Posts tagged “Model Making

Cowboys Invaded – Update (14/7/18)


Today has seen this work move a few more steps forward. I left the studio last weekend after trying to figure out a fridge on wheels – or to put it more eloquently a refrigerated freight wagon, which would become part of the reason why the aliens have invaded and are staying put. After spending more than half my time today focusing on a new design I can safely say that I have combined the best of two designs for this element of the work.

I began by fixing 4 cups (end to end) before I began to work around this structure. I’m glad I did the other one last week as it really informed the construction of what turned out to be taking the best bits and combining with with a freight wagon. I’m really pleased with the outcome and decided to return to the writing process.

I forgot for a time that this piece would not have a happy ending, which I am slowly drawing to. With a finale of sorts being written by the time I left. I am thinking about other attempts to try and over-throw the invading force. I must remember American history though which tells me the more technologically advanced race won sadly so I should reflect that. Maybe more skirmishes are needed using the language of the Western to fight against the alien invaders. It could go on forever, until I reach a decision I need to carry on writing. Today has seen what could possibly push my abilities both animation and software. It’s something I need to experiment with a lot before I plunge into anything. I’m not put off by that either, I see this all as a challenge to be met.

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Cowboys Invaded – Update (30/6 – 1/7/18)


It’s another double update this weekend, due to a family party, which I attended I was unable to post yesterday. I did however make some really interesting progress in the studio. The writing process became somewhat sidetracked this time as I got further into what was happening that I had included the flying saucers, the alien presence into the plot visually, not just a few laser beams and shadows which I was looking to do. Ultimately that effect wouldn’t hold up for long.

I decided that after lunch I would go out shopping to pick up a few bits to see if I could construct a flying saucer or two. My initial thought was to use paper bowels, basically the shape I would be going for, that I could work with cheaply and effectively. Coming back with some cups and silver paint too I got to work.

I knew the basic shape would be two bowls, one upside down on-top of another, it just how they became joined in between was my concern. Wanting to go for the classic 1950’s look of the silver flying saucer that fills the skies above. I thought by the end of the first day with two pieces I was getting somewhere when I came up with a protruding rim to define the two halves of the saucer. For a while I liked the idea until I had extended it too far the pieces had begun to look like food or nothing resembling a sleek space ship.

I did some quick research into 1950s flying saucers I knew straight away what I had to do, simply fix two bowls end to end and go from there. Cutting a circle the diameter of the first bowl. With the second bowl I cut the edge off before fixing together. I also wanted to have a base for them to stand on without being too imposing – I cut a thickness of a paper cup that I them filled at the base with a circle of cardboard before fixing in place. I knew there and then that I had achieved the look of my flying saucer. The simplicity of it’s design, little messing about with circles before it came together. Also I can stand it up (maybe raise with a full cup.

I had some time left to write a little more, but I know that this piece is going to be far bigger in scope than my earlier piece. The more I look at it, I can see it’s going to be an animation of possible feature length and will take a long time to both create the set-pieces, animate and pull together in post-production. If this is the direction of the piece I’m currently in development and writing it far from complete. I have a rough idea of why the aliens arrive and their intent, I just need to see this first draft through and see what I have to work with.


Cowboys Invaded – Update (17/6/18)


I’ve had an unwanted break from the studio, it’s really being bothering me. When I had other things that needed to do, pulling me away from the studio where I’d rather work full time (if only I could). Enough moaning and I’ve had a really good day, doing more than I had expected again. Beginning the day wrapping the largest element that would later form the cross-section of a gold mine.

Once that was wrapped in brown paper I was ready to fix them all into position. Taking into consideration the difficulty of blending in each section, leading me to work on the 2nd element sooner than I thought. During this long process I ran out of the brown paper I was using, switching to a much lighter stone colour, which thankfully works OK at this stage as it suggests extra work has been carried out by the miners digging into different rock.

I finished the day making a start on the cave at the bottom, which became to arches (of sorts) which acts as legs that support the entire piece. I’ll be wrapping them up next time and working on the other ends to create the cave effect to. So far It looks far more defined, it’s taken more work to bring it to this level. This piece shows that a lot of progress has been made. I’m considering buying more balsa to work on buttresses for another test (or to add to this piece) which will hopefully show more progress. This piece whatever form it may take is using a lot of material, both recycled and new. I’m leaning towards an animation, which potentially will have more advanced sets since Playing with Plastic (2016) which was more floor based. This relies on more sculptural pieces to explore the work.


Cowboys Invaded – Update (3/6/18)


I wanted to post an update yesterday, however I felt and needed a break from most activity to just switch off as much as possible. Plus I didn’t really achieve much either so I decided to leave things for the day. That was then, today I’m actually pleased with the progress I’ve made. A far larger scale piece that really has come along quite well during the day.

Yesterday I had drawn up a new cross-section with another level and a cave at the bottom, which I am looking forward to seeing come together. The spaces around the tunnels I had drawn up were then raised up into 4 separate elements which I have them begun to wrap. The process of constructing them was pretty straight forward. I’ve got a nice method for the curved edges which I break up into multiple pieces. I spent the rest of the day wrapping each of the pieces, starting with the smaller one’s which I knew I could complete in the day. I knew the larger element would take far longer due to it’s size. When I was reflecting on the days work I could see that I had constructed 4 objects over the weekend in their own right. It feels a shame to have them just fixed to the board and joined up with more wrapping. I feel that they should be explored, or at least acknowledged before this realisation is lost to the progress of making this piece.

