This piece has really sped out of the starting blocks. It’s not long since I began making this piece, building up the basic frame of the model miniature saloon which soon took shape, even with all the amendments that it’s undergone it’s moved along steadily.
Today I have made even more amendments, starting with a new mirror which is also carefully angled before I fixed the mirror in place. In all honesty it sits a lot better at this size compared to the last one which was overwhelmed. I then move onto make start on the stairways, firstly on the left hand side, it went up pretty fast, once I made a decision of the measurements it went up with little hassle. By this point I was onto the balsa aspect of the work. I wanted to onto the stairway on the right-hand side. On referring to the screenshots it was looking like the false wall/blinds that I made for the previous model miniature. I had to consider how this would work, alongside the posts that go over the bar – a rarity in itself. I knew these pieces couldn’t be fixed in place yet, waiting until I had painted the cardboard elements. Also both pieces don’t meet so extra pieces are needed before I can take them further.
I am otherwise happy with how things have progressed with this piece. I will be going into paint mode next time, whilst I’ll still be working the large balsa pieces which eventually be joined up and later fitted in place.
Even though I’ve had a shorter day in the studio I have again made some good progress. I began by making even more changes on the false wall, the single stack of shelves had to be removed and replaced by a single shelf. I’m constantly questioning and looking back at my screenshots to ensure I’m getting the model as close as possible to the footage as I can. As I’ve found with previous model miniatures you have to keep revisiting what you’ve done to see how it looks.
Once the amendments were carried out it was onto business of adding more, the shelf on the adjoining wall was up next before turning to the tables which are very different from the others I’ve made for the others. The round table in particular, which were previously much more simple, fixing a circular piece of cardboard to a section of tube. I thought that as I was only making one I could take the time to make something more unique and accurate table with four legs and not just a simple suggestion. I’m tempted to remake all the tables now. I saw the thinking through to the larger table, taking a cue from the Minnie’s Haberdashery again. I really enjoyed making these tables and the time they took.
I also made the piano and the mirror which sits above, I am tempted to remake the mirror as I don’t feel it’s right still. I’ll have to do that before I start on the rest of the balsa detailing which is mainly being the stairs which should be more straight forward than before. This piece is moving incredibly fast, I guess partly down to the size and the amount that I have to do. I’m looking forward to what happens each day, how it evolves and changes.
I’ve been working at home today, but I have turned my attention to the video that will be projected into the model miniature of the saloon set. Using found footage at the end of the film I have been produced a rather different piece. There are two acts of violence, one – the back of a Winchester in to a mans head that knocks him to the floor, the other, the mass shooting. Again taking all the guns out, the protagonists who commit the act. I initially left in the breaks where the removals were made. During the early playback, the breaks the act really left the one of act violence disjointed, meaning I had to bring all of those pieces together so it ran a lot smoother, which is something I’ve not had to do before. Usually the violent act is very brief, not needing such an intervention to make it work as a whole violent act.
My only concern with this, is the overall effect, the flailing bodies that bounce around on the floor are reminiscent of Bonnie and Clyde (1967), which The Great Silence (1968) may have been influenced by.
Still the scene is depicting more victims – which is debatable as they are outlaws who’re caught, making the act questionable in this piece. They were defenceless, making them more of in line with what you would describe a victim. It makes me question the function of bounty hunters in film and the history of Frontier Law, were they on the laws side or out for themselves, making their “trade” and lust for killing. They would/could be seen as lawful when they’re are bounty’s on them, however the method of tying them up, does that make it a lawful kill. I’m really curious to know.
Another busy day in the studio, for some reason I thought I’d have it all done today, the construction side of it anyway. Things became more complicated as the day went on. Working on the pieces behind the bar I began with the larger set of shelves which I thought went smoothly enough. I realised that I would be needing a false wall to really continue making this section up. When I had the second shelf unit made up, I looked back at my plan of the model miniature, everything else I needed to make wasn’t going to fit on. I had to reduced all the shelves in length by a few CM to fit everything else on, which was easier than expected, not a neat job but effective and on the surface looks OK, so I’m happy.
Moving on I went onto make the rest of the pieces and fixing them to a false wall which allows better access to those pieces before they’re fixed into the main piece. I also thickened up two of the walls, one which the bar touches and another where the small set of stairs are. I also brought the wall up near the stairs to hide them slightly, helping me when I add the rails and balustrades later on with the detail I’ll be adding. I finished the day by added a strip of gum-tape and sealing up an edge with another wall, making it look as good as possible.
Two days in I’ve achieved a lot really, I guess it helps being a simpler design, I could be getting the balsa out sooner than I’d thought, paint soon after that, being potentially complete and ready for testing before Christmas or early new year as I maybe taken that month off as the studio gets colder.
I spent much longer than usual in the studio today, wanting to make a really good start on this model miniature. Working from screenshots from my found footage I gained a pretty good understanding how the saloon looks, and it was pretty simple really, even with two stair-ways which lead to nowhere, which I’ve always found quite interesting. It took me sometime to work out the size of the model miniature, ultimately becoming the smallest of the series. The simple design of the saloon will make construction and the painting process go very fast.
