Making a mine shaft at first seemed pretty easy.... "Famous last words!" It's actually quite a process and I've had to do a lot of brainstorming and experimenting to get everything to work.
My first problem was carving out the mine shaft itself, my initial thoughts were to simply use a sharp hobby knife and rasp to slowly hack away until I had the depth and shape I needed! This is what has held me back from actually starting the project when I first envisioned this diorama over 12 months ago. The people over at the foam factory got in touch with me and asked me to have a look at their range of tools, I immediately fell in love with the foam router tool and knew this mine video would be the perfect fit and there isn't a more perfect tool for the job!
I also got the foam sled tool as well which makes getting the perfect angle and depth a breeze, these tools were sent to me for use in my scenery videos but to give you my honest review of the tools I've used so far I can say they are awesome! I'll definitely be personally buying additional add-ons from them in the future and you'll see in the next upcoming video just how useful and versatile the tools actually are.
Another problem I ran into whilst planning the video was how to line the interior of the mine shaft? I did some testing by simply pasting plaster onto the internal walls and adding texture however after looking at prototype photos I discovered the interior of most mines is very rocky. So I decided to attempt to do a similar process of pasting plaster over the interior walls and with a sculpting tool I then attempted to carve the rocks... Needless to say my results were average at best!
The rocks were perfect, they had large flat sides with just enough detail to make for a good mine interior wall.
After applying 6 thick coats of latex rubber and allowing the latex to dry between coats (Which took ages given that I'm living in a very humid climate!) the molds were then peeled off and some test molds were done using plaster of paris. These rocks are perfect because they are flat and I can carve them to shape so they fit perfectly inside the mine shaft.
As for people to populate the mine, I've picked up a couple of different types, I have some Woodland Scenics Masonry Workmen as well as some Preiser figures as well. The Preiser figures are unpainted so I'll need to sit down and give them a bit of color.
For the most part I have everything I need to complete the video however whilst I was doing some testing on painting the rocks I decided to use the leopard spotting technique using the Woodland Scenics Liquid Pigments... The only problem is I do not have any pigments so they are currently enroute to my house! I expect to have them in about 4 days so it looks like I won't be able to get this video done for a least another week!
It should be a pretty exciting video and I think it will be worth the wait.
Sometimes I have an amazing idea for a project and once I finally build up the motivation to actually get started I open the door to my workbench and I immediately close the door again because I think "I can't work in that mess!... I'll clean it later..."
And that is the reason why I've decided to make an attempt at organizing my workspace.
If you're not familiar with what I do, I make YouTube videos about building model scenery. To keep myself motivated I like to have a clean workbench, I see it as a clean slate ready for the next video.
Sometimes after I finish filming a video I leave the workbench in a complete mess and it takes me nearly 2 weeks sometimes to clean it up and start on the next video... I'll often see the mess and instantly become unmotivated which results in nothing happening.
To help keep things organised and in their place I put the recently acquired laser cutter to use. Labeling the shelf directly behind the workbench will enable me to use the tools and materials needed and after use I can place them on the appropriate shelf instead of leaving them on the workbench taking up space.
The laser cutter was primarily purchased for building scale models however it is fantastic for so much more, so far I've not only made the Moe's Tavern building and some small details like fences but I've also made an awesome Paint Rack that is custom built to fit Vallejo paints, I made some Christmas ornaments and now some signs to organise my workflow.
It's only been just over 2 months since moving to the new location in Queensland and it took that long to finally set up my workspace so that I actually feel good about working in it.
It's made me realise just how important having a comfortable workspace is especially when it comes to being productive.
I used the word comfortable for a reason, not everyone works best in a clean workspace, some people do their best work in areas that some may consider messy and others may consider it practical. It's important to have a set up whether messy or clean that YOU feel good about and what motivates you to do the work.
For me that is a clean and well organised area.
The second most important aspect to a good workspace is lighting, you have to be able to see what your doing in good light.
Be careful if you use a incandescent light bulb as well, the kind typically found in desk lamps because they are often yellow and what looks good under a yellow light may not look so good when in other types of light especially daylight. I try to set my workbench lights to a color temperature of between 5500k to 6500k, you can see in the image above showing the entire workspace that I have LED light panels that are a very bright and white light which is perfect for getting the daylight appearance. That way when I'm trying to choose colors I'm getting an accurate representation of that color in daylight conditions which is essential for building realistic scenes. Color choice make all the different!
Now I have a clean workspace I have no excuses but to finish the next video :-)
I've recently started working on the next video, basically it is going to be an old gold mine diorama. I know what you're thinking... That's pretty boring because all we'll see is a hole in the side of a mountain...
However! It's going to be built as a cross section diorama so you'll be able to see all the tunnels and interior of the mine as if the earth has been sliced away revealing the internal structure.
As you can see from the image above, I've been doing a few test on creating the dirt/rock structure inside the mine shaft. I've decided to line the interior walls with rock castings using some of the Woodland Scenics rock molds and then blend the joins with some plaster of paris or a similar product.
The foam I'm using is foam insulation board (Extruded Polystyrene) most commonly used for as the name suggests 'insulation' but it makes for great diorama bases and I've used it as the main base for my model railway layout. It's very versatile and strong yet lightweight which is perfect for portable train layouts.
As for lighting I'll be adding small LED lights along the malls to illuminate the inside of the mine, I'm not sure what LED's I'll be using just yet? I may use the Woodland Scenics Just Plug lights or depending on price I might just order some micro LED's and wire them up myself... I do plan on using quite a lot of LED's so I'll more than likely wire them myself and power them with a portable battery mounted in the back of the model.
Filming has commenced and I'm just waiting on some extra rock molds to arrive and a few small HO scale mining figures that will be working in the mine once it's finished.
Stay tuned :)