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KatsZenJammer
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PostSubject: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSun 30 Sep 2018, 7:11 pm

SteamCycle Diorama Base - The ongoing and sporadic production betwixt rounds of painting the Steamcycle.

The painting of the SteamCycle began then went into hiatus whilst milady's son stopped in for a 4 week visit from Montreal - a necessary thing since my workshop/painting room is also our guest room and filling it with latent paint fumes would not be the most hospitable behaviour.  So I began utilizing the time to do research into paint schemes and machinery and stuff and (as mentioned in the SteamCycle thread) I got distracted by a plethora of info on making dioramas.

During the course of this grazing of data I began to wonder what would be the best way for me to go about crafting an old fashioned sett stone street (also called cobblestone but I'm getting all technical here).  Looking at images of old British streets the one glaring obvious thing is the non-uniformity of the stones (or bricks) in size, colour, texture, shape and elevation when it comes to the really old, used roads.  More data grazing informed me that the 'easiest' way to accomplish this effect was by crafting individual stones rather than trying to lay a base of clay and add texture and such - especially given the scale issue.

There were tonnes of moulds available for 1/35 scale bricks but not so much for 1/6.  Plus after I fashioned a scale stone out of insulation styrofoam I quickly decided that the base would wind up far too heavy if I went for actual full-depth sett stones.  Thinking about it resulted in the idea that 'tiles' would be the best way to represent the stones because you didn't really need to see the depth as long as the surface implied that it was there.

And so begins Round One of the concept ... trying out various ideas and seeing how they worked out.  The material I chose for the tiles is DAS Air Dry Modelling clay, called 'paper clay' because the main ingredient is vegetable fiber/cellulose and not minerals.  It is non-toxic, workable with bare hands or latex/vinyl gloves, shapeable and cuttable once dry, easily painted and so forth.  And most importantly, I can do all this work at my secondary work bench a.k.a. the computer table.


The little mini-brick is the scale reference, the '384' refers to the approximate number of the bricks I wanted to make based on estimates of the size of the dio base.  The little white tile below the styro brick is the test piece just to see if the clay would be rigid enough at the depth I was considering and a 'texture test' just to get an idea of what the clay looked like.  The bigger block of styro is the flattening block to squish the clay down.  A ceramic tile as a working surface and the pancake of clay pressed down to approximate thickness.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd10

Adding texture - after much deliberation and messing about I went into my backyard, grabbed some small, rough rocks, cleaned them off and used them.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd11

The 'stamp' made from the lid of a fuse packet, wonderfully thin but strong steel.  This is only to set the cut lines and not for use like a cookie cutter because the clay would get jammed in the stamp.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd12

Cutting with a one-sided razor.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd13

Initial drying rack made from a wooden picture frame and window screen.  The black tape is necessary to reinforce the mesh so the tacks would hold the edges.  Once the tiles had dried for half a day or so I transferred them to a folded towel for final drying.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd14

After drying - sharp edges and ridges and stuff.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd15

A different tile after some shaping and sanding.  The X-Acto blade is for scale reference.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd16

What a small batch looks like.  Not bad but I definitely want to refine the process.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd17

And so it began.  I was planning to hold off on starting this thread for a while but it occurred to me I might forget details and stuff along the way - plus after a couple of years here at Skid's I felt it was high time for me to start a second WIP thread.  SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 1792231099

As of this posting I have 225 tiles sanded and mostly ready, another 48 drying and awaiting sanding.  Instead of using rocks I now have two texture stamps made with 2 part epoxy putty (pressed against rocks) because just using rocks was kind of tedious, they get slippery and hard to handle with clay laden vinyl gloves.  The texture of the test batch was kind of excessive for road pavers so they have been sanded some more and the later tiles had less texture.

Not sure how much posting there will be in this thread for a while since I'm going to be focusing on painting the Steamcycle, but I'm sure there will be bits and bites here and there.  Plus once I start making the planned accessories there will be that aspect of it to feature.  However, this is a lot of fun - I'd forgotten how much joy one can get out of making 'advanced mud pies.'