This is the first model miniature to have two stair-ways, one of which is hidden behind another wall, which I’ve decided to attach the saloon bar directly too. I might thicken the wall out before I move much further as it looks flimsy at the moment. I ended the day by fixing everything in place, the making process moved along smoothly, having repeated a stairs so soon after the previous model which was far more complicated. I’m looking forward to seeing how fast this piece develops. I’ve also noticed that with both pairs of models that there’s a denser, more complicated one opposite a simpler, emptier design, this could make things harder in terms of presentation when the four are occupying the same space.
I’ve taken just over a week off from my work, now I am ready to make a return to the studio. I haven’t been idle, looking at my next possible work. Whilst also sitting down to watch The Great Silence (1968) which in all honesty is a gruesome bloody Spaghetti Western. One of the few where the bad guy wins, showing that in reality that its never as black and white as we want our myths to be. I wanted to see where the influences came from for The Hateful Eight (2015) which are quite a few. Both completely different plots, however visually Tarantino has taken some cues, politically its a bit more overt, than Sergio Corbucci outlaws against outlaws, everyone is out to get someone. Unlike the methodically written Agatha Christieesque Eight which gets the audience thinking what happened before we arrived here, who can we trust.
Another aim of watching the film was to find a scene that I could use and build another/final model miniature for this piece. I had to wait to the end, when Klaus Kinski and other bounty hunters kills defenceless outlaws in the saloon. The fact they are outlaws is even more interesting as they were only a few days away from an amnesty being passed, instead they are rounded up and killed like animals. In terms of violence, its the volume of the violence we see, not the graphic nature of it. We see so much in the snow covered landscape of Snow Hill.
I’ll be taking the final scene – the mass murder of outlaws and build the saloon, using scenes that build up to it. It’s not the biggest as I had thought, but intimate enough to make for something interesting to be made. I’ll be make a start on drawing it up as soon as I return to the studio and my tools out and make again.
Today was all about the projection tests for the latest model miniature that I have been working on. After setting up I was getting a good idea of what was going to work. Having it sitting the work portrait I knew that it wasn’t going to work, almost immediately really. I didn’t even document it as it wasn’t worth it.
Placing it landscape I was finally onto something, it was now all about the positioning of the projector and seeing how the footage best fits in the model miniatures spaces. I did a number of set-ups, all very quick, enough for me to get an idea of what was working. Again saving the best until last. I had a few interesting set-ups which I tried out, letting the projection guide me, even if it was just to see what it looks like. Below is a selection of stills from the test before the final set-up. I’ve also decided – if only for now to now have a view finder, I don’t want to feel that all of them should have one. This could completely change my thinking of how the four pieces will now be displayed.
Again the projector is positioned from above, pointing down into the space, and aiming for the main floor space where the action takes place. I’m really happy with how its all gone, the hard work is over, time to move onto the final piece – The Great Silence (1968) which I hope to be working with. I still need to watch it before I can begin, which gives me time to breath and look at other possible pieces.
Today I can finally say that this model miniature is complete, ready to project the test video into now. I came into the studio, checked the work I had left to fix and it went very well, allowing me to get on with two coats of primer in just over an hour. I’m pleased and relieved that it’s complete allowing me to look forward to the test phase and the final presentation too.
It’s been a frustrating day really, I wanted to paint the new additions, but found that I couldn’t. When I removed the masking tape which was mostly successful in holding the balsa in place for the last week. Having to add new pieces, even strips of cardboard under the posts to ensure they are more stable. I have sadly had to cheat, using my glue-gun to work on the false wall/blind which was not all held in place. The thin strips are just too short, which I hoped they weren’t. So the glue-gun has made a bodged job, which I am not happy with but allows the piece to move a step closer to completion. I don’t want to touch the post as it should be corrected next time I’m in, allowing me to paint the bare balsa wood.
So I have only one section left to go, after the false wall and touching up a few areas of the model miniature, before I can start to look at presentation with the projection. I have a love hate relationship with this piece, I think the design combined with the scale has complicated it’s construction and painting. Next time I would work slightly larger to prevent these problems arising again.
Picking up from my last post on this work, I have been busy adding coats of paint which didn’t warrant me posting. Now I’ve made enough progress to carry on. The painting is practically all done, leaving me to add the final pieces which were logistically going to make the process harder. Leaving them until the end.
The last pieces to be added were beams which I added once the furniture was slowly fixed in place. Starting with the extension, adding the beams which really do bring the piece together. I just hope that the posts hold, I have found from working on the last piece, the posts need a stable base that doesn’t move. I’m prepared to replace if needed next time.
I found that the wall of shelving was very problematic to fix in place, due to the location of the piece under a balcony that prevents a glue gun from getting close. Also applying enough glue (before it dries) was going to be hard to work with. So I have decided to fix what I have with the gun, before using P.V.A. and praying it holds now.
Lastly I turned to the false wall, removing the cardboard strip which was used temporarily before it was fixed, with a beam overhead. I was going to use my longest piece of balsa, which I found wasn’t long enough for me. Instead using other pieces, which I had to sandwich together to thicken it up and reach the distance between both walls. So there’s been some compromise in order to achieve what I’m hoping for. Once everything is fixed I can apply primer – two coats before I can introduce the test video and the final presentation for it.