Sunday, September 30, 2012

A New Modeler

I have known Andy for about 15 years., mostly through his cello music and improvisational gatherings. He has been integral to helping me establish this blog. He also takes great photos. However he had never done any modeling. A few months ago he took on making trees, with a little coaxing, as a first. As you may know, trees are always a scenic feature, especially those in foregrounds. A simple technique I use Andy is demonstrating here with medium and large plastic trees by Scenic Express. First step is to cut the plastic pin molded onto the tree base. The intent is to insert a brad for easy replanting. Once the tip is removed a hole is drilled into the base the size of the brad, and about 1/8" to 1/4" deep. There is usually plastic residue on the bit and is easily removed by simply unscrewing the plastic from the bit. The brad heads are cut off with a wire cutter. We adhere the brad into the new hole in the tree base using  blue Loctite CA glue; it is a gel. The brad extends about a 1/2" from the hole. Next step is to heat the tree to soften the plastic, then gently bend branches. The last photo shows the results. Interestingly Andy started bending the branches, AND the trunks! Although slight, it offers a more realistic contrast than every tree being boringly straight. This may sound obvious but it never came to mind. This is one good reason to have someone working on the layout that has no prior knowledge or limited thinking! You can expect new ways and approaches to any aspect of modeling.

Heating the plastic then twisting and
bending branches and trunks.

Below: final inspection before deployment into the fields 

The finished products below waiting for their paint job and foliage. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Atlanta Redoubt by LeBron

 Dr. Matthews, on one of his many visits to the "North Branch", has been instrumental in creating a few 'signature scenes'. LeBron is constructing a scene common along the outskirts of Atlanta and later in the war. These entrenchments were a series of earthen and log forts known as redoubts. As the war edged closer to Atanta, fortifications were constructed along a crescent shape, south west to east of Atlanta. Musket Miniatures makes earthwork sections with a logged interior, perfect representations of what was built at this time. LeBron included a long rifle trench, finishing off the scene with tree stumps and abatis (trees and branches laid out as an impedance to infantry attacks). Musket Miniatures also make the line of wooden stakes which come in 2" sections. It is these subtle details that enhance an authentic visual experience for the time. 

Here are a few photos showing his work and how he blended it into Brian Kammerrer's backdrop painting.

These black & white picture gives you some comparison of the actual construction and LeBron's replication in the 3 prior modeling photos.