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.
It’s my last weekend in the studio of 2017, as always I want to make the best of my time. Again working on three pieces again today. I began by doing the important job of making Minnie’s Haberdashery by adding gum-tape to the exterior sides. I then went onto add the remaining pieces to complete buttress’s to the posts, which wasn’t trouble free. I had to re-point and fix a beam that allowed a buttress to meet smoothly from post to beam. I’m hoping that my work today will be a successful when I return.
I moved onto add another coat of paint newest piece, I can confidently say that I will be adding the final coat to the main pieces before I turn to the balsa elements I’ll be adding them and extending them so they both meet each other in the back right hand corner.
Lastly I focused on the extended the saloon which is almost ready to paint again. Adding detail to the windows and doors. I’ll be next adding the blinds, which I’ll have to understand as they affect how much of the windows are shown. Being blinds they are all at different heights, I may make them uniform, otherwise it would be too much detail, paying far too much attention to the screenshots. I’ve also reduced the height of the saloon bar which now sits much better in the space. I have to keep imagining people in the space, how they would work and interact with the space.
I’m hoping over my time away from the studio over the holiday to still make at home, taking at least one of the pieces home to look at the possibility of the loose front, which would sit around one side, being a similarly detailed front. I wont paint it white until I know it’s working.
Can’t find earlier posts? – they can be found in diary form here
Spending the day at home thanks to the snowy weather I had an idea which I had to sketch out. Thinking about the presentation of the models, the possibility of including the exterior – the fronts which I have so far removed, focusing the interior for the first time. Now the fronts would purely be a presentation detail – showing a link from my old work to how it’s evolving. Then I think would that be too much, I really like to the see the strips of card that hold it together, something I usually hide when I make model miniatures, used internally for structural reasons. They are also interesting to look at sculpturally. Would adding a front on one side be too much? I need to find out how that would work. Conceptually it ties into creating film sets and the illusion they create, having fronts would completely change my proposed set-up, they could be placed in a row, or in separate spaces.
I did a few sketches for potential fronts which could be fixed to or sit very close to as they wrap around the main piece. For three of them it’s pretty straight forward what I’m going to potentially do. It’s the fourth and latest one still being painted which is causing concern, the front is the view that we have into the model miniature, which could mean I either I have a front and project through the doorway – which ties into the view-finder for Minnie’s Haberdashery. Or I have a side piece which comes from my own thinking. If I went with the side wall, there would be a disconnect between it and the other model miniatures, projecting an image through a doorway leaves most of the model in the dark too. Or the last option is to take out a wall – not sure which as I want to keep the back wall (with the shelves) as the violence happens in that space. It’s a hard decision to make if I choose to go down this route. If I went down this route, it’s more making and painting which is nothing new. I think I need to see how one works before I went any further.