Back in 2013 I was looking for a hobby to satisfy my need to be artistic and creative, as a kid I used to build all sorts of models (mostly aircraft) but once I left school and entered the hunt for work all that got left behind.
It took over 10 years but once I found myself in a stable job and the family was settled I had plenty of spare time to fill… that’s when trains caught my attention. There’s something oddly satisfying about building a miniature scene and having an actual moving model drive through the scene.
Believe it or not the whole motivation for filming and uploading videos to YouTube was not to create a brand and a following but rather to create an archive of videos on different methods and techniques I used to create specific scenes. Not long after getting into the scenery creation side of model making I’d build this amazing scene using a range of different techniques and when I’d come back a few weeks later to try and replicate what I’d done I would completely forget what I did and how I did it! So now I could step back and clearly see how I achieved a particular result by watching my past videos.
Before I knew it I was seeing consistent growth on the channel and people were liking what was being uploaded, that’s when I decided to step up the game and start putting a lot more effort into the production and started using better editing programs and watching video editing tutorials on YouTube.
Now that brings me to where we are today, I never imagined the channel would attract such a following but one thing hasn’t changed… I still upload videos to remind myself how I achieve a particular method or technique!
So thank you for being here and supporting the channel.
Often the greatest model scenes are packed full of detail that often goes unnoticed! So you may be thinking what’s the point?
The human mind is a very tough critique when it comes to spotting things that look out of place so when a person looks at a scene and all those fine details you spent hours perfecting appear to go unnoticed you should take that as a compliment.
Too often do I see some amazing model scenery only to notice a vehicle that has been randomly placed on the road straight from the box it came in and it looks totally out of place not to mention it’s in the middle of the road and driverless…
In the tutorial I demonstrate some simple techniques for weathering and detailing the flatbed truck, the techniques can be applied to any vehicle. I also created a template for the crates I built which you can download and modify so you can build your very own details.
You can click on this link to download the MS word template and to modify the size simply click on the image and drag it to increase or decrease the size. Or you can download a PDF version however you may not be able to modify its size easily.
You made it to the bottom!
As you know I use a number of different modeling tools and the tool I use the most right now is the 'Chop-It' from Micro-Mark. To help you out... and lets not beat around the bush but it also helps me out... I have a unique code that you can use at Micro-Mark to get 10% off your shopping cart.
The promo code is BOULDER.
So feel free to go have a browse at http://www.micromark.com/
Thank you for getting this far, I hope you continue to enjoy the videos and tutorials.
It's a pleasure building with strip wood, it's very easy to work with and the end results come fast and look great!
So far today I've been experimenting and testing different processes for making a large factory full of these crates... that happen to be perfect for the pumpkins my wife bought for me nearly 6 months ago! They were just waiting for the perfect scene and now I've found it.
As I work on the video tutorial I've decided to provide you all with a short written tutorial on the process with a few pictures and as a 'Patron' bonus the template that I use will be able to be downloaded over on Patreon.com
But don't worry if you're not a patron because I'll add a link to download the template for these crates once I finish filming the video tutorial.
First off you'll need some scale lumber, I used Midwest Products Scale Lumber for this project and the parts used were:
Using a template makes it much easier, you can draw a template using pen and paper however for more accuracy you can also draw one using Photoshop or a similar program which is what I did.
Next it's just a matter of preparing the strip wood and laying it down over the template, if you wondering how to make laying the strips down much easier without them moving at the slightest bump or breeze then I suggest watching the pallets tutorial video, the spray adhesive is used in the same way here to add tackiness to the template.
I use super glue to attach the vertical beams, wood glue will work and most craft glues will work as well however you want to be sure they are water proof once dry because if you apply the wash over everything once the crate is assembled it may fall to bits!
Using a sharp knife I then cut at the spots shown in the image below to separate all four sides of the crate and trim away the excess wood from the very edges of the template.
This is easily done using the 'Chop-It', also if you aren't already aware... you can get 10% off your Micro-Mark order by using the promo code 'boulder'.
You should be left with four pieces like shown below and then it's just a matter of glutting them together to build up the main box structure.
The crate is then positioned and glued to the base section and again using the 'Chop-It' I carefully trim the excess overhang away.
As for painting, you have many options but what I've found easiest and yields the best results is to simply dip the entire crate into a heavily diluted cup of india ink and water.
I hope you managed to pick up a tip or two and be sure to stay tuned to my YouTube channel, I have just started filming the video for this tutorial so it should be released quite soon.
Working with styrene is something I haven't done a lot of over the past couple of years and after using strip styrene to create these awesome looking pallets I've found it to be a very forgiving material to work with and the end result can be very rewarding.
The most challenging part of making these pallets was getting the look of wood, it was actually much easier than I anticipated. Simply dragging the completed pallet across 120 grit sandpaper did the trick... However it's the process of painting and dry brushing the pallets that truly brings out all that amazing detail.
Now that I've done the pallets video I'm starting to look at doing some boxes and crates however instead of using styrene I'll show the process of using strip wood and the differences when working with that material as opposed to styrene.
They certainly both have their ups and downs!
Also in the not to distant future I'll be working with the Woodland Scenics Realistic Water to make a river scene, the diorama base is completed with rocks and all so now it's just a matter of filming the process of doing the water.
PALLETS TO REWARD PATRONS
If you don't already know, I have a 'Patreon' site that enables fans and others who really enjoy watching my videos to donate to the channel and help finance the videos, more than anything it helps me stay motivated and focused on making videos.
As a reward I have some perks for those that donate, most recently I changed the $10 reward to include a set of three pallets that you see me make in the video. If you're interested in helping fund the YouTube channel and also would like your own home made pallets from me you might like to go and check it out?
