I have now been working on this piece for nearly 2 years this April, I can’t believe I have spent so much time and energy making this work and it’s still on going. Returning to the studio after the Christmas break I have begun to move all my work back so I can get back into the swing of things again.
Today taking back the most recent piece which was completed over the break. I focused on other pieces, painting them all again. Everything is slowly getting there now. The buttresses on Minnie’s Haberdashery have received their first coat, whilst also discovering that more repair work is still needed on them before I can go onto fully paint them. I don’t think it helps that they are late additions being fixed to painted balsa wood, I scratched into where the buttresses will be fixed to with my knife. Hopefully they will have a better chance of holding now. The new tables have begun to be painted now, it will be a few weeks until they are completed and added to the main piece.
Turning to the furniture the tables for the extended saloon are coming along nicely now, one coat from being completed, whilst I have still to bring that main piece back to work on. It could be completed very soon and retested with the projector again. The stove has now been completed after getting so much paint out I decided to add an extra coat whilst it was there to work with.
The saloon front is also taking shape, along with the coffin which entered the painting phase too today. I’m still not sure how the saloon front idea will turn out, only time will tell. It’s good to be back in the studio, in my natural habitat, making, surrounded by cardboard and all my materials. I’m looking forward to see what the year brings.
My first update and posting of 2018. I mean to carry on how I left 2017, very much working on this piece which is after getting the primer out has sped along nicely today. I began by trimming off less of the coffin than I expected to, leaving it to dry again after some minor repairs.
I then turned to painting, adding another coat of acrylic to the two model miniatures I brought home to work on. I feel they have moved slower than usual, or maybe it’s because I have been more involved with them, being so close to me at the moment. I decided to finally complete the most recent piece, opening up the primer to bring the balsa beams in-line with the rest of the piece. Using a smaller than usual brush (for primer) I found I could still achieve what I wanted to, maintaining the accuracy that I require around the wood work. I broke out a larger brush for the saloon front which has now entered the painting stage.
I know I made the right choice to bring these pieces home as I have achieved so much in this time. I can return to the studio, picking up on Minnie’s Haberdashery, painting the buttresses. Whilst also continuing to paint saloon front and bring the extension of the first model to a close. I can start to look at how to project the footage into the most recent piece, even another view-finder that could combine a saloon front, which may leave most of the set redundant, still I can experiment before I settle on the presentation.
I’m spending less time in the make-shift studio, yet my output is getting me closer to completion of the two pieces I brought back to work on. Painting of the extension and the balsa beams is getting closer with every coat. I’m tempted to get the primer out for the beams soon, whilst carrying on with the other piece coat-by-coat.
Moving onto the saloon front which saw the addition of the roof and the support beam/strip that allow the beams to be fixed in place. Now onto my grimmest piece – after the gallows I made a few years back. I was thinking about making one when I first started this work, but considered too much detail, and it was on the other side of the model so not really seen. Now that I’m making the front of the saloon I want to add the coffin. It was a quick make, once the basic shape, I added the sides, all needing the sides to be cut at angles to meet one another. It’s all covered in masking tape now so hopefully they’ll hold the piece together. Having it stood up against the window I can see that it will probably need trimming if only a few millimeteres so it is more believable.
I’m happy with the progress I’ve made at home, I always make the most of my time off – in the studio wherever it may be. I’m sure to get at least another days work in over the weekend.
A quick update, alongside all the painting I made more progress the saloon front, the last of the detail to the windows and door are now in place, waiting to fix in place.
Just as I was documenting my progress I remembered that I need to add a coffin – which was place outside the saloon in Unforgiven (1992) which was used for Ned (Morgan Freeman) after he was killed during his interrogation. The addition of the coffin is optional really, but I feel it needs to be made, as grim as it maybe I need to make my first coffin – in miniature form at least. It will be a challenge in terms of making. A 5 sided (open top) coffin made entirely of balsa, a challenge to take on.
Being Boxing Day wont stop me from pressing on with my work in the makeshift studio at home. I have applied the first full coat of paint to all the pieces that were either primed or waiting. It’s now just about building up that solid finish.
