Friday, 22 February 2013

WIP - Stoelzel's Garage

As well as 2 fistfuls of cars (actually more than that, but I liked the sound of 'fisftfuls' :) ), Carl Stoelzel's - the evil mastermind behind Stoelzel's Structures - Auto Park Playset includes 3 buildings: a carwash, car dealership and a garage.

I've been putting together my version of the garage, but recently it went on hiatus while I started work on a SECRET PROJECT ...  but, as seems to happen with me, I got a bit bored with that last night and returned to the garage, and reached the point with it, that I can share some photos of it. I've not done any of the props for it as yet, and want to put a few more in it as well.  Anyway, here's the first pic which shows the building so far:
As you can see, I've yet to 'brand' it with any signage and have most of the exterior doors to do. This next pic shows the interior:
And finally the extension, which I've hacked about from the office of the carwash building. The garage as supplied has no extension. I've added it to house a toilet, customer waiting space and a sales desk of some sort
As usual, I'm a bit behind with the props ...

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Spam comments, Gaming table solution and a MUCKy Car-park

First the bad news; I've been getting so many spam comments on this blog, that I've turned word verification back on ...

Moving on, I've been wondering what to do about a gaming table for a while now. My dining table - the only flat surface I have big enough to use (well apart from my bed or the floor, and there would probably be problems if I used those ...) is only 30" wide. So, I was in B&Q the other day, when a brainwave struck and I bought 2 packs of their loft boards, which were (IIRC) £6.98 for a pack of 3. These are made of chipboard and are 1' x 4', with tongue & groove edges so they slot together nicely. I bought 2 packs as I needed 4 (and they're in packs of 3 ... bleeding typical!), and have a bit of DIY for one of the spares and the last will probably be used for hills or something similar. Here is a pic of them on the table:
Loft-board gaming table
The omni-present problem of storage has been solved with the help of a no-longer required curtain and the handy fact that the table is up against the wall when not in use:
cunningly hidden loft boards ...
So having got my table solution, I thought I'd lay out the car park I've been working on from my latest purchase from  Stoelzel's Structures - Undeveloped Real Estate (URE). This contains a whole bunch of road, grass, sport courts, roundabout ground tiles, plus a wide variety of props and other stuff. As a first for Stoelzel's it's split into multiple bookmarked files - hoorah!! It's been frustrating trying to find (and then remember exactly where it is) individual sheets in earlier Sotelzel products, because of the massive variety of prints Carl supplies (as an example Historic District - Olde Towne is 461 (!) pages of building brilliance).

Anyway, enough whinging about how much you get for your money ...

Here is a shot showing the car-park tiles put together (with Stoelzel vehicles) along with my new MUCK (Stoelzel's Modular Urban Center Kit) building at the back, with the Food Market to the left, the Local Put to the right, and my version of the clinic on the far left:
a Stoelzel-heavy demo layout

Astute observers who own URE may well notice in the next picture that I've reversed the arrows on the car-park tiles to change the direction of travel around it. This makes it better for a British car park, as the tiles as they were supplied would have created a queue for it that went past the entrance.
close up of the arrow for the exit
 Also, in the next pic, you'll see a tile that I created from those in the URE; it is a British T-junction. However, in retrospect, I'm going to change it as I think it should be an entrance only, and I'll make a tile as exit only for the other side
t-junction exit
As a note on the tiles, I had problems with the foamboard being warped slightly. To get around this, I trialled out using cocktail sticks as connectors between them - i.e. you push it half into one tile and the other half into its neighbour. (This wasn't my idea; IIRC, I read a discussion I think between Zabadak and Vampifan somewhere.) This worked really well and although I didn't use it for these pics, I will use it when I game on them.

This next pic shows more of the MUCK building. I made it as an 'edge-filler' and as such it has no back, nor opening doors or proper windows. (ducks as Vampifan begins to get upset :) )
left side of the MUCK
 This is the right side of the pic, showing the sign that I'm going to replace due to its spelling mistook
'parlor''?!? come on!
 Something else about the tiles that I've changed is the pavements. The URE pavements come with a black tile pattern on them, which is too dark for my tastes. So, I copied the pattern from Grekwood Miniatures Residential Roads and with that created my own pattern. I then stuck these to 2mm mounting board to create raised pavements that you can see in the pic below. I'm very pleased with these and will be doing this for all my pavements.
pavement close-up
So there you have it; my progress on the URE car park (or parking lot as it's called in the file). I've not made any of the props supplied with it as yet - those will come eventually, but not soon, as I'm currently building the garage from the Stoelzel Auto Park Playset and working on a kit-bash derived from URE

By the way, if there's any interest I'll put a post on the Stoelzel forum about how I flipped the tiles and made my own.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

MDF Boards Update

Back in this post - zombie-blog-mdf-boards-and-cardboard - I mentioned that I'd bought some 3mm MDF boards to stick terrain to.

Originally, I'd printed pieces out and stuck the paper directly to the board, but as I said in that post, they'd warped ...

So I tried gluing 2mm mounting board to the 3mm MDF, but despite leaving them compressed under weights for about 4 days, by the time I'd stuck the terrain prints to the card, the boards had again warped to an unacceptable degree.

So they are now stacked in 2s and serving as my newest shelves.  Moral of this is getter thicker than 3mm next time!

Obviously, your mileage may vary!

So, having given up on them, I've created a car park from Stoelzel's Structures' Undeveloped Real Estate by gluing it direct to foamboard, along with a new building created from the Stoelzels' MUCK.

