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: Backdrops How to..for scale models.  ( 7061 )
JohnReid
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« : November 13, 2011, 04:46:02 AM »

Building your own facades or backdrops are really easy things to do using materials that are usually available to most of us.They are quite cheap to build and require only hand tools to make.

Glue,cardboard,tongue depressors , coffee stir sticks or small scale scale lumber is all you need.The core could be plywood ,cardboard or foamboard or whatever, as long as it is easy to cut,and does not warp with the use of water based materials like carpenters glue(white or yellow) and acrylic paint.

You will need a flat surface to work on and lots of #11 Xacto blades (changed on a regular basis) and your basic core material to start with.You will want to be able to easily change your design as you go along ,if you wish to.Save all cutouts from doors or windows etc... to use as perfect patches if required.I just usually tape any mistakes over using the patches,because these basic shapes only act as a easily worked flexible core for any brick or wood sheathing.The actual strength will be in the sheathing material you put on or your basic framing.

Before starting I will usually make a small scale complete structure,walls and roof etc ,using cardboard or thick paper.It doesn't have to be to any exact scale as it is only something that is used to stimulate your imagination or work out a final composition.If you want to build it to scale then that is OK too as you then will be able to take direct measurements for the scaled up version.

I will be using lots of pics to illustrate how I do things and as little text as possible ,I find long texts can be boring .

Well here goes ! I hope that you guys enjoy it.The thread will probably end up a little long so please just bypass it if you don't want to read it.Cheers ! John.


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« #1 : November 13, 2011, 07:27:14 AM »

Please note:
For pictures requiring text to be understood I will post them here.For pictures that are for the most part self-explanatory I will post them to my photobucket only.For larger pictures on the forum please click on the thumbnails.In photobucket go to "Backdrops" on the album list at the right hand side of the page.I will attempt to post  the pics in a step-by-step manner as much as it is possible.
Thank you ! Cheers John.
I sure hope that you like it !


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« #2 : November 15, 2011, 05:34:06 AM »

New pics in photobucket: See album Backdrops

-Foamboard:I use 1/4" thick,draw on the planned look of the facade and check the scale using a figure.Note:foamboard can warp when gluing on your wood sheathing or brick.To cure put it on a flat surface and use clamps or weight.

-The Frame:Basic wood frame using pine lumber.Avoid hard woods for ease of drilling etc..

-Frame 5:The finished basic frame using 1/4" plywood.

Please note:Also see my sub-albums for more pics not directly connected to this step-by-step "How.....".I have decided to post only the text here except for the occasional pic.

« : November 15, 2011, 05:36:37 AM JohnReid »

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« #3 : November 16, 2011, 06:20:23 AM »



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« #4 : November 16, 2011, 07:04:53 AM »

This pic requires some text so I posted it here but it can also be found in my photobucket if required.


Sorry about the quality of the pic but it will give you an idea of what I am talking about.

Dimensions change a lot depending on the era that you are modeling.Doors,windows,ceiling heights,thickness of floors between each story will vary as well.All of this must be reflected in your facade for it to look correct.A little research on this may be in order.Be especially careful about sill and header heights above floor level.Victorian buildings had narrow doors and the windows, while in proportion, where very high.
Because in  this particular case it represents  row housing, kitchen windows with the bathrooms above placed side by side with the next unit were designed for easy plumbing and electricity routes.Shared chimneys for stoves were also quite common.
Here we are just providing for overall dimensions,styles of doors and windows will come later.

Once Upon a time.........Static facades for  layouts and dioramas by JohnReid

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I quit drinking beer because the download was taking longer than the upload !

« : November 16, 2011, 07:13:45 AM JohnReid »

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« #5 : November 17, 2011, 05:42:13 AM »

Cutouts: save all cutouts for patching if required.(We all change our mind on occasion) number each one and indicate the the inside or outside ,up or down for a perfect re-alignment.Glue in the patch or tape it over and start again.