I’ll continue to wrap up the remaining piece and sadly fix the elements to the board and start more fun work of making the piece stand. I am also considering bringing in balsa on this piece, which would be used for buttresses at intervals. I think that maybe held back until I know whats going on.


Cowboys Invaded – Update (28/5/18)


After a short trip to London, I returned to the studio for Bank Holiday Monday, hoping to make some more progress with this test piece. My main aim was to get the shaft up and in place. Things have moved in a slightly different direction.

I began the day by adding the base and fixing in place, slowly patching up the brown paper to remove any suggestion of a join between the elements. I’m starting to get a hang of how the wrapping working, almost like paper mache in places, wrapping over before making it look more realistic, or my own language for a tunnel which so far I’m happy with the aesthetic. I have another tone of paper to use next.

With the base in place I moved onto added the shaft, which I knew would might be harder to wrap once in piece, working with three sides at once. Working with larger strips of brown paper I was able to achieve this. Once complete I was wondering how I can potentially reach/work with model. So I began to cut into the shaft, extending the level that the shaft goes into, whilst still trying to look like a shaft.

Reflecting on it now I can see that I still need work on it, how the tunnel becomes a shaft. It may even revert back to it’s original form, it means more work. The main thing is I want to see how things are working before doing something even more complex. I can consider for now how to move forward.


Cowboys Invaded – Update (20/5/18)


Today has been a challenge, one I hope I am meeting head on. The challenge to create layers that connect up. After some research I came across a model miniature that I am using as a reference for my own. I’ve taken a section to replicate in my cardboard style.

Taking the whole side of a box I began to sketch out a rough cross-section to build up a low-relief piece that I knew would keep me busy. It’s been a learning curve, I started out fleshing the roofs of both section of tunnel. I started to realise that I was going to fast, forgetting that I need to get to wrap those sections, I had two roofs set-up before this happened. I stopped to wrap up the first one before carrying on. Then I move on to flesh out the ground that connected with the layer below. Once I had that section in place I was busy wrapping again where I spend the rest of the day.I also added to supports above – forgetting the extra pieces so far.

I knew I wouldn’t finish the piece, with the base still to be added and more construction on the shaft too to begin. I’ll be adding some balsa too in that area. I’m happy with the sloping floor which I hope I can populate with cowboy figures and wagons, just to see if they fit at this stage.


Cowboys Invaded – Update (19/5/18)


I’ve made a few steps in the right direction now. Taking the base of last weekends model miniature and building underneath it a more cave like structure. I began by drawing up a series of pieces that had a more overtly arched shape. A shape that works quite well when I fixed them to the base and secured. I noticed that once I stood it up right it was top-heavy. I had to think about how to balance it out whilst also maintaining the look of the cave. I had a spare cardboard tube in the studio which I grabbed, cutting to size and butting into position.

Once I knew it was secure and able to stand up I began to wrap it up with brown paper once more. Again it went pretty well. I had enough time to make another base which I began to wrap. Now the step up, I wanted to join the two pieces together making it a whole piece. which was a bit slap-dash in places. I knew that it fitted my overall aesthetic and I could wrap over these parts. The good think about this work that any new additional parts that are created and joined can look naturally part of the whole with the help of the paper. I know that looking at this finished test piece that I could have wrapped it a bit better where the joins are hidden, that’s something that comes with time and practice of making these pieces. I’m also considering that the supports need to look more natural, maybe pieces of cardboard either side. It’s something to take to the next piece.

The next step is a big step is to make it possible for the layers to be connected to suggest that travel between them is possible. I know that can’t be steps, it might be a series of shafts, or could there be a staggered drop between layers. I’m imagining both options right now which need to be research before I make a quick piece like this again. It’s back to the research for now.


Cowboys Invaded – Update (13/5/18)


The aim of the day was to construct two layers of a tunnel, one, the entrance and a level below. I didn’t quite meet that but I have still made some progress as I can share below. I had a bit of a false start, even after I made a solid start on a new test piece. I got so carried away with making the walls I forgot to add the roof above that forced me to unwrap what I had already done to add that structure. On the wrapping front I decided to buy a roll of brown parcel paper which I’ll now continue to use and distress before fixing into place. My reasoning is that I have used fresh unused boxes in the past for piece so why not here, The paper’s distressed before being used, taking it away from its desired function.

As I began to wrap the new improved piece I had tried out the folded edge method which looked good to a point. The point being that after a few more pieces were added in places, it looked too neat. I was given some advice during the day to added ripped pieces, which I adapted to fix on top to appear more natural too, which it does.

I tried this method out on the next piece, the base and potential ceiling of the next layer, It worked really well, so I decided to return to the top half which really changed the who look of the piece. I felt it would be patchwork, but honestly it adds more authenticity than I imagined.

Reflecting at the finished work for the day I have come further forward, However much I have the aesthetic down, the overall construction is not quite there, I need to build it up more like a tunnel, even with a ridge on the base was not enough. It needs to be more rounded above. Yes it’s narrower but it’s not looking like a tunnel really, it’s getting there slowly which is what I am taking away from this weekend in the studio. Next time I’ll take my decisions from the end of today and apply then to the next layer, building under this base with a more rounded tunnel and an improved base for that too.