Wednesday 30 September 2015

17th century Farmsteads

Along with  Bodston -  Main town  (the 50 buildings Project) Boddingham - the  farming community centre (10 buildings) and  Boddington - the  Fishing and farming Hamlet (6 buildings with a stockade) I´ve decided to create a couple of small farmsteads based on the ones at  the Plimoth plantation..

Ok...they are buildings from the early 17th Cent  and Bodstonia is  18th century based but it´s an Imagi-Nation so they fit.
The Window shutters are in a sort of Frame and can be slid shut.
I tried to recreate the Clapboard planking using  short pieces of Card as on the real buildings, but it ended up  looking complete mess so the  I used continous strips instead.  

Rear with storage shed. 
The woodclad chimneys. Wood cladding with a surrounding  thatch..slight fire hazard? This got me wondering.. so after a bit of looking around I found  a pic of one of the Plimoth houses showing the inside of the chimney (from the hearth  up to the top) and it Shows the insides are coated with something that Looks like clay.
Goat shed and  "community barn"

This film, a psychological Horror called ,The VVitch (the Witch) which is filmed partly  in the Plimoth Foundation.(the main street can be seen in the opening Scene)
Reckoned to be as historically accurate as a film can be.... and well scarey :-D
There´s evil in the Wood!!!!

Sunday 27 September 2015

Medieval Building with a covered walkway

Another generic building with an Experiment in creating a covered walkway.

The total so far...Picture taken before the above building had the tiles added, I wanted to see where it might fit into the General layout.
31 buildings so far.
I haven´t counted the Pigeon Loft as it may or may not be added and for a 18th Cent Bodstonian setting there´s the Fire station.
Only another 19 to go, (17 if the pigeon loft and fire Station are taken into consideration) like a couple more additions to the "industrial area" (top right)  but as I´ve said previously, the layout is temporary.
A Cathedral is being considered as a possible Addition which would Change the layout considerably as it would more than likely take up a central Position, pushing the "industrial" area (just above the church/Meeting house) out to the side.

Super Blood Moon eclipse tonight!
I´m going to try and stay up and take pics..anyone else?

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Medieval Hay Barrack

A structure with a movable roof for storing loose hay.

Easy to build, ram 4 Posts into the ground and attach a thatch or shingle Roof that can be moved up and down. Low maintenance, the Posts could last up to 40 years, the thatch would Need changing occasionally.

Widespread in northern Europe in medieval times but  not so common These days.
Thought to have originated in Holland, The oldest written source  is from 1022.
Although they are not common These days, they are coming back, especially in Holland where they are called Hooiberg (Hay mountains)  and a society  (the Hooiberg Museum) is promoting thier use.

Like all things that look simple..they aren´t. It´s not just a case of bunging loose hay under the Roof and Job done. There´s a lot of specialised knowledge needed to stack and care for the hay as told by the ;
Dutch Barn Preservation Society
 Hay barrack in the Velislai biblia picta (Velislaus Bible or Velislav's Bible )  1325–1349. 

Friday 18 September 2015

Medieval Barn (2)

Village Building  number 5... halfway there.
The core design taken from one found on the web but I´ve made it a timberframed affair and added a stone wall support. The original was covered with planking. I´ve also added a set of stables to the rear.
The stables without the Roof...
..and the front and back roofing sections.
Adding and painting the planking is a bit on the Level of  painting the back of skirting boards before they are attached,  as they are barely visible now they are fixed in place but I know they are there and I can sleep soundly   :-D

Something not modelling related...a Family of hedgehogs.(Urchins is the "technical" Name for Young nickname for them is Spuggies, )
On my (at this time of year) regular garden patrol looking for signs of them, I found a lone, very small hedgehog so it was brought in to have a check up. It´s fine, no injuries etc.
It´s obviously a Young one, the large head in comparison to the Body, so seeing it´s nest  would be in the vacinity it got returned to the exact same spot in the garden.

I watched it for a while and then noticed another one had crept up beside me...and then another!!!!
A Family Group of   Spuggies!!!....
On the first night I saw 4, which got named   "Eeny", "Meenee", "Mynee" and "Moe" but on the second night, a fifth turned up.. now called "Mop"
From the pics it can be seen, comparing the leaves and grass around them how small they are..Possibly 2 months old.



The Mother, who I think is one we rescued last year and has been around and about in the garden since, I haven´t seen yet but they do leave the Young after about 2 months.  I know exactly where the nest is, a huge pile of twigs and leaves at the bottom of our garden.
A short film featuring "Mynee" on a slug hunt.

Obviously, they´ve been Born a bit late in the year so their chances of reaching the 500gm´s plus to make it through the winter are slim, "Moe" and "Mop" are much smaller than the rest of thier siblings.
We´ve set up a feeding area near the nest, their Situation will be constantly (nightly) checked and seeing as underweight hedgehogs can  go into a permenant sleep the possibility that they might have to be overwintered indoors is  being prepared.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

The Parthenon (Italeri)

Scale 1:250. Not for me, it goes back to it´s owner..I just painted it and put it together. Colour scheme not as per the box art.

