I was hoping we would have a little more architectural concept art done by now, but I think we will be able to get by on the prototypes without it. I've done some really quick sketches of the joint construction and I'm also written up a quick tutorial for those who have never done anything like this and may be interested in building something for this project.
First things first we need a good material I've decided on Foamcore for the buildings. So of you may want to use woods, styrene, masonite, or something else, but I've decided for our purposes foamcore will serve us best. It will be important that everything is built out of foamcore so we have uniform looking buildings. Foamcore is cheap and most people can access it very easily. Which is a big factor in my decision to use it. It is also easy to work with and can be very precise. Another big factor is it is fairly durable when used correctly but at the same time is also very light which will save all of us some money on shipping. If anyone knows of something that would be better feel free to let me know, but for now foamcore will be the material of choice at least for the main city buildings. Styrofoam is a possibility for the little settlements beyond the city wall, as I figure they are poor and will likely be earthen looking.
As for adhesives there are several different types that will work. Carpenters glue, White Elmerís Glue, Spray adhesive, or hot glue. My personal favorite would be the Carpenters glue. It's just your regular yellow wood glue that you can get at any hardware or hobby store. It is fairly inexpensive but it will bond the foamcore together very sturdily. Because it doesn't bond instantly like spray glue or hot glue once you put the pieces together you have some time to readjust the pieces if they got bumped, this can really save a lot of time and hassle. The disadvantage is that the pieces need to be weighted or clamped together for at least an hour or two, overnight for a complete bond. When I'm building my own stuff I've found that it is worth the wait though. White Elmerís is essentially the same as carpenters glue, it isn't quite as strong but it is good for delicate little detail areas because it dries clear. Personally I'd prefer those be the only types of glue used, but if someone prefers hot glue or spray adhesive I won't stop you from using them. The thing with hot glue though is that it leaves the little strings and strands and I personally don't want to see any of those in our diorama. So if you use it, use it carefully and clean up the strings as much as physically possible. I've found the super strength glues, like super glue, crazy glue etc. don't tend to be as effective, and are too expensive for the amount that would be needed anyways. I've never tried Gorilla Glue, so I may have someone try that on one of the samples to see if it is an option as well.
Paint is another thing that we are going to need to make fairly uniform so that we have a good balance of colors and certain colors that need to match will actually match. For the city buildings I think these will look best if we use spray paints for the main colors and coats and touch-up any little areas by hand. Spray painting eliminates brush strokes which don't look very good in this scale. If the need arises for certain buildings, they can be painted entirely by hand if the brush strokes are meant to simulate texture on a certain building.
Speaking of texture depending on the route we go with the architecture some building will likely need to be texturized. I've had good luck in the past when using spray on drywall spackling, in an aerosol can. You can either leave it as it is for a good rough looking adobe or mud type building, or knock it down and sand it to get it to look like concrete in 3 ĺĒ scale. The stuff isnít that cheap $15 for a large can, but it looks great and it doesnít run out too quick. Plaster will ruin foamcore and Iíve found it wonít stick straight to it, so we can rule it out on foamcore buildings. But it should work on Styrofoam buildings. There is a bunch of ways to achieve different textures, if someone has one theyíd like to use let me know, or make up a sample along with a quick tutorial.
When it comes to building these we need to remember that the buildings need to be light but very sturdy. They need to be able withstand their journey to CA unharmed, because we donít want to be scrambling to rebuild something at the last minute. For that reason I decided it is best to go with double thick walls. Two layers will help make the structures sturdier as well as helping to prevent warping of any kind after texture/paint is applied. Iíve made up a quick sketch of two different types of joints that can be used when using double walls.†
The first one will likely be the easier of the two. The first thing you are going to want to do is draw out a few sketches of what you are building, and figure out how the joints are going to effect your measurements. The next step is to come up with a master sheet of sorts that has every single one of your measurements listed on it. Not everyone needs to do it this way if you really donít want to, but I find it very helpful to have all of my measurements in one place. Then draw out all your cuts on your foamcore without actually cutting. Before you cut got back and check to be sure all the measurements are correct and your angles are square, this can save a lot of frustration later. Once youíve assured everything is correct you can begin cutting. I use a nice and sharp utility knife. Be sure to use one that has a nice strong, firm blade, not one of the ones that you can break off to get a sharp section. The thicker blades wonít wave when you are cutting so you will get a nice clean cut every time. Make sure you use a sharp bladed every time it makes a huge difference.