Framing of windows and doors:as you can see I have made lots of adjustments to get the framing of this window to line up properly.The width of the board you use will depend on the finished overall thickness of your wall and whether or not you want it flush with the outside.I usually leave the board   a little bit above surface level and finish up by fitting the bricks around the frame of the door or window.

« : November 17, 2011, 06:19:34 AM JohnReid »

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« #6 : November 18, 2011, 06:13:25 AM »

Windows 1 : Window framing from outside.In this case the frame edge is level with the face of the foamboard.

Bricks 1 : Horizontal,level lines are now added on to the foamboard as a guide for keeping our bricks straight.

Bricks 2 : Watercolor paper can be picked up at any art store.Get a good quality paper,thick enough to give your bricks some relief.

Bricks 3 :A very handy tool for cutting out bricks.You could use a steel ruler and blade but this is so much quicker.

« : November 18, 2011, 06:55:07 AM JohnReid »

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« #7 : November 20, 2011, 05:41:20 AM »



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« #8 : November 20, 2011, 07:16:49 AM »

These are old style hand made bricks that were made in molds but were not always the exact same size or shape.The gray blocks are limestone.
This is an early piece of work when I had lots yet to learn about bricks walls.I am happy with the amount of relief given by this thickness of watercolor paper.The color of the mortar between the bricks is another story.I would now suggest that you paint the foamboard nimbus gray before laying any bricks at all.The limestone blocks were done this way.
I incorrectly thought that I might save some time by putting on the first coat of paint after gluing on the bricks to the foamboard.Actually there is no simple way to do it .Each brick must be painted by hand one by one.Do not use an airbrush for this operation.The surface and all four edges must be covered and be super careful not to get any glue on the paper as it will stick out like a sore thumb.
I use a soft round brush for this and a paint called JoSonja gouache acrylic that dries absolutely flat ( no shine) .It is called gold oxide.This first coat of paint will become the lightest shade on your finished wall,unless of course you choose to darken it later.When applying your paint strive for even coats otherwise you will end up with blotches.Water color paper is not very forgiving of mistakes in this regard.
Try to think of each wall as you would a painting and make it interesting for the viewers eye and that means do not try to be too perfect.Vary the mortar thickness as well as the point where the edges of the  bricks meet. etc....
Every wall has a history,so try to build some of that into your wall.They all weather differently,are modified over time ,as well as used for advertising.For dioramas they can be essential for helping tell your story.


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« #9 : November 21, 2011, 05:37:05 AM »



A good modeling bud of mine has done a great picture tutorial on window making.See my albums "KH pics".
Unfortunately I haven't had time to put the text and the proper pic to go with it in order however the pics themselves are pretty much self-explanitory.

« : November 21, 2011, 05:42:49 AM JohnReid »

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« #10 : November 27, 2011, 05:51:33 AM »


The sill is made with a square piece of wood to which glue was applied and then rolled in sand.The header was made in the fashion of the day.It is nice to work a bit of design and color into a wall this large.Check your references for ideas.

« : November 27, 2011, 05:57:25 AM JohnReid »

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« #11 : November 27, 2011, 11:11:26 PM »

You do amazing work, John Reid. I'm impressed with this and your other thread. If I tried to do these things with household and yard materials they wouldn't resemble yours'. They wouldn't resemble much of anything. You have talent. And I expect some set design training or experience?

I'm better with cameras.


Richard


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William H. Bonney to Gov. Lew Wallace, March 1879.
JohnReid
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« #12 : December 12, 2011, 02:41:50 PM »

Hi Richard ! Thank you. Actually I taught myself how to do this stuff. :)


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« #13 : December 12, 2011, 02:58:00 PM »


Here I have placed the panels in such a way as to catch the setting sun.The amount of relief on the brick depends upon the angle of the light shining on the brick.Just the brickwork on this diorama took 3 months working on it just about everyday.

« : December 12, 2011, 03:07:21 PM JohnReid »

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« #14 : December 12, 2011, 03:43:51 PM »



« : December 12, 2011, 03:47:05 PM JohnReid »

In my world all things are possible.

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http://s6.photobucket.com/albums/y250/JohnReid/
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