I put most of my focus into the saloon front, which today increased in height two now twice as high, giving the potential full model miniature height of the piece if completely built. I went onto start adding the detail to the front – the windows and door. They’ll be much less next time as I add the panes. I went onto begin to construct the roof that sits above the platform. I’ve decided that I wont be adding the front until I have all the detail complete. I will then be adding a support strip in between the ends of the roof, to allow for the posts to be fitted. I may come up with a different solution before the roof is finally fitted. I spent the rest of the day, I think I went at bit overboard too with adding gum-tape to all the joins and cracks, hoping to better secure the piece. I probably wont be return to my work until later on in the week. I am still grateful that I have brought these pieces back to work on. partly as I might go a little stir-crazy without something to do. And that I have some focus at home.
I’ve snook in a few hours on Christmas Eve, making a lot of progress too. I began the day by returning to the beam, the shorter beam, which I relented and have now covered thin balsa in hopes of not just covering up the join but also strengthening it. I know it will look larger, however I have no idea how the beam looks in The Great Silence (1968) so I have that on my side. I can’t get away with the same technique on the larger beam, thankfully its more stable. Also when the paint is finally applied it should take some of the attention away from that aspect.
Staying with the paint I am sticking with the acrylic now as I began to paint the tables and the rim of the bar that was added to the first model miniature. Before moving onto prime the extended part of the piece.
Turning then to the saloon front I have made a good start today, having the base and the entrance covered. Being an unconventional design for myself, I have had to raise the platform higher than I usually do, it’s pretty stable too. I took a lot of time ensure that it was going to fit smoothly around the piece, which it does rather snugly. It’s only half the height it will be eventually, with the first floor and roof over the platform yet to be added, that’s before I get to the balsa detail which has to mirror but larger due to the size as it wraps around the piece. I also have to build the coffin, which is a little extra and would definitely connect the piece to Unforgiven (1992). I have decided that the I’ll be returning to my work as early as boxing day at the moment, I’ll see how things go though. I’m happy to see things working for this piece. However I am still struggling to see how I can add a decent front to the most recent model miniature, again something I will possible have to address.
First day of the holidays and I have been working on two of the model miniatures. I stopped by the studio the other night and couldn’t help but bring back the latest model miniature to work at home. I haven’t actually made a start on a front, which I hope too soon. Instead I made the final piece of the first saloon I made – a stove, this time minus the funnel, and the raised platform that I made previously. I took a different approach this time which sped up the process, also I was working from experience too, which always helps.
I also spent some time with the most recent piece, working on the balsa beams, ensuring that they were stable, I replaced a piece at the back. I found in the studio when I removed the masking tape around the posts, three of the posts had not fixed, with just a few millimeters’ between them and the saloon bar. I had to consider how I was going to resolve this. I didn’t want to take it down to shave more, which would also reduce the height and I’d need to adjust the beam that crosses over the stairs. So I decided to carefully insert pieces of very thin balsa – so fragile I rarely if at all use those piece for that reason. Once cut out to size I carefully slid them in place. I know for sure if they work when I take a look next time. If the technique is a success I’ll use it on another piece, which is a little unstable. It’s not something I would hope to return to too often, it’s great when you have those creative solutions. Lastly I added another buttress which goes into the wall, making the look over the bar more even and finished.
Next time I’m hoping to get the paint out onto the first saloon and start work on the additions/changes. If I keep this up to an almost daily routine all of the pieces could be painted. Leaving me to focus on the front which should go up with ease.
My final day of the year in the studio was a busy one. Beginning by carrying out more repair work to Minnie’s Haberdashery again, still having trouble with the buttress and beam. I’m hoping second time lucky. I’ll be leaving that to fix over the holiday, as much as I am tempted to drop by I know it wont really happen. I moved onto focus on the two other model miniatures that were undergoing work still.
