By: carlos filipe
July 7th, 2011
The link is no longer active:
Besides the Crooked Tower it had a beautiful XIIth century castle. It was freelanced, but had all the typical features of the period.
What struck me most was the designer’s concept for the presentation, see the first photo. The second is my interpretation.
28 comments on "Model Of The Month: The Crooked Tower"
BUILDING THE CROOCKED TOWER
I followed the instructions with minor changes.
I removed all tabs mountain fold and made new ones to glue flush adjoining parts.
To define the irregular shape of the base of the tower, there’s a piece to be glued under. I reinforced it with 5mm cardboard and opened a hole as I wanted to light the model with at least one LED.
You’ll notice some spots of white showing in the photos. I later corrected either by retouching with pigments or adding new layers (of parts). In the volume where the door is located the roof originally doesn´t protrude. I added a new layer of roof tiles slightly longer and built the tiles covering the joints in the corners, using strips of the bigger roof parts of the kit.
After gluing the remaining roof the tower seemed too enclosed, only one window in the whole structure.
I added a second window in the narrow tower, using an extra set of prints of the tower. The window is a piece of transparent styrene that I blurred from the inside with cyano glue.
I also hollowed the big attic’s window and added glazing in the same fashion.
The window of the big attic was modified to have a glass. The original was an image printed on Meanwhile I remembered a Scalelink photo etch fret with finials I had in my spare boxes. I chose a sun instead of an angry cat as it would have been too sinister, directing the plot to a direction I didn’t wanted to take. The diorama is quite gothic, but ambiguous in the setting. At least that was my intention
Whilst waiting for the LEDs I started defining the volume of the rock. I didn´t share the vision of the designer. I wanted a bigger volume, so I built one with illustration foam and insulation foam in spray.
After curing, I trimmed it with a hot wire. Then I moved to determine the dimensions of the canvas. It is 306 X 510mm
CARVING THE ROCK
I covered the foam with Das Pronto (a clay that hardens at room temperature). As a matter of precaution, I brushed PVA glue before applying the clay. Picked up rough chunks and flattened with my hands. Wetting my fingers in water I blended the joints, but didn’t care to erase the seams.
Bit by bit, exploring the shapes this lump of foam and clay started to look like a rock.
To color rocks I follow a simple method I found on the Woodland Scenics tutorial called the tiger spots.
First I colored the cracks to give them depth. I used crushed pastel chalk diluted with water, rubbing alcohol and some drops of dishwashing soap (to break surface tension). Although not entirely dried the clay accepts well the paint. I used pure black and a mix of black and brown.
A hairdryer was very handy.
Then I started with the so called tiger spots:
Three colors, light ocher, brown and green. Each diluted in the same manner of the previous colors. But this time instead of using a brush I used pieces of sponge. Applied randomly spots of each color and then worked out to blend them, by pouring more and more paint. The pressure exerted on the sponges made the dishwashing soap to react, foaming. The hairdryer took care of it and soon the paint dried to a matt finish.
The top of the rock was colored slightly differently. The road leading to the tower was painted using the chalks directly, rubbing with the fingers to blend the colors. The rocks remained practically with the basic black/black-brown tinting for the crevices and very discreet touches of color. The soil (real clay soil I picked up, sifted and sterilized) was painted with Tamiya acrylics highly diluted to make it lighter.
I had to repeat the painting of the road as the first layer was not enough to cover some spots of white clay.
In between I sprayed with fixative so I wouldn’t lose what was already achieved.
The next step was to add some grass to the base. I didn’t want a lawn, so I went carefully and this time I could remember to take some photos to check for progress. I like to use a digital camera to check the progress of my work. The photos on the computer screen show every detail that the naked eye wouldn’t notice.
The LEDs haven’t arrived yet, so I had to let the tower away and proceed, although I test fitted to check how it interacted with the landscaping.
To avoid the hassle of trying to explain myself in an electronic shop, I preferred to buy a Viessamn kit with 3 LEDs and all it needed to wire to modelrairoad throttle, from a train store.
I could not find yellow LEDs I had to settle for white. But a couple of Tamiya transparent orange solved the problem.
Taped the LED and wires to a piece of illustration foam and inserted it through the hole in the base so it would stay in front of the attic window.
BUILDING THE CANVAS
In order to avoid warping the insulation board I used as canvas, I built a frame around it . The first layer with illustration board, the following with thick grey cardboard. I sealed the frame and the exposed illustration board tops with PVA, and then sprayed with lacquer in matt black.
PAINTING THE CANVAS
The designer’s canvas was attractive, but looked a little too plain to me. Mine is probably kitsch, but feels more alive and lighter.
First I coated the whole canvas with dark Prussian blue. Then masked the area I wanted to keep in the original Prussia blue, as if lit from behind. Then I painted with pastel chalks
Sealed the painting and glued the rock to the canvas with Araldite.
In this set of photos, the last was taken in the 15th exhibition of AMA (Associação de Modelismo de Almada), in mid may this year in Almada, Portugal.
I love this piece Carlos. I don't mean to be presumptuous, but this model reflects so much of what you have brought to it, and what one expects when your name is seen next to any work.