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Kennel Lane, Broadway - Inscribing the stone blocks

I used both the sketches I had made on site and some photographs of the building to add the individual stone blocks to the DAS modelling clay.I have used a selection of tools to scratch into the DAS, for example; A scalpel with a No. 11 blade, a  large sewing needle, a dart and even a scratching tool which uses the blade from an Olfa circle cutter mounted into an Exacto knife blade. I should also add that the carving was done freehand without the use of a straight edge as I wanted to portray the rather haphazard techniques used in the building of the original kennel.Further texturing was done with sanding sticks and a wire brush. I then sealed the stonework with some dilute PVA glue before taking these images. Please note this is was messy business and I regularly cleaned the workshop with my vacuum cleaner to remove the dust.I have used scraps of green foam to add both lintels and the wooden beam over the main doors. These were glued in place with superglue.Far from being monotonous, I find this techniq

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An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - Finishing the base surround

Regular followers of this Blog will know that I have been working on an industrial narrow gauge railway layout built to 1:27.7 scale or 11mm = 1 foot. The choice of such an unusual scale has meant that much if not all items needed for the layout have had to be heavily modified and/or converted from existing models, completely 'scratch built' or sculpted by me.In these latest posts I will update the Blog with 'work-in-progress' images and text showing how the initial project is developing. For more information look out for the Narrow Gauge Labels to the right.Most of the painting has now been finished. I re-varnished the canal water surface with another layer of Klear (Future in the US) before painting the exposed edges of the layout. I had seen a dark grey paint in B&Q which I was going to use, but on returning home I found a tin of Ronseal water-based black paint in the shed and after adding some parchment coloured acrylic paint to it, I had a slightly off-black or dark grey paint (I though pure black mi

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We are back,The Grinning Skull is back online!!

Well folks, after a lot of messing around, creating a archive/new site, much hair pulling out and other guff. We are back. I could sit here and type to you, what the hell has gone on, but suffice to say I’m not going to bore you with an entire catalogue of problems, I’m just happy […]

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Kennel Lane, Broadway - Construction part two

The roof sections were cut from the same blue artboard before being glued in place with superglue and PVA glue. I added strips of scrap balsawood to the inside corners to give more area for the glue to stick to. The doorways and openings were backed with more artboard before I covered the whole building with strips of torn newspaper which were glued in place with PVA glue and then sealed with more PVA glue. This 'core' provides a very strong basis on which to add DAS modelling clay as well as providing strength to the thin artboard panels.I would always recommend over-engineering the basic core as the amount of time and materials that will be invested in this model warrant a firm basis on which to proceed.Tony

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An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - The canal basin

Regular followers of this Blog will know that I have been working on an industrial narrow gauge railway layout built to 1:27.7 scale or 11mm = 1 foot. The choice of such an unusual scale has meant that much if not all items needed for the layout have had to be heavily modified and/or converted from existing models, completely 'scratch built' or sculpted by me.In these latest posts I will update the Blog with 'work-in-progress' images and text showing how the initial project is developing. For more information look out for the Narrow Gauge Labels to the right.The canal basin was painted in a mix of dirty browns which were mixed on the model. I also added some dark green to the mix where it butted-up alongside the stone wall. The colour was copied from studying the local Worcestershire canals which show  a very unhealthy hue - a very murky brown.Once painted I varnished the water surface with 3 - 4 layers of Klear (Future in the US) until I had a suitably glossy surface.I have been asked; why I have built

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Shakespeare's Rose Theatre, Blenheim Palace

Sue and I have just returned home after a whistle-stop visit to Oxford and seeing A Midsummer Night's Dream at the pop-up theatre situated at Blenheim Palace.On Monday we visited Oxford and had a great time walking around this historical university city and visiting the museums. We stayed in Witney and had a fantastic Thai meal at the Suwanna restaurant. On Tuesday we visited Blenheim Palace for the matinee performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream before driving back to Witney and an evening meal at the hotel. Then earlier today we drove across country - first to Stow-on-the-Wold and then onto Moreton-in-Marsh where we had a picnic lunch before travelling home to Droitwich Spa.This is not the first time we have visited this pop-up theatre, but despite the open roof and heavy rain - it was first class entertainment and well worth the trip. For more information about this theatre see this link.I'll be writing more about the short stay in later posts.Tony

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An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - Canal wall

Regular followers of this Blog will know that I have been working on an industrial narrow gauge railway layout built to 1:27.7 scale or 11mm = 1 foot. The choice of such an unusual scale has meant that much if not all items needed for the layout have had to be heavily modified and/or converted from existing models, completely 'scratch built' or sculpted by me.In these latest posts I will update the Blog with 'work-in-progress' images and text showing how the initial project is developing. For more information look out for the Narrow Gauge Labels to the right.The canal or wharf retaining wall has now been painted. I used low-tac masking tape to mask off the painted groundwork before painting the stone wall in various greys then drybrushed and washed the stones prior to painting the wooden strakes or rubbing strips. I had seen in some reference photos that the stones were both highly worn and colourful and I have tried to copy these features. Finally the green algae was added with washes of dilute acrylic paint

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An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - Progress