Last edited by KatsZenJammer on Sun 09 Jun 2019, 12:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeMon 01 Oct 2018, 1:12 am

Great to see you start a second WIP.....LOL

I'll be following along to watch the creative process on this also SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 1705482731
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeMon 01 Oct 2018, 2:08 pm

Very nice. The texture on the stones looks very lifelike. SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 1705482731
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSat 20 Oct 2018, 6:11 pm

Nice work Kats and I like the direction you're going in.

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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSun 21 Oct 2018, 6:27 pm

Thanks for the kind comments and encouragement, fellows  SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 3887228019

Serendipity gave my leash a yank not too long after that first post - this time in the form of a broken box frame display.  I was able to recover the outer frame itself and it looked like it would work but it was a bit smaller than the original plan so I adapted.  The 'new' dio base will be 16 1/2 in. by 11 1/4 in. (from the original plan of approx 18 by 14).  Here's a look at the frame sides and the scrap plywood base.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd18

The reduction in size meant a reduction in the number of tiles needed, thus I suddenly had more than enough which meant I was able to sort through the already made tiles and pick out the 'best' ones.  Unlike the ones shown in the previous post I reduced the 'active' texture as I mentioned since road 'pavers' would be worn down and smoothed from use and wear.  Here's the test fit of the basic surface.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd19

Glued to the base with PVA (Weldbond brand to be specific) with gaps for 'grouting.'  Partway into it it occurred to me that a way to add 'realism' would be to include damage (the little corners dip in the upper right area) and repairs.  So I put in one 'half brick repair' then got inspired to create a larger 'road patch' with an offset from the paver pattern.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd20

The repair patch zone takes shape.  The tiles for the patch are thicker than their surroundings to imply the repair was recent and haven't settled yet from use.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd21

Basic layout complete.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd22

Edges filled in.  This took a while since it required cutting a bunch of tiles to size.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd23

Finally the 'grouting' is complete.  The tiles were thick enough that instead of doing it all in one shot there was a starter filling with scrap bits cut down and sealed with diluted PVA which was followed by more filling with powder and sealed with more PVA.  The material for the grouting was stuff from the tiles which I had saved for this purpose, flawed 'discard' tiles which were mushed up for the thicker fill and the sanding dust for the powder.  I had originally thought of using Poly Filla (another cellulose based filler) but it was easier and cleaner to do it this way - though it took a lot longer.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd24

The result as it stands is uneven, non-symmetrical and variable - kind of ideal for a sett stone roadway.  From here the kerb and the flagstones will be developed.  I have abandoned the idea of a hitching post because it would exceed the area of the new base.  

But the work zone has been re-assembled and the painting has been re-engaged so the dio base will be set aside for a time - moving from pavement back to pigment as it were.
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeTue 23 Oct 2018, 3:24 pm

Beautiful work - very realistic. SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 1705482731 SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 1705482731
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeTue 23 Oct 2018, 6:14 pm

Love it Kats, the perfect setting (pardon the pun) for the bike.
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeWed 24 Oct 2018, 8:46 pm

Thanks for the kind comments and encouragement  SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 3887228019

During the intervals where I was waiting for paint to dry I started working on the kerbs.  Instead of making them from fresh clay I utilized the leftover tiles (always nice to have a surplus) and figured out how to do it.  This is the start of the process.  Note that I offset the 'seams' between tiles for strength.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steam_10

Kerbs laid out.  The four tile wide portions are full size while the other two are cut down.  You can see the inner reinforcement at the joins on the 'full size' portions.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steam_11

Filling in the seams to unify the surfaces.  Kerb stones tended to be smoother then paving stones though this also varies from time to time and so on.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steam_12

The smoothing of the kerb faces is going to take some time from here on in.  Lots of repetitive filling and re-filling is predicted, lol.
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeThu 25 Oct 2018, 7:02 am

SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 1705482731 Its fitting that your 'hand making' the base Kats.
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeThu 25 Oct 2018, 2:51 pm

Great stuff Katz! Really looking forward to seeing this all come together.

