23rd November MMXX
Having split this page I don’t know for certain if you landed here or have read the other page first.
So, it is probably best to give you a quick summary.
The project is to build a 12th scale lighthouse with a Gothic twist.
It’s not meant to be authentic although many of the details will come close to that.
This is something to keep me busy over the C-19 lockdown and may figure in my storytelling at a later date.
You join us I would say roughlya third of the way through the build.
The structure is complete, the wiring for the lights is now going in and some of the furnishings have been fitted.
Still a lot to do.
The Bunk Room.
The Store Room.
The pictures you see here are taken from eye level to show the model at the stage it is now, as it would normally be seen in low lighting. This is still a work in progress but they give you a sense of where things are going.
One job I have not tackled until now is building the roof of the Lantern House.
I have been pondering for a while how to make the roof. My first plan was a simple eight sided pyramid but that seemed too plain.
I contemplated obtaining a copper bowl of the right size and adapting that but in the end I decided to build it properly. I’m a glutton for punishment it would seem.
The rafters are cut from MDF and I’m going to plank it with coffe sticks just like I used for the floorboards and the board walk.
Wish me luck...
24th November MMXX
Just a month til Jul.
I think putting the date here is the only way I’m keeping track of the time in this awful year.
Work progresses. Last night I set blocks to position the rafters but still allow the roof to be lifted so I can maintain or replace the motor if needed. I think I may order a spare just in case. wouldn’t want to find I couldn’t get one a few years down the line.
I also laid the first three courses of planking to give some structural integrity for the rest today. The planking is a little uneven as I would expect from the random quality of the coffee sticks. I will probably reinforce them with some fabric and PVA on the back before sanding them down.
Apparently most of these roofs were clad with copper so I have an idea of how to go about that. Should add a nice new texture to the build as well.
I am very pleased to discover that, with care, the coffee sticks can be cut to size with scissors. That saves a lot of time. The tape is there to hold things together while the glue dries. My current working pattern is to lay a row of planks, eight sides of course and then do something on the computer like writing this page.
By then the glue has dried sufficiently to lay the next row of planks. I suspect it will take most of the day at this rate but it is not a job that can be rushed and should be well worth it in the end.
Well, I wasn’t far out.
It’s dark outside now but here it is, all done bar some filling and sanding which I’ll do tomorrow when the glue has cured fully.
I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with that. The slight recurve sets off the Vent Ball really well and it should look splendid with it’s copper cladding.
25th November MMXX
Started the day with some sanding, never my favourite job but sometimes it just needs to be done.
This levelled the planking out to some degree but it will still need a coat of filler to create a surface anything like smooth enough for the copper tape.
Filler applied, not perfect but hopefully good enough.
On the joints, I’ve added string soaked in PVA to simulate the seams in the copper roofing and then I’ve given it a coat of acrylic to help consolidate it all.
I went with copper metallic paint in case I get any tiny gaps when the tape goes on but also to illustrate the difference between paint and a real metal finish.
Just waiting for the tape to arrive now.
To show it in context with the rest of the build so far.
Looks like there’s a Westerly coming in...
26th November MMXX
Waiting for the post has become a bit of a ritual since lockdown.
I’m ready for the copper guitar pick up tape to clad the lantern house roof but it's hasn't arrived today.
So, I kept myself busy fitting the oil tanks and machinery underneath the lantern instead.
Mostly pipe fittings but the copper should pick up the stray light nicely.
Getting dark by the time I had done that so got a couple of evening shots while I was at it.
Getting dark by the time I had done that so got a couple of evening shots and a short video while I was at it.
28th November MMXX
I’m waiting for the post again. Yesterday was the same so I spent my time tweaking some of the details. Primarily adding more “workings” to the bottom of the Lantern House.
These are only partially visible during normal operation but the pipe fittings in particular catch the light when the lens carriage is rotating above them.
I also tweaked the well a little. I’m waiting for some different LEDs and resistors to get the effect I’m after. I want a rippling light reflected from water look but it’s not quite there yet.
The miners lamp is another key ring conversion of course. I’ve got that job jigged up now so it’s getting easier each time.