Right side view. The Picture give the Impression that the top triangle (Pediment) is tipped back towards the Roof and the front row of pillars tip slightly away from the building. It´s an optical Illusion caused by the tilt of the front lintel (it gets smaller towards the top)
Left side view..or is it the right side turned at a different angle..TBH, I can´t remember, both sides/Ends are exactly the same.
Katsikis is Feeling a bit ashamed realising it should have been put on a 30° wash and not a 60° one

The build.
Two bags of sprues, 4 in each which are the same, one small sprue with 3 tiny bods and a statue of Athena Parthenos (the real statue of Athena Parthenos holds the shield a bit differently to the model), base and instruction booklet.

The bla-bla on the kit says  "Easy assembled model kit with an interlocking technique" and amazingly, to a large extent,  it actually does what it says on the tin. Quite  a lot of the larger parts click together without needing glueing. For example...
Columns, columns!!
The pic on the right is with half the lintel  attached to the Columns. The second half of the lintel (to attach the next layer of columns) needed glueing.

Work on the baseplate.
Observation number 1.
The Definition lines for the tiles...very shallow and getting any shading is a real pain. Note the steps are molded as one continious Piece.
Observation number two.
The baseplate has little Tabs/pegs on the underside to stop it sagging but where the columns are to go.. there´s none. This means that when pushing in the colums (you Need a bit of force to get them to sit properly) the plate bent and nearly cracked. This was only solved by putting a pile of metal discs under the plate to Support it whilst adding the columns.
Extra Posts under the baseplate would have meant adding a minimal amount of plastic, especially taking into consideration the amount of plastic from the sprues that gets binned.
Observation number 3
The columns don´t line up when added to the base!
Why didn´t they add a lintel Piece that covered all ten columns ?
Way around it..I heat welded the pair of lintels on the right.
The walls..and Observation number 4
The brickwork is ok (better Definition than the flooring ) but there´s scored  rectangular Areas on both sides of each wall section. Removing them is optional to allow a look inside the inner temple. Unfortunately these are deeply scored (to aid with removal if wished)  which leaves ugly rectangular shapes in the middle of each wall. They could have done the scoring on one side only so the outer facing walling wouldn´t have the marks.

Pillars. Observation number 5. Painting the red ring around each one was a real pain.  The area which is supposed to be red isn´t clearly defined...some pillars have a sort of collar molded on but not all the way around, some pillars don´t have the collar at all or it´s very poorly defined.
Test attachment of the columns. At this Point it became clear, even without attaching the cieling, that the inner chamber would be virtually invisible (note; I haven´t painted the backs of walls with the doors  in anticipation of this)
As  a Test, I laid a book over the inner chamber and the only way any Detail could be seen , and I couldn´t see a lot, was by using a torch!
The Roof.
The real clanger of the kit. Up until now the minor build Problems  can be  overlooked, most of them can´t be seen in the closed wall Version..and´s not meant to be an historical replica..?

This is what the roofing should look like...the pic on the left an archeological reconstruction, the pic on the right a drawing of Doric Roof construction.
But what does the kit Version look like?
Planks...?? Every Image I´ve found of  scale models, drawings, paintings  of the parthenon Show  clear vertical lines created by the method of tiling.
Not only does it appear as if the Roof is made from  a set of Long red Planks but the roofing plates, no matter how I tried,  wouldn´t fit together. I pressed them together but seeing as they are fixed into holes they sprang apart. After using a large rubber band wound around the Pediments to press the Ends inwards, which failed,  I gave up and let it dry as it was.  The pic is a Close a gap as I could get. I filled the gap.

It´s not that difficult to build and the end result is ok, you end up with a model 29cms Long, 15cm´s wide and 11cm´s tall.  If you don´t Count the historical mistakes,  the "Planks" to represent the roofing and missing sculpting on the plinths that hold the Roof, the Pediments are based on reconstructions of the west Pediment so both Ends end up being exactly the same,  it´s  a nice model.

The instructions are easy enough to follow, even if they are printed in a size that means using a magnifying glass to check some Details..they could have put the  instructions on a  A4 size would have fitted in the box.
The part numbers on the sprues aren´t clearly defined, but the build is quite self explanatory and it´s not necessary to refer to them. A trick with painting over the numbers with  matt black, letting it dry and gently rubbing the paint off with a fingertip  to expose the numbers helped, but as I´ve noted, they aren´t  really necessary.

Also, the painting instructions leave a lot to be desired..they are Basic and due to the small size of the instruction booklet,   very small Pictures which  leave out some of the Details,  No suggestions for the colour of the cieling for example.

The snap together idea holds true to a degree but I recommend pre-fitting  any parts,  in some cases the pegs on the bottom of the columns needed filing down before they fitted into the holes on the base plate. 

