January 19, 2012

Hills, Hills, Hills

So I am making some slow progress on the hill. It has turned out to be difficult because I don't have a hotwire cutter. I picked up some cork bark finally. The pet shop here in Hamburg sells it by the kilo. So now I should have enough to do a number of projects. Some more large rock outcrops for one and maybe some more rocky stuff. I would really like to do an aqueduct for a rail line for some reason and making the foundations in rock like this would be cool. That project however can wait as I really need to plan it out properly. For the knoll (hill) I want to have a rockface on one side so I don't need to slope the piece so steeply. Breaking this piece was a lot easier than the cork I had before as it is maybe half as thick. This makes it perfect for rockfaces but maybe not as good for boulders. I will see when I get back to doing them how this cork works. At least this way I am getting more surface which is what I really want the cork for.

I am using some styrene as the base. It's a little annoying to use as it is fairly flexible. I chopped off the corners just to stop it from being too regular. I hope the the long straight sides won't look too artifical. I considered making them a little more irregular but that would have made it near impossible to cut the foam properly with the tools I have. I can vary the slope though ans that should break up the look and have it somewhat more natural.Once that was done then I tried out to see how I could manage to fit the pieces on the hill. The rockface was easy to do. I only needed to break the cork a little to make it fit perfectly. The polsytrene I am using for the body of the hill came from Ikea packaging. At least Ikea is good for something! However this meant I was using a couple of separate pieces rather than one large chunk.

When cutting these pieces I kept breaking them. So I have a few places where I need to make some repairs. I often pulled the polystrene bricks off the base as for some reason the glue didn't dry fully. Eventually I managed to get the hill cut. It was a struggle as I was using the knife you see in the picture. Not really ideal but I didn't want to have to get a hot wire cutter just for this project, especiall as I have one in Ireland. I seem to have left all my hobby equipment there. So now I will be coating the entire hill in a plaster filler (polyfilla) to give it some strength and stability. Once that is dry, which should take a few days, I can sand it smooth. Then the fun begins with flocking and painting. I am hoping the propellant for my airbrush doesn't react with the polystyrene. Otherwise I had better find a big brush! Hopefully I can get this finished by next week!

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