This morning I have added a lantern outside the winch bay door and started tidying up the wiring a bit.
The outer surface of the tower that you see here will form the morter between the egg box stonework that will clad the whole thing of course so the wiring should disappear completely.
You can see in this shot how the Lantern House workings look with the Lantern fired up as well.
I still have hopes for today’s post but they are fading...
The postman has landed...
The copper foil has arrived and the roof is now properly clad. It should weather in really well.
I will add a touch of verdigris to it at some point but for now that is a good job done.
The LEDs that I was waiting for came too so that is something I can do tomorrow too.
29th November MMXX
Another job I’ve been putting off was building the fire for the grate in the Galley stove.
This was partly because the way I have built the fires on my other projects relied on prewired LEDs and for what I wanted to do here that would be too bulky.
I use LEDs which flicker randomly and by mixing different colours together it creates a very realistic effect. The most efficient way of running multiple LEDs is in a serial circuit but with flickering ones they all flicker at the same time which spoils the effect.
Running them in parallel means each LED needs it’s own resistor for protection so I had to come up with a way of doing this in a compact package.
I started by creating two bus bars from copper wire, one would be a common positive, the other common negative.
I attached eight resistors the the positive bar first by winding them round the wire and then soldering them.
The positive stems of the LEDs were then attached to the remaining lead of the resisters in the same way and the excess wire trimmed off.
Now the negative stems of the LEDs were wound around the negative bus and soldered in place.
I then soldered the power supply leads to the two bus bars.
I used four orange, two yellow and two red LEDs. As each LED is random, the colour and position of the light constantly shifts just as it does in a real fire.
I normally favour heat shrink tubing for insulation but because of the way this was built that was not an option for most of it so careful use of insulating tape was the only practical way to go.
The next stage would add insulation anyway so I just had to ensure there was nothing that could short across the bus bars, especially knowing it was to drop into a metal stove.
Using a hot melt glue gun, I then smothered the whole lot with glue.
This stops anything moving around, adds insulation as mentioned and also creates some nice diffusion of the light.
This bundle could now be dropped into the grate of the stove and the wires led through the water tank with the aid of a couple of small holes.
All working but still not looking much like a fire,
Ready for the next part.
To finish it off, the lights package was smothered in epoxy glue mixed with tiny seed beads, red amber and black.
The glue leaked through the front of the grate and had to be scraped off taking the paint with it but that was not a problem because the grate needed re-painting anyway to show the effects of heat which would burn away the stove blacking.
So here is a still shot showing the effect in the Galley as it is so far but of course you are wondering why go to all that fuss and that is only apparent in a video so here we go again. I’m going to have to get used to doing this I guess.
30th November MMXX
The further things move from the walls the more convoluted the wiring becomes.
I have posted about the paraffin heater before but this is the first time I’ve had the wiring in place to light it up in the Bunk Room. I have to admit, I'm pleased with the effect.
I’ve also added another lamp towards the front edge of the bunk cabinet to throw some frontal lighting along that wall.
Some of the furnishings for the service room arrived today. Bare wood again.
I thought I would show you a quick shot of them in place before I fettle them up a bit.
There is going to be a lot going on in this room and a lot of it I will have to build from scratch but where I can find suitable commercial pieces I don’t mind taking the odd short cut.
Apart from the administration of the lighthouse there will be maintenance and repair equipment as well as a work bench in this room to the left of our point of view here.
There also needs to be a winch for hauling heavy equipment and supplies from ground level to here.
Lots of interesting challenges to come.
1st December MMXX
When we look at a scale model, there are usually certain things that dispel the illusion. Our brain picks up on these things and tells us that we are not really looking at the real world in miniature.
What I try to do is ask myself what those things are? Is there anything I can do to remove those things? and is it worth the time and effort it will take to do that.
When I looked at these pieces of furniture, certain things were very obvious, others less so.
For a start, the squared edges of the frames looked clumsy and over thick, so to did the writing surface and the compartment shelves of the bureau. An hour or so whittling with a scalpel would sort that out.