Pictures will appear of these in my next post

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Stoelzel's Structures Vehicles

As promised in my last post, this one will go into more detail about the vehicles I have been making from Stoelzel's Structures. As I said before, all but the RV are from the Auto Park Playset, and the RV is from Trailer Town Playset, both of which are excellent sets BTW.

Before I share pics of the models, I thought I'd share the process behind making them with you.  As I print my models on a colour laser printer, which AFAIK, will not print onto card (and I'm not able to do so, even if it could), the first stage of all my builds is to cut them out from the A4 sheet. 

Then I glue them onto thin card using a glue stick, before cutting them out (again) from the card sheet. Note that the tabs on the model should NOT be glued to the card. I've tried this, and while it does give stronger tabs, the card makes it very, very difficult to get a tight enough crease on the tab.

The next step is the bottom of the model. Back in my post ebbles-card-vehicles, I mentioned that I added a piece of 2mm thick card (aka mounting board) to the model to give it added weight and stability. With these models, I've evolved that a step further by adding a piece of foamcore on top of the piece of card. This doesn't noticeably add to the weight, but it does give the bottom edge of the sides something they can be stuck to as well as allowing you to squeeze them together as the glue takes hold. Also the tabs on the bottom edge of the sides can be glued to the card instead of trying to glue the bottom of the model onto tabs that you can't get to. The underside part of the model is then glued onto the card.

This method is especially easy with the Stoelzel's models as the underside is a seperate piece - thanks for that Carl!

And finally the wheels ... these have been a real pain. I developed a process for these when making the Ebbles models referred to earlier. What I do is to take the print of the wheel, cut off the piece that wraps around the wheel so you just have the tyre's side image and stick that to foamcore. I then cut this out with my knife - never yet having achieved a round cut-out - and then glue the bit that forms the outside edge of the tyre to the foamcore. All that remains is to edge it with black marker. I found the little triangles that are supposed to glue under the tyre's edge far too fiddly - they stuck to my fingers more often than the tyre :(

So that's how I make them, and now onto the pics of the models I've made so far. 

First is the estate

Then we have the Luton van. Although this looks very fiddly when printed, it was easier to put together than I had feared. These pics show quite clearly that I used the wrong shade of red when edging it :( I will have to find a darker shade.

Now the ... I'm not sure what it is actually; is it another estate? or a hearse? perhaps Carl can tell me. Whatever, it is a nice model, although you can clearly see that I have yet to edge it. This clearly shows on the bonnet edge in the second pic

The green sedan arrives next. As with all the models in the Auto Park Playset this comes in multiple colours and I can see that I'll be making quite a few of these

And the same with the next model - the SUV

And finally the RV. As you can see this is a big model.

What I found with the RV, and the body of the Luton is that the sides are long enough to bow inwards once assembled. This meant that I had to carefully slice the RV open and insert a brace (scrap foamcore) to keep the sides pushed out. Having discovered this with the RV, I braced the van as I was assembling it, obviating the need to cut it open. Even with the brace, the sides of the RV are still slightly concave as I hope you can see in the pic below where I rested a flat piece of foamcore on the side of the RV.
This 'concavity' doesn't really show in the finished model - you can't see it in the 2 pics of the RV above and they were taken after the opening & bracing, but the strange thing is, that you can really feel it when you pick the model up ...

Anyway, if you make these models - i.e. RV & Luton - then put a brace in.

I'm not sure if it comes across in this post, so I'll specifically state it here; I enjoyed making these models, and the "trial of my patience" that I mentioned in my last post  because of the steps I outlined above and not because of the models themselves!

Next time ... the car park

Friday, 1 February 2013

Zombie Blog, MDF Boards and Cardboard Vehicles

As you might have guessed from this post's title, I've got a few things to post about today ...

First is a zombie blog that I've just discovered as its author has joined the rather friendly forum - Board of the Living Lead, which I heartily recommend to all.

The first post of this blog / journal is at this link and I, for one, will be following it and trying to catch up!

Second. With the release of Stoelzel's Structures' Undeveloped Real Estate, I decided to use the roads in that pack to create some terrain boards.  So I surfed the net for a while looking for some thin MDF to use as the base.  I found Hobarts Lasers 3mm MDF and ordered a 15 of the 300x600 sheets to begin with. I had been planning to glue some of the 2mm mounting board that I use for buildings to the MDF to give it some texture, but when it arrived I decided to try just gluing the prints straight to the board.

Unfortunately, this was a mistook, as the boards warped :( . So now I've tried the card on the board and have left them under a weight to allow the glue to set with the boards compressed flat. I haven't removed the weights since Wednesday night and will check them tomorrow probably, so fingers crossed!

And finally, number 3. The card vehicles I've been making. All but one, IIRC, are from the Stoelzel's Structures' Auto Park Playset, the RV is from Stoelzel's Structures' Trailer Town Playset.

I had intended to take some decent photos of them last night, but time got away from me, so grabbed some quick photos this morning on the way out. So, here they are.

First up is a group shot, with (from left to right) the sedan, the not-ghostbuster hearse (?), station wagon estate, SUV, RV and luton van (not finished yet)

Next is a closer shot of the Sedan, with Zed-Me for size indication

A slightly blurry pic next

And finally, the rather big RV

It's been a trial of my patience putting these together, and I'll go into what I did in more detail in a future post