Once all your pieces are cut you can begin to glue. I start off by gluing the double thick walls together first. Make sure you have the correct pieces paired together, and the double check them to make sure they are going to fit together like you want them too. When you are ready lay one sheet down on a hard flat surface and apply the glue, wood glue preferably, put the second piece on top of it and line everything up. When gluing these sheets together I like to try to keep the glue ĹĒ to 1Ē from the edges so that it doesnít leak out over the edges. Now you are going to want to weight it down with some heavy books or something else that is heavy but it is flat so it wonít leave indentations in your foamcore. Once you put the weights on check it one last time to make sure nothing shifted and then leave it to dry. It usually takes about an hour or two to get a good bond, overnight for a complete bond. Once you have the sides, bottom, and wall all ready to go you can begin gluing them together. Again Iíd use the wood glue, but since the glue doesnít bond right away you are going to need to weight it again, the best way to do this is to butt your books up against the sides, this will also help you to get some squared corners. Another method Iíve found that works is to hold it together using duct tape, if you are careful with it, it wonít tear the paper on the foamcore. Yet another way is to use little pins that youíd use for sewing, the thing with them is they leave holes in the board so you have to do it in a place where the holes wonít be visible.
Because we donít want the foam itself showing, we just want to see the board that way there is an even looking texture, we need to do something to cover the joints. There are a few ways of doing this one of them is to use a sheet of poster board cut to fit the whole side of the building so there isnít a seem showing anywhere and then gluing it onto the foamcore building. Another way this can be done is by the edges of the outside layers and at a 45 degree angle so they fit flush at the corners. The problem with this method is it is quite difficult to cut evenly on a 45 and it will have to fit perfectly or there will be gaps in the corner and poster board will be needed anyways. If you know of any other tricks be sure to enlighten us.
So what we need to happen is for those of you on the diorama team to whip up some sample buildings. They donít need to be anything big or complex, a 5Ē x 5Ē x 5Ē box would do just fine. Because there isnít very much concept art at this point the design will be up to you guys, try and keep it close to the Dantooine look right now if you can. Just keep it simple so we can get them done quickly and easily. Try to incorporate a door and a window or two in your design somewhere or make some sort of water pump house/utility building, that way it isnít just a box. Add other little details to it as well as you see fit. There is a chance if your building fits in with the final design that we will actually be able to use it which will save us some time later. If you want to make an interior, that would be fantastic but it isnít required. If you can, take pictures during construction so we can add some pictures and make a better tutorial. One thing we HAVE to have is pictures of your finished product. There is no point in making samples if no one else can see them. The deadline for these samples will be August 25th that gives everyone a little over three weeks which should be plenty of time to get a small little building or two done, as well as track down a camera you can use if you donít have one. Someone will have one you can borrow for one or two pictures, be it a friend, a relative, a friendís relative, etc.
Hereís the list of who is assigned to what:BrentS
- Using the doubled up foamcore and drywall texture make a rough looking Adobe/Mud hut type building, complete with paint.CloneCommander1
- Using Styrofoam and plaster (or whatever texture you used on your Mygeeto bridge) build an adobe/mud hut type building that you would see in one of the settlements. Complete with paint of course.Joerhyno
- Using doubled up foamcore and some matte paint, but no texture, create a city building that appears to be made out of steel or some other smooth material. Famine
-† Do the same as Joerhyno, but make yours glossy.Myself
- Iíll be making a building that looks like concrete, using foamcore and spray on texture that has been sanded down.
If you donít see your name on that list and want to make a sample go ahead and make one anyways. Just PM me and let me know what you are doing. And for those of you who I listed, if you want to make something else thatís fine as well, just be sure to get the one you were assigned done by the 25th. If you have any questions let me know.
Letís get cracking, weíve got our first deadline to meet!
BTW, I'm going to be camping tomorrow until Friday evening, so unfortunately I'll be missing the chat. Smarty would you mind taking note of what happens for me?