The white wood needed sanding down and both pieces needed a coat of stain to make them more hardwood looking. A touch of furniture wax here and there would finish that job.
A less obvious thing was that the writing surface of the bureau was just a tad too low against the height of the chair. To fix that I built up the feet of the bureau just a couple of millimetres using some offcuts of the coffee sticks I used for the roof.
Two and a half hours and job done.
I’ve just ordered some more wooden knobs for the drawers in the bureau, the brassy handles that were supplied will not match well with what I’ve done in the rest of the lighthouse and I’ll re-glaze the windows later in the build.
Here you go then. End result on the roof.
The copper was patinated with Liver of Sulfur and then the Verdigris was added as a rub on wax effect.
Pretty close to what I had in mind.
It’s nice when things work out that way.
2nd December MMXX
I’m messing around with the lights under the well again.
I still haven’t quite got the effect I’m after.
I want a eerie blue green light that looks like it is reflected from moving water.
I know how to get the effect in a studio but I only have 12mm under the base to work with and I think that is where the problem lies.
I’m using flickering LEDs to produce the movement and aluminium foil to supply the reflections.
The trick is to screen the LEDs so that only the reflected light hits the target area and that is a delicate operation.
A slight improvement but still not quite what I’m after.
I suspect I’m fighting the laws of physics now.
I’ve got some education work coming up in the next few days and I’m out camping for the weekend so I guess it’s about time for one or two “state of the build shots showing the whole thing as it is now.
These shots are really useful for me as they give me a visual reference that I can load onto my iPad and use to plan the next part of the construction.
I have to admit, I’m pleased with how it is starting to come together now.
Having seen how well the Lantern House roof worked I’ve decided to go with copper for the boat house as well.
I had been considering tiles but given the weather whiupping a building in this position would receive I’m not sure they would have been practical.
Amusingly, as I’ve been posting pictures like this up on social media, Óšinn and the Moongazing Hare in the background have started to become celebrities in their own right.
The Óšinn goš post was carved about 20 years ago for a living history event and has lived quietly in our garden ever since.
The Moongazer was a present I bought for Debs around the same time and both have weathered in nicely over the years.
11th December MMXX
After the most normal week I can remember since the pandemic started I managed to get to work on the Boat House roof today.
The morning was spent cladding it with copper again and the afternoon ageing it.
It occurs to me that I did not show the effect of the Liver of Sulfur last time so here you can see the patinated surface on the right and the original tape on the left. This was after about a minute when the reaction was pretty well spent.
With the wax “verdigris” applied this is the full effect. I may tweak the wax a little before I’m done but it looks good enough for now.
18th December MMXX
A week since I posted an update. Most of the things I’ve been doing are invisibles, things that need attending to but don’t really show up much in the final scene.
I tweaked the well lighting again to get it a bit closer to what I’m after. Added drawer knobs to the desk and a shelf over the range but other things you would struggle to notice.
One detail I added is to address the question of how does the crew get to the gallery and the Lantern House.
I has to be remembered that there are two walls missing on the tower and with space at a premium I decided that the ladder would have been mounted on one of the missing walls leading to a hatch on the catwalk.
This morning I installed the hatch at least.
Another troublesome detail I had been thinking about was how to disguise the sensor for the lighting controller.
It needs to be front facing and visible from the whole room for the remote to work properly, so hiding it was out of the question.
The solution in the end is the old illusionist’s trick of misdirection.
Hide it in plain sight, right next to something that will draw your eye away from it, in this case the fog bell.
20th December MMXX
It’s the longest night tonight, time to start looking towards the next year as the days start to get longer again.
Many of us will be glad to see the back of this year that is for sure.
I cannot say that I have not enjoyed having the time to get stuck into some good projects but the cost has been high, both financially and emotionally.
The model making has been a new way to use the mixture of craft skills that I have developed over the years and in many ways that has been an important focus for my attention during these awful times.
With a vaccine now in circulation we can hope that the future looks brighter. It just depends how many people take it up because there is so much disinformation going around about it, some people are confused and even frightened. We have friends in the NHS and some even working in medical research and one thing we know for sure. We will both be queuing at the door when our chance comes for vaccination.