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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeMon 12 Nov 2018, 8:07 pm

Thanks for the kind comments and encouragement, guys  SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 3887228019

So in the past weeks I filled/sanded/smoothed the kerb faces and started thinking about the sidewalk, or flagstones.  Here's two views, first from the top then slightly oblique for the depth view, plus you can see the uneven road surface better in the second view.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd25

SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd26

The flagstones were made in segments from leftover tiles.  For the flagstones I smoothed the backsides of the tiles, which had no texture imprinted, and glued them together into easily manageable groups.  Doing it this way allowed me some options as far as how I was going to make the final flagstones instead of trying to just make the whole sets at once.  Plus it was easier to work with.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd27

The flagstones set up in their final sizes.  You'd think that something like the size of the flags compared to the kerbs wouldn't be that much of an issue but I found myself viewing images of sidewalks from all over the world throughout history to get an idea of what might be the best set up.  Pretty soon I'll find myself intensely studying gravel or dirt from the Victorian era  SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 2704104872  
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd28

Part way through the smoothing process - there was been some filling of the tile seams and this is where a lot of surface gouging and scraping occurred to further obscure the seams after additional filling.  The flagstones will be mostly smooth like the kerbs with some minor imperfections and cracks but nothing too major.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd29

I've neglected to take underside views of the flagstones to show the layers of reinforcement and elevating them so they sit at the same level as the kerbs, I'll try to remember for next time.

The views are also deceiving as there is no scale reference.  For some perspective, the one long flagstone is approx. 42 - 44 inches in scale and so what you're seeing is only part of the sidewalk itself (this is assuming that the flagstones are roughly square).  This makes the longest of the kerb stones just about a yard long.  Once there is stuff to place on the dio the scale should become more obvious.

Note on the filling - I had been saving the sanding dust from the shaping of the tiles as a matter of cleanliness and dust control when it occurred to me that Poly Filla (which I had been planning to use for the filling) might not be all that compatible.  So instead of taking the risk with an unknown material I tried mixing the sanding dust with a little water and voila it gooped up very much like plaster. I started using it experimentally and was very pleased with the results, since it was the same stuff as the tiles so it hardened like them and it stuck to itself very nicely.

Now to go and study archaic gravel, lol.
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeTue 13 Nov 2018, 9:35 am

Looking brilliant Kats, good luck with the gritty homework. SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 1705482731
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSun 18 Nov 2018, 11:12 pm

This is great work as usual cats. Can't wait to see what you do next.

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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeMon 19 Nov 2018, 11:47 pm

Heavens, you go all out!  Best to you in future steps, just another brick in the wall, oops, pavement !
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSun 31 Mar 2019, 11:06 pm

Thanks for the kind comments, guys  SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 3887228019

So after a moderate hiatus I got an itch to mess around with the dio base once more. Here it is with the kerbs and flagstones affixed in place. You can sort of make out the gap filler bits in preparation for the 'grouting' process. Sorry about the optical curving caused by my tiny little camera lens.

SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd30

Using the same technique as before to make 'plaster' from the sanding dust as filler. It took several applications as the stuff shrank a lot in such large gaps.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd31

I forgot to take photos of the sealing process because it was boring as all get out. I used diluted PVA (about 1 to 1 with water) which worked just fine and let it cure for a day or two.  Then instead of buying a rattle can of primer I decided to use Tamiya light grey acrylic diluted and shot with the AB.  It only took about 1/3 a bottle diluted about 2 parts thinner to 1 of paint to provide enough to get an acceptable first coat. I took this photo while it was curing in the sun and, of course, its hard to see the primer but take my work for it, it is uneven which kind of works for the situation. This took a while but using the AB allowed me to apply extra grey to specific tiles. This also stressed out my small ventilation set up, lol.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd32

I want to go in again with more grey primer before shading the grouting, for which I plan to use black on the street and dark brown on the sidewalk.  Then comes the hand painting using techniques cobbled from various sources, I'll try to remember to document the weirder experiments.

