Monday, July 18, 2011

Building the Sea Port Model Works diorama and display

It all started last year at a model RR show. I was showing Bruce Nickerson of Sea Port Model Works a little diorama I'd built. He asked how I made the water. I told him and explained that I had a DVD which showed all my water-building techniques. He needed to know because he was contemplating building several display bases for his ship models.

During our discussion we talked about building one large display to show-off his whole product line. This would be a waterfront display in HO scale and he asked me if I could build it for him. We settled on dimensions of 30" wide by 6' long and not over 1' high, a size that would fit in the back of a van or station wagon.

I went home pulled out all my waterfront pictures, studied them for a while, and created a ½" scale model of what I envisioned the display to look like.

The research part is important to me because it gets the juices flowing and gets me thinking about the "scenes" in the display. It also gives me a clue into the scope and number of structures that need to be built. I did end up using several modified kits but most of the building were scratch built using many uncommon materials. But I'm getting ahead of myself…

Friday, June 24, 2011

Going Whole Hog

I love cooking whole hogs. It started over 30 years ago when Bob Hayden decided to host a pig roast for Kalmbach Publishing (publisher of Model Railroader and Trains magazines and my Scenery book) employees.

He bought a 125 pound pig and asked me to cook it. We mounted it on a pole and rented an electric rotisserie. We put the set-up about 2 feet off the ground and built a charcoal fire on either side of the pig. I sat and watched the pig for 7 hours until it was done. I was also done, I'd been drinking beer while watching the pig cook.

We carved it, sauced it and served it with a keg of beer and a dozen pot-luck sides people brought to the party. It was a grand time. The only thing left in the morning was the skull, stripped of meat, staring at me from the kitchen sink.

I've cooked many pigs since then using all types of contraptions and pits dug in the ground. They all worked out great.

This year I decided to get serious and bought a La Caja China or Chinese Pig Box. This is a plywood box lined with aluminum and has an aluminum lid to hold the charcoal. The pig bakes in the box. It's almost foolproof.

You season the pig (injecting the rubbing,) put it in the box, put the lid on, cover the lid with charcoal and let it cook for 3 or so hours. At that time you remove the lid and turn the pig, replace the lid and let the skin crisp for another hour. Easy Peasy!

The results are a perfectly cooked pig, ready to pull, sauce and eat.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Heki Wild Grass

Scenic Express sells Heki Wildgrass for modeling perfect looking clumps of tall grass. It's sold in several colors and textures.

In the package there's a large sheet of standing grass on a plastic backing. This is the same type of grass you'd get from the Heki Flock Star static grass applicator only the Wildgrass is ready to use.

Just peel a clump of grass from the backing, put a drop of white glue on the back and push it into the scenery. After the glue dries you have a patch of grass that looks like it just grew there.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's been a while...

It's been a year since I posted anything new here. I'm sorry for you folks who were checking back periodically but my life got in the way. I've been really busy with model railroad, family and cooking projects.

Last fall I released a new DVD titled "EASY SCENERY from start to finish." It's available through this website.

The DVD shows building landform scenery from using cardboard strips, plaster cloth, and Sculptamold.

Doug Foscale shows you how to carve rocks in plaster and color them. I show you how to add cast plaster rocks, and then paint them using Poly Scale paints.

Next I add add ground cover and build trees. Hal Reynolds shows you how to use a wire twisting tool to build pine trees and weeds. I build a simple waterway using Woodland Scenics water products.

As a disclaimer I must say that some of the topics included in EASY SCENERY are also included in my Building Landforms DVD. Only in EASY SCENERY I use different materials, colors and methods to achieve similar results. EASY SCENERY takes you to the end of the scenery building process - finished scenery.

The 23 chapters include:

Building Mountains

Making rocks - two ways

Ballasting track - the easy way

Coloring rail

Cutting an shaping foam scenery

Painting rocks - two different ways

Modeling water

Adding scenic texture

Building a dirt road

Making weed trees

Making twisted wire trees

And, putting it all together to make a finished scene

Most of the tools and materials used in EASY SCENERY can be obtained from Micro Mark.

Please stayed tuned I'm going to do my best to post something informative and interesting every week. Thanks for checking back.