Regular followers of this Blog will know that I have been working on an industrial narrow gauge railway layout built to 1:27.7 scale or 11mm = 1 foot. The choice of such an unusual scale has meant that much if not all items needed for the layout have had to be heavily modified and/or converted from existing models, completely 'scratch built' or sculpted by me.In these latest posts I will update the Blog with 'work-in-progress' images and text showing how the initial project is developing. For more information look out for the Narrow Gauge Labels to the right.As you can see I have added even more items of 'clutter' to the layout. I have tried to build small cameos or vignettes along the length of the display with scrap metal to the left, the oil depot in the centre and used boxes or crates on the right with smaller bits and pieces filling in. I still need to paint the canal wall and the basin but this should be the next project/projects.The image below shows the Kerr Stuart Geared Steam Locomotive that was bui

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The Provoked Wife - Swan Theatre, RSC

On Wednesday, Sue and I went to Stratford-upon-Avon to see The Provoked Wife which was playing at The Swan Theatre. We booked it as a last-minute booking as my daughter Holly was going to to be attending the afternoon rehearsals and performance. It is an unusual and rare play, but was great fun with both humour and some very thoughtful themes. We once again stayed behind for the question and answer session. If you have the opportunity to take part in these sessions I would recommend it as they are very informative.We made a day of it and had lunch in Stratford before meeting up with Holly and walking to the theatre which is next door to the RSC. I even managed a quick doze on the grass lawn in front of the theatre - It was very hot!For full details of this performance see this link.Next month we are off to Oxford to see A Midsummer Nights Dream at the 'pop up' Shakespear Rose Theatre which is at Blenheim Palace. For details see this link.Tony

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An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - Even more clutter

Regular followers of this Blog will know that I have been working on an industrial narrow gauge railway layout built to 1:27.7 scale or 11mm = 1 foot. The choice of such an unusual scale has meant that much if not all items needed for the layout have had to be heavily modified and/or converted from existing models, completely 'scratch built' or sculpted by me.In these latest posts I will update the Blog with 'work-in-progress' images and text showing how the initial project is developing. For more information look out for the Narrow Gauge Labels to the right.Even more 'clutter' has been added.....I once read that you shouldn't add too much clutter to your layout. I believe that you can never add too much!Tony

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An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - More clutter

Regular followers of this Blog will know that I have been working on an industrial narrow gauge railway layout built to 1:27.7 scale or 11mm = 1 foot. The choice of such an unusual scale has meant that much if not all items needed for the layout have had to be heavily modified and/or converted from existing models, completely 'scratch built' or sculpted by me.In these latest posts I will update the Blog with 'work-in-progress' images and text showing how the initial project is developing. For more information look out for the Narrow Gauge Labels to the right.I've had great fun this weekend adding scratch-built clutter to the layout. I spent ages placing individual pieces and moving them around before gluing them down with superglue and producing these vignettes. As you can see I have used lots of items and crammed the areas with detail.For details of how these items were modified/made see the earlier posts.I still have loads of bits and pieces to add but am enjoying the fun of building these small displays.I

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The Forgotten Arts & Crafts by John Seymour

This hardback book was picked up from a charity book store in Tewkesbury earlier this week. It is absolutely crammed packed with black and white illustrations and at just £2.00 will be inspiration for lots of forthcoming models.The Forgotten Arts & Crafts by John SeymourPublished by Dorling Kingsley in 1984My copy was published in association with The National Trust in 2001384 pages and hundreds of illustrationsISBN 0 7513 2782 4Tony

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Scratch Building a Star Trek Shuttle - Miniature Wargames August 2019

Issue 436 of Miniature Wargames (August 2019) has a five page 'how-to' article on scratch-building this Star Trek Shuttle for 28mm gaming. The full tutorial, written by me shows how I re-drew scale plans, built the shuttle and painted it as well as sourcing some suitable hull decorations. The magazine is available from Warners, your local gaming store or W H Smiths in the UK.Shuttle DiplomacyThe model was built on a foamboard core with plastic card cladding and bits from the spares box. It was painted with 'rattle-can' spray paints and acrylics and finished with home-made and scrounged decals and labels.In addition to the Star Trek Shuttle, there are another two 'how-to' articles and a number of early Tolkien First Age scenarios. The magazine also includes the usual reviews and eye candy.Tony

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An Industrial Narrow Gauge Adventure - Wooden Fence part two

Regular followers of this Blog will know that I have been working on an industrial narrow gauge railway layout built to 1:27.7 scale or 11mm = 1 foot. The choice of such an unusual scale has meant that much if not all items needed for the layout have had to be heavily modified and/or converted from existing models, completely 'scratch built' or sculpted by me.In these latest posts I will update the Blog with 'work-in-progress' images and text showing how the initial project is developing. For more information look out for the Narrow Gauge Labels to the right.The wooden fence was glued in place with superglue and I started placing bits and pieces of 'clutter'. At first I was just testing where I wanted the items to go, but then I started to glue them in place and add some weathering powders to the join between items and ground cover.The process took some time, but was great fun and as you can see I have used lots of items of clutter to fill this side of the layout.Most of these items were scratch-built or high

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