazy Telescopes

It may be enough for the casual astronomer to work with a telescope on a tripod out on the balcony, but the serious astronomer needs something more.  The 'main array' is more than just a telescope; it's three telescopes combined with a recumbent seat and writing slope.

This crazy contraption is made mostly from balsa wood.  The central post is balsa dowel.  The telescopes themselves are more balsa whittled into a cone shape or simply more balsa dowel.  They are connected to the central post by toothpicks pushed into the wood which allows each telescope to swivel.  The back of the seat is part of a cheap chair while the remainder of the seat and writing slope are more balsa.  All this sits on a (chipped) plaster ceiling rose which sits on a small wooded cotton reel which sits on a fancy round jewellery finding.  Old watch gears have been added to help give the impression that actual working mechanics are involved.

Here you can see Harry testing the main array out.  There is just one catch - to make use of the writing slope to make notes you need to be left handed.

I'm also thinking that perhaps all gold is too much gold on the array.  Perhaps it would be better is parts of it were painted silver, pewter or plain old black?

And just in case a three telescope array isn't enough telescopes there are three small hand held telescopes stored on the chest of drawers on the side wall.  I bought these drawers at the local doll, bear and miniature fair years ago.  It was the very first thing I saw when I walked into the fair and I fell instantly in love, but have never found the right place to use it.  I think it almost passes as Moroccan against the almost Arabic feel of the wallpaper (um, wall-fabric?).

 And yes, for those casual astronomers, there are a couple of tripod mounted telescopes out on the balcony.  The tripods are bamboo skewers cut to length and glued together are one end.

By the door (which you may notice I have changed a little since last week) is a floor standing orrery.  Like the main array this has a central post of balsa dowel with a variety of beads on jewellery head pins to simulate the planets of a solar system orbiting the 'sun' which is a charm pinned to the centre post.

On the right side of the room is a 'celestial globe' with stars represented by small flat backed rhinestones.  The globe is a ping pong ball painted dark blue and finished off with jewellery findings.  Behind the globe is a folding screen and a hexagonal seat for the astronomer tired of standing.

I was too busy playing with all these crazy telescopes to do any work on the little 48th scale house this week, but I will get back to it soon.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Making Observations

The newest room in the Tower of Magic is the Observatory.  This is where the wizards of the ToM come to watch the stars and make astronomical observations.

The floor of the Observatory is vellum which was printed with a silver tile pattern.  I painted the back of the vellum blue and glued it to the floor.  Not a good idea as when you add moisture to vellum (paint, glue, sealer) it curls.  Badly.  After some hours under stacks of old miniatures magazines it has flattened out reasonably well, but I won't be trying this again.  The walls are 'papered' with a printed cotton fabric with a gorgeous peacock feather design.  There was something very Moroccan/Persian/Arabic about the fabric to me so I enhanced this impression with the shape of the arches that separate the main room from the balcony and in the 'tile' trim on the stair risers, the posts and the fake door that 'connects' this room to the rest of the ToM.  I'm not too sure the different designs on the posts really work, maybe I should pick one pattern and do all the posts the same.  As for the door . . . definite rethink needed on that.

 The roof of the observatory is open, allowing a good view of the stars above.  Turquoise drapes at the sides of the ceiling can be drawn across to close off the sky (OK, so actually they're glued in place, but it's nice to pretend).  The starry sky is another free desktop background image from the internet.

Additional star gazing can be conducted from the balcony at the back of the room.  The balcony has gold toned railings made from bamboo fan blades and is curtained with more of the turquoise chiffon used on the ceiling.

If you have a good memory, you may remember back when I first bought the "Le Petit Palais" from Peitie Properties, I also bought a second kit, the Old Rectory.  I have also now started working on this kit and to help give you an idea of the scale it has been photographed inside the Observatory.  Yes, the whole house fits in just one room!

The standard kit has six rooms, but by cutting out most of the floor of the upper centre room I now have a five room (plus gallery/balcony) house.  This centre room will be the 'great hall'.  The room is decorated with a black and white chequerboard floor and faux linenfold panelling.  The panelling is topped off with a Tudor frieze.  The frieze is the same one used in Dawncrest Castle's gallery.  I had the incredible foresight to scan a section of the frieze before installing it in Dawncrest long ago and have now reduced it in size enormously.  Technically, you should not do this, but as they don't make the frieze in 48th scale I figure it's fair enough.

The remaining room of the house have a variety of different panelling effects and wallpapers.  I think the outside of the house looks post-Tudor in style (i.e. Stuart, Jacobean?) so the interior is sort of being decorated to suit, but mostly I'm just doing what I think looks good whether it's historically accurate or not.

Finally, last time I promised a better picture of the lay in the Sorceress's Chamber.  This one isn't great, but it's better than the last effort.  As you can see I still need to replace the scenery outside the window as it was torn when I changed my mind about the layout of this room and had to rip it apart.