Hopefully the next post on this won't take as long to get around to.
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeMon 01 Apr 2019, 9:01 am

That will really pop into life when the shading goes on. It will be a superb base for the bike.
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSun 07 Apr 2019, 5:30 pm

Thanks for the positive feedback, Gary.  SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 3887228019

Always nice to make good on a hope of more frequent posting - here's the dio base after two different shades of grey were applied to differentiate the kerb and flag stones and to pop out some of the paving stones. Burnt sienna was used for the grouting around the kerb and flag stones and matte black for the street grouting.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd33

The end result of a few hours worth of playing around whilst vegging out to The Slow Mo Guys and David Attenborough. I lost track of all the colours used but yellow, orange, brown, green, blue and purple all show up here and all of this stuff was hand brushed.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd34

Honestly this is a different photo, though it might seem identical to the previous. This is after the application of Vallejo Model Wash oiled earth around the grouting and selectively washed here and there. To the eye the variations are more visible.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd35

Next will either be some dry brushing with Humbrol enamels or a coat of acrylic clear matte - haven't decided yet. The kerbs and flags are going to lighten up while the pavement gets darker, funny that.

One note - obviously using a 0.35 mm AB means a lot of painting in small batches and could be considered tedious for a target of this size. But the effort of using the small AB versus a rattle can pays off in the specific control aspect of shading.  I would not recommend trying to do differential shading across the whole base with the AB - that is more suited to hand brushing.  And using the Das polymer clay (aka paper clay) has proved very effective as long as it's sealed properly.  I missed a few spots doing the PVA sealing and it's very obvious, but also easy to correct.
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSun 07 Apr 2019, 8:14 pm

thats amazing work
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSun 07 Apr 2019, 9:25 pm

Great stuff Kats, and I repeat my comments made on the bike thread SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 3887228019
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSat 13 Apr 2019, 5:31 pm

Thanks for the kind comments, fellows  SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 3887228019

So the decision came down to practicalities and in this case it was better to apply the enamels first before the clear matte. This is after working in various Humbrol matte colours including dark grey, dark brown and various shades of tan and/or yellow.  Most of it was dry brushed but there are spots where I went with a highly diluted wash effect.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd36

After the clear matte came the inspiration to shoot some shading grey followed by selective application of oiled earth wash. The gloss is from the shading grey itself. This step helps to 'unify' the paving bricks and you can see the shadowing and selective darkening of individual pavers.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd37

Another inspiration resulted in the Tamiya acrylic greys coming out again.  This is after a few rounds of near-dry and dry brushing of the varying grey tints at various dilutions. The lightest grey tone used at this stage would be best described as pale slate, kind of muddy and mid tone sort of thing. This was followed by another coat of clear matte.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd38

Next came some 'powder brushing' technique for dry brushing Tamiya acrylic light grey. This grey is so light it could be mistaken for white if the lighting is odd but is grey enough that side by side to white makes it obvious.  A lot of small brush stippling occurred on the kerb and flag stones to add in more layering of texture detail.  Also this photo was taken using sunlight on a windowsill versus LED lights.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd39

I'm not calling this done or even done for now but it has progressed far enough that I can put the Steamcycle on it to see how it works together ... which will happen in the next few weeks if my plans go accordingly.
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSun 14 Apr 2019, 8:57 am

Sterling work Kats, can't wit to see the bike on there.
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSun 14 Apr 2019, 3:41 pm

Beautiful stone work Katz. SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 1705482731 SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 1705482731
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeFri 19 Apr 2019, 11:43 pm

The bike will look great on this Kats.

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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeSun 28 Apr 2019, 11:13 pm

Thanks for the kind comments and encouragement, guys  SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories 3887228019

Well, not much has changed but that not much took about three hours in total of close-in AB shading and some overall 'wash' spraying. Basically there was some more layering with Vallejo oily dirt Model Wash followed by close-in detailing with diluted shading grey then a coat of clear matte. One thing I noticed throughout the process of painting is how different the base looks depending on the light. So I present two views, the first in direct sunlight followed by indirect brightness - both photos taken outdoors.
SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd40

SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Steamd41

I might be able to get in some more work on this before the 5th Anniversary - the overall colour tone isn't quite where I'd like it. The intent is to also add just a bit of dirt/crud along with moss in places to give it that 'damp climate' touch.  Part of me wants to add bits of litter and debris along the kerbside but I'm thinking that part will be folded in with the hoped for accessories. It ought to be easy to whip up a batch of discarded clay pipe stems and such (he said with naive optimism).
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PostSubject: Re: SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories   SteamCycle Dio Base & Accessories Icon_minitimeMon 29 Apr 2019, 12:01 pm

Brilliant!
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