I’ve previously built and filmed the making of a great static grass applicator however over time I have seen the opportunity for improvement.
Portability and reliable power are two areas I’ve been looking into as well as size and durability. When it comes to tools and equipment we often think that small should mean cheaper and less effective however, what I’m after is a smaller stronger and more effective tool.
Thus the static grass applicator mark 2 was born…
It’s certainly not the cheapest method for building an applicator but I can bet you it will last a lot longer and give you fantastic results wherever you decide to make your scenery.
These results shown are specifically using the 9 Volt battery only. When using the external power you will get slightly better results although the difference is not immediately noticeable however you will notice that when using the external power and a 12 Volt supply you can hold the applicator further away from the surface and are still able to have the grass fibers easily stand on end.
If you are planning on building one of these applicators just be aware that the heart of the applicator is the Negative Ion Generator and this will determine your results! There are some cheap generators available on eBay however just be warned that these are cheap for a reason… mainly due to the fact they have a much lower output voltage and that is what determines the effectiveness of the static grass applicator.
Most cheap generators have a nominal voltage between 4-6kV however the applicator I’m using has a nominal voltage of 15kV when powered with a 12 Volt power supply so the results will naturally be a lot better.
I purchased mine from Oatley Electronics or you can order from eBay
I’m currently in the process of writing an eBook on making and operating this static grass applicator and I’ll keep you updated once it’s finished. If you’re serious about scenery then making or purchasing a static grass applicator is a must!
Every time I film a tutorial I’m always trying/looking for ways to improve, if I’ve learnt anything so far it is that it takes time, patience and practice… just like building scale models.
As part of my goal of continued improvement with my YouTube channel and website I’ve decided to spend a few dollars to improve the environment I film in.
So it looks like I'm going to have another busy year building models and filming tutorials for 2017.... And I'm really looking forward to it :)
Also, if you made it this far, I want to thank everyone who is subscribed to my YouTube channel and a very special thank you to my supporters on Patreon! Without your help and support I wouldn't be able to make these videos.
Just like every other serious modeler out there, I continue to strive to make the ultimate model.
I feel like I'm getting close and my latest diorama is certainly a step in the right direction for me, my ultimate goal is not only to improve my own modeling standards but to share my techniques and methods with everyone.
Sometimes it takes a fresh pair of hands trying an age old technique to put a new spin on the method which may result in an even better technique being developed. So when others try the techniques I use they may just stumble upon an even better way of doing something, then hopefully they will share their newly developed technique and we can all collectively get better as time goes on.
If there is one thing to do on any scenery project... It's most certainly to 'Use Static Grass', this has been a game changer when it comes to creating realistic scenery so if you only make one change to the way you make model scenery it should definitely be to use a static grass applicator.
On this model I used a combination of home made 6mm static grass tufts as well as using regular 6mm static grass applied directly to the diorama and on the outer edges of the grassed areas I applied 2mm static grass using the applicator. Using varying colors and lengths makes a big difference to the overall realistic look of the scene.
TREES TREES TREES
Too often I see great looking scenery that would look so much better with just a few more trees! I've always found I add more trees than I need, then I'll go take a few away only to realise it actually looked better with all those extra trees and I'll end up adding more!
Trees can be expensive so I usually just make my own and they only cost about a $1 to make, all up this diorama has 22 trees not including the small shrub type sapling trees.
For a while I’d been trying to get a good textured effect for modelling paved roads. I’d tried and failed many times until eventually I found a simple and effective method that was easy to do albeit time consuming.
Basically it’s a two step process
Just be sure to mask any areas where you don’t want paint to go as the spray is quite intense and it can float a long way from the intended area of application.
Also due to the can being held about 50cm away from the surface while misting the paint, some paint will have dried prior to landing on the intended surface, once I've left everything to dry for a while I'll lightly brush a dry cloth across the surface to dust away any dried paint that did not stick.
To add detail I simply cut a square out of some paper and sprayed the flat grey through the template to show road repairs, the cracks are made using a .5mm permanent marker and the lines were applied by using masking tape to mask out the road lines then sprayed with the Ivory Satin (I would have used white but I had run out).
It’s that easy, this little test piece too all of about 1 minute to go from white plaster road to a nice textured road with even coverage (Drying time included), the rest of the details took another few minutes and I was left with a great, easy fast to make road.
As can be seen in the above photo, this is where I used the sponge technique in Realistic Scenery Vol 5, the overall coverage is much less uniform and the texture is also more course when compared to the new technique using spray cans. In some cases this may be the desired outcome but for most roads you'll most likely want a finer more uniform appearance.
The reason for doing the new road was part of the experimenting that I’m doing for my next video which will be on making a road crossing train track. I’m pretty excited to show this technique to you on YouTube.
Stay tuned for more updates
I've recently finished the paper buildings tutorial and I will be starting on the next video very soon. I get quite a number of requests to make a tutorial about paving a bitumen road across train tracks so that's what I'll be working on next.
So stay tuned and feel free to ask any questions.
So far I've built one and I have 7 more to go, the good news is they go together quite easily however the first one took a while due to the vague instructions. Nevertheless it went together very well.
The plan is to film a 2 part video on building and painting the models as well as methods for installing couplers and adding weight to the car to bring it up to NMRA standards.
Filming of the video will start in the next couple of days and depending on the weather (The shed gets very cold!) part one should be finished in just over a week from now.
I'll post some updates here and I'll also post a written tutorial for this build detailing all the tools and materials so should you wish to build the same Hoppers as me you'll have all the information you need.
So stay tuned for the first video :)