The studio workshop has been incredibly useful too.
I used this image as my virtual Greeting card this year and you can see how the Vardo sizes up against the lighthouse here.
The lighthouse is obviously much bigger but still relatively cramped in terms of living space.
I finally managed to find some frames for the Service Room windows. These are actually made for 1/24th scale but they fit the space I have here perfectly.
December 22nd MMXX
Bah Humbug... The spirit of Scrooge must be in the air today as I have to ward off yet another cynical attempt at media exploitation. There is a reason these companies make so much money. They just leech off the back of people desperate for a moment in the limelight.
Personally I get enough publicity and exposure from my web sites and social media to not need that kind of exploitation. People and businesses die from exposure don’t you know.
29th December MMXX
Nothing really new to show but I couldn't resist a shot with this morning's snow.
Been a bit slow on the building side over Xmas but Debs bought me some new tools which will be useful and I'm trying to teach myself a bit about electronics so I can add some extra features here and elsewhere.
Working with a sound module at the moment to add some ambience. Surf, seagulls and of course the bell.
Looking at the snow brings a little sadness.
A group of friends and I were planning another trip out to the Arctic this winter which has had to be cancelled due to C-19
Recently, one of our number passed away after a sudden heart attack which has left us all devastated.
Damian O’Toole, a great outdoorsman and a true friend that I will miss more than I can possibly say.
I will be very glad to see the back of this year.
6th January MMXXI
Well, unsurprisingly schools are locked down again, so all the preparations I was making for my education work starting next week are back on hold again too. Hey ho... Such is life...
Distracted myself with a bit more work on the lighthouse today. Putting up a shelf up in the boat house to give it a bit more storage / display space and wiring in a couple of the adapted hurricane lamps.
If I can finish putting in the lighting I can then start work on the masonry which I'm looking forward to but there is quite a bit to do before I get to that point.
Still, another job ticked off the list...
7th January MMXXI
If ever there was a good illustration of where I sit on the learning curve then here it is.
Yesterday I was looking at my hurricane lanterns thinking they looked pretty good. This morning someone posted pictures of a beautiful lantern he had made in a group I frequent on FaceBook and it was immediately obvious I had a long way to go. In this picture you can see I have added the globe wires which makes a lot of difference but they still need more work.
8th January MMXXI
I’m waiting on the post for some more sheet materials so for the moment I’m working of little filler jobs.
These are some boxes and equipment cases knocked up from offcuts of wood. They don’t need to be perfect as they will go in the background of the boat house and store room amongst the crates and barrels. It is the ensemble impression they create that is important.
You can see the first one I made sitting under the lantern in the picture above.
Although I still want a bit more clutter in the boat house it is getting a lot closer to how I want it to look now.
Taken from a slightly different angle, you can see there are a few wires that still need concealing before the masonry can be applied to the outside.
January 14th MMXXI
Time to get back to work on the Lighthouse build. I've been finding it hard to get motivated after the Xmyth break.
Made a couple of small tables today. I couldn't find anything anywhere near the size I needed anywhere so I decided to scratch build one for the Galley and one for the Service Room. Both about the same but they needed be small to fit the cramped spaces available in the tower.
I'm not sure if I posted a shot of the plate rack I've added over the sink but you can see that here as well.
It's all done in small steps , no pun intended, but eventually the effect of the whole ensemble should hopefully start to look like a building that is lived in.
20th January MMXXI
Almost a week since my last update and I feel like I’ve hit a bit of a dry patch creatively.
I’ve been doing very little but craft work for about a year now and most of that has been making miniatures.
I think I need a bit of a change. I’ll still be doing stuff of course, that is my nature, but I’m going to indulge in a different craft for a while. Change is as good as a rest they say.
I think I’m a little over half way through this project so it’s probably a good time for a break. I’ll come back to it with fresh ideas and more enthusiasm when I’ve got my Mojo back.
A few minor tweaks today, the chess set and some food on the stove.
So that’s it for now, I’ll be back soon so keep your eyes open for updates.
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