Pete's Pumpkins

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Picking Up Pumpkins

A reader left a very pointed comment that asked a very good question – 'how does Pete unload the pumpkins?' I went hunting to see if I could find some 1/32 tractors etc. But they were rather costly – at least for this project's budget. I decided that Pete, being a frugal farmer, would have likely rigged some sort of 'block-n-tackle-hoist-thing' from junk lying around the barnyard, so I decided to do the same. Using a pencil, a bamboo skewer, old n scale wheels and some scrap styrene, I 'imagineered' a yard hoist. The boom on the hoist actually swings, and the line will pull through the pulley. It’s not the front-end loader that I envisioned the farm having, but it will do the job!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Trees and Shrubs

With the backdrop in place and the basic colours of the layout defined, it was now time to start adding some trees and shrubs. I built the shrubs using some unnamed dried floral product I purchased at Walmart a few years ago. I snipped bush-sized stems from the main stalk and glued the sprigs together using hot-glue; rolling the sprigs between my fingers as the glue began to cool. Working in batches of 10, I systematically spray-painted the sprigs flat brown, dipped them into diluted white glue, and then sprinkled on various colours of ground foam. I finished by spritzing each bush with a generous amount of hair spray, and then stuck each bush into holes in a cardboard box to dry.

While waiting for the bushes to dry, I began construction on the large tree that would grow beside the barn. A few weeks ago I noticed that the dying lilies in our garden left long woody stems with forked ends that could work as a basic tree armature. I gathered up as many stalks as I could find and began hot-gluing them together until I had created a basic tree armature. I then created branches by combing a few sprigs of the dried weeds in the same fashion that I made the bushes, and then attached each of these sprigs to the basic armature of the tree using hot-glue – working my way from the center of the tree outward. Once I was happy with the general shape of the tree, I again applied a coat of flat brown spray paint and allowed the tree to dry. Once dry, I applied successive coats of hairspray and ground foam until I had built up the branches to resemble leafy bows. I then misted the entire tree with a few blasts of red oxide primer to add some colour variety.

Once everything was dry, I punched holes in the scenery using an awl, and planted the shrubs with a dab of white glue. For the tree, I drilled a larger hole near the barn, filled it with hot glue and pressed in the tree until the glue had set.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Installing the Backdrop – Part Two

The first test application of the backdrop revealed a few issues I wanted to resolve. Firstly, as the image I was using was small it didn’t scale well when printed large – the image quality degraded too much. Secondly, the colour of the backdrop wasn’t quite right.

I purchased a small copy of this image from for $1.00. I colour-corrected the image such that it lost its ‘peach’ hues, and then I re-coloured the fields so that their colours more closely matched the ground cover I had applied. Finally, I scaled the image to the appropriate size and subtly applied paint daubs filter – just enough to correct the graininess of the image. I cut the image to fit, and attached it too the hardboard using rubber cement.