The extended saloon is really coming together now with the addition of the blinds which went really well, cutting lengths of brown packaging paper to length and width, before fixing them in place. They are more or less at the similar heights, whilst still looking pretty natural. I also made a start on painting the new tables, which I may continue over the holiday back home.
Moving onto the newest addition it really came along today, reaching the next stage today. Adding the final coat of paint to the furniture and main body of the piece. Allowing me to add the balsa fixtures which proved to be difficult to install. I had to shave the legs of the piece over the bar to be flush, reducing the height only slightly. Whilst the false wall over the stairs was really difficult to install, having little room to actually fix it in place. Once the two pieces were in place I had to secure them at the top. The beams on both coming up a little short to meet either each other or the wall. I had a few pieces left, which I have cut to length. The shorter piece was easier to complete. It was the beam over the bar which I was wondering how to secure. With the reduced height it would run under the other piece, meaning I had to improvise, the length I went for ran under and butted into the other beam after cutting into the beam. I’m quite proud of myself, making the piece work still at the slight changes, hopefully making it look better in the process.
Looking forward I will be making some time at home over the holiday today make a front, if complete I will be painting also. Taking home the saloon which has undergone the extension, this way I can bring them both up to the same point by the time I return to the studio.
Another very productive day in the studio, working on three model miniatures again. After applying the another coat of white acrylic to the latest model, I quickly moved onto the other pieces. Firstly turning to Minnie’s Haberdashery where I started to add the buttresses, which I originally didn’t want to do, but feel they are necessary now to allow the model it has a relationship to be more effective. Once these are fixed I will move onto the remaining pieces. I am also seriously considering applying gum-tape around the edges for extra strength as I’ve had to carry out more maintenance today, which I want to reduce as much as possible.
Moving onto the extended piece where I started to see problems arise. After adding a problematic trim to the bar, which am still not happy with. I feel I’m adding too much detail and it will come to a point where there will be nothing left to the viewers imagination. I now feel it needs reducing in height to work with the tables and the detailing of the doors and windows which I made using strips of balsa. Where I then noticed that the internal door in the corner looks far smaller than the front door. I have a lot to consider here. The smaller door matches the other door further up the stairs. However when you see both of them in light of the elongated windows and front door they look ridiculous. However I am working from the set design in the screenshots, these areas are like that and I can’t escape that fact.
Lastly and much easier to achieve with little fuss, two tables have had the tops changed from circular to square, which matches the screenshots again. I think I just need to bring all of theses pieces together before I add the stove – which has no funnel this time and a slightly different design. I feel that as I have progressed through each model miniature my making has improved which in turn has produced pieces with greater details, none of them can be left behind on that level, that’s my main considering, the language of the detail.
As we enter the festive month I know my output will be slowing down, so I find myself spending longer in the studio during the days I’m in. I made a start on my Christmas shopping yesterday I made sure I made some good progress in the studio today. Having added another coat of paint to the newest model miniature I turned my attention to the first one, which was going to be gutting one two sides. Leaving the floor and the stairway and balcony in tact. I extended out, having a hard time working out to secure the floor on a slightly raised floor. I remembered that the piece started life as a box that I cut into and making it secure, it still has the original tape that sealed the box for its original purpose. I then worked around, added the patchwork of cardboard strips as the walls went in place. I decided that I will no longer need to make a bay window, after looking again at the stills they weren’t there in the first place. What I found instead were blinds which I could possibly add as a detail. I finished work on the model by sealing up a few areas up with gum tape.
Moving on I made up the 3 taller tables which I made last time, which have now replaced the round ones in the Minnie’s Haberdashery model miniature. Looking at them in the set, they look far more appropriate, carrying on the language of furniture with legs without being definitive design, they are simple yet work together. I’ll be adding buttresses next time, this will be after I know the beams are secure, having carried out a little maintenance today.
I think the way I’m working allows me to make the best of my time in the studio painting the one model whilst making modifications to others. Adding coats of paint only takes so much time, and as I reach a more solid colour things will speed up. I think currently I should have all the models complete by the end of January, then I can look at group presentation then, already looking at making specific tables which fit the models, rather than finding an appropriate piece.