Basically, as a Terrain Piece it´s ok but I suggest glueing the doors into a closed Position and not to bother with painting or building up the inside of the temple..the internals aren´t that visible to be of any interest. By having the doors closed,  you wouldn´t even have to add the pillars etc, they serve no practical function in Holding the Roof up.
It´s too small for a representation of the Parthenon for HO/OO let alone 1/72nd but will past muster (even if the bods would have to squeeze through the Columns to gain Access)  a generic smaller temple. That or it could be ok alongside  15mm bods.

Saturday 12 September 2015

Dick Turpin´s Cottage

Another three finished,,,this time a set of houses in Stoney lane -Thaxted...
Apparently (or as the Story goes as there´s no real evidence he actually lived there ) Dick Turpin´s house, according to the Story,  is  the one in the middle.
The real house (on the right) has a bay window  next to the door but I left it off in the model.
Some test pics using Dick Turpin´s Cottage along with some other houses and some inhabitants of Bodstonia.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Medieval Pigeon Loft

Buildings for Pigeons/doves, They been around for centuries.
There´s round ones,  square ones, octagonal ones. Ones built on arches, on top of Gateways, in the gable Ends of Barns or houses, ones on legs. Some are about the size of  garden shed, some the size of houses and others are quite literally massive. They were (are) made from Stone, wattle and Daub, timber or timber framed.

After a lot of searching (and I didn´t like the look of any of the common round turret designs) I went for a square design based on the Pimp Hall Dovecote. Similar in design is the Hawford Dovecote,  which was built a bit earlier, in the late 16th century.
It dates from the 17th century so not strictly medieval but the timber framed design fits alongside my buildings.
Wether this will end up in the Village or the town I haven´t decided. It´s a bit big for the Village and the tiles don´t fit in with the rest of the buildings, so it will more than likely end up in the town...but would the townsfolk put up with the Aerial bombardment from a large gang of pigeons? I could build a manor house type farm and add it to that.
The woodwork has turned out looking darker than in real life.
On the site for the Pimp Hall Dovecote,it´s decribed as a barn and dovecote but, without anymore info or actually looking, it could be that the "barn" doubled up as  access for a wagon so that  the Guano could be shovelled into it through a trapdoor.
In the case of the Hawford dovecoat The roosting Areas are only accesible through the barn doors and Pictures of the floors Show large openings...for shovelling Guano?
I searched endlessy for contempory Medieval representations of Pigeon lofts or dove cotes, and finally, I found one (right of the Picture)

From the Flemish book of hours of Marie de Medici.(1573–1642), Named after it´s last owner it was made around 1515/1520. 
Then...on a completely unrelated search, I found another. Looks familiar?
Threshing and pig feeding from a book of hours from the Workshop of the Master of James IV of Scotland (Flemish, c. 1541)

Both are reckoned to be by the same Artist, an un-named Person known as "The David Master" who is reckoned to be the Artist Gerard Horenbout.
 Gerard Horenbout (ca. 1465–ca. 1541) Master of James IV of Scotland (ca. 1485 – ca. 1526
The subject matter is the same..but one has a more mature style (Flemish book of hours of Marie de Medici) and is considered to have been  painted at the  the apex of his  (The David master) career and artistic maturity.
The styles don´t match, the birth and death Dates of both artists don´t match.

Three Flemish artists are linked... The un-named David Master,  Gerard Horenbout and Simon Bening (Bennink) (ca. 1483 - 1561)
Bening is associated with another work, the  Da Costa Hours, (c. 1515)and what turns up in that work? The second painting.

Top one Gerard Horenbout ? Second one, by a Student, possibly Bening,  working as a Student under Gerard Horenbout and he is therefore the un-named "David master"?

Monday 7 September 2015

Garden Gnomes

Atfer seeing Tony´s recent Post on Garden Gnome Restauration I remembered I´d restored and painted up two of them  a couple of years ago. **
Number one....In it´s* natural Habitat.

Before the final layer of varnish

Friday 4 September 2015

Medieval Beehives (2)

This time a beehive in a Bole.

A Bee Bole is a cavity or alcove in a wall for placing Skeps to protect them from the elements, the oldest surviving Bee Boles date from the 12th century.

Skep in a Bole
A wall purpose built to house Beehives.

I´ve also added a couple of pieces to the first Beehives..."ekes" (also called  "imps" or "Nadirs" )
An eke, 3-4 rings of woven straw made the same way as a Skep  and  was used by placing it under the Skep to give just a bit of extra room as the honey comb grew. As the saying goes,  to “eke something out " make it last longer or to go further. The word "Eke" is still used for the Frames that Slot into modern beehives.
nadir is  a larger (taller) Extension of 5 plus rings

Hackles, Pointy shaped straw tents. These are placed on top of the hives to Keep rain off and Keep the hive warm in colder periods.
Hackle comes from the Old English hacele, meaning a cloak or mantle. Later it was used to describe to birds’ plumage, particularly roosters,  leading to the expression, raising the hackles.
I´ll make a small table like structure or a tree stump to place it on later.

The only contemporary  medieval pic I could find of Skeps covered with hackles
The complete Bee related bits and pieces.

Crazy ideas from the past about bees, including,  Bees are the smallest of birds,  and that bees are born from oxen  HERE